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  • letter - Nick Cohen is wrong about the liberal-left


    by Sunny
    22nd March, 2009 at 3:04 am    

    In the Observer letters page today:

    Cohen needs to find a new column to write. Yet again last Sunday, he declaimed that the liberal-left has failed to engage or support liberal Muslims, asserting that leading voices and institutions refuse to challenge Islamist extremism as well as opposing the BNP. But this is nonsense. It can be easily disproved by what we have all said and done.

    Many of us have been working consistently together to secure the liberal and democratic values we want our shared society to promote and uphold, against erosion from every direction and extremism from every source. Innovative projects to challenge extremism and promote a shared British citizenship led by a diverse range of democratic Muslim voices such as the Radical Middle Way, Muslims for Secular Democracy, City Circle, Progressive British Muslims and New Generation Network have had strong engagement from groups such as the Fabian Society, ippr, Demos and Liberal Conspiracy, openDemocracy and Democratic Audit.

    But too often, too many in the media prefer to give platforms to the most extreme, polarising and least representative voices and crowd out the mainstream conversation we believe most of our fellow citizens want to have. We make a comradely call on Nick Cohen to stop shouting, to rejoin the conversation, engage with the work going on across the liberal-left and to become part of the solution.

    Sunder Katwala Fabian Society; Navid Akhtar; Fareena Alam, Fuad Nahdi Radical Middle Way; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown; Anthony Barnett Convention for Modern Liberty; Farmida Bi Progressive British Muslims; Yahya Birt, Usama Hasan, Asim Siddiqui City Circle; Rachel Briggs; Tony Curzon-Price openDemocracy; Sunny Hundal Liberal Conspiracy; Dilwar Hussain Policy Research Centre; James MacIntyre New Statesman; Dr Nasar Meer, Prof Tariq Modood Bristol University; Peter Oborne; Ed Owen; Chuka Umunna Labour ppc for Streatham; Stuart Weir Democratic Audit


                  Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Islamists,Media,Terrorism






    25 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: letter - Nick Cohen is wrong about the liberal-left http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/3823


    2. Pickled Politics » Nick Cohen: blah blah blah… please buy my book!

      [...] on our little spat with Nick Cohen but I’ve certainly not, yet. Cohen’s response to our letter in the Observer, following his downright hilarious claim that because “noted lefties such as [...]


    3. With liberals like these, who needs enemies « Full Fat Mocha

      [...] have followed this feud will know, Katwala then retaliated with a piece on NextLeft and a letter signed by a group of writers and activists to the Observer, as a rebuttal to [...]




    1. BenSix — on 22nd March, 2009 at 3:53 am  

      Ahaha! Nicely done.

    2. Sunny — on 22nd March, 2009 at 4:19 am  

      It’s what you call a smackdown :)

    3. BenSix — on 22nd March, 2009 at 4:29 am  

      In fact, here’s Anthony Barnett ‘delivering’ the letter.

    4. Chris Baldwin — on 22nd March, 2009 at 10:38 am  

      Superb

    5. Yakoub — on 22nd March, 2009 at 10:46 am  

      Finally, someone (quite a few someones, in fact) has told Nick Cohen to stop talking shite. Let’s hope he has the courage to re-engage brain!

    6. Anas — on 22nd March, 2009 at 11:36 am  

      nice one sunny

    7. Sunny — on 22nd March, 2009 at 12:34 pm  

      Ben - ha ha! Perfect

    8. Anton Vowl — on 22nd March, 2009 at 12:52 pm  

      Excellent, although it does generously suppose that Nick Cohen is capable of writing (or willing to write) anything other than anti-left ramblings nowadays.

    9. Leon — on 22nd March, 2009 at 12:57 pm  

      We make a comradely call on Nick Cohen to stop shouting, to rejoin the conversation, engage with the work going on across the liberal-left and to become part of the solution.

      Haha I wouldn’t hold your collective breaths! :D

    10. Amrit — on 22nd March, 2009 at 2:08 pm  

      CLASSY. For once, I get what I wish for!

    11. MaidMarian — on 22nd March, 2009 at 2:56 pm  

      ‘But too often, too many in the media prefer to give platforms to the most extreme, polarising and least representative voices and crowd out the mainstream conversation we believe most of our fellow citizens want to have.’

      Do you really think that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was the best person to sign up to this?

    12. Katy Newton — on 22nd March, 2009 at 5:14 pm  

      I think describing this as a “smackdown” somewhat dilutes the “comradely call” in the open letter, doesn’t it?

    13. Bo — on 22nd March, 2009 at 5:19 pm  

      Yes, the lovely Yasmin, friend of the white working class.

      http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/01/05/untouchables/

    14. Lester — on 22nd March, 2009 at 5:38 pm  

      I don’t know about smackdown, from the standpoint where I used to sit moderate elements like the Sufi Council were shunned by what could be called liberal-left campaigners in favour of the likes of MAB.

      Cohen may be a tired old record but there is an element of truth in what he’s saying, even if people find it uncomfortable or divisive.

    15. Sunny — on 22nd March, 2009 at 8:32 pm  

      I think describing this as a “smackdown” somewhat dilutes the “comradely call” in the open letter, doesn’t it?

      Katy - to be honest Sunder is a lot more conciliatory than I am. I gave up on Nick Cohen about a year ago I think, and have increasingly ignored his writings on the issue. If Nick Cohen now starts to make sense on the issue then great, but I’m not holding my breath.

      And to be honest, his incredibly lame response to our original blog posts just showed how incapable he is of debating the points we made in response to his strawmen.

    16. Katy Newton — on 22nd March, 2009 at 8:37 pm  

      I have to admit, I haven’t really read Nick Cohen much. I keep walking past “What’s Left” in Borders, thinking I might buy it, and then not.

    17. Sunny — on 22nd March, 2009 at 10:21 pm  

      I’ll summarise it: the SWP represent the left, and I hate the SWP, and therefore the left has lost its way.

      See this review on his latest book:
      http://www.democratiya.com/review.asp?reviews_id=246

    18. billericaydicky — on 23rd March, 2009 at 7:21 am  

      Katy Newton,
      Give me an address and I’ll send you a book token, a rattling good read. All of the signatories of this letter live on another planet it’s called planet race industry.

      Every single signatory of this letter is an academic, at, least the ones that I have heard of, and as such utterly divorced from reality. When the row over the article started I began re-reading the book and am still struck by how accurate it is.

      One of the people mentioned in the article is Ansar Ullah who lives and works in East London. He is involved with the Shadinata Trust a Bangladeshi cultural organisation which, amongst other things, campaigns for the war criminals of 1971 to be brought to justice.
      Across the Whitechapel Rd from where they are based is the London Muslim Centre home to Islamic Forum Europe whose President openly claims that they are linked to Jamati Islam which was actively involved in the slaughter.

      I don’t see Ansar Ullah in the list of signatories and for a very good reason. He is actively engaged with his community and not a member of a talk shop or a D list list celebrity or academic.

      More power to your elbow Nick, when you are being attacked by this bunch of nonentities you know you’r doing something right.

    19. BenSix — on 23rd March, 2009 at 9:57 pm  

      Cohen’s replied!

      He deals with the suggestion that he “needs to find a new column to write” by writing that you should, er, read a book of his old columns…

    20. Sunny — on 24th March, 2009 at 2:02 am  

      Yeah trust Bill! He’s down wit da efnicks! The guy has been hanging around with Bengalis so much he thinks he is one! And now if any brown person opposes the bullshit being shovelled in our faces, then Bill will just declare you’re part of the ‘race industry’ and point out the long list of Bengalis he knows who you can have a curry with.

    21. Martin — on 24th March, 2009 at 12:51 pm  

      Nick Cohen is correct in his position.
      Several of those names reek of appeasment & even Fifth Column.

      Can’t you people face up to the fact that Islamism is worse than the Nazism it resembles, and in the 1930s plenty on the Left were not just Nazi appeasers, they were collaborators

      Martin

    22. billaricaydicky — on 24th March, 2009 at 1:51 pm  

      Yo Sunny Bro, big up innit. The offer of a free curry in one of my restaurants is still on the table.

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