Saturday, 2 January 2010

In opposition to Islamists and nationalists marching on Wootton Bassett

Last October Anjem Choudary's Islam4UK, front group for banned Al-Muhajiroun, tried to organise a procession through London to Trafalgar Square calling for the implementation of Sharia law in the UK. The day after it was announced, I made the following plea both on here and on Indymedia;
The march commences at the House of Commons, and will make its way to Trafalgar Square via 10 Downing Street. It must be met with opposition, not from the fascists of the far-right, but from those whose resistance is grounded in working-class unity, anti-fascism, and anti-capitalism. Moreover, that opposition must be one which transcends race and religion.
Soon afterwards, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, ENGAGE, and the Alliance for Workers' Liberty made similar calls. AWL echoed my sentiments on the need for "a working-class, anti-capitalist, anti-racist presence that can make a positive case for secularism, workers' unity and common struggle against the far-right communalist reaction of both Islam4UK and the EDL."

As I wrote at the time, the result was a succesful routing of Islam4UK's intended actions;
Whilst the marches by the EDL had galvanised al-Muhajiroon to organise the march in the first place, the promise of a radical, left-wing, secular opposition all but stopped it in its tracks. Choudary cited "right-wing/anti-Islamic organisations" and "threats of violence" as the reason he "relocated" the march. In reality, his "overwhelming support from the Muslim community" was non-existent, and the organised opposition had come from the radical left. Clearly, seeing his planned "clash of civilisations" unravel in the face of broad-based working class unity, the fanatical cleric was reduced to spin to justify cancelling the march in favour of backroom rant to ever-dwindling numbers of the faithful.
However, it would seem that Choudary is willing to try again. This time, the target of his reactionary politics is the small town of Wootton Bassett;
The destination of this very special event is the small market town of Wootton Bassett, located 6 miles Southwest of Swindon, in northern Wiltshire; Wootton Bassett, is currently famous for its public mourning processions held in memory of British soldiers killed whilst on military service in Afghanistan; coffins containing the dismembered bodies of these soldiers are usually draped in union jack flags and driven through the town centre from RAF Lyneham, as a tribute to their ‘sacrifice'.

The proposed march by members of Islam4UK is however of a very different venture, held not in memory of the occupying and merciless British military, but rather the real war dead who have been shunned by the Western media and general public as they were and continue to be horrifically murdered in the name of Democracy and Freedom - the innocent Muslim men, women and children.

It is quite extraordinary, that with well over 100,000 Muslims killed in Afghanistan in the last 8 years that those military serviceman who have directly or indirectly contributed to their death are paraded as war heroes and moreover honoured for what is ultimately genocide.

We at Islam4UK find this totally unacceptable and as a result have decided to launch the ‘Wootton Bassett March' to highlight the real casualties of this brutal Crusade.
Once again, the need is clear for an opposition to this march "whose resistance is grounded in working-class unity, anti-fascism, and anti-capitalism." The English Defence League have declared their intentions to oppose the march "in defence of our British soldiers," and the radical left must offer a perspective against both the militant religionism of Islam4UK and the aggressive nationalism of the EDL.

Clearly, the idea that British soldiers are "merciless" participants in "genocide" is ridiculous. But so too is the idea that anybody can be "heroic" in an illegal war of aggression fought to maintain western hegemony over the Middle East. Soldiers are neither heroes nor villains but members of the working class who, like everyone else, must sell their labour to survive. That it was the armed wing of the state who employed them is not in itself enough reason to raise them on a pedestal or condemn them to hell.

Both Choudary and the EDL would divide up the population of Britain into those who only oppose war out of a demented religious fanatacism and those who are blindly loyal to the sentiment of "my country, right or wrong." The vast majority of people who fit into neither camp, and particularly for those who realise that the crimes of militarism and the bigotry of religious fundamentalism must be opposed with equal veracity, need to make their voice heard.

Once more then, I offer a call to arms. If we allow the streets to be dominated by reactionary movements, then it will be a major failure. When Islam4UK descend on Wootton Bassett, then our voice must drown out both Choudary and the EDL;