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This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another excerpt from The New Situation & the Great Challenges

http://rwor.org/a/036/avakian-new-situation-great-challenges.htm


THE FUNDAMENTAL ANSWER TO RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM

The same basic limitations can be seen in the book The Battle for God by Karen Armstrong, which I understand is now a big seller in the U.S. ever since September 11. This is another person who, from a quasi-materialist and quasi-religious standpoint, is trying to analyze some of these same contradictions. In particular the book is about religious fundamentalism within the three main monotheistic religions in the world: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. So it's very relevant and important in terms of the present situation. It does have a lot of insightful analysis of what gives rise to these fundamentalist movements, in particular the ways in which certain dislocations in the situation of masses of people in various countries and regions—and ways in which they feel their traditional way of life and values are acutely threatened and undermined—give rise to this impulse toward fundamentalism and enable the organized fundamental forces to have much more of a hearing and to mobilize much more of a base. There is a lot to be learned from her analysis.

She does recognize and emphasize—and analyze to some depth—the point that modernity came through a very wrenching process in "the West." It was not a smooth, easy transition. It was wrenching, involving war and revolution and repeated upheavals: this is the process that has led to the kind of modern secular society that—at least at this point—characterizes the U.S. and other "advanced capitalist" countries. And, at least as importantly, Armstrong analyzes much of the way that modernity (or modernization) has presented itself to most of the Third World—as something imposed by, first of all, colonialism and imperialism and, linked with that, corrupt and repressive ruling cliques within these countries themselves (basically comprador forces dependent on and serving imperialism). As Armstrong presents it, these regimes (and the colonial-imperialist powers behind them) do not have, and have not created, an internal basis in these countries for modernization.

But the point she doesn't really, or fully, recognize is that the reason they don't have—and cannot create—a material basis for this is because of the system and class interests that they represent. In contrast, if you look at the history of the Chinese revolution, for example, both politically and ideologically as well as in their material economic and social conditions, masses of people were sprung free to a very large degree from tradition and tradition's chains by a bottom-up revolutionary process, guided by a communist vanguard and communist ideology. This is what is represented by MLM and the forces of proletarian revolution and the international communist movement—which can transform things in a profound way, in a radically different way than the bourgeoisie and the imperialists can impose change from the top down (even in the limited and distorted way that they seek to make social change within these countries).

The achievement of a secular society can be much more thoroughly and fully achieved by the proletarian revolution coming from the bottom up than it ever can be—or even is sought to be—by the bourgeoisie and the imperialists. And the things that drive these dislocated and uprooted masses (and also many among the more traditionally exploited and oppressed peasants and other basic masses) toward the fundamentalists—the underlying material transformations and accompanying social upheavals—can also be much more strategically and powerfully the basis for the proletariat to mobilize the masses in a revolution guided by communist ideology and leading to socialism and ultimately communism worldwide (even if, in the Third World generally, this proceeds first through a stage of new-democratic revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism linked to imperialism). But, again, to bring this about there is a great deal of work to do, including in the realm of theory and, more specifically, analysis (and synthesis) of these profound material transformations and social upheavals in much of the Third World and their political and strategic implications for the revolutionary process. In this there is much that can and should be learned from some of these analyses that are made from a bourgeois (or bourgeois-democratic) standpoint, but they need to be recast and re-synthesized.

With regard to both some things to learn from, but also criticisms that must be made of, the analysis in Armstrong's book The Battle For God (and, in some different aspects, Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" article in Foreign Affairs) one way we can encapsulate an essential point is this: Only a society that has completely uprooted and abolished exploitation and oppression can be a completely secular society. And achieving our ultimate objective of bringing into being a society, and a world, in which all exploitation and oppression has in fact been fully and finally uprooted has to include not just economic, social, and political transformation but also a revolution in the ideological sphere, where the masses are won to and actively take up not only secularism in some general (or partial) sense but a thoroughgoingly scientific and revolutionary, critical and creative outlook, namely MLM and its continuing development.

Some excerpts from The New Situation and the Great Challenges by Bob Avakian

Following are just a few excerpts from a major work by Bob Avakian entitled: New Situation and the Great Challenges by Bob Avakian.

We recommend you read the whole piece at http://rwor.org/a/036/avakian-new-situation-great-challenges.htm.

"THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS"

One of the things that has been talked about by various intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals (and even "leftists" or pseudo-leftists) in the imperialist camp is this whole "clash of civilizations" point. Back in 1993, Samuel Huntington wrote an article in Foreign Affairs magazine with that title, "The Clash of Civilizations." While Huntington's article is written from the point of view of justifying and furthering U.S. imperial domination, there are some things in this article that are somewhat prescient, far seeing, in terms of predicting ways in which world contradictions would get expressed which are actually being borne out in certain aspects now—including the conflict between what he described as Central Asia and the arc that includes the countries where Islam is the dominant religion, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the West as represented particularly by the U.S.

At one point in this article, Huntington makes the statement that a Western (bourgeois) intellectual and a Soviet Marxist could have a debate, they could find common ground for debate, whereas it is very hard for either of them to do that with an Islamic fundamentalist. Despite the fact that Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. could find a lot in common with the Islamic fundamentalists on many ideological questions, there may actually be an aspect of truth to Huntington's point. But Huntington's approach here also reveals some of the essential flaws in his overall methodology. Among other things, it reflects the error of detaching ideological questions from underlying material factors.

Within all the countries and all these regions of the world, there are different class forces, with different and conflicting class interests—there is not one large, amorphous bunch of people who, while they may be divided into classes, have this overriding commonality with people of the same Islamic or Hindu or Christian civilization, etc. There are very acute class contradictions within all these countries and regions (and "civilizations"); and, as I've pointed to in my writings, even before September 11, some of the ways in which these underlying material and social factors are finding expression right now are not actually in line with the real objective class and social interests of the people involved.

Masses of people, particularly those who have been uprooted from the peasant countryside and thrown into the urban shantytowns, for example, have sought out many different solutions—some of which do, but some of which do not, correspond to their real interests. In some cases, they've sought out, or been attracted to, MLM. But in other situations, especially where the MLM forces have been weak and other forces such as religious fundamentalists have been stronger, masses of people have, in the short term, gravitated toward religious fundamentalist movements in various places. In Iran, even in Turkey (which is regarded as and has a certain history as one of the more secular of the "Islamic countries") and certainly in countries like Egypt and other places, there has been this phenomenon of masses being drawn to Islamic fundamentalism. But, in the more profound and ultimate sense, this doesn't override, nor certainly eliminate, the actual material situation and actual objective interests of these masses.
Obviously, the challenge for the MLM vanguards in these areas, and throughout the world, is to transform this situation—which means we do need to dig into it more fully. We need to do more than just go back to the basics of MLM, or even just to go back to the basics and then try to creatively apply them in all these different places. While we must remain firm in certain bedrock principles of MLM—and apply them creatively, not dogmatically—at the same time we actually need to do some work theoretically and in terms of analysis (and synthesis) to more deeply grasp what's going on with this whole massive "demographic upheaval" in these countries, with the uprooting of masses of the peasantry, with the transformation of much of the peasantry into a sort of shantytown semi-proletariat. There is a lot of work to be done. This challenge is being taken up by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), including our Party, and other communist forces, but there is much more that needs to be done. While maintaining our fundamental orientation with regard to the different revolutionary roads in the two different types of countries (imperialist countries and the oppressed countries of the Third World), and while continuing to recognize the fundamental importance of the road of protracted people's war to surround the cities from the countryside in the Third World generally (as discussed in our Party's Draft Programme), we need to understand the tactical and even in certain aspects the strategic implications of these major transformations going on in many countries, particularly countries of the Third World.

We need to confront and "engage" reality. What is driving masses of people in many countries into the arms of these religious fundamentalists? What are the underlying material as well as the political and ideological factors? What failures or shortcomings of secular forces, including Marxist forces, have contributed to this in what ways, and how do we learn to overcome this? How do we address the material but also the political and ideological concerns of the people? What are the factors that are favorable and must be built on in dealing with this? These are tremendous challenges confronting our movement internationally to which we all, including our Party, have to contribute as much as we possibly can and in the various ways that we can. But things are not as Samuel Huntington presents them. There are some things to learn from his analysis, certain ways in which it's insightful and prescient, but there are also definite limitations, class blinders and biases that are incorporated in it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Latest Flyer for the March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran!

This is the latest flyer from March Against Anti-Women Legislation in Iran

http://www.karzar-zanan.com/english5.html


Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are gathered here to voice the protest of millions of Iranian women against the reactionary government of Iran’s Islamic regime.

We are here to voice our objections to the medieval laws which are dominating the life of women in Iran and the vast majority of women in Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have no presence in the Western mass Media; the only images you see from Iran are images of reactionary Islamists making bombs, images of people presumed to be either terrorists or members of Hezbollah.

We are here to inform you that these are false images of people from our country.

Women, in a country named Iran, are being suppressed and terrorized on a daily basis by Islamist rulers.

Women in our part of the world, along with the majority of the population despise these reactionary Islamist rulers.

We want to inform you that western governments deliberately hide our true images from you, because they are trying to convey the idea that we need an Imperialist invasion to "liberate" us!

In order to justify their military threats and possible invasions in countries like Iran they even claim they want to free women in those countries.

We are here to inform you that we are fighting Islamist reactionary forces ourselves and we do not need the "guardianship" of reactionary Imperialists; we do not need intervention of anti women governments like the United States and its European allies in our struggle.

We want you, the freedom loving women and men of the world to support our just struggle and join us in this protest.

We condemn the US military invasion of Iraq; we oppose military invasion and occupation under any pretext and excuse.

Organizing Meeting tonight Wednesday 3/1/06

PLEASE FORWARD ASAP

There is an organizing meeting tonight for the March and Rally in Solidairty with solidarity with the "Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic" in Europe! PLease attend and let people know about it.

Space Untitled
Greene Street between Houston and Grand
7pm
Contact: Tel: (917) 553-4704
Email: [email protected]

IWD Event NYC- Solidarity with the Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic"

Break the Chains!
Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!


Here in NYC, on March 8th, 2006, International Women's Day:

Stand in unity and solidarity with the "Great Walk Against Anti Women Laws in Iran's Islamic Republic" in Europe!

This week, starting March 4 in Frankfurt, Germany, women and men are marching through city centres and will rally at the Hague on March 8th. The call from the organizers of the European Great Walk (Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran) starts with:

"If you are against death by stoning!
If you are against forced veiling!
If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women!
If you are against lashing a woman's body!
If you are against any form of patriarchy!
If you are against the medieval laws of Iran's Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!-
Join the [European] great walk against anti-women laws in Iran's Islamic Republic on 8 March 2006!"


(European Great Walk: www.karzar-zanan.com, www.8mars.com)

----

In New York on International Women's Day, March 8, we will bring together a multinational gathering of women, men and young people in solidarity with the Great Walk in Europe.

A future of Islamic Fundamentalism vs. the Bush regime's "McCrusades" is a brutal disaster for the world's women and people, and we cannot and will not accept it. Support those risking their lives to oppose barbaric Islamic fundamentalist laws and practices against women -- be part of bringing forward movements of women and people the world over to reject both deadly and crushing ruling orders, instead fighting for relations of equality between women and men, and against domination and plunder of the world's nations and countries by a handful of imperialist powers.

To those who still wonder whether George Bush and his regime can deliver some kind of liberation to the women and people of the Middle East or any corner of the globe -- as one of the Great Walk statements says: "The American government has declared that it seeks to liberate the women of the Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim that makes a mockery of real liberation and is an insult to the women of the Middle East. The march of events in Afghanistan and Iraq should have helped those who were taken in by these self-styled liberators of Middle Eastern women to realize how badly they were fooled. If anyone still believes that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to American women fighting to prevent him from taking away their right to abortion as well as against the efforts of the Christian fascists to dominate every aspect of the lives of women in the U.S. What George Bush is taking away from the women in the USA he will not deliver to women in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country."

Join with us in supporting the Great Walk in Europe. As their material states: "In this rally there is a place for all freedom-loving women and men, all political and progressive and revolutionary forces, who want equality between men and women in every aspect of life, a place for all those who oppose gender discrimination in any form." And: "Celebrate 8 March 2006 with us and help us to build the independent ranks of women against U.S. imperialism as well as the reactionary states governing these countries."

Wed, March 8th, 2006
March: 5:00 PM Starts at 83rd and Roosevelt Ave.
(7 train to 82st St.)
Rally: 6:30 PM 73th Street and Broadway
(7, E, F, R, G trains to 74th St/ Roosevelt)


Join up with us immediately!
Tel: (917) 553-4704

Email: [email protected]
Website: http://iwdsolidarity2006nyc.blogspot.com

Break the Chains!
Unleash the Fury of Women as a Mighty Force for Revolution!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

International Women's Day 2006 NYC

European March for Women’s Liberation in Iran

Revolution #035, February 19, 2006, posted at revcom.us

The following is an excerpt from a World to Win News Service article:

30 January 2006. A World to Win News Service. On the occasion of 8 March, International Women’s Day, the women of the Campaign for the Abolition of All Misogynist, Gender-Based Legislation & Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran have planned a march to start 4 March in Frankfurt (Germany) and end 8 March in The Hague (the Netherlands). The organizers hope that people of many different nationalities, including Kurds, Germans, Turks, Iranians, East Europeans, and others, will join it in the cities along the way. The marchers will move on foot through city centers and then travel by car caravan to the next stop. They will hold marches and demonstrations on successive days in Frankfurt, Mainz, Cologne, and Dusseldorf before arriving in The Hague, where welcoming rallies are being prepared. There they will march through the city, focusing their protest on the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the International Criminal Court, the end point of the march, chosen as a symbolic site to bring out the support the world’s imperialist powers have given, some openly and some in other ways, to prop up the criminal regime in Iran.

The call for this march begins like this: "If you are against death by stoning! If you are against forced veiling! If you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women! If you are against lashing a woman’s body! If you are against any form of patriarchy! If you are against the medieval laws of Iran’s Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women!--Join the great walk against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on 8 March 2006!"

This campaign has united a core group of hundreds of Iranian and international women activists and personalities who have long been fighting for women’s rights, including some who have spent many years in the dungeons of the Islamic Republic. More than a hundred women and men fighting for women’s rights in Europe and elsewhere in the world have signed the call. Iranian women’s groups and individual activists, academicians and artists in exile, among them the 8 March Women’s Organization (Iran-Afghanistan), have been the backbone of this effort. So far it has been able to unite a broad array of Iranian opposition movement in exile, from communist and labor movement activists to progressive democrats.

For the last 27 years these Islamic laws have deprived women of their most basic rights as human beings and intensified the marginalization of women, creating a gender segregation that has made society a hell for all and forcing many women into suicide, prostitution, and drug addiction. Women are setting fire to themselves in increasing numbers. These laws represent and impose a state of semi-slave social relations on women. They have strengthened the already brutal patriarchal and male supremacist relations in the country. A vast apparatus of morality police has been set up to keep an eye on women and punish them if they violate these medieval moral codes of conduct. This is the dark ages in the 21st century.

What Makes This Campaign Important

The campaign’s call for the abolition of these laws and its overall stand has the potential to unite the majority of the women while at the same time targeting the heart of the religious regime. The success of this campaign can be a strong blow to the IRI since it targets the very foundations of this theocratic state. Furthermore, since these laws have their roots in centuries-old traditions, the struggle against them is a struggle against these traditions and the prevailing social relations they are based on. And this would encourage women and the whole society to fight for higher goals.

The campaign appeals to all people, especially women from all over the world, to express their solidarity and see this struggle as theirs. As the campaign explains in one of its leaflets: "The American government… has declared that it seeks to liberate the women of the Middle East from the yoke of Islamic fundamentalism. This is a ridiculous claim that makes a mockery of real liberation and is an insult to the women of the Middle East. The march of events in Afghanistan and Iraq should have helped those who were taken in by these self-styled liberators of Middle Eastern women to realize how badly they were fooled. If anyone still believes that George Bush and his ilk are liberators of women, please talk to American women fighting to prevent him from taking away their right to abortion as well as against the efforts of the Christian fascists to dominate every aspect of the lives of women in the U.S. What George Bush is taking away from the women in the USA he will not deliver to women in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other country."

The U.S.’s drive for global hegemony and the challenges that it has faced have moved Iran toward the center of the world situation. In this context, the position that this women’s movement is putting forward could play an important role in helping to make the international line-up in relation to Iran and in Iran itself more favorable to the people’s interests and a revolutionary solution, instead of one imposed by imperialism.

"Celebrate 8 March 2006 with us and help us to build the independent ranks of women against U.S. imperialism as well as the reactionary states governing these countries."

(For more information, go the campaign’s web site: www.karzar-zanan.com.)

Send us your comments.