They’re on a different planet…This socialist party targeting students proposed support for ISIS

You couldn’t make it up

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A new socialist party targeting students is debating a motion to praise ISIS – because it has “progressive potential”. 

Aching-heart morons at the upcoming Left Unity conference submitted a motion defending terrorist group ISIS because it breaks down the “imperialist” boundaries of Middle Eastern states.

They also call for support for of a caliphate in the region, saying it would represent “internationalism”, “protection of diversity and autonomy”, “accountability and representation” and something called “effective control of executive authority”.

Socialist activist John Tummon proposed the confused bill for the Left Unity conference this weekend, as an amendment to a motion condemning ISIS and supporting Kurds.

He says in the motion: “Left Unity does not accept the claim that all or most of these people only tolerate IS rule because of extreme coercion.”

John Tummon pic

John Tummon on the right (Credit: Manchester Evening News)

John adds: “The IS has committed atrocities but that these are not on a different moral plane to other atrocities committed over recent years in the region; they emerge out of it and the brutalised context resulting from imperialism and the struggle against it.”

He tries to distance ISIS (also known as the Islamic State) from Al-Qaeda and attacks “Western propaganda” for portraying the murderous group badly.

The hapless proposal will be heard at the conference for Left Unity – a socialist group set up last year by film director Ken Loach.

The party have set up campaigns to target students around the country and claim to be most active in Glasgow, Birmingham and Exeter.

And they are funding buses from universities to London at next week’s student demo.


The proposal – which is unlikely to have much support in the wider party – is an echo of the NUS’ refusal to condemn ISIS last month, because it would be “Islamophobic”.

This is one of several proposed amendments to an otherwise innocuous debate entitled “A socialist response to the actions of the ‘Islamic State’ and subsequent Western intervention in Iraq”.

An Isis propaganda photograph.

In another passage of Tummon’s amendment, which was seconded by Mark Anthony France, he writes: “Left Unity neither supports the western alliance nor the Islamic State and we see the struggle of the Kurds, the Sunnis and other Middle Eastern peoples as dependent on their ability to work together to establish a geographically wide, inclusive polity as an alternative to the existing nation states in the region.

“Insofar as the call for a Caliphate means such an inclusive, diverse polity, we support the call for it among the peoples of the Middle East.”

And it has sparked embarrassment in the fledgling party, which is active on campuses to drum up student support.

Member Sasha Ismail questioned why the motion is proposed on his blog and said: “I honestly don’t think I’ve misrepresented it.”



Read these extracts from the motion and see what you think:

Despite the atrocities it has carried out and its attack on the Kurds, IS nevertheless represents an attempt to break fundamentally with the structure of religiously and ethnically divided nation states imposed on the region by Britain and France at the end of the First World War.

Its call for a Caliphate holds out to Middle Eastern Muslims the promise of a return to something more like the Ottoman Caliphate that preceded western domination and held sway over a vast, complex and diverse empire, home to many ethnicities and faiths.

Unlike a continuation of the framework of western-imposed nation states, it therefore, theoretically, has progressive potential, although this is hard to see in the heat of a violent struggle and IS’s terror tactics against other strands within Islam.

Criticisms of the call for the Caliphate must be countered by knowledge and understanding. Painting it as inseparable from violence or empire building is a false association that lacks historical, political and intellectual credibility. The Caliphate represents an alternative political vision that is gathering support amongst Muslims across the Muslim world because, for its adherents, like Hizb ut-Tahrir [a radical Islamist grop], it stands for replacing the brutal regimes in which they live with a political system based on Islam that sets up an accountable executive, an organised judiciary, representative consultation, the rule of law and citizenship; such a state could only be a stabilising force for the region and the European Left has to acknowledge and accept the widespread call for a Caliphate among Muslims as valid and an authentic expression of their emancipatory, anti-imperialist aspirations. The call for the Caliphate, however vague and malleable the concept is, reflects a strong internationalism among Muslims, reinforced and reproduced for hundreds of millions each year by the Haj (Pilgrimage to Mecca), which breaks down and demotes any attachments to nation states of origin.

You can read in motion in full here.

A comment under John’s name appeared on a Left Unity blog post earlier this summer – which asks why the author is shy of supporting ISIS.

ISIS loon

ISIS have overrun huge areas of Iraq and Syria

ISIS has wreaked misery in Syria and Iraq, slaughtering thousands of Kurds and other Iraqis, raping and kidnapping women, beheading innocent victims including British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines.