A commenter notes that RAWA, the Revolutionary Organization of Afghan Women, are non-players in Afghanistan at the moment. He is pretty much correct, unfortunately, though they do have some support in the refugee areas in Pakistan.
I had a doctor who was an Afghan. He used to support the Afghan Maoists. But then he was a volunteer doctor for the mujaheddin too. The Afghan Maoists were so stupid that they took up arms against the Communist government alongside the reactionaries!
He said that the Communists used to have a lot of support in Kabul in the late 1970’s. He was going to medical school in Kabul at the time, and the dorms were a hotbed of support for various Left factions. A lot were ultras thought, and they hated each other and spent a lot of time killing each other.
Plus a lot were super ultras, and they wanted to go straight to Communism and bypass socialism, almost Khmer Rogue types. He told me how they used to raid wedding parties and destroy everything. Take all the rice and throw it in the streets (they use the rice to throw at the bride and groom). It was a Commie sin since in a poor country, people were not supposed to blow a year’s pay on a wedding while people were starving. It was theoretically correct, but all it did was piss people off.
Plus they were unnecessarily hostile to Islam, and that just made people mad too.
The failure of the Afghan Left was one of the saddest stories on the Left in recent years, since Afghanistan needs a Left regime. But these tools made people so mad that now there is just Islamist reaction in the future as far as the eye can see.
My doc was still sympathetic to the Afghan Left, especially the Maoists. He showed me recent stills from a meeting in Kabul of the Afghan Left, possibly Maoist types. The room was full, and there were a lot of women there. He said there was still a lot of support for this in Afghanistan, but in terms of numbers, it’s probably pretty low.
You would be amazed how many Pashtuns, especially in the East around Khost, are now supporting or fighting with the Taliban, yet they are used to be ex-Communists. A lot of the Commie stuff was just Afghan tribal politics. One of the Commie factions was heavily Pashtun, so a lot of Pashtuns supported them.
Tribe is everything in that part of the world.
15 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on the Afghan Left, Past and Present”
Yah, the Taliban went from being an ISI created, Saudi-Al Qeaeda funded and ideologically backed organization, into some kind of Pashtun nationalist movement. Eventually, they are going to get their own country. A different Taliban, now days.
As for RAWA, it is a shame. I guess the Afghans are not ready for any real dose of social progress yet. At least, not the Pasthuns. The Persian speaking city dwellers are another story, but they, like RAWA, just don’t have any influence outside of their small spheres. I.E the cities they live in.
Once again, Islam is the problem. It is too embedded into the cultures of these uneducated, illiterate people. You cannot extract it, nor can you work with it. You just have to let it run it’s course, until it morphs into something else. It will, in time. Especially in Afghanistan. I’ve mentioned Sufism before, as well as how Arab Nationalism morphed into Islamism. So, it is really just a function of time, amongst other things.
Whereas the neoliberal elites in Muslim majority countries ape the capitalist West, the socialist elites (and yeah their leadership generally comes from the elites, not the working class) simply ape the Western Left’s economic and cultural leftism( so highly anti-religion, extreme secularism). Both types of groups are minoritarian , highly authoritarian (you could even argue that the capitalist Muslim countries have a slightly better record on freedom, but only slightly).
There is primary revolution and secondary revolution. When it comes to the Muslim world and the West, socialism and capitalist nationalism are secondary revolutions as they take on the ideological and even actual garb of their former Western colonial masters and try to fight back.
Islamic movements are primary as they’re basically rejecting the point of views of the Western powers and fighting back.
The Muslim world has largely failed in the last century due to hypocrite Islamist regimes (mostly Saudi Arabia), but mostly due to the secularist nationalist regimes both capitalist and socialist.
When Cyrus talks about Muslim countries being barbarous and all these things, Muslim produced science and high levels of civilization when they were more Muslim, not less. In contrast, the Shahist and Turkish secularists did not produce a society even close to that.
This is a great comment, very well written. Didn’t know you could write like this. Where is all this fine writing coming from?
I appreciate the praise, Robert. It’s coming from my head man, ha ha what else can I say?
Are you even a native English speaker? That’s some fine English prose. You’re from Bangladesh, no?
Hussaayn, by your name, I am guessing Shia, right?
Highlight my statement on Islamic nations be “barbarous,” so I can see it in the context you are referring to, and remember what I was ranting about. Read through my post history on here, as well. I am defending the “Muslims” as much as I am bashing the religion itself. We just had another poster infer I’m an anti-Semite. If she bothered to read my posting history on here, she would have realized how stupid she looks.
By the shahists, you are of course referring to the Pahlavi royalists,” and Turkish secularists, the kemalists of course.
The technical advantage both modern day Turkey and Iran currently have over say the twenty-three Arabic speaking states can been directly attributed to the actions of prior non-Islamic leaders within their societies. Likewise, the Arab world went to hell after an increase in religiosity due to the failure of Arab nationalism. I shudder to think of what Turkey would have become, had Ataturk never existed. It wouldn’t even exist as a nation, today.
As for Islam, it did not “produce” science. People living in medieval societies that happened to be Islamic, did. That is the nuance you fail to understand.
I do agree though, that Saudi Arabia is responsible for many failures, the least of which is the movement towards stupid fanaticism, that yields no benefit to anyone but the Saudis themselves.
I think he might be a Muslim from India, but I’m not sure.
I think you are right. His name is a dead give away for Shia then. The only non-Arab you will ever find with the name “Hussayn” are Shia. Literally. Even amongst Arabs, it is regulated to one large tribe, Arab Shias.
I mean one large tribe, AND Arab Shias.
Research the history of Iran’s leading commie party, the Tudeh. It decided to collaborate with the Khomeinites against other left socialists during the Shah overthrow and after. Partly influenced by Soviet friendship with the Islamic Revolution.
Not a good choice, from its point of view.
I know a woman who was a member of that party. A bunch of her comrades got killed after the Islamists took over. She had to be smuggled out of Iran on a donkey in some mountain deserts in the middle of the night. That was after living in a safe house for some time.
Are Pashtuns among the original Aryan people? Many of them look very light skinned and some have green or blue eyes.
Yes, they are the original Aryans indeed.
By Cyrus: ” The only non-Arab you will ever find with the name “Hussayn” are Shia.”
No dear, I’m afraid you’re wrong here. I have a nephew by the name of “Hussain”, his father is “Ali” and I’ve got a cousin named “Fatima”; and this all with me being a Sunni Hanafi as most Pashtuns are.
Barai Jun, you probably make a good point in a very unique geographical sense. At least as far as Central, and especially South Asia is concerned.
There are obvious reasons for this. In the Arab world though, it is a very different story. By comparison, good luck finding a Shia named Omar, if you know what I mean.
I never have. 🙂