“Alas Max Farrar, the difficulty of your approach is that you consistently fail to accept that collective identities are not predetermined and that the process of mobilization is constitutive of a people. The idea that class based formations are the only legitimate sources of identification and empowerment is continually belied by the experience of ethnic minorities who find solace in what are typically termed religious identities.
There is a clear lack of appreciation, and to some extent a denial, for the possibility of so-called religious identities becoming political. The mobilisation of Muslims in your reading will always be presented as a form of ‘fundamentalism’ and by definition a reactionary rather than a progressive politics, in which the usual disclaimers apply, e.g. ‘women are seen to be ‘subordinated’ and ‘oppressed;’ issues around homophobia; restrictions on free speech; victimhood and playing the ‘race’ card; and of course fairness or equality are ‘dismissed’ within these communities.
The only answer that your analysis can offer is one based upon an essentialism which determines the characteristics of any politics from the classification from its agents. Therefore, politics (and the political) remain a secondary phenomena throughout ethnicised communities where primordial loyalties and solidarities are immune to the process of political articulation and intervention. Unfortunately in your limited attack of CAGE you can only offer generic notions of ‘fundamentalism’ at best, which display the Eurocentrism inherent in many sections of the left. As you claim to be a long term fan of Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, I wonder what you would think he would make of your position in aligning yourself with such a neocon led campaign against a human rights advocacy organization?”
Katy Sian wrote the above response on social media in support of Tom Mills, David Miller and Narzanin Massoumi who have written about the brilliant work of CAGE, as well as about the attempts to derail this work in the name of War on Terror.