On Jeremy Corbyn and Islamism: You can’t be progressive some of the time

New Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s policies against austerity and university fees and in favour of refugees, amongst others, are welcome. Nonetheless, we at Bread and Roses are concerned about Corbyn’s troubling associations with Islamists and the Islamic regime of Iran.

Corbyn has spoken at the Iranian government’s anniversary of the “Islamic revolution” despite the fact that Islamism in Iran is a counter-revolutionary force, which came to power by suppressing a Left-leaning people’s revolution against the Shah. The regime continues to maintain power by brutally suppressing dissent.

Corbyn has also praised the Islamic Human Rights Commission linked to the Iranian government, saying ‘I like the sense of values surrounding it’. In 2015, IHRC awarded Charlie Hebdo staff who had been murdered ‘Islamophobe of the Year’. IHRC also organises Al-Quds Day rallies initiated by Ayatollah Khomeini, which Corbyn has spoken at. Whilst the rallies are touted as pro-Palestinian rallies, in fact, they are Iranian government rallies to spread an Islamist and anti-Semitic narrative.

Despite the existence of a strong Left and progressive movement in Iran, Corbyn seems to prefer the Islamic state of Iran, renowned for its persecution of the working class and progressive political and social movements.

Corbyn has also come out in support of other Islamist groups like CAGE, which Gita Sahgal exposed years ago for its support of jihad. There was a public outcry only after a CAGE leader Asim Qureshi described Mohammed Emwazi or Jihadi John as a “beautiful young man.”

Until a few days ago, Corbyn was chair of Stop the War Coalition, which has a history of siding with Islamists. Anas al-Tikriti, Vice President of Stop the War Coalition has said, for example: ‘Calls for an Islamic state by some corners should not scare us nor should it bring about a negative reaction. […] In Muslim countries where Islam forms a focal point of history and society, this must not be dismissed as mere political or ideological fanaticism, but rather viewed as a collective aspiration.’

Islamic states and groups are one of the largest producers of refugees and deny basic rights to all those living under their rule. Deeming far-right movements and states as one and the same as the people they suppress ignores class politics and dissent and sides with the oppressors.

Corbyn also praises Islamists who promote the ideas of Sharia and the Islamic state such as Ibrahim Hewitt who he has called ‘a very good friend’ though the latter has compared gays to paedophiles and refused to condemn the stoning to death under Sharia law. In a pamphlet for ‘The Muslim Educational Trust,’ Hewitt says the punishment for apostasy from Islam is death in an ideal Islamic state. Clearly, this is not a theoretical matter, particularly since apostates are persecuted and killed in a number of countries under Islamist rule.

We would like to remind Corbyn that progressive, anti-fascist and anti-war politics without opposition to Islamist far-Right states and movements is self-defeating.

One cannot be progressive in some areas and not in others. One cannot be against some fascists whilst being ‘a very good friend’ to others. This is a politics that betrays the dissenters and victims of Islamism including those deemed “Muslims”, progressive forces and the working class. It is also a betrayal of the very principles that the Left has historically defended (from social justice, egalitarianism, secularism, universalism, and human liberation, including from religion).

While we oppose the attacks of the rightwing press on Corbyn aimed at displacing the legitimate anger and protest of people in Britain against austerity and capitalism, we cannot ignore his utter failure in challenging Islamism and the Islamic regime of Iran and his betrayal of the progressive and secular forces in Britain, the Middle East, Diaspora and the world.

For more information:
Bread and Roses TV with Maryam Namazie and Fariborz Pooya
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Not an Islamic revolution

The Islamic regime of Iran celebrates the “Islamic revolution” today. But Islamism has only brought untold misery and brutality to the people of Iran (and the world).

Islamism is not a cause for celebration; it only came to power on the back of a suppressed revolution and the slaughter of a generation.

Whilst history is written by the victors, a people’s revolution against the Shah’s dictatorship and for freedom and equality will have that black mark of “Islamic” on it. But not forever.

And despite the truth, there will be those who will do anything to defend and prolong the regime’s rule.

Watch the “celebrations” in Britain. House of Lords Peer Nazir Ahmed and MP Jeremy Corbyn are filmed grotesquely defending the regime.

Whilst the Press TV “reporter” rightly speaks of the impact of Iran’s Islamism across the world (by encouraging reaction and mediaevalism), she forgets that the Iranian revolution and the demand for freedom and equality has also had an impact. The revolution has also left its mark.

Business of course that is yet unfinished. But business that will bring Islamism to its knees in Iran.

As the late Marxist Mansoor Hekmat wrote commemorating the Iranian revolution:

“If history is the story of change, then real history is the history of the undefeated – the history of the movement and people who still want and are struggling for change, the history of those who are not willing to bury their ideals and hopes of a human society, the history of people and movements that are not at liberty of choosing their principles and aims and have no choice but to strive for improvements.”

This change is yet to come in Iran not via Rouhani or any other “reformist”, not via an Islamic regime, not via Islam, not via military attacks or economic sanctions but by a people’s revolution.

The storm is yet to come. And where will the likes of Jeremy Corbyn hide then?

(Via Fariborz Pooya)