Yesterday, I exchanged sharp words with an old friend online. I did the same, offline, with some new friends who I have made through this blog. I think we can disagree with each other, while maintaining mutual respect, with those who recognise that there is no alliance – not even a tactical one – to be had with radical Islamism, and with those who do not mistake fascism or falangism for anti-imperialism.
I hope you’ll excuse me taking my lead from the jihadists who targeted British muslims in Edgware Road yesterday, and engaging in a little bit of Takfir against the Quisling poshos, Tariq Ali and Seumas Milne. Sometimes, you just have to accept that there is a gulf that can not be bridged between us and those have become professional apologists for, or even – in the case of the SWP – formal allies of extreme Islamists. Or indeed, the racists and conspiracy theorists. (Lenin! Take those comments down NOW, for fuck’s sake!)
But we must keep having those discussions with those of our friend who have not gone over to the other side. Talk to those friends. Make sure they understand the nature of the struggle in which we are engaged. Don’t let them abandon the muslim world, through ignorance, racism, or spite.
Read, in full, Alan Johnson’s own letter to a friend, and remind them of the enormity of the task which faces us:
Our job is to push on past a stalled modernity and a demented reaction. How? By a consistent fight for global democratisation and global development, or, if we can put it this way, making tyranny history and making poverty history. That’s how the decent left we need will come to know itself and challenge the pro-tyrant left we have. But that’s a discussion we can have. There are a hundred discussions we need to have. Are we talking again?