[Marxism] Fwd: Islam and socialism

Sayan Bhattacharyya ok.president+marxmail at gmail.com
Sat Aug 19 19:33:08 MDT 2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nestor Gorojovsky
Date: Aug 19, 2006 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: Islam and socialism
To: Sayan Bhattacharyya

[Nestor wrote me: "Maybe you find it useful to redistribute this.  You
are fully free to
do so." So I'm doing posting Nestor's informative message, below, with
his permission.]

> In August 1907, the New York Sun published Barakatullah's letter
> stating how Englishmen were getting nervous "because of the Hindus and
> the Muslims are drawing together and the success of nationalism seems
> to be nearer." More vehement was his letter in Persian, which appeared
> in the Urdu Mualla of Aligarh, U.P., in May 1907, in which
> Barakatullah strongly advocated the necessity for unity between Hindus
> and Muslims, and defined the two chief duties of Muslims as patriotism
> and friendship with all Muslims outside India.


Dear friend, I thank you for the deference of sending private mail to
me on this essential issue.

I believe that this paragraph above may be the most important one in
your posting.

What it shows is that nation-building, the national question, must
seek to mix and coallesce peoples of different religions, not
separate them and lend to religious "inter-national" struggle.  It is
not a matter of chance that Britain used religion to split the vast
national revolutionary movement in India.  This forced all her former
subjects to pay an enormous cost for independence, which you are
still paying.

The Marxist position on the national question is a complex one, but
it certainly does _not_ include supporting imperialism-fueled
attempts to split multi-religious and multi-cultural national
movements through religious or cultural warfare.  Nation building is
the dialectical opposite of petty cultural, religious or even ethnic


As to the relation between Muslim religion and socialist struggle, I
find that it has many points of contact with what happens with
Catholic religion in Latin America.  In fact -and in spite of a
particularly European struggle to death with religious ideology that
can be traced as far back as the French Revolution, and is entirely
justifiable in _that_ cultural and political context- we socialists
_do_ understand the necessity for a religion, which is the impulse to
trascendence.  In materialist terms, it is directly linked to the
relation between the isolated individual and the whole, that is the
human community and _all_ of its history, which is, in the end, the
objective contents of the concept "God".

The single difference with religious people lies in that we try to
put this impulse to rational human practice in order to modify the
human community, not into what a materialist should describe as pipe
dreams (that's what comes behind Marx's "opium of the peoples", not a
derogative but a _descriptive_ definition of religion, take into
account the moment when he wrote the phrase, opium and morphine were
some of the few pain-lenitive drugs that could be found in Europe).

Any religious group which trascends idealism and tries to bring it
down to Earth gives a step towards us.  But we shall still be
competing with them because socialists (Marxists, at least) can't
accept the idea of a trascendental reality outside the material
world.  However, we must begin to accept that this struggle will take
place deep into the future, and the future generations will succeed
in solving it in a way we cannot fathom.  The whole debate in Latin
America over the "dialogue" between Christians and Marxists,
unfortunately, set this central issue to the sidelines and in the end
was simply a particular version of the old debate between mass action
and individual action of little groups.

The concrete situation now is that both radicalized religious leaders
or groups and us share a common, Godless but for greed, enemy:
imperialism and thus the capitalist mode of production as a whole,
which is the single mode of production in human history that not only
can, but in the end _must_ do away with trascendence (reification,

In this sense, Catholicism, which is much more a structured and
hyerarchical creed than Islamism (to the degree that it even has a
"temporal", that is Earthly, state of its own in the Vatican City),
gives us a lesson:  the "heretic" monks and friars who are trying to
bend the stick of the Church towards "temporalities" and social
revolution have not been subject to anathema.  On the contrary, the
old and wise Vatican State has seen the death of two modes of
production (Mediterranean slavery and European feudalism), and it has
also seen the birth of two (European feudalism and European
capitalism).  By keeping these radicals in the fold they may well be
preparing themselves for the future, too.

Maybe you find it useful to redistribute this.  You are fully free to
do so.


Este correo lo ha enviado
Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at fibertel.com.ar
[No necesariamente es su autor]
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"La patria tiene que ser la dignidad arriba y el regocijo abajo".
Aparicio Saravia
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