Friday, July 23, 2004

More "Honest Marxists".

Dead Men Left had an article the other week about Nick Cohen's beloved AWL.  I try to steer clear of all that banter on the Tomb, but one egregious bit of deception printed in the Weekly Worker , a publication of the CPGB, and repeated on Harry's Place ought to be addressed.

The following quote appears to be attributed to Antoine Boulange at a meeting on "Islam, Socialism and Secularism" at Marxism 2004:

"Socialists must keep their distance from secularism. Secularism is considered progressive, but it is not. The consequence of secularism is that muslim schools cannot be built. That is what secularism is all about."
The paper then asserts that "Wild applause followed this particular strange contribution from a young member of the SWP’s section in France."

The trouble with making assertions based on hastily scribbled notes and wishful thinking is that Marxism meetings are taped. I have listened to the tape of that meeting four times, and paid particular attention for this statement. Neither Boulange, nor any of the speakers from the platform or the floor made this statement. Nor was any wild applause directed at any such claim.

The WW also confects a quote from Esme Choonara, not repeated in Harry's Place:

"I do not accept that there is such a thing as islamic fundamentalism. Islam is not our enemy."

Now, the latter sentence resembles something Choonara said, but the former is pure invention. In fact, while Choonara noted objections to the language (because the term is a convenient cover for racists), she specifically referred to fundamentalists, particularly those who refused to march with the StWC at the February 15th 2003 demonstration, because they did not believe that Muslims and socialists should march together.

So not only have two quotes apparently been pulled from a black hole, they actually run counter to the tone and timbre of the debate. How could this be?