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What you want to say – 7th January 2014 January 7, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

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1. Admin - January 7, 2015

‘Nu Folk’ is a label applied to a swathe of the folk music produced in Britain in the past decade (or a bit longer). It is clearly British folk, but it incorporates elements of other forms of music – reggae and dub (Imagined Village’s work with Benjamin Zephaniah, for instance), rock sensibilities (I think this applies to a chunk of Seth Lakeman’s work) and also stuff like electronica.

My favourite nu folk figure, in fact he’s probably my favorutie wokring musician at this point in time, is Seth Lakeman:
http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/seth-lakemans-workers-lives-review-of-tales-from-the-barrelhouse-and-word-of-mouth/

Phil

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2. Tomboktu - January 7, 2015

The main thing that strikes me about Lucinda Creighton and the chance of success of vher new venture is not so much the right wing politics — which is a given — but her competence as a leader.

Twice now at key moments she has dithered. When the not-abortion bill was in train, she waited and drew out what should, for somebody of her professed beliefs, a straightforward decision to walk. And then she entered an extended on-off-on-again dance with the electorate on whether she would set up a new party.

Dithering is not the sign off a good leader, of whatever political colour.

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3. Roger Cole - January 7, 2015

Public Meeting
Nicolas Pitsos
Executive Member
Le Mouvement de la Paix
Wednesday 21st of January
7.30pm
Connolly Books
43 East Essex Street

Le Mouvement de la Paix is the largest peace movement in France
and one of the major peace movements in Europe and has been invited to Ireland by PANA and Irish CND

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Starkadder - January 7, 2015

“Le Mouvement de la Paix” – isn’t that a branch of
Soviet Union cheerleaders the World Peace Council?

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4. Tawdy - January 7, 2015

Well it looks like all and any choices in the next election is being shaped in only two directions. As all of the partys are toxic, in a sense, and the Re-Loot party says neither left nor right, just straight ahead. Now this new alliance ala Ross et al, neither left or right either. I can only think they all intend to continue straight on, we`re fucked so.

The two directions I mentioned at the start consist of the following; Down, in a skewed kind of way we have actually been going in that direction for many years. Up, I`m convinced that is the only direction to take, in my defence I would state that this is the only direction we have never gone in.

I mean, what`s the worse that could happen?

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Joe - January 7, 2015

Yes I heard Finian McGrath on the radio this morning. And I saw and heard Ross over the last couple of days. They come across as people Kenny, Martin, Burton, Adams could do business with.
So pretty much more of the same after the next election. As you said Tawdy, it’s continue straight on.

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5. sonofstan - January 7, 2015

Still buzzing from a great gig last night – Louis Moholo-Moholo Quintet; swinging wildly from free to township jive, bursting with energy at 74 years old.

Reminded of Evan Parker’s comment regarding – I think – Red Wedge, that the idea that muscians had anything to learn from politicians was absurd; the deficit was the other way around. The whole history of jazz in SA pointed up the utter nonsense of apartheid without having to say a word about it.

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6. Liberius - January 7, 2015

Gunmen have attacked the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, at the moment there are reports of 11 dead with the suggestion that most of them are journalists, presumably Charlie Hebdo’s staff. Charlie Hebdo is a stalwart critic of religious extremism, of all varieties, and the French far-right, so the list of potential assailants inevitably will fall into those categories.

I suspect for many of us the staff of Charlie Hebdo would be kindred spirits, so it’s really a depressing turn of events.

http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-30710777

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maddurdu - January 7, 2015

Their most recent tweet…

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Gewerkschaftler - January 7, 2015

Not good. Not good at all.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

There are tweets doing the rounds suggesting that Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stephane Charbonnier has been critically injured; and reports that the number dead has risen to 12.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

Charbonnier’s French Wikipedia page incidentally declares his political sympathies as being with the PCF.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

France 24 are reporting that Charbonnier has in fact been killed.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

France Info are reporting that in addition to Charbonnier (Charb), Other Charlie Hebdo staff killed include ‘Cabu’, ‘Tignous’ and ‘Wolinski’.

http://www.franceinfo.fr/actu/faits-divers/article/fusillade-charlie-hebdo-10-morts-628047

The internet is already awash incidentally with right-wing pillocks completely ignorant of Charlie’s political heritage using this as an excuse to ply their xenophobic and sectarian wares. Disgusting arseholes.

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Gewerkschaftler - January 7, 2015

+10 on the recti, Liberius.

And they will shortly be followed by further calls from the securocrat orifices to restrict what remains of (at least theoretical) freedoms of assembly, protest and private communication.

Jihadists need securocrats and vice versa.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

I should add that ‘Cabu’ is Jean Cabut, ‘Tignous’ is Bernard Verlhac and ‘Wolinski’ is Georges Wolinski.

Also being reported by Libération as having been killed is the economist Bernard Maris, who has stood as a candidate for the French green party in the past.

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fergal - January 7, 2015

Liberius- Who are the people “plying xenophobic and sectarian wares..disgusting arseholes”? Those right wingers ignorant of Charlie’s political heritage and spouting rubbish on the internet or those who carried out this atrocity?Or both?

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

What? Just because some Jihadists have set about murdering a dozen people that doesn’t mean we should sit quietly while go about trying to whip up a frenzy of sectarian hate. Remember the majority, nay the overwhelming majority of these right-wing commentators on P.ie, The Journal and further afield may carp about Freedom when Islam is involved, but the reality is they don’t want freedom but Christian, capitalist or nationalist tyranny instead.

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JeSuisCharlie - January 7, 2015

“Just because some Jihadists have set about murdering a dozen people that doesn’t mean we should sit quietly while go about trying to whip up a frenzy of sectarian hate. ”

Whats going to be done about the Jihadists who shut up a bunch of left wing journalists because they dont like their pictures.

Nobody is sitting down and letting the sectarian right have a free space to use this as an opportunity. Nobody said we should or expected we would.

The question for right now is what is going to be done about Jihadi fascists who go around shooting up.

Thats not answered by focussing on the danger of the far right Europeans.

So does anyone have an answer of how to tackle these fascists? An answer that doesnt involve immediately turning this into a fight back against the national front effort.

You want to beat the national front then come up with solutions of beating the jihadi fascists.

Walking around with candles will not do it unfortunately. There was a time when the guachists would go toe to toe with nazis who supported shooting up a free thinking mag like Charlie.

If the scum who hunted down the 12 people were French Fascists there would be a few who would do it too.

When Pavlos Fissas was killed there was plenty of response and some of it hard.

Yet when it comes to these fascists there wont be a peep and a peep doesnt mean targetting a community it means protesting directly against the fascists. No matter how hate riddent, anti-democratic of grossly misogynist fascists like Choudary with his mob setting out to beat up people drinking in London or that horrid bigot Abu Hamza. In Derby there were schools where girls were put to the back.

If Golden Dawn managed to get challenged for murdering an opponent and if the BNP would have gotten abused if they suggested putting foreigners at the back of the class then why is it that their brothers in the Religious fascists get mealy mouthed opposition and those who wonder about that become queried as to whether they arent the real fascists.

Lets see what the Left Front does to follow up a march. That should have happened 10 years ago. Now it needs more.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

Ah, to beat French fascism we must first beat tiny politically irrelevant murderers. Are you suggesting that the first is caused by the second? Or what precisely is the relationship you are suggesting?

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Been a bit crook today so only just commenting now, but have to agree MarkP.

I’m as one in solidarity with those murdered, but it seems enormously unlikely that those who committed this atrocity are linked in any significant way to significant broader socio-political groups of people/communities in France, or across the continent.

The issue of islamism is one issue, that of fascism in France or elsewhere another, and issues as regards immigration or immigrants another again and it does no one, least of all those who were murdered today – who appear as far as one can judge at this point to have got that. to try to suggest they’re all one and the same.

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JeSuisCharlie - January 7, 2015

There is no causal relationship in between french fascists or jihadi fascists in either direction.

They are both fascists. To defeat fascism you have to beat both of them. Doing so at the same time would appear manageable. It wouldnt take to much to protest against an attempt to segregate a school or gym based on gender in the morning while disrupting a fascist meeting in the evening.

There shouldnt be a free pass for the Jihadis just because their brothers in the Front National are scum as well.

There is a real inherent mistrust of anyone who makes a comment like that. Well maybe 10 years ago you would have been right but tonight there are about a dozen journalists dead and its no longer taboo to point out that it was an extremely and dangerous form of fascism that did it.

Prentend Golden Dawn did. What reaction would be appropriate in that case?

Why is it this case has to be treated so differently. Whats different about these fascists? By the way when fascists used to beat to death people in Britain and the same fascists were politically irrelevant I cant recall ever seeing someone describe them as politically irrelevant murders.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

I think you’re seeing problems here where they don’t exist. I doubt anyone here would support gender segregation as you describe it in schools or whatever. Anything but. But again you’re not comparing like with like. Socially conservative, often deeply socially conservative immigrant communities (or – and this is a crucial distinction – self-appointed social conservatives) are not identical with jihadists or islamists. Those are two different issues and problems.

There’s no great taboo in pointing out islamism is a problem. Said it numerous times on this site in the past. No one here is supporting what was done. Quite the opposite. No one is saying the murders are irrelevant either, what one is saying is that those who carried out todays murderous actions do not appear to represent any significant forces in French society. By contrast both the conservative right and the neo/post/semi-fascist right are both very strong.

It’s in a way quite similar to the US at 9/11. The problem wasn’t indigenous immigrants from a Muslim background, it was armed groups with a separate agenda entirely. Same with 7/7 in the UK. They didn’t represent broader Muslim feeling in the US or UK to any significant degree. And for all the US’s faults they didn’t go around blaming those already within their shores (not that what they did do was very constructive, to put it mildly).

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

I’m interested in the claim that “there is a real mistrust” of people who condemn jihadi murderers, or that there was “a taboo” against condemning such acts. Perhaps you could elaborate on these obvious falsehoods?

And what exactly does gender segregation in education have to do with either “fascism” or jihadi murderers? Perhaps you could elaborate on that in a way that doesn’t implicitly make an equation between religious, socially conservative, Muslims, fascists and jihadis?

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RosencrantzisDead - January 7, 2015

Given that, as of 20.40 tonight, we have no confirmation of who the attackers are or what they claim their motivation was, it seems rather premature to start claiming this represents a need to tackle either right-wing extremism or religious extremism.

I find it odd that some are happy to assign blame despite not having any evidence for this.

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Michael Carley - January 7, 2015

@RiD quite true: the last time there was a massacre on this scale in Europe, it turned out to be an unhyphenated Norwegian fascist.

@MarkP yes, there is a context to criticizing (some elements of) Islam in a society like France, but all that means is that we should choose our words carefully and make sure we criticize the right people for what they have actually done. I have a copy of the `cons’ Charlie Hebdo (I happened to be in France at the time and bought it) and while it concentrates on the Danish cartoons, it has a go at a few other targets as well, religious and not, and lays out various examples of `blasphemy’ in a number of countries, Christian and Muslim.

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JeSuisCharlie - January 9, 2015

WorldByStorm,

The poster MarkP described these as politically irrelevant murders.

In one response to my comments World, you suggested it was telling that I had no referred to the statements from various left leaders. Its a ctually clear that I did commend the left leaders in France for demonstrating in support of the murdered people. Please see my response to Liberius. I did suggest that this issue needs more than just condemnations or candle lit marches. It needs leadership.

Your comment that there was something telling, even though i welcomed the Left’s leaders actions as a start, just a start. There is a fascists under the bed element to this. I think the Leaders of the left have been slow to provide leadership in fighting jihadism and therefore am suspect. Perhaps I am a fascist or fascist leaning etc etc.

The west must remain a welcoming place for immigrant communities and muslim immigrants within that. The Leaders of the Left need to be to the forefront in ensuring that remains the same. They also need to be to the forefront of challenging the social conservatives who want to deny rights to some because they are women or because their traditions demand that gays can be killed.

Charlie Hedo had cartoons about Christ and Mary and the catholic church that would make your jaw drop if you were a catholic background but 2 seconds later you’d have forgotten about it. Its not like they targeted one group and gave every one else a free pass. That was the the right approach by them. All alike all treated the same. Well that didn’t end good for them but the principle was not an unfair one and it didn’t make France a cold house for muslims nor for christians or jews.

Social conservatives and jihadists are distinct. Yes you are right. However there is a confused response from our side of the political debate on how to respond.

The gender segregated schools in Derby is a great example. Why was there no leadership given from the left that it was not tolerable to out girls out the back of the class. The non-muslim teachers had to cover up their hair. It wouldn’t have made Derby a hostile place for muslims. It would have made it a hostile place for self appointed social conservatives seeking the regress social rights.

Why were the social conservatives running amok in Derby ignored?

Because of some flawed notion that to oppose them was to run with the BNP, to push a National Front line, to target a community, to threaten to make Derby unwelcoming.

Whatever the reason little girls were sat at the back of a class as second class citizens and thats shameful.

It shouldnt have been tolerated but it was.

Thats the question that needs to be answered because while 90 pages of comments can be written back and forth it’s doesn’t do much to secure those girls their rights.

In the end the govt. closed down the school so thankfully the problem magicked away and the left didn’t need to figure out a position beyond post facto generalisations of nobody would agree with that.

Thats the problem here.

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Mark P - January 9, 2015

“Mark P described these as politically irrelevant murders”

No I didn’t. I described the murderers as politically irrelevant. The murders are all too politically relevant, as the scum who did it have, as well as murdering innocent people, provided an opportunity for people like yourself to crank up an anti-Muslim atmosphere. Which of course is actually one of the things jihadi lunatics want.

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jesuischarlie - January 9, 2015

MarkP

Your words were “beat tiny politically irrelevant murderers.”
With your comment it’s apparent that you meant that you regarded the murders as politically relevant acts committed by politically irrelevant actors . Cause without agency. The 3 Nazis who died today are politically relevant. That’s obvious.

The second point you make is a pity. Just because a person does not agree with your position and thinks there needs to be a focus on the extreme social conservatives pushing the type of nonsense that would cause outrage if the home grown lunatics did it. There should be parity of response to such behavior.That’s not the same as calling for Le Pen as President and mass deportation.

You seem to believe it is the one and the same.Anyone disgareeing gets thrown in with the Front National by you.

What a pity that’s the approach.

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Mark P - January 9, 2015

Lots of people here disagree with me. Some extremely vehemently. But there’s only one person here who seems to me to be interested in using the murders to campaign against Muslims.

I note by the way that you continuously move back and forth between demanding opposition to jihadis, of an of course unspecified type, and more concrete demands for opposition to socially conservative Muslims, as if these were somehow the same thing. Funny that.

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jesuischarlie - January 9, 2015

world by storm

Its not taboo you say to point out that Islamism is a problem.

It is not easy though because if you do then you have comments that people like you are only dying to exploit this.

Its not taboo but you will get marked out as a fascist or a suspected fascist at best.No matter how you try to use reason or to explore this honestly you are going to be 10 steps behind the line from the second you mention that it is a problem.

Clearly MP regards me as a racist.

Can I ask you for a fair answer and perhaps other posters here also?

Who assumed I am a far right sympathizer or at least suspect because of my posts that thus is a big problem.

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Ed - January 9, 2015

Yes, Jesuischarlie—and all the other handles you use while posting on this site, every few weeks it seems—’people like you are only dying to exploit this’. That is a fact. Mark regards you as a racist, as do I, because that is what you are. Now sod off and stop trying to exploit these murders to promote your racist agenda.

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WorldbyStorm - January 9, 2015

I’ve been ill again today so only just getting to this.

jesuischarlie, from the off you’ve presupposed that the left wouldn’t condemn the murders – you said directly that ‘Yet when it comes to these fascists there wont be a peep ‘. The left did condemn the murders and you did not ‘welcome’ them in your comments. You have implied through all this stuff about ‘taboo’ that those of us here wouldn’t condemn the murders and that we would not regard islamism as a problem. Clearly everyone here would condemn the murders and does acknowledge it as a problem.

You then confuse social conservatism in parts of Islam with the sort of Islamist political violence we have seen over the past few days as if they are one and the same thing. They’re not. They are two different issues, two different problems, and as I ad others have noted from the beginning here one has to treat them differently. It’s also important to note that no one here would stand over social conservatism, which has also been pointed out. And you are misquoting people here quite deliberately, not least as regards the ‘politically irrelevant murders’ which has been also pointed out to you numerous times.

As to Islamists = fascists, I don’t think the equation is particularly insightful or useful. They’re reactionaries, as bad or worse than fascists. But, and this is crucial, they’re also very very minor as a force. That’s a tough thing to accept perhaps after near enough 20 deaths, but it happens to be true. Of a near 5 million people who have immigrated to France from North Africa or have North African backgrounds there have been three or four this week who have been violent.

That’s not to minimise the horror of the week or the appalling acts those four committed, but it is fundamentally of a different order to that which it is being presented as in some quarters. Four people can cause huge chaos, but there’s no sign that they represent a significant tranche of Muslim opinion in France – certainly not one that is politically able to mobilise in any serious way or is willing to use armed force in a serious way, nor are they a fundamental threat to the stability of France.

All this talk about ‘fighting jihadism’ seems almost beside the point (as does the stuff about Derby, again a confusion between social conservatism and Islamism — and by the by, the issue of Christian fundamentalism is a very live one in some schools in the UK education system). You mention Golden Dawn and the BNP and how if they did x or y they would be tackled. That’s actually accurate, there might be marches but few enough would take them on head to head (as we’ve seen in anti-BNP and EDL marches in the UK. Greece is a somewhat different matter for specific reasons).

With the Islamists we have seen active this week they have no clear organisation to protest against, they are parts of very diffuse almost familial networks that aren’t evident to those outside them, even those within ‘their’ community or co-religionists. It’s like arguing people should have gone head to head with PIRA during the height of the troubles. It doesn’t make any sense because the intel and wherewithal to do so wouldn’t be in possession of most people.

So what are you arguing for, other than general marches or protests against Islamists that you denied was any use in your own first comment here when you said ‘Lets see what the Left Front does to follow up a march. That should have happened 10 years ago. Now it needs more.’

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Mark P - January 9, 2015

Well said. Although I suspect it won’t be too long before he’s back again with a dose of the same nonsense as if you hadn’t already dealt with it point by point. Repeatedly.

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CL - January 9, 2015

“Almost all radical movements in today’s Islam, anywhere in the world, are tied to Wahhabism, an ultra-conservative, reactionary sect of Islam, which is in control of the political life of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other staunch allies of the West in the Gulf….”

““It is very clear from the historical record that without British help neither Wahhabism nor the House of Saud would be in existence today. Wahhabism is a British-inspired fundamentalist movement in Islam. Through its defense of the House of Saud, the US also supports Wahhabism directly and indirectly regardless of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Wahhabism is violent, right wing, ultra-conservative, rigid, extremist, reactionary, sexist, and intolerant…”-
Dr. Abdullah Mohammad Sindi.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/09/who-should-be-blamed-for-muslim-terrorism/

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WorldbyStorm - January 9, 2015

I think it’s useful to give JSC a space even if only to demonstrate some of the stuff that’s flooding comments on various sites at the moment, all this Islamist = social conservative Islam line, and war of cultures, end of Europe and so on. Some people here may not have read much of that but it’s everywhere and it’s important to point up how incorrect it is.

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Mark P - January 9, 2015

Yes, he serves a purpose, just like the occasional free marketeer who wanders in. I just wouldn’t have the patience to keep explaining the same shit to someone so plainly disingenuous. Even though I’m aware that the point isn’t that you think you are going to convince him, but that you are using him to pull apart common arguments, I still find myself getting twitchy by about his third comment.

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

Communique issued by the PCF, caution a google translation:

Charlie Hebdo ‘determination to live the values ​​Freedom, Equality and Fraternity ”

Call for national unity of all the republican forces against the barbarism that has just hit the Charlie-Hebdo team.

The Barbarian carnage suffered by writing weekly Charlie takes us into the horror and pain and called a national response magnitude.

Pierre Laurent and the national leadership of the PCF call that all over the country expressed the national unity of all republican against the barbaric forces. When a log is well targeted, when lives are massacred and whose passion was the information and freedom of expression is indeed each of us that is targeted, it is the Republic that is struck in his heart. That the perpetrators of this heinous crime are arrested and tried.

Our thoughts are with the victims, families and friends. This morning, it is the world of the cartoon, impertinence, humor, love of life that the terrorists wanted to silence. The relations of friendship and complicity we had, especially during the Festival of Humanity, with Charlie-Hebdo cartoonists, strengthen our pain.

The time is now to unite around republican values ​​the maximum forces, citizens and citizens. Millions, all over the country express our determination to live the values ​​Freedom, Equality and Fraternity.

Communist militants, communist officials and Republicans, will be all the initiatives in the coming days, will the gathering of the nation in a spirit of confidence in our people together on the essential, irrespective of the philosophical and political thought of religious beliefs. We call to reject amalgams and stigma, to strongly reject calls for hatred and racism.

Tonight we call the gathering to honor the victims, Republic Square at 18:00

http://www.pcf.fr/64418&usg=ALkJrhgHmh4AoSjTccWNqUQcwB3DesNdEQ

And a Communique by the NPA, again with the Google translation:

The attack on the headquarters of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo causes indignation and anger at such an indiscriminate and deadly violence against journalists, employees. It aims to spread terror, against freedom of expression, freedom of the press in the name of reactionary and obscurantist prejudices.

We have often had the opportunity to engage, debate and even argue with designers and journalists of Charlie Hebdo, and with whom we had common struggles.

The NPA address its solidarity with the relatives and families of the victims, journalists, employees of Charlie Hebdo.

But we will not be of national unity with the sorcerer’s apprentice who play with racism, fanning hatred against Muslims, foreigners, or use of this case to set up new draconian laws. They bear a heavy responsibility in the xenophobic and poisonous atmosphere that we know today.

The one and the other are enemies of democracy, freedom, enemies of the workers, the working classes, the enemies of a world of solidarity.

Montreuil, January 7, 2015

http://www.npa2009.org/communique/une-folie-barbare-et-reactionnaire-paris-tous-17h-place-de-la-republique

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

More Google translated communiques, first from Workers’ Struggle (LO), and second for the Left Party (PG)

The attack against Charlie Hebdo
A despicable act
Wednesday, January 7, an attack with machine guns has targeted the weekly Charlie Hebdo in its editorial conference. At the time of writing, the results of the attack would be 12 deaths and four serious injuries.
This is a despicable act, whoever the perpetrators. Whatever his political inspiration, this type of terrorist action can be the fact that enemies of the oppressed. Individual murders were never part of the methods of the labor movement and instead have always turned against the interests of workers. The attack targeted journalists, apparently chosen for what they have drawn or written. LO strongly objects against this heinous act and affirms its solidarity with the relatives of the victims. We knew some, and it affects us even more.

http://www.lutte-ouvriere.org/notre-actualite/communiques/article/un-acte-ignoble

The deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo stupor strikes us. More than a dozen deaths whose Charb designers, Wolinski, Cabu and Tignous! Our first thoughts go to the families and friends of the victims. The Left Front brings them its full solidarity.
This barbaric act must not be left without reaction. He hits a newspaper. Whatever the authors, it is the freedom of the press that they wanted to attack. So this is our freedom to think they wanted to address. It is the democratic freedoms they want to question. They will not succeed in intimidating us.
Faced with this heinous act requires a response that mobilizes all democrats, a response that shows that our fellow-nes refuse to be drawn into a spiral of fear, a response that states, facing terrorism that France is rich in diversity, proud of freedom of opinion that prevails. The face of terror, we must respond with more democracy, more fraternity and tolerance.
This is why the Left Front calls on all democratic forces to react. The CGT called to gather per tonight from 17h, Republic Square in Paris. The Left Front calls to be massively present.

https://www.lepartidegauche.fr/actualites/communique/face-l-attentat-meurtrier-contre-charlie-hebdo-une-reaction-democratique-populaire-s-impose-31165

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7. rockroots - January 7, 2015

A late interview with Peadar O’Donnell, newly rescued from a video tape…

Liked by 2 people

maddurdu - January 7, 2015

Go raibh mile maith agat! Made my day

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C B - January 7, 2015

Thank you

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rockroots - January 8, 2015

No problem.

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8. Gewerkschaftler - January 7, 2015

German government pressure on Greece has been not particularly well co-ordinated.

First they were going to be tossed out on the ears from the Eurozone should they dare to vote the wrong way – now they won’t, or at least most of the government says not. There are in fact no legal instruments in the Euro membership agreement that deal with exit.

No MSM here reports Syriza’s assertion that cancellation of half of the Greek debt would echo the decision in 1953 to cancel over half of the outstanding German state debt. Some 30b DM if I recall rightly – quite a chunk of change in 1953.

That is unthinkable because it would encourage the others, so across the board among the ruling parties there is the assertion the ‘Greece must stick to it’s agreements’.

One reason I’m working for a Syriza win is that historically it will be fascinating to see who blinks first in the event of a refusal to service (part of) the state debt. Or to what extent other governments will dare too utilise the pressure.

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Gewerkschaftler - January 7, 2015

The German ‘economic miracle’ was significantly facilitated by this cancellation – it meant that the German state of the time could intervene massively in creating infrastructure and demand.

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9. Starkadder - January 7, 2015

Congrats to The Nation Magazine – 150 years old!

Here’s a conference discussing the mag’s history:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/194089/150-years-nation-world

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10. Alibaba - January 7, 2015

Isn’t it perversely funny that the far left are being prompted time and again by the media to say what they are going to do? Is it going to be a party or an alliance? This week I heard Vincent Browne mention ‘Clare Daly’s new group’. I assume he is thinking of ‘United Left’. I had thought why not battle with the reality of ULA components bottling it out and call any new outfit ‘Left Alliance’ instead?

As for the previously mentioned “possibility of some actually useful political vehicle coming from that movement.” This is most likely the Alliance Against Austerity & Water Charges (AAAWC), driven by you-know-who.

Instead, how about an Alliance of Left Parties (ALP)? It could permit affiliation structures for established groups or individuals. At the very least this could provide fertile ground for possible growth and co-ordinated performance in the Dail and on the streets.

If there are no significant developments this side of Easter, I am sorry to say, we face the prospect of Shane Ross being ahead of the curve with his ‘Alliance’. It wouldn’t surprise me if Enda called the election in Autumn 2015, hoping to catch everybody out. And with Sinn Fein determined to get into coalition, Gerry could sleep soundly in his bed come 2016. Should Fine Gael not win, they will head off acknowledging ‘It’s all yours!’ in the belief that they will be back in 2/3 years anyway.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

So now the left will be marginalised by Shane Ross if it doesn’t unite. I suppose that’s a step up from when certain people were saying we were going to be marginalised by Ben Gilroy.

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Alibaba - January 8, 2015

The drift of this comment leads me to believe that in your view the left should not seriously countenance any unity initiative. Yeah? I should correct myself. Efforts will be made to build existing alliances such as AAA & PBP, with particular attention to attracting left-leaning prominent and talented people. But this will be done so that the alliances can be used as electoral vehicles.

Last night, when questioned about her allegiances, Clare Daly told us she wasn’t in any discussions with others and declared herself to be an ‘Independent’ on the Vincent B show. It will be interesting to see how this pans out with Joan Collins and those with whom she founded a party called ‘United Left’.

By my reckoning, there will be some co-operation amongst Independents, councillors and deputies. But by happy chance these joint activities will coincide with burnishing their electoral images.

I fail to see the logic of the entire left not seeking unity, in whatever form. At a very minimum it could be a non-aggression pact in some constituencies, second preference arrangements and so on. There is an onus on every left organisation and activist to advance this potential. Failure to do so will only benefit the mainstream political parties.

Bad enough that the left as a whole not only failed to take this opportunity, but in fact they blocked it. Worse still if they fail to take stock now and to explore what is possible. Will the left be “marginalised” in the general election? Quite possible. I can’t be sure.

I can only show cynicism towards the views of those (very few) posters who sneer and avoid dealing with the substance of the matter up for consideration.

It is in the nature of online discussions that people will take very different views and exercise their critical faculties. You are adept at doing this; except when it comes to the Socialist Party line, of course. For reasons not clear to me, if there is a hint of critique, the knee-jerk reaction kicks in. We may differ on some things. We can resolve this by exchanging critical reasoning and not by put-down remarks. I say this not to carp. I say it because it is worthwhile flagging up in the interests of recognising the sensibilities of CLR commentators.

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Jolly Red Giant - January 9, 2015

There will be no effort by the AAA to attract your ‘prominent and talented’ celebrities – the AAA wants to build a campaign group of working class activists to oppose the continued implementation of austerity. The Socialist Party and the AAA will work with anyone willing to fight austerity and defend the interests of working class people. The AAA has no intent to engage in ‘unity’ for the sake of ‘unity’ – such ‘unity’ is unprincipled and would collapse. Furthermore, the AAA does not see any purpose in trying to build ‘unity’ among the existing left forces, any attempt to build a joint initiative would have to be based on the involvement of large numbers of activists outside of the existing left organisations.

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Mark P - January 9, 2015

“The drift of this comment leads me to believe that in your view the left should not seriously countenance any unity initiative. Yeah?”

No. You can take it from the drift of that comment that I have no time for the endless doom mongering about how we need “left unity”, or some cataclysm will befall us, a few well meaning independent leftists endlessly indulge in, with only the particular cataclysm varying over time.

As for “unity”, unity in itself is not a good or a bad thing. What determines that is what kind of unity we are speaking of. Unity of what forces, on what basis, for what ends? Unity for the sake of unity, or unity which seeks to fudge those questions will do more harm than good.

The Socialist Party is highly unlikely to be interested in any kind of repeat the ULA experience, where existing left groups and individuals gather together to squabble and waste limited resources in an empty shell of an organisation. If something involving many newer people, coming out of the anti water tax movement can be pulled together, well that would be much more interesting. Though again the above questions will need answers, who, on what basis, to what ends.

Either way though, carping about how we need unity, and we need it now, and if we don’t get it Shane Ross will eat our lunch, and the reason we don’t have it is because the existing groups that have actually built something won’t just do as we want them to etc etc is just tiresome.

An aside on the UL issue, it never really got off the ground and it seems it was effectively buried with the local elections, when Clare Daly’s candidates did badly and Joan Collins ones only marginally better (although Pat Dunne kept his seat). There’s no benefit to either of them in using the name of an unknown party with no activist base. Clare Daly’s seat is safe as houses but her main political ally wasn’t in the UL anyway, while Joan Collins will be well aware that as an independent she has a much better chance of holding onto her seat than she would as a candidate of a party with no profile. In other words, I doubt if CD stating the obvious will cause JC much aggravation or distress.

On a related note, would guess that the locals did for the WUAG’s attempt to build a national party too. They have a seat to hold in Tipp.

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Alibaba - January 9, 2015

JRG: I appreciate your honesty and clarity when you say ‘the AAA does not see any purpose in trying to build ‘unity’ among the existing left forces’. Concerning ‘celebrities’ and the AAA, I certainly didn’t intend to give the impression that you are seeking them out and regret if it came across in that way.

It seems as if, and this is the view of some commentators like yourself, any notions of left unity have to be predicated on the basis of uniting with ‘working class’ people from outside the ranks of the pre-existing far left. I imagine you deem yourselves to be more implanted in these communities (which you are) and therefore more likely to reap the electoral harvest once you connect with them. You wish to build a movement which can resist the attacks of the ruling class. I get it. Expecting working people to flood into anti-austerity ranks when the left in general is so blighted by division is a delusion. You obviously believe that closer collaboration on the left is a waste and doomed to failure. The working class takes a different view. Time will tell.

Mark P: I get your point, but I don’t think you get mine. I never suggested a ‘repeat the ULA experience’. Your damning of ‘a few well meaning independent leftists’ as ‘tiresome’ is typical of a contempt for people who have minds of their own. And you ignore completely the points I raised about the use of putdowns to commentators. I rest my case.

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LD - January 9, 2015

Alibaba, the drift I get from your comment above is that you think the Socialist Party’s “wish to build a movement which can resist the attacks of the ruling class” is somehow naive and a distraction from what the Left should be doing at this time.

I would have thought that resisting attacks from the ruling class was ABC for any group on the Left worth its salt, particularly now when the potential is clearly there to do exactly that. And despite what you perceive to be the case, working class people are flooding into the ‘anti-austerity ranks’ — in the form of the various local anti-water charges campaigns. And given this new factor in the situation, the state of the Left and its divisions is almost irrelevant actually, as any new Left force in Irish politics should come from those fresh pools of working class activists and not from a mashing together of the Left groups that currently exist.

That said, closer collaboration on the Left, where possible and appropriate, can be worthwhile and is something the Socialist Party is very much in favour of — while also recognising its inherent limitations given the size and nature of the Left in Ireland.

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workers republicu - January 9, 2015

It all depends on what we mean by unity. There is absolutely no chance of the Left parties/groups joining up to form one united party,now or anytime soon. There ar historical and personality reasons for this. What should be possible,hopefully is co-operation. So far,we’ve
had great marches organized under the banner of Right 2 Water. I just hope that continues and that electoral rivalries won’t tear it apart.The election of Paul Murphy showed that transfers can work,Sinn Fein got more first preferences than either AAA or PbP.
At an anti-water march called in Cork city,and supported by all anti-water -charges groups including SF councillors an AAA speaker criticized SF. It’s that kind of sectarian point scoring,electorally driven,that is holding back co-oppeation and unity of purpose.

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CMK - January 9, 2015

WR, with respect the AAA speaker criticising SF in Cork is not ‘sectarian point scoring’. SF have just, in the North, concluded a deal with the DUP and the Tories which will turn the Northern Ireland public sector upside down (20,000 redundancies). This deal includes mass privatisations including of housing stock from the housing stock. They payoff for the deal? To reduce the NI corporation tax level to 12.5% the same as the Republic. That is SF are willing participants in a process that will undermine the living conditions for hundreds of thousands in the North while very considerably easing the tax ‘burden’ on businesses. I know there are special factors etc to the North that deal is so blatant that any SF participation in it is a sure fire signal of how they are going to govern in the South. That is they are going to be, albeit apologetically, enforcers for austerity. And permanent austerity is the order of the day with the Fiscal Treaty. SF are clearly trying to squeeze as much electoral credit from the anti-water tax campaigns as they can in advance of 2016 but we can have no doubt, given events in the North, that they are willing, and able, to enforce austerity. Therefore, we’re right to hold their feet to the fire.

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11. fergal - January 7, 2015

Liberius, I agree with you that those spreading sectarian hate are disgusting arseholes 100 % . They are literally stirring it up and know nothing of Charlie’s radical left approach to satire, lampooning all religions, championing immigrants in France and suppporting social and economic change.I also believe that those who carried out this atrocity are ‘disgusting arseholes’ and cut from the same sectarian cloth as the internet trolls, this wasn’t clear from your comment- your strongest words of anger were against the internet trolls as Charlie put it themselves ‘it’s tough being loved by arseholes’https://www.google.be/search?q=Charlie+Hebdo+c%27est+dur+d%27etre+aim%C3%A9+par+des+cons&biw=1366&bih=633&tbm=isch&imgil=xt6V
And of course Charlie is anti-clerical- against all religions https://www.google.be/search?q=Charlie+Hebdo+c%27est+dur+d%27etre+aim%C3%A9+par+des+cons&biw=1366&bih=633&tbm=isch&imgil=xt6VW

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

Do I have to make it clear though? Isn’t that somewhat implicit in the fact that I’ve used a not insubstantial portion of my day collecting facts and leaving them in comments here?

Though for clarity, I’m an atheist and share Charlie’s wide anti-clerical attitude, that includes Islam as well as all other religions.

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JeSuisCharlie - January 7, 2015

Yes it does have to be stated. It has to be stated loud and clearly.
For too long the approach has been to explicitly condemn the rights abusive and to just say yes yes I condemn of course , naturally, what the jihadis do.

So yes be explicit

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

The approach? By whom? What actually makes it imperative for someone like myself to issue vitriolic proclamations, and to who exactly? Forgive me, but I’d credit CLR’s denizens with a little bit more intelligence than that, I really wasn’t writing with the expectation that I’m addressing children that need opinions spelled out in primary colours.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

+1 Liberius. Those who carried out these acts don’t care about condemnation, they don’t care what the left or the right or whoever (and it goes without saying the CLR or all of us here or wherever) does or doesn’t do. They’re sworn enemies of the left/right whoever. All the ‘taboo’ shattering in the world will touch them not in the slightest. It’s also surprising that JSC doesn’t note that in the statements from LO, PCF, etc, etc all are as one in condemning today’s abysmal actions.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

Dicky Seymour has a rather different take on Charlie Hebdo:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/01/charlie-hebdo-islamophobia/

Posting that does not indicate agreement or disagreement. I’ve never seen a copy of the magazine and am not in a position to hold any view on whether it’s “pro immigrant” or “racist”. Either way, and in a way it’s bizarre that this part has to be added, the content if the magazine would not justify murder.

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fergal - January 7, 2015

Charlie Hebdo was brought to court after the Muhammad cartoons. The judge threw out the case and one of his points for doing so was the magazine’s unstinting support for immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees. He also explained that Charlie had a long history of anti racism. Interestingly, the editor at the time Philippe Val argued for freedom of expression- he reminded the court that racists take the actions of one person and then tar a whole people with it- according to Val this is what the fundamentaists did with the Muhammad- took the actions of one person, the cartoonist, and then decided that all Danes were were anti- Islam. Charlie Hebdo has also been taken to court etc by Christian and Jewish fundamentalists.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

You will forgive me, I assume, if I don’t automatically assume that a French Judge and I have the same definition of racism. And if I don’t assume that ridiculing aspects of the dominant national religion is necessarily quite the same thing as ridiculing aspects of a religion associated with immigrants who face no small amount of racism.

I’m not being passive aggressive there. I’ve never seen Charlie Hebdo and have no axe to grind on the subject. But as a general rule I’m sceptical of the anti racist credentials of French Republican secularism. It was after all the official ideology of one of the largest Empires the world has known.

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dmfod - January 7, 2015

What do people make of this? I certainly wouldn’t call this left wing satire and it doesn’t greatly surprise me to hear that Charie Hebdo has such close links to the historically pro-French imperialism PCF and their calls above for national unity in defence of bourgeois values. It goes without saying this is no justification for the massacre today but I’ll say it anyway.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Unpleasant. Whether there is such a thing as ‘left wing satire’ though, I’m not so sure, and whether we can simply map the PCF’s historical experience onto CH or see it simply as expression of same is another matter entirely. From what I can gather it had Green, anarchist and other left forces leaning people amongst its cartoonists etc.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

Jaysus, that’s a cover and a half. My French is a bit dodgy, but that appears to read “The Sex Slaves of a Boko Haram are Enraged: ‘HANDS OFF OUR BENEFITS”,

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Pasionario - January 8, 2015

My reading of this is that they are caricaturing the caricature of Muslim women as welfare queens. The stuff about the connections with the PCF’s historically “pro-imperialist” line is utterly hallucinatory and not worthy of Dave Spart on a bad day (and this has been a very bad day).

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

“My reading of this…”

When someone announces that their “reading” of a racist caricature of black kidnap and rape victims demanding benefits is that it is in fact anti-racist in intent the kindest term that springs to mind is “special pleading”.

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Pasionario - January 8, 2015

Have you heard of irony, Mark? The lads at Charlie Hebdo were keen on it…

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

Yes, they also appear to have been keen on producing caricatures of black kidnap and rape victims demanding benefits. Which you are excusing on the grounds that we should apparently assume that really obviously racist humour from people you like should be assumed to be an ironic deployment of racism despite the complete absence of textual evidence for that reading. And then, having accepted that reading on faith, we should further accept that selling magazines through “ironically” racist imagery isn’t really racist. After all, we are all right on here, right? We can make jokes about those giant toothed raped African kidnap victim welfare queens and everyone should assume we don’t really mean it. The joke is really on people who find our jokes funny! Right? Right?

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Liberius - January 8, 2015

There is always the possibility though of satire missing it’s target though, the history is littered with comics and cartoonists who’ve been intending something to be mocking a belief or ideology only for that to be misinterpreted as support for that ’cause’. In many ways that above cover can easily be seen in that context, for all the talk of irony I’m not above recognising that racists, and the deeply religious, tend not to be imbued with much of it and might be inclined towards viewing that cover as being a confirmation of their opinions rather than it’s intended purpose. To err is human, and cartoonists are very much human.

What actually are the limits of satire though? The first of these covers is mocking the often trotted out line of homosexuality causing floods, but considering that people died in those floods is it overstepping the mark?

And this, depicting a gathering of the Le Pens with the infamous far-right journalist Eric Zemmour in a watchtower at what looks like a concentration camp, is that overstepping the lines of satire?

And finally, in the same vain as the first one, is it problematic to be using the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean to mock the FN’s policies on immigration?

Personally I’m of the opinion that these covers may be taken as offensive, but are also accurate skewerings of the Catholic church and the FN’s beliefs; whether the offence out-ways the skewering is difficult to judge, maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

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12. fergal - January 7, 2015

Passive-aggressive- how did you get from a bunch of journalists/cartoonists to the French Empire? Glad to see that you cherish religion so much-It would be great if you could explain the link between racism and religion- cos I don’t see one.Is religion a ‘belief system’ that like any belief system, communism, free masonry should be open to debate, discussion and shock-horror ridicule? Or should religion be beyond debate- bit like here in the bad old days?
Plenty of anti-Arab racism in france and plenty of anti-mulslim feeling in france- not in charlie hebdo’s offices

I

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

I’m with you on not being shy to critique religion. But I do see the point he’s making, that for immigrant groups which can be very marginalised there’s a bit of a balance to be struck in these matters.

I’m deeply suspicious of banning, or any effort to turn aside from secularism. Charlie Hebdo walked a fine line too but I wouldn’t have banned its output.

But at the same time I think it’s essential not to make anywhere, whether it’s France or wherever a ‘cold house’ as it were for Muslims, or more accurately the overwhelming majority drawn from that background who accept and abide by the broad dispensation in European states. Perhaps that means counterintuitively that at ‘state’ level there’s a degree of respect extended to both community and religious leaders while also ensuring that there is a secular structure of education etc that all must abide with also and that in the public sphere freedom of speech – even critical but non-racist speech – is as full as is possible.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

You are attempting to divorce “religion”, as a set of irrational, usually politically conservative beliefs, from the real social existence of religions. If we were standing in some society where religion really was just a set of more or less irrational claims about the world, there would be no problem with that kind of criticism or ridicule. But in fact, while Islam and Catholicism may both in the abstract be irrational world views containing socially regressive dogmas, in Europe, in the actual societies in which we live, there is more to the question than that,

Catholicism in France is (or more accurately was) the religion of the majority, the historical bulwark of reaction and the struggle against the ancien regime was intimately bound up with the struggle against Catholicism as a social force. Islam, by contrast, at least in a France, is a religion almost entirely espoused by relatively marginalised immigrants and which has never played any significant role in mainstream French politics or in shoring up the French state or French ruling class. Further, the struggle against Islam in France is both most vehemently espoused by anti immigrant racists and is often experienced by immigrants as a racist attack on their particularities (which can lead to some ironic results given that French Arabs are in general almost as irreligious as white French people). The social context is different, the meaning of ridicule is different and the elision of that distinction tends towards the racist.

There is, of course, nothing inherent to Islam that makes hostility towards it regressive. In many countries and many social situations, Islam is a key part of the ideological support of all kinds of reactionary states and social orders. But not in France. And so, the ranting secularism of the white French republican, when targeted at the religion most common amongst amongst the most despised immigrants takes on a different cast and a different meaning to the enraged hostility towards Islam of the secular (if she was allowed to be) Saudi woman.

That you seem to think that I have a pro religious worldview because I insist that there is a social context to the denunciation of religion is something I find frankly baffling.

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13. fergal - January 7, 2015

I must congratulate you there Mark on a very fair and well argued post- and not for playing the man even once. I see most of your points.
Three questions 1. Are immmigrants poor because they’re immigrants or because they are Muslim? What matters here is class,is it not?
2 I still can’t see the link between ‘race/racism and religion
3 Is a critical approach to religion accessible only to those at the top of the economic tree and not those marginalised economically? Free thought/atheism is good enough for a person for a European but not for an immigrant- why not?

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Just on two I’m reminded of what David Baddiel said just before Christmas about anti-semitism, that it doesn’t matter if anti Jewish (or indeed any anti-Islamic or whatever) abuse isn’t technically racist, if the intent is racist and the effect is racist then it is racist. The religion is used by some as a shorthand to distinguish and marginalise yet further communities.

These are very difficult issues because they lock into cultural identity which is simultaneously ephemeral and deep rooted (like national identity) and make getting to class aspects very difficult , so on critique and being critical yes to an extent, but there are limits, it’s one thing for a satirical magazine to publish a cartoon, quite another for people to more generally denigrate religious belief in say general discourse on a tv panel or worse again try to make generalisations about those holding such beliefs. None of which by the way do I intend to suggest you are doing fergal.

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Michael Carley - January 7, 2015

In France, I think they’re poor because they’re immigrants from the ex-colonies. Indeed, the people of Algerian origin originally came from `France’ when Algeria was counted as part of the country and not an overseas colony.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

1) Immigrants tend to be poor because they are immigrants and largely working class. In France, Muslim belief is however one marker of immigrant status (see under: Irish immigrants in Britain or America, Catholicism).

2) Both race and religion are social phenomena, and in many circumstances they are constructed in ways that are at least partially mutually constitutive.

3) I’m fully in favour of atheism and secularism among immigrants and ethnic minorities. I’m just not in favour of the bourgeois state imposing it on them, or liberals amongst the dominant population groups sneering at them for their alleged lack of it.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

3… though I presume you’d be in favour of a secular state – i.e. without religious schools, etc? And isn’t that the rub, that what you and I consider to be non-imposition is more than likely regarded as imposition by Muslims or others who have strong religious/cultural faiths – whether by a bourgeois state or any other one we can imagine? As to sneering liberals, it’s not just them (and not all liberals are sneering), as is more than clear. And probably in a French context they might be amongst the more mild of those critical of immigrants religious beliefs, as evidenced by the strength of the radical right and worse.

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Mark P - January 7, 2015

Yes I’m in favour of secular education, although I’m not in favour of any infringements on people’s rights to practice their religions, display their religious belief or provide supplemental religious education for those who want it.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

I’m with you, I’d wipe away all religious (and private) education, say it’s up to parents or whoever to provide it themselves in their own time.

Again, though, there’s the rub. For many the latter rights are fundamental to the education they want for their children and all wrapped up in a neat bow whereby the secular doesn’t enter into the equation at all. The very thought or reality of the latter, is in and of itself an imposition to them. And is an imposition, really. Even though I think it’s essential.

Display is an interesting one too, crosses on Christian teachers in secular schools etc or is the state space itself a neutral space?

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

Nominally I’d agree with the two of you on the issue of education, though playing a bit of devils advocate isn’t it a bit problematic to be letting parents indoctrinate their children into cults, either of the large or small sort, doesn’t that raise a question of the welfare of children who very likely will grow up with a distorted view of the real world?

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CL - January 7, 2015

Just like we have here in the good old U.S. of A.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Liberius, absolutely – though I’m not an atheist, more an agnostic theist, so I’m perhaps a bit more relaxed about anyone joining that particular cult. 🙂 One can only hope though that a comprehensive (in the broad sense of the term) education in a state system will give the necessary analytical tools to engage and deal with whatever they hear or are taught elsewhere, but short of massive and frankly wrong intrusion IMO into the domestic sphere I can’t see how it’s possible or even useful to police that. And to me it is not necessarily so much what they believe, though some things are obviously more rather than less preferable, as their ability to have a choice in the matter of belief and coming to it on their own terms. The freedom to be wrong as well as right.

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CL - January 7, 2015

I meant my comment to apply to Mark P’s
“Yes I’m in favour of secular education, although I’m not in favour of any infringements on people’s rights to practice their religions, display their religious belief or provide supplemental religious education for those who want it.”- That’s the system in the U.S.

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Liberius - January 8, 2015

I do absolutely agree that the actions needed to enforce such a policy would be both impracticable and unwanted. Though I’d ask whether your agnosticism is not a consequence of living in a society as a youngster that was bent on making you believe in the Christian dogma? I’ve got family members who while knowing the irrationality of it all are still unable to break themselves free because it was drummed into them at a young age. Religious teaching, even if only at a household level, is corrosive to the well-being of children, surely if only in principle if not in fact, owning to the practicality, we shouldn’t be suggesting that indoctrination of children is acceptable?

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fergal - January 7, 2015

Cheers mark and wbs all very informative stuff, plenty to chew on- we could go on all night! Were catholics in the north discriminated agaisnt cos they were catholic? or was it something else?
I see what you mean by sneering liberals- but that’s all they do, sneer they don’t usually go on killing sprees, do they?
I wonder why these nutters didn’t attack the front national’s newspaper Minute, and never have. You’re not in favour of the bourgeois state imposing secularism, but surely all state education is imposed, it’s legally compulsory, if you don’t go to school before 16 the welfare board can take you to court.Does state education operate in any other way?

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Class and religion in the north, I’d have thought, what’s your take on it fergal?

Fair point re sneering liberals. And good point re the FN, but I suspect that this is more culture and identity wars than necessary overtly political (even if it has as it must in some sense economic roots), at least as it seems to be unfolding.

I’m with you re state education being imposed.

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dmfod - January 7, 2015

I’d imagine why they attacked Charlie Hebdo and not the FN is to draw the broadest possible, most widely publicly supported anti-Muslim reaction. From their warped perspective, the more persecution and repression of Muslims in France the better, as they think this will lead to more support for their cause. That goal wouldn’t be achieved half so well by attacking the FN.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

Yes, that sounds about right. And there’s also the issue that the cartoons will be more familiar outside France as well.

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14. Starkadder - January 7, 2015

“Dicky Seymour has a rather different take on Charlie Hebdo:”

I’ve normally got a lot of time for Seymour, but that piece is
a disappointment. He says “- the way in which that publication represents Islam is racist”.

This is a very serious charge
to level against CH, and just telling people to read
Edward Said rather than back up the charge
he made about CH’s depiction of Islam is lazy writing.

(And Seymour seems to have forgotten
that Said defended Rushdie’s right to publish
“The Satanic Verses”. I suspect if ES were still
alive, he wouldn’t agree with the position
Seymour takes here).

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Liberius - January 7, 2015

There is a lot lacking about that piece, but then Seymour has always struck me as being style over substance; we’re left to the conclusion that it’s racist because it’s racist, why? Actually Mark P could give him some tips as his comments seem to me to be a much better thought through view of the issues associated with satirising the religious opinions of a minority.

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Michael Carley - January 7, 2015

Seymour is trying too hard to be the not-Hitchens.

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WorldbyStorm - January 7, 2015

There’s a lot in what you say there Michael.

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fergal - January 7, 2015

wbs- my take on north?a mixture of class,sectarianism, and one of the worst hands in history in the context of a monolithic one party state that couldn’t be voted out…the early civil rights movement had a protestant element Ivan Cooper, Loudon Seth, John McGuffin and a few non-believers..eamonn mccann says that they had contacts in the foutain estate in derry which evaporated when jim callaghan visited the bogside.
That other fundamentalist le Pen is probably rubbing her hands in glee at today’s events..

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Pasionario - January 8, 2015

Seymour’s article is a disgraceful and arrogant piece of radical chic posturing which dredges up the corpse of Edward Said to try and cover up its own moral bankruptcy.

He accuses eight dead journalists of being racists and offers no evidence to back it up. I am an occasional reader of Charlie Hebdo and have always found its gleefully offensive writing and cartoons to be a powerful tonic. Charb, Cabu and the rest spent their lives making fun of pomposity and dogmatism on all sides. They were leftists and republicans to a man. Ridiculing Mohammad is no more a racist attack on Muslims than taking the piss out of Charles de Gaulle is an attack on French people. (And the original incarnation of Charlie Hebdo was shut down for doing the latter.)

I also attended the vigil at the Place de la Republique this evening and can confirm that the atmosphere was superb with no trace of racist or anti-Muslim sentiment. One of the chants was “A bas l’amalgame” — meaning roughly don’t confound the Muslim community with the terrorists.

In other news, they seem to have tracked down the perpetrators in Reims.

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smiffy - January 8, 2015

This is spot on. With the usual caveats about no act of speech can ever be used to justify violence, there is a huge difference between Charlie Hebdo and something like, for example, Jyllands-Posten, which is a right-wing paper and which did publish its Mohammed cartoons simply to provoke a reaction, in a context which can be seen as racist. Similarly, much of the critical commentary on Islam in the UK, for example, from Britain First to the increasingly hysterical tweets of Richard Dawkins vary from outright to borderline racism, in just the way that WbS cites David Baddiel describing (albeit in reference to anti-semitism).

Context is everything. Charlie Hebdo cannot be judged by its covers alone, although it should be noted that it often publishes very provocative cartoons on Christian themes on the cover as well (something which JP in Denmark notably refused to do), including most recently in a rather outrageous cover for its Christmas issue. It has taken a strongly pro-immigration/pro-immigrant position, broadly in line with that of the PCF. It is far too simplistic to look at a cartoon of Mohammed published in the magazine and judge from that that it is racist, even if exactly the same cartoon, published in the Daily Mail, could justifiably be considered so. To draw any such conclusions about the magazine, it’s necessary first to properly analyse the position it occupies within French public discourse, and on that reading it is definitely not racist.

Yes, it is provocative. Yes, it can be in bad taste. But it’s much closer to something like a leftist version of South Park than Der Sturmer (or even Michel Houllebecq). But that’s satire for you. Those provocations must be considered fairly, and the wider worldview of the paper, and its writers/editors cannot be ignored. I disagree with very little of what Mark P said. Anti-Islamic comment is more often that not simply a cloak for a more respectable kind of racism. But that’s not the case here. Seymour’s piece suggests that he’s never once opened the paper, while feeling comfortable throwing the accusation of racism at it.

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dmfod - January 8, 2015

I find many strands of French secularism and feminism quite self satisfied about their own presumed superiority in a nationally culturally superior way typical of current and former imperial powers. unfortunately, this tendency also permeates elements of the French left, especially for decades the PCF, which has an inglorious history of supporting French imperialism in North Africa. I see a parallel between this history and contemporary claims to antiracist credentials on the grounds of supporting immigration, while simultaneously ridiculing the religion, Islam, of many immigrants and supporting policies like banning the hijab. This can be seen in the context of the particularly assimilationist ideology of French imperialism historically; ie the idea immigrants are welcome as long as they adopt ‘superior’ French culture. Imo this type of attitude is as counterproductive for left politics as Seymour and the SWP in the UK’s pandering to conservative Muslim leaders. Charlie Hebdo’s type of satire also strikes me as self satisfied in another way in that it uses its own knowing, presumed superior right on-ness as a cover for essentially racist jokes like the above cover. This reminds me of a particularly lame type of ‘ironic’ racist, sexist or homophobic stand up we are all familiar with. None of this is any excuse for murder, of course.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

The assimilationist ideology of French imperialism is actually something that a lot of other Europeans and people from countries with a past as colonies founded on Spanish or English genocide find very strange and hard to get a read on.

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Pasionario - January 8, 2015

It is not lame “ironic” racist stand-up. Again context is important — this being a magazine which has consistently supported immigrant and unemployed rights.

Last year Le Pen and some mainstream right-wing newsmagazines started brandishing the Muslim welfare queen stereotype on a regular basis and there was a lot of chatter about “welfare reform”. Meanwhile the entire world gets caught up in an absurd twitter campaign to “bring back our girls”.

The cover satirizes both these trends by ridiculing the crudeness of the former’s stereotyping and the latter’s self-absorption masquerading as concern (as well as the implicit contradiction between the two — a classic example of people getting pointlessly worked up about injustice in another country while being heedless to what’s happening in their own).

The cartoonist may not make it as blindingly obvious as would be expected in, say, the average issue of The Socialist Worker but an informed observer whose sense of mischief and irony had not been left behind at the Third Party Congress could be expected to pick up on this.

As an added bonus, he also manages to piss off a couple of humourless Irish lefties months after the fact on the very day the cartoonist himself is seriously wounded by Islamist terrorists. Mission accomplished. Good night to you.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

It’s forbidden to mock those caricatured muslims and jews!

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

The Koran, it’s shit!

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

Mohomed a star is born

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

And there’s a lot more where this shit came from it turns out. I’d never seen this publication until some unspeakable pricks murdered some of its journalists, but you know what, Pasionario, you are welcome to your “ironic” racist humour. You are welcome to find caricatures of pregnant large toothed black kidnap and rape victims demanding their benefits just hilarious. And I’ll be quite happy to have you regard me as humorless. In fact, I’ll consider it a badge of honour.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

Note in particular the caption in the corner of the “koran is shit, it doesn’t protect against bullets” cartoon. “Massacre in Egypt”. It’s mocking people murdered by the coup government in Egypt. I’m sure Pasionario will be back to tell us that any mockery of protestors massacred by the Egyptian dictatorship was entirely ironic.

(And once again, because inevitably some idiot will try to read something else into these criticisms, no matter how objectionable some of the material in Charlie Hebdo was, murdering its journalists is still quite obviously depraved and evil.)

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

The thing is though MarkP that although unpleasant they are actually less so than the first example you put up, and it would be useful to contextualise them by giving us examples where they’re depicting Christian figures etc in an equally unpleasant light.

To be honest satire/cartoons/etc are of their nature not necessarily hilarious but sometimes harsh and often unpleasant and yes, appear to make light of appalling events – Martin Rowson has one on the Beslan massacre that sticks in my memory (by one ‘reading’ it’s making light of the children murdered there, by another it’s pointing up the horror of the situation) , but that’s sort of the point of the exercise. They can also be stupid, misdirected, etc, etc. It’s not necessarily useful to try to take examples at random and detach them from the broader context within which they were produced. An off colour cartoon from an impeccably anti-racist/pro-immigrant source is different to one from a racist source. Self-evident, but as important a point to make as yours about not arguing when critiquing CH that one is agreeing with the attack.

There’s further points raised. Unpleasant as this is do you think it should be banned or censored in some form or fashion? If CH does much the same to other religious leaders/institutions/figures does that alter matters or not? Is any cartoon that depicts people or symbols etc that are of particular concern to minority communities in an unpleasant, unflattering light beyond the bounds? Is this identical, say, to material appearing in a far-right/racist publication? Is ironic humour that plays on aspects of racism per definition racist or does it have any form or function above and beyond that, i.e. can it actually be non-racist, or point up racism? Is there a danger in assuming that people (i.e. those who view this who are unconnected to CH) are unable to work their way through all this, or just unthinkingly and unquestionably take it on face value?

I’m not really looking for answers here, just suggesting that all this is a bit more complex than treating all these in isolation (there’s also another point about the actually very scaborous, sexually charged, earthy visual language of French comics and cartoons, though that’s another discussion entirely, or perhaps not).

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eamonncork - January 8, 2015

Personally I find Mark P’s gleeful attempt, no matter how he tries to spin it, to justify the murders more objectionable than any of those cartoons. He’d be whining about a ‘police state’ if any SP people were fined for water charge protests.
I don’t really belong on the same site as him to be honest so that’s the CLR done for me. You’re welcome to it lads.

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Gearóid - January 8, 2015

It’s funny how some of the most passionate defenders of ‘freedom of speech’ in response to yesterday’s attack have had no time for the free speech of those offering conflicting views. It’s possible to both abhor the events in Paris and raise questions regarding Charlie Hebdo’s past output, y’know.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

There’s something quite interesting about Eamonn’s response, particularly as it comes from someone who isn’t usually either stupid or dishonest. It shows the power of the “either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” narrative not merely to elide any nuance but to render any comment beyond platitudinous condemnation of the villains involved actively offensive. An outrage. An incitement. A justification.

To this outlook, you don’t have to justify the murders in order to justify the murders, indeed to “gleefully” justify the murders. You can condemn the murders over and over, without saying a single word that in any way undermines that condemnation and it doesn’t matter. Because we are talking here of a kind of higher, spiritual justification, a justification stemming not from any actual attempt to justify but instead automatically following from any departure from the acceptable narrative. It is morally incumbent on all of us to pretend that Charlie Hebdo had never published so much as one racist caricature because to do otherwise is to give succour to terrorists.

That this bluster comes a few comments below a reproduction of the magazine’s actually “gleeful” mockery of 817 protestors massacred by the Egyptian dictatorship adds an additional point of interest.

Eamonn is admirably straightforward about this, telling us that he finds my comments (my “gleeful attempt to justify the murders” no less) more offensive than any of the cartoons reproduced above. In the cases of most of the cartoons there is an element of trying to compare apples and oranges. Which is worse? Publishing a caricature of black rape and kidnap victims demanding benefits or giving succour to terrorists by failing to genuflect deeply enough before the memory of their victims? Who can really say?

But with one of the cartoons, the one “gleefully” mocking 817 dead protestors, the comparison seems rather easier to make. Why exactly are my comments “more objectionable”? What is it about those murder victims that renders actual mockery of their deaths less objectionable than criticism of some of the content of the magazine other murder victims worked for? Is there some way to calculate the different weight we should accord to mockery of dead Egyptian Muslims on the one hand and, well, not mockery, but perhaps insufficient reverence for dead French journalists on the other? It would be useful to know before the next time some evil doers commit mass murder so that we can avoid a repetition of today’s row.

I’d ask Eamonn for his view, but he has unfortunately stormed off. And I do actually mean unfortunately, because despite today’s outburst, he’s usually one of the better contributors here. Hopefully he will calm down at some point.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

I don’t know if Eamonn’s response is stupid or dishonest. And I think if you look at previous instances where he’s declared his self-imposed exile from the site over the years it follows a pattern – last time was Syria and the attitude of some on the site to that conflict. There is, I guess, a consistency in that approach, though as noted before I’d prefer if he didn’t take it out on the site rather than those who post views he dislikes or finds fault with and like ejh I’m sorry to see him go.

Still, if we’re talking about dishonest, consider trawling through covers of CH and posting them up here and oddly enough neglecting to put any of the ones that are critical of Christians or Jews simply in order to make a case. Whether that case is one-sided or not in light of that, or at the least unbalanced in the extreme, is up to others to decide, but it takes no minutes flat googling to find them, and indeed find many many others that are effectively innocuous which seems to have been the marjoity of the magazine’s output.

Context is all. Even a racist caricature in the right context is robbed of its racism, or at least repositioned within that context. Sometimes racist caricatures are reappropriated, sometimes exaggerated further, by those who they are aimed at. That’s basic stuff really. As for mockery of 817 protesters massacred by the Egyptian dictatorship it seems to me that there’s a bit of a lack of understanding of what satire, what sarcasm, what irony, etc functions as in these contexts, particularly when there seems to be an implicit aim to try to find some sort of spurious linkage between those deaths awful as they were and those deaths yesterday awful as they were through the medium of a cartoon about the former.

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dmfod - January 8, 2015

WbS, you said you didn’t necessarily want answers to your questions but FWIW:

“Unpleasant as this is do you think it should be banned or censored in some form or fashion?” No. I 100% defend the freedom of speech to publish this stuff, particularly as any censorship of it would be carried out by the French capitalist state and the powers involved would no doubt then be used to censor other stuff I do agree with – which I’m sure would probably include much of the actually left wing content of Charlie Hebdo.

“If CH does much the same to other religious leaders/institutions/figures does that alter matters or not?” yes, to some extent but just because it also lampoons other majority religions (that are not routinely attacked by the right as symbols of marginalised ethnic communities and more acceptable codewords for racism) should not give it a free pass – in the sense of immunity from criticism – to gratuitously attack minority religions.

“Is any cartoon that depicts people or symbols etc that are of particular concern to minority communities in an unpleasant, unflattering light beyond the bounds?” no, but it’s reasonable to subject it to criticism as actually playing into the hands of fundamentalists and counterproductive to building working class unity.

“Is this identical, say, to material appearing in a far-right/racist publication?” no – the context is obviously different but again it doesn’t give it a free pass.

“Is ironic humour that plays on aspects of racism per definition racist or does it have any form or function above and beyond that, i.e. can it actually be non-racist, or point up racism?” Yes it can, but I think in general this is more likely to be the case if those making the jokes were Muslims or from Muslim backgrounds themselves. It’s a bit like the debate around the use of the n-word.

“Is there a danger in assuming that people (i.e. those who view this who are unconnected to CH) are unable to work their way through all this, or just unthinkingly and unquestionably take it on face value?” How do you think a recent Muslim immigrant to France might feel on catching sight of the Boko Haram front cover in a newsagents, without the benefit of knowing all the political background and insider humour? Surely it should be considered how different people from different backgrounds will interpret things, especially if you’re coming from a left political perspective.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

“Unpleasant as this is do you think it should be banned or censored in some form or fashion?” No. I 100% defend the freedom of speech to publish this stuff, particularly as any censorship of it would be carried out by the French capitalist state and the powers involved would no doubt then be used to censor other stuff I do agree with – which I’m sure would probably include much of the actually left wing content of Charlie Hebdo.

There’s a point where I have to wonder what exactly we’re arguing about. We all of us agree we wouldn’t censor it. We agree it’s unpleasant, or at least some covers are. It’s hard to know where this discussion goes from there.

“If CH does much the same to other religious leaders/institutions/figures does that alter matters or not?” yes, to some extent but just because it also lampoons other majority religions (that are not routinely attacked by the right as symbols of marginalised ethnic communities and more acceptable codewords for racism) should not give it a free pass – in the sense of immunity from criticism – to gratuitously attack minority religions.

Why do you believe it is a gratuitous attack? Why is it less gratuitous than an attack on say the Jewish religion, which of course is subject to physical attacks on graveyards, synagogues in France, or indeed Catholicism which one could make a case is itself an embattled minority in the French Republic albeit one that is linked to a powerful international organisation. One of the functions of satire is to poke fun at the powerful. We know how powerful social conservatism is in some communities. Is that beyond satire? Is it something we cannot point to? If not why not?

“Is any cartoon that depicts people or symbols etc that are of particular concern to minority communities in an unpleasant, unflattering light beyond the bounds?” no, but it’s reasonable to subject it to criticism as actually playing into the hands of fundamentalists and counterproductive to building working class unity.

As I noted before, one crucial aspect of this on all sides is the reality that fundamentalists aren’t much pushed about stuff like this. Oh it’s a symptom of their complaints, hence the shootings yesterday. As to building working class unity… well… perhaps. I don’t think it’s going to have much impact one way or another.

“Is this identical, say, to material appearing in a far-right/racist publication?” no – the context is obviously different but again it doesn’t give it a free pass.

Not a free pass, but given you’ve already introduced some thoughts about the PCF, it’s worth attempting to contextualise CH approach within a leftist radicalism in France which has been vehemently anti-clerical and has obviously maintained that and extended it to other religions. This isn’t an anomaly, this is central to the republicanism and self-identity of the French left, of all the French left, as the statements from those bitterly opposed to the PCF, or whoever exemplified. Moreover, CH wasn’t simply a PCF proxy as I noted yesterday. It had new Left, Green, anarchist and other currents in its staff, so much so we could bundle them all together and describe them as left radicals.

“Is ironic humour that plays on aspects of racism per definition racist or does it have any form or function above and beyond that, i.e. can it actually be non-racist, or point up racism?” Yes it can, but I think in general this is more likely to be the case if those making the jokes were Muslims or from Muslim backgrounds themselves. It’s a bit like the debate around the use of the n-word.

Well, yes and no, more likely, but not entirely unlikely. A satirical magazine is going to be scattershot in its approach almost by definition. Worth noting too that one of those who worked for CH murdered yesterday was from a North African background. Was his involvement irrelevant?

“Is there a danger in assuming that people (i.e. those who view this who are unconnected to CH) are unable to work their way through all this, or just unthinkingly and unquestionably take it on face value?” How do you think a recent Muslim immigrant to France might feel on catching sight of the Boko Haram front cover in a newsagents, without the benefit of knowing all the political background and insider humour? Surely it should be considered how different people from different backgrounds will interpret things, especially if you’re coming from a left political perspective.

I’m all for understanding and appreciating cultural sensitivities but the magazine has a 30k circulation in general and that in a 66m population. Again, unlikely to make all that much impact given that – as any look at their covers in general will demonstrate – most are fairly innocuous. Moreover is that the standard for determining these things, the recently arrived Muslim immigrant. You say it yourself, you don’t believe it is because you wouldn’t censor CH’s output. I was also thinking as much about the non immigrant population, whether Muslim or non-Muslim who do grasp some of the complexities of French recent history and would one presumes be able to fit it into some sort of a framework which would explain its output even if they weren’t in massive sympathy with it – something that the Gauche révolutionnaire appears able to do.

And taking that yardstick you offer, what of recently arrived Christian immigrants in Ireland, should our society operate on concern for their sensitivities? Avoid all anti-Catholic or Christian cartoons from the likes of the Phoenix? It’s an absurdity.

To be honest, I really wish before launching into all of this a few basic facts about CH had been appraised. Yesterday when this broke I was ill in bed but I took the time to read up on the background, look at the imagery and so on. I was surprised myself initially once I discovered the provenance of the magazine and those behind it, but once I realised that it was antagonistic to all religions and was visually so and how that fitted into the history of the broad French left it made sense. It’s not difficult and a damn sight better than wading in offering distorted analyses of covers off the back of a very partial sampling.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

“As for mockery of 817 protesters massacred by the Egyptian dictatorship it seems to me that there’s a bit of a lack of understanding of what satire, what sarcasm, what irony, etc functions as in these contexts”

Why don’t you deploy your apparently much more profound understanding of satire, sarcasm and irony to explain to the tediously literal minded amongst us who precisely you think is being satirised in that cover and what point this satire, irony and sarcasm was being deployed to make?

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

Give it a rest Mark P, you waded in last night with a completely partial reading of the magazine – a magazine which you concede you knew nothing about when you did so, which does you no credit at all. A lot less bluster from you would be appreciated given that people are saying they’re not interacting with the site because of you.

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shea - January 11, 2015

its with in the parameters of free speech to criticise a criticism, has to be.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2015

Surely, but a baiting tone and that on foot of others saying they’re offput by the broader tone to the extent they don’t want to contribute to the site and in regard to what I’d consider – even if my own sympathy is closer to questioning whether some of CH’s output was necessarily required as distinct from their having a right to do so which they did – a very partisan presentation of what CH did means that in my estimation at that point it was better to stop the discussion for a while. I’m particularly concerned that people would find it problematic commenting here and myself and others have been considering that problem since and how we should tighten up the current approach in order to prevent that happening.

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shea - January 11, 2015

apologies, didn’t mean you. CH can print what they want and anyone is free to call bullshit on it. Its fair. Taught marks point was interesting. He did deliberately offend people in a debate criticising a magazine that saw it as its duty to offend people. new levels.

This incident is throwing up a lot of views across all media, alot more than the usual, its fascinating in a way. Don’t know if its because journalists where involved or if it is because muslims where involved or because it was in france and the run of debate in france is seeping into this english speaking debate which debates in this language usually has a lot clearer lines of demarcation. its not a normal situation but it is extremely interesting, maybe let it run its course hope you don’t get to the point where you should feel the need to shut it down.

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2015

My apologies to you shea, didn’t quite see what you were getting at.

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eamonncork - January 8, 2015

And don’t bother slagging me back, I won’t be looking at this site again.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

Deeply unfair on your part, EamonnnCork, you will see that Mark P’s analysis is shared by only one other person, all the rest of us disagree to a greater or lesser extent and are in open solidarity with CH, yet instead of engaging like the rest of us with Mark’s analysis instead you criticise the site and implicitly all if us here.

What do you want, that we shut off Mark P? In the context of yesterday’s events that would make a mockery of what CH rightly sought to achieve. Or, that we all here should think the same, or are or should be as one in our approach, that doesn’t happen in the offline world and its not goi g to happen here. If Mark P puts forward an argument that you or I or anyone disagrees with and does it within the guidelines then that’s fair enough – it’s up to you or I or anyone to make a case against it, as has been done here already very successfully, not to walk away complaining. Apart from anything else that leaves the heavy lifting to us. Great.

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CMK - January 8, 2015

I haven’t seen any attempt to justify the murders yesterday. Can you point to an example where such a justification was attempted? It’s not a simple issue and there seem to be a lot of dimensions to it and they are worth discussing. Turning your back on them achieves nothing.

RIP to those killed. I hope the Left in France can rally to resist the undoubted exploitation of this attack by the FN.

And let’s not forget the very, very low tolerance levels here for the kind of satirical efforts that would have probably provoked ridicule if a cartoonist had pitched something similar for Charlie Hebdo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Cowen_nude_portraits_controversy

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ejh - January 8, 2015

I should be very disappointed if Eamonn were to stop posting here: he’s a major reason why I continue to read comments on this blog, just as Mark P is a major reason why I have basically stopped making them. That said, I think his characterisation of what Mark said is unfair. I do also think though that it’s an obscure and untimely response to the massacre to immediately denounce the magazine’s cartoons.

See, it doesn’t matter, from the point of view of a dozen members of staff being murdered, what the content of the magazine is. It wouldn’t matter if it were the Daily Mail. Come to that it wouldn’t matter if the massacre had taken place at the headquarters of UKIP or the Front National. There’s no justification for it. And yes, I know nobody is seeking to justify it, and I’ll defend people against that accusation, but the point is that there is no immediate context in which to put it, other than the massacre of innocent journalists by people who wished to massacre innocent journalists. And if you adopt,for instance, the slogan “Je suis Charlie”, it’s not saying you identify with everything or even anything that the magazine published.

Now yes, at some time, at some difficult-to-identify time in the future, there will be articles to be written about the content of Charlie Hebdo, and those will need to be properly critical, or adulatory, or whatever the writer wants to say, because that’s what freedom of speech is all about. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to attack the magazine, at this particular time. You can do it, and have the right to do it, and people shouldn’t sat you’re doing something that you aren’t. But it’s not in good taste, and we do understand as human beings that death, especially violent death, is a time when taste does really matter.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

ejh, a real pleasure to see you back, even if only briefly.

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CL - January 8, 2015

“There’s a point where I have to wonder what exactly we’re arguing about. We all of us agree we wouldn’t censor it. We agree it’s unpleasant, or at least some covers are. It’s hard to know where this discussion goes from there.”-WBS.
Exactly.
Innocuous, harmless speech does not have to be defended because nobody opposes it. Its the obnoxious, unpopular speech and publication that has to be defended,-especially when it provokes murder.
“Freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently.”
― Rosa Luxemburg

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

+1 CL

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15. CL - January 8, 2015

“An adjunct lecturer in Trinity’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies has tonight said he would seek legal advice if Irish journalists were to republish Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed….”
Dr Ali Selim, referring to Ireland’s blasphemy laws, said “the fact that you don’t agree with the law does not give you the right to break the law”
http://www.universitytimes.ie/?p=32228

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CL - January 8, 2015

Dr. Selim said he would be “interested in talking” to former Fine Gael TD Lucinda Creighton about the new political party she is forming.
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ali-selim-urges-media-not-to-republish-charlie-hebdo-cartoons-1.2058244

Jesus Christ! (sorry, I blaspheme)

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Bartholomew - January 8, 2015

Selim is a bit of an outlier, even if the Irish Times is very keen on making his a voice of Islam in Ireland:

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/controversial-views-of-islamic-scholar-not-shared-by-muslim-community-1.1922655

However, he does point to one aspect of the issue which hasn’t featured much in the discussion. Islam is an iconoclastic and iconophobic religion. Visual representations of Allah or of the prophet are forbidden. (In fact figurative art of any kind is not allowed in a religious context.) As far as I know, this applies even to favourable representations. This makes controversy over cartoons very different than in say Catholicism, where a picture of the pope is a good thing and until recently many Irish houses had one. This is why islamic fundamentalists are more exercised about cartoons than about words.

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Garibaldy - January 8, 2015

Depends on the form of Islam. For example, coincidentally a library in Dublin was showing an exhibition including old Islamic depictions of Mohammed when the Danish cartoon thing blew up.

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fergal - January 8, 2015

Bart-‘ Islam is an iconoclastic and iconophobic religion’ not so clear cut- for Sunnis yes but for Shiaas no http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depictions_of_Muhammad
Aren’t Baptists iconophobic and originated in the Iconoclastic movements in the 16th century Holland- I presume Baptist fundamentalists get angry at cartoons too- don’t know if they riddle people with bullets for it- they would have four hundred years ago. Maybe this is what Islam needs today more than ever- its own Reformation and Enlightenment- it had its own Renaissance but afaik not its own Reformation or Enlightenment- reform that can only come form inside Islam of course.
Attempt at humour!! How do the sunnis know if a cartoon depicts Mahammad? As no images are allowed of him? Okay I’ll get me skull cap, veil, kippa….

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Bartholomew - January 8, 2015

True, although the Christian iconoclasts in the 16th century took it out on the pictures and statues rather than on the people who made them. Years ago I read a book making precisely that argument, that Islam needed a reformation – can’t remember the book though. Presbyterian muslims, anyone?

More broadly I wonder if discussions about the racism or not of Charlie Hebdo may be missing the point. It seems that the journalists were massacred because the murderers had religious objections to the cartoons rather than because the cartoons were racist (‘the prophet is avenged’). The discussion about racism is really a discussion about whether the cartoons offend us, which isn’t the point.

Great joke by the way.

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fergal - January 9, 2015

Cheers Bart- there’s a part of me that feels that we have never really had an anti-clerical culture in this country. We just don’t get it, how many caricatures of Catholicism have we had over the last 50 years?? In France you could probably line the Champs Elysees with a collection of them.
Sonofstan- only rich people’s religions can be mocked?Unless there is perfect equality? Not sure i buy that,sorry
Someone mentioned Onferay- french philosopher saying that he classed Islam as ‘the most awful’ religion- i think his reason for that was that certain versions of islam do not accept the separation of church and state- that a theocracy is still on the cards whereas as christians and jews have accepted the separation of church and state- maybe not in alabama or in israel though!

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16. Gabby - January 8, 2015

Whether satire is Right or Left – or dead centre commercial enterprise – can that subjective concept called Taste have a look-in when freedom of speech is being debated?

A right to insult and antagonise could conflict with laws on public order, couldn’t it?

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

It could indeed, a lot would depend on context.

Taste isn’t immaterial either but it is subjective. After all the commentor who I have heard most requests from others to ban over the years after Bartley and Alastair was Mark P, but unlike the former two did he rarely enough crosses the actual red lines the site lays down even if his tone is at times obnoxious and not to others taste.

So what does one do? I guess it’s a balance between allowing a latitude while also trying not to let something/someone’s approach become so off putting as to drive others away. This site of course is a walled garden compared to out there. We can and do implement our own rules and freedom of speech isn’t unlimited nor do we have an absolute adherence to same.

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Gabby - January 8, 2015

a fair answer.

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17. CL - January 8, 2015

“God is not great, Charlie Hebdo is.”
http://thepensivequill.am/2015/01/charlie-hebdo.html

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18. 6to5against - January 8, 2015

It has to be ironic in some way that this has involved into a discussion about banning people from the site. I’m sure there’s a brilliantly witty comment to be made about that, but I’m afraid to even try…

From my own perspective, I don’t think I agree with Mark P, but I found his comments genuinely interesting. If the only thing we’re allowed to say about yesterday is how awful it all is, I don’t really see why we should bother saying it.

Satire is important. And its important to defend it, even if that defense will be abused by people who are simply obnoxious. And any decent satirical artist will occasionally fail, and end up revealing their own prejudices. There’s a well known and frequently lauded cartoonist in Ireland, for example, that I find pretty irritating on occasion. I think I should be able to say that, but that should not be taken as an implication that I would like him to be executed.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

I can’t +1 your comment enough, but particularly this:

“If the only thing we’re allowed to say about yesterday is how awful it all is, I don’t really see why we should bother saying it. ”

I think that is spot on.

Liked by 1 person

19. CL - January 8, 2015

“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” –Salman Rushdie

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sonofstan - January 8, 2015

Religion is not the problem, and even if it is ‘a form of unreason’ it has many competitors, capitalism, colonialism and scientism being others.

Yesterday’s events weren’t caused by Islam anymore that Martin Luther caused the Orange Order.

And I’m afraid I half agree with Mark P and Seymour; much of CH’s output was racist. Surely Irish people above most others should grasp the difference between criticising a religious organisation for its political behaviour and abuse of people because they are catholics or whatever.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

I don’t actually agree with Seymour, or at least I also only half agree with him, because I think he’s too sweeping and glib and treats the issue of racism as a kind of binary divide. In fact, it’s perfectly possible for a publication (or a person) to be generally anti-racist, and to sincerely regard themselves as such, while having frankly racist blindspots or gaps or racist views on particular issues, which are of course excused as not really racist for some reason.

The most common example in Ireland is attitudes towards travellers amongst even people who would react angrily to someone making a bigoted remark about black people. The most common example in France is attitudes towards Muslim immigrants. Perhaps not entirely coincidentally the justification used is often precisely the same: but, but, but x isn’t a race!

Here’s a comment from Sebastian Budgen, a somewhat prominent socialist academic living in France, which strikes me as more enlightening than either Seymour’s rather one sided account or the special pleading of those who want to contextualise away the plainly bigoted by saying that it’s a radical magazine so they couldn’t really mean it that way:

“There is a silly debate about whether CH is a “racist” publication or not. Clearly not, in the sense of its origins lying in a left-wing, post-68, highly transgressive vulgarity and its opposition to the far Right. It is part of the mental furniture of much of the French Left, radical included (think of a mash-up between Private Eye, Viz, Oz, Ben Elton and The Young Ones), and most people will have affectionate memories of it prior to the 2000s. (Charb himself illustrated Daniel Bensaïd’s Marx for Beginners books not so long ago, for example.) But, like the rest of the French Left, it has adapted to Islamophobia and carried what are objectively racist cartoons, given that we understand how religion is racially coded in France. Here lies the rub – lots of people on the French Left not only don’t understand this but actually reject this notion, and then throw back in your face arguments about Algeria, Iran or Pakistan that are totally irrelevant. And, of course, the same libertarian patter can be then trotted out to portray themselves as tremendously “courageous” for mocking “all religions” (as they do), as if they all lie on the same plane. Michel Onfray, the libertarian “philosopher” has followed the same path, writing a whole book on “Atheology” in which he criticised “all religions”, but adding that, although they were all equally awful, Islam was the most awful of the lot. In other words, the story of CH encapsulates the trajectory of much of the French Left since the early 1980s on the question of “religion” (race).”

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sonofstan - January 8, 2015

Well I guess I quarter agree with him then, doing the sums. That’s good from Budgen.

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Mark P - January 8, 2015

Yes, it is. Some substantiation of his remarks about the publication’s “turn”, can be found here:

http://lmsi.net/L-opinion-du-Patron

It’s in French, but Google translate renders it mostly comprehensible. The quotes from two writers who parted company with it are of particular interest.

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Garibaldy - January 8, 2015

I think a lot of this debate shows just how different are some fundamental assumptions in the English-speaking and French left worlds, particularly about the relationship between religion, liberty and democracy. To trace this very crudely, I think it’s a matter to which the French Revolution continues to be seen as a source of inspiration and almost an ongoing thing for the French left in a way that is not the case elsewhere; very few French radicals would regard its core principles as belonging to bourgeois politics. The prominence of laïcité and the determination not to be seen to be giving special treatment to particular interest groups (originally religions) lie at the heart of a lot of French left thinking on secularism, equality, and integration.

There has been a carryover of attitudes evolved during the struggle against the Catholic Church over several centuries to religion as a whole. There has long been a widespread acceptance on the French radical left of the idea of restrictions on religion, and of deriding it. The French state has over decades maintained much of the rhetoric re: equality and secularism while ignoring it, and violating it, in practice. The commitment of many on the radical French left to such principles, however, is entirely genuine.

Without grasping this, the attitude to things like the wearing of the burka cannot be properly understood, and is instead interpreted by many within the English-speaking world within a fundamentally different model that has its roots in Dutch and English liberalism, rather than the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Again, put crudely, one has a tradition of toleration from which grew the idea that liberty and democracy as applied to religion was let people do what they want within a fundamentally religious state ethos, the other that equality is not just equality between religions, but also for those without it. Therefore religion must be banished as far as possible from public life. I think in some of these debates, people on the English-speaking left are sometimes caught between the two in a way not often true of the French radical left, often without even realising it.

I’m never been much of a fan of Charlie Hebdo, but I don’t believe much of the French radical left looks at many of those covers in a very similar vein to people in the English-speaking world.

To come to Budgen, I think a lot of French radicals would question his characterisation of its origins as lying in the post-68 world. Instead, there is plenty of comment seeing it as part of a tradition stretching back to the Enlightenment, and the scurrilous pamphlets circulated about what the monarchy, aristocrats, priests and nuns supposedly got up to. Comparisons have been directly made between the satire of the revolutionaries of the 1790s and Charlie Hebdo. As I understand it, people involved in the magazine often look it that way too.

In many cases, I don’t think it’s a case of adapting to Islamophobia so much as there being pre-existing resources that can be drawn on to deal with particularly reactionary forms of religion, and a model to fit it in to.

Whether the French left’s perceptions of its attitudes are accurate or not, or indeed those of the English-speaking left, there will inevitably be something of a dialogue of the deaf unless the place of traditions stemming from 1789 within the current French left are properly understood.

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dmfod - January 8, 2015

I think there’s an age dimension to it as well. If you grew up in a religious-dominated society, such as Ireland until maybe the 2000s, you’re more likely to see this in the context of anti-clericalism. If you grew up in the age of Post 9/11 and the War on Terror, you’re more likely to see it in the context of Islamophobia.

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Liberius - January 8, 2015

I’d caution against be as prescriptive as that, not all of us whose youth coincides with the “post-9/11” mayhem are so keen to soft-peddle on religion. I have a vivid memory from secondary school of being upbraided by the RE teacher for giving jokey answers to some questions about Christian ‘teachings’; that definitely gives me a feeling of deep solidarity with cartoonists lampooning religion.

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WorldbyStorm - January 8, 2015

Studies I’ve seen date the societal rupture with religion to the late 80s and early 1990s. The X case and Casey, and Goldenbridge in 1992 were decisive turning points. By the mid-1990s with the win on divorce it was well clear that the RCC was nowhere near the power in the land it had been before hand. That means that if it is an age related thing then it’s people who would broadly speaking be in their mid to late teens then or older who would remember that shedding of power. That’s a lot of people and difficult to map it onto pre or post 9/11.

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fergal - January 8, 2015

Quite an impressive feat by Budgen religion becomes ‘race’ in a few hundred words. Is slagging off Christianity eg Bush’s Christian fundamentalism an example of racism, if it isn’t why isn’t it?
What exactly is Islamophobia? Is there such a thing as Christanophobia? Why not? This is not to say that there is no anti- Muslim feeling in France or no anti-Arab racism, too much unfortunately.
It’s been a fascinating debate, informative, helpful- but i think we’ll just have to agree to disagree- but i won’t be coming after you witt a gun!!

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sonofstan - January 8, 2015

Fergal – if xians and Muslims lived together in perfect harmony in a perfectly equal society, then equal opportunity slagging would be in order. But ridicule in the context of inequality becomes its accomplice.

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20. Michael Carley - January 8, 2015

Whenever I hear people saying we should be careful what we say about terrorism from some particular source, in order not to give succour to something-o-phobia, I ask myself: should people in the 1980s have refrained from criticizing the Provos, in order to avoid giving succour to skinheads who chanted `No surrender to the IRA’.

We can be reasonably careful about language, and take a principled position, without having to attack, even by implication, a whole culture, or the practitioners of any faith(s).

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21. CL - January 8, 2015

Hitchen’s take:

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Ed - January 8, 2015

… peace be upon him …

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22. Mark P - January 8, 2015

Here, by the way, is the statement of Gauche Revolutionairre, the sister organisation of the Socialist Party in France, in what appears to be a rather hurried translation:

http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/7029

It’s a great deal less critical of Charlie Hebdo than I’ve been.

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smiffy - January 8, 2015

Maybe they’ve read it.

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23. CL - January 8, 2015

An important step towards Irish re-unification; Northern Ireland is to be allowed set its own corporate tax rate.

“A reduction in the rate from the UK-wide 21% to match the 12.5% for firms in the Republic of Ireland, a competitor for foreign direct investment, has been described as a “game changer” by advocates who consider it valuable in persuading firms to create jobs in Northern Ireland.”
http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0108/671192-northern-ireland-corporation-tax/

‘The cause of capital is the cause of Ireland….’

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CL - January 8, 2015

“while Sinn Fein have shouted from the roof tops that it is opposed to welfare reform in reality it agreed to the implementation of the main cuts to benefits many months ago, alongside the other Executive parties….

The main plank of the agreement is a massive programme of job cuts across the public sector. Twenty thousand jobs will go. This represents a total adoption of the neo-liberal argument that an over-large public sector holds back the development of the private sector….

No political party which proposes the cutting of 20,000 jobs in the public sector and the promotion of the private sector with all that this entails can legitimately claim to be on the left.”
http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/7026

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CL - January 8, 2015

Privatisation of public assets will include:

” Belfast Harbour Estate, Northern Ireland Rail, Ulsterbus, NI Water, Donaghadee harbour,…

The biggest sell-off is likely to be of the Housing Executive’s 80,000 homes. The HE can be seen as the most solid single achievement of the early civil rights movement, established to end local council discrimination and provide social housing for all. It is now at imminent risk.”
http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/tory-cuts-in-north-gift-wrapped-in-process-that-keeps-on-giving-1.2057975

Thatcher lives… with Sinn Fein help.

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Gewerkschaftler - January 8, 2015

As expected. Sighs.

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24. CL - January 8, 2015

“Must all deliberate offense-giving, in any context, be celebrated, honored, praised? I think not. But in the presence of the gun — or, as in the darker chapters of my own faith’s history, the rack or the stake — both liberalism and liberty require that it be welcomed and defended.”
http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/07/the-blasphemy-we-need/

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25. Jim Monaghan - January 8, 2015
fergal - January 8, 2015

Sad to see Eamonncork signing off from this site- a wonderful contributor- just hope wbs that markp hasn’t endangered anybody on this site as there is a lunatic fringe that believes such cartoons should never be published.
I see cartoons mocking religions,where is the racism???Is mocking Christianity racist? Why? Why not? is mocking Judaism racist? Why/why not? Is mocking Islam racist? Why/why not?
http://qz.com/322550/charlie-hebdo-has-had-more-legal-run-ins-with-christians-than-with-muslims/

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CMK - January 8, 2015

This is the third time I’ve seen him storm off in a huff over something like this. He’ll be back once his gets his fill of p.ie, I can guarantee you that.

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Ed - January 8, 2015

Sorry, couldn’t resist:

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CL - January 8, 2015

Agrarian irredentists such as EC lack the sophisticated, post-modern political sensibility to make valuable contributions to this site; it just as well that he’s gone.

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Ed - January 8, 2015

Ok how about this for a thoroughly non-ironic post: I don’t agree with much of what Mark P has said above, but I think Eamonn’s claim that he was gleefully trying to justify the Paris murders is inaccurate and unfair (the adverb especially). And to put a hex on the whole site because of the views of one commenter is really a bit much. FWIW I also think the Richard Seymour piece that started this line of discussion off is pompous, asinine drivel. I think EJH pretty much nails it in his post above.

And the absolute last person whose views I would want to hear on this subject is Hitchens, who was a 24-carat racist boor and apologist for war crimes. For all the atrocities committed by groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram since 2001, they still haven’t managed to kill as many civilians as the US and its allies have killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of the ‘war on terror’ that Hitchens shilled for (among other things, that war included deliberate attacks on Al Jazeera offices in Iraq and Afghanistan by the US military, and discussions between Bush and Blair about whether to bomb the Al Jazeera HQ in Qatar—worth bearing in mind when you hear people claim that ‘we’ believe in free speech and ‘they’ don’t.).

We’re not talking about a war between civilization and barbarism, it’s between two forms of barbarism that feed off each other. I loathe the kind of people who were most likely behind yesterday’s attack—they only have a problem with western states oppressing and terrorizing Muslims because they want to be the ones doing the oppressing and terrorizing themselves. But I don’t want to see revulsion at their crimes, which is absolutely justified and necessary, manipulated and exploited by western ruling classes who have even more blood on their hands.

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Ed - January 8, 2015

These findings about Iraq war casualties didn’t receive anything like as much attention as they should. I’m posting this not because I think the murders in Paris were in any way a response to the slaughter in Iraq—still less a legitimate response—but because I want to underline the hypocrisy of the people who organized or supported that slaughter but are now talking about how wicked it is to kill innocent civilians:

“The researchers calculated the crude death rates (i.e., the number of deaths during a year per 1,000 individuals) before and during the war. They found the wartime crude death rate in Iraq to be 4.55 per 1,000, more than 50% higher than the death rate of 2.89 during the two-year period preceding the war. By multiplying those rates by the annual Iraq population, the authors estimate the total excess Iraqi deaths attributable to the war through mid-2011 to be about 405,000. The researchers also estimated that an additional 56,000 deaths were not counted due to migration. Including this number, their final estimate is that approximately half a million people died in Iraq as a result of the war and subsequent occupation from March 2003 to June 2011 . . .

“US-led coalition forces were reported to be responsible for the largest proportion of war-related violent deaths (35%), followed by militia (32%). While militia were reportedly responsible for the most adult male deaths in the sibling survey, coalition forces were reportedly responsible for killing the most women.”

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001533#abstract1

People are right to be angry about what was done in Paris yesterday. And they should also be angry about what was done in Iraq. There’s no hierarchy of victims, or at least there shouldn’t be.

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26. Gewerkschaftler - January 8, 2015

Greek Debt write-down – another German position.

Sahra Wagenknecht is deputy leader of die Linke and is one of the leading lights of could be described as one of the leading lights of the anti-capitalist stream within the party. She is particularly good on issues of political economy.

Below I’ve translated a short interview with her take on the the current Greek elections and the question of a write-off of public debt.

Q. What do you think of the German Government threat to kick Greece out of the Euro when they don’t abide by their agreements?

SW: That is a transparent attempt to influence the Greek elections. A
form of blackmail intended to frighten the people of Greece. In fact
everyone knows that Greece needs the writing off of debt. Most of the money that Germany has sunk there will never be seen again. They want to distract us from that fact.

Q. How much of the debt should be written down?

SW: Actually it should be more than two thirds, in order to achieve the
Maastricht criteria. But at least half should be written off. Greece
needs investment, Greece need demand. You’ll never escape the vicious circle if you continually make poorer. Up till now the so-called
bail-out of Greece has only helped the banks and hedge-funds.

Q. But isn’t it right that we demand that Tsipras sticks to the existing agreements?

SW: The policies that the Troika have for many years now imposed on Athens have laid waste to Greece. The Greeks have lost on average 40% of their income, unemployment is extremely high, the younger generation there have no future. It is simply cynical of Sigmar Gabriel [German SPD chairman and vice-Chancellor of Germany] to suggest that they should apply themselves to making further cuts.

Q. Would it be so bad if Greece were to go back to the Drachma?
Would that damage the Euro.

SW: In the long term one could consider it, but if such an exit from
the Euro were to be succesful, the ECB would have to support the new currency against the attacks of speculators. An uncontrolled exit
would lead to hyperinflation of the Drachma and a massive increase in the cost of imports for the Greeks. Apart from that it is likely that
Grexit would set off further speculative attacks agains other
highly-indebted countries within the Eurozone.

Q. Could Greece and Tsipras lead to the beginning of the end of
austerity politics in Europe?

SW: That would be desirable. You can only claim that the Euro-crisis
is on the way to recovery if you look at it from the point of view of the
financial markets. The citizens and the economies of the countries
in crisis have not recovered, quite the contrary. Their situation in
Italy or Spain are very bad, and standards of living have sunk while
unemployment is high. It’s to be expected that people want to defend
themselves against that. I hope that this self-defence will soon
change European politics.

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Gewerkschaftler - January 8, 2015

Sorry for the cut-and-paste layout errors.

Here she is laying into Frau Dr. Merkel over the role of Germany in Ukraine. With English subtitles.

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CMK - January 8, 2015

GW thanks for this. A decent interview below of Alex Tsipiras by Channel 4 News’ Paul Mason

http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/alexis-tsipras-debt-relief-elgin-marbles-2/2861?intcmp=news_header_politics_news_article

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27. 1MayBloc - January 8, 2015

People may wish to add their names to this call for support?
http://www.with-the-greeks.eu/

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Gewerkschaftler - January 10, 2015

That one’s new to me 1MB – thanks for posting the link.

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28. sonofstan - January 8, 2015

Don’t know how to copy and paste on this tablet what work gave me, but there’s a piece on ‘Ireland’s resurgent left’ in Jacobin

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sonofstan - January 8, 2015

Sorry, just saw Jim posted it earlier

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29. roddy - January 8, 2015

I always found Eamon to be one of the best informed posters on this site and would urge him to reconsider his decision to leave.

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30. ivorthorne - January 8, 2015

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/12/talking-cure

Interesting article on class, parental style and differential outcomes in health and education.

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31. CL - January 8, 2015

This inoffensive cartoon has been approved by anti-freedom of speech terrorists.

a ———–

—–

– z

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32. Gabby - January 9, 2015

🙂

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33. Jack Jameson - January 9, 2015

Charlie Hebdo warrants a separate thread under its own title rather than just a ‘What you want to say?’, non?

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Gewerkschaftler - January 9, 2015

I’m not so sure JJ.

I’d be of the opinion that this site shouldn’t follow the MSM in terms of Agenda.

That’s exactly what the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ types on either side want. And with them the owning and ruling classes.

Because it distracts us from the Clash of Classes.

The Charlie Hebdo attack was awful, and in no way justifiable. But I don’t really add much by saying so here.

Our best contribution to as people of the left is to point out how this kind of mutual antagonism and carnage is related to the current crises of capitalism itself and the related crises of political and cultural legitimation.

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2015

I agree very strongly G. I think there’s a real danger of over concentrating on an issue like that. That’s not to say there aren’t aspects we should consider sooner or later, but there’s not a lot to add at this point.

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CL - January 10, 2015

“Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.”-Rupert Murdoch
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rupert-murdoch-tweets-jihadist-cancer-762397

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sonofstan - January 10, 2015

Was talking about this with someone today and we were wondering at how any attempt to understand how Muslims in France might feel is construed as somehow condoning what happened. Maybe a bit tenuous, but consider how Bloody Sunday still hangs over Derry and how many people it drove to the Provos. Now consider that just over 50 years ago, the police in Paris murdered in cold blood somewhere in the region of 150 Algerians- mostly Muslims- in the course of one night. If you’re in your 20s, that would have been your parents generation.

Liked by 1 person

Michael Carley - January 10, 2015

Not tenuous at all. On top of that I have had the occasional English person decide I am personally responsible for the crimes of the IRA. What is it like now for Muslims?

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CL - January 10, 2015

“The circumstances that attract young men and women to these groups are creations of the Western world that they inhabit – which is itself a result of long years of colonial rule in the countries of their forebears….
The smugness of secular liberals who talk of defending freedom to the death is matched by liberal Muslims who waffle endlessly about how what happened had nothing to do with Islam. There are different versions of Islam (the occupation of Iraq was used deliberately to trigger the Sunni-Shia wars that helped give birth to the Islamic State); it is meaningless to claim to speak in the name of a ‘real’ Islam. The history of Islam from its very beginnings is replete with factional struggles. Fundamentalist currents within Islam as well as external invasions were responsible for wiping out many cultural and scientific advances in the late medieval period. Such differences continue to exist.”-Tariq Ali.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/09/maximum-horror/

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2015

+1 to all three of you. I think I mentioned when this broke, it’d be far too easy for France to become a cold house, or more accurately a colder house to Muslims in the wake of this.

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CL - January 10, 2015

Rather than a ‘clash of civilizations’ what seems to be happening is that the ruling oligarchies of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. are in cahoots to preserve their
power and privileges.
Patrick Cockburn has some interesting views on Saudi support for Islamic terror and on the war between Shia and Sunni.

” Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists….

What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates…
Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control…
The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/iraq-crisis-how-saudi-arabia-helped-isis-take-over-the-north-of-the-country-9602312.html

Meanwhile in Washington.

“Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday ramped up efforts to get President Obama to release 28 top-secret pages from a 9/11 report that allegedly detail Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the terror attacks…
Lawmakers and advocacy groups have pushed for the declassification for years. The effort already had bipartisan House support but now has the backing of retired Florida Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, a former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman whom supporters hope will help garner enough congressional backing to pressure Obama into releasing the confidential information…
He argued that failing to disclose the truth will spur Saudi Arabia’s continued or “accelerated … financial support for institutions carrying out extreme forces of Islam.” Graham argued Saudi Arabia has been a hotbed for such extremist groups as Al Qaeda, al-Shabaab and now the Islamic State.”
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/01/07/house-ramps-up-effort-for-obama-to-release-secret-11-document-with-help-from-ex/

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2015

Patrick Cockburn is great. Good spot CL!

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CL - January 13, 2015

“In all the official rhetoric about freedom of speech in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it is notable that there are two words that apparently must not be spoken: Saudi Arabia. Yet it is impossible to understand what is happening now without grasping the fact that the mentality of the killers is not a weird aberration. It is shaped by an official cult propagated by a government western states are anxious to appease at almost any cost. Saudi Arabia has spent about $100 billion in recent decades spreading an extremist ideology, a hybrid of Wahhabism and Salafism, two versions of an Islam supposedly “purified” of its “foreign” influences….”
http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-time-to-lift-veil-on-saudi-arabia-s-hijacking-of-islam-1.2063268

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CL - January 14, 2015

“As the US resorted to rendition, the mistreatment and torture of prisoners, expanded security agencies and limited civil rights for its own people it delegitimised itself and acted as recruiting sergeant for al-Qaeda and its clones….
The failure that has put all the world in danger is at the level of politics rather than security. It was political leaders who got rid of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and have tried to displace Bashar al-Assad in Syria without thinking through the consequences. One can argue about whether or not this was a good thing to do, but the result of these actions has been to open the gates to al-Qaeda, Isis and their clones. From these savage conflicts sparks are bound to fly and start fires in Europe.” Patrick Cockburn.
Cockburn’s columns are available here.
http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/2015/

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rockroots - January 12, 2015

Slavoj Žižek’s take:

“Fundamentalism is a reaction – a false, mystifying, reaction, of course – against a real flaw of liberalism, and this is why it is again and again generated by liberalism. Left to itself, liberalism will slowly undermine itself – the only thing that can save its core values is a renewed Left.”

http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/01/slavoj-i-ek-charlie-hebdo-massacre-are-worst-really-full-passionate-intensity

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Gewerkschaftler - January 12, 2015

Thanks for all of those links above.

The Z-man at his dialectical best. He goes on:

“What Max Horkheimer had said about Fascism and capitalism already back in 1930s – those who do not want to talk critically about capitalism should also keep quiet about Fascism – should also be applied to today’s fundamentalism: those who do not want to talk critically about liberal democracy should also keep quiet about religious fundamentalism.”

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34. irishelectionliterature - January 9, 2015

Anyone else hear that the Unions have decided not to organise any more national protests on Water Charges?

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35. Michael Carley - January 9, 2015

Those who read New Statesman might like to have a look at a fairly spectacular dose of rubbish about SF on the letters page this week. I think it will be online around Thursday.

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36. AonRud - January 10, 2015

From the BBC, “Conservatives pledge public sector strike curbs”
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30747185).

Considering the kind of turnouts UK elections can get, they might want to be careful what they have to say about the legitimacy of ballots…

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WorldbyStorm - January 10, 2015

Yep!

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EWI - January 11, 2015

Agreed that this really ought to be the first line of defence, i.e. ridiculing the Tories themselves:

And GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: “Only 16 out of 650 elected Members of Parliament secured the support of 40% of those entitled to vote in their parliamentary constituency area election in 2010.

“Only 15 Tory MPs out of 303 secured that level of support. They had no hesitation in forming a government in 2010 without securing 40% support from the electorate.”

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37. ar scáth a chéile - January 11, 2015

Chomsky on two atrocities:Charlie Hebdo and NATO’s attack on Serbian state tv in 1999:
https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/we-are-all-fill-in-the-blank/

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Alibaba - January 11, 2015

Typically, Chomsky’s take puts these events in context. He has an impressive command of information. He has digested it all into a fundamental and outspoken critique of state aggression and especially of the US self-interest. He has also told us elsewhere how dissent such as his, even book reviews, was suppressed in North America, especially by the state media which, being consciously liberal, are more ideological and less likely to broadcast any form of dissent.

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CL - January 11, 2015

Chomsky’s views are readily available. I just googled ‘Chomsky’ in Google News and got 74,300 hits.
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&authuser=0&q=chomsky&oq=chomsky&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j0j43i53.3687.5343.0.7335.7.4.0.3.3.0.141.413.2j2.4.0…0.0…1ac.1.K__R9ZX1818&gws_rd=ssl#hl=en&gl=us&authuser=0&tbm=nws&q=chomsky

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38. EWI - January 11, 2015

Late (2013!), but interesting, piece on the defeat of the then red-green government in Norway. One striking paragraph, among many:

Finally, the workfare policy which is directed towards those who are in the weakest position in the labour market is not being felt as help and support from a generous welfare state, but as repressive and disciplinary punishment. Important parts of the workfare ideology restore much of the bourgeois moralism from the end of the 19 century, in which social problems, unemployment and exclusion from the labour market are changed from being considered a social to once again being seen as an individual problem – where the individual’s work ethic is the main problem.

http://www.socialeurope.eu/2013/09/the-norwegian-national-election-europes-most-leftist-government-defeated-by-right-wing-coalition/

Does anyone know of *any* efforts by unions here to roll back Gateway and JobBridge?

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2015

Fantastic piece you found there EWI. That puts a lot of my thoughts into words. I don’t think I’ve heard anything along those lines of a push to roll it back.

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Tomboktu - January 11, 2015

Depends on what you mean by “roll back”.

The INTO has ordered members not to cooperate with Jobbridge and disciplined members for disobeying that order. The discipline process has been reported on twice in the union’s magazine In Touch (available on the web – see the issues dated June and December 2014).

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CMK - January 11, 2015

EWI, that’s almost quaint ‘any efforts by the unions to row back Gatewya and JobBridge.’

The unions were central players in the introduction of Gateway (ca. 15% of Fingal County Council ’employees’ are now Gateway).

Go to the website of ICTU or SIPTU and search for “JobBridge” and “Gateway” and you want find one word of overt criticism in any of the results returned. You certainly won’t find a single critical reference to the whole idea of internships etc.

‘Partnership’ survives in a phantom limb sense in the absence of any Union criticism of these schemes. The truth is that JobBridge, Gateway etc are useful disciplinary tools for trade Union officialdom.

Like the way perpetual crisis in the public health system serves as a marketing tool for private health insurance, the Union officials know that people in reasonable steady ‘good’ jobs are seeing, more and more, contemporaries in their 30s, 40s being forced into these schemes, with the mental toll that entails, and the former are terrified and cling ever closer to the ‘don’t rock the boat.’

Beyond a perfunctory criticism, for appearances sake, we’re not going to see any push back on these schemes, or workfare proper when it arrives here, for this generation of trade union leaders and officials.

If that is stomach churning wait til we see the gruesome spectacle that awaits public sector workers in the coming months as ‘pay rises’ are trailed, so long, of courses, as they vote the right way.

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EWI - January 11, 2015

15% of Fingal council workers are now ‘Gateway’? Jesus.

And it’s not as if popular memory here has forgotten the workhouse, either. On pay rises – a certain big union has been pushing about the notion that they are, contrary to Croke Park I’s provisions about the lowest-paid getting restoration first, going to look for a fixed sum (e.g. about a grand) ‘restored’ to everyone, management to street sweeper.

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39. EWI - January 11, 2015

Just for the hell of it:

Harbor moves into the political sphere, teams up with Labour Minister

Bernard Harbor, Head of Communications at the IMPACT trade union, is taking a career break to work with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, the Labour Party TD for Dublin South.

http://www.irn.ie/issues/article_unreg.asp?id=21893&issueType=1

Not so much a comment on Harbor himself, as an asie on the observable truth that IMPACT is clearly just as much ‘wagged by the tail’ that is the Labour Party as SIPTU is, despite claims that there’s no link between the former and the ILP.

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40. Tomboktu - January 11, 2015

“Already, anyone who dares to examine the causes of the massacre, the reasons the Kouachi brothers drifted into jihadist violence, is being warned that to do so is to excuse the real culprit, radical Islam”

“France shuns expressions of difference, notably the hijab, but continues to treat French citizens of Muslim origin as foreigners. Second and third-generation citizens are still routinely described as ‘immigrants’.”

“To say that France has an integration problem, and that it’s in urgent need of repair, isn’t to let the killers – or, pace Packer, their ideology – off the hook.”

“Social causes matter. The Kouachi brothers were products of the West – and of the traumatic collision between Western power and an Islamic world that has been torn apart by both internal conflict and Western military intervention. They were, above all, beurs, French citizens from the banlieue: Parisians of North African descent.”

http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2015/01/09/adam-shatz/moral-clarity/

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2015

Yes, some very good considered analysis is coming out, Slate of all places had two excellent pieces on the problematic aspects of all this. Jonathan Freedland as well in the Guardian.

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fergal - January 11, 2015

Tomboktu- some interesting stuff there- “France shuns expressions of difference, notably the hijab, but continues to treat French citizens of Muslim origin as foreigners. Second and third-generation citizens are still routinely described as ‘immigrants’.”
Who shuns the hijab? It is banned in state run schools as is the crucifix and the kippa as are all ostentacious displays of religion in secular schools. When that law was officially introduced out of a school going population of around 600,000 16 schoolgirls(never the boys, is it?) turned up wearing the hijab they were refused entry itno the schools and received school tuition instead.
The burqa(full body veil) is offically banned which is a totally daft law, unenforceable and counter productive not the hijab(face veil).
There are undoubtedly serious social and economic problems in the suburban ghettos that ring the bigger cities.The English-speaking media tends to focus on religion-history? culture? and this is problematic for much of the French left that still ‘believe’ in the primacy of class- something that surely has a resonance in this country- and not religion which can and does divide people.
A middle class of ‘beurs’ has emerged over the last few decades the “beurgoisie”- markp would probably call them a bunch of Uncle Toms-, Marseille has the highest rate of mixed marriages in Europe, the current Minister of education was born in Morocco and her dad is a builder’s labourer(how many sons of labourers let alone daughters are ministers in our star-studded cabinet! This Independent report seems to say something else http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/how-france-sees-muslims-very-positively–xJWty9Wt9x
This is not to say that all is rosy in France, no it isn’t- there is plenty of racism and inequality.Two of those who were killed in Wednesday’s attack were from a Muslim background- a policeman and a copy editor with Charlie- how do they fit into a binary world of Islam= banlieue v frecn republicanism?

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fergal - January 11, 2015

that should be ‘home tuition’ oops!

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FergusD - January 11, 2015

Spoke to relative of mine who lives in a banlieu in Marseille which is predominately immigrant with many “muslims” i.e. people from muslim countries, they don’t necessarily practice the religion. e has been there about 30 years. He tells me the place is even more tense than usual, unsurprisingly. Flooded with cops. NF have won a mairie near him recently. Drug crime is a curse of the area with drug gangs battling it out in the street with automatic weapons. Murders are common but he still feels the place has a community, even if it is them (the estate) against the rest. He was without a car for a while recently and said when he had once again, and was able to travel more outside the estate, he realised that his estate was, essentially, a ghetto, feared by outsiders.

He is going to a march in solidarity with the massacre victims today. All the French left condemn the killings.

But..he says the position in his area is complex. Many in the bars he goes to condemn the killings but some of the youth think the killers were kind of cool, admire their guns etc. A lot of the locals see the cops as racist. Many feel that France’s “you are all French” official position is not matched by the action of the state. As an embattled community there is resentment at the cartoons, even if they people aren’t really religious themselves. I think they see them as an attack on them as a group, rather than on the religion per se.

My relative is worried about the future and, understandably, pessimistic. The immigrants on his estate aren’t much involved politically, they may vote left, but many don’t vote and the far right is gaining traction.

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workers republicu - January 11, 2015

+1

As soon as anyone mentions the alienation of French working class youths of North Africa decent or French neo-colonial foreign policy,they are accused of justifying the attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket, when they are definitly not.

There’s as interesting observation and comment in the Letters in Friday’s I.T.- “

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CL - January 11, 2015
workers republicu - January 11, 2015

(continue)
—“It is equally important that the response to the attacksdoes not lead to either an increase in future terrorist attacks or a rise in attacks on Muslim.
Hatred and revenge are not the answer to the grief that the relatives of the victims are experiencing”
(and later) “we should remember that the response of the French government to the suppression by the Tunisia dictator Ben Ali to the calls for democracy by peaceful protesters was to offer to send 300 French paratroopers.
Serious reflection and positive action on foreign policy they by the French government would be the best response at this tragic time”.

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41. Tomboktu - January 11, 2015

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WorldbyStorm - January 11, 2015

Which throws yet more light on proceedings.

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CL - January 11, 2015

‘Immigration has given us a clash of civilizations’ says Tom McGurk in SBP. (I haven’t read the article, just saw the reference in Broadsheet.) It looks as if Samuel Huntington’s notion is being revived,-again-, tho’ i thought it had been discredited.

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FergusD - January 12, 2015

Prime Minister of Israel was there. Leader of the country whose armed forces killed over 2000 Palestinian civilians in Gaza just a few months ago.

Interesting article about Netanyahu’s presence in Haaretz here: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.636557

Another article in Haaretz about calls for Jews to leave France for Israel folwoing the attacks: http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/west-of-eden/.premium-1.636552

Represenetative of the Egyption govt whose military killed nearly 1000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters protesting the coup that overthrew the elected govt.

Saw coverage of the march in Paris on UK C4. Much talk of national unity and French values. I wonder what the Charlie Hebdo jornalists would have made of it.

As always these terrible events are, inevitably, political in the way they are dealt with – of course but I’m not comfortable with the way they are being dealt with.

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rockroots - January 12, 2015

Examined in more detail below. Of course it’s easy to be cynical, but having these hypocritical cretins steal the limelight does a serious disservice to murdered anti-establishment figures and to 1.5 million sincere supporters of free press.

http://mic.com/articles/108166/one-student-s-epic-tweets-call-out-the-biggest-hypocrites-marching-for-free-speech-in-paris

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42. Starkadder - January 11, 2015

Michael Carley :

“it has a go at a few other targets as well, religious and not, and lays out various examples of `blasphemy’ in a number of countries, Christian and Muslim.”

On that subject, I’ve been looking at the covers of
Charlie Hebdo online, and the magazine seems to have
only targeted the RC Church.

I don’t recalling seeing
any CH covers attacking the Protestant or Orthodox
Churches (Pat Robertson and Putin’s ROC cheerleaders
spring to mind as potential targets).

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43. Michael Carley - January 11, 2015

I have the issue of 8 February 2006 in front of me. In an article headed `2005, bon cru pour le blasphe`me’, they list, among other cases:

Egypt. Two young Coptic women trying to convert to Islam were reported to the authorities by their families. As divorce is forbidden, conversion is a means of escaping a marriage.

Russia. The director of the Sakharov Museum in Moscow is condemned for an `anticlerical exhibition’.

Russia. Demonstrations against the ballet Rasputin, in which the character of Nicholas II, canonized as a martyr, dances.

Russia. Following protests from the Russian Orthodox Church, the organizers of a festival of modern art in Archangelsk censor themselves and withdraw one of the works, composed of a sickle of crucifixes.

Israel. Yishay Shlishel, an ultra-orthodox, beats three people at the Jerusalem Gay Pride—accused of being blasphemous by Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists.

Great Britain. Sister Mary Michael prayed for twelve hours before Lincoln Cathedral that God interrupt the filming of The Da Vinci Code and that he chastise the dean of Lincoln, guilty of blasphemy and simony for having allowed the filming.

(I’ve left out the Muslim and Catholic incidents they listed.)

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Starkadder - January 11, 2015

Okay, fair point.

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workers republicu - January 11, 2015

Have we got an unbalanced view of what ‘freedom of expression’ and the freedom to protest are. So what if R.C. Sister Mary Michael prayed for 12 hours at Lincoln Cathedral! Should it be against the law to pray. And if peole are offended,, if they believe something in a play or cartoon or whatever,is offensive to Muslims,Jews, Catholics, Gays,Roma, Travellers,or any other group. haven’t they the right to protest?
On this network, some criticized the cover of Private Eye which had the Israeli Prime Minister and another Zionists make a comment with the offending word ‘gas.’ I didn’t hear anyone defend the cartoon on the grounds of ‘humour’ or ‘free expression’: nor should they, but the conventional ‘wisdom?’, seems to be that it’s alright to offend Muslims and R. Catholic,but not Zionists.

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Gearóid - January 11, 2015

I think you’re confusing Private Eye with the Phoenix.

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fergal - January 11, 2015

W R- Charlie did plenty of caricatures against Judaism- something that probably doesn’t happen in the English speaking world.
Iran put on a Holocaust cartoon festival in response to the Muhommad cartton controversy, i think it’s still running http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Holocaust_Cartoon_Competition

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Michael Carley - January 11, 2015

I was only passing on the content of that issue (I happen to have kept a copy). I think they were straining a bit with the Lincoln Cathedral thing, and of course there is a right to protest.

You’re right about the conventional wisdom: the claims made for `Islamophobia’ being used to close down debate are actually far more true of `anti-Semitism’ being shouted when Zionism is criticized.

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44. Alibaba - January 11, 2015

Today I learned that a French national in Paris carried a card which says ‘I am Muslim, Don’t panic’. It captures a salient point well. Bon courage.

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45. CL - January 11, 2015

In France “About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim….
The prison system has only 100 Muslim clerics for the country’s 200 prisons, compared with about 480 Catholic, 250 Protestant and 50 Jewish chaplains,”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/28/AR2008042802560_2.html?sid=ST2008042802857

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46. sonofstan - January 12, 2015

“Tánaiste Joan Burton in recent months described O’Devaney Gardens as “one of the most fantastic housing sites actually in Europe” and one she wanted to see developed”

‘Actually in Europe’

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ivorthorne - January 12, 2015

I heard a reference on the radio last week to a figure for the numbers on “labour market activation measures” (e.g. Jobbridge, Jobs Plus and other workfare capitalist support mechanisms). I think it was either 65,000 or 86,000. Anyone know what the figure is and what the source is?

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fergal - January 12, 2015

Sonofstan- Joanie is 100 % right……you know Dublin is the capital city of ‘the best country in the world to do business in’ ergo…:-)

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47. Tomboktu - January 12, 2015

The Irish Times today has a report about a baptism ceremony in the Cistine Chapel, where Pope Francis told the mothers to feel free to breastfeed the infants if they were hungry, supplied by Reuters.

How times change: the paper retained the line where the agency explains what baptism is.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/pope-tells-mothers-at-sistine-chapel-to-feel-free-to-breastfeed-1.2062865

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48. Tomboktu - January 12, 2015

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Gerryboy - January 13, 2015

Well spotted. In the former Soviet Union, Pravda and the annual Soviet Encyclopedia often printed posed and airbrushed photos of great revolutionary leaders. The wonderful leaders in Paris were just following suit.

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Tomboktu - January 13, 2015

The Independent in London has covered the photograph.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/paris-march-tv-wide-shots-reveal-a-different-perspective-on-world-leaders-at-largest-demonstration-in-frances-history-9972895.html

And in Israel, the intended image has received some doctoring

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Gewerkschaftler - January 13, 2015

I have to say it stuck in my throat that, for example, Orban and Bibi – both specialists in violence against ‘the others’ to promote their political ends – were invited to this and given media legitimation.

But today there’s a demo called by the German Council of Muslims in Berlin against the instrumentalisation of the murders in Paris to further racism and Islamophobia – I’ll be there with my union.

Counter-demonstrators outnumbered Islamophobe ‘I’m not racist but…’ demonstrators in Germany last night (Monday 12th) by a factor of about three to one.

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que - January 13, 2015

Media whore extraordinary president Sarkozy elbowed and nudged his way up through the ranks to be photoed in the line up as a world leader even though he isnt.

The dignity of high office.

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49. Gearóid - January 12, 2015
CL - January 12, 2015

“Letters to the Limerick Leader in the late 1940s showed South was most concerned that Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, Rita Hayworth, Groucho Marx, Gene Kelly and others were part of a “Judeo-Masonic controlled conspiracy” to “warp and corrupt the minds of our youth”.” Link above.
This religious fundamentalism is the antithesis of the republicanism proclaimed in Paris on Sunday. But it does show that Gerry McGeough is a true successor to Sean South.

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50. roddy - January 12, 2015

All Garland;s supporters on here please take note that to this day the super stick refuses to denounce South.Both he and McGiolla are on the record saying South was not sectarian and Garland even went toe to toe with Ruth Dudley Edwards on the issue.I am not going to get into a week long slagging match with the usual suspects about this save to say if any of you have an issue with South ,take it up with Garland.

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Joe - January 12, 2015

Noted.

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51. Gewerkschaftler - January 13, 2015

From the “grotesque beyond belief” and “only in Ireland” departments, apparently dead Irish women should be regarded as incubators even in death according to the latest High Court ruling over the appalling dead pregnant woman case.

Aoife at Consider the Tea Cosy (great blog name!) concludes:

There you have it. This is what was ruled. In a country where from the instant of conception a pregnant person’s life is equated with the fertilised egg implanted within them, if you die pregnant then neither you (if you can state your wishes) nor your next of kin (if you cannot) not your doctors have any say over what happens to your body after your death. It’s predetermined. Before sixteen weeks, the machine is turned off. After that, it’s kept on. Regardless of your wishes, for weeks on end, until either your foetus is delivered or your body degrades past the point where we can use it.

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rockroots - January 13, 2015

An opinion poll on the repeal of the 8th Amendment might be a useful starting point in persuading the establishment parties of the urgent need to address this, even if only in the next Dail.

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