Hamas, Hezbollah, and so-called “resistance” against Zionist imperialism

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:

  1. 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;
  2. second, the need for a struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements in backward countries;
  3. 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.

Imperialism, as Lenin states, is more progressive than the fanatical religious tendencies that fight to resist it. 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.

11 thoughts on “Hamas, Hezbollah, and so-called “resistance” against Zionist imperialism

  1. I’m not home, and don’t have time now to explore this blog. When I get home I will.

    You are speaking my language. I’m a pro-socialist politically by definition. I’m not anti-imperialist as to mean support Iran, or Hamas etc.

    I’m based in Minneapolis. I’m very familiar with FRSO. You are correct.

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  3. You are so happy tofind quotes about condemning anti-imperialist uprisings that you have missed that Lenin was talking about reactionary classes, and in the 2nd quote about strengthening landlords (same point), and not about uprisings that have reactionary content but are proletarian and peasant uprisings.

    The first quote says we won’t support reactionary *CLASSES* against imperialism, not people who are reactionary against imperialism. In fact at the end of the chapter in the 1st quote Lenin gives the Irish uprising of 1916 as an example of a national uprising in Europe. In Self-Determination Summed Up he makes his support of the Irish uprising explicit despite its reactionary and prejudiced ideas, because it is only to be expected that much of the proletariar will not be fully conscious. He criticizes those who think that the proletariat will be fully socialist, against fully reactionary imperialists, as not knowing anything about revolution.

    Hezbollah and Hamas might be reactionary but they are not the uprsising of a reactionary class.

    The 2nd quote is more on the mark, but read Tan Malaka’s response in the Comintern debate. The Pan-Islamism Lenin was talking about was based on Islamophobic fears and does not, as Lenin said as the main condition, strengthen the landlords.

    Lenin said when condemning European socialists for pooh-poohing the Irish 1916 rebellion that it’s an ill-wind that does no one any good, so the socialists should realize something is wrong with their position when they see that the imperialists have the same one. Unfortunately it seems Islamophobia today *is* an ill-wind, where so-called Marxists are heaping the same abuse and disdain on resistance movements that their ruling class is to justify the wars and occupations.

  4. On what basis is imperialism or colonialism more progressive than an independent bourgeois state ruled by an Islamist party? When the US destroys an entire country or Israel builds an apartheid state, what makes this more progressive than an independence movement founded upon religious principles? Your notion of progress is extremely suspect to say the least.

    • I’m simply following Lenin’s judgments on these matters, albeit in a different historical context. Lenin, following Marx, understood that imperialism, as with capitalism, was a source of economic and technological progress compared with what came before. If combined with legal and institutional liberalization, this means political progress as well. I’m fully aware of the problem of combined and uneven development.

      This judgment is not exactly anomalous, either. Besides the famous example of Marx’s attitude toward India, there was Engels’ enthusiastic endorsement of the US invasion of Texas in the Mexican-American War and his statements regarding the armies of Europe blowing the wretchedly reactionary Alpine Swiss to smithereens in “The Civil War in Switzerland” (1847). Engels even went so far as to say that the Alpine Swiss “could be brought to reason only by cannon.”

  5. I agree with most of the things you have presented against Hamas and Hezbollah, but it seems as if you just marginalized and assumed that these groups are “jihadist”. I completely agree with you on the fact that these are reactionary groups, but it seems as if you are also ignoring on the reason why leftists are in support of them. I don’t support or politically align myself with these groups, but the reason why people (who aren’t even Shia Muslims) support Hezbollah is because of their strategic tactic of defeating israeli imperialism. Your post seems a little Orientalist for comparing Hezbollah as “jihadist”, and as Marxists, we must avoid contemplating such notions. The ultra-leftism had spurred out in the Lebanese communist party during the civil war has only led to the Lebanese working class to raise their hopes on these parties (Amal and Hezbollah) for protection. Sure, Hezbollah has been famous for suppressing workers’ strikes and having bourgeois party members. But, my point here is that Hezbollah is not a jihadist group. They have distorted Khomeini’s velayet-e-faqih and aren’t interested in establishing a theocracy, unlike what most bourgeois media representatives say. Your post seems to be extremely anti-religion due to the fact that you assert that religion cannot be reconciled with socialism, which isn’t true. Most members of Hezbollah are women and are not even Muslims. Please try to refrain from making general assumptions when criticizing ‘religious fundamentalism’. It’s also quite interesting how you use Sultan Galiev as an example to defend your position. This is only a comradely response.

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