Secularism

Secular mesalliances: Anne Marie Waters, Fjordman and Socialist Unity

Anne Marie Waters is a secularist who campaigns on behalf of One Law for All. Last year an event she was holding at Queen Mary, a discussion about Sharia law and human rights, had to be cancelled after a man threatened the audience with violence.

As the event was about to start, a man entered the lecture theatre, raced up to the front and started filming the audience. After threatening audience members with some predictable “I know where you live” diatribes, he added that if the speakers said anything negative about the Prophet Mohammed, he would “track them down.” Rushing back out of the building with the same intensity he had entered, this youth ended up being flanked by a large group of his peers outside.

Readers will probably already be aware of Andy Newman’s articles criticising Anne Marie Waters – and of ripostes from Howard Fuller, Nick Cohen and, just recently, Anne Marie Waters herself.   I fully sympathise with the disdain she expresses in her own post for the ‘totalitarian left’, as represented by Andy Newman.   Even though I felt Newman had half a point in his initial criticisms of Waters, as I noted here (at the end of the post), it goes against the grain to side with a blog which has such a lukewarm record on the many important causes Waters fights for with such passion.

I share many of the concerns raised by Anne Marie Waters in her resignation letter, although I don’t agree that they constitute a reason for resigning from the Labour Party. However it’s not unreasonable to raise an eyebrow at her decision to publish this letter on Dispatch International.  Waters explained over on Howie’s Corner that she hadn’t previously come across the name of Fjordman, a blogger associated with the publication’s launch.

The launch was attended by Fjordman; I personally don’t know this person so I can’t comment, but Newman goes on to claim that Fjordman was a “major influence” on Anders Breivik. This appears to the extent of his criticism. Staggering! No doubt Newman makes the same associations between hate-preaching Imams and Islamist terrorists (but I wouldn’t bet on it).

Breivik cited a number of figures, some of them worse than others, admittedly. Fjordman is definitely one of the worst. Here he is on race:

Self-preservation is a natural instinct for all living things down to plants and bacteria. It’s about time that whites reclaim the same right without apology. I am increasingly convinced that the developments we are witnessing are deliberate. The lies we are being served are virtually identical in every Western country. I’ve had some discussions about this with my friend Ohmyrus who thinks this is about a structural failure in our political system. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but I also believe there is a planned long-term goal of breaking down all white majority nations to create a new global oligarchy. Anti-white ideologies are now taught in every Western university and were arguably elevated to national ideology in the USA with the election of Obama.

From a feminist point of view he’s certainly no ally:

The truth is that any nation is always protected from external aggression by the men. The women can play a supporting role in this, but never more than that. For all the talk about “girl power” and “women kicking ass” which you see on movies these days, if the men of your “tribe” are too weak or demoralised to protect you, you will be enslaved and crushed by the men from other “tribes” before you can say “Vagina Monologues”. Which means that if you break down men’s masculinity, their willingness and ability to defend themselves and their families, you destroy the country. That’s exactly what Western women have done for the last forty years.

Yuck.

Waters hadn’t heard of Fjordman and I’m sure she’d have no truck with such views.  But, as Maryam Namazie noted in her own response to a related question about Anne Marie Waters:

Of course, now that she does know, it’s a different matter.

Waters might not agree with this. In a reply to a comment I left on Howie’s blog, she affirms her commitment to free speech as a reason to find these criticisms distracting.  That’s a consistent position I suppose, but you can believe passionately in someone’s right to write and publish what they want while distancing yourself in the strongest terms from what it is they happen to want to say. But it’s partly because I agree with her that these issues are much less urgent than FGM and other abuses that I think it’s worth thinking twice about one’s affiliations, and whether they will enable hostile forces to discredit the important causes and campaigns we all support. I also completely agree that it’s hypocritical of Socialist Unity to pontificate about hateful extremists – but it seems only consistent to shun Fjordman as well as Qaradawi.

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