For a generation or two, the liberal left in the UK campaigned against the monopoly of politics by a wealthy elite and the monopoly of morality by religious belief. Now in the 21st century, the liberal left in the UK have done a complete U turn and intellectually and practically slumped and sent us all backwards. After campaigning to get secular representatives of the working class into Parliament and the titled wealthy elite out of continually deciding the fate of the masses of working people, the liberal conservatives have promoted extremely wealthy Muslims into Parliament and promoted one of the wealthiest of Hindu’s to Prime Minister. Islam, Hinduism, and Capitalism have joined Christianity and Capitalism as the ruling ideologies of the UK elite. In an even more bizarre about face, the liberal laborites in the Labour Party have gone even further back in time and chosen a Christian Knight of the realm to govern them – and the rest of us – if he gets the chance! Keir Quixote, tilting at imaginary left-leaning windmills is about as dynamic as it gets in the UK. Not to be ‘left’ out (pun intended) the once radical political class in Scotland seem keen to follow suit with their own version of pro-Capitalism with an male Islamic face to replace a female Christian face.
It should not be overlooked, but it often is, that two of these religions are part of a trio of authoritarian Abrahamic ideologies tailor-made to assist ruling elites to govern human societies in a totalitarian manner. All three religions instruct that everyone should conform to one ideology and that ideology is both Male-Centred and hierarchical. If women are having a difficult time in Afghanistan, Iran, and elsewhere, look no further than the fundamental Islamic beliefs of the Taliban and the Iranian ruling elites. If non-believers not long ago were being decapitated and burned, then look to the same Abrahamic belief system that either promotes such atrocities, rationalises them or stays completely silent about them. If Palestinians are still being pushed off their former houses and olive fields then examine the ideology of a ‘chosen people’ and the founding Torah documents of Judaism.
If people in Europe and elsewhere do not like the fact that young women are being groomed and trafficked, for sexual activities or domestic slavery or subjected to ‘honour’ killings or disfigurement, they need to check out the religious affiliation of the perpetrators. If women are still being harassed and raped everywhere or are among the low paid menial workers around the globe, or their reproductive rights restricted, check out the religious background of the culture in which it takes place. Furthermore, when there is land grabbing warfare set in motion anywhere on the planet, just note where the elites who start them go to pray. Odds on that over many generations, one or other of the three Abrahamic religions has had an undue cultural influence in the country or region, where these symptoms occur.
For those who still think religion is benign and have not recently read the founding ideas of these religions, here are just a few extracts which are either openly used, quietly avoided or embarrassingly suppressed.
“Proclaim a woeful punishment to the unbelievers…..When the sacred months are over slay the apostates wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them”. (Qur’an. Sura 9.4)
Of unbelievers and those who are considered hostile or do not keep their distance then;
“Lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.” (Qur’an. Sura4.91)
“Keep aloof from women during their menstrual periods and do not touch them until they are clean again. Then have intercourse with them as Allah enjoined you…..Women are your fields: go, then into your fields as you please.” (Qur’an. Sura 2.222/3)
The reader may recall that ISIS and most other fundamentalist believers practiced all of these extreme sectarian behaviours, but what is just as notable is how few Muslims actually condemn these verses. Moreover, when one did – in the form of Salmon Rushdie – he was placed upon a death fatwa. One which still applies as does the silence about it from most Muslims. However, it is unfair to single out the Islamic version of Abrahamic monotheism for its inhumanity for the other versions are just as bad. it is worth noting that the Christian Old Testament contains in Numbers chapter 31, instructions from God and Moses to send the Israelites to kill the Midionites. After killing, burning their homes and plundering their goods as instructed, Numbers informs us that they brought captives and booty to Moses;
“Verse 14. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the army, the comanders of thousands…and said to them. Why have you let all of the women live?……17. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18. But all the female children, who have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Numbers chapter 31 verses 14 – 18)
These are not the only outrageous instances of brutal and inhumane treatment of other human beings, (including misogyny against women) within these founding scriptures and gospels of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, there are literally dozens of such examples. Having downsized I no longer have the holy books of Hinduism in my possession, but the Vedas and Upanishads are based upon worship of the same invisible ‘holy one’ and believers also think they contain ‘eternal truths’. Hindus also, like the other three, think that this religion is the only authentic one and therefore should be guiding politics with its believers in the first rank of human beings in all things. In addition Hindus do not think all people are equal but that nature and God have a hierarchical caste structure in mind for humanity with Priests (Brahmins) at the top, warriors next, then merchants and last of all servants and untouchables. Consequently it’s true believers do not really believe in democracy or human rights and of course Hinduism has it’s own fundamentalist fascistic sectarians, one of whom assassinated the Indian born peace activists Ghandi. Like the other Indo-Aryan religious movements Hinduism, detests secularism as much (or sometimes more) than its rival religions whose adherents regularly kill each other.
These facts themselves are shocking in a religious ideologies promoted by elites over generations for the rest of their dutiful sheep to follow, but there is even something worse. What is even more shocking and also revealing is the fact that not one voice of condemnation has been raised against the above verses from within the devout followers of these three religions. In my whole life time, including when I was in Church of England confirmation classes as a sixteen year old, through my 81 years of existence as an engineer and teacher have I ever heard (or read) one other note of condemnation – from within any of these four religions – of such ideas and verses. Nor have I come across clear condemnation from believers of the religious perpetrators of the same or similar acts by their contemporary fellow believers.
Once again, as it was in the early 20th century, the citizens of the UK are to be ruled by a religiously inspired wealthy capitalist elite. It has perhaps not been brought sufficiently to most peoples attention that during the rule of the last religiously inspired elite during the period from the 1900’s to 1944, things were also extremely bad. There was large-scale unemployment, low pay, soup kitchens, mass poverty, housing shortages, low funding for teachers, dilapidated schools, few libraries, people sleeping rough and inadequate privatised health services. In the 1920’s and 1930’s there was also financial crises and bank bailouts along with vast inequalities in wealth between the richest and the poorest. So the only real social difference between then and now is that the religion of a part of the British elite has changed and the health service has yet to be privatised. In the 21st century, the conditions for the working and lower middle classes are being steadily driven back to the pre-war levels of austerity, poverty and precariousness and of course new billionaires are everywhere. Yet amazingly this change in the complexion and ethnicity of the UK elite north and south of the border is being presented by many on the liberal and labour left as a general step forward. In fact it is a serious step back for humanity.
Although the backward political shifts in the UK are not as bad as the backward steps being taken elsewhere, it is part of a global trend of elites finding the ways and means of defending their privileges and imposing the costs of their currently created crisis on the working and lower middle-class citizens. In the UK, conservative and liberal left has not yet taken humanity back to the level of the Islamic inspired Taliban in Afghanistan or the Islamic inspired Iran, or the Muslim inspired Egyptian regime and the many others. Nevertheless, the trend is still heading in the same authoritarian direction and the backward steps are still being taken. In the absence of an alternative, what is to stop this slide into another yawning elite created abyss for the masses – except a series of the occasionally predicted huge ecological and climate-based disasters? There is something of a morbid irony in the fact that it may be the middle class promoted multicultural face of capitalism which destroys itself along with the very foundation of life on earth. It doesn’t seem at all likely that middle class humanity anywhere will wake itself up from its self-induced soporific dream of ‘me, me’ consumer progress and the organised working classes are struggling to simply survive.
R. Ratcliffe (March 2023)