Democracy and Multiculturalism – A reply to David Cameron…
If there was a prize for a speech that contained the most examples of blatant two-faced hypocrisy then David Cameron’s would surely take that prize. It simply beggars belief that a Prime Minister who presides over a foreign policy which supports the oppression of the vast majority of the known Arab word and which has failed to do anything of consequence to loosen the death-grasp of the Mubarak regime can lecture anybody in such a high-minded manner about ‘British values’.
It is this double-standard, this hypocrisy that fuels extremism. People aren’t stupid – they see the contradiction between what politicians like Cameron say and what they do and they don’t believe him. On the streets of Egypt it is hardly surprising people see the West as being their enemy and when demagogues like the Muslim Brotherhood provide an explanation that fits its hardly surprising people listen. When it comes to the Wahhabi fundamentalism of the House of Saud, the West has bankrolled this for years as it has Osama Bin Laden himself before he spectacularly decided to bite the hand that fed him.
If he is looking for an explanation for ‘Islamic extremism’ then Mr Cameron would be advised to look much closer to home. Furthermore, on a day the English Defence League marches it beggars belief that Cameron has the temerity to lecture the Muslim community for its ‘silent tolerance of extremism’. Many Muslims will rightly ignore the Prime Minister and dismiss his outrageous remarks for the rubbish they are. Despite him using the same speech to ‘support’ the Egyptian Revolution one cannot avoid the suspicion his remarks are a covert attempt to undermine that movement.
Mr Cameron says:
“We need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism.”
You mean we need to be more ‘muscular’ than when we barged into Iraq and killed 100,000s of thousands of innocents in a failed experiment in ‘regime change’? Clearly, Mr Cameron’s tenuous grasp of reality has led him to some, frankly barking, conclusions. Democratic deficits do exist in the multicultural project as practised by the state – positive discrimination, for example, is the wrong solution to real problems because it tackles one source of of disadvantage and leaves those deeply rooted ones created by capitalist social relations untouched.
However, democratic integration from below is more than possible while respecting the multicultural ethic of tolerance of difference. In Egypt, Christians and Muslims have respected and protected each others right to pray and practise religion differently but still they have come together, united by their common cause and within the pro-democracy movement. This is a model of what is possible – we do not have to choose between a multicultural society where differences and the right to be different is protected and an integrated one where society comes together; united in common cause and purpose.
It is only disgraceful charlatans like David Cameron that insist we do. Consistent democrats and socialist however say different and provide a brave model of a society where it is the likes of David Cameron and his EDL friends who are on the margins.