[Marxism] "Political Islam"

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Fri Aug 18 13:53:08 MDT 2006

Louis Proyect schrieb:
>> Now, it is true that, because of the historic background of Islam, the 
>> Qur'an says a lot more about the principles of government of actual 
>> societies than the New Testament does, but I still think that through 
>> history people have been able to adapt just about any religion to the 
>> purpose of any side in any issue of the class struggle.  Ultimately 
>> all their Christianity never seriously motivated Christian rules to 
>> outlaw loaning money at interest, and they find ways to get around it 
>> in Islamic societies as well.  Voices in the Wilderness 
>> (www.vitw.org), the Pro-Life Action League, and Pope Benedict XVI, 
>> are, I suppose, all into "political Catholicism"....
>> Lou Paulsen
> But there have been no Christian theocracies since the rise of bourgeois 
> democracy, has there?

I would argue that Southernb Ireland was effectively a theocracy, 
regardless of which combintion of bourgeois parteis was actually in 
power from the establishment of the independent state in 1922 down to 
the beginning of the 1990s.

What do I mean by this. I mean that the constitution of 1937 was a joint 
work of Eamonn Devalera, who had been elected on a leftish populist 
programme, and the Archbishop of Dublin and was explicitly based on 
Catholic social theory, indeed it contained strong corporatist elements. 
Until the 5th Amendment in 1972 the first sentence of the constitution 
recognised the special position of the Catholic Church.

Even now the preamble to the constituion is:

> In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to
> Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be
> referred,
> We, the people of Éire,
> Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus
> Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
> Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain
> the rightful independence of our Nation,
> And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence,
> Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual
> may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country
> restored, and concord established with other nations,
> Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
Hardly a beacon  of of even mild secularism, regardless of what the rest 
of the document actually says.

No government was prepared to introduce legislation on social issues, 
education and a whole series of other areas without consulting the 
Catholic hierarchy. The one attempt to introduce a mild reform of the 
health care system at the beginning of the 1950s, the "Mother and Baby" 
scheme introduced by the radical health Minister, Dr Noel Browne, which 
would have gioven free medical care to pregnant women and to mothers 
wiand theri babies up to the age of one, was torpedoed by a coalition of 
the medical profession and the Catholic bishops. Noel Browne, who had 
introduced the measures that led to the eradication of TB during the 
1950s, one of the most important reforms for the majority of the Irish 
population in the early post-War period, was driven from the government 
and never served as a minister again.

Primary education is still almost completely in the hands of the Church 
and almost all secondary schools are either controlled directly by the 
Catholic church or church appointees dominate the management boards of 
the schools. (Most of the few non-Catholic are controlled by the 
Protestant churches.) As late as the early 1990s a woman teacher was 
sacked without notice because she was living with a man who was not her 
husband, despite the fact that she  had an excellent record as a teacher 
and was well liked by her pupils. Her sacking was upheld on appeal to 
the Labour Court. (!)

Down to 1970 all the universities were explicitly Catholic except 
Trinity College Dublin. When I wanted to study there in 1969 my father 
had to apply to the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin to get permission for 
me to study in the "Protestant" university.

The Irish Ayatollahs eventually fell from grace, although there are 
still many institutional, legislative and constitutional remanants of 
their theocratic reign, through a mixture of their own hubris and the 
growing secularisation of Irish society as a result of industrialisation 
and modernisation.

they may never had the explicit veto powers over democratic 
decision-making that are included in the constitution of the Islamic 
Republic of Iran, but they certainly had this power de facto. Being 
denounced from every pulpit in teh constituency on teh Sunday before the 
election was guaranteed to emnsure taht you would not be elected, even 
under the multi-seat STV system used in Ireland where you could 
theoretically be elected with between one sixth and a quarter of the 
votes - except perhaps in a few Dublin working-class constituencies.

Ireland may not have been explicitly a theocracy, but when I observe the 
situation in Iran I can recognise many things that are not all that 
different from the Ireland of my youth.

Einde O'Callaghan

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