[Marxism] Secular Chauvinism (was How to answer these questions?)

Yoshie Furuhashi critical.montages at gmail.com
Mon Jul 31 18:13:23 MDT 2006

On 7/31/06, www.leninology. blogspot.com <leninology at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> Louis wrote:> Iran suffers from Persian chauvinism not just
>> against the Kurds, but against Azaris and Arabs as well.
>Well, this is far more true of the exiles than of the Islamic Republic,
>not least because the Persian chauvanists are usually anti-Muslim
>racist exiles (and often poetasters of Zoroaster).The repression of
> the Ahwazis in Iran (which is certainly very real) is not to do with
>Persian chauvanism, or even Shi'ite chauvanism (since the Ahwazis
> are also Shi'ites): it is a classic national question.

Yes, but that's not the point.  The point is for us to question a very
common vice among Western leftists: secular chauvinism, an automatic
assumption that secular nationalism and secular socialism of any
variety is better than Islam of any variety in any respect.  The
assumption is false, and we have to get rid of our chauvinism.

It is the militantly secular and Westernized Turkish government -- not
the anti-Western Islamic Republic -- that stands accused of having
committed massacres that some call a genocide against a minority, the

It is the militantly secular and Westernized Turkish government -- not
the anti-Western Islamic Republic -- that has denied a national
minority, the Kurds, their language and other cultural rights.

It is the puppet government of Nuri as-Said ("fanatically pro-Western"
in the words of Juan Cole and pro-Zionist) -- not the anti-Western and
anti-Zionist Islamic Republic -- that saw the largest proportion of
Jews flee from the country (about 125,000 Iraqi Jews had fled to
Israel by 1952, leaving only about 6,000) and froze their assets to

And how did Gamal Abdel-Nasser, an Arab nationalist perhaps most
admired by secular leftists in the West, behave toward the Jews?  His
government expelled about 25,000 of them in 1956.  By now, what used
to be a 75,000-strong Jewish community in Egypt is said to have
dwindled to fewer than 100.

As far as the Middle East is concerned, one can conclude that
secularist governments -- pro-Western or nationalist or both -- have
been far worse toward ethnic or religious minorities than Islamists of
the Iranian variety.  Evidence just doesn't support our prejudice for
secularism in this respect.

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