Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Thursday, May 30, 2013

John Molyneux on Woolwich: Who are the real terrorists?

[Following Terry Eagleton's useful intervention following the recent murder in Woolwich, John Molyneux  has written the following piece asking 'Who are the real terrorists?' for the Irish Socialist Worker - which I have copied from his blog below]:

The day after a British soldier was killed on the streets of Woolwich in London, President Obama delivered a speech defending the continued use of drone attacks in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The first event was blazoned over the front pages of the tabloid press in graphic images, accompanied by inflammatory headlines about ‘terrorism’ and ‘savagery’. The second was reported as a reasoned defence of a just war.
However it takes only a moment’s thought to realise that far, far more people, including civilians, women and children die from drone attacks – on a regular basis – than have ever been killed by ‘terrorists’ in the UK, let alone in this one incident.
Nor is having a drone or bomb land on your home or wedding party going to be any less ‘savage’ or ‘barbaric’ in the appalling injuries it inflicts.
Moreover the ongoing threat of drone attacks or bombing raids will ‘terrorise’ communities and whole populations infinitely more than any individual attack on a soldier.
Yet drone attacks and bombing raids by Western forces are NEVER described in the media in terms of ‘savagery’ or ‘terrorism.’
This media double standard fed a vicious backlash against the British Muslim community orchestrated by the racist and fascist English Defence League. Mosques across the country were attacked, in some cases fire bombed, and assaults on individual Muslims have soared. (Though it’s important to note that this backlash has been vigorously resisted by Unite Against Fascism and other anti-racists see below). But none of these attacks on Muslims and mosques are described as ‘terrorism’.
It is probably the case that neither the ruling class nor the bulk of its media actually want or support this violent backlash against all Muslims as they would fear turning tens of thousands of Muslims into militants.
So why do they maintain the blatant double-standard? Because they NEED to demonise Muslims and associate Islam, as such, with ‘terrorism’ in order to justify US and UK foreign policy and foreign wars, which in reality are not about terrorism but about maintaining Western imperialist control of oil supplies and strategic territories.
The ruling class try to deny this connection. London mayor, Boris Johnson, even made the absurd claim that there was no link between British foreign policy and the Woolwich killing.
Joe Glenton, former soldier who went to jail as a war resister, answered this nonsense very clearly.
"So at the very outset, and before the rising tide of prejudice and pseudo-patriotism fully encloses us, let us be clear: while nothing can justify the savage killing in Woolwich… it should not be hard to explain why the murder happened. It should by now be self-evident that by attacking Muslims overseas, you will occasionally spawn twisted and, as we saw yesterday, even murderous hatred at home. We need to recognise that, given the continued role our government has chosen to play in the US imperial project in the Middle East, we are lucky that these attacks are so few and far between."
Socialist Worker echoes these sentiments exactly. We are far from defending the killing of soldiers on the streets of London, but we want an honest discussion that roots these attacks in the savagery of Western Imperialist policy and understands the consequences for millions of ordinary Muslims of the portrayal of the killers as animals in the mainstream press.
Racists have attacked two mosques in Bolton, north west England.
Racist graffiti was spray painted on the walls of one mosque while people attended morning prayers on Thursday. “Islam=evil” was also spray painted on the bonnet of one man’s car and “terrorist inside” on the doors.
Another Bolton mosque had dog faeces dumped on its entrance on Thursday lunchtime.
Attacks on mosques in other areas, including Essex and in Kent, south east England, have also been reported. The racist English Defence League (EDL) has called several demonstrations in the wake of the killing in Woolwich.
Unite Against Fascism in Britain is calling for activists to mobilise against the racists. Billie, a young Muslim from Bolton, told Socialist Worker, "Whatever your race or religion everyone who wants to stop the fascists exploiting the situation must unite.
“When the EDL came to Bolton three years ago, we went out there with non-Muslims who have stood beside us day in and day out. We need to come together in solidarity again to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.
"We urge everyone to assemble in Manchester and London to make sure that the EDL does not bring hatred to our streets."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Unite Against Fascism protests and central London rally

London UAF Unity demonstration against the BNP (who are marching in Woolwich), 
this Saturday, 1 June, 12 noon,
General Gordon Square, SE18 6HX.
     Woolwich Arsenal DLR.
Please bring union banners, flags etc

  Edinburgh: Nae Nazis here
 UAF demo against the SDL and BNP
    This Saturday, 1pm, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Central London Unite Against Fascism meeting:
'After Woolwich - Don't let the racists divide us', Monday, 3 June, ULU, Malet St, WC1, 7pm.
Speakers include - Owen Jones, Daniel Trilling, Ava Vidal, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Muslim Council of Britain


Friday, May 24, 2013

Joe Glenton on the root causes of the Woolwich killing

Excellent response by former soldier Joe Glenton - author of  Soldier Box - his personal account of fighting in - and then rebelling against - the 'war on terror' - to the murder in Woolwich.

Edited to add: Stop the War Coalition statement and petition

 Edited to also add: 
London UAF counter demo on Monday 27 May, 3pm, Downing Street

Hoping to grow off of the back of the attack in Woolwich the EDL have called a demo at Downing Street on Monday 27 May at 3pm. UAF have called a counter demo, assembling at 2pm at Downing Street. Please bring trade union banners.

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Marxism 2013 timetable now online

The timetable for the Marxism 2013 Festival (11-15 July, central London) is now online -

'Whether it is arguing against the racist backlash, fighting for strikes against austerity, or explaining why the economy is still flatlining, Marxism Festival will be at the heart of these debates and you will find something relevant in the timetable' - there is also a discount for booking in advance.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

UAF statement on the Woolwich murder

Unite Against Fascism sends its condolences to the family and friends of the soldier murdered yesterday in Woolwich. There can be no justification for such a terrible attack on an individual.

But we must recognise that fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party are trying to use the murder to whip up racism and direct hatred against all Muslims.

EDL thugs attempted to start a race riot in Woolwich last night. Mosques have been attacked by racist thugs. These fascists and racists should be condemned and opposed. We must not give a quarter to those who would judge an entire religion, race or nationality by the actions of a few.

We do not hold Norwegian Christians responsible for the actions of the fascist Anders Breivik, whose 2011 rampage left 77 dead. We do not hold white people collectively responsible for Timothy McVeigh, the US neo-Nazi whose 1995 Oklahoma City bomb killed 168 people, or for David Copeland, the former BNP member who planted bombs across London in 1999. Nor should anyone suggest that Britain’s Muslim are collectively responsible for yesterday’s attack.

The fascist organisations that are trying to stir up trouble and racist violence in the wake of the Woolwich killing do not care about the dead soldier, his family or the interests of any community. They want only to see Muslims attacked and a race war on our streets. UAF condemns them and opposes their attempts to call “demonstrations” to exploit these issues.

UAF also calls on the media and politicians to stop using inflammatory language that feeds the fascists and racists. We must challenge Islamophobia wherever it raises its head. We must reject those who want to divide our communities and set them against each other, and stand fast to the ideals of anti-racism, multiculturalism and respect for all.

Edited to add: Sign this unity petition

Edited to also add: London UAF counter demo on Monday 27 May, 3pm, Downing Street

Hoping to grow off of the back of the attack in Woolwich the EDL have called a demo at Downing Street on Monday 27 May at 3pm. UAF have called a counter demo, assembling at 2pm at Downing Street. Please bring trade union banners.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bruce Springsteen & Tom Morello - The Ghost of Tom Joad