Dead Men Left

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Gilbert Achcar has a polemic on Z-Net, "Marxists and Religion - yesterday and today". The first half is a concise exposition of the classic Marxist attitude regarding religion, with a couple of gems:

Even at the beginning of the split of the French workers' movement between social democrats and communists, a right wing emerged among the communists of the metropolis themselves (without mentioning the French communists in Algeria), particularly distinguishing itself by its position on the colonial question. The communist right betrayed its anti-colonialist duty when the insurrection of the Moroccan Rif, under the leadership of the tribal and religious chief Abd el-Krim, confronted French troops in 1925.

The statement of Jules Humbert-Droz about this to the Executive Committee of the Communist International retains certain relevance:

"The right has protested against the watchword of fraternisation with the insurgent army in the Rif, by invoking the fact that they do not have the same degree of civilisation as the French armies, and that semi-barbarian tribes cannot be fraternised with. It has gone even further, writing that Abd el-Krim has religious and social prejudices that must be fought. Doubtless we must fight the pan-Islamism and the feudalism of colonial peoples, but when French imperialism seizes the throat of the colonial peoples, the role of the CP is not to combat the prejudices of the colonial chiefs, but to fight unfailingly the rapacity of French imperialism."

The second half, alas, is an ill-founded grouch about Respect and the Muslim Association of Britain, whose website seems to be down at the minute. It being a glorious spring day in London and with a general election offing, I have a Respect stall to go to, so for now I'll leave Achcar without further comment. Any responses to, or thoughts on, the piece are welcome in the comments boxes (naturally, I will filch any really good suggestions for use later).