[Marxism] Re: The hijab controversy

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Mon Feb 16 06:38:12 MST 2004

Paul Flewers writes>>Socialists should combine the defence of the right
of a Muslim woman to wear a veil (or a Jewish man to wear a yarmulke, or
a Christian to wear a cross), if that person wishes, with a firm
commitment to a secular society, that religion is a private matter, and
that education is secular. This involves the abolition of religious
schools and their resources being brought into the state educational

This is an utterly undemocratic and *outrageously* anti Marxist
position, drawn from exactly the same French bourgeois anticlericalist
traditions that are being used to justify the ban on the veil.

>From the critique of the Gotha Program:

*  *  *

"Elementary education by the state" is altogether objectionable.
Defining by a general law the expenditures on the elementary schools,
the qualifications of the teaching staff, the branches of instruction,
etc., and, as is done in the United States, supervising the fulfillment
of these legal specifications by state inspectors, is a very different
thing from appointing the state as the educator of the people!
Government and church should rather be equally excluded from any
influence on the school. Particularly, indeed, in the Prusso-German
Empire (and one should not take refuge in the rotten subterfuge that one
is speaking of a "state of the future"; we have seen how matters stand
in this respect) the state has need, on the contrary, of a very stern
education by the people. 

But the whole program, for all its democratic clang, is tainted through
and through by the Lassallean sect's servile belief in the state, or,
what is no better, by a democratic belief in miracles; or rather it is a
compromise between these two kinds of belief in miracles, both equally
remote from socialism.

*  *  *

"The ban will reinforce obscurantism and religious fervour; it must be
replaced by policies that both guarantee personal tolerance and promote
genuine secularisation," writes Paul Flewers. But why are identifying
with white European French "secularisation"? This is just an attempt to
cloak the persecution of Arabs with the tricolor, to reshape the frigian
cap into a Ku Klux Klanner's hood.

Our position should be to hell with bloody white, European, French
bourgeois imperialist "secularism." 

Jose G. Perez

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