[Marxism] Britains Muslim Communities and Respect

mike pearn neprimerimye at yahoo.co.uk
Sat Nov 3 00:37:19 MDT 2007

Joaquin wrote "If I understand the argument, Muslims
voting for a righteously antiwar and anti-neoliberal
party like Respect aren't ahead of "the white working
class" because OTHER Muslims have ALSO given up on
Labour, some for other bourgeois parties, some for

That Respect hasn't yet succeeded in attracting the
bulk of disaffection with Labour among Muslims in
Britain is not that important. I think  what's
important is that in some areas it seems to have done
so to a very significant, mass degree despite being a
tiny, brand-new party. 

Contrary to Mike's supposition, I do not totally omit
the category of "class" from the analysis the was
behind my post. Quite the contrary. 

To what degree this may have begun to break down I'm
not in a position to say. But my very strong
impression is that this has been the dominant tendency
in the English working class over the past few
decades, as I believe it has been generally in the
main imperialist countries, and undoubtedly so in the
United States."

Joaquin the point remains that the majority of British
Muslims, who are not a national minority but a series
of unconnected communities, are not in advance of the
majority of the British working class. Rather they
like sizable sections of the majority working class,
both white and black, have ceased to vote for Labour
without moving identifying with any socialist or
working class political project.

You are certainly correct in saying that respect won
its votes among Muslims because it was anti-war but
the Liberal Democratic Party also won, far more,
Muslim votes on the basis of opposition to the
invasion of Iraq. Are those Muslims who voted LibDem
in advance of those white workers who abstained rather
than vote for New Labour?

It is also important to understand how those votes
were won and relate that to other developments within
the community in question. Here it seems clear that
Respect, like the bourgeois parties, won support from
the Muslim communities by winning the support of
various leaders within those communities. Such
community leaders are, more often than not, petty
bourgeois individuals sometimes linked to the Mosques.
In other words these leaders are not amongst the most
advanced elements within their communities but are
themselves petty exploiters with interests opposed to
those of the workers they exploit.

As it happens I agree that there is no class movement
worthy of the name in Britain, not just Engerland,
today. But looking to the electoral support given by a
small minority of Muslims to a marginal party that is
in self destruct mode, due to its internal
contradictions, as a substitute for that movement is



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