AWL blames ‘political Islam’

An Alliance for Workers’ Liberty statement on the London bombings blames “political Islam”. It adds:

“Political Islam is a political current; and the mass of people of Muslim religion or background are its prime victims and opponents. It is ‘anti-imperialist’ only in a reactionary sense. Its hatred of US imperialism is no more progressive than fascists’ hatred of Jewish finance-capitalists.”

AWL website, 7 July 2005

Given that the AWL includes organisations like MAB under that heading, the irresponsibility of this accusation is really quite disgraceful.

A comment from Tony Greenstein on the AWL statement:

The AWL statement, with its veneer of labourist rhetoric, shows just how far they have moved to the right. I listened to Tony Benn on Newsnight explaining how what had happened was not a religious but a political attack. He made the links between Falluja and the other imperialist atrocities. Indeed it should be obvious to all but the blind that when US and British troops murder and massacre civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan – 17 villagers were reported killed in Afghanistan earlier this week – that there are those who, in the name of religion certainly, were prepared to take their revenge on London. They may be fanatics or extremists or religious fascists or whatever label is put on them, but when ‘democratic’ forces lay waste to their countries it is not surprising that there are those who will do the same on a more minor scale.

The AWL statement is therefore remarkable for saying nothing about imperialism at all other than to caricature its critics. It is all really the fault of Political Islam, which has its own logic and momentum and is nothing to do with the ‘bitter fruits’ of imperialism. Truly do AWL look down the wrong end of the telescope. A GCSE student could tell them that history is littered with political movements who expressed themselves in the language of religion. From the Shi’ites and the Maccabis to the English Civil War. Marxists look at the underlying material and political reasons for such movements. AWL merely reflect the demonisation of Islam. In reality they exonerate Bush and Blair whilst purporting to effect mock horror at the uses to which they will put the bombing.

UK Left Network, 8 July 2005