Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

Chia Barsen: Australian protests: an alternative to Islam, "Islamophobia" and "racism"

Where are the secular revolutionary humanists in the Australian protests?

Protests in Melbourne turned violent this week when two groups clashed. On one side were the “Reclaim Australia” supporters, and on the other side their divided opposition. This protest was by no means propitious for either side, however it did well to highlight the hegemonic “Islamophobia” narrative that has become the hair in the nose of every secular humanist. These protests also illuminated the convolutedness of the arguments on both side of the struggle, where secular atheists, like minnows, are being washed away by the insidious current of the fascistic right wing.

On the one side of the demonstrations in Melbourne, the protesters held posters reading “Penrith says no to mosques”, “No Islam, No Sharia, No Halal”,  and “Islam=Brainwashed political cult, not a Religion”. This “anti-Islam” group is under the flag of right wing anti-immigration racist ideology and not chanting from a heart of atheism or secularism. The anti-Islamic slogans and chants of this group are lodged within a racist fascistic ideology that does not differentiate between a believer and a belief system, the right of a person to have free consciousness and thought, and an oppressive system of ideas. Most importantly, this “anti-Islam” flag is wrapped around the draconian anti-working class package that is hidden directly beneath it. The only idea that is precious to this group when it comes to Australia is the narcissism that is embedded in nationalism that is fraught with sectarianism of the working class.

Meanwhile, the opposing group of protesters hold posters reading “Stand up to racist scapegoating”, “Islamophobes go home” and “No room for racism”. Whereas the ultra-right wing groups are dressing their old nationalist agendas with current populist ideas, this group is lost choosing between a misogynistic and suppressive ideology on the one side and avoiding sectarianism via racism on the other. Islam as an ideology on one side, and 21st century feminism as well as secular revolutionary humanist views on the other, the two sides are insoluble: an acquiesced pro-Islamic view has emerged.

The only poster held that perhaps represented some of the base arguments of the secularist left wing read as: “you can’t be racist against an ideology!” This poster was held by a man standing side by side with the ultra-right wing groups. This speaks volumes about the devastated state of the left in the politics of Australia. This may seem as a brash argument, but considering that the secularist and atheist people, that correctly see Islam as reactionary misogynistic ideology, are left to choose between ultra-right wing groups on the one side or to be called “racist” and “Islamophobes” on the other, paints a grim picture of the left wing parties in Australia whose role is to be the flag bearer of a third alternative to these two groups.

The traditional left has spent an inordinate amount of time apologizing for Islam for the sake of the unity of the working class. For the sake of avoiding “sectarianism” the traditional left has taken up a populist view that tramples women’s right, gay rights and opens the door for a gargantuan basic human rights and freedoms violations. Now this left is lost and confused to respond to the gaining momentum of political Islam around the world: beheadings on the beaches of North Africa and executions of gay men by being thrown from rooftops. The only argument left in their depleted political line is to say that it is not “true Islam”: a view that every secular man and women in the West is reluctant to follow due to the vacuous nature of this political line.

The only political line that represents the 21st century secularist humanists is the one that says a resounding no to both Islam and fascism. The third option represents the salient difference between religion, as inherently repressive and dangerous institution, and the right of a person to free conscious thought and belief. A true left wing political group is not built to ameliorate between the “good” and the “bad” in a religion, the “moderate” and the “extremist”, but instead to firmly hold the values of secularism and militate against all ideologies that are inherently misogynistic, anti-gay, and anti-21st century human rights and freedoms.  

Chia Barsen

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