It is a mistake to consider Islam only metaphysically or to think that it consists only of what is written in the Qur’an. Therefore, as in all cases, Islam should be handled within its historical, social and political dimensions. The subject of this article is to analyse the historical position and development of Islam.
By Hakkı Yükselen 29 July 2020
Therefore, we will deal with the subject through very general topics and some historical examples from the 20th century. (Algeria, Indonesia, Iran) These are mainly political examples of the mutual perspectives and relations between socialists and Islamists. In addition, we will briefly refer to the issue of “Islamic socialism” through the Algerian experience in the 60s.
These examples, of course, contain important differences, as well as some common historical features. However, apart from the interconnections and contradictions of the examples, the main common point for us is that they lead to the search for an egalitarian, socialist and anti-imperialist, even revolutionary essence in Islam in the ranks of the international socialist movement. This was also the reason for their search for an alliance with a “revolutionary”(!) Islam. As we all know, this interest has not remained only at the level of seeking and has been put into practice at varying rates in all three examples.
If we ignore the goal of the 1917 October Revolution to win the Muslim nations in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism for the spread of the World Revolution, the beginning of the socialist interest in Islam, at least on the political level, dates back to the 1950s and 60s, when the national liberation struggles against colonialism surrounded the whole world. During this period, inside the struggles in the Middle East and North Africa “Islamic socialism” and “Arab socialism” emerged, which was greatly affected by the state of the world at that time. They were semi-secular, nationalist, modernizing, developmental movements which are based on Islamic culture. It was inevitable that they would “specially” influence socialist forces engaged in bureaucratic socialism and gradual understanding of revolution or national liberation strategy. We say “privately” because the problem was not limited to natural and compulsory revolutionary support for national liberation struggles and the war against colonialism. Especially in the world conditions of that time (there was a “socialism” covering one-third of the world’s land!). In a number of underdeveloped countries, the idea that independence-nationalist Islam, which enabled them to preserve their national identity during the long colonial period and played an important cultural role in the struggles of the masses, found important support on the way to socialism. This was also the political rationale for the ruling Stalinist bureaucracies in the workers’ states, in line with their international interests and diplomatic needs, to direct their communist parties to cooperate with these regimes on the grounds of “the fight against imperialism”. (National-democratic stage!)
History has shown that all these are empty prospects for socialism. Apart from the intentions of the Stalinist bureaucracy, one reason for the misconception of the “third world-underdevelopmentist” and “national liberationist” socialists about Islam, who defined themselves as revolutionary, was their misconceptions about the bourgeois class character, or rather their blindness. This section could not see that military-civil petty-bourgeois radicalism was one of the socially covert forms of the bourgeois dictatorship. The petty bourgeois perspectives of this section of socialists on imperialism led them to draw hopeful conclusions about future socialism from their particular “nationalist anti-imperialism”. For the Stalinist bureaucracies in power, the “non-capitalist path” and anti-Western opposition of these regimes were already sufficient.
The second misconception of the socialists was that they could not grasp the ideological-political nature of Islam, or rather its essence. Islam existed from the very beginning as a political religion with its own goals. Its rise did not happen with the rise of a large empire (Rome) to the state religious level, as in Christianity, but rather with the establishment of a great empire through warrior, expansionist and plunder (booty) methods. The roots of fighting for religion by revealing his life and property, killing the disbelievers and spreading Islam, (“jihad”) is one of the basic concepts of political Islam today.
This political quality also manifested itself in the power struggles that started right after the death of the prophet. Three of the first 4 caliphs of Islam (the first died two years later due to old age!) Were killed as a result of political assassinations. The struggle for political power that started after the death of the Prophet gradually turned into bloody wars. The period of empires-dynasties passed with bloody reign fights until their collapse. Many divisions within Islam, notably the Sunni-Shia divide, (including examples of egalitarian Islamic communism) emerged as a result of these conflicts, which also had serious class foundations.
Various factions of Islam have always been at the service of the ruling classes of the era, except for some “revolting-egalitarian-communist” examples. Today, this line is continued with a (false revolutionary) discourse toward the poor people. The Islamists use the anger of the poor against the order for the benefit of the ruling classes. In short, Islam (political Islam) in power or in the struggle for power is a power that plays its role in the service of the ruling classes through its own economic, social, political and ideological-cultural characteristics and goals.
Some political examples of socialists’ relations with Islam
At this point, the Algerian experience has a very important place. The “national socialism” line of the Algerian revolution was inspired by Islam, the basic element of the country’s culture. In particular, certain decrees and practices concerning the autogestion of land and industrial enterprises left over from the initial, the French and fleeing collaborators, increased hopes. The famous French Marxist of the time, R. Garaudy, in his book “Socialism and Islam”, spoke a long time about the brilliant periods of Islamic civilization, his scientific contributions and the egalitarian character of Islam: “The people of Algeria chose the path of socialism. This socialism wants to take on an Algerian character. ” (…) “The emphasis of the” Muslim “character of Algeria’s socialism has a national meaning above all.” … “The war of national liberation started many times in the name of religion and was given for the country’s sake. And thousands of victims of the Algerian national liberation war greeted death with “takbir” in their mouths. The word “Allahu Akbar” meant both challenging his executioners and their unshakable belief in victory. ” (…) According to this situation, we cannot understand how those who have fought against the social, national and religious oppression scheme, which have been indivisible for more than a century, have devotion to both socialism and patriotic and religious sincere feelings. ”
Garaudy said these, of course, for a reason. FLN (National Liberation Front), led by President Ahmed bin Bella, embarked on an Islamic socialism experience with the support of the army. This experience was described in the publication of the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) as “Expressing the wishes of the working masses, the party has taken into account our Muslim roots while determining our path.” The army’s newspaper states that the philosophical foundations of the revolution are not based on “dialectical materialism”. “What distinguishes us from communism is our desire to establish socialism with God: on the one hand, social and material progress, on the other hand, the development and opening of spiritual values.”
We all know what happened afterwards. The experience of establishing a system based on the synthesis of Islam and socialism was ended with the support of the “real Islamists”, which would be more and more patched after the overthrow of Bin Bella by the Algerian armed forces in 1965. First by confining the “self-management committees” into the bureaucratic wheel and then liquidating them, then transferring the industrial facilities and agricultural lands under their management to their former owners or private capital.
The “consolation bonus” of this “Socialism” has been a “third-worldism” in the form of the leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement and an “anti-imperialism” in the form of the nationalization of oil. Later, with diplomatic relations re-established with the USSR, it became a kind of secular-modernist freak, where Islam was the state religion. What was left of “Islamic socialism” was nothing more than a bourgeois nationalist single-party power, which was steadily decaying and oppressing socialists other than the Communist Party of Algeria, and Islam, which was getting stronger socially and politically. The goal of “establishing socialism with God” turned into a complete liquidation after a while.
The relationship of socialism in the 50s and 60s with Islam in the context of “anti-imperialism” was not limited to Algeria. Then there is the bloody and “unforgettable” Indonesian experience that no one remembers, although slightly differently!
The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), the largest communist party in the capitalist world, had three and a half million members. (It was the third largest communist party in the world after China and the Soviet Union). The Social Democrats Union of the East Indies (ISDVC), which was established in 1914 when the country was a Dutch colony, was named the Communist Party of Indonesia in 1920, after continuing its activities with the organization called Serekat Islam (Islamic Union). Later, as he came into conflict with the conservative wing of the Islamists, it turned to an independent line. (Among its founders was the Dutch revolutionary Marxist Sneevliet.) This powerful party, which has been influential in independence and class struggle for many years, so it was powerfull inside union, workers, youth, women movement, mass organizations, the intelligentsia and in the army and it was politically controlling a mass of ten million people.
However, in accordance with the prevailing understanding in the world socialist movement of the time, it regarded socialism as an unprecedented task of a later stage. With all its size and weight in the state apparatus, it was “based on the country’s traditions” and became a part of the army-backed political order, one of the pillars of power. In fact, the Indonesian President of the time, the leader of the Indonesian Nationalist Party and the founder of the ‘Non-Aligned Movement’ (with Algeria), Ahmet Sukarno officially based his “national unity” policy on a basis he called NASAKOM in 1960: “Nationalism-Agama-Communisme,” Nationalism-Religion-Communism! With the support of the Chinese and Soviet bureaucracies, the party was steadfastly pursuing the political leader of the Indonesian bourgeoisie, Sukarno, and taking firm steps towards its “anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, independent and third worldist” path. In other words, it is like a “national agreement or a popular front in power! It was not unlikely that he sometimes objected to Sukarno on issues such as budget spending and was beaten up, but things were still okay.
However, in some cases, you cannot escape the enemy’s attack no matter what you do! It was the same for PKI. During the Cold War, as well as during the Vietnam War, the presence of a communist party of this size in Asia, however reformist, disturbed the imperialist powers, especially the USA, the Indonesian national bourgeoisie, and the Islamic reaction that was always ready to cooperate with imperialism against communism.
In 1965, General Suharto (president for the next thirty years), who used the “coup attempt” in the air force, that some communists joined and six generals were killed (planned by CIA in fact), as an excuse and embarked on a counter-operation just after he suppressed this “communist coup”. With the help of supposed death lists prepared by the CIA, a horrible massacre was launched, in which “religious and conservative” Indonesians were led by soldiers and Islamists (and also Hindus). According to estimates, the massacre, in which between 300,000 and 1 million communist or communist sympathizers, workers, peasants and intellectuals were destroyed with firearms, machetes, knives and sticks, lasted four months.
Despite its enormous power, the party could not show any armed resistance, except for a few exceptions. Party leader Nusantara Aidit, who got the “Good Son of the Country Medal” and many party leaders were caught and killed. The Indonesian Communist Party, which does not find the working class government as a dream of a distant future, became the victim of its alliance with the bourgeoisie and Islamists for the sake of “anti-imperialism and independence”! Imperialism and the national bourgeoisie used Islamists, one of the main pillars of the “anti-imperialist” alliance, as butchers. Nusantara Aidit said, “There is a misunderstanding; party units and mass organizations should obey the orders of President Sukarno and help the army forces ”, but he could not escape from death. (The call of leadership!) The party was somehow destroyed by genocide and erased from history. The communists’ effort to stay close with the Islamists in the context of “anti-imperialism and independence” ended in a terrible massacre.
Another bloody example of the “contact” of socialists with Islam is Iran. This example was not the product of the national liberation war. It was the result of an uprising against (ally of the imperialism in the region) Shah regime that was largely led by Shiite Islamists and mobilized workers, laborers and urban poor of the society. During the rise of the mass movement, the Iranian working class was also beginning to take its weight on the basis of strikes, strike committees and workers’ councils. National minorities also mobilized with demands for freedom. Despite their great weight, the “mullahs” were not the only political factor that led to the uprising. In addition to the various factions of the socialist left, the People’s Mojahedin Organization, one of the most “classical” representatives of an Islamic socialism on earth and having intellectual affinity with the famous Islamist thinker Ali Shariati, was also in the struggle with its own cadres and armed forces. Trying to create a synthesis between Islam and Marxism, the Mujahideen of the People rejected the philosophical aspect of Marxism but accepted its social thought. The discourse of the organization was not different from that of any revolutionary socialist organization, apart from Islamic terms and concepts. This degree of closeness to Marxism extended to an armed power struggle between those who turned to atheism and those who continued their belief in Islam, and a group that broke off from the organization founded the Maoist “Peykar” organization.
In the new period that started after the overthrow of the Shah, all sections of the Iranian left (Islamist, Stalinist and centrist) prepared their own ends with the “anti-imperialist” policy expressed by the Islamists as opposed to the “great devil”. Policies based on the concept of “unity against imperialism, independence of the country and alliance with the national bourgeoisie” were preferred instead of the independent class struggle, which could also lead the urban poors. In a referendum, many socialists said, “They voted against the Islamic Republic. It was inevitable that such a political line would weaken the struggle against Islamists, apart from the open cooperation of TUDEH (Iranian Communist Party). Thousands of revolutionaries paid the price of these “anti-imperialist” attitudes with their life.
Islamists and imperialism
Islamism has never sought a real break with the imperialist system. The real enemy has always been the “atheist communists” and the working class action they associate with them. Therefore, throughout the 60s and 70s, Turkish and Middle Eastern Islamists, in the service of American imperialism, engaged in bloody “anti-communist” activities. Islamists were the main players in the “Green Belt” project implemented by imperialism to besiege the USSR and in the war in Afghanistan. There are undoubtedly more recent examples. In these examples, we can highlight the line of the Sunni İhvan-ı Muslim (Muslim Brotherhood), whose roots in Egypt dates back to the 1920s, and which came to the agenda during the Arab Revolutions, with its extensions in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern countries, and took over a period of power in Egypt. In addition, HAMAS, which was established in 1987 as a rival to the Palestine Liberation Organization, continues its activities as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the most militant extensions of this attitude was the FIS, one of the most important actors of the civil war that took place after the cancellation of the second round of the election won by the Islamists in the 90s in Algeria, whose program we will briefly mention below. (Islamic Salvation Front)
We can include as examples the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda; Salafist Islamists who liquidated the revolutionary people’s movement in Syria, ISIS who build free-independent areas in Iraq, and Syria and established a caliphate. We can also add a large number of radical Islamist organizations that are waging an armed struggle in various parts of Africa and Asia. None of these examples represent a revolutionary-libertarian and truly anti-imperialist political line.
When we look at the “anti-imperialism” of today’s Islamist currents and the ways in which this is transferred to the consciousness of the masses: Their “anti-imperialist” performances are not mainly against international finance capital, but against “invading infidels, American infidels”, Westerners. They are hostile to atheists, other religions and sects, Jews, socialists, homosexuals, and women’s rights and freedoms. As can be seen in many historical examples, they easily enter the service of imperialism in line with their interests. The relativity of conditional antagonisms to imperialism acquires an absolute character in terms of hostility to socialism; because this hostility is mainly based on class hatred. Islamists are fundamentally opposed to all rights and freedoms of the working class and, of course, their coming to power. Therefore, in all struggles between the working class and the bourgeoisie, the place of Islamists has been on the side of capital.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, viewed by some socialists as one of the strongholds of anti-imperialism, does not represent something fundamentally different historically and socially. The class structure of the Iranian state and the interests of the Iranian bourgeoisie do not prevent compromise with imperialism, as seen in recent examples of the embargo being eased. The problem is mainly related to the political structure of the regime and the purpose of survival and expansion. It is necessary not to confuse the principle of opposing an imperialist attack on Iran and the mistake of “joint struggle with the Islamic regime against imperialism.” The result of such mistakes has been increased pressure on the working class and massacres of socialists in many countries, including Iran.
The continuing failure of the left also causes the spread of the belief that “the working masses stay away from them because socialists have no faith in religion.” It also raises the necessary questions about the dynamics that mobilize these religious masses and why we cannot understand Islam. However, it is not only necessary to ask a correct question, but also to give a correct answer.
The priority task is of course to understand what we are dealing with both theoretically and practically. Speaking of theory, it is imperative to understand how Islam defines itself. At this point, of course, Islam’s philosophical, metaphysical dimension, theology, and what is described in the Qur’an are of course important. However, keeping in mind that no religion is just a metaphysics, it also has a historical, social and class dimension. But we should stay away from leftist optimism such as “Islam ordered equality, the Qur’an opposed private property”, “Religion does not contradict socialism”, “Prophet was a revolutionary” etc.
With its theory and practice, Islam, like other religions, commands neither class equality nor common ownership. It has no affiliation with socialism if it remains within its own origional book. Historically, Karmatism, Hurremilik, Babekilik, Nizari İsmaililik, Babaism, Kızılbaşlık etc., all these heterodox, western and egalitarian-collective-revolutionary movements, although defining themselves within Islam, came into conflict with the Islamic order and sometimes moved beyond the borders of Islam. These currents are considered by various authorities of “official Islam” as “perverted sects” (corrupt currents). Real Islamist currents, whether “radical” or “moderate”, do not have any goals such as the social and world liberation of the poor for both ideological and political reasons. Starting with the Prophet, Islam does not advocate the elimination of existing social inequality, economic and sexist exploitation and slavery. However, it offers kindness, mercy, compassion and assistance in terms of a sustainable social model. (Fitrah, zakat, charity, light beating of women, protection of orphans!) It undertakes the defense of a social and political structure based on class inequalities and exploitation in every period it appears as an official ideology. This is most clearly seen in Sunni ideology, which orders “obedience to the ûlema”, that is, submission to authority. In fact, the egalitarian-revolutionary movements that emerged in Islam remained a minority movement, despite the serious achievements they achieved in some periods of history. In the recent past, movements that oppose “official Islam”, whether Sunni or Shiite, advocating social equality and Islamic socialism (apart from the Mujahideen of the Iranian People mentioned above) have not had a political-social influence that can be taken seriously, and they are rested as limited intellectuals.
Is the problem wrongly addressed?
Undoubtedly, at the root of the problem is a largely unconscious class reaction. That is, the masses are actually rebelling against their oppression. The problem, however, cannot be seen as the fact that these masses, because of their non-materialist worldview, falsely pursue the Islamists while seeking a kind of “socialism.” In other words, the poor masses, a significant part of the workers and laborers, the youth, who see no future in the order, do not follow a political leadership from a different class only as a result of a political illusion. These masses see “Westernist, irreligious, immoral” regimes as the root cause of their suffering, poverty and misery, and social inequality. They believe that sharia is essential to get rid of this order.
In other words, the problem stems from a deeper state of “consciousness” beyond a political illusion or misadventure. Of course, this consciousness is not just about “superstructures” such as beliefs, traditions, family upbringing and culture; it also has a social-material “infrastructure.” Islamist organizations control the masses that are miserable and insecure by the robber and despotic Western-(semi)-secular regimes, within the framework of the “parallel societies” they create, through various networks of social solidarity and a kind of income transfer. So basically they exploit their class position.
This is not just an abuse and control mechanism limited to the opposition period. The same is true of the power era, as in the example of Turkey. In this example (which politically affects the Islamist movements in the Maghreb and Mashriq as well), a kind of political Islam, which is compatible with imperialism and acquires a completely neoliberal character and destroys social rights within a religious-liberal-conservative society project accordingly; brings “aid and allegiance” (the Islamic side!) against poverty deepened by his own liberal policies. In this way, an amorphous “poor” mass gets the opportunity of “sustainable misery” through networks of aid and informal relationships (and, of course, they have to support the ruling party) without any permanent rights! The important point here is that Islamist organizations-parties keep the people receiving aid under constant control through local organization networks. In short, aid networks are also an important element of an organization and mass control model. In this case, a different political and social consciousness emerges based on the solidarity of the congregation. In short, we can say that the main reason why the poor masses stay away from socialists is their current social vision and their material dependence on Islamists.
Is there a possibility?
In conclusion, we may ask whether revolutionary socialism has a chance in a country where the majority of its people are Muslim. Of course, there is no ready answer or scheme to solve this. The answer will be given by the revolutionary socialists of those countries, on the basis of the intersection of the world economy with the specific historical-social-economic conditions of each Muslim community. However, we can say something about Turkey, a country that has a relatively advanced capitalism and a big working class, and in the past accepted as a “model” by imperialism.
The power of political Islam, which mobilizes the oppressed masses by using an innate identity element such as religion (and tradition) as well as a number of material opportunities, and through a vision of society and future very different from ours, can only be broken by an open struggle against it. The aim of this struggle, which aims to win the poor masses, is not theological but political. The emergence of the working class as a social and political power, with the effect of the capitalist crisis, will create serious breaks in the consciousness of the poor led by the Islamists. The consciousness of the masses can turn into mass mobilizations based on their own struggles and self-organization.
In Turkey, there is a close relationship between the decline of the struggle of the working class (and of course the socialist movement) and the rise of the Islamist movement. The general disorganization of the class, the weakening of trade union organizations, the serious decline in large-scale workers’ protests, the contraction of the socialist movement’s activity at the neighborhood level, the absence of revolutionary political leadership and its negative impact on the urban poor and middle classes gave the Islamist movement a wide range of influence and activity. For example, in Istanbul, a significant part of the poor regions where Islamists are strong today were places where the revolutionary movement was strong in the past. This is also an important reason why “community solidarity” replaces class solidarity, which is a product of organized class struggle. Socialists will only “persuade” the working people in the struggle for unionization-organization, strikes, occupation, protest actions and mass struggles. The solidarity of the Islamic community that keeps the rich and the poor together can only be broken through class struggle.
Of course, the understanding of “class struggle” cannot be limited only to “worker-strike-union” issues. The success of the struggle is not possible only with the action of the working class to solve its own problems. There is a need for more comprehensive, combative organizations and self-organisations that cover all the workers’ sectors. Such organizations should include not only the business fields but also all the natural and social life spheres of workers and laborers. Establishing social aid, solidarity and defense networks that will cover all the working families, the unemployed and the poor in the workers’ neighbourhoods will significantly prevent the infiltration of sects and communities into these areas.
Leadership, the European “far right”, the program of Islam and Syria
In the context of the leadership issue, we need to emphasize a point specific to Arab (Islamic) countries. One of the specific conditions of these countries is the social, political and ideological power of the Islamist movement. The “counterpart” of the parties that are the representatives of the conservative-racist populism, the far right and neo-fascism that have risen as a reactionary wave in Europe are Salafi-jihadist political movements in Islam and Arab countries. The strengthening of such parties and movements in Europe and Muslim countries has similar social-economic bases. These counter-revolutionary structures and movements cause a reactionary/counter-revolutionary effect on social opposition due to their widespread and effective political/social (and military) organization. (The debate on the concept of “Islamic fascism” is based on this similarity.)
The state’s condoning of religious activities for the purpose of public control, and its tolerance towards religious organizations around mosques while keeping the left movement under constant pressure, stems from the official Islam policy. The Islamist organising poor people inside mosques.
Another reason for the increasing social influence of the Islamist movement in these countries is the hatred of the poor masses of the West and Western values (This is also a very indirect class reaction). Islamists tell the poor masses of how successful, rich and developed Islam was once, and today’s oppression and poverty stem from Westernization and breaking away from Islamic traditions and values. Islamists, therefore, have gained the support of unemployed youth and increasingly impoverished small businessmen, while having an influence over the broad masses. However, their discourse and “populism” towards the poor are completely demagogic. In spite of all their anti-Western propaganda, for example, in the 90s, Algerian Islamists (FIS) repeated that Algerians were Sunni, not Shi’ites, that they did not have as radical an attitude towards the West as Iran and could come to terms with the West. In any case, their programs did not include any radicalism in the economic field and they adhered to the view that “private property is essential in Islam”.
The FIS program also promised that “the planned economy hated by Algerians will be destroyed.” The main items of the program included the privatization of public enterprises, the release of prices, the liberalization of foreign trade, the convertibility of the dinar and the compliance with international agreements. FIS, which previously supported the law passed in the parliament to enable foreign companies to gain more profit from oil deposits, also stated that it was against the nationalization of the land in the field of agriculture and the distribution of land to landless peasants.
FIS also had a social program. The program said, “Islam is a whole! Law and constitution are only the Koran!” The program mentioned the prohibition of the right to strike and women’s rights, that women should only be housewives, and that they should be dressed. The abolition of the constitution, the election of the head of state by the imams, the establishment of a council as the advisory body of the government, the election of the government by this council and the establishment of moral police were the highlights of the program.
For this reason, the uprising launched by the FIS against the Bonapartist regime in Algeria in the 90s was not supported by revolutionary Marxists, even though the results of their election were not recognized by the regime, that is, a violation of a democratic right. Because the politico-social order proposed by the Islamists represented a much lower level than had historically existed.
We can use the same “programmatic” approach for the Syrian Islamist Front, which was established by the radical-Salafist Islamists, who formed the Conquest Army (public institutions, Sharia courts, etc.), which took over Idlib and a part of Aleppo in Syria and established order in accordance with Islamic Sharia (public institutions, Sharia courts, etc.). The Front defines itself as follows: “An independent political, military and social front aiming to overthrow the Assad regime and establish an Islamic state in which the sovereignty belongs to Almighty God alone in regulating the disposition of the individual and the state.”
These statements clearly show the difference between the revolutionary understanding of revolution by Marxism and the understanding of “revolution” by Islamism. The Islamists define “revolution” as reaction and “counter-revolution” in historical, social, political, legal and cultural terms. The decay and reaction of the regimes that the Islamists are trying to overthrow do not change this situation. Almost everything about a regime that revolutionary Marxists find “incomplete” and strongly criticize is an intolerable redundancy for Islamists; social, class rights and freedoms, women’s rights and freedoms, gender equality, democracy and so on… At least everything we are trying to expand is something for Islamists to be regressed and eliminated!
Understanding this side of the problem is of great importance in terms of revolutionary struggles and leadership building in these countries. First of all, let’s make the following determinations:
* Islamist movements, like their nationalist-populist counterparts in Europe, are by no means revolutionary. The social reactions that they manage to control are based on “reactionary” anti-establishment, not “revolutionary” ones.
* The social rebellions organized or led by such movements, regardless of which regime they may be against, acquire a counter-revolutionary character.
The reactionary-counter-revolutionary nature of regimes does not change this fact. As in the example of Syria, phrases such as “that the resistance expresses itself through Islamist organizations”; “The organizations where young people who want to fight against the regime can find weapons and financial aid are basically these (Islamists); For the same reasons, the view that many FSA brigades and fighters join Islamist groups” is a confession that the revolution ended early. (It was a written phrase during a discussion on Syria in the UIT section of Turkey, which supports İslamist groups as revolutionaries)
The mass, which continues to struggle under these conditions, has come under the leadership of power with very different social-political goals. Therefore, the Nazis, who were able to drag the millions of workers and petty bourgeois crushed by the order in Germany in the 1930s after them (despite their hatred of capitalism), came to power by overthrowing the reactionary capitalist Weimar regime was not a revolution, but a counter-revolution. The hatred of the masses for capitalism did not automatically give this movement a revolutionary character. When these concrete facts are not taken into account, it becomes impossible to distinguish between revolution and counter-revolution! In our age, there is not a single historical process or example in which the Islamists even objectively played a revolutionary role, which at least resulted in a “democratic” revolution.
Fight against Islamists
Our compulsory struggle against religion, beyond its ideological-philosophical dimension, is not politically against poor and helpless religious people, but against Islamists. For this reason, the struggle against religion should be tied to our “basic duty,” that is, to the social freedom struggle of the exploited. Our materialism is, of course, “a materialism who is totally atheistic and absolutely hostile to religion.” (Lenin) But we are not, in Lenin’s words, “kindergarten materialists” who attribute the religious thinking of the masses to “the ignorance of the people”.
Yes, religion must be fought. But without forgetting that religion is “the deep sigh of the oppressed man, the heart of a heartless world, the spirit of soulless conditions” and for these very reasons the “opium of the people” (Marx). Knowing that there is another way besides sectarianism, nationalism and liberalism.