Review. Abdi Tauhid. Islam Is Left-Wing In Fact
Islam is left-wing in fact
Islam, sesungguhnya kiri
This article confirms once more our conclusion that present-day radical Islam (at least its proletarian wing) as a matter of fact is the development of Marxism at modern stage; that early Islam, like Marx’ writings, can serve as fundamental principle of modern proletarian ideology. Of course, materialism of early Islam was primitive from the point of view of modern science, but, as author of this article correctly noted, “Islam adopted many faces, according to circumstances” – i.e., in other words, materialism of early Islam, although it was primitive, was at the same time dialectical (and this is the point of it!), i.e. it opened up possibilities of development, gave the “space” for it. This fact is confirmed both by our compatriot, progressive (honest, even if bourgeois) scientist Sagadeev (I already mentioned him in my previous works, namely his article about Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev) in his work about Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd, who in fact arrived at atheism; by Indian Marxist M. N. Roy, by French left Islamist Youssef Girard. On the other hand, such “space” for development, certainly, must not means free interpretation of Islam, emasculation of its revolutionary essence, the concept of jihad, as official muftis do from dictation of imperialists under the patronage of FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) and other security services.
As regards some details of translation, from the context it is obvious that the expression “Islam must be landed (touched down, get down to earth)” means “Islam must be put into practice, must be materialized” or something like that, i.e. “Islam must not be confined within pure theorizing, within rituals”. At this point there is similarity between representatives of Left Islam (for example, Eko Prasetyo in Indonesia) and Islamists (both Salafis and Hizb ut Tahrir): both of them are against secularism, i.e. against separation theory from practice, against reducing Islam to performing rituals – i.e. against those things which are the features of official, traditional Islam which is linked with imperialists (in Russia it is so-called “KGB-Islam” (KGB – State Security Committee in ex-USSR, predecessor of FSB) of Tajuddin and Gaynutdin).
“Our” “communists” (for example, the representative of Russian Maoist Party (RMP) Torbasov) who learned well the history of European revolutions of the past and memorized that secularism, the separation of church from the state was the progress in comparison with medieval power of church (it is certainly true), don’t understand present-day reality and continue stupidly to harp on progressive character of secularism and on reactionary character of radical Islamists – according to “communists”, Islamists, opposing secularism, want to return to the Middle Ages, they are “obscurants and clericals” etc.
This question must be considered once again – especially because in present-day Russia the offensive of Orthodox reaction takes place (not only Orthodox one, but “KGB-Islam” one too); especially because even not worse representatives of Russian Marxists (as well as Marxists of other rich nations) don’t understand this question and fall into apologetics of secularism, liberalism, bourgeois democracy.
As illustrative example I shall draw an analogy between official Islam and opportunism (in Russia the main opportunist party is KPRF, Communist Party of Russian Federation with its leader Zyuganov). Opportunists have reduced Marxism to rituals – to laying wreathes to Lenin’s monuments, ceremonial meetings at “communist” holy days (May 1st, May 9th and the anniversaries of Lenin’s birth and death), i.e. to religious rituals. Is it correct to regard honest communists who resent such reducing Marxism to rituals and who demand return to the practice of early, revolutionary Marxism as reactionaries who desire to return to Middle Ages? Certainly not (although liberals who don’t distinguish opportunists from revolutionary Marxists regard just so – that all communists desire to return to Soviet Union, to Soviet serfdom). Similarly, it is incorrect to regard Islamists as reactionaries.
As regards the offensive of Orthodox reaction, we, Marxists, must criticize obscurants, but not from the point of liberalism and secularism, as many “Marxists” (social-imperialists in fact) do. Indeed, religious obscurants who pass “law of blasphemy”, although they grumble about European secularism and about weakening of the role of religion in Europe (in fact secularism and weakening of the role of religion are two different things), they want to strengthen the role of religion just as opium, as separation from practice, as safety-valve for oppressed masses which is inoffensive for authorities; they want to strengthen mysticism, i.e. they stand up just for secularism.
The confirmation of this fact is that this “law about the defense of believers’ rights” (in fact - the defense of oligarchs’ interests) is directed against Islamists too. In one of his statements Putin, trying to find the pretext for passing such Inquisition-like law, noted not only “Pussy Riot”, but also killings of representatives of Muslim clergy (i.e. representatives of “KGB-Islam” who are in fact police agents) at North Caucasus performed by radical Islamists.
It is noteworthy that Putin while he is the enemy of Leninism (“it is beyond all understanding, how Bolsheviks in 1917 contrive to be defeated by defeated country, i.e. Germany”, this narrow-minded chauvinist said – his main value is the interests of Russian Empire at any cost, even at the cost of whole Russian people’s death, not to mention other peoples), at the same time he consider Lenin’s mausoleum as good Bolsheviks’ plan. It is clear that his point of view is not merely his point of view, but the expression of the position of ruling class.
Let’s talk about “Pussy Riot” in a few words. We see that the attitude of official Islam towards well-known action of this group is hypocritical throughout: as they said, “Islam condemns this action” etc. Not to mention the fact that the point of the action was not climbing onto amvon (the place in Orthodox church which is considered as “holy”), but singing against Putin; Islam is in fact opposes idolatry! For Islam (for real Islam, not for KGB-Islam) amvon is not considered as “holy” place. Indonesian Marxist Tan Malaka who advocated the alliance with Pan-Islamism at one of Congresses of early Communist International (Comintern), in his work “Madilog” (“Materialism, dialectics, logic”) mentioned that prophet Mohammed after his visit to Christian church said: “This is the same temple [literally – “the house of idol”]. Worship of any relics, of amvon etc. was alien to prophet Mohammed. Of course, as Tan Malaka correctly mentioned, prophet Mohammed didn’t “stand on the shoulders of giants” (as Isaac Newton modestly said about himself: “I only stood on the shoulders of giants”), unlike Marx or Lenin, and he probably have some mistakes, weak points etc. But the main point that there was huge progress too which was forgotten both by those who glorify him (official muftis) and by those who mock at him (pseudo-Marxists, various liberals etc.).
But, as Tan Malaka mentioned, Mohammed was not hostile to Christianity and Judaism as such, he worked for revival at a new level revolutionary spirit of early Christianity and Judaism which was silenced by ruling classes and clergy; i.e., he was hostile to Christian and Judaic “opportunism”, so to speak.
I will say a few words else about “Pussy Riot”. Putin’s statement “I should like to see, what the locals do with them if they do so at North Caucasus…” is cynical. Not to mention that there are Nazi, anti-Islam sentiments in these words (really, the sense of these words is “Go to Muslims and insult their, not our, religion”), there is the envy of oppressed nations in these words that Russians have not such love to “their” religion as oppressed nations have to their one; the point is that to trample on amvon is “blasphemy”, according to Putin, but to kill the Muslims, living people, “even in toilet” (as Putin ordered military and police thirteen years ago) is not “blasphemy”, according to him. When Putin said these words about “Pussy Riot”, he, probably, remembered the experience of his military and police, what radical Islamists “did” and “do” with them as a punishment for “contempt of Islam”. But there is a big difference between the action of “Pussy Riot” and the act of Budanov (colonel of Russian army, “Hero of Russia” who has raped and killed Chechen girl), for example.
Let’s return to the article.
The debates between Tjokroaminoto and Semaun are worthy of notice: whether to struggle against “sinful” (which means “alien”) capitalism, as Tjokroaminoto proposed, or to struggle against capitalism in general, as Semaun proposed. On the one hand, one must take into account that “there are bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie”, as Lenin said – i.e., there is imperialist, parasitic bourgeoisie, large bourgeoisie of “great” powers and its puppets in the countries of “3rd world”, and there is petty, labor bourgeoisie in the“3rd world” – above all, the peasantry (although in cities too). On the other hand, one must also remember the contradiction between the latter, labor, bourgeoisie and proletariat, of course (although this contradiction is not so sharp, antagonistic). The weak side of Taqiuddin an Nabhani, for example, was the fact that he ignored this contradiction (however, he criticized patriarchal peasant Islam with its backwardness, prejudices, feudal attitude towards women etc.).
Also we see that present-day Islamists, basing on Quran, oppose strongly usury, i.e. in fact oppose financial capital which is separated from production; oppose imperialist parasitism. In my work “The development of Islamism…” (2009), as I see now, I have “went too far”, when I compared this Islamists’ position to Proudhon’s utopianism – Proudhon established interest-free “just” bank, which went bankrupt in a short time. But the point is that Proudhon tried to solve this problem within the limits of capitalism, while Islamists emphasize that radical, not “window-dressing” breaking of capitalism is needed. For example the representative of Hizb ut Tahrir, the author of economist articles Indonesian Hidayatullah Muttaqin criticizes “Islamic banking”, “Shariah capital market” etc. which is fashionable today. He correctly writes that though the spreading of such phenomenon evidences the strengthening of Islam, evidences the rise of respect for it in the world etc., this “Shariah capital market” in itself by no means is related to Islam, to Shariah (I already wrote a few on this question in above-mentioned work).
Let’s return to Tauhid’s article. He wrote that real, Islamic, Islamists must advocate the alliance with Marxists, with the Left, and those Islamists who oppose such alliance ignore ayats of Quran and serve to capitalists. It is true, but only in part. Unfortunately, Tauhid says nothing that Muslim “3rd world” peoples have justified distrust to Marxism-Leninism because “communist” USSR plundered them, “communist” China plunders them; “communists” shamelessly divided Muslims’ lands with capitalists during World War II; “communists” both in the west and in the east superpowers supports the policy of their own governments (only one example which I have occasion to read: about early 1980’s the mayor of Paris (as I remember), communist, destroyed with bulldozers Muslim shanties in suburbs – this and the like facts led to weakening Marxism and the rise of Islamism among Muslims in France).
Ideologists of Islamism (Sayyed Qutb, Taqiuddin an Nabhani etc.) formally were hostile towards Marxism, communism, but is it correct to call them supporters of bourgeois interests on that ground? No, because, for example, Qutb in his book “Milestones” openly glorified the revolution of the prophet Mohammed as the revolution of the poor against the rich; for example, Nabhani criticized “communists” contemporary with him just for the fact that they cease to defend the interests of proletariat and the poor, as they did earlier, and became even more nationalistic than capitalists (although in the views of Qutb’s and Nabhani’s followers “bourgeoisness” sometimes really takes place).
Both Qutb and Nabhani (as well as other founders of modern radical Islamism) strongly rejected the mixing of Islam with European ideologies, advocated the purity of Islam, opposing “Islamic socialism”, which already came into fashion in their time. Is it correct? What must we (i.e. Marxists) support, “Islamic socialism” or “the pure Islam”?
This depends on what “socialism” and what “Islam”. That’s just the point that “Islamic socialism” of the mid-XX century was frequently the mix of traditional, peasantry Islam with all its prejudices and pro-Soviet “socialism”, i.e. social-imperialism. In comparison with such mix Qutb’s and Nabhani’s “pure Islam” is of higher level, of course, it is closer to Marxism-Leninism at modern stage (incidentally, Tauhid draws an analogy between “Islamic socialism” and “Christian socialism” in Latin America in 1970’s – today we see clearly, by the example of Hugo Chavez, for instance, that this “socialism”, showing off anti-imperialist phrases against USA, has degenerated into shameless prostitution in the interests of Russian and Chinese capitals).
Of course, the alliance of Islam with socialism is necessary, but it must be the alliance of that “pure” Islam (I shall not analyze here various currents within it – we shall discuss that question sometime later) with “pure” (in the sense “proletarian” as distinct from labor-aristocratic) Leninism.
April 14th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Alexander Gachikus