Hizbollah fundamentalism overtakes Christian liberalism on the left

Monday 11 May 2009 by CEPRID

Agustín Velloso


On March 28th last, one could read an article in a national daily newspaper entitled "To the rescue of the Market: the Left". The newspaper considered the protagonists of the rescue to be the progressive leaders of the West, among them Joe Biden, Gordon Brown, Michelle Bachelet and José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero.

They met in the Progressive Summit guarded by 3000 police. This is a really historic fact for various reasons. For the first time police were sent to guard Leftists. If anything is as sure as the sun turning out each day, it is that the army and related groups, like security forces, paramilitaries and guns for hire, are sent to repress and murder leftwingers.

So it is therefore somewhat strange that the newspaper did not stress that deep change, worth celebrating at the top of one’s voice. Maybe it was regarded as something minor, in comparison with another radical change in political customs, that marked the meeting. Leftist leaders are used to addressing their followers from the prison, from a jungle hideout, from the trenches or even on their way to martyrdom.

The participants in this summit addressed their supporters from a gala dinner in the Cerro Castillo palace. From now on, given the sumptuous building, the vintage of the wine and the exquisite menu, the first to save the world will get pastries and cake. The newspaper informs its readers of the event’s fundamental factor, "progressivism is living a unique moment in its history with the Democrat government of Barack Obama in the United States and progressive presidents in the majority of Latin American countries and some European ones."

For the purposes of the Summit, the daily El País has decided that neither the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Cuba, nor the battle for Dien Bien Phu in Indochina, nor the July War in Lebanon are unique events in the history of the Left. From now on the key events for the most engaged progressivism will happen with plenty of fanfare at smart dinners and exclusive clubs. Thanks to this newspaper, whose position on the Summit turns it into the leading light of the world Left, we now know that neither Ho Chi Minh, nor Castro nor Lumumba, have done as much for progressivism as have Biden, the mirror of progressives, Brown, the scourge of conservatives and Zapatero, the guide to revolutionaries. The Cerro Castillo palace is now the sacred temple of global progressive flock.

Where Castro said of the oppressor "if Batista took over by force then by force we have to defeat him", Biden asserts, "I am a Zionist, one does not need to be a Jew to be a Zionist."

Where Lumumba said of the powerful, "we ought to eradicate the power and privilege of the traditional elite, improving the conditions of life is the true meaning of independence", Zapatero meets with bankers to ask them "for an extra effort by the banks".

Where Ho Chi Minh said of the imperialist, "our country will have the signal honour of being a small country which, by means of a heroic struggle, has defeated two great empires, the French and the United States", Brown announces in the British parliament that "we have to maintain and reinforce what we have won, so the United Kingdom will keep a powerful military force in Afghanistan".

The same day, with neither police, publicity nor even a snack, Lebanese Professor Ali Fayyed was in a senior college in the University City of Madrid to give a talk about the situation in Palestine. As a veteran member of Hizbollah’s Executive Committee, he presented the ideas of his political background on imperialism and also on the role of the Left and the relations of the Left with political Islamism. The talk was recorded by some assistants and also by various television stations, so one can assume that its content will shortly be made available to the public.

It will make instructive reading for anyone who still thinks the political leaders mentioned earlier on bear any relation to the Left - apart from the one assigned to them by a newspaper which is no more progressive than they are- and who think too that today’s Islamist political leaders -damned as anti-democratic, extremist fundamentalists- do not represent the ideals of the Left. For that reason, a sample of some of his comments may be useful to calibrate the leftism of our leaders compared to that of "the guys with the beards".

Fayyad mentioned the failure of the United States in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon -something the "progressive leaders" ignore, being firm allies of both the US and of Israel, the other major current aggressor. He also noted the new configuration of forces in the Middle East, concretely, with reference to the increase in the strength of the Resistance and corresponding decline in the imperialist camp.

As is natural he dismissed the European Union’s designation as a terrorist organization of Hamas, the party which became the legitimate government of Palestine in 2006. That designation is something not even those same European politicians believe in. They negotiate with Hamas, albeit behind the backs of the general public.

Fayyad knows very well, although this is something he also dismisses, the poor image of Islamic forces in the West, which he puts down to their being the victims of propaganda. This should be obvious to anyone, since it is not the Western press that legitimates the Arab and Muslim anti-imperialist forces, but voters in the Middle East and what they do. Various elections have several times made things clear.

If anyone had any doubts, he insisted that Hizbollah does not want a sectarian state in Lebanon and that the problem in the area is not religious but political. At the same time he suggests that the clash of civilizations is a mistake: "there is no opposition of values and if there were it would be no reason for war -the cause of the problem is United States’s support for Israel, it is not a religious problem".

He adds, "as an Islamist I am closer to Leftist activists than certain Islamists who do not fight to the same degree against imperialism". He concedes less importance to ideology than Westerners who stick the handy label of "fundamentalism" on the Resistance so as to avoid having to take a genuinely left-wing position against imperialism, especially in the Middle East.

Fayyad says, "I am interested in whether you fight imperialism, not in whether you are Islamist or Marxist". In other words "are you in favour of colonialism or not? Do you support the area’s dictatorships?" To resist, he argues, one has to have shared values. For that reason, Hizbollah is working towards an international block that transcends ideologies to "admit all views to this historic task."

Political Islamism is perfectly clear on its current role. The Western Left ought to be equally clear given the growing push of imperialism, despite its failure thanks to the Resistance in the Middle East and other places. This failure has cost many thousands of lives there and, here, general social and political deterioration.

"Leftists" make a very sorry spectacle when they are left well behind by "fundamentalists" in terms of political objectives, of strategy and sacrifice. The confusion in the progressive ranks is such that being on the Left lacks any value at all. The words continue to be true of whoever it was that said, "live as you think, or end up thinking like a progressive".

Translation from Spanish by toni solo (www.tortillaconsal.com)

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