[Marxism] Marxism Digest, Vol 135, Issue 17

andrew coates pabs47 at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 12 06:34:15 MST 2015


On Charlie Hebdo: A letter to my British friends11 JANVIER 2015 |  PAR OLIVIER TONNEAU                   Dear friends,           Three days ago, a horrid assault was perpetrated against the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, who had published caricatures of Mohamed, by men who screamed that they had “avenged the prophet”. A wave of compassion followed but apparently died shortly afterward and all sorts of criticism started pouring down the web against Charlie Hebdo, who was described as islamophobic, racist and even sexist. Countless other comments stated that Muslims were being ostracized and finger-pointed. In the background lurked a view of France founded upon the “myth” of laïcité, defined as the strict restriction of religion to the private sphere, but rampantly islamophobic - with passing reference to the law banning the integral veil. One friend even mentioned a division of the French left on a presumed “Muslim question”.            As a Frenchman and a radical left militant at home and here in UK, I was puzzled and even shocked by these comments and would like, therefore, to give you a clear exposition of what my left-wing French position is on these matters.                       Firstly, a few words on Charlie Hebdo, which was often “analyzed” in the British press on the sole basis, apparently, of a few selected cartoons. It might be worth knowing that the main target of Charlie Hebdo was the Front National and the Le Pen family. Next came crooks of all sorts, including bosses and politicians (incidentally, one of the victims of the shooting was an economist who ran a weekly column on the disasters caused by austerity policies in Greece).  Finally, Charlie Hebdo was an opponent of all forms of organized religions, in the old-school anarchist sense: Ni Dieu, ni maître! They ridiculed the pope, orthodox Jews and Muslims in equal measure and with the same biting tone. They took ferocious stances against the bombings of Gaza. Even if their sense of humour was apparently inacceptable to English minds, please take my word for it: it fell well within the French tradition of satire – and after all was only intended for a French audience. It is only by reading or seeing it out of context that some cartoons appear as racist or islamophobic. Charlie Hebdo also continuously denounced the pledge of minorities and campaigned relentlessly for all illegal immigrants to be given permanent right of stay. I hope this helps you understand that if you belong to the radical left, you have lost precious friends and allies.
Rest of article. 
http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/olivier-tonneau/110115/charlie-hebdo-letter-my-british-friends?utm_content=bufferb95ce&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
I can only endorse comrade Olivier's comments.
Charlie and its cartoonists were comrades.
My first article in the British left press circa 1984  used illustrations from Cabu - one of our martyred dead.

Andrew Coates

> From: marxism-request at lists.csbs.utah.edu
> Subject: Marxism Digest, Vol 135, Issue 17
> Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2015 12:00:22 -0700
> To: Pabs47 at hotmail.com
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> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. Re:  What if Syriza wins? - Weekly Worker (Louis Proyect)
>    2.  Fwd: Representing Mohammad | Louis Proyect: The	Unrepentant
>       Marxist (Louis Proyect)
>    3. Re:  Fwd: Representing Mohammad | Louis Proyect: The
>       Unrepentant Marxist (Louis Proyect)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2015 12:36:34 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> To: James Creegan <turbulo at aol.com>,	Activists and scholars in Marxist
> 	tradition <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] What if Syriza wins? - Weekly Worker
> Message-ID: <54B16322.4020405 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
> 
> On 1/10/15 12:19 PM, James Creegan via Marxism wrote:
> >
> > At the risk of becoming the next poster to be proscribed from this
> > listserve, I offer the following article, not identical to my own view,
> > but closer to it than uncritical Syriza worship.
> >
> > http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/1040/what-if-syriza-wins/
> 
> "In reality, of course - verbiage aside - Syriza?s programme does not 
> amount to much more than run-of-the-mill Keynesianism,"
> 
> Well, of course. Everybody knows the solution to austerity in Greece can 
> be found by starting a group calling itself the Communist something or 
> other, launching a website festooned with red stars and hammers and 
> sickles, and calling for the dictatorship of the proletariat. That's the 
> approach of the Weakly Worker and made to order for those incapable of 
> organizing themselves out of a paper bag.
> 
> 
> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 2
> Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2015 12:38:03 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> 	<marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>, 	Progressive Economics
> 	<pen-l at lists.csuchico.edu>
> Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: Representing Mohammad | Louis Proyect: The
> 	Unrepentant Marxist
> Message-ID: <54B1637B.5050803 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> 
> Among the many articles on Charlie Hebdo defending Western Civilization 
> and the Enlightenment, especially the Voltairean precept (that he never 
> actually stated) ?I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the 
> death your right to say it?, it was inevitable to find some that 
> debunked the notion that Islam banned pictorial representation of Mohammad.
> 
> full: http://louisproyect.org/2015/01/10/representing-mohammad/
> 
> 
> ------------------------------
> 
> Message: 3
> Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2015 13:33:27 -0500
> From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
> 	<marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Fwd: Representing Mohammad | Louis Proyect: The
> 	Unrepentant Marxist
> Message-ID: <54B17077.3070301 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> 
> On 1/10/15 12:38 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
> > Among the many articles on Charlie Hebdo defending Western Civilization
> > and the Enlightenment, especially the Voltairean precept (that he never
> > actually stated) ?I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the
> > death your right to say it?, it was inevitable to find some that
> > debunked the notion that Islam banned pictorial representation of Mohammad.
> >
> > full: http://louisproyect.org/2015/01/10/representing-mohammad/
> 
> An interesting comment from Ruth Numpty on FB:
> 
> Re Voltaire, he's very selectively quoted, as well as misquoted (I 
> hadn't realised he was such a thoroughly nasty piece of work): 'Everyone 
> remembers his diatribes against the power of the Catholic Church: 
> ?crasez l?Inf?me! But what?s often conveniently omitted amid the 
> adulation of his wit is how Voltaire loathed a powerless religion, the 
> outsiders of his own era, the ?medieval,? ?barbaric? immigrant minority 
> that afflicted Europe: the Jews.
> Voltaire?s anti-Semitism was comprehensive. In its contempt for the 
> putatively ?primitive,? it anticipates much that is said about Muslims 
> in Europe and the US today. ?The Jews never were natural philosophers, 
> nor geometricians, nor astronomers,? Voltaire declared. That would do 
> head Islamophobe Richard Dawkins proud:
> 
> The Jews, Voltaire wrote, are ?only an ignorant and barbarous people, 
> who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable 
> superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom 
> they are tolerated and enriched.? When some American right-wing yahoo 
> calls Muslims ?goatfuckers,? you might think he?s reciting old 
> Appalachian invective. In fact, he?s repeating Voltaire?s jokes about 
> the Jews. ?You assert that your mothers had no commerce with he-goats, 
> nor your fathers with she-goats,? Voltaire demanded of them. ?But pray, 
> gentlemen, why are you the only people upon earth whose laws have 
> forbidden such commerce? Would any legislator ever have thought of 
> promulgating this extraordinary law if the offence had not been common?? 
> http://paper-bird.net/2015/01/09/why-i-am-not-charlie/
> 
> 
> 
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> End of Marxism Digest, Vol 135, Issue 17
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