[Marxism] Frei Betto: Encounters with Fidel

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 18 10:57:12 MDT 2006

>Knee-jerk atheism is one of those religious faiths which are very
>strongly practices in some of the more arcane corners of the left.
>Walter Lippmann

Walter, the issue is not atheism. It is how Marxists relate to political 
Islam, which sees itself in competition with us. Religion is a personal 
choice but when Islam interjects itself into the political arena as it has 
done in a variety of places from Algeria to Afghanistan, it is incumbent 
upon Marxists to defend our own ideas. They involve many bones of contention:

1. The economy: Islam projects charity, while Marxism projects abolition of 
capitalist property relations and a planned economy.

2. Gender relations: There is such a thing as Islamic feminism but it 
differs on key points from socialist feminism.

3. The arts: Islamic governments have a big problem with artistic freedom 
while Lenin said in "What is to be Done":

"Why is there not a single political event in Germany that does not add to 
the authority and prestige of the Social-Democracy? Because 
Social-Democracy is always found to be in advance of all the others in 
furnishing the most revolutionary appraisal of every given event and in 
championing every protest against tyranny...It intervenes in every sphere 
and in every question of social and political life...in the matter of the 
law against 'obscene' publications and pictures; in the matter of 
governmental influence on the election of professors, etc., etc."

4. Democracy: Marxists fight for the extension of democracy as exemplified 
by the Bolshevik struggle against Czarist absolutism. Political Islam 
believes in the right of religious elders to dictate national policies 
without being accountable.

And on and on and on. Marxism is in a fight not only with neoconservatism 
but liberalism. To retreat from the fight with our clerical opponents 
amounts to liquidationism.



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