“Jihadism” is it a form of fascism? Debate on French Left.
Isis Parading our Kurdish Comrades Facing Execution.
While much of the British left ignores this issue of the counter-revolutionary character of Islamism the French left is engaged in a serious debate about the similarities between Jihadist form of Islamism and fascism.
Interestingly this is taking place inside Ensemble – over 2,500 members. It is the third largest force in the Front de Gauche. Composed of Les Alternatifs, Convergences et alternative, the Fédération pour une alternative sociale et écologique (FASE), the Gauche anticapitaliste, and activists of Gauche unitaire. It also contains a handful of sympathisers of the British Socialist Workers Party, whose views in Islamism in all its forms are well-known.
“Jihadism” is it a form of fascism? (adapted).
“These remarks follow the text of Laurent Lévy on this site entitled “Islamo-fascism” or “jihadism”. This is not an answer but a few notes which aim to stimulate debate.
1 The term “jihadism” is probably the most suitable, it is in any case much better that “Islamo-fascist”, which does not in itself exclude discussion on these two terms.
2 Has Jihadism nothing to do with Islam? Lawrence said we do not have to take the self-definitions of those principally involved. Some caution is indeed required. Not so long ago there were countries that defined themselves as People’s Democracies – a term which was very questionable in the least. Which leave us with the question – one that I do not find it so easy to solve – who is the judge in these matters?
The attacks in Paris were condemned by currents unlikely to be held to represent a “moderate Islam” – the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, which called the murderers the worst enemies of the Prophet. It is not up to non-Muslims to contradict them, says Lawrence. The end of the sentence seems common sense: non-Muslims are not the best position to judge what is Islam or what is not. The beginning of the same sentence is rather more questionable. We are not obliged, or to take as given, what Hamas or Hezbollah say, on the grounds that they are not representatives of “moderate Islam.” After all, there are within Sunni Islam many currents that deny that the Alevis or the Shias even belong to Islam. Why should we believe them? On the grounds that we are not Muslims (which is true) and that they are not moderate (also true)? In a climate of hysteria and a climate of heightened national security we clearly have an interest in avoiding putting all Muslims in the same category. But, to return to the “people’s democracies”, could it be said so easily that they had nothing to do with the communist movement?
3- On the question of fascism, I am to be relatively cautious, without being satisfied with the approach developed by Lawrence. For words to make sense we should not use them indiscriminately. A military dictatorship, for example, does not need to be a fascist to be abominable and to be fought (and calling the French riot police, the CRS the SS is probably not the acme of political analysis). We must therefore be wary of using ready-made categories that can easily become stale and fixed.
There is no doubt that the emergence of fascism in the interwar period in Europe was a way to break the working class. That class, influenced by the creation and the breath of the October Revolution had become a legitimate player in the conquest of political power. But if we limited fascism to this, the issue would not be restricted to a debate for historians about the 1920s and the 1930s. Today the impact of October (or the Chinese Revolution in Asia) is minimal, and instead of a rising working class, the labour movement, which we witness, is in a poor state. Can we say that the issue of fascism no longer exists. The counter-revolutionary AND totalitarian dimensions of the “jihadist” groups is such that we cannot dismiss the term ‘fascism’ so easily. When Pierre Rousset speaks of “religious fascism” because these organisations occupy the same niches as fascism, there is no lack of argument. An article by Farooq Tariq, leader of the LPP (Pakistan) states: “The fanatical religious groups are being constituted as forms of fascism. ” ( ttp://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article33933 ).
These views can of course be criticised I do not think these can be dismissed out of hand.
In short this is an ongoing debate.”
A reply to Islamo-fascism” or “jihadism” Laurent Lévy.
Lévy notes that the ‘syntagma’ (syntactic arrangement) Islamic-fascism has been used by the nominally ‘socialist’ Prime Minister, Manuel Valls (that is, be wary of the words!!!).
He asserts that is not up to the non-Muslims to decide on what is Islamic or not, and that most consider that the Islamic state is not Islamic. Lévy argues that in terms of class analysis one cannot talk of Islamic-Fascism. “..sectarian, violent and totalitarian movements claiming Islam does not fall within this analysis ” That they cannot be compared with movements helped by the “bourgeoisie to break the labour movement and to take over certain sectors of the capital to help solve its internal contradictions.” in the 1920s and 1930s.
But that, Jihadism, is the word that designates, “these currents that claim Islam in the attempt to impose by mass violence a totalitarian society.”
It is interesting that the relation between Islamist ‘counter-revolution’ and classical European fascism is raised.
What would seem a better way to approach this is to look at one form of actually existing Islamism: the Islamic State, Daesh (1). Not just its international actions, but the structure of the state they have created in Syria and Iraq: a racist, repressive, genocidal regime, based on slavery and the oppression of women, with a highly developed system of ‘law’ (the Sharia, as they see it).
Whether we call this Jihadism or fascism it is clear that it is a ‘totalitarian’ political entity.
A murderous one to boot.
(1) ‘Actually existing’ – an expression I take from the pro-Soviet left in the 1970s which talked of ‘actually existing socialism’.
Written by Andrew Coates
February 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm
Posted in Anti-Fascism, Britain, Communism, European Left, Fascism, French Left, French Politics, Front de Gauche, Human Rights, Imperialism, Iraq, Islamism, Kurds, Labour Movement, LCR, Left, Marxism, Racism, Religion, Secularism
Subscribe to comments with RSS.