Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Interview with Ilham Moussaid

The new issue of Socialist Review has a number of excellent articles one might highlight, including discussions of anti-fascist strategy and tactics necessary to tackle the racist thuggery of the EDL to Ambre Ivol remembering Howard Zinn, from Pat Stack on Michael Moore's new film Capitalism: A love story to Alex Callinicos on Hardt and Negri's Commonwealth (according to Fredric Jameson 'the last and richest of the Empire trilogy...a powerful and ambitious reappropriation of the whole tradition of political theory for the Left' but actually a work which, according to Callinicos, 'hugely underestimates the extent to which the logic of capital still rules the world - and therefore the effort of critical thinking and political organisation that will be required to break its hold').

However, perhaps most noteworthy for English readers is Jim Wolfreys interview with Ilham Moussaid a candidate of the New Anti-capitalist Party (NPA) in France - who - just because she herself happens to wear a headscarf - has seen her electoral campaign already (unsurprisingly) cause a hypocritical outburst of racism from the French establishment and (more positively) challenged many, not least many on the French Left, to begin to face up to the question of confronting Islamophobia.

'I've been politically active for four years now and the media reaction disturbs me because my political engagement can't be reduced to the headscarf. I'm part of an association that fights exclusion, racism and violence in the Avignon area. We offer support to young people in schools. We organise cultural and musical outings with them. We fight exclusion and discrimination in the quartiers populaires. I was also active in the collective networks against the war in Iraq, against apartheid in Palestine, and against the genocide in Rwanda and in Kosovo.

So I do all that in parallel. I was always coming across NPA activists in all these movements and a year ago I decided to join them. Now I'm treasurer of my NPA branch and things are going well. I'm active in fighting privatisation, for example, in the universities and the post office. We're active every day.

I got a very good welcome in the NPA. In the quartier populaires the NPA is something we have to make use of. It's our tool. For me it's our tool because we're building it. When the LCR became the NPA it was an opening out to the quartiers populaires. Olivier Besancenot said to us, "If you want to fight capitalism - welcome." He didn't say to us, "If you're Marxists or Leninists or Trotskyists." He just talked about capitalism because we're all against capitalism. It's the source of practically all our problems. I didn't join straight away but it's been a good experience. I already had my principles - for equality, for a better distribution of wealth - before joining the NPA, but I feel at home here. It's a political question - for me it's the best tool for our struggle.'

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