"The charge against members of the Worker Communist Party of Iran ... and against individuals like Irshad Manji is not that they are racists but that their antics play into the hands of the Islamophobic Right, who clearly recognise them as fellow spirits ... The AWL and their co-thinkers in Outrage ... find themselves in an anti-Qaradawi bloc with the likes of Jihad Watch, Daniel Pipes and Melanie Phillips." – Bob Pitt, from Islamophobia Watch
IntroductionBob Pitt's defence of Bob Pitt was written and posted (on Islamophobia Watch) in response to a j'accuse by the Alliance for Workers' Liberty (AWL).
There's been some dispute as to who exactly runs Islamophobia Watch; with the name Eddie Truman being thrown into the pot as its founder. Martin Sullivan is also a contributor but some have said that this is just another name for Pitt himself. (No doubt, as a Trotskyist, he's had many names over the years.) Whatever the case is, perhaps these disputes explain why the posts on Islamophobia Watch have suddenly started receiving signatures at the end. They weren't signed for years. Now they're signed by Eddie Truman, not by Bob Pitt.
Thou Shalt Not Criticise Islam or Muslims
The list of non-'far-right' Islamophobes Bob Pitt has singled out is very large. It includes:
"... the feminist and reformist Muslim Irshad Manji, members of the Worker Communist Party of Iran, Maryam Namazie, the gay group OutRage, the Alliance for Workers Liberty (AWL), Richard Dawkins, Harry's Place, Bill Maher, the feminist Elizabeth Farrelley, novelist Ian McEwan, Ben Elton, novelist Martin Amis, Pink News, Christopher Hitchens, Philip Pullman, Monica Ali, Salman Rushdie, Polly Toynbee, the gays rights group OutRage!, Peter Tatchell, Johann Hari, Ed Husain, The Quilliam Foundation ...".
Basically, Bob Pitt has singled out virtually every non-Muslim on the planet save his pure and pious self. He is explicit about his speak-no-evil-about-Muslims-or-Islam-lest-evil-people-hear-you policy when he singles out various and many 'non-racist' offenders. One such offender is the Muslim writer, lesbian and feminist, Irshad Manji. According to Pitt, she should keep her mouth shut because her "antics play into the hands of the Islamophobic Right". (He also singles out Maryam Namazie and the Alliance of Workers' Liberty too and says that they've gained an "enthusiastic endorsement" by Jihad Watch.)
The Islamophobic Right, presumably, has both eyes and ears, so it's bound to hear or read her – or their – words at some point. So what the hell is he saying here? He can only be saying this: Everyone must keep silent about Islam and Muslims. That is, either everyone must keep silent because what we're bound to say – by Pitt's own definition – will be 'Islamophobic'. Or everyone must keep silent lest our words "play into the hands of the Islamophobic Right". Either way, that's a lot of silence about Islam, Islamism, militant Muslims and Islamists. More to the point, it's a lot of silence about forced genital mutilation, the growth of sharia blasphemy law in the West (which he clearly endorses), Islamist violence, Muslim terrorism, the Muslim grooming epidemic, the proliferation of Muslim ghettoes or 'enclaves' in the UK and so on. Surely only a Trotskyist could sanction such an extreme political position – despite Pitt's leaving the Workers' Revolutionary Party "a quarter of a century ago" as he puts it. (Yes, he left that group then. Nonetheless, it far from follows from that he left revolutionary Trotskyism/ Marxism itself.)
The other thing is the shear illogicality and cynicism of his argument – if it is an argument. Even if OutRage, AWL, Irshad Manji, etc. have been quoted by 'far-right' groups and individuals, then they can't really do anything about that. Is Bob Pitt putting forward the dreadful argument that even Leftists and left liberals should never say anything critical about Islam, militant Muslims and Islamists lest they are quoted by 'evil' people? What sort of argument is that? What sort of political position is that? A Trotskyist political position? This would mean that I couldn't criticise Pol Pot if it were ever possible that the National Front could quote my criticisms. Or I could never criticise a child killer in case a 'far right' group quoted my words ... ah, wait a minute, Pitt probably would say that – or at least hint at it.
Bob Pitt, Like Ken Livingstone, Defends Qaradawi278 references, or 'categories', to Qaradawi in Islamophobia Watch today.)
He tells us that "Qaradawi is a leading reformist influence among Muslims." Now I think I know what's probably happened here. It is indeed the case that some Leftists, including Ken Livingstone, and loads of Islamists, have said exactly that – "Qaradawi is a leading reformist influence among Muslims." The problem is that just because a few Islam-ignorant Leftists and loads of taqiyya Islamists have said precisely that, it doesn't follow that Qaradawi is a reformist or a moderate. I'm sure that the possibilities are twofold. It's either the case that Pitt is pretty ignorant of Islam, Qaradawi and even about Islamism (which shares much with his own Leftist totalitarianism), and that's why he said what he said. Or, alternatively, he knows what he said is pure bullshit but nonetheless saying it helps his political cause (whatever that is). I would say that it would take Bob Pitt around thirty minutes' research to find out that Qaradawi is certainly not regarded as either a moderate or a reformist outside a small circle of Trotskyists/ Leftists and Islamists.
Bob Pitt's Links to MPACUK and Hizb ut-TahrirMuslim Public Affairs Committee [MPACUK] site is hardly an endorsement of their ideas." He says, "I've also linked to articles on Hizb ut-Tahrir sites", and then asks, "Does that make me a supporter of their ideas too?" Would he say the same if one of his enemies, or even one of his friends, provided links to the Stormfront website or even to Jihad Watch? Of course not! It's not even that these links were given to show people how extreme MPACUK and Hizb ut-Tahrir are. They were links to pieces and articles which, he thought, would help clarify certain points about Islam, etc. Would Pitt link to any right-wing websites in order to clarify some points on, for example, political ideology or Islam? Again, of course he wouldn't!
I love the way he also criticises his own opponents for linking him to various extreme Muslims and Islamist groups and then he goes straight ahead and does exactly the same thing to them. Let me give the details. I just mentioned the fact that Bob Pitt's website has linked to – and been linked from – the extreme group, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee; as well as to, believe it or not, the openly Islamist and frequently violent Hizb ut-Tahrir. But he then goes right ahead and links his critics and opponents – which include OutRage!, AWL and Irshad Manji – to 'fascists' and 'racists' such as Jihad Watch, Daniel Pipes and Melanie Philips.
Is Bob Pitt Still a Trotskyist?
I have looked into Bob Pitt on the Internet and found that the last time he described himself – rather than being described by others (like me!) – as a Trotskyist was in the early 1990s; whether he remained a self-described Trotskyist after that I don't know. In any case, he is still a Trotskyist. This is Pitt writing some time after 1990:
"Having spent a couple of years in the Workers Revolutionary Party in the late 1970s, and having been influenced by its politics over a much longer period ... the underlying cause of the WRP's collapse was [Gerry] Healy's contempt for the basic political principles of Trotskyism."
Bearing all that in mind, Pitt humorously implies that he's not a revolutionary Marxist/ Trotskyist any more because he left the WRP "around a quarter of a century ago". Well, it would be hard to still be a member of a party which no longer exists Bob, wouldn't it? In fact, the WRP split into various factions – in classic Trot style – in the mid-1980s, which was, well, uh, "a quarter of a century ago".
In any case, why join a fringe and tiny Trotskyist party when you can do far more work for the destabilisation of the 'capitalist system' and for the radicalisation of both Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as for class conflict and all-round revolutionary struggle, by publishing a website read by possibly thousands of militant Muslims and by probably rather fewer Trotskyists/ Leftists?
Islamophobia Watch is Bob Pitt's little attempt at – or version of – 'taking over the institutions', as advanced by Antonio Gramsci in the 1930s. That is, instead of kidding yourself – as the SWP still does – that the revolution is just around the corner, why not take over an institution or bring out an Islamophile Trotskyist website instead? I mean if the far Left has Islamophobia Watch, and much of the law (e.g., Gareth Pierce and many others), the rights industry, the race industry, various parts of various churches, local councils, etc., who cares about (violent) revolution when the (cultural) revolution has already happened and has been ongoing since the 1960s? Yes, I know, there are still the ultra-Leftists and outré radicals (mainly – though not exclusively – very young) who are unhappy with the lack of revolutionary blood on the street or the Gulag (for the ever-increasing number of people they class as 'far-right'). And, yes again, these more-left-than-thou youngsters still demand a yet more stringent, pure and oppressive political correctness. But what do you expect? The young still need to out-radicalise the radicalism of their parents and their parents' parents.
If Bob Pitt thinks that the 'racist' and/ or 'fascist' critics of Islam and Muslims should remain silent (for political reasons), and that the non-racist and non-fascist critics of Islam and Muslims should remain silent too, then how can we trust his defences of Muslims, Islamists and even Islam itself? His defences could either be outright lies or, at the very least, political (Trotskyist) dissimulation. In other words, it's probably the case that he has – or originally had! – no genuine sympathy for Islam or even for Muslims (as was the case with middle class Trotskyists and the working class in the old days). Instead, he simply propagandises for a 'no platform policy' to be enforced on all critics of Islam for political (revolutionary Marxist?) reasons, rather than as another necessary part of the fight against 'Islamophobia'. In other words, to Bob Pitt both Islamophobia and the fight against Islamophobia are but tools in his own personal political struggle.