An Open Letter to Alan Thornett of the International Socialist Group

Submitted by Anon on 2 October, 2003 - 10:45

In an article in the last issue of Resistance, which has also been put out as a separate four-page pamphlet, you write: "the AWL position on working with Muslim people [emphasis added] is dreadful and their position on George Galloway is scandalous. But such positions can only be challenged and marginalised politically. Organisational means [meaning such things as the SWP attempt at the Socialist Alliance conference to deprive the AWL of representation on the Executive of the SA] are not only wrong - they are counter-productive."
I presume the last sentence was written tongue-in-cheek, because the sentence before it is an attempt to "challenge" our opinions and "marginalise" us by means of libelous misrepresentation.

If that is what you mean by "political means", I prefer the brutally blunt bureaucratic methods by which the SWP tried to exclude us from the SA Executive.

What exactly is our "position" on "working with" "Muslim people"? We are against working with them - with "Muslim people"? That is surely what it is written to imply.

We are against "working with Muslim people?" Why? Because they are Muslim people? We are against working with brown skinned people? That is what it is written to imply.

How would you go about justifying such a statement?

In terms of the facts, your only possible basis for it is that we are against the Socialist Alliance working in tandem with the Muslim Association of Britain, which is an avowed front for the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the oldest and most sophisticated Islamic fundamentalist organisation in the world. It stands for the creation of an authoritarian Islamic regime in every Muslim country.

In a place like Britain, it stands against liberal and secularising people from a Muslim background and against the emergence of "Muslim" women from the oppression which is typically theirs within the Muslim community.

The MAB believes that all whom it defines as apostates and backsliders from Islam should be killed or imprisoned.

In terms of 20th-century history, it would not be too far off the mark to equate the Muslim Brotherhood with the mid-century Christian fascists of such countries as Austria, Ireland and Spain.

We are certainly against the SA allying with such people in politics.

Principled socialists would work with such people in the defence of Muslim communities from direct fascist and racist attack, but in no other circumstances.

Our concern is to help the youth, the women and the secularising people in the Muslim communities escape from the stifling grip of such as the Muslim Brotherhood/MAB into membership of the labour movement.

To present the AWL's opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and its front, MAB, as opposition to "working with Muslim people" is a political libel, and it cannot but be deliberate.

You know better than what you write about AWL.

What is "dreadful" and "scandalous" is the way the members of the ISG have let the SWP hustle you into a popular front with those who advocate the murder of socialists and secularist ex-Muslims and, wherever they are strong enough, do the job themselves.

What is scandalous is that instead of discussing the real issues between AWL and the SWP and its ISG satellite, you misrepresent the issue and try to brand the AWL as having some sort of racist objection to working with "Muslim people" - that is what it means and I presume what you intended to convey.

With Galloway too the "scandal" is entirely on your side. He has admitted to taking money for his operations from Pakistani governments, from Saudi, from the Emirates and from an Iraqi-linked capitalist. He has been accused of taking Iraqi money. That is now in the libel courts.

You pretend that someone like this - who should have been driven away from the anti-war movement - is just a normal left winger, being "witch-hunted" by the bourgeois press!

You learned your politics in the corrupt Healy organisation. You learned - on your own account - to do such things as spread the story that members of the Mandelite International Marxist Group, the linear ancestors of your present organisation, going to work in the Cowley car plant in the 70s, where you were a shop steward, were "police agents". Such training is hard to unlearn. You use its equivalent now, with your nonsense that the AWL, because it opposes work with the Muslim Brotherhood is against working with "Muslim people".

The truth is, Alan, that you have lost such political bearings as you ever managed to have.

We demand an apology, a retraction and that Resistance publish a letter from us in response to your libel.

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