IMAGE: Protestors wave signs reading “We are all Hizbullah,”
depicting the Ayatollah, and the front page of the Socialist Worker
To all those who support the actions of jihadist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas on the grounds that they are supposedly putting up brave “resistance” to the imperialist forces of the U.S.-backed Israeli military, I submit the following quotes from Lenin (whose original theory of imperialism is unfortunately claimed as an inspiration by so many the anti-imperialist zombies floating around today). First, from chapter five of his 1916 work, A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism:
Imperialism is as much our “mortal” enemy as is capitalism. That is so. No Marxist will forget, however, that capitalism is progressive compared with feudalism, and that imperialism is progressive compared with pre-monopoly capitalism. Hence, it is not every struggle against imperialism that we should support. We will not support a struggle of the reactionary classes against imperialism; we will not support an uprising of the reactionary classes against imperialism and capitalism.
Consequently, once [one] admits the need to support an uprising of an oppressed nation (‘actively resisting’ suppression means supporting the uprising), he also admits that a national uprising is progressive, that the establishment of a separate and new state, of new frontiers, etc., resulting from a successful uprising, is progressive.”
Notice, Lenin states that Marxists should only support progressive political tendencies in their struggle to achieve national self-determination. I.e., not the reactionary jihadist forces of Hezbollah and Hamas, whose sexist and homophobic ideology is founded on the ideas of Islamic fundamentalism. Indeed, if Lenin didn’t make himself clear enough on this score here, he spelled it out even more explicitly in 1920:
With regard to the more backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal and patriarchal-peasant relations predominate, it is particularly important to bear in mind:
first, that all Communist parties must assist the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement in these countries, and that the duty of rendering the most active assistance rests primarily with the workers of the country the backward nation is colonially or financially dependent on;
second, the need for a struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements in backward countries;
third, the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends, which strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc.
Now I understand that many critics of Israel are influenced by Homi Bhabha’s post-colonial theory, and are familiar with his tedious and often-invoked notion of “hybridity.” Still, in light of Lenin’s unequivocal call here for Communist parties of all nations to combat Pan-Islamism and similar forces, it strikes one as exceptionally odd that some today would attempt to create a hybrid “International Pan-Islamic Communist Party of Proletarian Islam,” which claims to “believe in the Teachings of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad” while “also believ[ing] in and follow[ing] the Revolutionary Communist teachings of V.I. Lenin [!!], Mirza Sultan-Galiev, Tan Malaka [this makes sense, obviously], J.V. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kwame Nkrumah, Fidel.” This ideological confusion is compounded by the fact that Stalin personally signed the order to have Mirza Sultan-Galiev executed in 1940, on grounds of deviation brought about by his attempt to synthesize Marxism with pan-Islamic and pan-Turkic ideas (despite his perverse authoritarianism and numerous betrayals of revolutionary Marxism, it seems Stalin remained in fundamental agreement with Lenin on this point, at least).
Disregarding such extreme and contradictory manifestations of this bizarre tendency of leftists today to side with reactionary movements in their struggle against imperialism, we may return to the more troubling mainstream phenomenon of which this is a symptom. Imperialism, as Lenin states, is more progressive than the fanatical religious tendencies that fight to resist it, or the so-called “Marxist” groups (the PFLP, the LCP) that collude with them. But to be clear, this does not amount to an endorsement of U.S. or Israeli policies of aggression. All that it means is one should not support tendencies that are even more wretched than foreign, imperialist domination, simply in the name of national self-determination.