Our discussion of Islam and communism and the Sharia has been halted by the complexity of the question, never mind the confusion created by the imperial powers, etc… A drastic simplification is sought, and this can forget a host of ways that an out of date reality can improvise to meet the future. Failing that the past gets amputated, too often with the wrong result.
I think that after sounding an idea of a communist Islam I should be clear about the difficulty of upgrading Sharia, which is ironically still almost, in essence, better than the triumph of Bolshevik psychopaths armed with marxism. The problem is not Sharia, which a rapidly secularizing Islamic will soon itself critique properly, but in the modernism proposed in replacement. The savages from America who plundered Iraq are a warning that politicians have no real grasp of secular modernity. They are de facto Machiavellians, capitalist imperialists, religious morons fronting for political psychopathy, and in America a breed of halfwits so mediocre they must compensate for inferiority with imperial projects and real time playing out of spy film shennanigans.
We are thus rapidly losing the grounds for ‘preaching’ modernity to the rest of the world.
But take a close look at the situation in light of my macromodel: modernity has been a smashing success, and has overtaken the globe. But a lot of places have reached near destruction instead. The Islamic world is one. I have blamed imperialism for this. But we should also charge the factor of religion here. And I think that to be blunt to be helpful the nature of a question like that of Sharia is evidence of the stall here. Despite its quite profound if archaic reality in the classic phases of Islam.
Let say a first that the meta-religion of Islam is not the problem. Look at the Moslem prayer service and its elusive subtlety: There is no god but God: fits my sentiments exactly and I am neither a theist nor an atheist. A New Atheist if he understood this could perform the classic affirmation here in a secular prayer without blinking.
This classic phrase, as so much in monotheism, is distorted by those who too often let theism become idolatry. Whatever the case, Islam need no imply Sharia, and the question for modernization represents no real challenge to the meta-religion.
A stylized Islam with a modernized core could take off like a rocket. But getting there is hard.
But one obstacle here is not religious conservatism, which is real, but inability of secularists to understand the mystery of Islam: it is a real spiritual movement with a majestic onset and global expansion, whatever the minus of Jihad. It cannot be written off with sociological gibberish.
Still the Sharia finally is expendable. The best solution is to rip off the bandaid quickly, not slowly. Let’s take a chance and simply write off the cultural legacy of Sharia and consider the larger context. An Islamic Reformation. It won’t happen, by itself. You must create one from scratch. The Protestant Reformation is part of a larger system that won’t act twice in the same way. But we can see that it is quite possible to mimic the essentials by adopting a standard of reform that is a de facto Reformation. And that’s just it. There is none anymore, American is no longer a standard for anything. George Bush invading Iraq was evidence of the clear absurdity of the modernization slogans. Modernization proceeds apace, however, in capitalist globalization, which isn’t really doing much for the Islamic world, save Turkey, etc…
I am rushing over a host of complexities to make a simple point: I suspect a growing majority of Moslems would ditch Sharia, or Islam, in a minute if they could 1. get the capitalists/imperialists off their back, and 2. focus on a clear set of properties of modernization, economic or cultural. This sounds simple, until you have to reckon with people and cultures raped by the neocons or confronted by the Israelis preaching democracy.
Funny enough this is a challenge to communist leftists: they are the last men left to deal with this chaos. But the marxist inspired left is itself stuck in the past. It actually has no project for a new communist culture or economy: it is mostly fantasy, and a bad record of Bolshevism. Who am I to preach this? Nasser understood its essentials, but Marxism betrayed him. We must upgrade the failed Marxist legacy, and rethink the success of the Turkish revolution and the failure of the Nasserite.
So, to me, take a deep breath, and (probably unfairly for a host of sound vitamins in the old Sharia), and rip the Sharia out and replace with an upgraded communist praxis that can 1. deal with cultural unity in the Arab and Islamic states, 2. deal with the failure of globalization to really work in many economies of the region, and create a self-defense system that can deal properly with Israeli insanity.
My contribution here is to create a framework for thinking about religion and modernization. A very tricky model of history, that most scientists themselves can’t use. But the false secular dogma of flat history is busted, and the theory of evolution according to Darwin, which was never a part of the early modern, has totally obfuscated secular thought. Ironically the Moslem world has withstood this, another case of the confusion created by so-called secular reformers.
Catch 22: the marxist left is unable to deal with a situation like this and has produced as many failures as all the others. This causes everyone to fall back on the same old capitalist modernization racket. If capitalism could really succeed here, as with Turkey, that would be one thing. But it seems that the solution now is the mastery of a democratic communism that can attend the economic stall, and try to mediate development against the realities of endgame capitalism. So we need a new form of marxism, whose cultural realization in Bolshevism was so deadbeat and criminal itself that the past almost seems better.
I hope that my gesture of postmarxist new communism can hint at some ways to proceed here.