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

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Dec 30 2004 - 17:57:31 EST


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.

I think you confuse christian with Islamic radicals. The latter
offer a social and economic program based on sharia. This
involves redistribution through obligatory charitable donations
and the abolition of interest payments. As such it contains
an anti-capitalist element. 

As a Marxist, I dont think that this program is sustainable,
in that under a system of generalised commodity production, interest
will tend to re-emerge in covert forms even it it is legally
abolished. But that argument is relatively sophisticated and
we should not ignore the potential popular appeal of simple
solutions like abolishing interest.

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?)
That may be true enough, but look at Iraq where the CP appears
essentially to side with the US occupation, whereas it is the
Islamists and Bathists who are actively fighting imperialism. Under
those circumstances one has to ask who will appear to be a more
plausible voice for the dispossed?

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