Socialist Worker

A wholly legitimate sense of Muslim grievance

Issue No. 2009

Tony Blair announced last week that he was disappointed by British Muslims failing to root out “extremism within their community”.

Blair said, “If we want to defeat the extremism, we have got to defeat its ideas and we have got to address the completely false sense of grievance [among Muslims] against the West.”

A false sense of grievance? France and Britain carved up the Middle East after the First World War, repressing popular movements and leaders. The US took over their role in the second half of the 20th century, supporting Israel and stamping down on anyone who stepped out of line.

The 1991 Gulf War and the sanctions against Iraq that followed it saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Instead of talking of “false” grievances, Blair should be looking at his own role in increasing the anger among Muslims, and many other people. The only way to stop “extremism” is for Blair and his acolytes to stop carrying out extremist policies at home and abroad.

UN manoeuvres

Lining up with Israel

The US was outraged in the run-up to the war in Iraq that other countries threatened to veto its resolutions at the United Nations. But it had no compunction last week in vetoing a UN security council resolution condemning Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

At the same time a resolution at the recently formed United Nations Human Rights Council expressed “grave concern at the violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people caused by the Israeli occupation, including the current extensive Israeli military operations”.

Twenty nine of the council’s 47 member states backed the resolution, 11 voted against. Shamefully, Britain, France and Germany voted against the resolution claiming it was “unbalanced”. It is the Western powers who are unbalanced when it comes to Palestine.

john prescott

Stick with your class

Forty years ago this month a bitter illegal strike ended. A Labour government had used anti-terror legislation against the workers. It was about seafarers fighting for better pay and conditions.

A pamphlet, Not Wanted on Voyage, was published to defend the strike against slurs in the media. It argued, “There is a wealth of evidence we could produce to show that behind the government, in its resistance to our just demands, stand the international banks, the financial powers which really direct the government’s anti-wages policy.”

It was co-written by a ship’s steward, union activist John Prescott. Much about John Prescott is now farce.

Prescott has visited the Colorado ranch of Phil Anschutz. He is the US billionaire developer who has invested in the Millennium Dome - which he wishes to convert into a “super casino”.

Prescott has seen Anschutz on seven occasions in all. Anschutz has reportedly threatened to reduce his investment in the Dome from $600 million to $325 million, if permission for a casino is not granted.

Prescott says they talked about William Wilberforce - perhaps they played croquet.

As the young Prescott wrote, “The goodwill of the bankers, the ill-will of the working class. How familiar a story that is of Labour governments.”

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Article information

What We Think
Sat 15 Jul 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2009
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