The prophet and the proletariat

Chris Harman (1994)

First published in International Socialism Journal no. 64, Autumn 1994.
Published as a pamphlet titled The prophet and the proletariat – Islamic fundamentalism, class and revolution by the Socialist Workers Party 1999 – ISBN 1-898877-181.

Buy the pamphlet from Forlaget

Transcribed by Jørn Andersen for Marxisme Online, 24 november 2001.
Note: Proof reading could have been better!

Islamic fundamentalism has emerged as the ideology that Western politicians and media pundits most like to hate. The kind of abuse once reserved for 'Communism' is now diredcted at the Islamic movements which threaten to destabilise key areas of Western influence in the Middle East and beyond. But the campaign against Islamism has found allies on the left among those fearful that it threatens an irrationalist, even fascist, backlash.

Chris Harman charts a careful course through the contradictions of ISlamism, revealing its class roots and arguing that when the Islamists are in opposition the socialist attitude should be 'with the state never, with the Islamists sometimes'. He goes on to show in which circumstances Islamism plays a reactionary role and in which circumstances the Islamic challenge the establishment.

Chris Harman is the editor of Socialist Worker and a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party.



1. Islamic fundamentalism, class and revolution
2. Islam, religion and ideology
3. The class base of Islamism
4. Radical Islam as a social movement
5. The contradictions of Islamism: Egypt
6. The contradictions of Islamism: Algeria
7. Splitting two ways
8. The Iranian experience
9. The contradictions of Islamism: Sudan
10. Conclusions

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Sidst opdateret 31.7.2008