Defensive jihad as social revolution
According to long-time CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, a central concept for Al Qaeda is "defensive jihad." This essay is based on the assumption that Scheuer has presented some accurate information about Al Qaeda views. College and graduate students may want to study CIA/FBIS sources on Al Qaeda. Many of the ideas that the united $tates has about Al Qaeda are just crazy warmongering propaganda, but even MIM does not know to the extent that it should.
Legend in connection to Muslim defeat of the Christian Crusades says that in a time of invasion by non-Muslims the individual must contribute to the defensive jihad without regard to any other social relations, simply the individual's relationship to God. That means the individual will not answer to parents, husband or creditors--just God--when it comes time to defend the Islamic nation from infidels.(1)
MIM is not an expert on any religion, but we Westerners can check on the jihad idea a few ways. In addition to hearing about jihad in the media all the time now, back when Al Qaeda was receiving U.$. aid in Afghanistan, and not yet attacking U.$. targets, the movie "Reds" came out, in which John Reed plays the role of Westerner offended by the Sultan-Galievization of his speech by Zinoviev. The word "jihad" replaced Reed's word for "struggle" in translations for Muslim audiences in Azerbaijan. MIM finds the struggle over that believable and given the timing, it seems likely to MIM that the "Reds" portrayal of the issue is accurate.
In another verification that we found from before 9/11, jihad is a "sixth pillar" of Islam according to some within Islam.(2)
MIM has addressed this before, where Mao said, "there is no Marxism that is not concrete." It would do little good to use the word "capitalism" with Chinese peasants until relatively recent history. To this day, it is unlikely that the word has the Das Kapital feel to it among Chinese peasants despite a generation of supposed indoctrination in Marxism. Likewise, if Bolshevik language derived from Germany made no sense in Baku, then "jihad" against the imperialists was in order in John Reed's day. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism would have no meaning to Chinese peasants but the "Thoughts of Mao," with Mao being the man standing in front of someone or at least in range would make sense.
Students of global social revolutions should recognize right away that "defensive jihad" is a doctrine of social revolution, not just an inner spiritual struggle. The presence of Christian or Jewish occupier troops in holy places substitutes for what Mao called "external conditions" in his essays on dialectical philosophy. In contrast, pacifist Muslims are trying to sell a concept of "jihad" that is merely spiritual.(3) They seek to cover up the presence of Jewish and Christian occupier troops in the Islamic world and so Al Qaeda accuses them of being in the pay of U.$. lackeys or just being apostates. The damage of the non-military jihad concept would not be so great if confined to the Western countries where the people are not the material of revolution anyway, but in the Third World, painting "jihad" as having no military implications when there are occupier troops would be counter-revolutionary.
When the legend surrounding the Crusades speaks of individual contributions to defensive jihad regardless of debts or family roles, we are seeing how social revolution really comes about--through wars with outside forces that crush existing social orders. According to Islam, the social order could collapse, but the individual should still do his or her duty to God. Taken far enough, "defensive jihad" is most parallel to Western anarchism or bourgeois individualism. In a country with sharecropping such as Pakistan, the defensive jihad can lead to a successful bourgeois revolution. Already some have argued that sharecropping is no good for the same reason usury is no good according to the Koran.(4)
Much is made of how the Protestant Reformation broke with the Catholic priesthood and allowed the individual a direct connection to God. A major scholar of religion named Max Weber said that such an intellectual development paved the way for capitalism. Yet in Islam in war against the Crusaders, we see perhaps an even better revolutionary doctrine for the creation of capitalism, one that came centuries before the Reformation.
Old-fashioned social obligations can give way in the midst of "defensive jihad." Then Islam regains its form by kicking out the occupiers. One may guess that the old social obligations that existed before invasion never return. This can be interpreted as the way of God.
The way forward for wimmin may result from jihad. According to Bin Laden, the role of wimmin in defensive jihad "'is by no means less than that of men.'"(5) If the jihad's leaders put such an idea into practice, when the social revolution is over, the position of wimmin may advance.
"Defensive jihad" as internationalism
One reason we do not accept the West's criticisms of jihadis on wimmin is that we know the West to be too chauvinist and racist to be able to evaluate the gender question in more than the most superficial ways.
The Koran was always an internationalist work. Malcolm X discovered this in his travels to the Islamic world. There is no contradiction in hating occupying oppressors and loving all nationalities equally.
According to Al Qaeda, Muslims can travel to various other Muslim societies, because their organization is multinational in the true sense--not multiracial within one country's borders. Al Qaeda consciously supports "tourism."(6) MIM adopts the opposite strategy for imperialist country comrades so as not to improve the chances for undercover work by the enemy.
Going beyond our Greens and other local control freaks such as the Titoites, Bin Laden penetrated into the question of oil wealth this way:
"It is important that we get this large amount of money back from the U.S. The total population of Muslims in the world is more than one billion. Thus, the eleven hundred billion dollars could be distributed amongst the Muslims at the rate of ten thousand dollars per family. Muslims around the world are dying from hunger and the U.S. is stealing our oil."(7)We find this doubly significant coming from Bin Laden, the Saudi. If it had been Amerikans living on the oil, we can be sure there would be Trotskyists and social-democrats proclaiming that the great productivity of Amerikan oil workers was responsible for the oil wealth, that in fact Amerikan workers are more exploited than others in the world, which would account for all the great oil revenue. When we start to look into these questions deeply as not just a matter of social justice but how to link together peoples, expand economies and not increase class exploitation, we end up studying Marxism. Because of what the exploiter phony Marxists would say about this question, it is an open question whether MIM is closer to those calling themselves "Marxist" or even "Maoist" or our Muslim brothers and sisters. Bin Laden has given the proper priority to reparations from the united $tates. MIM has found no other organizations besides itself and its allies that do not flinch on the question.
Al Qaeda seems to have a better grasp on how rich white people influence politics in the West than our so-called Marxists do. Bias is not just making Blacks sit in the back of the bus. In 2004, the Democrats could not nominate Howard Dean, thus showing that the issues of Iraq and the Patriot Act were not high priority. There was no issues-oriented campaign in the Democratic nomination for president that mattered. If Iraq and the "Patriot Act" could not galvanize Democrats, then no issues would. The left-wing of parasitism just cannot admit to itself that the defeat of Dean was yet another huge confirmation of the nature of Amerikans. They have no drive against repression and war. Being able to admit what the collapse of the Dean campaign meant is part of overcoming white nationalist bias overestimating the character of white so-called workers.
"Defensive jihad" and the principal contradiction
According to long-time CIA analyst Scheuer, Osama Bin Laden is an Islamist who has pushed for seeing the united $tates as the principal enemy since 1991.(8) Ever since U.$. troops landed in Saudi Arabia, the most holy sites of Islam have been under occupation.
The presence of U.$. military forces in Saudi Arabia is something that the lackey rulers there kept under wraps as much as possible. The reason is that once an Islamic people has determined that it is factually true that the holy land is under occupation, the call to "defensive jihad" becomes the duty of every individual Muslim.
According to Scheuer, Bin Laden has taken in a leading role in convincing Muslim organizations that the united $tates is the principal enemy. Scheuer even says that this strategic orientation is what unites the Al Qaeda.(9)
Part of Al Qaeda's move toward the principal contradiction is that it has an accurate assessment of the nature of the Amerikkkan population:
"The [Americans] are a people whose president becomes more popular when he kills innocent people. These are a people who increase support for their president when he commits one of the seven cardinal sins. They are a lowly people who do not understand the meaning of principles. . . . if the majority of the American people support their dissolute president, this means the American people are fighting us and we have right to target them."(10)Being religious, Al Qaeda is supposed to be more idealist than Marxists claiming to be atheist, but it is clear that the above statement is realistic while the great leader of the atheists Trotsky said the German soldiers would rise up during World War II, impose socialism and free the colonies. Hence, it is not a simple matter of knowing what ideologies will attract the least deluded people. It is a question we have to study. Trotskyism as even Trotsky admitted has ended up attracting more delusional types.
Al Qaeda understands international political relations "'if the United States is beheaded, the Arab Kingdoms will wither away.'"(11) Recently a supposedly "Maoist" party did not get even that much right, so again, a profession of atheism is no guarantee of an accurate concrete understanding of the world.
Without claiming to be a scientific communist, and in a fashion similar to Chomsky, Bin Laden correctly assesses the relationship of U.$. imperialism to its lackeys. This led Bin Laden to struggle with other Islamic organizations that saw the principal enemy as inside individual Third World countries. For example, an Egyptian organization would argue Egyptians must overthrow their local government before going after U.$. imperialism. Bin Laden has proved that wrong in all areas of struggle--not just military attacks, but also finance, diplomacy and spying.
Criticism of "jihad" idea
"Jihad" is both the strength and a potential weakness of Islam. Relative to other religions, Islam appears to have a greater emphasis on struggle, and not in the sense of contemplating struggle only.
Although "offensive jihad" requires the sanction of a Caliphate leader according to some, the "defensive jihad" may still result in intra- proletarian violence, usually on the basis of what MIM would call the national question. Where a Muslim culture overlays a land, "defensive jihad" may end up sanctioning struggle against others living on that same land without regard to surplus-value questions. Hence, if there is a problem with using the "defensive jihad" idea, it is the potential for ultra-leftism.
By ultra-leftism in this context we mean that there will be too much struggle, not enough unity. Too much struggle can undermine the anti-capitalist movement by reinforcing the class structure just as surely as ignoring exploitation reinforces the class structure. Ignoring class exploitation is the usual error of right opportunism or outright revisionist or open bourgeois politics.
Historically, jihad has brought an occasional lasting social revolution, including in Africa. On the other hand, jihad has also built slave-trading empires in Africa in which infidels ended up sold to Europe. Even if there were in fact some kind of Islamic liberation involved, it also involved the creation of class injustices. As far as we know, Al Qaeda is one Islamic organization that would not support the creation of further class injustices in the name of jihad. Nonetheless, we must be cautious with the idea of "infidels." MIM would suggest confining discussion of decadence of infidels to the imperialist countries, only those countries with the monopoly companies manipulating financial systems for benefit. In cases of countries that are not imperialist but proletarians exhibit chauvinism, perhaps the infidel question should be dropped to avoid reinforcing class exploitation by the imperialists. MIM has often advised referring to the United $tates as one Great Satan. Even this website and article are being used by U.$. spies, so for all practical purposes everything U.$.-connected is one decadent morass.
Perhaps today, there are still some Islamic cultures involved with slavery. Even more significant will be the number of Islamic conflicts that will leave infidel proletarians geopolitically weakened and subject to increased imperialist exploitation. In this case, the jihad would have done the bidding of imperialism. We should always keep in mind what causes people to search for pro-U.$. lackeys. That is why we have to decide that imperialism is an economic system, not an aggressive or chauvinist infidel.
MIM has doubts about Islamic struggles in Kosova, East Timor and Kashmir. Admittedly though, the dominant monarchism and social-fascism in the united $tates have stifled knowledge of these questions.
Al Qaeda's pan-Islamism as depicted by Scheuer has great potential by historical coincidence. Both I$rael and the united $tates happen to be imperialist. So the questions of land and surplus-value are on the same side. We have heard Osama Bin Laden condemn capitalism which also reinforces his people's struggle, because I$rael, the united $tates and their leading Arab lackeys are master exploiters. If the Amerikkkans and I$raelis are ousted, the only people likely to encroach on Mecca and Medina will be other Arabs. That means intra- proletarian conflict over the "defensive jihad" regarding the Arabian Peninsula is not likely for the foreseeable future and the jihad idea coincides with anti-imperialism. That is what the scene in the movie "Reds" also depicts. Sometimes ejecting Westerners can be done under either the label of "holy war" or "scientific communism." At the moment, imperialist countries are occupying Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. At the very least the genuine anti-imperialists are in united front with any holy war against the occupiers by the people of those countries.
1. Michael Scheuer, Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006), pp. 55, 78.
2. Andrew Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices: Vol. 2: The Contemporary Period (NY: Routledge, 1993), p. 147.
3. As examples of two leaflets we find ridiculous:
"Jihad: The True Islamic Concept," www.alislam.org and "A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam," www.mca-aa.org
4. Thomas W. Lippman, Understanding Islam: An Introduction to the Muslim World (NY: Penguin, 1990), p. 81.
5. Micahel Scheeur, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005), Scheuer, 2005, p. 133.
6. Scheuer, 2006, p. 68. See also on borders, Scheuer, 2006, p. 182.
7. Scheuer, 2006, p. 53.
8. Scheuer, 2005, pp. 139, 187, 258.
9. Scheuer, 2005, p. 139.
10. Scheuer, 2006, p. 48.
11. Scheuer, 2006, p. 49.