Re: [OPE-L] Islamic Fascism?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2006 - 11:11:31 EST

>Thanks for circulating this link. The article is interesting and
>well argued. However, it poses a problem of how to assess Islamic
>fundamentalist movements without solving it. The difficulty lies in
>the definition of fascism and the glossing over the essentially
>popular form of fascist political movements. German fascism was not
>simply a political vehicle for suppression of anti-capitalist or
>socialist movements. It was a political vehicle for German
>imperialist capital in uniting the German nation for expansionist
>policies. It was a movement not just for security but also for space
>for German capital.
>It was populist and revolutionary in its beginnings, although the
>article correctly points out that it was elevated to power by
>industrialists and conservative politicians. This alliance led to a
>purge of anti-capitalist elements in the movements in both Italy and
>Germany, with a consequent elevation of nationalist romantic themes
>and racism in securing its popular base (the 'socialist'and 'worker'
>in 'National Socialist Workers Party became hollow). So the article
>does not sufficiently distinguish between political movements like
>fascism and Pinochet's regime in Chile, which accommodated Chile's
>inclusion in the US sphere of influence rather than attempting to
>carve out an independent and competing domain. Nazism distinguished
>between properly German  and 'cosmopolitan' (usually but not
>exclusively Jewish) capitalists. Pinochet would never have
>contemplated this in Chile.
>It is also worth noting that fascism strictly speaking is a
>resolutely secular romantic reactionary political movement. However,
>its Falangist allies in Spain and Portugal used religious ideology
>in the way that Nazism and fascism used nationalist ideology. This
>use of religion was strengthened after they abandoned their earlier
>anti-clerical wing after coming to power.
>What Islamic fundamentalism shares with fascism is violent
>suppression of socialist and worker's movements (in the UK,
>supporters of the Taliban refused to march in the UK protests
>because they included socialist groups like the Socialist Worker's
>Party) and violent exclusion of the influence of 'cosmopolitan',
>'liberal' or 'unIslamic' capital. They share with Nazism a
>distinction drawn on religious rather than racist lines between an
>'in' group and 'out' group': a 'brotherhood' versus 'infidels'
>rather than 'Aryan' versus 'non-Aryan'. This distinction  excludes
>the 'out' group from moral consideration. It also has sympathizers
>within Islamic capital (more mercantilist than industrial). Islamic
>fundamentalism has only seized power on two occasions, in Iran and

How are we to understand the House of Sa'ud?

>  In Iran it has been relatively benign ('relatively benign' does not
>imply 'benign', as Iranian trade unionists and socialists, who have
>been hung in large numbers, and followers of the Baha'i faith would
>attest). But the exclusion of women from education and their
>imprisonment under male supervision carried out by the Taliban is as
>violent a suppression of a subordinate class seeking liberation from
>its traditional position as you will find anywhere.
>This is not to say that US militarism and imperialism is not
>pursuing its own objectives in the struggle with 'Islamic fascism',
>as Bush puts it. It has, in  fact, pursued those objectives so well
>that it is likely to fail in Iraq. The similarity with Vietnam is
>overdrawn by some but it is there: you cannot exercise power-even
>locally overwhelming power-everywhere. Having engaged in a
>'de-Baathification' much more stringent than 'de-Nazification' in
>Germany after WWII, shown their hypocrisy and contempt for Iraqi
>people at Abu Grahib (the life of just one American soldier
>justifies the use of extensive torture and religious humiliation for
>local tactical purposes) and with their policy of spending billions
>on destruction but none on construction of Iraq (they are to use
>their own oil money), having used weapons of mass destruction as a
>cynical pretext for their invasion, and having supported Israeli
>annexation of parts of the West Bank (thereby signalling support for
>a 'two-state' solution similar to that adopted in South Africa under
>the Bantustan policy), Bush was left as the US was in Vietnam
>without sufficient local support for his occupation.

perhaps there was much stronger local support for US policy in
Vietnam than in Iraq today?


>Without that local support the superiority of US troops at any point
>could not maintain order in the country. The contrast with the
>situation in Kurdish areas and in other contested areas between
>Sunni's and Kurds/Sunni's and Shia demonstrates this point. The US
>military has never got beyond the mind-set revealed in Vietnam with
>the slogan "If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds
>will follow". This may be true of anyone at any one time, but not of
>everyone every time, a lesson the US military has still to learn, it
>>----- Original Message -----
>>Subject: Islamic Fascism?
>>Dear Friend:
>>Just wanted to share with you a paper I have written on the
>>so-called "Islamic Fascism." Please do not hesitate to pass it
>>along to your contacts and/or e-mail lists. Here is the link to the
>>Best wishes,
>>Ismael Hossein-zadeh
>>Drake University (Economics)
>Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
>Dept  of Philosophy, School of Humanities,
>Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
>Flinders University of SA,
>Humanities Building,
>Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
>Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784

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