We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Once I had a secret love…

It has been tantalising everyone for so long now. Were they? Weren’t they?

The little signs were all there. The furtive glances, the blushes, the games of footsie under the table, the electric crackle whenever they were in the room together and those oh-so-subtle gestures of intimacy when in public that were so charged with romantic frisson.

Were they even aware that polite society was awash with all manner of fanciful and delicious gossip about their dalliances? Nobody was fooled by their calm exteriors. Everyone knew. Did they think they could hide their irresistably mutual animal magnetism behind their coquettish games for ever?

Of course not. So now they have done the decent thing and formally announced their engagement. Socialism and Islamism are now, officially, an item:

The Muslim Commissariat in Moscow oversaw Russia’s policy towards Islam. Muslims with few communist credentials were granted leading positions in the commissariat. The effect was to split the Islamic movement. Historians agree that a majority of Muslim leaders supported the soviets, convinced that Soviet power meant religious liberty. There was serious discussion among Muslims of the similarity of Islamic values to socialist principles. Popular slogans of the time included: ‘Long live Soviet power, long live the sharia!’; ‘Religion, freedom and national independence!’ Supporters of ‘Islamic socialism’ appealed to Muslims to set up soviets.

The Bolsheviks made alliances with the Kazakh pan-Islamic group the Ush-Zhuz (which joined the CP in 1920), the Persian pan-Islamist guerrillas in the Jengelis, and the Vaisites, a Sufi brotherhood. In Dagestan, Soviet power was established largely thanks to the partisans of the Muslim leader Ali-Hadji Akushinskii.

The assault on Islam marked the beginning of a sharp break with the socialist policies of October 1917. As the Soviet Union launched a programme of forced industrialisation, Muslim national and religious leaders were physically eliminated and Islam was driven underground. The dream of religious freedom was buried in the Great Terror of the 1930s.

Socialist Review stands in a tradition that totally rejects the Stalinist approach to Islam. But in the early years of the revolution the Bolsheviks were successful at winning Muslims to fight for socialism. We can learn from and be inspired by their achievements.

They are going to make such an adorable couple.

[Link courtesy of Harry Hatchett who also has some pointed observations.]

12 comments to Once I had a secret love…

  • none

    Lots of oil in the Soviet Union, and Putin is going after none other than an oil baron. Curiouser and curiouser.

  • Socialists have a history of looking for collectivist groups which they can use to spread their own collectivist ideology. Militant Islam is a match made in heaven.

  • Ultimately, if the Left wants to push all women and gay people out of its ranks, this is one shrewd move.

  • This excellent essay by “Wretchard” entitledDecline and
    appeared recently on the excellent Belmont Club blog. Wretchard’s point is similar: “the Left, now consisting of soft elements without a real core of professional revolutionaries to anchor it, would gradually lose its membership, beginning with its most radical wing, to Islam.” Very insightful. This is a terribly important development. Wretchard even points out the element of tragedy in this: “The Communist enemy against which we fought; for which Rosenberg betrayed his country; for which Giap’s legions marched, fallen to this.” Right. In its way the adoption by the Left of radical Islam as an ally and soon enough as its core element, is the death of the militant socialist dream, a dream which goes back to the enlightenment, and which has nowhere to turn except pure nihilism and irrationalism — hatred of the West, of capitalism, of Jews. Sad but not surprising.

  • Jonathan L

    One of the recent Istanbul suicide bombers was a communist in the 1970s. I just think that some people are so arrogant that whatever they happen to believe this week, should be forced down the throats of the whole world. Its a collectivist complex, and the idealogy comes second.

  • And the love-fest is coming to Britain, thanks in part to George Monbiot’s organisational efforts!

    Moonbat Party Forming – World Saved

    “We, the Moonbats, …”

  • Kelli

    I know some of you are going to throw verbal brickbats at me for injecting post-colonial rhetoric into this thread, but what the hell.

    A central meme of this turgid scholarly field (with which I was painfully indoctrinated and have more or less deprogrammed myself of) is that the West’s power over the non-West was that of the hypermasculine to the castrated male or (alternately) prone female. Arab men are particularly obsessive about their perceived historical sodomizing, given the taboo in that society about being the object (although, interestingly, not the subject) of this act.

    Now, as anyone who has read Robert Kagan’s work knows, Europe has undergone a sex change in recent decades, and is now the comely lass she always dreamed of being (fairy tales CAN come true!). So isn’t it ironic that she appears to entertain fanstasies about being carried off by virile Muslim warriors (to join the Harim, what fun!), having spurned her “macho” Yank partner of fifty years?

    Brickbats aweigh!

  • Susan

    Ibn Warraq in his book “Why I am not a Muslim” includes some ruminations on this theme as well. He lists a number of Western ex-Communists who have converted to Islam such as France’s Roger Garaudy, and obviously, Carlos the Jackal.

    Whatever Western self-hating ideology that looks like it has the most current potency, I guess. Any one will do.

  • Tatyana


    Don’t think women will object too much , based on practical experience of East republics of former Soviet Union. It is always safer to be a slave to somebody than think for yourself, which thousands years of eastern history proved. When East Republics were added to Soviet Union (in the 20’s, not 30’s) and it was a convenient time to start anti-Islam campaign and change Bolshevik slogans to “Freedom to the Woman of the East!”, hundreds of thousands gullible Muslim women beleived it and fought for their liberation and were stubbed and burned alive. Then 70 yrs of forced equality for women followed, and what did we have in a post-Soviet East republics? Mass women conversion to a Radical islam. Do you know that the majority of chechen terrorists in the Nord-West Theater incident were so-called “Chechen widows”, 18-25y.o.? Also, do you know the statistics of leftist Western women converting to Islam? Seems quite dynamic, at least here in the States.

    For hilarious illustration of Bolshevik’s policy on Islam and muslim women in newly added East Republics I recommend an excellent movie[comedy] “White sun of the desert” By Motil, hope you could find it in your local videostore. The catch-phrases from that movie are the fabric of most political commentary in Russia. (“Gulchatai, open your face, doll”; “Why are you here, Karim?- “There were shots…”; “9 gramms to the heart- don’t rush”, etc)

  • Kelli—No brickbats at this time. However, if you were to expand your final paragraph into a novel, you would make a mint.

  • Tatyana, I guess I give female voters in the West more credit than you do, and I don’t believe Eastern European women or their Chechen counterparts are relevant examples when it comes to predicting their reaction to an ‘Islamic Left’ agenda.

    And I guess I might be giving some feminists more credit than they should get too.

    Hey, it’s Christmas.

  • Tatyana

    I wasn’t talking about Eastern European women, it’s possibly another “lost in translation” case: East Republics I’ve talked about are called “Centro-Asian” in Russia, and include Yzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kalmikia, Kirgizia and number of small Muslim-populated regions. It was a big country, USSR…
    And since I am too getting into a generous mood, I will not insist on my view of Western feminists vs. yours.
    Do try and rent that movie, thou. Another hilaroius conversation from it that I recall:
    -(Gulchatai, counting on fingers): One wife is for lovemaking, one is for children rearing, one is doing cooking, one- cleaning and laundry. And you say you only have one wife doing everything? That’s bad…