From the bowel left

Gene at Harry’s Place quotes John Molyneux, writing in International Socialism, a quarterly journal of the Socialist Workers Party. The SWP is a top-down, authoritarian organisation, and this highly significant, highly decisive dictum is from the very centre, the theorists, the policy-makers.

“Where would a socialist be who decided their political attitude to Malcolm X on the basis of his reactionary religious beliefs as a member of the Nation of Islam, to Bob Marley on the basis of his belief in the divinity of that old tyrant Haile Selassie or even to Hugo Chavez on the basis of his self-proclaimed Catholicism and admiration of the pope? Unfortunately some would-be socialists who have no difficulty grasping this in relation to Chavez or Marley, under the pressure of intense bourgeois propaganda are unable to apply the same approach when the religion in question is Islam. To put the matter as starkly as possible: from the standpoint of Marxism and international socialism an illiterate, conservative, superstitious Muslim Palestinian peasant who supports Hamas is more progressive than an educated liberal atheist Israeli who supports Zionism (even critically).” [Gene’s emphasis]


What’s all this about religion? Choosing allegiances has never been about religion – it’s about outlooks, values, and approaches. Hal Draper had it right when he wrote as a socialist that:

We can give political support only on the basis of what we analyze as the real political character and real political program this formation, as in any other case.”

Hamas’s Islam is not the problem – it’s the Hamas Charter that’s the problem. When did Bob Marley ever tell anybody they had to wage war? When did Malcolm X ever preach the irradication of pinks? Hamas regularly preaches the irradication of Jews and the de-Jewing of Israel.

I think that if I had to sum up the left of the SWP in a single word, that word would be ‘wrong’. The depths of their wrongitude are revealed day after day as deeper and deeper depths.

Where did it all go pear-shaped and where are the Hal Drapers these days?

See also Richard Gold on Engage.


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