Yet should not be forgotten, however, that George Galloway's Respect Party did win a seat in East London in the elections of 2005 as a coalition between SWP Trotskists and Islamists, one that broke up in 2007.
Recently, I was watching speeches being made at the meeting of a new group termed 'The Equality Movement’, a group including Jody MacIntyre, the disabled activist who was dragged out of his wheelchair by the police during the student demonstrations in December 2010.
An interesting series of speakers from the militant Marxist-Leninist Left as well as Islamists turned up , all united by their shared loathing of the USA and Israel and the Little Satanic minion that is Britain, to talk on the subject of "What is Imperialism ?".
Introduced by a rapper called "Logic", the 5 principles of the Equality Movement were drawn up in big block capital letters,
1. WE BELIEVE IN THE EQUALITY OF ALL PEOPLE; IRRESPECTIVE OF RACE, RELIGION, GENDER OR PHYSICAL ABILITY.
2. WE BELIEVE IN AN EQUAL EDUCATION FOR ALL PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF FINANCIAL WEALTH OR FAMILY BACKGROUND.
3. WE OPPOSE THE IDEOLOGY OF CAPITALISM, WHICH STEALS FROM THE POOR AND GIVES TO THE RICH, THEREBY NEGATING ANY POSSIBILITY OF EQUALITY IN OUR SOCIETY.
4. WE OPPOSE THE IDEOLOGY OF IMPERIALISM IN ALL CONTEXTS*, AND SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF OPPRESSED PEOPLES TO STRUGGLE AGAINST IT.
5. WE BELIEVE THAT THE CURRENT BRITISH GOVERNMENT DOES NOT REPRESENT THE VIEWS OF THE PEOPLE, AND THAT THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SUCH A GOVERNMENT IS IMPOSSIBLE UNDER THE CURRENT, UNDEMOCRATIC POLITICAL SYSTEM IN THIS COUNTRY.
* INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE ISRAELI COLONISATION OF PALESTINE, AND THE BRITISH AND UNITED STATES LED OCCUPATIONS OF AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ
The aim seems to be to intensify discontent through a propaganda that stimulates outrage, over diverse issues from the conflict between Palestine and Israel to student anger over tuition fees and 'inequality, all rolled into one anti-capitalist and anti-imperial cause.
Yet curiously the anti-imperialists are not always that anti-imperialist if the power bloc of their fantasies is held to be ranged against the USA.
Take the first speaker Seumas Milne. Milne remains in many respects an ardent admirer of the USSR which up until 1991 was the largest and last European Empire. Like Ken Livingstone, he now sees China's superpower as a positive check on US power in a multipolar world.
Another speaker was Tariq Ali, a Trotskyist who supports anti-imperialist Islamists but has forgotten his hero Trotsky's contempt for Islamist movements after Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 when opined that "the putrescent tissue of Islam will vanish at the first puff".
Sharing a platform with them was Dr. Hanan Chehata is a leading contributor to MEMO of which Dr Daud Abdullah is also a leading contributor, the man who claimed in the Istanbul Declaration of 2009 that any perceived collaboration with Zionists should be resisted with violence.
"The obligation of the Islamic Nation to regard everyone standing with the Zionist entity, whether countries, institutions or individuals, as providing a substantial contribution to the crimes and brutality of this entity; the position towards him is the same as towards this usurping entity"The wording is important as it points towards Islamism of the kind that Hamas represents as part of a global movement that can take out those it defines as "standing" with the "Zionist entity" through violence.
That clearly goes further than with Israel as a nation state: it is a jihad that can transcend boundaries, one that ties in with the attempts by other British based militant Islamists to create global politico-religious movements against Western nations from within.
For those who resent and detest the West in its entirety, and not specific foreign and domestic policies, the Israel-Palestine conflict is but one that can exploited to ratchet up hatred and help to create an Islamic hyper identity.
The Istanbul Declaration was signed by those considered "respectable" tribunes of Islamism in Britain including Mohammed Sawalha, an organiser of Islam Expo, the huge annual gathering of Muslims in east London.
It was signed also by Sheikh Rashid al-Ghannoushi of the Tunisian an-Nahdhah party whose daughter Soumaya Ghannoushi writes for The Guardian and claims mendaciously that the party is liberal and democratic.
Essentially, such activists want to use propaganda to create resistance to "imperialism" from within Britain by using the veiled threat of violence to persuade the British government that it needs to listen to such "community leaders" or else face violence from those resisting imperialism both at home and abroad.
That is welcomed by those radicals who think Islamism is usefully anti-imperialist to regenerate their hard left political agenda. As Lizzie Cocker stated,
“Unprecedented numbers of largely Arab and Muslim youth flooded into the streets...and were met by brutal suppression by the state. The government tried to portray these people as thugs and louts, just as they had criminalised the people of Gaza. Just as Israel’s leaders thought they could bomb the people of Gaza into submission, the British government believed they could bully and intimidate an increasingly angry Muslim youth into submission, at a time when our imperialist wars are escalating and spreading into other countries.”Clearly Cocker is trying to maintain that British police policing demonstrations are paralleled by the IDF in order to ramp up hatred in a way that could breed violence and terrorism. For if the British state is considered equally as repressive towards Muslims as Israel, then perhaps the only way to redress that is violence, even terrorism.
Which, as in Palestine, would mean suicide bombing. It would never be justified, of course, but merely a response to intolerable oppression caused by the British state. This is playing politics in a way that could prove lethal on the streets of Britain as well as rationalising such violence with pseudo-moral zeal.
The concept of a seamless ideology of rapacious imperialism from Gaza to London being imposed is potentially inflammatory and psychopathological. Yoking together student demos with Hamas as "resistance" is both silly and sinister. But, even if silly, it needs to be challenged instead of written off merely as cranky left wing sectarian politics.
For increasingly, as university entrance has grown exponentially, without there being an improvement in quality, then there will be increasing number of semi educated people who hold to these paranoid and shrill and intolerant world views.
Partly this is to give excitement to mundane lives in a stultifyingly boring consumer society in the manner satirised by J G Ballard in his novels. But it also reveals what Ballard called new emerging psychopathologies whereby global struggles are sought to give purpose and identity in a Britain increasingly bereft of it.
Indeed, the issue of Israel and Palestine is not connected to the student demonstrations unless the aim of Leninist vanguard elites is to build up a revolutionary momentum by exploiting ethnic and religious tensions within "the Muslim Community" and others deemed to be "alienated".
The irony is that certain Islamist movements do not much care for atheist Leninists or SWP hacktivists and others on the fringe left wanting to hijack just any sign of discontent to "build the party" or diminish Western power.
Which is what Islamist movements want and to that extent the secular atheist revolutionaries such as Milne and Ali et al act as "useful idiots" in performing that role as Islamists in practice detest them in the Middle East but need prominent names such as Milne, a big figure at the Guardian, to push the anti-imperialist line for them.
Though Islamists despise Marxism, whilst appropriating certain concepts and propaganda tropes from Third World anti-colonial movements that claimed to be based on Marxism-Leninism during the Cold War, they have something in common: the hunger for apocalyptic politics, messianism and hatred for "so-called" Western civilisation.
With the end of the Cold War , those such as Milne had to cast around for another power bloc capable of thwarting the USA, seen as negative embodiment of the Wild West in all its decadent extremity, no matter whether these power's own stance on freedom and human rights has been even worse than the USA ( as was the Soviet Union's )
Milne and those such as George Galloway have found these in Islamist movements which, because against Israel and the USA, are then considered to be united in some global way when they reflect very different regional power struggles.
Ironically, anti-imperialist war activists often accept the neoconservative world view that Islamist movements in the Middle East and secular revolutionary organisations are fighting one common cause.
As with Michael Gove in Celsius 7/7 who absurdly characterised Islamist movements within Britain and the Middle East as "one seamless totalitarian threat", radicals see it as one seamless global justice movement with various tendencies and soft peddle the ideological connections between terrorism and Islamism.
Both positions are absurd and merely serve power political agendas. George Galloway sees Islamist movements as a heroic internationalist cause in so far as they serve Iranian national interests in the Middle East.
Galloway, of course, works for Iran's Press TV . Hence Iranian regional imperialism is not considered in accordance with the Orwellian principle of doublethink. For Iran effectively has an interest in keeping the Israel-Palestine conflict going, one reason Hizbollah has acted as a proxy force in Iranian realpolitik in the Middle East.
Nor is China's Imperialism which, despite Milne wafting it aside in his Equality Movement speech as tedious anf hypothetical at this moment, is real enough in Africa for those living there, in places such as Zimbabwe, where China is backing the dictator in order to get access to natural resources.
The difference between the USA and China is that China does not operate according to double standards. It merely offers technology and economic aid to kleptocrats and dictators without the hypocritical concern for human rights.
This is a fact the anti-war or anti-imperialist ideologues never consider: the pathological struggle over access to the resources that fuel economic growth and wealth is not only pursued by the USA but by a number of powers.
The Iraq War was about Western democracy as well as oil in so far as democratic nations must please their citizens and that can be best done through high octane consumerism that people expect as a right.
Imperialism in the case of Iraq was not about profit beyond that which can be made from exchange: the explanation Milne gives for the drive behind imperialism in the Middle East. In fact, it was about geopolitical advantage, control of oil against the growing influence of China, and fears about diminishing global reserves of oil.
The mantra about Iraq being a war for profiting oil corporations is convenient for those living in the West who want to blame governments for securing the oil supplies that underpin their lifestyles.
Yet the question is how many consumers would willingly give up their current level of car use, EasyJet flights and supermarket choices in order to preserve oil and gas and thereby contribute towards the lessening of conflicts over it.
Presumably some of those consumers would have included those who bussed their way down to the anti-war protests in London in March 2003.
That would also include those students protesting against tuition fees, which was also a protest in reality against the increased meaninglessness of education. To pay in full for an education that will not lead to job security or status and, at best, work in a corporation.
The Iraq War for oil was at bottom a resource war to maintain Western living standards for the majority of the people. It was not some rapacious imperialist war disconnected from the citizens of the West simply to benefit an evil elite.
Militant Islamists know that which is why they seek to exploit this contradiction and seldom condemn terrorism without attaching conditions to it, For as horrible as it is, it might be the last tactic left to accelerate tensions within Europe sufficient for radical change to come.