Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Political Islam: dead end for oppressed people

 In light of the many atrocities committed in the name of Allah this article from the archives of Discussion Bulletin by Karl Carlile of the Communist Global Group may be of use in explaining it a little bit of the cause. 

Islamists, have benefited for years from American largesse via Pakistan and Saudi Arabia when they fought against the USSR in Afghanistan. Moreover, the alliance between the USA and political Islam is a very old story whose origins go back to agreements reached between ultra-reactionary and racist wahhabite monarchy from Saudia Arabia and American oil companies. This alliance, very useful in the fight against pro-Russian Arab regimes and for keeping a vigilant watch over the area's oil fields, has never been recinded. For years, western leaders have found nothing to say against the Sheiks of the Saudi Arabia and their oppressive regime was never denounced. The American state cannot then plead not guilty.     The world's foremost military and economic power,  has played the part of sheriff only for its own interests and without paying any attention to the needs of local populations, who have paid for many decades the price of a regional order which has to guarantee capital accumulation forever on a world scale.
This situation contributed to the radicalization of certain parts of the Middle East mid Central Asian populations and took the form of a dissent more and more borrowing its weapons from Islamic ideology. The story is that this utterly backwards ideology - expression of the failure of the ruling classes of these areas to create the economic and social conditions for modem capitalism - far from supplying a well-fitted frame to the justified revolt of the oppressed people, traps them in an outdated fight, whose true goal is to subordinate the more mid more oppressed "faithful" to the whole of the "Muslim" ruling classes. What is there in common between the young unemployed in Gaza or Algiers and the billionaires from the Gulf or ruling classes from the area's states, except religious belonging? Obviously nothing. Islam is used here only to create a fake community between "Muslim" oppressors and oppressed which the area's proletariat never cease to pay for. Political Islamism, as a substitute for the class struggle, has also been chosen by minority fractions of inimigrant youth in Europe (France and Belgium particulary). Here, resentment has been fed by mass unemployment and racism and has been made use of by some religious groups. The real revolt has then been trapped in the reactionary ghetto of Islam, of the oumma (Faithfull community), which has contributed, along with the surrounding racism, to isolate these rebellious people from working class people of European extraction. In the end this plays the game of all those, from governments to bosses, who have an interest in dividing exploited people.
Many Muslims have been declaring that all Muslims must obey the declaration of a holy. This view that emanates from many Muslims flies in the face of the facts. Muslims have over the years violently attacked each other.
 In any anti-war movement we cannot take either the side.
 Muslim fundamentalism, and Islam in general, is a sectarian religious ideology and even political philosophy and practice. It essentially promotes the class interests of imperialism. Muslim and Christian fundamentalism are particularly sectarian. Muslim fundamentalism has been effectively promoting polarization between Eastern and Western workers at a time when the globalisation of the working class into a unified political reality is an urgent necessity. While attacking racism it sustains racism a multiplicity of ways because it is inherently racist.
  Muslim fundamentalism is contradictory. While actively sustained by imperialism it at the same time attacks imperialism its very source of nourishment. In many ways Muslim fundamentalism is similar to Stalinism. Stalinism is a counter revolutionary force that prevents the existence of communism. Consequently it serves imperialism's interests. Yet to maintain its unique role as a counter revolutionary form it has acted, at the same time, in a way that obstructs imperialism. This generates conflict between the two forces. The Cold War was just such a conflict.
 Muslim fundamentalism is a religious and political ideology and practice that is petty bourgeois. It serves the class interests of small capital. It is this that makes it reactionary. However the very fact that it serves the interests of small capital in the context of increasing capitalist globalisation is what lends it its acutely anachronistic image in the eyes of the Western working class. However it is its specific class character that gives it its appeal to the masses that exist outside of western capitalist society. Its representation of the interests of small capital means that it expresses a hostility to big capital. And what bigger capital than US imperialist capital -- the Great Satan. It is this hostility by small capital against big capital that gives its anti-imperialist appearance. It is this anti-imperialist appearance that lends its anti-oppressive appearance. Consequently the Muslim masses identify with it. 

Despite its anti-imperialist appearance it ultimately serves imperialism class interests --essentially it cannot exist independently of global capitalism. Muslim fundamentalism is a politics of the image. This is why it presents itself as pageantry -- religious rhetoric, images, long beards etc. This form of politics assumes a religious form because it is a politics of appearance.And what more suitable a form for such a contradictory politics than its disguising itself in religious -- the class image system.
Islamic fundamentalism's reactionary character does not necessarily mean that it is a force with a programme that makes no sense. It may be that Islamic fundamentalism as much as imperialism sees the strategic and economic global importance of Central Asia and the Middle East. This may be partly why these two regions are central to its actions. As with imperialism it too is seeking to maximise its influence and even control of these regions. Control of these regions will place Islamic fundamentalism in a vastly greater strategic position in its struggle with imperialism. Its commercial power will correspondingly increase because of its being the source of rich oil reserves. Its colonisation of these strategic regions means that it is well positioned to further deepen and broaden its ideological and geopolitical influence.
 To artificially collapse Islamic fundamentalism into a naive extremist medieval politics that can never really get anywhere is a little naive. Islamic fundamentalism may be perceived by the Western masses as extremist and even insane. To limit perception to the level of appearances is to miss the real point.    It is to ignore the fact that Islamic fundamentalism is anti-imperialist. It is anti-imperialist in the sense that it struggles to establish an economic and political space in which Islamic indigenous capital can develop --a pan Islamic state from the Caucasus to Arabia. Because of the strength of contemporary imperialism it is no longer possible to achieve an independent capitalist class within national boundaries Islamic fundamentalism struggle to promote a capitalist class that exists independently of imperialism from a regional platform as opposed to the context of the nation state. Islamic fundamentalism is not anti-capitalist. But it is anti-imperialist. It represents the class interests of non-imperialist capitalism. Islamic capitalism exists in an atrophied form. Being capital it strives to enlarge itself and break free from the stranglehold of imperialist capital. Given that US imperialism is the leading imperialist power it concentrates it fire on it. Its strategy is designed to split the other imperialist powers from US imperialims as a means of weakening imperialism and thereby defeating it. The Islamic bourgeoisie struggles to emancipate itself from imperialism by setting up the regional political conditions that facilitates its efforts to establish its independence. Because imperialism is so globally powerful and Islamic capitalism so relatively powerless it must resort to the most radical means to establish conditions that facilitate its independent economic development vis a vis imperialist capitalism. Because of the relative strength of the Islamic working class it is forced to cloak its bourgeois aims in the form of religion. This is the basis for the emergence of Islamic fundamentalism as a prominent force in Asia.
          Because of the strength of imperialism and the weakness of Islamic capitalism it is prepared to engage in extreme actions such as suicide bombings of one sort or another.  Because of the potential strength of the Asian working class and the relative weakness of the Islamic bourgeoisie it cannot seriously mobilise the working class without the danger of its own property interests being challenged. Consequently it is prepared to engage in extreme terror to promote its class interests while the working class is reduced to the role of passive audience that watches the stage show unfolding. Islamic capitalism ideologically assumes the form of Islamic fundamentalism. Islamic capitalism constitutes a brand of Islam so restrictive as to ensure that the threat from imperialist capital and the organised working class is ideologically precluded while its very fundamentalist nature is so strong as to ensure that the cohesive unity of its supporters is maintained in the face of overwhelming odds. It is also a religious ideology that transcends, by its nature, the bounds of the colonialist artificially imposed nation states to proclaim a pan-Islamic state. Islamic fundamentalism's anti-imperialism is not congenitally anti-imperialist. Only the working class can display an authentic anti-imperialism. Consequently Islamic fundamentalism while ostensibly anti-imperialist is ultimately pro-imperialist. This is its problem -- its contradiction.

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