- Category: LGBT
- Published on Tuesday, 9 September 2014
- Written by ISN
a workshop for socialists on understanding and resisting Transphobia, hosted by the IS Network
Saturday 20th September,
Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths College London SE14 6NW
(Tube: New Cross Gate/New Cross)
- Category: Meetings
- Published on Sunday, 31 August 2014
- Written by ISN
The next IS Network national members' meeting will take place on Saturday 27th September, 10am-6pm, at The Priory Rooms in Birmingham. The focus will be on discussion of the future politics and structure of the Network.
In the run-up to the meeting members are encouraged to submit theoretical discussion pieces, organisational proposals, thoughts and experiences, and any other material to shape the focus of the day. These will be collated in a series of discussion bulletins which will be made available in the downloads section of this website, via email and in the national IS Network discussion group.
- Bulletin#1 is available now
- Bulletin#2 deadline: Sun 7th September
- Bulletin#3 deadline: Sun 21st September
10.00 Report back from priorities from previous meeting
12.15 Caucus report backs
12.45 Politics of the Network, what we stand for, etc.
15.00 Political priorities
16.30 Organising the Network
Venue and travel
The Priory Rooms
Quaker Meeting House
40 Bull Street
Birmingham, B4 6AFT
The venue website is http://www.theprioryrooms.co.uk/ and it's in easy walking distance from New Street, Moor Street and Snow Hill station.
Peering into the faultlines: a response to 'New faultlines in the Middle East: ISIS in a regional context'
- Category: War and Imperialism
- Published on Monday, 25 August 2014
- Written by Sam Charles Hamad
At one point in Andy Cunningham’s piece entitled ‘New fault lines in the Middle East: ISIS in a regional context' published on the rs21 website, he mentions the demand by ‘Revolutionary Socialists in the region (being the Middle East) that while a response to the rise of the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, or, as I will be referring to these counter-revolutionary fascists, Daesh, which is the colloquial derogatory term for them and one that they are known to hate) is necessary, ‘any outside involvement in Iraq is unwelcome’. This sentiment might at first seem fair enough but, setting aside questions about the actual necessity of US air strikes in order to aid the Yazidis who were stranded on a mountain in Sinjar after being chased away from their homes by the takfiris (those who accuse others of being unbelievers and apostates) of Daesh, it’s a sentiment that is unfortunately rendered hollow by Andy’s regrettably simplistic take on the root causes of the rise of Daesh.
If anybody, revolutionary socialist or not, wants to see Daesh defeated or weakened without relying on or appealing to imperialism, then we must deal with the realities and complexities of the balance of forces of Iraq since the invasion and occupation by the US and its ‘coalition of the willing’. Narratives that advertise the identification of ‘new fault lines’ in the Middle East, but then end up relying on old formulations such as advocating ‘working class independence’ against Daesh, are usually those which necessarily stay as far away as possible from reality. Perhaps, following on from the usual line of regional Revolutionary Socialists, we ought to conclude that the only solution to Daesh is revolutionary socialism?
Andy correctly identifies the primary cause of Daesh having any meaningful presence in Iraq as being the fault of the US and UK invasion and occupation of the country, with the Bush regime compounding what was surely one of the worst crimes of our age by overseeing the complete destruction and dismantling of the the security apparatuses and civil infrastructure of the country. This led to a gaping security vacuum that allowed jihadists from around the world to infiltrate Iraq, most of whom were drawn towards fighting with the so-called ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’, led by the Jordanian jihadi gangster Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which was, in reality, a coalition of different takfiri militias that, like its brutally charismatic leader or figurehead, Zarqawi, had always displayed a sense of heterodoxy and independence from the Al Qaeda leadership. This was the predecessor organisation of Daesh. Its relationship with Bin Laden and Zawahiri was never an easy one, with Zarqawi accepting the ‘Al Qaeda’ title and swearing loyalty to ‘Sheikh’ Bin Laden only as a means to attract the maximum amount of foreign jihadis with the Al Qaeda ‘brand’, while Bin Laden could act as if his organisation was on the front lines against the United States.
Behind closed doors, Bin Laden had zero operational control of the group, as its leaders, Zarqawi in particular, often focussed more on targeting and murdering non-Sunni religious groups than resisting the occupation forces, which enraged Bin Laden who saw this tactic as being a good way to alienate the jihadi fighters from the Iraqi population. Even early on, Daesh was concerned with ‘cleansing’ those it deemed to be kuffar (unbelievers) and rafidah (rejectors), as opposed to focussing solely on resisting the occupation, which is something that it would repeat with much more success and savagery in Syria a few years later.