Internet statement 2002-03

How to deal with the question of Islam -
A contribution to a Seminar in London, November 03, 2001
By Hartmut Dicke


One of the decisive questions of how imperialism proceeds and how to tackle it, is the question of Islam and its functionalization by the US and other imperialists.

Our intention is to grasp the cultural roots of Islam in a correct manner. It is impossible to separate today's Islam from the previous Islam, although, of course, today's Islam must be to some degree more aggressive as it is standing in a stronger contradiction to reality than the previous one. But: one can start to work as a communist only if one explains religion as well in its absurdity as in its material roots, that is to say, as well in its difference from reality as in its roots in reality. Every imagination, every religion, every idea has also its material source. We oppose the abstract criticism of religion which, for example, demonstrates only the nonsense of a religion but does show where a religion originates from. All of the human ideas have a material, a social source. This applies also to religion. In this way all of the Christian ideas have their sources; partly these are in fact things of diverse epochs which were mixed up to form a religion, and with Islam it is the same. Here, too, ideas from different epochs were joined together.
But it is not only a joining together from various epochs, of Christianity, of Judaism, of the old Arabic religions, it has in fact also a certain pivot, a crucial point which made it so strong at a certain point in history that it was able to bring whole continental regions under its rule. It must have met a certain need of the then time, otherwise it wouldn't have been victorious. This need certainly was a different one in the regions where its was victorious as compared to the regions where Christianity was able to sustain.

We think that the communists in the Islamic or the predominantly Islamic countries must take up especially the question of the cultural roots of Islam, a question of such vast consequences.
To go back for a moment to the rise of communism out of the European class society:
just because the European communists come out of a tradition in which materialism kept criticising the European religion step by step and gained ground against Christianity until finally the materialistic ideology dominated religion, just because of that an important fundament was obtained for the success of materialistic theories, of communism, in these countries.

In the case of Islam the way must be somewhat different. How does one take up materialistic factors there, how do dialectics develop, in order to overcome this Islam? With quite a lot of communists the following approach with its grave consequences is to be found: they say that Islam had not been so bad initially, and they attempt to amalgamate communist ideas with Islam. In this way they are handing themselves over. In the same way also communists who say that Christianity was properly, from its origins, also a communist ideology, and that one could join up with it, would hand themselves over. This assessment, too, is misleading because it is absolutely one-sided, and Christianity comprises also completely different elements which go directly against that.
This is not to say, to stress it once again, that Christianity has no positive approaches, for example in the development of the individual, in the mastery of nature, in the rejection of older completely decayed views, partly tied to corruption, as for example certain fertility cults ostracised already by Judaism. We appreciate certain elements of Christianity and of Judaism, but we'd never adopt the idea that Christianity altogether was something we could amalgamate with. Communists cannot amalgamate with Islam either, this is also important, but we must attempt to explain Islam itself, actually also in its reactionary roots from the origin on.
(There is a difference to the development in Europe: the church, too, had a very strong position in the high times of feudalism in Europe in the Middle Ages and shoved materialism aside, but it never had the monopoly of ruling. Was it different in Islam? The German journalist and author P.Scholl-Latour says Islam does not have a clergy, that apparently is to say: no clergy which at the same time is a feudal owner. As such, in fact the church stood in concurrence to the worldly feudal ownership.)

It is absolutely necessary, and for us in Europe where we, too, are concretely confronted with Islam, it is all the more necessary, that the various parties from the Islamic countries themselves, but also from the European and the non-Islamic countries come together to discuss how to tackle the problem of the religions.
Tackling Islam is a precondition in its countries of origin for arriving at truly democratic and revolutionary conditions. This seems so important to me also because the bourgeoisie in these countries very often takes advantage of Islam for its own purposes.

It is beyond doubt that the Islamistisc overthrow in the end of the Seventies has a close relation with the revisionist degeneration of certain socialist countries. The revisionist Soviet Union did not do anything of decisive importance against Islamic fundamentalism but even flirted with it, and some of the parties close to the Soviet Union quite unreservedly believed they could cooperate with the Islamists. But also this is not a sufficient explanation, as Soviet revisionism was already 20 years old at that time. It is impossible to comprehend the overthrow in Iran without the shattering effect which temporarily proceeded from the overthrow in China leading to the weakening of the proletarian parties in the Third World; and it is also important to have in mind certain intrigues of certain right-wing party leaders in China already before 1976 which contributed to the detriment of the Marxist-Leninist movement.
We expressly stress, however, that the policy of making use also of the contradictions of Iran to the US and partly also to the other superpower, and of encouraging the tendencies towards national independence, was in fact correct from the part of China. It is a different question, though, that one must not underestimate the revolutionary approaches in the country, and not get actively in their ways.

Khomeiny's overthrow, as well as the intensified infiltration by the CIA in Afghanistan, are not to separated from the weakening and the chaos linked to the overthrow in China particularly since 1977. In the communist movement there are always also many people who merely have half views, who are not steadfast, and if such situations occur where there is general uncertainty, then such characters as Khomeiny, or say Khomeiny in connection with the US, are able to push into the void. Then some people fall because they had not been strengthened. Many communists had lost their orientation in the then situation, had underestimated the yearlong infiltration by the US.

Also with regard to this we have to grasp the decisive chain link.

In the future we should deal with the question of Islam and the other religions on a world-wide level.

We also should like to organise a conference in Germany about that.

As translated and read by Comrade CK on behalf of the author, who was not present