[Marxism] Re: Ali Shariati and Liberation Theology

Tom OLincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Thu Jul 13 17:28:29 MDT 2006

When I said “I don't accept that Islam and socialism can be synthesized” 
I considered qualifying the statement slightly.  Indonesian comrades 
typically tell me they have found socialist sentiments in the Quran. What 
they mean is a hostility to usury, a pre-capitalist ethic of sharing, and so 
on. I don’t just dismiss this, because really you could call it socialism 
if you want. What I say is that Islam is incompatible with *scientific* 
socialism, i.e. Marxism, because the latter is based on materialism. 

I then get the question: is Marxism anti-religious? This is a very loaded 
question in such a deeply pious country as Indonesia, where the religious 
right wing hammers just this accusation against the left and leftist are 
very sensitive to it. 

My answer is first, that religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, and 
we stand in solidarity with the oppressed creature. Moreover our socialist 
organisation does not exclude people who believe in God, and our “what we 
stand for” statement in the magazine doesn’t deal with religion at all. 
It’s a private matter, and will remain so after the revolution. 

It would be tempting, but cowardly to leave it there. I have to add that the 
cadre of our organisation are militant Marxists, and they campaign for 
Marxism and therefore against religion. Can an individual be a religious 
Marxist? Why yes – human beings often live with contradictions. But a 
contradiction it is. 

I think the above comments are consistent with your remark that “A 
revolutionary movement must, I believe, be responsive to working
class consciousness as it actually exists and engage it, if only to launch a 

I’ve gone into some of these issues in more detail here: 


See particularly Part Three on Marx and Religion

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