Religion & politics

Wadsworth on Saklatvala

Sacha Ismail reviews Marc Wadsworth’s biography of Shapurji Saklatvala, Comrade Sak: A Political Biography (Peepal Tree Press, 2020) There are four biographies of 1920s revolutionary socialist MP Shapurji Saklatvala. Marc Wadsworth’s is the most recent, originally published in 1998 and republished in an updated version in September this year. It’s very good – mostly (when I started writing the recent series of articles on Saklatvala in Solidarity, I tried but failed to get hold of the original edition of Wadsworth’s book; the new version didn’t arrive until five out of six articles were...

"Love jihad": why Hindu fascists are attacking Netflix

The Hindu nationalist far right in India and beyond is waging a campaign against Netflix for showing the BBC TV series A Suitable Boy (adapted from Vikram Seth’s novel, set in India in the 1950s). Their objection is to a romantic relationship between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man (though it's clear they object to other aspects of it too). They have minimally dressed up their bigotry by saying they are offended by the lovers kissing by a Hindu temple. Members of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP party are calling for the Indian government to investigate Netflix – and in fact the Modi regime has...

Macron's sledgehammer and the nut

CFCM has proposed, and Macron has accepted, the idea of a national register of imams run by CFCM, but how will that work given that most mosques do not recognise CFCM?

Stand and be counted

This article by the Algerian socialist-feminist Marieme Helie Lucas, responding to the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty by an Islamist assailant on 16 October, was first published on the Feminist Dissent website. We republish it, with the author's permission, to promote discussion. Assassinations by decapitation or by the sword – which are highly symbolic of all Muslim extreme-right organisations (Al Qaeda, the Taliban, GIA, al-Shabab, Daesh, Boko Haram, etc.) – are not a new phenomenon in France. Several cases have already happened in recent years. It points at the will of the...

Poland: "Expect a fightback"

Andrzej Duda of the radical right Law and Justice party has been re-elected as Poland’s president, defeating the liberal conservative opposition’s candidate Rafał Trzaskowski 51%-49% in the second round. Ana Oppenheim spoke to Sacha Ismail about the election and struggles in Poland. Ana is a Polish-born socialist who lives in the UK. She is a member of the Labour Party and the Polish left party Razem, an activist in the Labour Campaign for Free Movement and has just been elected to Momentum’s national coordinating group. Poland was due to have its presidential election in May, but with the...

Catholicism and women's rights

During the current Labour leadership election, Rebecca Long-Bailey (RLB) admitted to holding religious objections to abortion rights based on her Catholicism. Whilst this has not seemed to affect her voting record on this issue, it is concerning that many on the left were so quick to jump to the defence of RLB and Catholicism in general, with some even painting those that voiced concern about the influence of Catholic belief in politics as anti-Irish. Anti-Catholic sentiment in the UK remains a live issue in the North of Ireland as well as in parts of Scotland, and this is certainly rooted, in...

As early as possible, as late as necessary

Our reproductive rights include the right to dignity, information, and bodily autonomy and integrity. In a world where so much of the framework of sexism has been control of women’s sexuality, body, and reproduction, our right to make autonomous decisions about our own body and reproduction is central to our right to physical and psychological integrity. We know that under capitalism there is a limit to the choice and control we have over reproduction, but we push for the greatest possible bodily autonomy. In some places we have seen steps forward in reproductive freedom, most recently the...

Trump visit triggers anti-Muslim violence

Late February saw an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in New Delhi, the urban area around the Indian capital. Although reports vary, they suggest forty-three dead and many hundreds hospitalised. Muslim homes, businesses and mosques were attacked, burned, and destroyed. Most of the dead and injured were Muslim. The trigger for the attack was President Trump’s visit to the city. On Sunday 26 February, a local leader of India's governing part, the Hindu-chauvinist BJP, Kapil Mishra, speaking at a rally, demanded that police clear protests in the city against the BJP’s Citizenship (Amendment) Act...

Labour leader: the contest so far

At the moment at least, I am not supporting any of the candidates for Labour leader. In hustings, I think, activists should ask pointed questions, and ask members to judge the candidates by their responses. For example, no candidate has yet committed to work for wide democratic reforms in Labour’s still-largely-Blair-made structure. None has backed the Free Our Unions call for them to respect the 2019 Labour conference decision for repeal of all anti-union laws. None has said that they will seek to lead on-the-streets and industrial campaigning against Johnson. Rebecca Long-Bailey,Salford and...

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

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