January 26, 2015
Defend free speech, fight Jew-hatred!
The execution of the Charlie Hebdocartoonists and the murder of Jewish shoppers at a kosher market in Paris by self-proclaimed Islamists are attacks on all working people. The working class needs to answer these reactionary acts, fighting to defend and expand political space and against Jew-hatred. The assassinations set back the fight against anti-Muslim prejudices used by the capitalists to divide working people and deal further blows to political rights.
Working people must vigorously reject the argument made by some on the left that the vulgar or provocative nature of the cartoonists' drawings in some way justifies the attacks.
Rejecting Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic violence is a life-or-death question for the working-class movement in Europe, the U.S., the Middle East and everywhere. Those who remain silent in the face of anti-Semitic attacks, or say they "understand" them as defense against scapegoating Muslims or the Palestinian struggle, deal blows to the fight to end the dictatorship of capital. No revolutionary proletarian movement can be built if the fight against anti-Semitism is not blood and bone of its program and practice.
At the Jan. 11 Paris "unity" march in support of French imperialism, French President François Hollande and other leaders of imperialist powers in Europe hypocritically portrayed themselves as defenders of democratic rights.
But the French ruling class champions the use of "hate speech" laws to restrict freedom of expression and divide the working class. It fines and makes pariahs of women who wear the Islamic veil in public. Permitting the capitalist rulers and their government to silence "offensive" journalists or artists or to ban veils or other religious garb gives them a tool to divide and attack the working class, especially as resistance to the bosses' assaults increases.
Hollande's mobilization of 10,000 troops on the streets in the wake of the attacks is aimed at setting a precedent for military deployment against workers' struggles in the future.
The labor movement needs the widest political space possible to protest, strike, and debate the road forward and unite with others in common struggles on the way to ending forever the dictatorship of capital.