Brighton Pavillion Labour Party on the edge of the abyss

EDL supports Anne Marie Waters

Next weekend Brighton Pavillion Labour Party will be selecting their prospective parliamentary candidate for the next general election. One of the front runners is the extremist anti-Islam bigot, Anne Marie Waters. She recently spoke at the Oxford Union, arguing that “Islam is not a religion of peace”, which brought her the glowing endorsement from the English Defence League website. The EDL London division has previously tweeted their admiration for Anne Marie Waters.

Even more alarmingly, Anne Marie Waters, has now also received endorsement from the militant “counter-Jihad” blog called “Gates of Vienna”, which carries the writings of “Fjordman”, one of the intellectual inspirations for Norwegian terrorist and mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik. Fjordman advocates the forcible deportation of Muslims from Europe. Remember that on Channel Four, Anne Marie Waters herself argued that Muslims should leave the UK.

The Gates of Vienna website says:

“I’ve never encountered Anne-Marie Waters before, but I like the cut of her jib in this Oxford Union debate.”

gates of viennaIf Anne Marie Waters is selected as a Labour PPC for a winnable seat, then it will drag the party into appalling conflict. Let us hope that the CLP members in Brighton Pavillion see sense.

(Incidentally, the rot is spreading and in Croydon Central’s selection, Catriona Ogilvy, is herself boasting the support of Anne Marie Waters.)

82 comments on “Brighton Pavillion Labour Party on the edge of the abyss

  1. Great article John.

    Odd: The Guardian has removed Gary Younge’s article about the case, “pending investigation”. But it’s hard to see why:

    Let it be noted that on this day, Saturday 13 July 2013, it was still deemed legal in the US to chase and then shoot dead an unarmed young black man on his way home from the store because you didn’t like the look of him.

    The killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year was tragic. But in the age of Obama the acquittal of George Zimmerman offers at least that clarity. For the salient facts in this case were not in dispute. On 26 February 2012 Martin was on his way home, minding his own business armed only with a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. Zimmerman pursued him, armed with a 9mm handgun, believing him to be a criminal. Martin resisted. They fought. Zimmerman shot him dead.

    Who screamed. Who was stronger. Who called whom what and when and why are all details to warm the heart of a cable news producer with 24 hours to fill. Strip them all away and the truth remains that Martin’s heart would still be beating if Zimmerman had not chased him down and shot him.

    There is no doubt about who the aggressor was here. The only reason the two interacted at all, physically or otherwise, is that Zimmerman believed it was his civic duty to apprehend an innocent teenager who caused suspicion by his existence alone.

    Appeals for calm in the wake of such a verdict raise the question of what calm there can possibly be in a place where such a verdict is possible. Parents of black boys are not likely to feel calm. Partners of black men are not likely to feel calm. Children with black fathers are not likely to feel calm. Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded.

    But while the acquittal was shameful it was not a shock. It took more than six weeks after Martin’s death for Zimmerman to be arrested and only then after massive pressure both nationally and locally. Those who dismissed this as a political trial (a peculiar accusation in the summer of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden) should bear in mind that it was politics that made this case controversial.

    Charging Zimmerman should have been a no-brainer. He was not initially charged because Florida has a “stand your ground” law whereby deadly force is permitted if the person “reasonably believes” it is necessary to protect their own life, the life of another or to prevent a forcible felony.

    Since it was Zimmerman who stalked Martin, the question remains: what ground is a young black man entitled to and on what grounds may he defend himself? What version of events is there for that night in which Martin gets away with his life? Or is it open season on black boys after dark?

    Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict will be contested for years to come. But he passed judgement on Trayvon that night summarily.

    “Fucking punks,” Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night. “These assholes. They always get away.”

    So true it’s painful. And so predictable it hurts.

  2. Sam64 on said:

    There’s always this dread, I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel it, that any remark on this kind of topic other than outright, unequivocal condemnation of ‘the bigot’ in question will lead to censure for being a closet bigot. But here goes.

    First, damming somebody because they’ve been praised by some else who is very nasty – in this case the EDL etc – isn’t altogether convincing. It’s possible to envisage that a US right wing website with all kinds of horrible associations might conceivably quote one Andy Newman on the case for deporting Gary McKinnon from Britain to America. Unlikely I know but guilt by association doesn’t settle an argument.

    I had never come across this woman, Ann Marie Walters, before. Out of interest, I spent a few minutes listening to her speech at the Oxford Union and her broadcast on C4. I don’t agree with a good deal of what she had to say but a couple of things did strike me.

    First, I didn’t find her remarks as offensive as, say, my local Labour MP on Israel – Elaine Ellman, ‘Israel’s ambassador on the Mersey’ as George Galloway once described her. Her blanket condemnation of Palestinian ‘terrorism’, without even implicit criticism of Israeli actions or allowance that they might have at least something to do with suicide bombers and so on, struck me as racist. The only conclusion to be drawn from what she said when pressed on the issue once on 5L is that Palestinians are mad and bad, that’s why they kill Israeli children etc. But I’ve written to, met once and voted for the woman as Labour candidate. I’ve heard people describe the woman as useless, but I’ve never heard any suggestion that she fails to represent Muslims in her constituency more than she fails to represent anyone else.

    Second, I don’t think that Walter’s views seem that different from others on the left – and judging from her website she is a committed trade unionist etc, more than can be said of many prospective Labour candidates, so she deserves that designation ‘on the left’. I’ve heard Peter Tatchell say similar things recently to her in relation to the activities of some Islamic societies on university campuses vis homosexuality. She does distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as people so far as I can tell. She seems at the raucous edge of the ‘fundamentalist religions (especially Islam) are on the rise, we must resist them in the name of secularisation and freedom’ argument. Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between her and Dawkins on a good night – or bad night as you might see it – with Christianity. I know SU has had posts that seek to stress the compatibility of Islam as a religion within a multicultural Britain. There are others who don’t see things like that. I’m not sure labelling people as being extremist bigots end of – as in end of discussion – and talking of an abyss is particularly helpful.

    And, again come to think of it, I doubt it will convince Labour members in Brighton – so far they get to have a say anyway, another story!

  3. jack ford on said:

    Agree about guilt by association and about Israel’s embassador on the Mersey. Chris Murray described her speech in Parliament over Cast Lead as one that could have been scripted by the real Israeli Embassy in the UK and it may well have been.

  4. No religion is peaceful. It goes without saying. They all contain sectarianism, violence and of course patriarchy in their DNA. So what? It’s not bigotry to say that.

  5. David Walsh on said:

    Not sure how real Sam64 is as a LP member on Merseyside. If she was, she would have known that ‘Elaine Ellman” is, in fact Louise Ellman………………………

  6. Sam64 on said:

    David Walsh,

    Sorry Louise Ellman, poor mistake. Only a constituent, I have thought about joining Labour in recent years, the fact that she’s a member doesn’t make it easier.

  7. Sam64: First, damming somebody because they’ve been praised by some else who is very nasty – in this case the EDL etc – isn’t altogether convincing. It’s possible to envisage that a US right wing website with all kinds of horrible associations might conceivably quote one Andy Newman on the case for deporting Gary McKinnon from Britain to America. Unlikely I know but guilt by association doesn’t settle an argument.

    A classic bit of whattaboutery. My views on McKinnon are consistent with my support for the rule of law, and the fact that I do not think it good public policy for legal process to be by-passed by employing a public relations agency. However, while I may have taken a controversial view on McKinnon, it is a peripheral issue to my politics. In contrast, Anne Marie Waters is a full time anti-Islam actvist and somehow manages to be a professional “anti-Sharia” campaigner, despite no obvious source of income. Anti-Islam campaigning is at the heart of her politics.

    She is not occassionally or accidentally praised by the far right, bit just in the last few months has been aprovingly quoted by Gates of Vienna, Stormfront, EDL websites, and had tweets in support of her from EDL London division.

    Sam64: First, I didn’t find her remarks as offensive as, say, my local Labour MP on Israel – Elaine Ellman, ‘Israel’s ambassador on the Mersey’ as George Galloway once described her. Her blanket condemnation of Palestinian ‘terrorism’, without even implicit criticism of Israeli actions or allowance that they might have at least something to do with suicide bombers and so on, struck me as racist. The only conclusion to be drawn from what she said when pressed on the issue once on 5L is that Palestinians are mad and bad, that’s why they kill Israeli children etc. But I’ve written to, met once and voted for the woman as Labour candidate. I’ve heard people describe the woman as useless, but I’ve never heard any suggestion that she fails to represent Muslims in her constituency more than she fails to represent anyone else.

    All this establishes is that you have a high tolerance for Islamophobia. Remember Anne Marie Wates said on Channel Four that religiously observant Muslims should not come to the UK, and if they are here they should leave. She consistently essentialises Muslims, so that she regards those with the most extreme salafist or Wah’habi views as representative, and somehow more true to Islam than those who seek cmpomise and accomodation with others.

    Sam64: I don’t think that Walter’s views seem that different from others on the left

    I don’t know of any other “left” figure whose main political campaigning brings them praise from counter-Jihad and neo-Nazi web sites.

    Sam64: and judging from her website she is a committed trade unionist etc

    *really* what does she do for a living? and how is it funded? Very opaque issues when it comes to AMW, She is effectively a professional anti-Islam campaigner but with no apparent source of income.

    Sam64: I know SU has had posts that seek to stress the compatibility of Islam as a religion within a multicultural Britain. There are others who don’t see things like that.

    Yes, there are people who don’t think Islam is compatible with multi-cultural Britain: the EDL, Melanie Phillips, the counter-Jihad movement, Anjem Choudrey, Abu Hamza, and others. It is not a view compatible with being a LABOUR ppc.

    Sam64: come to think of it, I doubt it will convince Labour members in Brighton

    When AMW tried to get the South Swindon nomination it certainly did worry many members that she would bring an unwelcome controversial focus to the campaign that would be a very high risk for the CLP. AMW would almost certainly cement support for Caroline Lucas among Muslims and other committed religious people in Pavillion.

  8. jack ford: Agree about guilt by association

    Google AMW’s name, and you find the support for her from counter Jihad websites, like Gates of Vienna, the EDL and from neo-Nazi Stormfront website within minutes.

    Electoral politics is a tough game, and Brighton Pavillion CLP need to decide whether this is the sort of association they want their campaign to have

  9. Vanya on said:

    Isn’t hostility to Islam itself incompatible with supporting a multi-cultural Britain?

  10. Sam64 on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Yes, as I anticipated, rather than debate the issues Andy chooses to make personal insinuations. For example, amongst many:

    All this establishes is that you have a high tolerance for Islamophobia

    So, by implication, I’m Islamophobic. And this, bizarrely, at the end of a passage when I had pointed out that sitting Labour MPs have views (as it happens about people who are Muslims, Palestinians) at least as offensive views as this woman.

    I’m not going to defend Ann Marie Waters’s views on Islam, that wasn’t the point of the comment I made. But out of interest:

    How do you know that Waters is a professional anti-Islam campaigner? You imply that’s the source of her funding, you’re a stickler for the law, that claim would necessitate evidence.

    Can you quote her on compulsory repatriation for religiously observant Muslims?

    Do you have any informed knowledge of the role of KSA funded Wha’Habism within contemporary Islam?

    How far would your multicultural religious tolerance litmus test for prospective Labour candidates ideally run? If a candidate declared, for example, broad support for a French republican approach to religion and society – yes, I am aware it has problems! – would that rule them illegible in your book?

  11. Sam64 on said:

    Vanya,

    Isn’t hostility to the Conservative Party – note not individual Conservatives and, yes, I’m aware that there hasn’t been a recent spate of attacks on Conservative Clubs – incompatible with supporting a politically plural Britain?

  12. John Grimshaw on said:

    Sam64: If a candidate declared, for example, broad support for a French republican approach to religion and society – yes, I am aware it has problems! – would that rule them illegible in your book?

    ? 🙂

  13. Vanya on said:

    #10 This I think is what Andy was referring to:

    http://www.4thought.tv/themes/can-immigration-save-religion-in-britain/anne-marie-waters

    She makes the strange claim that Britain, a country with an established church, state funded religious education, wIth bishops in the upper house of parliament, a requirement that the head of state have the leading position in that established church is ‘secular’.No it’s not, Britain is a Christian country, as her pals in the EDL are so keen to point out. If you want to live in a secular country, perhaps you should campaign about those issues? Or maybe go and move to one? 🙂

    In f airness she doesn’t say that those who want to practice Islam should leave the country, but makes refrence to those who want to impose Islamic law . Of course we know full well that part of the narrative of islamaphobia is precisely that this is the goal of all practicing Muslism.

    Ashas been pointed out on here before, her assertion that Islam is new to Europe is simply pathetic ignorance (or malvolent dishonesty but I’ll give herthe benefit of the doubt).

  14. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya,

    Thanks for this Vanya. This is just ill informed rubbish. I don’t know enough about this person but there is no excuse for ignorance.

  15. Sam64,

    I know that AMW has no obvious source of income because I have talked to her personally when she stood for the Swindon nomination, and also discussed her with people who have interviewed AMW during the selection process.

    She is also a full time political activist.

    I make no insinuations about her funding. But in an

  16. Vanya: In f airness she doesn’t say that those who want to practice Islam should leave the country, but makes refrence to those who want to impose Islamic law .

    But AMW doesn’t say that it’s just “those who want to impose Islamic law” who should leave the country. What she says is that there’s a general problem with “the kind of religion that some immigrants are bringing with them” and “the fear is that into Europe are coming ideas that have already been debated, and won by women, by homosexuals”.

    She concludes: “I don’t see that everyone has a right to live in Britain, I think it’s a privilege. I think if you come her you must accept the rights, freedoms that has taken centuries for people here to create. And if you don’t accept them perhaps it’s best if you (a) don’t come here or (b) leave.”

    AMW’s views are not uncommon among self-styled secularists. Here is Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, on the same theme:

    While we know that the traditional places of worship – the Church of England and the Catholic Churches – are declining rapidly, further evidence has emerged this month showing that immigrants are importing their own brands of religion into Britain…. Muslims from Pakistan and India, Catholics from Poland and evangelical Protestants from Africa and the Caribbean are bringing with them unpleasantly conservative religious beliefs that sometimes shock and repel the majority.

    They often seem primitive, hysterical, fanatical and alien, full of hatred and intolerance and crazy, senseless rules. Honour killings, violent, sometimes fatal, exorcisms, denial of medical treatment to children on the assumption that prayer will be sufficient, the treatment of women as chattels and the spouting of unvarnished hatred of non-believers, gays and Jews from the pulpits of mosques.

    These “secularists” have ceased to attach much importance to the traditional (and entirely legitimate) secularist aim of securing a separation of church and state (as Vanya notes, AMW apparently believes that the UK is already a secular country). Instead, secularism has become an excuse for stoking up hostility towards communities of recent migrant origin on the basis that they are undermining western civilisation by bringing with them their backward and alien cultures.

    The main theme of the far right these days is very much the same – that “our” culture is under threat from Muslim immigrants. So it’s no wonder the racist thugs of the English Defence League so enthusiastically embrace AMW, is it?

  17. The phenomenon of liberal racism i.e. bigotry masquerading as anti-bigotry is probably a relatively recent phenomenon and did not begin (at least in a big way) in Britain. However, it has gained significant traction here, including among sections of the Left. For anybody who is interested, Oxford Communist Corresponding Society is holding a talk and discussion on Thursday to discuss it. We will be meeting in the main bar area of the pub so come and find us.

    Oxford Communist Corresponding Society
    Talk and discussion
    Soldiers of Fortuyn: the far Right in the Netherlands
    Thursday 18 July, 7:30pm to 9:00pm
    Downstairs (i.e. ground floor) in the Mitre, corner of High St and Turl St

  18. Dave on said:

    Vanya,
    On the basis of what she said in the Channel 4 peice she is also christianophobic too, something no one seems to have picked up on. She explicitly mentioned African churches performing exorcisms on homosexuals. This of course cannot be true because surely no religious practitioner would be silly enough to do such a thing.

    Although this is probably not the best arena for rational debate it should be noted that although the United Kingdom does not have a secular Constitution (26 archbishops etc….) akin to France, we have witnessed a process of secularisation. These are essentially two categories.

    I personally hate the idea of homosexuals being persecuted by anyone including those supernaturalists who think it is either necessary or permissable. It has been a long battle to create a safer, less hostile environment, for gay and lesbian people and I would further argue that secularisation provided reasoned arguments to counter those supernaturalists who were informed by their deities that being gay was all naughty and wrong.

  19. Andy Newman:

    oooh, I see what you did there!

    Well, it could have been worse: Fortuyn favours the brave…

    Seriously, it’s the first of a three-part series we’re doing over the summer, on the state of the class struggle in selected countries across Northern Europe. I hope it will be a useful discussion and it may well shed some light on some of the issues raised in this thread.

  20. Zaid: The phenomenon of liberal racism i.e. bigotry masquerading as anti-bigotry is probably a relatively recent phenomenon and did not begin (at least in a big way) in Britain.

    This is just a new twist to an old tale.

    I can well remember middle class self styled progressives and some on theLeft expressing their bigotry and racism in just the same way towards Irish Catholics. Same stuff as the traditional bigots apart from the self image.

    As to Waters she is a wrong un and would be gutted at the hustings. Labour really does not need anymore cuckoos in the nest.

  21. John Grimshaw on said:

    I know I’m going to regret this. But hey. I met him once.

    Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
    Malik ul mulk lashareeka lahooWahadahoo laa ilaahaa illaahoo
    Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
    Yeh zameen jab na thii yeh jahaan jab na thaaChaand suraj na thay aasman jab na thaRaaz-e-haq bhi kisi per ayaan jab na thaTab na tha kuch yahaan tha magar tu hee tu
    Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
    Sana bashar k liyeah bashar sana k liyeahTamaam hamd sazawaar hai khuda k liyeahAta k samnay yarab khata ka zikar he kyaTu ata k liyeah hai bashar khata k liyeah[ Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
    Kiyoon piyaa ibn-e-haidar nay jaam-e-fanaaKhaal khichwai tabraiz ne kiyoon bhalaDaar per charh ke mansoor nay kia kahaSab banatay khilonay lay raha tu he tu
    Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo
    Laa ilaahaa teri shaan ya wahdahooTu khayaal-o-tajassus tu he aarzooAankh ki roshni dil ki awaaz tuTha bhi tu, hai bhi tu, hoga bhi tu hee tu
    Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah HooAllah Hoo, Allah Hoo, Allah Hoo

  22. Marko on said:

    Capitalism, whether in the guise of religion or secularism is not a system of peace but an endless war of all against all. And yet, where is the condemnation of capitalism and the people who follow this destructive ideology?

    Zaid, liberal and left racism increased in line with Bush’s war on terror. It always goes hand in hand with imperialist apology.

    There is also a high regard for this thing called bourgeois democracy among large sections of the left, so they defend it against almost everything. I personally have no such illusions.

  23. Chris on said:

    “She does distinguish between Islam as a religion and Muslims as people so far as I can tell”

    You can’t. It’s impossible and the only people who try are fascists or close to that. They need to Naz off.

  24. Steve on said:

    robert p. Williams:
    What other parties will be standing?

    Who will you vote for?

    As this is a PPC selection meeting there will be no parties standing at all. Not even Elvis Loves Pets.

  25. R P Dutt on said:

    Above someone said, ‘AMW would almost certainly cement support for Caroline Lucas among Muslims and other committed religious people in Pavillion’ Really! Do you know Brighton at all? The committed religious people can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Is the left really reduced to courting the religious vote?

  26. R P Dutt:

    Above someone said, ‘AMW would almost certainly cement support for Caroline Lucas among Muslims and other committed religious people in Pavillion’ Really! Do you know Brighton at all? The committed religious people can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Is the left really reduced to courting the religious vote?

    Somewhat better than you I suspect. Brighton has large and active Faith communities.

    Disdain for AMW won’t be confined to Faith communities and electing a bigot runs contrary to Brighton’s sense of itself as a tolerant diverse place.

    A choice between Caroline Lucas and a carpet bagger with an extremist agenda is not a hard one.

  27. Vanya on said:

    If AMW is selected as the Labour candidate, given her obvious lack of subtelty and finesse, a level of ignorance that she almost seems proud of, combined with her bigotry, Labour’s need to take votes from the Greens if they are to win could easily lead to the kind of horrors we saw in Phil Woolas’ constituency in Oldham during the last general election.

    Hopefully the local Labour Party will see this danger.

  28. R P Dutt on said:

    Ah, if only Lenin and the Bolsheviks had paid more attention to the ‘faith communities’!

  29. R P Dutt,

    Well, given they make up an increasing number of the population, you’d be unwise to ignore or attempt to demonise them.

  30. Vanya on said:

    #31 Yes, the answer of those who subscribe to the dogmatic faith that what a group of revoltionaries in a country far away did or said at the beginning of the last century has a particular bearing on what we do here today.

    In other words, who cares what Lenin and the Bolsheviks did or failed to do?

  31. robert p. Williams on said:

    Steve: As this is a PPC selection meeting there will be no parties standing at all.

    Yes, but if she IS selected…..

  32. robert p. Williams on said:

    Vanya,

    Marx, Lenin, Engels, Trotsky etc., are all dead… but their ideas, experience and analysis are still relevant.

    If you want out of date ideas, then look no further than the much older ideas, analysis and methods of capitalism.

  33. lone nut on said:

    R P Dutt:
    Ah, if only Lenin and the Bolsheviks had paid more attention to the ‘faith communities’!

    Ever heard of Father Gapon?

  34. lone nut on said:

    ” Is the left really reduced to courting the religious vote?”

    Heaven forfend! Obviously the Left is so powerful, so utterly hegemonic among the masses that it does not need to court anybody, and can instead indulge its favorite pastime of insulting the values and beliefs of large swathes of the working population. And I somehow suspect the Brighton that you know is not the Brighton of Sudanese and Somali refugees, or of women from Poland and the Baltic states working in cleaning and catering.

  35. R P Dutt:
    Ah, if only Lenin and the Bolsheviks had paid more attention to the ‘faith communities’!

    Decree on the freedom of conscience and religious and Church associations
    Petrograd, January 20th, 1918

    Religion is a private matter for every Soviet citizen.

    The Church is separate from the State.

    On the territory of the Republic, it is forbidden to pass any law or decree that would violate the freedom of conscience or limit it, or establish any advantage or privilege based on the citizens’ religious denomination. Any citizen can profess any religion or profess none. Any restriction of rights based on professing whatever worship or professing none is abolished.

    Any mention of religion must be suppressed on whatever passports and official documents. The activity of State or official bodies do not contain any religious ceremony or religious demonstration. The free exercise of religious demonstration is granted as long as it does not disturb public order and does not violate the rights of citizens of the Soviet republic. In that case, local authorities are entitled to take any necessary measures to ensure public order and security.

    No one can evade their civil duty because of their religion. It is lawful, after examination of each case by the popular tribunal, to exempt any citizen of a duty on the condition that this duty be replaced by another duty.

    Civil or military oath that is based on religion is repealed. When necessary, it is replaced by a solemn vow.
    Official records of births, deaths and marriages are kept by registrars under supervision of civil authorities. Schools are separate from the Church. Religious education is not permitted in general schools whether maintained by the State, local authorities or private. Citizens are allowed to teach or learn religion privately. Every religious or Church association is submitted to common rules concerning private associations and unions and does not have any privilege or any subside whether from the State or from its autonomous or local authorities.

    Collection of forced donation or taxes on behalf of religious or church association is prohibited, as well as coercion measures or punishment towards their membership. Religious or Church associations have no right of property. They have no legal personality. All the properties of the Church and religious associations that exist in Russia are declared the property of the people. The registration, care and use of the buildings and furniture exclusively purposed for worship is defined by a decree of central State or local authorities. By a special decree from central State or local authorities, the free use of buildings and furniture exclusively purposed for worship is conceded to the concerned religious associations.

    President of the Council of People’s Commissars

  36. Nick Wright,

    Worth checking though, Karl Radek in Baku

    In the stenographic transcript of the third session of the Congress, 4th Sept 1920. Karl Radek is quoted by Narbutabekov, in a session chaired by Zinoviev. ( see page 61 of the New Park Edition, “Baku, Congress of the Peoples of the East” 1977.)

    Radek describes the sort of “secularism” promoted by the likes of Anne Marie Waters as “West-European Kulturtraeger” and a policy of “Red imperialism and counter-revolution”

  37. jack ford on said:

    The vicious persecution of the Church by the Stalinists enabled the US to demonise godless communism and this became a key strategy for the Cold War.

  38. R P Dutt on said:

    lone nut,

    So Somalis and Poles are without exception superstitious? I rather doubt it. Fortunately there are communists among both communities. . Not enough, I grant you

  39. lone nut on said:

    “So Somalis and Poles are without exception superstitious?”
    No, but many of them tend to be rather religious – that involves having a complex belief system, set of values, ethic, and view of what the ultimate purpose of life is which tends to influence most of their behavior and social interaction. So it’s a bit different from having a particular view on the significance of black cats crossing your path or refusing to cross your legs when you are watching a football game. Are you really this thick or are you affecting it for pedagogical purposes? Incidentally, the only comment on theology i am aware of that your namesake made came after the Khruschev speech – “only an inveterate Mithras worshiper should be surprised to find that there are spots on the sun”. As somebody – was it John Gollan? – commented “when Rajee talks about Mithras he should remember who the high priest of the cult was”. In any case I won’t be subjected to any lectures about “superstition” from some unreconstructed Stalin fantasist.

  40. The official atheism of the Soviet Union was a mistake (although you can understand the anger revolutionaries felt towards the church and the role it played in supporting the murderous tsarist regime and the white insurgents)

    It is important not to echo exaggerated anti-communist propaganda about socialist states, but in the interest of improving them for the future it is also important to examine them and criticise certain negative aspects. (So take it as read that their achievements eclipsed their problems!)

    Separation of church and state is a progressive position fought for by radicals for hundreds of years. But the goal is a secular state-one which has no offical belief and protects the right of all beliefs. To proclaim a state as atheist is much the same as proclaiming it to be Christian or Islamic. It is making the state have an official belief system and is wrong because this is inconsistent with promoting the right of belief (or not belief or semi-belief or whatever)

    I think this stance helped to make unnecessary enemies at home and abroad. Sometimes it went so far it amounted to cultural vandalism-such as the mindless destruction of the beautiful Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

    Movements such as liberation theology have attempted to bridge the gap between Christians and Marxists which some success as, for instance, Cuba now permits active Christians as members of the communist party. Indeed Fidel has said that Cuba is now a ‘secular’ rather than ‘atheist’ Country. The book ‘Fidel and religion’ makes an interesting read, the man himself regrets that Cuba made of the same dogmatic mistakes as the Soviets. (I mean banning Christmas certainly didnt make any friends did it?)

    I don’t care if the person next to me on a demonstration or picket line is an atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Christian or Everton fan, I just care if they are a good person-if they are socialist/trade union activist-even better.

    A socialist state should certainly act against counter-revolutionaries hiding behind a religion in order to carry out their activities, but the Soviet Union and Cuba (before the 80s/90s) were actively pushing a certain belief system and trying to eradicate all others.

    Hopefully this was just a anomaly of the time. Similarly attitudes towards homosexuality were once appalling in Cuba and the Soviet Union. Hopefully the general progress made in regards to equalities means that future socialist states will have a more enlightened attitude towards faith(s).

  41. R P Dutt on said:

    British conditions are different, I agree, and we would not need to declare a British socialist republic officially atheist, secular or anything at all, the British working-class being the most secular and materialist in the world. That’s why pandering to priests, mullahs, shamen or other by the Labour Party in Brighton, by the disintegrating SWP everywhere, and the late revisionist CPGB is so bizarre

  42. R P Dutt,

    Judging by THAT comment ,I don’t think it’s people from faith communities who’ve lost touch with reality.

    R P Dutt:
    British conditions are different, I agree, and we would not need to declare a British socialist republic officially atheist, secular or anything at all, the British working-class being the most secular and materialist in the world. That’s why pandering to priests, mullahs, shamen or other by the Labour Party in Brighton, by the disintegrating SWP everywhere, and the late revisionist CPGB is so bizarre

  43. Vanya: Something really weird just happened to your last comment. I was fumbling around and clicked “moderate” by mistake. That’s fine, I just clicked “undo” to undo it. But your comment was suddenly replaced by my first comment on the thread about Trayvon Martin, and now yours has completely disappeared.

    If you don’t see it reappearing within the next couple of minutes, please can you re-type it? It’s worth you sending it again.

    Sorry about that – I’ve never seen a bug like that on WordPress

  44. Vanya on said:

    #54 Something along the lines of this:

    For everyone who takes as a reference point what the bolsheviks did, said or would have said or did, whether they be state cap trots, orthodox trots, tankies or whatever, the whole thing ended badly.

    Therefore, if they quote it as authority without learning the lessons of what went wrong or from people who have done things better, then this is a dogma no more materialist than your average salefist or born again evangelical.

    If that’s marxism I’m no marxist, in the words of a certain bearded German from the Rhineland.

  45. Andy Richards on said:

    Well, the members of Brighton Pav CLP have just selected Purna Sen anyway.

  46. Manzil on said:

    Vanya:

    For everyone who takes as a reference point what the bolsheviks … the whole thing ended badly

    They get no points for effort? Comrade-uncle Vanya is a very harsh judge.

    Personally, I think, even if the 1917 omelette turned out a bit crap, sometimes it’s worth breaking the eggs for their own sake. 😛

  47. Uncle Albert on said:

    After this, what next for the Labour Party?

    Privatisation of the NHS on ideological grounds, unnecessary wars against nations posing no threat to our own security, betrayal of UK armed forces, deregulation of the financial sector etc. etc… ?

    Labour’s latest idiotic offering should cause no surprise.

  48. Vanya on said:

    #58 Sorry I perhaps wasn’t being entirely clear.

    I was talking not or my judgement but that of the trots and tankies themselves, for whom surely it all ended badly, albeit at different dates.

  49. Vanya: Therefore, if they quote it as authority without learning the lessons of what went wrong or from people who have done things better, then this is a dogma no more materialist than your average salefist or born again evangelical.

    I don’t want to sound evangelical but who precisely, form the list of “state cap trots, orthodox trots, tankies or whatever” (apart from the third of these) can actually can actually claim an actual change of state power from one class to another?
    Talk among yourselves. I am off to Italy for a while:)

  50. Manzil on said:

    Vanya,

    Ah, soz mate. Misunderstood!

    You bring up a good point. I was reading Mike Gonzalez’s (ed.) Arms and the People and found it fascinating how every single one of those Western academic leftists knew just what the rebels, guerrillas and mutineers on the ground should have done, every single time. If only they could have been in charge of every single event at every single moment, bestriding the earth like revolutionary colossi, all would have been well.

    The forward march of history reduced to a perpetual crisis of leadership…

    So while you have a totally legit point, I imagine the retort would be, ‘I’d have done better’ (albeit in fancier lingo). 😀

    @Nick Wright. LT gets no marks for participation?

  51. So why exactly are you still in the Labour Party if it’s “on the edge of the abyss”? Your party under Tony Blair introduced draconian anti-terrorism laws and by you saying that it’s still a workers’ party in some way you help to provide left cover for it.

  52. Wow, “disillusionedmarxist”, I bet you think you were being really clever there.

    Except Andy wasn’t arguing that the Labour Party is “on the edge of the abyss”. He was specifically talking about the branch in Brighton and its potential selection of an anti-Islam bigot. You were so desperate to score points, you didn’t even bother to read the article and therefore had nothing to say about the subject – in fact, it’s precisely because of people on the left of the Labour Party that when branches come close to selecting anti-Islam bigots as PPCs, there’s serious resistance from within the party.

    As someone who plays “let’s be Marxists”, you should instinctively see why this is a good thing. But you won’t, cos it’s much easier to play at politics instead of doing anything that actually changes things.

  53. Ralph on said:

    Tony Collins,

    I agree with Sam64’s points above, and would just point out that being opposed to an ideology does not *necessarily* make someone a bigot. Anti-Islam, or anti-Muslim, bigots exist (of course!) but I’m unconvinced that AMW is one, and the fact she’s been cited by bigots does not *in itself* make her one.

  54. Uncle Albert on said:

    Tony Collins,

    But the issue reaches beyond Brighton Pavillion as the NEC (Labour’s governing body) must have approved Waters’ candidancy (BTW, I write this without wanting to offer support to ‘disillusionedmarxist’ – or any other marxist/sect) .

    Significant and influential figures within the LP regard the global struggle against “militant Islamist extremists”* to be the over-riding concern in British and world politics. In my view the NEC’s approval of Waters’ candidacy is an attempt to develop anti-Islamism as a more prominent policy concern within the Labour Party.

    Let’s not forget, the Labour Party will enter the 2015 election campaign offering interventionist wars a-plenty**. If Labour is to convince the electorate of the need for further military adventures and the requirement for austerity-busting defence expenditure, the urgent ‘threat’ to our security will need to be delineated soon.

    * http://www.tonyblairoffice.org/news/entry/tony-blair-i-do-not-believe-we-can-or-should-stand-aside-from-the-global-st/

    ** http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2013/03/15/event-summary-a-new-model-for-intervention-how-the-uk-responds-to-extremism-in-north-and-west-africa-and-beyond-with-rt-hon-jim-murphy-mp/

  55. Uncle Albert on said:

    Graham Day,

    My understanding is that a long list is submitted by the constituency to the NEC (relevant committee). After consideration this is returned to the constituency as a short list (perhaps with additions) of approved candidates.

  56. Sam64: Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between her and Dawkins on a good night – or bad night as you might see it – with Christianity

    I dont know as that’s a great character reference. Dawkins and his acolytes say many things that are blatantly prejudices such as “I wouldn’t go to a dentist who believed in God” and such like – which is so dumb it’s almost beyond satire. They also engage in lunatic hyperbole of the kind you certainly couldn’t get away with in a comedy club without not getting re-booked or getting the promoter/venue in trouble. You cant get away with this in entertainment or the media without entering a world of pain so why do people like Anne Marie Waters think that they can go on like she does and expect the EDL not to attach themselves to her…?

  57. Graham Day on said:

    Uncle Albert, in the normal run of things the local party runs the selection from start to finish, in conjunction with a party official. You may be thinking of by-election candidate selection, which IIRC are more directly controlled by the NEC. So the short-listing of Anne Marie Waters may indicate something worrying about the views of some of those on Brighton Pavilion CLP’s selection committee, but I don’t think you can draw wider conclusions regarding the Labour Party on that basis.

  58. Graham Day,

    No, I don’t think it is any reflection on the clp. There are two things, until I drew attention to it AMW under played her anti IsLam politics and the guidelines mean that an LGBT candidate will almost certainly be short listed.

  59. Sam64 on said:

    Anthony Miller,

    Sorry Anthony, I don’t think that’s much of an argument – in so far as you’ve made one. In fact, I really don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. I wasn’t providing a ‘character reference’.

    My point was that the vehement attacks on Islam of Ann Marie Walters aren’t that different from other outspoken critics of religion – although Dawkins, love him or loathe him, is clearly more of an intellectual force than this woman. I was raising the issue of whether somebody who holds these views should be debarred from becoming a Labour candidate. Further, I questioned whether the fact the likes of the EDL quote her approvingly is quite the damning indictment Andy Newman thinks it is.

  60. Sam64,

    The implicit message of her 4thought video is people should assimilate or “leave”. This is not so far away from what Emma West ranted on the Croydon tram. But that’s okay because she’s been to Oxbridge. If you are a promoter there are people you dont book because you know they will get you in trouble, cause fights (sometimes physical) or far right groups might start to attach themselves to you. It isn’t just about censorship it is about money. As a promoter of acts, I put up my money so I’m allowed to censor people – as a party the Labour party puts up a lot of money to promote candidates – so it gets a say in what they say. If you want to say what you like and escape this you promote yourself and take your own financial risks. These people aren’t just saying what they want as private individuals, they are looking to the party to promote them – particularly if they are standing to be PPCs. Therefore they should respect the party, the party’s money and the activists time by not losing votes by being needlessly confrontational or tactless. Politics is about group thought – the gestalt – and everybody trying to sing from the same hymn sheet in order to try and get elected because split parties dont get elected. If you want to be a free thinker then become a comedian or become a single issue campaigner … if you dont, and you want to get on in politics, you have to learn to bite your tongue in public. I also wonder how many in the NSS are actually happy with some of her rants – as that isn’t the public image they project. Dawkins “militant atheism” is an extreme position and he can get away with it because he is a single issue campaigner. But look at some of the things he campaigns for like higher tuition fees and excluding those with religious beliefs from teaching in higher education. If you carried on like that in the private sector as a scientist you’d get fired or into serious trouble. Dawkins should be reminded from time to time that it is the taxpayer who funds his lifestyle. Of course I can understand his annoyance with Creationists who try entryism on Biology but at the end of the line the job of the scientist is not just to tell people what is the truth but to convince people of the truth. Also a lot of these people who believe they can force the religious to “conform” to our “secular society” (which, of course, it technically isn’t) really have no understanding of the mechanisms by which religion actually controls people.

  61. Sam64 on said:

    Anthony Miller,

    Again, I don’t really follow most of this Anthony. If we break it down a bit

    ‘The implicit message of her 4thought video is people should assimilate or “leave”.’

    I guess it doesn’t matter with this kind of thing how many times you say that you’re not going to defend somebody’s views, the fact that you defend her right to say something – or rather make the argument that she shouldn’t be condemned in quite the way Andy has – leads to the imputation that you are defending her views.

    ‘If you are a promoter there are people you dont book because you know they will get you in trouble, cause fights (sometimes physical) or far right groups might start to attach themselves to you. It isn’t just about censorship it is about money.As a promoter of acts, I put up my money so I’m allowed to censor people – as a party the Labour party puts up a lot of money to promote candidates – so it gets a say in what they say.If you want to say what you like and escape this you promote yourself and take your own financial risks.’

    But Anthony the Labour Party is not akin – though there may be some similarities – to you as a independent commercial promoter running a comedy club as a private business. It’s not about just getting acts who are going to please the punters of a Friday night. It’s a politcal party based on (supposedly) political principles. Leaving aside the issue of being pro or anti Muslim is electorally popular in this particular constituency or more widely – a highly distasteful question in itself – a selection process isn’t simply governed by getting the equivilant of bums of seats – votes – good takings at the bar and an easy night for the security staff. Now admittedly there certainly would be an issue if Ann Marie Walters was selected as candidate and she had to appeal to Muslim voters. But commercial appeal isn’t the guiding principle in politics in the same way as it is in deciding which club turn to to book. Turn it around. If you could pack out your club through booking a racist comedian, thus pandering to the mores of a definite local market – as Bernard Manning did at his Embassy Club in North Manchester for decades – would you do that?

    ‘Politics is about group thought – the gestalt – and everybody trying to sing from the same hymn sheet in order to try and get elected because split parties dont get elected. If you want to be a free thinker then become a comedian or become a single issue campaigner … if you dont, and you want to get on in politics, you have to learn to bite your tongue in public’.

    Charlie Kimber (or Peter Mandleson) eat your heart out! The Labour Party is usually described as a ‘broad church’. In any case, Islam is not, thankfully, a divisive issue for the Labour Party in the way that, say, the relationship with the trade unions currently is.

    ‘Dawkins “militant atheism” is an extreme position and he can get away with it because he is a single issue campaigner.But look at some of the things he campaigns for like higher tuition fees and excluding those with religious beliefs from teaching in higher education’.

    Dawkins is not a ‘single issue campaigner’. He’s had a long and distinguished career as a geneticist and a string of best selling publications – love them or loathe them or some combination thereof.

    ‘If you carried on like that in the private sector as a scientist you’d get fired or into serious trouble. Dawkins should be reminded from time to time that it is the taxpayer who funds his lifestyle’.

    What, so Oxford Uni should have sacked Dawkins – he’s now retired – from his position as Professor of the Public Understanding of Science because of his outspoken beliefs that religion is incompatible with science?

    ‘Of course I can understand his annoyance with Creationists who try entryism on Biology but at the end of the line the job of the scientist is not just to tell people what is the truth but to convince people of the truth’.

    Again, I don’t really understand this. Don’t you think that’s what he’s doing, trying to convince people of the truth? I thought that’s what you objected to?

    ‘Also a lot of these people who believe they can force the religious to “conform” to our “secular society” (which, of course, it technically isn’t) really have no understanding of the mechanisms by which religion actually controls people’.

    So how does religion control people?

  62. Vanya on said:

    #78 ‘Islam is not, thankfully, a divisive issue for the Labour Party in the way that, say, the relationship with the trade unions currently is.’

    Better for it to be a divisive issue than for islamophobia to be tolerated, or even encouraged as it would be if AMW were to be selected as a candidate.

    The Woolas affair thankfully led to his downfall but it’s unclear whether that would have happened had legal action from outside the LP not been taken. Woolas wasn’t even someone with particularly hardline views on the subject. Leaflets pandering to anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments were put out by the Labour Party in Oldham that the BNP would probably have not had the bottle to distribute, and for blatantly opportunist reasons.

    Get someone as candidate who expresses views entirely in place on an EDL demo then don’t be surprised by what happens.

    For the avoidance of doubt I am not suggesting that you agree with her.

  63. Sam64 on said:

    Matty,

    And is this individual, to quote Len McCluskey yesterday on the typical Labour candidate, an ‘Oxbridge educated Blairite’?

    BTW, asking this question doesn’t mean that I’m sorry Ann Marie Walters was unsuccessful.

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