Religion & politics

It's time for Georgia to choose

Two weeks ago, far-right thugs attacked the LGBTI community’s “March for Dignity” in Tblisi, Georgia. Dozens of people, mostly journalists, were badly beaten. It was a tragedy that could easily have been foreseen — and prevented. And it has triggered a historic fight led by the journalists’ union with the full support of journalists’ unions around the world. The attacks were orchestrated by supporters of the ruling party in Georgia, whose leaders bear some responsibility for what happened. Prior to the march, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said it was “not reasonable” to organise such an...

Three books by Eric Vuillard

A review of: The Order of the Day (2019, Picador); Sorrow of the Earth (2019, Pushkin Press); The War of the Poor (2021, Picador) I had never heard of Éric Vuillard before, although he has a reputation both as a writer and documentary filmmaker in his native France. So far, these are the only books of his translated into English. All three are fascinating, beautifully written and deeply moving. The Order of the Day revolves around the meetings that took place between the European powers in the months preceding the outbreak of World War Two; Sorrow of the Earth considers the exploitation of...

India: farmers' movement grows

The far-right Hindu nationalist government of India is also a radical neo-liberal government. Not long ago buffeted by a wave of protests against its anti-Muslim changes to citizenship laws, it is now being rocked by mass demonstrations against its neo-liberal policies — by India’s farmers. There have been five national general strikes against the Modi regime’s privatisations and weakening of labour laws, including two in 2020, mobilising tens and maybe hundreds of millions of workers. Although they slowed the assault on workers’ rights, these mobilisations were over quickly. The 2020 strikes...

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...

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