Islamists who see themselves on the side of political clarity must comprehend the impossibility of attaching a liberation program to a subordinate authority structure, and they must decide on their options by removing themselves from a so-called pragmatic approach that enables containment and manipulation by international and regional powers. Islamists must open up internally to other non-religious forces (Marxist and nationalist) and espouse a civil, secular liberation program; and they must learn from the experiences in Lebanon and Iraq, where the religious and sectarian element was the basis for the game of hegemony and the foundation for fragmentation setting people against each other instead of being united against their common enemy.Secular Marxists and nationalists wouldn't like to be told that "their currents are too weak to take the streets and challenge existing power"; and few Islamists, even those who are already working with other forces externally, are ready to make radical changes in their movements' internal structures and political programs and make that public (even when they have already made such changes in practice, they are often loath to alter their movements' founding documents). And yet, it is undeniable that "Left unity, of all its currents" is indeed "a prime desideratum."
This is not to say that Islamists are opportunists while secular forces are not. My concentration on Islamists is because they are the only real political force on the Arab scene today. There are two trends in the Islamic movement, one opportunist and the other principled. And the principled Islamists should pay heed, because in the light of this analysis they will be the first to be sacrificed by their opportunist brethren in faith and struggle.
Of course, there are also opportunist leftists (NGO beneficiaries and Marxists-turned-liberals) and xenophobic nationalists (with fascist tendencies against Iranians, Kurds, and Turks), but these phenomena are only trivial, since their currents are too weak to take the streets and challenge existing power.
Overall and as a prime desideratum, there is a huge and pressing imperative today for Left unity, of all its currents: the left of the Islamic movement, the left of the nationalist movement, and the left of the leftist progressive and revolutionary movement, on the basis of a program of resistance, liberation, and political clarity. The opposing Right of all those currents is already united and taking action.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
For Left Unity, of All Its Currents
Hisham Bustani, a Jordanian Marxist, says that Islamists are "the only real political force on the Arab scene today" and calls upon them to "open up internally to other non-religious forces (Marxist and nationalist) and espouse a civil, secular liberation program" (As'ad al-Azzouni, "Surmounting Sectarianism in the Middle East: An Interview with Hisham Bustani," MRZine, 28 October 2007):