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Cork Alliance Against War - Report on "Dont Attack Iran" Public meeting

category cork | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday June 19, 2006 21:59author by Cork Antiwar - Cork Alliance Against War Report this post to the editors

Report on "Don’t Attack Iran" Public Meeting in Metropole hotel Cork

Over 60 people attended the Cork Alliance Against War Public meeting "Don’t Attack Iran" The meeting followed recent initiatives involving the KINO cinema showing of "The Road to Guantanamo" the public meeting with Guantanamo prisoner Omar Deghayes brother Abu Baker, the US army Veterans speaking tour, and the film/discussion of the documentary “Fallujah – the hidden massacre”

The meeting was addressed by Dr Elaheh Rostami-Povey of the campaign against Military intervention in Iran and John Rose Author and Middle East activist. The meeting was part of national speaking tour on the threat of an attack on Iran organised by the Irish Anti War movement.
Elaheh spoke on the current situation in Iran. She argued that the current issue of the nuclear threat was a smokescreen for another agenda for the US leadership which has been in place ever since the overthrow of the US supported Shah in 1979. Iran’s real crime has been its refusal to bend the knee to the West and the WTO. She pointed out the hypocrisy of Bush on the nuclear issue, as the US which has over 10000 nuclear warheads. She also pointed out that the status of women in the country compared favourably with many Western countries, eg literacy, participation in education and skilled professions , access to contraception, life expectancy etc. However much still needs to be done, but the many vibrant progressive movements in the country would be devastated by an attack or attempt at externally enforced regime change, which would force people back into the hands of the current ruling party. She argued passionately for Anti war activists to do what they can to prevent an attack on the country, especially as the likelihood was that Bush and Rice have already decided to unleash the type of action which could turn the country into another Afghanistan or Iraq.

John Rose addressed the issue of Palestine and Israeli/US aggression in the region. He pointed out that Israel had over 200 warheads, and had kidnapped and imprisoned Mordechai Vanunu who blew the whistle on their nuclear program. Their attacks on Palestinians, their flouting of international law, the spiralling increase of land occupations in the West Bank were all supported by the US. He pointed out that Israel was effectively the US’s watchdog in the are and that it represented the greatest threat to peace in the Middle East.

There followed a lively, interesting and colourful discussion :-). As well as questions for the speakers, there was some interesting suggestions about how to rebuild the anti war movement, what could be done locally and nationally. As well as the familiar topics of big demonstrations and could we/should we move for direct action in Shannon Airport, there was also some valuable suggestions from both new and more experienced activists of how to spark new life into the anti war movement. The majority opinion expressed was that there was no single tactic that should be used to the exclusion of others. The main thing was the need for the movement to be inclusive and imaginative, and where all activists feel comfortable in engaging their chosen field of activity, as well as the need to be open to ideas, to listen to and respect other views.

3 items were publicised at the meeting.

1. Support for the 5 Catholic Workers Movement peace activists up for their 2nd retrial on July 5th.
Prof John Maguire is organising a stage cycle trip to Limerick in the run up to the trial. Full details to be confirmed, contact johnmaguirecork@eircom.net if available.

2. Fundraising gig for Cork Alliance Against War – Sat July 8th. An Cruiscin Lan. List of bands to be confirmed.

3. The case of Omar Deghayes - Guantanaomo prisoner.
The last week has seen the suicide of 3 inmates of Guantanamo Prison. For those who witnessed the horrific torture imposed on inmates on the recent KINO showing of "The Road to Guantamo" this could hardly be a surprise. Abu Deghayes spoke in Cork on the fate of his brother Omar who has been in detention for over 3 years, and who he hasn’t heard of since Oct 2005. Cork Alliance Against war has taken up the case of Omar, as a first step we urge all to off him support write to him at address below, and also to contact local TD’s/minister for justice

Omar Deghayes
Prisoner 727
160 Camp Delta
Washington DC
20053
U.S.A

www.save-omar.org.uk
info@save-omar.org

author by Fintan Lane - Anti-War Irelandpublication date Mon Jun 19, 2006 23:20Report this post to the editors

Sounds like an excellent meeting. Well done to all concerned and to whoever wrote this comprehensive report!

author by Fintan Lane - AWI (and Irish Socialist Network)publication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:03Report this post to the editors

I've just spotted a comment on women's rights on another thread that seems particularly relevant here. Some of its detailed information reminds us that the position of women in Iran is far from ideal. Quite the opposite in fact. I take the point made by the Iranian woman speaker in Cork that an attack by the US would undermine progressive women's organisations in Iran. That, undoubtedly, would be the case, as a rise of jingoism would probably (in the short-term at least) act to strengthen conservative forces. However, this should not blind us to the oppressive treatment of women in Iran at the moment. The following extract from a comment on another thread is worth a read and if anybody can confirm the veracity of each statement made, it would be useful:

"The treatment of women in Iran has been described as gender aparthied. 'Your wife, who is your possession, is in fact, your slave', Judiciary Chief Mohammad Yazdi, Ressalat, 15 December 1986.
The hejab, or dress code, is mandatory in all public places for all women. Women must cover their hair and body except for their face and hands and they must not use cosmetics. Punishments range from a verbal reprimand to 74 lashes with a whip to imprisonment for one month to a year. Stoning to death is a legal form of punishment for sexual misconduct. Women are banned from pursuing higher education in 91 of 169 fields of study and must be taught in segregated classrooms. A woman may work with her husband’s permission, although many occupations are forbidden to women.
Women in Iran have been stoned to death in public for "breaking" the laws laid down by velayat-e-fahiq – the absolute supremacy of the mullahs. Prison terms from three months to one year or fines and up to 74 lashes with a whip for wearing "modish outfits, such as suits and skirt without a long overcoat on top." The regulations ban any mini or short-sleeved overcoat, and the wearing of any "depraved, showy and glittery object on hats, necklaces, earring, belts, bracelets, glasses, headbands, rings, neckscarfs and ties."
Tens of thousands of women have been arrested for "mal-veiling and lewd conduct." Most of the women were wearing makeup or in the company of young males who were not related to them.
Temporary marriage, in which a man can marry a woman for a limited period of time, even one hour, in exchange for money, is permitted in Iran. Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, a prominent religious leader supported the revival of this practice so clerical officials could have religious sanctioned sexual relationships with women. This practice is an approved form of sexual exploitation of women, and allows the regime to have an official network of prostitution.
By law hospitals are required to segregate by sex all health care services.
A law prohibits the publication of material in the media that defends women’s rights in a way that would create conflict between the genders. Advocates of women’s rights are subject to imprisonment and lashing for violations.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly stated: 'The real value of a woman is measured by how much she makes the family environment for her husband and children like a paradise.' In July 1997 Ayatollah Khamenei said that the idea of women’s equal participation in society was 'negative, primitive and childish.'
The legal age at which girls can be married is 9 years (formerly 18 years). Polygamy is legal, with men permitted to have four wives and unlimited number of temporary wives. Women are not permitted to travel or acquire a passport without their husband’s written permission. A woman is not permitted to be in the company of a man who is not her husband or a male relative. Public activities are segregated. Women are not allowed to engage in sports in which they may be seen by men; or permitted to watch men’s sports in which men’s legs are not fully covered.
An international study comparing workforce conditions for women around the world ranked Iran 108th out of 110. In urban areas women make-up only 9.5 percent of the workforce, and in rural areas the percent is 8.8 percent.
Less than two weeks ago 5,000 women protesting for basic rights were brutally attacked by the police using batons, tear-gas and pepper spray, 60 were arrested."

author by Darren O reilly - IAWMpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 14:35Report this post to the editors


http://www.negotiate-peace.org/content/view/27/34/

Dr. Elaheh Rostami Povey, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London

Women Human Rights Defenders in Iran, their achievements and the challenges that they are facing

Women in Iran, despite strict ideological rules and structural limitations, in the context of Shia Islam, have shown a great deal of courage, imagination and commitment to struggle for their gender interests, human rights and democracy. They have challenged gender construction dictated by the patriarchal institutions such as the state, family, education, employment, parliament, media….

In the last two decades the interaction between economic and ideological factors led to gender consciousness and women's struggle for change. In the 1980s, the women’s movement was divided. The secular women's movement, along with other movements was defeated in the process of Islamisation of state and other institutions. The disassociation of Muslim feminists from secular feminists and their strong association with the Islamic state and institutions led to the rise of state-sponsored religious women's institutions. Muslim feminism became popular and the majority of women related to it. This is because as an institution similar to other Islamic institutions, Muslim feminism seemed to be representing the stable patterns, norms and behavior which were recognized and valued by society.

By the late 1980s, women's issues became important social and political issues throughout the society. In this period Muslim feminists gradually changed their position in relation to their men-folk and to the state that they had given their support to in the previous period. The secular feminists also began to realize and discuss that women’s oppression cannot be solely attributed to Islamic ideology. Issues such as divorce, custody of children and other family laws and regulations affected the economic contribution of all women. Similarly, poverty, access or lack of access to education, health and employment affected women’s lives, especially poorer women in urban and rural areas.

Therefore, in the 1990s, many professional women, whether secular or religious, as lawyers, as members of the Majles, the parliament, as media workers and so on had to leave aside their differences on issues such as hejab and respond to pressure from ordinary working women. Reforms were made because of the pressure put on the government and the parliament by the women human rights defenders. Throughout the 1990s a strong democracy movement was born. Women were and still are in forefront of the democracy movement, which is diverse. It consists of Grassroots Non-governmental (women, youth, environment, human rights and children rights) Organisations, Muslims, non-Muslims and secular individual women and men, mainly young generation. This period is also known as the period of reform movement associated with President Khatami. In fact, Khatami became president with the vote of women.

As a result the past two decades represents an unprecedented historical transformation, responding to profound changes in women’s and men’s consciousness and visions of social change.

For example, between 1979 and the early 1990s, women were not allowed to be judges, and the law gave men the exclusive right to obtain a divorce and have custody of the children. Since the early 1990s and until today, as a result of pressure from below and through the efforts of women lawyers and women members of parliament, a number of reforms were made. Women are allowed to be research judges or investigative judges and reforms were made in laws regarding marriage, divorce, and custody of children. Women became entitled to right to divorce, custody of children and refusing the husband to marry a second wife under a clause in the marriage law.

Furthermore, 64% of university students are women. According to UNDP 2004 and UNICEF 2005, the number of seats in parliament held by women as percentage of total is 4%, in Turkey it is 4.4%. Female professional and technical workers, as percentage of total are 32.9%. In South Korea it is 33.7%.

This is also a period of economic development. Throughout the 1990s and until today the increase in oil revenue meant an increased GDP - an average annual growth rate of 2.4% was achieved since 1990. This resulted in rising wages, rising consumption level and high expectations. The Iranian state, under political pressures exerted from various civil society organizations, headed by women’s NGOs and women human rights defenders, invested in public services. This led to a significant improvement in health (93% of population use clean water; 99% of children are immunised; HIV prevalence rate is the lowest in the region), mortality rates (female life expectancy as a percentage of male is 104) and literacy rate increased to 94% for both sexes. One important impact of Islamic welfare state was provision of education to a majority of the population. In fact the Islamic state gave priority to Islamists and working classes in urban and rural areas to become educated and prosperous. This is very important because the secular pro West state of the Shah in the 1960s and 1970s only served to enrich small elite and did little to develop the rest of the country.

Contrary to Islamophobia and the popular view in the West that women in Muslim societies are oppressed because of Islamic ideology, the level of female employment, education, health and gender consciousness in Iran is much greater in 2005, under the Islamic state, than they were at the height of Westernisation and modernisation in the 1960s and 1970s. These achievements were made as the result of women’s human rights defenders advocacy. They were able to make an impact through campaigning and taking gender issues to a wider public in a way that has made them worthy of attention.

Prior to 2005 presidential election, once again, women activists took the initiative to use this period to raise their demands. According to Mahbobeh Abbasgholizadeh, ‘we were in favour of participating in the election and not to boycott it. Not because we had illusion in the male candidates, but to force them to acknowledge women’s rights demands, to understand that women’s rights are equal to democracy and we reject the idea that democracy first and then women’s rights and we succeeded to do this. Our aim was to show that our movement is diverse, but we are an independent movement and united in raising our voices, and continue our struggle until we win all our demands’.

During this period 89 Women activists declared themselves as candidates for the presidential election. This was to challenge the constitution which does not allow women to be president of the Islamic state. Following this, democracy and women’s rights activists staged a number of sit ins and demonstrations. Among them Azam Taleghani, a long standing Muslim woman, fighting for women’s rights and democracy; Shadi Sadr, a woman lawyer, Marzieh Mortazi, a woman’s rights activists and Mahbobeh Abbasgholizadeh, NGO and civil society activists who was arrested in November 2004 for her women’s rights and civil society activities including attending Beijing Plus Ten conferences in Asia and European Social Forum in London in October 2004.

In one of these demonstrations women activists entered Azadi (Freedom) Football stadium when Iran played against Bahrain. There is a VIP section in this stadium where sometimes VIP women watch football. Some women demonstrators had VIP cards but they did not use it. They all tried to enter from the public entrance. They clashed with the police who tried to close the door on them, some injured, Mahbobeh Abbasgholizadeh was left with a broken leg. But they entered the stadium shouting their slogan ‘Freedom (referring to the stadium) we have entered, not as VIP, but ordinary citizens’, ‘Iran will win with our presence’. Iran team won and the women activists shouted ‘Iran’s football team is on its way to the world cup, we women are on our way to win our citizenship rights’.

In another demonstration 700 women attended outside Tehran University. Nushin Ahmadi Khorasani, the leading member of Women’s Cultural Centre NGO who established the First Women’s Library in Iran ended this gathering by reading the women’s statement. This called for the women’s protest to continue until gender equality, as well as religious and ethnic minority equality, is guaranteed by the constitution.

These women’s rights activists are diverse individuals and groups. They argue that they will continue their struggle until the male reading of the Islamic laws, including rejecting women to be president, to be changed. In another demonstrations outside the President’s office, their slogans read ‘to reject women is to reject half of the population; we do not accept men’s choices’ gender equality is the necessity of life; women’s rights are human rights…’. Azam Taleghani turned to the police who were surrounding women and said to them ‘thank you brothers for allowing us to raise our voices. We will be here for ever to continue our struggle and you will have to cooperate with us’.

What is the prospect for Women Human Rights Defenders in Iran, after the 2005 presidential election? What are the key challenges?

The result of the presidential election in June 2005 was a lesson and a challenge for the women’s movement.

The majority of the population voted for President Ahmadinejad, the conservative candidate, not for religious purposes but for economic reasons. He did not call for a greater process of Islamisation; he stood for resolving economic problems. The leadership of the reform movement failed across the board to take this up. In fact the root of their failure lied in their inactivity during the 2000 – 2004 local and parliamentary elections when they called for the boycott of these elections and concentrated on political and social issues and ignored economic issues which are affecting a large number of working people.

In the 1980s, many Islamic organisations were set up [Mostazafeen, (Downtrodden); Janbazan (self-sacrificing people) - Soldiers and their families, engaged in the Iran ‑ Iraq war; Bonyad Shahid (Martyred Foundation) ‑ those who died in the Iran-Iraq war; Baseej (Mobilization of the irregulars for the Iran-Iraq war); Komiteh Imam Khomeini (Ayatollah Khomeini Committee) to help the poor; Nehzate Savad Amouzi (Literacy Corp); Jahad Sazandegi (Reconstruction Crusade)….] These Islamic organisations were funded by the state and provided social services to millions of the urban and rural working classes.

However, by late 1990s, the reformist administration was following the major proponents of free market economy by curtailing the role of state and encouraging privatization. The Islamic organisations, mentioned above, gradually turned into massive capitalist organizations and followed the logic of private capital accumulation. Today they control 80% of the economy by establishing large industrial enterprises, are engaged in the money market and gradually are becoming private enterprises rather than providing public welfare to a large number of population.

Every year approximately 1,000,000 educated and potential skilled workers are added to job seekers. But privatisation and NGOisation can only absorb one third of the job seekers per year. The NGOs provide some paid, unpaid and voluntary work which is important but like NGOs in other parts of the world, they cannot replace the state either in job creation or in the provision of basic care. Moreover, the continuing economic growth has led to 24% inflation and consequently a fall in real wages.

Therefore, the vote for the president elect was a protest vote by some of the poorer sections of the population against the reformist government which moved to a free market economy and attempted to shrink the Islamic social welfare system.

The women human rights activists are convinced that the victory of the conservatives in political institutions highlight the limitations of the leadership of the reform movement and their defeat, but not the defeat of the democracy movement itself. They believe that the women’s movement and the democracy movement will continue its struggle for democracy and reform and the conservative administration will have no choice but to meet the demands of the majority of the population, including their own supporters.

However, the women’s rights activists in Iran will be far more able to press for their democratic demands if they have a much clearer economic programme which addresses the needs of the poor. Also a minority of intellectuals including women activists e.g. Shirin Ebadi, the winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2003 boycotted the election on the ground that it was not a legitimate election because the Council of Guardian a male/clergy dominated institution rejected women candidates. But the participation of the majority of the population, mainly women and young indicated that the boycott of elections of local and parliamentary elections in 2003-4 and the presidential election of 2005 was a wrong tactic.

Finally, it is important to conclude that the international responses to events in Iran can also have a negative impact on the democracy movement and the women’s movement in Iran. For 25 years women’s rights activists have been trying to construct emancipatory models that derive from their own experiences and have achieved a great deal. Constant threat of sanction, war and regime change from the US and Israel and their supporters in Europe and Britain weakens the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran. Iranians are proud of their country and they are determined to protect its independence. If three is a choice to believe either in Washington or Tehran, then the majority of people in Iran, even those who are critical of the Islamic state and Islamisation of society, will choose Tehran. This view has strengthened in the last 12 months as Washington’s position in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel’s position in Palestine have been discredited more than ever before.

author by Fintan Lane - Anti-War Irelandpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 14:53Report this post to the editors

Many thanks Darren for posting the views of Elaheh Rostami Povey.

It is important that these issues are clarified.

At the end of the day, of course, our position on the current Iranian regime should in no way affect our determined opposition to a US attack on Iran. I don't think any of us supported Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship, yet we staunchly opposed US aggression and imperialism. This remains the case with Iran. Our opposition to the regime in Tehran should not in any sense weaken our opposition to US imperialism.

An attack on Iran would be an attack on the Iranian people.

author by Emilypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:03Report this post to the editors

Women in Iran are treated like animals. Povey is a propagandist for Islamofascists. Read about the real Iranian Socialist Feminists. Overthrow the Mullahs! No toUS Imperialism! Dont support the Mullahs who stone women to death.

Dont believe Poveys and the SWP/IAWM lies, there have been no democratic developments in Iran. It is an Islamofascist state where the clergy have a veto over candidates for parliament and the presidency and a veto over all legislation.

This is what the real Iranian Socialist Femninists say about Iran versus the US:

"Manifesto of the Third Camp against US Militarism and Islamic Terrorism

The present conflict between the Western governments and the Islamic Republic of Iran can have disastrous human, political and social consequences. The terrible experience of Iraq has shown to all the catastrophes that can result from economic sanctions and a military attack. Deterioration of living conditions, economic plight, death, destruction and displacement of people, and increased repression by the Islamic regime, would be some of the immediate consequences of economic sanctions or a military attack on Iran. This policy would unleash Islamic terrorism on a regional scale and escalate it internationally.

We must stand up with all our power to the US government’s and its allies’ bullying. We must put an end to the crimes of the opposite pole, i.e. Islamic terrorism. We must help the people of Islam-stricken countries to get rid of the menace of Islamic terrorist states and forces. American militarism and Islamic terrorism have brutalised the world. Neither of them has a solution to the present crisis and its resulting problems. Rather, they are themselves the cause of this crisis and its aggravation. Civilised humanity must rise up against both these poles and the suffering that they have imposed on the world. The human and genuine solution to the problem of nuclear weapons, to Islamic terrorism and its horrific crimes against the people of the world, and to the militaristic bullying of the US and Western governments lies in the hands of us people."

http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2006/05/manifesto-of-....html

This is what real Iranian Socialist Feminists think of Islam:

"Islam must be criticised!

It's interesting how free speech, the right to criticise and ridicule god, prophet or religion, the separation of religion from the state and secularism as well as the non-right to threaten to kill, suicide bomb and massacre people are not applicable to Islamists and Islam!

I must admit, those of us who have fled the Islamic Republic of Iran are very familiar with this outlook on things. Cultural relativism's equal opportunity for all values and beliefs has often been shoved down our throats by many of the very same politicians, publishers and editors, telling us time and time again to respect 'our' culture and religion though it has been imposed by sheer force.

Now this racism of lower standards and relative rights regarding Islam is being applied to the European press as well! Beware!"

http://maryamnamazie.blogspot.com/2006/02/islam-must-be....html

This is what Real Iranian Socialist Feminists think of the veiling children: B

"A Muslim Barbie - please!

A journalist recently called to ask what I thought about the Muslim barbie doll, which is properly veiled and covered up in the Islamic tradition. Doesn't it offer the veiled child something she can relate to?

Please I said:

When a slave child has a slave doll to relate to;

When a child labourer has a doll which comes complete with a sweatshop;

When a girl who has been genitally mutilated has a doll with mutilated genitals;

and when a child 'bride' has a baby barbie doll dressed in white to relate to;

Then, I suppose, this veiled doll will also make sense...

That is, of course, if and when we have reverted back to the Middle Ages and full on barbarity. The doll may help parents, the parasitic imams or Islamic states and groups impose the hejab on some girls but that does not change the undeniable fact that child veiling is nothing but child abuse."

More on child veiling here:
http://www.maryamnamazie.com/articles/on_ban_relgious_s....html

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:29Report this post to the editors

"An attack on Iran would be an attack on the Iranian people. "

Yes, if it was an attack by a US/UK Imperialist coalition, it would certainly be an attack on the Iranian people. But the Iranian people have the right to self determination, they have the right to get rid of the Fascist Junta which presently rules Iran. Even more to the point, Iranian Kurds have the right to autonomy or even the right to secession if they so choose under a democratically held plebiscite.

I look on Iran in the same way that I would have looked on Argentina during the Malvinas/Falklands War: oppose any Imperialist aggression but also call for the overthrow of the ruling Fascist Junta. In 1982 the SWP didnt think it was interfering with anyones right to self determination to adopt this position.

The ordinary Iranian people deserve our support against both Bush/Blair and against the Mullahs. Socialist should be fully behind those socialist forces which are at this moment carrying out an armed struggle against the illegitimate Iranian Regime. Those who choose to stand with the Mullahs against the opposition deserve nothing but contempt.

One Iranian political party worth looking up is the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI). You can get a lot of archived articles and current news at the url below, including the regular magazine WPI Briefing (in a pdf).

author by mepublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:40Report this post to the editors

Povey: "A minority of intellectuals including women activists e.g. Shirin Ebadi, the winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2003 boycotted the election on the ground that it was not a legitimate election because the Council of Guardian a male/clergy dominated institution rejected women candidates. But the participation of the majority of the population, mainly women and young indicated that the boycott of elections of local and parliamentary elections in 2003-4 and the presidential election of 2005 was a wrong tactic."

Actually, the participation of a majority of the population does not demonstrate that the boycott was a wrong tactic. As a tactic, it may not have caught the popular imagination but that doesn't mean it was wrong to propose it. A slate of all-male candidates selected by a bunch of clergymen (of any denomination) wouldn't encourage me to vote! Imagine if the Catholic bishops got to select electoral candidates in Ireland and, in the process, ruled out all women!

Povey is wrong to criticise progressives for arguing for a boycott. A boycott makes sense when the field is determined by arch-reactionaries.

author by Fintan Lanepublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:47Report this post to the editors

I don't disagree with you.

I am completely opposed to a US/UK imperialist attack on Iran and I am simultaneously very much in favour of the overthrow of the regime in Tehran. No disagreement there. In fact, I think we need to be very careful not to confuse the legitimate defence of people against Islamophobia with support for oppression by right-wing Islamist regimes.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:55Report this post to the editors

Good to read that, I reckoned it would be your position. Beware of the chimera of Islamophobia though. The SWP even accuse Iranian and Iraqi Communist Feminists of Islamophobia!

I have contempt for Roman Catholicism and I have contempt for Islam. After spending my entire adult life fighting Catholicism I'm not going to roll over for Islam. Socialists should stand by the seperation of Church and State and support the right to mock all religions. Imho Islam is a bunch of rubbish and should be laughed at just as Catholicism should be laughed at.

Religion is not race.

author by Tonypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:55Report this post to the editors

I used to think Emily was just an Islamophobe. Now I realise she is also an SWP-phobe. She'll no doubt be apoplectic that she and some of her co-"thinkers" have started to make me think the SWP may be a much better organisation than I realised.
Instead of even trying to criticse what Povey said, and was posted in this debate by someone, Emily just froths incoherently.
At least some of the other Islamophobes are capable of reasoned thought

author by anonpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:59Report this post to the editors

Yes, if it was an attack by a US/UK Imperialist coalition, it would certainly be an attack on the Iranian people

What sort of other attack are you thinking of pat

author by Emilypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:02Report this post to the editors

As usual you spew forth your hatred of me. I am so privileged to have my own Cyber-Stalker. Like Povey you attempt to make Iran look good. Along with other Irish Socialists I show up the reality of an Iran where women are stoned to death. Tony you will be sad when the Islamofascists in Iran are dethroned. But I will be happy watching Iranian women dispense revolutionary justice. Dont be suprised if they hang an Imam from every lamp post.

author by Tonypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:04Report this post to the editors

Pat C says "Religion is not race."
But there is no such biological thing as race - race is in fact a social construct, so anti-semitism, Islamophobia and so are racism, because relion is being defined as race by the bigots.
Pat goes on to say that he didn't roll over for the Catholic church, and so won't roll over for Islam. But there is a difference - Pat lives in a country dominated by Christianity, which is a vital part of the capitalist superstructure. Opposing Christianity can (though not necessarily) be part of fighting capitalism in Ireland.
This does not apply to Islam in Ireland. In fact Islamophobia is part of the superstructure of western capitalism, and it is the job of the left in the west to fight against it

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:20Report this post to the editors

Interesting to see that there are punters on Indy who see womens rights as an accident of capitalist democracy. Does socialism come into the equation at all? If you were to jump from feudalism to socialism would womens rights never arise?

The attack I refer to is an internal one. An attack that would come from the Left Nationalists, Communists and Kurds who are currently fighting against the Theocracy.

author by Tonypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:29Report this post to the editors

Pat C - I don't know if your lastest post is intended as a response to mine. If it is, I don't see the connection. Please explain.
Emily - I don't hate you, though I do have contempt for your pandering to the needs of the western ruling class
For socialists, the first enemy is at home - in other words, your first duty is to fight YOUR OWN ruling class

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:39Report this post to the editors

"But there is no such biological thing as race - race is in fact a social construct, "

I agree with you there but that social construct is something that is accepted by the vast majority of people. Any critique I make of it has to take that into account.

"so anti-semitism, Islamophobia and so are racism, "

I dont accept that it follows for both. Anti-semitism is racist because it refers specifically to Jews as a race. Islamophobia specifically refers to a religion.

"because relion is being defined as race by the bigots."

Not by all bigots even. You are making assertions here. What surveys back up your contention that bigots define religion as race?

"Pat goes on to say that he didn't roll over for the Catholic church, and so won't roll over for Islam. But there is a difference - Pat lives in a country dominated by Christianity, which is a vital part of the capitalist superstructure. Opposing Christianity can (though not necessarily) be part of fighting capitalism in Ireland."

You are right. Only in some cases. And I admit that I have gone over the top in my criticism of religion here. Many Christians are anti capitalist.

The fight against christianity would mainly be over gender rights and seperation of church and state in the area of health and education.

"This does not apply to Islam in Ireland."

Agree mostly. But just as I dont think the stae should subvent catholic schools I dont think the state should subvent islamic schools. again i probably went over the top in my criticism of islam. no need to unnecessarily offensive.

That does not mean that any religion should be above criticism or mockery.

"In fact Islamophobia is part of the superstructure of western capitalism, and it is the job of the left in the west to fight against it"

depends on what you mean by that. i dont think its my job to say its great that women wear the hijab. i think that oppresses women. you do get White Western Women who say the hijab is liberating but oddly enough none of them wear the hijab.

i see it as my job to support the socialist oppositon in Iran in their attempts to overthrow the dictatorship. standing up for socialists, trade unionists, women and gays in Iran is not Islamophobic.

if i saw graffiti which said "deport all muslims" or "islam is the devils religion" then i would paint them out. i would also try and track down those who were behind it.

AFA & AY showed the way to deal with racist/fascist groups when they ambushed the Celtic "Wolves". thats the way to deal with those who stir up racism against Muslims.

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 16:54Report this post to the editors

The message you reffered to was not a reply to you. I posted a detailed reply above. I do think you are being unfair to Emily. Yes its her job to oppose Irish capitalism and US Imperialism. But its also her job and mine to support the Iranian resistance. Just as in 1982 it was my duty to support the resistance in Argentina to the fascist junta while also opposing British Imperialism.

author by Tonypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 18:30Report this post to the editors

Yes Pat, you're right - if I'd read more carefully I would have seen that your post was not a response to mine
However, in reply to your comment below
"in 1982 it was my duty to support the resistance in Argentina to the fascist junta while also opposing British Imperialism."
the question is not so much whether you supported the Galtieri regime full stop but rather whether you supported it against British imperialism.
The correct answer (open the box) is of course that socilaists in Britain supported the victory of the Galtieri regime over their own ruling class.
Therefore during the conflict and the pre-war manoevering the overwhelming job of socialists was to attack their own ruling class rather than provide arguments that might lead some to conclude that a British victory over Argentina might really be a good thing.
That's one reason why the "Islamo-fascism" nonsense is so dangerous (By the way, so far as I know the term was coined by the renegade Christopher Hitchens)
If the Iranian regime is really fascist, then there is a case (which I would oppose anyway) for supporting the "democratic" west against it.
Am I hard on Emily? Yes. Does she deserve it? I haven't the faintest idea. It's not a matter of personal politeness, but of where her political arguments (of which there are very few other than name-calling) lead.
I understood why my dad became a fascist, but that didn't mean I went soft on criticising him
Incidentally, this is starting to look amazingly like a debate. Progress, I think

author by pat cpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 18:42Report this post to the editors

""in 1982 it was my duty to support the resistance in Argentina to the fascist junta while also opposing British Imperialism."
the question is not so much whether you supported the Galtieri regime full stop but rather whether you supported it against British imperialism."

Which I did.

"The correct answer (open the box) is of course that socilaists in Britain supported the victory of the Galtieri regime over their own ruling class."

Yes but I also supported those who were attempting to overthrow the Junta.

"Therefore during the conflict and the pre-war manoevering the overwhelming job of socialists was to attack their own ruling class rather than provide arguments that might lead some to conclude that a British victory over Argentina might really be a good thing."

No, an argument stands on its own strentgth and truth. Not to support the resistance to the Junta would have been treachery towards the Argentinian working class.

"That's one reason why the "Islamo-fascism" nonsense is so dangerous (By the way, so far as I know the term was coined by the renegade Christopher Hitchens)"

Irrelevant. Words enter the dictionary from many sorces. Anyway its a correct term for the Iranian Regime.

"If the Iranian regime is really fascist, then there is a case (which I would oppose anyway) for supporting the "democratic" west against it."

Well now you are tying yourself in knots. Going by that logic there would have been a case for supporting the Brits against Argentina.

"Am I hard on Emily? Yes. Does she deserve it? I haven't the faintest idea. It's not a matter of personal politeness, but of where her political arguments (of which there are very few other than name-calling) lead."

I disagree. I find that I agree with a lot of her points which are well thought out.

"I understood why my dad became a fascist, but that didn't mean I went soft on criticising him"

No reason why you should. But its incorrect analogy to draw an analogy between him and Emily.

"Incidentally, this is starting to look amazingly like a debate. Progress, I think"

I think we have been debating for a while.

author by Valpublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 19:04Report this post to the editors

'UDA expels two Shoukri brothers

The loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association has expelled Andre and Ihab Shoukri. '

This is obviously the action of Islamophobes. Join me in protesting against this racist action and demand the reinstatement of the Shoukri brothers .

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/509...2.stm

In the name of Allah lets kick the Pope!!

author by Mr. T.publication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 04:09Report this post to the editors

seemed like exact reprints of the same arguments as 2 months ago right down to the "is islam a religion or a race" conundrum.

Tony - why don't you get yourself a sex change operation, then head over to Tehran as a lesbian woman to organise the activist battle against capitalism and american imperialism? You might learn a thing or two about who the more immediate enemy is.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:18Report this post to the editors

I noticed that I neglected to supply the WPI url.

One Iranian political party worth looking up is the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI). You can get a lot of archived articles and current news at the url below, including the regular magazine WPI Briefing (in a pdf).

Related Link: http://www.wpiran.org/English/english.htm
author by Tonypublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:57Report this post to the editors

Pat C –My comments on Emily were:

"Am I hard on Emily? Yes. Does she deserve it? I haven't the faintest idea. It's not a matter of personal politeness, but of where her political arguments (of which there are very few other than name-calling) lead."

\You reply

“I disagree. I find that I agree with a lot of her points which are well thought out”.

So here is what Emily says:

Povey Lies
author by Emilypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 14:03
“Povey is a propagandist for Islamofascists.”
“Dont believe Poveys and the SWP/IAWM lies, there have been no democratic developments in Iran.”

Thos sort of stuff is hardly well thought out. It’s just a wild mish-mash of lies, distortions, and abuse
Re-read the article by Povey that someone posted earlier. She does none of the things Emily accuses her of.

A little later, about me this time, Emily says:

author by Emilypublication date Tue Jun 20, 2006 15:02

“As usual you spew forth your hatred of me. I am so privileged to have my own Cyber-Stalker. Like Povey you attempt to make Iran look good. Tony you will be sad when the Islamofascists in Iran are dethroned. “

This time it’s ridiculous lies about me. Well thought out?

Now let’s move on to whether islamophobia is a form of racism.

I said:

"But there is no such biological thing as race - race is in fact a social construct, "so anti-semitism, Islamophobia and so are racism, "because relion is being defined as race by the bigots."

And you replied:
“I agree with you there but that social construct is something that is accepted by the vast majority of people. Any critique I make of it has to take that into account. I dont accept that it follows for both. Anti-semitism is racist because it refers specifically to Jews as a race. Islamophobia specifically refers to a religion.”

In very abstract terms what you say about Islamophobia is true, but once you get down to the nitty gritty of real life it’s a very different matter. Muslims are in fact treated as a racial group by racists and those who use racism as a tool, regardless of their (the Muslims’) ethnicity

You go on to say:
“Not by all bigots even. You are making assertions here. What surveys back up your contention that bigots define religion as race?”

This is really pathetic. Surveys! What about real life activism?

In reply to my comment that:

"In fact Islamophobia is part of the superstructure of western capitalism, and it is the job of the left in the west to fight against it"

You respond

“depends on what you mean by that. i dont think its my job to say its great that women wear the hijab. i think that oppresses women. you do get White Western Women who say the hijab is liberating but oddly enough none of them wear the hijab.”

But in fact in some circumstances (France is a good example, as also, I discovered in Java, was Indonesia under Suharto) women choosing (and I don’t mean forced) to wear the hijab can be a gesture of defiance of the ruling elite. In circumstances like that it is indeed great the women choose to wear the hijab. We can get all high and mighty and say they should also reject religious symbols, but the development of political consciousness is more complex that that.

Of course we don’t say that women should be forced to wear the hijab, and we don’t argue that they should choose to do so, but we do argue for their RIGHT to choose it.

Incidentally, in your (false) claim:

“you do get White Western Women who say the hijab is liberating but oddly enough none of them wear the hijab.”

Haven’t you noticed that you counterpose “White Western Women” to Muslim’s. Seems like you yourself treat Muslim as a racial category.

By the way, the claim is false because 1) It’s not just white western women who say that, and 2) Some of the women who say it do in fact wear the hijab. Can’t remember her name at the moment – yes I can - Yvonne Ridley, whatever else you say about her, is an example which disproves your sweeping statement

You go on to say:
“ standing up for socialists, trade unionists, women and gays in Iran is not Islamophobic.”

No, it’s not, but I never said it is, and I’ve never come across anyone saying it is. You’ve set up a straw man. Opposition to Islamophobia is not the same thing as opposing support for socialists, trade unionists, women and gays”

Since we’re talking partly about Emily’s Poveyphobia, there is in Povey’s article only SUPPORT for women etc.
I went on to say:

“If the Iranian regime is really fascist, then there is a case (which I would oppose anyway) for supporting the "democratic" west against it.
"Therefore during the conflict and the pre-war manoeuvring the overwhelming job of socialists was to attack their own ruling class rather than provide arguments that might lead some to conclude that a British victory over Argentina might really be a good thing."

You reply:

“Well now you are tying yourself in knots. Going by that logic there would have been a case for supporting the Brits against Argentina.”

No, I am not tying myself in knots. Remember how opposition to Nazism was twisted by the communist parties into support for British imperialism? And remember also that support for the British against Argentina WAS supported by some sections of the left on exactly those grounds. Ditto in the first world war, when revulsion against “German militarism” led some on the left to support the British ruling class..

You go on to say:

“Not to support the resistance to the Junta would have been treachery towards the Argentinian working class.”

Yes it would But we aren’t talking about that. Once again you’re pretending that opposition to Islamophobia is the same as not supporting the internal opposition.

You also say:

“But its incorrect analogy to draw an analogy between him [my fascist dad] and Emily.”

Any analogy is valid within limits. In this case the limits are showing that my sympathy or understanding of an individual doesn’t limit the level of my opposition to them. I wasn’t implying that Emily is a fascist. Her future trajectory may be another matter, but I don’t know enough about her to forecast that.

The fact remains that Islamophobia in the west, whether in its “left” form or not, plays into the hands of the western ruling class.

author by Curiouspublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 13:16Report this post to the editors

"The fact remains that Islamophobia in the west, whether in its “left” form or not, plays into the hands of the western ruling class. "

It amazes me the deja vu here. These arguments were used by the old CPs when attacking the USSR's internal dissidents. We can't criticise the regime because it gives cover to the West. Are you a spart Tony?

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 13:51Report this post to the editors

i think its best to agree to disagree on what divides us. it wont do either of us much good if i reiterate my position again and you respond again. i think for once both of us could agree with Mr T, its the same argument as we had 2 months ago. this time it was in a more fraternal manner; certainly more light than heat.

"Haven’t you noticed that you counterpose “White Western Women” to Muslim’s. Seems like you yourself treat Muslim as a racial category."

You're taking me up wrong here. I specifically put WWW in capitals to emphasise that these white western women were happy to deprive muslim women of rights they themselves enjoyed. But if they think that wearing the hijab is liberating then why dont they wear it? in Iran and increasingly in Iraq women do not have a choice about wearing the hijab. these same white western women were undermining (and in the case of the SWP attacking) Iranian and Iraqi Feminists who were struggling against the imposition of the hijab.

author by Tonypublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 14:04Report this post to the editors

Curious, I've noted your other posts, for example demanding that people give you their cv. Are you a provocateur?
You quote me:
"The fact remains that Islamophobia in the west, whether in its “left” form or not, plays into the hands of the western ruling class. "
Then you go on to say:
"It amazes me the deja vu here. These arguments were used by the old CPs when attacking the USSR's internal dissidents. We can't criticise the regime because it gives cover to the West. Are you a spart Tony?"
No, I'm not a Spart - it's been my good fortune never to live with a couple of thousand kilometres of anywqhere they are active.
However, to get to the point - you're doing the same as some other contributors - pretending that opposition to Islamophobia is the same as support for the Iranian regime. It's not. And you may not have noticed, but their are many Muslims who don't live in Iran, and who, because of Islamophobia, suffer all kinds of opression.
Curious - I'm curious why you never atack the Saudi regime. Far more repressive than Iran. But then, the Saudi regime is an ally of the US.
Pat C - ok, call off the debate for now. I'm well aware that I'll never convince you, but that wasn't the point. There are others who could be influenced by your arguments or by mine. I would prefer them to be influenced by mine.

author by pat cpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 14:14Report this post to the editors

"Pat C - ok, call off the debate for now. I'm well aware that I'll never convince you, but that wasn't the point. There are others who could be influenced by your arguments or by mine. I would prefer them to be influenced by mine."

good debate, but iy can become repetitive. i just wish yould accept that i'm not an islamophobe. i accept that you are not a supporter of the mullahs. you seem to be a genuine person which is more than can be said for the SWP. i'm glad that you manage to keep such a difference between you and the sparts! when i was in Perth i encountered them. I fled to broome!

i'm doing an interview with a comrade who recently visited Nepal and met with the Maoist guerillas, that should appear here soon. we'll see what you think of that

author by Mike Davispublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 14:18Report this post to the editors

The SWP and their politics in praxis keep cropping up on this thread. Another story is also dealing with this. Link here.

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76745

author by Observerpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 14:23Report this post to the editors

Tony I think you will find that more than one person will use the moniker curious. More than one person has used the author name I use here. And similarly more than one person will have used socialist, anarchist, me, anon, etc, etc.

author by Tonypublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 15:45Report this post to the editors

Pat C - I'm amazed - when I lived in Perth (for many years) I never once met a Spart. However I now live 400 km south of Perth, so the Sparts may be invading like the cane toads.
Never been to Broome. Won't be long before the cane toads reach there. I'm very ignorant on Nepal - basically all I know is what a mate told me when he came back from a trekking holiday, and even that revolved more about the herbs than anything else.

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