Thursday, 27 January 2011
A short exchange on the Muslim Brotherhood
"So what are you suggesting James, that the Egyptian people should stay quiet and put up with the dictatorship because you think the alternative is worse? This looks like a mass uprising of workers and youth to me. All power to them, I say!"
It indeed looks like an uprising of workers and youth, which I fully support. Let us hope it is not hijacked by the Islamists - as Iran was. You do concur in that respect, I take it?
"This isn't 1979 James. The Egyptian masses have learned from the experience of Iran and as far as I am aware they show no inclination towards wanting an Islamic republic. When a people rise up against their oppressors there are no guaranteed outcomes, there never are. All we can do as onlookers is to applaud the bravery of the Egyptian workers and youth, celebrate their achievements, build solidarity with them and attempt to follow their shining example.
The Alliance for Workers' Liberty don't understand that the real enemy of humanity is not Islam but Imperialism, US and British imperialism in particular. The dictator Mubarak is a puppet of imperialism and an ally of Israel. If the Egyptian masses succeed in sweeping him into the dustbin of history they will be doing a great service not only to themselves and to the Palestinians but to all humanity.
I don't see any need for your emphasis on condemning the Muslim Brotherhood. That is exactly what the dictators and their imperial backers want - to use islamophobia to spread fear of the unfolding Arab revolution."
It is not "islamophobic" to condemn parties that are openly anti-Semitic and wish to implement Sharia Law. If it is, then you are essentially saying that Islam is Islamism - precisely what Islamists as well as the fascists in the British National Party say. I fail to see how it furthers the debate to adopt such a misguided line.
You say that the AWL do not understand imperialism? Do you include in that the imperialism espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood - who, after all, wish to construct a Caliphate for the 21st century?
"Are you serious James? On the one hand we have the very real imperialism of monopoly finance capital, the global rule of the wealthiest, most powerful and most bloodstained ruling class in all human history. And on the other we have the Muslim Brotherhood, a small opposition group that "wishes to construct a new 21st Century Caliphate." That you should see these as in any way comparable is quite frankly laughable."
I must say that it is you who cannot be considered morally serious due to your excuse making for a group that is openly anti-Semitic, wishes to implement Sharia law and restore the Islamic empire. You are yourself supporting imperialists and are willing to make the most sordid compromises with anyone, just so long as they preach anti-Americanism first and foremost.
Which begs the question: which type of movement is off limits to you? Do you support the BNP ahead of the Labour Party? After all, the BNP opposed the Iraq war while making noises about "American imperialism"; the Labour Party took the country to war. Do you support the government of Iran - a regime which denies the Holocaust and hangs homosexuals - simply because they oppose the US government? How about those in Yemen who throw acid into the faces of unveiled women? Would "only an idiot" criticise such atrocities simply because the groups in question proclaim an opposition to the United States?
Taken to its conclusion, your position is no different to that which led certain British communists and socialists to support National Socialism in the 1930s - they said then that the real problem was US and British imperialism.
Trotsky exposed such unthinking moral equivalence then and the analysis loses none of its force today:
The wiseacres who claim that they see no difference between Bruning and Hitler are in fact saying: it makes no difference whether our [working class] organizations exist or whether they are already destroyed. Beneath this pseudo-radical verbiage hides the most sordid passivity.'
Of course, the coming to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would make little difference to you personally, hence your freedom to remain indifferent. It would however make a huge difference to the Egyptian working class; and that's who we support, not aristocratic Islamists who wish to reverse the historical process and travel back in time to pre-capitalism and clerical rule.