Re: [OPE-L] Letter from France: In Europe, Islam fills Marxism's old shoes

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Thu Dec 30 2004 - 10:15:39 EST

Curiously lacking from this article is any mention of the
most recent round of repression in France against Muslims
-- either under the guise of fighting 'terrorism' or  for
assimilationist repression, as in the ban on religious forms of
headwear in the French school system.  It is, of course, possible
that social programs and reforms that benefit the Arab and
African minorities may be enacted -- as Smith suggests --
but in the present economic and political climate in Europe
today isn't it _more_ likely that there will be more repression
and scapegoating of minorities?  Instead of filling-in Marxism's
old shoes maybe they will be forced to fill-in the old shoes of

Re Paul C's comments: it is misleading to suggest that the
'Islamic radicals' are _the_  "voice of the dispossessed."   They
certainly don't represent the needs and aspirations of
(non-fundamentalist) women, do they?  And, what kinds of
solutions do they offer for the needs of peasants and workers?
What sort of "hope" do they offer for those millions?
Ultimately, they simply fall back on a "pie-in-the-sky, you'll-
be-rewarded-in-heaven-when-you're-dead" perspective.
Marxists can offer *real* solutions.

Also, let us note a 'hemispheric' divide.  I.e. while Islamic
political movements are growing in appeal in much of Asia,
the Middle East and Africa, that is not the case in other
areas, e.g. in Latin America,  where the colonial influence of
Christianity (especially the Catholic Church) is stronger.

The experience in  Iran does not, I think, prove your point.
Indeed, the trend seems to be -- slowly -- towards the
direction of a secular state in Iran.  And, as for how the
'Islamic radicals' (who were only a part of the revolutionary
movement) became the 'voice of the dispossessed, let us not
forget the ruthless repression of the Left and the trade union
movement following the overthrow of the Shah.  (A
Bonapartist reaction?)

But, these points aside, I agree with the fundamental points
that you were making.

In solidarity, Jerry

        Letter from France: In Europe, Islam fills Marxism's old shoes
Craig S. Smith International Herald Tribune
But the eventual evaporation of hard-line Marxism in Europe may
offer clues to how the Islamist trend could play out. Disowned by the
pragmatic left, Europe's militant Marxist fringe was isolated and
repressed, while governments pursued social policies that to some
measure addressed the grievances of the poor and dispossessed, which
had animated the radicals. [...]

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