[Marxism] Re: Islam and Marxism?

Tom OLincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Wed Nov 22 04:06:01 MST 2006

Max Lane knows whereof he speaks. A few more thoughts: 

Once on this list there was a discussion of the Iranian thinker Ali Shariati 
in which I wrote: 


Indonesian leftists, who are generally religious, are fond of mentioning Ali 
Shariati as representing a synthesis of Islam and socialism. While I don't 
accept that these can be synthesized, and I don't believe in liberation 
theology, I agree he is someone we should take note of. He said interesting 
things like this: 

"In Islam man is not subjugated by God, since he is the Lord's associate,
friend, trustee, and kinsman on earth." 

There's some material on Shariati here:


Some discussion ensued which you can find by searching the Marxmail archives 
for Ali Shariati. Here is one of my posts in that discussion: 


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 Qur'an. 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 leftists 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've gone into some of these issues in more detail here: 


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