The reason I have set about writing this is a worrying trend among many people who call themselves „Left-wingers”, „Socialists”, even „Marxists” and „Communists” and yet no longer regard certain tenets of Marxism, or even the ideology in its entirety, as suitable for non-Western countries and peoples. There is a disease infecting the International Communist and Worker’s Movement, a disease which aims to undermine the universality of Marxism and the name of the disease is Cultural Relativism.
Cultural Relativists are people who deny that ideologies that originated in the West are suitable for the whole world. We know of course that many ideologies originated in the West that served as a cover for Western imperialism and we take full issue with those ideologies too. Neoliberalism originated in the West and ravaged an entire world. „Scientific racism” originated in the West and to this day it remains the most harmful ideology ever devised by Westerners, by certain Westerners who do not fully deserve to be called „humans”. The problem is Cultural Relativists either do not understand or do not want to accept that there are Western ideologies and Western ideologies, that certain ideologies originated in the West are universal in one way and others are universal in another way, that certain ideologies originating in the West aim at world domination, world conquest and world enslavement while others aim at world LIBERATION. Marxism is the only ideology that originated in the West and is universal in the GOOD sense of the word. Moreover, Marxism is the only ideology ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET that can indeed liberate the world from the chains of capitalist slavery. Marxism is not just the only good ideology that originated in the West but also the only good ideology ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET. That is the peculiarity of Marxism. There may have been progressive ideologies in the past, but as of 2014, 160 years or so since the birth of Marxism, Marxism is the only truly progressive ideology, the only ideology that can truly liberate not just its place of origin but also the whole world, liberate the world from all its chains, whereas the best of the non-Marxist ideologies can at most achieve a short-term and very one-sided liberation, namely that sort of „liberation” that swaps one master for another. What Hamas in Palestine can at most do is to replace the imperialist yoke of the Israeli bourgeoisie with the non-imperialist but still capitalist yoke of the Palestinian bourgeoisie. What the Chechen separatists can at most do is to replace the imperialist yoke of the Russian bourgeoisie with the non-imperialist but still capitalist yoke of the Chechen bourgeoisie. What Mandela could at most achieve in South Africa was to replace the racist yoke of the White bourgeoisie with the non-racist but still capitalist yoke of the Black African bourgeoisie, though this Black capitalist yoke can still be a racist one in regard to some White workers. Overall the South African society did move forward towards lesser racism as a result of Mandela’s struggle, but it only moved forward within the confines of the still-oppressive capitalist system. It did not even approach true Liberation, which is Socialism, it only became improved in relation to the old capitalist society that existed during the Apartheid, a slightly better capitalism than in the past but still 100% capitalist, still 100% wage slavery, with the remnants of White racism in the economy bearing heavy on Black workers, with faint traces of Black racism towards Whites springing into social existence. Only an economic reductionist with no grasp of Dialectics could regard the post-Apartheid capitalism as no better than that of the Apartheid period, true, but then again, only a complete madman could regard this post-Apartheid capitalism as genuine social liberation or even as something approaching genuine social liberation. Even assuming that the Black bourgeoisie in South Africa completely overthrew the White bourgeoisie, as Malema advocates, that would still NOT be a step towards genuine social liberation.
Cultural Relativists, in denying that Marxism is universal, help the non-Western, non-White bourgeoisie replace one yoke with another, made of the same material, perhaps not as hardened yet as the old one but with absolutely THE SAME potential to become hardened in the future.
Cultural Relativits come in many shapes, actually. There are the extreme cultural relativits of the sort Richard Dawkins once met. I’m not a very big fan of Dawkins, whom I regard as a gene reductionist bordering on Social-Darwinism, a Social-Darwinism which in turn borders on racism. I stand firmly with those who, like Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, argue that the „human race” is NOT a valid biological concept. I stand with those „Neo-Lamarckists” who argue that the direct influence of the environment is as decisive in evolution as the selection of genes, if not, in truth, more decisive. I stand with those of Stephen Jay Gould’s school who argue that species arise by punctuation, and not by Darwinian gradualism. Nevertheless, I appreciate Dawkins’s efforts to combat religious bigotry, fundamentalism and brainwashing, so here we have a story. In his „The Blind Watchmaker” book, Dawkins narrates how he once met a Cultural Relativist who told him that he regarded the naive belief of an isolated tribe of the Moon being a piece of a fruit floating in the air as no less true than that of the modern science according to which the Moon is the natural satellite of the Earth, orbiting around it at some 300 000 kilometers away! Those people are nutheads and ought to be regarded as such by any of us, they are absolute crackpots who, like the Anarcho-Primitivits, do not believe in any progress, do not believe in science, at least not in the ONLY real science that helped us move forward, the science of guys like Kepler, Galilei, Newton, Faraday, Darwin, Marx, Einstein, Hawking and many others like the, Westerners and non-Westerners but mostly Westerners. We ought not regard Anarcho-Primitivists and extreme Cultural Relativists as anything more than crackpots, some of whom, like John Zerzan, commading some respect, but crackpots nevertheless.
The other category of Cultural Relativists is often more insidious. There are among them those who pretend that they like „certain aspects” of this dreaded Western plant we know as Marxism but they don’t like others. There are those who, for instance, say they like Marxism but would also like to „combine”, to „marry” Marxism with another non-Marxist, ideology. There are the Russian-based „NazBols” who combine Bolshevism with Russian Nationalism, Russian Fascism to be more precise, and peddle this as the „salvation of Russia”. There are also those who say they like most features of Marxism but still oppose Secularism! And here we have another sore point, it’s people like these who are to be found in increasingly large numbers in parts of the world that have been dealt heavy blows from religious fundamentalism in the past decades, namely the Orthodox world and the Muslim world. The so-called „Christian Communists” of many East-European countries are people who say that we no longer need Secularism, that Secularism is obsolete, though „certain aspects” of Marxism are still praiseworthy. The so-called „Muslim Leftists” in many Muslim countries believe Marxism should „reach out to conservative Muslims” in a „non-critical, non-conflicting way”, people who claim that Marxism and „Moderate Islam” are NOT mutuall exclusive, people in Turkey who are afraid of confronting the „silent majority”, who gladly riot for certain issues but not for others, who took to the street when Erdogan threatened a park but who are still rather reluctant to take to the streets in order to oppose the compulsory teaching of religion in public schools, a measure by Erdogan that in the long run will do MUCH MORE HARM TO TURKEY THAN THE DESTRUCTION OF ONE HUNDRED PARKS!
To let everyone get the facts straight: we Marxists do NOT and will NOT force Atheism on people. We are NOT afraid of working with religious peoples. We are not even afraid of collaborating with certain religious fundamentalism. I long ago argued that Palestinian Marxists ought to collaborate with Hamas against the bigger evil in Palestine, the Israeli racist imperialist. But we also believe that, regardless of who we may collaborate with, Marxism must REMAIN MARXISM. All the core principles of Marxism are still valid and they are still UNIVERSAL in their validity. So long as Capitalism, Imperialism and Patriarchism will rule the world, Marxists will have to stay Marxist! And Secularism happens to be among those core-principles of Marxism that are NON-NEGOCIABLE!
Some might say that „other cultures” have solved their problems with religion in a „better way” that the oh-so-unparalleled in evil Western culture, so no need for Secularism in a Hindu, Eastern Orthodox or Muslim culture. But is this a fact? And since our temporary allies against imperialism dare to utter criticism against us, how about us too uttering some criticism against our non-Marxist, Anti-Secularist allies against imperialism? If our non-Marxist, Anti-Secularist allies find it expedient to criticize so-called „Dogmatic Marxists” then how about us „Dogmatic Marxists” TOO criticizing the ideology of our allies? Let’s take the challenge, let’s see WHO the real „dogmatist” is between us and the religious conservatives, let’s see WHO the real narrow-minded guys really are!
The evils of the Hindu caste-system are so evil that Hindu apologists against imperialism fail to dupe large number of peoples except, of course, in their own country. Their defence of the caste-system basically amounts to what supporters of the „Peculariar Institution” in the Southern United States had to say in defence of chattel-slavery before Lincoln chose to pay little regard to „peculiar institutions” and do away with them in one stroke of his pen. But as supporters of casteism are still to be found in India, and not in too small a number, the task of fighting Hindu conservatism is still a huge one for Communists in India and other countries with large Hindu populations, such as Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Orthodox Christianity is a non-Western form of Christianity, since, under Huntington’s classification, it belongs to a geographic zone that has Russia as a „nucleus-state”. But since Russia is a large imperialist powerful in its own right, a huge imperialist power as powerful in military terms as the United States, to be more precise, it follows that Russian Nationalists and religious fundamentalists who favour an aggressive stance against the West and the so-called „Western encirclement”, which is very real but also somewhat laughable in terms of actual effectiveness at encircling Russia, it follows that Anti-Western Russian Nationalists and Conservatives CANNOT be allies against Western imperialism. On the contrary, it’s precisely people like them who must be regarded as PRINCIPAL ENEMIES by Russian Communists. To a Russian Communist, or to a Communist living in a Russian-dominated country. those Anti-Western „Traditionalists” are MORE OF ENEMIES than even pro-Western Liberals, according to the Leninist principle that it’s the imperialism closer to home that qualifies as the bigger enemy of Communists. Only to a Communist living in a country that is completely under the heel of Western imperialism, or facing an immediate and grave threat from Western imperialism, such as Cuba, Venezuela or Syria, only to a Communist living in such a country could Russian imperialism be an ally but even so, it would have to be regarded as an imperialism that is temporarily less evil to our country not, as Castro recently said on the Ukrainian Civil War, as a „progressive force”, for a progressive force IT IS NOT! If Latin American Communists really regarded Russian imperialism as a „force for the good” instead of an imperialism that is to Latin America a lesser evil at this time, then many features of Russian imperialism that are „peculiar” to Russian culture, or to backward Russian culture, to be more precise, such as religious fundamentalism, would become fashionable in Latin America and this in the long term is going to strengthen THAT WHICH IS BACKWARD IN LATIN AMERICAN CULTURE ITSELF, at the expense of that which is progressive in it. Overall, an un-critical attitude towards the Russian ally of Latin America will strengthen Latin America’s own religious fundamentalism, will strengthen Patriarchism, Machismo and other less positive aspects of that which overall constitutes a rather wonderful culture- the Latin-American culture. Hence the so-called „Socialism of the 21st Century” preached by Chavez as a replacement for „narrow Bolshevism” and which has found proponents in Romania too. The so-called „Socialism of the 21st Century” is in fact an utter SHAM, an ecclectic mixture of Marxism, Christian fundamentalism and „Latin American Capitalism” which may be quite effective in the struggle with US imperialism, the dominant imperialism in the area but is, in the long run, utterly incapable of ending social oppression, utterly unable of ending Capitalism IN GENERAL, and not just the yoke, dark as it is, of certain capitalist super-powers. And it stems partly from Cultural Relativism, it stems partly from the growing acceptance of the denial of the universal applicability of Secularism, a key component of Marxism. You deny the universality of Secularism for the Russian Non-Western culture and what you get is an enthusiasm for all things Russian in Latin America, INCLUDING those that are not at all positive. You deny the universality of Secularism for Russia and Latin America and what you end up with is a strengthening of those features of Latin American culture that are backward at the expense of those that are really progressive. The so-called „Socialism of the 21st Century” is in fact the ugly offspring of a rejection of the universality of Secularism, a key component of Marxism, in both Latin America and its Russian ally. Ugly FROM ALL PERSPECTIVE, that is, because, as we know, as we can all see, the rise of Catholic fundamentalism in Latin America and of Orthodox fundamentalism in Eastern Europe have NOT alleviated the ills of capitalism. Crime rates in Venezuela are still extremely high despite the UN-MARXIST „Socialism of the 21 st Century” replacing Marxism. Crime rates and poverty in Romania are still very high despite 25 years of fashionable Orthodox fundamentalism, despite close to 25 years of forced religious indoctrination in public schools. And so it is in Russia. No, the Eastern Orthodox culture has NOT been able to better solve the problems of society than the Western culture, no, the Latin American culture has NOT been able to better solve the problems of society than the Western culture, no, it’s plain to see for everybody that marrying Marxism and other non-Western ideologies DOES NOT WORK, that it CANNOT WORK, that only GENUINE, UNADULTERATED MARXISM can really solve the ills of the current society through building up a radically different one. Only genuine, unadulterated Marxism truly liberates people from all forms of slavery, only genuine, unadulterated Marxism can heal Humankind and carry Humankind forward!
But it could be that Islam is better than Eastern Orthodoxy or Latin American Catholicism at curing the society’s ills so why not give „Islamic Leftism” a chance, why not give at a try!
Let’s move to the vast world of Islam now, a world of 1.6 billion people, roughly 22% of the world’s population, with plenty of potential to grow much bigger than this, due to still very high birthrates in places like Somalia, Eritrea, Niger, Mali, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Afghanistan. If Muslims in the world already number 22% of the population, and the vast majority are proletarians, then how about being soft on Muslim Conservatism, how about cease all polemics against Islam, how about slavishly and meekly following the lead of Islamic fighters against imperialism, how about marrying Marxism with Islam even if the cost of doing that would be the loss of Secularism, a key component of Marxism?
But Islam has been around for more than 1300 years now, has it REALLY liberated people throughout History?
The answer is not too pleasing to Cultural Relativism: it mostly DID NOT! Islam really represented a step forward over Arab Tribalism at the time Muhammad lived. In the days of Muhammad Islam was indeed a force for the good. But still, throughout the centuries it has not done A FRACTION of what Marxism has done for the liberation of people. To begin with, Islam tolerated slavery, engaged in slave-trade and practiced slavery on a huge scale. Two examples of powerful Islamic states can be given which had the slave trade at the very FOUNDATION OF THEIR ECONOMY, namely the Khanate of Crimeea in Eastern Europe and the Sultanate of Zanzibar in Subsaharan Africa, in what is now Coastal Tanzania. These were states that enslaved MILLIONS OF PEOPLE and yes, they WERE ISLAMIC! Whereas the Russians up until the 18th century had a very effective counterattacking force that engaged in retaliatory slave raids against the Crimeea Tatars and their Ottoman backers, the Black Africans of the Subsaharan Africa had nothing of this sort and paid a huge price for keeping to their „idol-worshipping” tradition. I’m not gonna engage in the very pointless debate of „who enslaved more Black Africans” that Islamophobes in the West often use to support Western imperialism which today really constitutes a much bigger evil than. I’m not going to engage in this debate because I have absolutely no intention of exonerating Western imperialism, Western imperialism may not have been much worse than Islamic imperialism 500 years ago but Western imperialism along with Western cultural racism (yes, the Cultural Relativists’ accusations are not completely groundless!), they are definitely much worse than Islamic fundamentalism at THIS time. And yet, just to prove that Islam has NOT been a truly liberating force as Islamic apologists claim all over the web, I will mention that the enslavement of Black Africans by Muslims was by no means confined to the areas where the Sultanate of Zanzibar held sway in the 19th century, it was practiced through Sudan as well, and up until the early 2000s, for that matter, it was practiced through Somalia in the direction of mainly Christian Ethiopia, it was practiced throughout West Africa too, the famous Islamic city of Timbuktu in Mali was as much a center for slave-trade as it was for learning, and it was actually practiced for more than 1000 years, ever since Muslims first established a foothold South of Sahara. Too bad Islamic propaganda, especially in the United States, HIDES these facts from Blacks in order to give many of them a FALSE IMPRESSION that Muslims dind’t have anything to do with the plight of Black peoples through the centuries! While it’s true that Muslims generally didn’t enslave people on account of „race”, while it’s true that Muslims generally didn’t enslave Blacks based on the fact that they were Black and Muslim Blacks generally were spared this horrible institution, it’s also true that slavery is slavery no matter what the justification, it’s also true that the slavery of Black Africans who were forcibly taken from their homes, from their families, from their environment, based on their being Animist, was AS PAINFUL to Blacks as the enslavement of those of them who were taken by Europeans based on their being Blacks. A human being enslaved is a human being enslaved, whether he or she was enslaved based on not having the right religion or on not having the right skin colour makes LITTLE difference, little to none at all. Add the horrors of MASS-CASTRATION of enslaved Black boys in order for them to be turned into eunuchs, a proceeding that gave a mortality of 90%, and you’ll be left with an image that is both BASED ON FACTS and so UNLIKE that being painted by Islamic apologists.
The patriarchal discrimination of women in Muslim societies is also a FACT, despite the so-called „Islamic feminists” going to great lengths to conceal it, going to lengths that are similar to those taken by defenders of the „peculiar institution” in Southern United States before Lincoln. DISCRIMINATION IS DISCRIMINATION, regardless of how it is being justified. Muslim men are allowed to have more sexual partners of the opposite sex but Muslim women are NOT allowed to have more sexual partners of the opposite sex. A right is given to women that is LOWER than that given to men. Women under Islamic Law inherit only HALF of what men do, and that’s a FACT, it’s in the Q’uran, it’s in the Islamic Law, it is a fact of Islam that Muslim apologists do not like to deal with. Of course, it could be pointed out that this prescription was given at a time women did not have to work but then again, Muslim Fundamentalists believe the Islamic Law is for all times, regardless of any context so, from the standpoint of a Muslim Fundamentalist who believes in Islamic Law, that form of discrimination IS THERE, it is UNDENIABLE, and for a Marxist who believes in ABSOLUTE EQUALITY IN RIGHTS between men and women, it is UNACCEPTABLE! So how can a Cultural Relativist come up to us and say Islam is a „special religion” and special „simply because it’s non-Western”, that is NOT the way Marxists believe it should be argued. A Cultural Relativist who argues that Islam is better because it’s non-Western or that Islamic Fundamentalism and Marxism are „not mutually exclusive” is NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY because ALL THE EVIDENCE FLIES IN HIS/OR HERS FACE!!! And yes, a so-called „Islamic Feminist”‘s arguments are as baseless as those of the defenders of the „peculiar institution” in Southern United States before the US Civil War. Maybe Lincoln didn’t pay attention to „cultural diversity”, for some Cultural Relativists argue there are many cultures within the West itself and Western Antiracism and Western Racism would, like Marxism and Islam, be „equally entitled”, maybe Lincoln didn’t pay attention to „cultural diversity” but what he did in 1863, even though strictly a measure within the confines of the capitalist system, carried America forward without a doubt! Secularists who pay not attention to the caste-system under Hindu Fundamentalism, Secularists who have no respect for the „peculiar condition of women under Islamic Law”, Secularists who disdain the fact so many religion place the man at the „head of the family”, IT IS THEY WHO CARRY THE HUMANKIND FORWARD, AND NOT THE CULTURAL RELATIVISTS! What Cultural Relativism does is very simple: it SUBORDINATES THE PROLETARIAT TO NON-WESTERN CAPITALISTS, it subordinates Muslim workers to Muslim capitalists who flirt with Islamic Fundamentalists, it subordinates Orthodox workers to the Russian capitalists AND IMPERIALISTS who flirt with Orthodox Fundamentalism, it subordinates Hindu workers to the horrible caste-system of Hinduism, that still gets plenty of money pumped into by wealthy upper-caste Hindu tycoons! Cultural Relativism is A COVER FOR BOTH NON-WESTERN CAPITALISM AND NON-WESTERN IMPERIALISM, and, matter of fact, even to WOULD-BE NON-WESTERN IMPERIALISTS, such as the shit of the Iraq we know as „ISIL” or Erdogan in Turkey, who may become the next Ottoman Sultan if the Turkish masses and Turkish Communists tarry in rising against him on the scale that he deserves! The time has come for us to REAFFIRM the support for the absolute UNIVERSALITY OF MARXISM, for the fact Marxism, in its Marxist-Leninist-Maoist form, is THE ONLY FORCE FOR THE GOOD IN THE WHOLE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN! No matter who we might be forced to allign with in the interest of Antiimperialism, let us NEVER FORGET THAT OTHER IDEOLOGIES DO NOT GENUINELY LIBERATE PEOPLE, that there is BUT ONE TRULY LIBERATING FORCE IN THE WORLD TODAY, meant for ALL COUNTRIES AND NATIONS WITHOUT EXCEPTION and that it’s name is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!