LCC contribution

Since we wrote this last week, there have been mass demonstrations across Syria and even in places nominally controlled by Assad and the masses are saying in no uncertain terms that the revolution is not over, that it continues. We submit the following for discussion hoping to undo a grave error before it is adopted and made that much more difficult to correct.

For the LCC, comradely,
Dan Cahill
Charles Rachlis
Christopher Clark

Our Objection, Our Worries and Hesitation Explained

We do not agree that the Syrian revolution has been crushed! This is the whole object of the imperialist interventions, which have had to follow the preceding interventions of their proxies and are now joined also by the loose cannon local powers with their own goals, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. As we write we find a miserable « cease fire » deal in place that allows Russia to go on bombing, obviously to prevent a wholesale regional war, where Turkish and Saudi troops clash directly with Russian forces. So we see the imperialists kitchen cooking up poison for the rest of us, as even in spite of their intentions they fail to crush a revolution and instead take humanity to the brink of a world war. While this danger mushrooms, the power of the revolution grows; the Local Coordinating Committees (see and also have assumed and exercise more powers than before and exercise them in defiance of the armed Islamist groups, each of which also vie with the imperialist forces and their proxies and with Hezbollah and Iran, for the prizes of suppressing the revolution and either guaranteeing or destroying the Assad dictatorship. 

 We oppose all the Islamist groups, even as we recognize how the righteous rebellion of the Sunni masses of Iraq was hijacked by the « New Caliphate » of ISIS with the promise of a reactionary utopia. We recognize in ISIS features that resemble historical fascism, but in surveying the region the name fascist is earned by the Assad regime in the first place, and secondarily by survivals with ties to historical fascism, such as the Lebanese Falange. Therefore we want to explain why the adoption of the term « Islamofascism » disturbs us and why we feel it can become an impediment to our revolutionary work among the members of organizations that arise in Islamic communities and that can be called « Islamic groups. » 

 Perhaps Comrades on other continents do not know how the term « Islamofascism » entered American parlance from the lips of George W. Bush. When it is remembered, it is remembered in the context of the pretexts for the « war on Terror » quagmire, as part of that big lie, along with the ostensible ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, the presence in Iraq of « WMDs », and Bush’s « mission accomplished » stunt. Real fascism has nothing to do with any of that except in the sense of U.S. imperialism’s war crimes and « wars of aggression, » as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunals. Historical fascism has been characterized by national movements and while they sometimes pose as defenders of the faith, it is not the practice of scientific socialism to call Mussolini’s movement “Catholic fascism” or Hitler’s movement as “Lutheran/Catholic fascism” or the Ku Klux Klan as “Protestant fundamentalist fascism”. And so we ask, wherefore the term “Islamofascism” in Communist discussions and propaganda?

We Need an Answer

We agree with Trotsky’s definition in « Fascism, What It Is and How To Fight It, » and we ask comrades to either explain some fundamental identity between particular Islamist groups and historical fascism or explain why we need a new, expanded definition that takes particular Islamist groups into account. If you have done so, we have not seen it.

We know the major points of the history of the region. We do know about the short-lived Rashid Ali regime in Iraq and its sponsors and the battle for the well head at the end of the Habbaniya-Haifa pipeline. We know about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his partnership with Hitler, his Bosnian SS Legion and his connections to the rise of Baathism. What we don’t see is Bush’s equation of Al Qaeda with the Hitler/Mussolini alliance, we don’t see a necessity to associate Islam with fascism, and we don’t see a historical fascism which by definition is a mass militarized movement of the petty-bourgeoisie for the rescue of capitalism from the workers’ movement. Neither do we see it apply to Al Nusra Front nor to ISIS/Daesh, as any fact established by our scientific method. 

 This matters because our tendency and our program have an audience of some hundreds among Arabs and other people culturally defined as Muslims. On Facebook they are our ‘biggest fans.’ We have already earned a reputation as defenders of political prisoners such as Rasmeah Odeh and of the Arab Spring and their national-democratic revolution, and there are already quite a few who understand that only the Permanent Revolution offers any way out of oppression by one imperialist power or another. Similarly, we work in some senses alongside groups like « Al Awda, » the Palestinian Right to Return Organization, the Students for Justice in Palestine, the MENA Solidarity Network and others. We have established in the minds of some vanguard activists that we are not the pro-Assad and/or ‘orientalist’ U.S. leftists and that we are an international tendency who defend their aspirations. We worry that we could ruin this patient work if we got a reputation-by-association with anyone guilty of overboard « Laicite. »

We are anticlericals, as Marxists should be, but we are not ultralefts. It is our business to unite our social class internationally DESPITE the influence of religions and all types of reactionary survivals of the past. Thus we reject both the crocodile tears about the freedom of the press that played into Hollande’s parade of democratic killers in the aftermath of the « Charlie Hebdo » attack, AND the ridiculous opportunist adaptation to Islamism of the Munzerite FLTI where it denounced the magazine as a Zionist front. We see overboard « Laicite » as at least part of the explanation for why the European workers’ movement did not develop a layer of exile revolutionists with a sufficient implantation in the Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian struggles of recent years. To say this is not to deny the immense guilt of Stalinism, Social-Democracy and pseudo-Trotskyism in support of bourgeois forces, leaders and projects. In fact, this guilt of the pseudo-Trotskyists derives from historical adaptations we know as Pabloism, and which the Draft Program describes.