(Updated Jan. 13) Socialists condemn 'Charlie Hebdo' massacre, warn of Islamophobia in its wake

Vigil in Sydney on January 8, 2015, for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo Paris massacre.

Statement by Australian Socialist Alliance national co-conveners on the Paris massacre

Sydney, January 9, 2015 -- The Socialist Alliance Australia condemns the massacre of journalists, cartoonists and others at and around the offices of the Paris-based publication Charlie Hebdo. However offensive anyone may have found some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo, this act of brutal violence is not justified.

Socialist Alliance condemns the conservative religious fundamentalist sects which promote and carry out such acts of violence. These sects are deadly enemies of democracy, justice and progress and their violent and sectarian actions weaken the real struggles for a just, equitable, democratic and sustainable future.

The Socialist Alliance also warns against and condemns any attempts by Western politicians, governments, corporate media and others to use this latest incident to whip up racist Islamophobia which is already virulent in the rich countries of the world.

This latest act of brutality does not justify the “clash of civilisations” hysteria that is widely used by racists to justify ongoing and new imperial wars, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies and laws, and anti-democratic “security” laws.

In particular, the Socialist Alliance condemns Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott's crude attempt to use this latest act of violence to justify Australian military intervention in the Middle East.

In a media conference on January 8, Abbott claimed that this attack was by “people who hate us not because of anything we've done, but who we are and how we live”.

“They hate our freedom, they hate our pluralism, they hate the welcome we extend to people of all faiths, all cultures, all sexualities".

This is an outrageous lie that feeds the racist, anti-Muslim “clash of civilisations” hysteria and ignores the fact that the vicious cycle of terror and counter-terror (including state terror by Western governments and the dictatorships they have and continue to prop up in the Middle East) has killed hundreds of thousands of people is a direct result of Western imperial domination and exploitation.

The overwhelming majority of the people who have been killed in this cycle of terror are people of Muslim background. This applies to the non-state acts of violence. The great majority of people killed by the Islamic State In the Levant (ISIL/ISIS), for instance, have been Muslims.

We live in a world divided between rich and poor countries where the rich countries spend hundreds of billions on their military forces to maintain this gross inequality. In 2013, the US alone spent US$640 billion out of a global military expenditure of US$1.7 trillion. It is no coincidence that the US has the biggest military expenditure and the biggest number of billionaires!

Unless this gross global inequality and oppression is ended, Abbott's warning that there will be more terrorist acts in the future is guaranteed to be fulfilled. But the Australian government offers no real solutions. It offers only an intensification of the deadly cycle of violence.

Socialist Alliance calls for real solutions to the cycle of violence that must include:

  • Ending Australian participation in all imperialist military interventions and occupations.
  • Breaking from all imperialist military alliances and closing all US military bases and facilities in Australia.
  • Just reparations to the victims of all Australian military interventions.
  • An end to the war on refugees and full implementation of obligations under the Refugee Convention.
  • Abolition the new, undemocratic “security" laws passed by the Abbott Liberal-National government with the support of the Australian Labor Party.

France's Left Front: After terror, we need more democracy and tolerance

January 8, 2015 -- The statement below was released by France's Left Front (Front de Gauche), a left group uniting the Left Party (Parti de Gauche), the Communist Party of France other other smaller left groups, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo that left 12 people dead.

About 35,000 people attended the union-called demonstration on the evening of January 7 that the statement mentions. The translated statement is taken from John Passant's blog.

* * *

The deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo dumbfounds us. More than a dozen deaths including cartoonists Charb, Wolinski, Cabu and Tignous! Our first thoughts go to the families and friends of the victims. The Left Front gives them its full solidarity.

This barbaric act must not go without a response. The attack was on a newspaper … It is the freedom of the press that they wanted to attack. It is our freedom to think they wanted to undermine. It is the democratic freedoms they want to question. They will not succeed in intimidating us.

Faced with this heinous act, we need a response that mobilises all democrats, a response that shows that our citizenship, refuses to be dragged into a spiral of fear, a response which affirms, facing terrorism, that France is rich in diversity, proud of freedom of opinion that prevails. Faced with terror, we must respond with more democracy, more fraternity and tolerance.

This is why the Left Front calls on all democratic forces to react. The Left Front calls for a huge presence at the General Conferation of Labour (CGT)-called demonstration.

New Ani-capitalist Party (NPA)statements on Charlie Hebdo killings

Following are the two statements issued by the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA) of France after the January 7 killing of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris. They were published in English by New Politics.

A barbarous and reactionary act

Montreuil, January 7, 2015 -- The attack against the editorial offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo has provoked indignation and anger against this blind murderous violence against journalists and newspaper staff. The attack aims at spreading terror against the freedom of expression and the press in the name of reactionnary and obscurantist prejudice.

We have often debated and polemicized with the journalists and illustrators of Charlie Hebdo as well as engaging in common campaigns with them.

The NPA expresses its solidarity with the family and friends of the victims, the journalists and staff at Charlie Hebdo.

But we will not enter into a national union with the sorcerer’s apprentices who flirt with racism, stoke hatred against Muslims and foreigners or will use this trajedy to enact new laws against civic rights. They bear a heavy responsibility for the current xenophobic climate. Both camps are ennemies of democracy, freedom, as well as the working class and all those in solidarity with it

Hollande and national unity: anger and indignation misdirected

[France's President] François Hollande, once again, even in this dramatic situation, did not have anything to say.

Throughout the country people are expressing their indignation, anger, revulsion against the pure and simple execution of independent, free and satirical, anti-conformist, journalists, this putting to death of Charlie Hebdo, and Hollande is praising a united France, calling for national unity. In doing so he justifies the wars that he and his government are carrying out against the peoples in regions of the world where plundering and military interventions organised by the great powers are sowing misery and chaos.

It is because the NPA is fully in solidarity with the journalists, the employees, the victims of the barbaric and reactionary attack against Charlie Hebdo and its journalists that we are not joining this national unity, with this coming together of France.

We say no to falling in behind this government, which is waging war against working people; behind Sarkozy who is saying the same thing as Hollande; or behind [the National Front's] Marine Le Pen who is using it to conduct a racist and xenophobic campaign under pretext of fighting against Islamic fundamentalism.

It is their policy, social and democratic regression, social that secretes this obscurantist cruelty, this contemptible violence which aims at sowing terror, against freedom of expression, freedom of the press in the name of reactionary and obscurantist prejudices.

The answer is not national unity but the workers’ movement, working people again the offensive to bring society out of regression, of the chaos into which capitalist policy has plunged it.

We will express our solidarity with the victims of terror in complete independence of their national unity.

*Keith Mann translated the first document, the second was translated by International Viewpoint.

Indian communists condemn massacre of journalists in Paris

January 9, 2015 -- The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation strongly condemns the heinous massacre of cartoonists and journalists of the Paris-based magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Anyone who felt offended by the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s cartoons about Islam and the Prophet Mohammad could have expressed their objections through peaceful, democratic protest. Terrorist actions like the Paris massacre can only become fodder for the global campaign of Islamophobia that is being used to justify wars, occupations and torture.

Violence or demands for bans against cartoonists, writers, filmmakers or artists who are irreverent to one’s faith, cannot have any place in a democratic world. The Norway massacre by the Islamophobic Anders Breivik; threats against Salman Rushdie; the persecution of Taslima Nasreen in Bangladesh and in India; the Peshawar massacre; the harassment of M.F. Hussain, forcing him to leave India; the pulping of Wendy Doniger’s book under threats from Hindutva groups; and the recent vandalisation of theatres showing the film PK – all are instances of violence and terrorism in the name of religious fanaticism and xenophobia.

France, Germany and other countries in Europe have been witnessing a worrying increase in Islamophobia and anti-immigrant xenophobia. We hope that the Charlie Hebdo attack will not be allowed to fuel further Islamophobia and racial profiling and violence. Freedom of expression of cartoonists and other artists and writers must be protected –- as must the dignity and rights of religious and racial minorities in Europe and other parts of the world.

In India, the Sangh Parivar is trying to use the Paris massacre as a pretext to spread hatred against Islam and Muslims. It must be remembered that the Sangh Parivar and other Hindutva groups are the ones responsible for acts of horrific violence in the name of "defending" their faith. These acts of violence include the assassination of MK Gandhi, the burning alive of Graham Staines and his two little sons, and numerous communal pogroms targeting Muslim and Christian minorities. Anders Breivik, who massacred many young people in Norway, was inspired in part by the ideology and violent actions of the Sangh Parivar in India.

People in India, and all over the world, must speak out loudly against all attempts to foment hatred and violence in the name of religions.

Charlie Hebdo must not justify Islamophobia, war and militarisation!

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

January 13, 2015 -- The indications are that the horrendous killings at the the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris will unfortunately be used by the governments of the US, France, Australia and other Western powers to ratchet up Islamophobia and to justify the continuation of their post 9/11 program of endless wars, as well as the increased militarisation of Asia and other Third World regions. As we condemn the killings, we also oppose any and every attempt to use them as a pretext to promote anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia.

In the same week that the Charlie Hebdo killings took place, in the Philippines another journalist, Nerlita Ladesma, was gunned down, adding to the total of 145 journalists killed since the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Five years ago 32 journalists were killed in the Maguindanao massacre in the lead-up to the 2010 Presidential elections. On January 11 one of the prime suspects was allowed to walk free on bail.

Experience tells us that democratic rights are hard won and always conditional — hence referred to as "elite democracy", under our present system. They require sustained mass mobilisations to be defended and extended. We hope that the mass mobilisations in Europe condemning the Charlie Hebdo killings will be replicated around each and every attack on democratic rights. This includes mobilisations in opposition to the French government’s ban on demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinian people, the criminalisation of Muslim women wearing the veil or hijab, and racist attacks against Muslims and other migrant communities.

We also need to expose the cynical hypocrisy of the governments that have feigned support for the “freedom of speech” and who led the march in Paris. The Prime Minister of Turkey, the country which has jailed many journalists and has carried out a policy of systematic and brutal oppression of the Kurdish people. The foreign minister of Egypt, which has three Al Jazeera staff serving 10-year prison terms on absurd convictions. The Prime Minister of Ireland, where blasphemy remains an enforced criminal offence. The Saudi Arabian ambassador to France, representing a government which is a dictatorship against women and which has just handed out a thousand lashes to a man convicted of blasphemy. Qatar, where people are serving 15-year terms for "blasphemous" poetry. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responsible for the genocidal war against the people of Gaza, whose military forces targeted journalists during the Gaza invasion. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the US attorney general, whose governments are responsible for having killed more than 1 million Iraqis and thousands in murderous drone attacks. The US has brutally cracked down on whistle blowers who have exposed the governments routine spying operations, including against its own people. To cap it all the US has now called for a conference against violence!

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, as well as our Muslim brothers and sisters, especially those living in the West, who must brace themselves against the fallout of these events and the rising anti-Muslim prejudice.

We oppose any attempts by international powers to use the recent events to intensify their program of endless war and interventions in the Middle East and against other Third World countries.

We will continue to struggle against the US policy of increased militarisation in Asia and our region.