Defend Tower Hamlets and Lutfur Rahman By Gerry Downing

2

03/05/2015 by socialistfight

Rahman2

Lutfur Rahman guilty of “using the race card” – against the EDL! Here he is (centre) protesting against the fascist EDL in 2013 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

In the Morning Star of 29 April Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL) member Jim Denham had a letter published Shame on the Star for its defence of Rahman. It has no original thoughts on the matter, merely demanding we submit to the political prejudices of the arch Zionist Eric Pickles and the Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey. As a committed Zionist himself Jim makes a few pedestrian points; that leftist had criticised the Catholic Church for telling people how to vote in Liverpool and Glasgow, that Mawrey had made some good judgements in the past therefore this one must be ok too, etc. which merely serve to bolster Eric Pickles. And the final, devastating point, “there is real racism at work” (apart from the bogus kind peddled by petitioner UKIP member Angela Moffat, the Tories and Tower Hamlets Labour we must assume), “the racism that believes the immigrant poor deserves no better”.

They are about to find out how much “better” the new anti-racism of the Eric Pickles Commissioners really is. Lutfur Rahman reinstated the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), he did not implement the Bedroom tax and he retained Council Tax Benefit, and he celebrated St Patrick’s Day. He defended LGBT culture, his was the first council to take active steps to oppose the blacklisting of building workers by refusing to use firms guilty of this illegal practice and he mobilised the whole council to oppose the fascist English Defence League. These are his real ‘crimes’.

The Commissioners will be kept in place so the establishment via PriceWaterhouseCooper can be absolutely certain these heinous practices which benefited the undeserving poor to some degree cease immediately; austerity will be imposed without let or hindrance even if they lose a third election on 11 June to Rabina Khan.

In the AWL’s Solidarity 362, 29 April Restore secular politics in Tower Hamlets Jean Lane begins somewhat more circumspect. She just could not decide whether he was corrupt on not; “neither Galloway nor Pickles but secular politics” seems to be the new third camp slogan. Only of course there is no neutrality in a vicious class struggle where there are no angles on any side.  And she quickly reveals her sympathises by an outright lie; “Some also deny the judge’s finding that 101 imams said “that it was the duty of faithful Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman… with religious duty being mentioned in canvassing before the polls and to voters attending polling stations on election day”.

But the 101 imams did NOT say “that it was the duty of faithful Muslims to vote for Mr Rahman” in that letter or anywhere else. Paul Demarty likewise make a similar and equally false claim in Court Protects Labour corruption, (WW 1056), “a letter from 101 imams urging voters to back Rahman as part of their religious duty”.  In fact the letter was entirely SECULAR with no religious reference whatsoever. What Jean and Paul are quoting is Mawrey’ judgement on what he assessed as the implicit content of the letter, although the letter itself say the exact opposite of what he claims it implies. I would refer the reader to the legal interpretation of Frank Cranmer, [1] for the text of the letter and Mawrey’s outrageous judgement on it. One extract in particular can be cited to demonstrate the falsity of the claim:

“We observe that some people are targeting the languages, colours and religions and attempting to divide the community by ignoring the cohesion and harmony of the citizens. This is, in fact, hitting the national, cultural and religious ‘multi’ ideas of the country and spreading jealousy and hatred in the community. We consider these acts as abominable and at the same time condemnable.”

But nonetheless, despite the fact that he can find no quotable quote in the letter itself to back his interpretation, Mawrey concludes in section 551

“… [T]he Imams’ message is clear; our religion is under attack, our enemies despise us and wish to humiliate us; it is your duty as faithful sons and daughters of the [Church][Mosque] to vote for candidate X: only he will defend our religion and our community. As the Imams’ letter puts it ‘[our opponents are] spreading jealousy and hatred in the community. We consider these acts as abominable and at the same time condemnable’…”

Of course this is what his bigotry wishes to infer. The Church of England, “the Tory party in prayer” is the Established Church in England and Wales, all manner of explicit ‘spiritual influence’ are used every day by every faith in Britain but are only a crime now if you are a Muslim.

And the historical precedent he cites, the two Co Meath constituencies in the 1892 general election, are on the basis of a letter that is of a totally opposite type to the letter written by the imams. This is one section:

“Now Parnellism strikes at the root, and saps the very foundations of the Catholic faith … all the successors of the Apostles have solemnly warned and taught their respective flocks that Parnellism was unlawful and unholy, that it was in distinct, direct, and essential antagonism with the principles of Christian morality, and even dangerous to their faith as Catholics, and consequently that they should shun and avoid it. They who refuse to accept that teaching or that principle on the unanimous authority of the whole Irish hierarchy deprive themselves of every rational ground or motive for believing in the truth of any of the other doctrines of religion … [N]o intelligent or well-informed man can continue and remain a Catholic so long as he elects to cling to Parnellism… I earnestly implore you then, dearly beloved, to stamp out by your votes at the coming election, this great moral, social and religious evil.”

Eric Pickle’s hatchet man does not bother to try to draw the parallels between the letters because there are none. The law, according to his own criteria, requires him to find.

“A person shall be guilty of undue influence— (a)if he, directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf, makes use of or threatens to make use of any force, violence or restraint, or inflicts or threatens to inflict, by himself or by any other person, any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting.”

He can point to nothing akin to that on the imam’s letter. And he gives us his own Tory interpretation of Irish history to justify likening that judgement, which rejected a Tory establishment witch hunt against Parnellism, with a judgement which supported a Troy establishment witch hunt against Rahman:

Parnell

Of course it was not love but a Tory witch hunt and reactionary Catholic bishops defending the British Empire from the threat of Irish Home Rule, the same forces that now threaten Lufur Rahman, Tower Hamlets and anyone fighting back against the bankers’ austerity.

“Although the Roman Catholic clergy of Ireland were in general supportive of Home  Rule, they  were  appalled  by  the  conduct  of Parnell  and  none  more  so  than  Dr Nulty, the Bishop of Meath.”

The good bishop was not making a moral judgment on Parnell but pursuing a political agenda. This was in the midst of a British Empire Tory loyalists witch hunt against Charles Stewart Parnell’s followers (he had died in 1891) to break his alliance with Gladstone and prevent Irish Home Rule. It succeeded in winning over almost the entire Whig landlord class to the Tories and partially reinstated the old alliance between the Catholic Church and the Tory supporters of absolutism of the English Civil War. The voided elections made no difference to that; the Catholic Church was only too willing to co-operate in defence of the British Empire. Parnell was a Protestant who was ‘living in sin’ with Kitty O’Shea hence they had the excuse to get the bigoted Bishops on board.

Khan,Rabina

The Commissioners will be kept in place so the establishment via PriceWaterhouseCooper can be absolutely certain these heinous practices which benefited the undeserving poor to some degree cease immediately; austerity will be imposed without let or hindrance even if they lose a third election on 11 June to Rabina Khan.

The witch hunt against Lufur Rahman is in defence of the bankers’ programme of austerity promoted by the entire establishment, clearly a totally opposite situation to that of 1892.  It has been pursued over the last five years to prevent popular resistance to austerity from spreading. Limited and weak though that resistance is nonetheless we must support it and oppose the Islamophobic bigotry used against it to divide the whole working class.

[1] Frank Cranmer, “Spiritual influence” and elections updated: Lutfur Rahman found guilty of illegal electoral practices” in Law & Religion UK, 23 April 2015,

“Spiritual influence” and elections updated: Lutfur Rahman found guilty of illegal electoral practices

2 thoughts on “Defend Tower Hamlets and Lutfur Rahman By Gerry Downing

  1. Atheist Marriedtobengali says:

    Just because the man turns up as EDL demo, doesn’t mean he is not a manipulative or morally bankrupt. Of course he would – part of the illusion of the man who sent canvassers out into the bengali community basically saying don’t vote for the other guy – he is Christian and pro-gay. Living the lying dream. That has now ended. Lose gracefully.

    Like

  2. […] in the recent Communist Explorations leaflet on this, and further useful material is to be found in this article by the Trotskyist group Socialist Fight on the same […]

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