Nationalism is a regressive trend

Robin writes: Maryam, while I agree with your critique of those comments of Stephen Gash [of Stop Islamisation Of Europe], on some other points I think you are too unforgiving of human limitations. You have to judge people not only from where they are at at a particular moment but also in terms of where they have come from and could be progressing to. For all their faults the English Defence League, etc has arisen from “ordinary (lower class) people”, having direct experience of being oppressed by both Islamism and by a wider politically-correct anti-Britishness. Your own efforts are very much a realm restricted to only relatively posh ‘intellectualism’ sort of people, even though I appreciate that is not your intent. I think it is very sad that you fail to appreciate the need to at least try to engage with and build bridges with those of differing views and values, rather than find reasons to condemn them. It’s clear that most of the organisers of the EDL etc are naive people with zero experience of campaigning, or even of thinking about political issues. I would hope that you could be an inspiration to them to improve on their views and attitudes, rather than someone who spits in their face as if they are some sort of Untermenschen unworthy of your time. I think you’ll find there are a lot more of them than of you, and if you don’t exert any influence on them now, you will find the agenda moving on without your useful input…

Maryam Namazie responds: Political ideologies are not measured by the numbers of ‘ordinary’ working class people who subscribe to them, and anyway have you counted ours versus the BNP’s or the EDL’s to know?

Irrespective of numbers, ideologies and movements linked to them have to be judged not by the makeup of their supporters but their impact and effect on the lives of ordinary people everywhere. The nationalism that the EDL, BNP, SOIE and their likes promote is segregationist, divisive, anti- working class and inhumane; it denies universal human identity. In fact, nationalism is by its very nature discriminatory and a reactionary trend and incompatible with human freedom and progress.

So it is obvious then that we can’t build links with far-right groups that are antithetical to ours. Just as we can’t forge links with the Islamists. Our job is to criticize both of them, and mobilize people to oppose them and leave their ranks and to join us. That is politics and if people can’t take the heat, well there is always football hooliganism to return to.

Finally, Robin, you are sadly mistaken if you think there are a lot more of them than us – that will the day that we have lost and we don’t intend to.