Politics makes strange bedfellows. Stranger still when the odd couple are fundamentalist Islam and the secular Left. The evolving Black–Red alliance is growing in France, Germany and Belgium. But, based on the successful British model, it is now going global to declare war on the war on terror.
No fewer than three international conferences have been convened in Cairo, presided over by the former president of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, under the auspices of the International Campaign Against US and Zionist Occupations. One outcome is ‘The Cairo Declaration Against US Hegemony, War on Iraq and Solidarity with Palestine.’ British signatories included Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn and, of course, the indefatigable George Galloway, whose ‘fiery’ participation won honourable mention in Egypt’s semi-official newspaper, Al-Ahram.
If Iraq was the catalyst for the Black–Red alliance, the Stop the War coalition provided the cauldron in which the union was consummated. The result is a pure gestalt: the coalition allows its constituent parts to pack a far greater collective punch than they could have dreamt of on their own. Putting a million people on to the streets of London is not, after all, small potatoes. The steering committee of the Marxist–Islamist alliance consists of 33 members — 18 from myriad hard-Left groups, three from the radical wing of the Labour party, eight from the ranks of the radical Islamists and four leftist ecologists (also known as ‘Watermelons’ —green outside, red inside). The chairman is Andrew Murray, a leading light in the British Communist party; co-chair is Muhammad Aslam Ijaz, of the London Council of Mosques. Among the major players from the Left are Lindsey German, who resigned as editor of the Socialist Workers’ party newspaper to become convenor of the Stop the War coalition; John Rees, also of the SWP, and, of course, George Galloway.