Communism and PanIslamism

Tan Malaka (1922)
This is a speech made by the Indonesian Marxist Tan Malaka at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International in November 12 1!22" Taking issue #ith the theses drafted by $enin and adopted at the %econd Congress #hich had emphasised the need for a &struggle against 'an(Islamism& Tan Malaka argued for a more positive approach" Tan Malaka )1*!+(1!,!- #as elected chairman of the Communist 'arty of Indonesia in 1!21 but the follo#ing year he #as forced to leave the .ast Indies by the colonial authorities" /fter the proclamation of independence in /ugust 1!,0 he returned to Indonesia to participate in the struggle against 1utch colonialism" 2e became a leader of the 'artai Murba )'roletarian 'arty- formed in 1!,* to organise #orking class opposition to the %oekarno government" In February 1!,! Tan Malaka #as captured by the Indonesian army and executed"

Comrades! After hearing the speeches made by General Zinoviev, General Radek and other European comrades, and having regard to the importance, for us in the East as well, of the uestion of the united front, ! think that ! have to speak up, in the name of the Communist "arty of #ava, for the thousands of millions of the oppressed peoples of the East$ ! have to put a few uestions to the two generals$ "erhaps General Zinoviev was not thinking about a united front on #ava% perhaps our united front is something different$ &ut the decision of the 'econd Congress of the Communist !nternational means in practice that we have got to form a united front with revolutionary nationalism$ Given, as we must recognise, that forming a united front is necessary in our country too, our united front cannot be with 'ocial (emocrats but has to be with revolutionary nationalists$ &ut tactics used by the nationalists against imperialism very often differ from ours% take, for instance, the boycott and the )uslim liberation struggle, "an*!slamism$ +hese are the two forms which ! am particularly considering, so ! ask the following uestions$ ,irst,

are we to support the national boycott movement or not- 'econd, are we to support "an*!slamism, yes or no- !f yes, how far are we to go+he boycott, ! must admit, is certainly not a Communist method, but it is one of the sharpest weapons available in the situation of politico*military sub.ugation in the East$ /ithin the last two years we have seen the success of the Egyptian people0s 1212 boycott against &ritish imperialism, and again of the great Chinese boycott at the end of 1212 and the beginning of 1234$ +he most recent boycott movement has been in &ritish !ndia$ /e can take it that in the ne5t few years other forms of boycott will be employed in the East$ /e know that it is not our method% it is a petty bourgeois method, something that belongs to the nationalist bourgeoisie$ /e can say more% that the boycott means support for home*grown capitalism% but we have also seen that following on the boycott movement in &ritish !ndia, there are now eighteen hundred leaders languishing in .ail, that the boycott has generated a very revolutionary atmosphere, indeed that the boycott movement actually forced the &ritish government to ask #apan for military assistance, in case it should develop into an armed uprising$ /e also know that the )ahommedan leaders in !ndia * (r$ 6irchief, 7asret )ahoni and the Ali brothers * are in reality nationalists% we had no rising to record when Gandhi was arrested$ &ut people in !ndia know very well what every revolutionary there knows8 that a local rising can only end in defeat, because we have no weapons or other military material there, hence the uestion of the boycott movement will, now or in the future, become a pressing one for us Communists$ &oth in !ndia and in #ava we are aware that many Communists are inclined to proclaim a boycott movement on #ava, perhaps because Communist ideas emanating from Russia have been so long forgotten, or perhaps because there was such an unleashing of Communist feeling in &ritish !ndia as could challenge the whole movement$ !n any case we are faced with the uestion8 Are we to support this tactic, yes or noAnd how far can we go"an*!slamism is a long story$ ,irst of all ! will speak about our e5periences in the East !ndies where we have cooperated with the !slamists$ /e have in #ava a very large organisation with many very poor peasants, the 'arekat !slam 9!slamic :eague;$ &etween 1213 and 121< this organisation had one million members, perhaps as many as three or four million$ !t was a very large popular movement, which arose spontaneously and was very revolutionary$

=ntil 1231 we collaborated with it$ >ur party, consisting of 1?,444 members, went into this popular movement and carried out propaganda there$ !n 1231 we succeeded in getting 'arekat !slam to adopt our programme$ +he !slamic :eague too agitated in the villages for control of the factories and for the slogan8 All power to the poor peasants, all power to the proletarians! 'o 'arekat !slam made the same propaganda as our Communist "arty, only sometimes under another name$ &ut in 1231 a split occurred as a result of clumsy criticism of the leadership of 'arekat !slam$ +he government through its agents in 'arekat !slam e5ploited this split, and it also e5ploited the decision of the 'econd Congress of the Communist !nternational8 'truggle against "an*!slamism! /hat did they say to the simple peasants- +hey said8 'ee, the Communists not only want to split, they want to destroy your religion! +hat was too much for a simple )uslim peasant$ +he peasant thought to himself8 ! have lost everything in this world, must ! lose my heaven as well- +hat won@t do! +his was how the simple )uslims thought$ +he propagandists among the government agents e5ploited this very successfully$ 'o we had a split$ AChairman8 Bour time is up$C ! have come from the East !ndies, and travelled for forty days$ AApplause$C +he 'arekat*!slamists believe in our propaganda and remain with us in their stomachs, to use a popular e5pression, but in their hearts they remain with the 'arekat !slam, with their heaven$ ,or heaven is something we cannot give them$ +herefore, they boycotted our meetings and we could not carry on propaganda any more$ 'ince the beginning of last year we have worked towards re*establishing the link with 'arekat !slam$ At our congress in (ecember last year we said that the )uslims in the Caucasus and other countries, who cooperate with the 'oviets and struggle against international capitalism, understand their religion better, and we also said that, if they want to make propaganda for their religion, they can do so, though they should not do it in meetings but in the mos ues$ /e have been asked at public meetings8 Are you )uslims D yes or no- (o you believe in God D yes or no- 7ow did we answer this- Bes, ! said, when ! stand before God ! am a )uslim, but when ! stand before men ! am not a )uslim Aloud

applauseC, because God said there are many devils among men! A:oud applause$C +hus we inflicted a defeat on their leaders with the 3ur4an in our hands, and at our congress last year we compelled the leaders of the 'arekat !slam, through their own members, to cooperate with us$ /hen a general strike broke out in )arch last year, the )uslim workers needed us, as we have the railwaymen under our leadership$ +he 'arekat !slam leaders said8 Bou want to cooperate with us, so you must help us, too$ >f course we went to them, and said8 Bes, your God is powerful, but he has said that on this earth the railwaymen are more powerful! A:oud applause$C +he railwaymen are God@s e5ecutive committee in this world$ A:aughter$C &ut this does not settle the uestion, and if we have another split we may be sure that the government agents will be there again with their "an*!slamism$ 'o the uestion of "an*!slamism is a very immediate one$ &ut now one must first understand what the word "an*!slamism really means$ >nce, it had a historical significance and meant that !slam must con uer the whole world, sword in hand, and that this must take place under the leadership of the Caliph, and the Caliph must be of Arabian origin$ About E44 years after the death of )ohammed the )uslims split into three great states and thus the 7oly /ar lost its significance for the entire )uslim world$ !t thus lost the meaning that, in the name of God, the Caliph and the )uslim religion should con uer the whole world, because the Caliph of 'pain said, ! am the true Caliph, ! must carry the banner, and the Caliph of Egypt said the same, and the Caliph of &aghdad said, ! am the real Caliph, since ! am from the Arabian tribe of Furaish$ 'o "an*!slamism no longer has its original meaning, but now has in practice an entirely different meaning$ +oday, "an*!slamism signifies the national liberation struggle, because for the )uslims !slam is everything8 not only religion, but also the state, the economy, food, and everything else$ And so "an*!slamism now means the brotherhood of all )uslim peoples, and the liberation struggle not only of the Arab but also of the !ndian, the #avanese and all the oppressed )uslim peoples$ +his brotherhood means the practical liberation struggle not only against (utch but also against English, ,rench and !talian capitalism, therefore against world capitalism as a whole$ +hat is what "an*!slamism now means in !ndonesia

among the oppressed colonial peoples, according to their secret propaganda D the liberation struggle against the different imperialist powers of the world$ +his is a new task for us$ #ust as we want to support the national struggle, we also want to support the liberation struggle of the very combative, very active 3G4 million )uslims living under the imperialist powers$ +herefore ! ask once again8 'hould we support "an*!slamism, in this sense'o ! end my speech$ 9:ively applause;$

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