Left Unity's John Tummon and Leftist Support for Jihad

Like Marxism, Islam offers “totalist” (to use a word from post-structuralism) solutions to.... well, all problems. And Leftists, like most Muslims, like that. Many Leftists also deem Islam to be intrinsically anti-capitalist; as well as being (conveniently for them) anti-Western.

So it's not a surprise either that John Tummon (of Left Unity) has also gone way beyond defending Muslims to now embracing all sorts of Islamic ideas and causes; including the Caliphate, the Islamic State (IS), the Ottoman Empire, the Ummah, sharia law, Islamic legal traditions and so on, although he stops short of actually quoting from the Koran or hadith.

John Tummon made his outrageous claims at a Left Unity Conference which ran between the 15th and the 16th of November (2014). More specifically, his words formed part of an 'Amendment' to a 'Session' entitled 'A socialist Response to the actions of the Islamic State'

The Progressive Islamic State (IS) 

John Tummon is a revolutionary Marxist. Thus he sees literally all things in terms of the Manichean battle between capitalist evil and non-capitalist good. It really is that simple to him (despite his academic jargon and regular use of the word “analytical”); as it is to all Marxists.

On the other hand, anything negative that's said or written not just about Muslims -- but also about IS -- is almost automatically deemed (by John Tummon) to be a “piece of western propaganda” (August 22, 2014).

John Tummon puts his most basic (Marxist) point in a brutally simple way. 

That point is that most -- or even all -- Islamic terrorism and violence (including that of the Islamic State) is simply “Muslim resistance to imperialism” (August 15th).

Moreover, John Tummon's sees the Islamic State (IS) and everything that's currently happening in Iraq and Syria “as the latest tragic chapter in the complex and divided resistance of the peoples of the Middle East against the imperialist intervention of the western capitalist powers”.

As for what John Tummon says about the Ottoman Caliphate, it exactly replicates the position of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. And since Tummon himself mentions Hizb ut-Tahrir, one must conclude that he has read its publications. Either that or a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir has actually helped John Tummon write the Left Unity 'amendment'.

According to Tummon, not only do conservatives or right-wingers suffer from Eurocentrism and Western propaganda when they criticize the beheadings, sex-slavery and other oppressions carry out by IS: so too do fellow Leftists. Or as John Tummon rather patronizingly puts it (August 18th, 2014):

“Without meaning to insult you, your criteria are extremely Eurocentric and irrelevant to the options available for the region.”

In other words, whereas John Tummon thinks that it's wrong to “accept [ ] western secularism’s assumptions about what is and is not progressive”; it's nonetheless right (in his eyes) to project Marxist, white and middle-class European anti-imperialism into the minds of the Sunni jihadists who are killing and beheading in Iraq and Syria. 

All along John Tummon paints the jihadists of Islamic State (IS) as victims. 

Quite simply, to John Tummon, “Sunni Jihad [is] against imperialism”. In other words, Sunni jihadists are just like John Tummon; though with brown skin and an acausal (epiphenomenal) glow of religion (i.e., Islam) around them. 

This effectively means that Tummon himself is as “Eurocentric” (his word) and even as racist as he accuses his critics of being. That is so because he's projecting his Marxist Western values into the heads of Arab Sunni jihadists.

Muslims are always victims to white, Western, middle-class Leftists like John Tummon. They are victims essentially because they are deemed -- by such Leftists -- to be children. They have no free will or conscience. They are but cogs in Marx's capitalist/imperialist socioeconomic machine (unlike the Marxists who completely transcend it). Thus they can never be held accountable for their thoughts; let alone for their actions.

So Tummon thinks he's being proudly anti-Eurocentric, anti-racist and anti-imperialist when he says the “atrocities” of IS “are not on a different moral plane to other atrocities committed over recent years in the region”. In fact “they emerge out of it and the brutalized context resulting from imperialism and the struggle against it”.

What John Tummon is conveniently forgetting here is that many (perhaps most) IS jihadists aren't even Iraqis. Thus their violence simply couldn't have emerged “out of” the “brutalized context resulting from imperialism and the struggle against it”. In other words, many IS fighters -- as everyone except Tummon knows -- went to Iraq (as well as Syria) specifically for the violence (as well as the sex slavery, etc.). Their violence didn't grow out of the conflict or even out of Marx's terrible socioeconomic conditions. 

John Tummon also argues for the “progressive potential” of IS and its Caliphate. (Clearly is pathological hatred of capitalism has turned his brain to mush.) He says:

“Unlike a continuation of the framework of western-imposed nation states, it therefore, theoretically, has progressive potential....” 

John Tummon advances his progressive IS thesis by saying that that there's more hope for “progress” with IS than with any other group. In his words:

“My question back to you, therefore, is do you think more space for progress exists within the status quo or within a proto-Caliphate which breaks with the imperialist settlement?”

John Tummon even defends IS by defending Stalin (or vice versa) in this way:

“If the Left feels there was nothing wrong with Stalin providing an overarching stability to eastern Europe in these circumstances.... why should we be shy of supporting ISIS’s attempt to provide a new, overarching settlement in the northern Middle East?” (August 13th, 2014)

John Tummon's Hizb ut-Tahrir Version of the Caliphate

Perhaps the worst part of John Tummon's screed is his defense of a Caliphate that just before it destruction (in 1918-24) had slaughtered over two million Armenians and Chaldeans (i.e. in the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian Genocide) and which had sided with the Central Powers (including Germany) in World War One. (Ironically, many of the Armenians were slaughtered in what is now Syria and 25,000 Armenians also fled to what is now Iraq.)

As I said at the beginning, John Tummon's whole position on the Islamic Caliphate -- and indeed on IS's attitude towards it -- is straight out of Hizb ut-Tahrir's book. (Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is not entirely happy with the idea that the Islamic State has taken ownership -- as it were -- of the Caliphate from itself.)

John Tummon also reprimands us for not knowing about -- or accepting -- Hizb ut-Tahrir's stance on the Caliphate. He says that “[c]riticisms of the call for the Caliphate must be countered by knowledge and understanding. Painting it as inseparable from violence or empire building is a false association that lacks historical, political and intellectual credibility”. 

And then Tummon tell us the truth -- the Hizb ut-Tahrir truth -- about the Caliphate:

“The Caliphate represents an alternative political vision that is gathering support amongst Muslims across the Muslim world because, for its adherents, like Hizb ut-Tahrir, it stands for replacing the brutal regimes in which they live with a political system based on Islam that sets up an accountable executive, an organized judiciary, representative consultation, the rule of law and citizenship.”

(See the close similarity between John Tummon's vision of the Caliphate and Hizb ut-Tahrir's in this Hizb article entitled 'Muslims Will Not Compromise on the Khilafah!')

Conclusion

As we have seen, some (many?) Leftists have swiftly and easily moved from defending Muslims to defending and even championing Islam itself. 

So what could possibly happen next? 

Yes, that's right: the obvious next step will be for some (many?) Leftists to actually become Muslims. In fact this has already happened on a fair few occasions. 

The International Socialist “reverts” to Islam are doing exactly what many Nazi war criminals did immediately after World War II: embrace an equally-totalitarian and collectivist ideology by the name of Islam.

Note: Most of the quotes from John Tummon are from aLeft Unity conference. The other quotes (with dates) are from a Left Unity article entitled 'Arabia – the demise of the old colonial order'. John Tummon didn't actually write this piece, his words can be found in the 'Responses' section after the article.

Like Marxism, Islam offers “totalist” (to use a word from post-structuralism) solutions to.... well, all problems. And Leftists, like most Muslims, like that. Many Leftists also deem Islam to be intrinsically anti-capitalist; as well as being (conveniently for them) anti-Western.

So it's not a surprise either that John Tummon (of Left Unity) has also gone way beyond defending Muslims to now embracing all sorts of Islamic ideas and causes; including the Caliphate, the Islamic State (IS), the Ottoman Empire, the Ummah, sharia law, Islamic legal traditions and so on, although he stops short of actually quoting from the Koran or hadith.

John Tummon made his outrageous claims at a Left Unity Conference which ran between the 15th and the 16th of November (2014). More specifically, his words formed part of an 'Amendment' to a 'Session' entitled 'A socialist Response to the actions of the Islamic State'

The Progressive Islamic State (IS) 

John Tummon is a revolutionary Marxist. Thus he sees literally all things in terms of the Manichean battle between capitalist evil and non-capitalist good. It really is that simple to him (despite his academic jargon and regular use of the word “analytical”); as it is to all Marxists.

On the other hand, anything negative that's said or written not just about Muslims -- but also about IS -- is almost automatically deemed (by John Tummon) to be a “piece of western propaganda” (August 22, 2014).

John Tummon puts his most basic (Marxist) point in a brutally simple way. 

That point is that most -- or even all -- Islamic terrorism and violence (including that of the Islamic State) is simply “Muslim resistance to imperialism” (August 15th).

Moreover, John Tummon's sees the Islamic State (IS) and everything that's currently happening in Iraq and Syria “as the latest tragic chapter in the complex and divided resistance of the peoples of the Middle East against the imperialist intervention of the western capitalist powers”.

As for what John Tummon says about the Ottoman Caliphate, it exactly replicates the position of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. And since Tummon himself mentions Hizb ut-Tahrir, one must conclude that he has read its publications. Either that or a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir has actually helped John Tummon write the Left Unity 'amendment'.

According to Tummon, not only do conservatives or right-wingers suffer from Eurocentrism and Western propaganda when they criticize the beheadings, sex-slavery and other oppressions carry out by IS: so too do fellow Leftists. Or as John Tummon rather patronizingly puts it (August 18th, 2014):

“Without meaning to insult you, your criteria are extremely Eurocentric and irrelevant to the options available for the region.”

In other words, whereas John Tummon thinks that it's wrong to “accept [ ] western secularism’s assumptions about what is and is not progressive”; it's nonetheless right (in his eyes) to project Marxist, white and middle-class European anti-imperialism into the minds of the Sunni jihadists who are killing and beheading in Iraq and Syria. 

All along John Tummon paints the jihadists of Islamic State (IS) as victims. 

Quite simply, to John Tummon, “Sunni Jihad [is] against imperialism”. In other words, Sunni jihadists are just like John Tummon; though with brown skin and an acausal (epiphenomenal) glow of religion (i.e., Islam) around them. 

This effectively means that Tummon himself is as “Eurocentric” (his word) and even as racist as he accuses his critics of being. That is so because he's projecting his Marxist Western values into the heads of Arab Sunni jihadists.

Muslims are always victims to white, Western, middle-class Leftists like John Tummon. They are victims essentially because they are deemed -- by such Leftists -- to be children. They have no free will or conscience. They are but cogs in Marx's capitalist/imperialist socioeconomic machine (unlike the Marxists who completely transcend it). Thus they can never be held accountable for their thoughts; let alone for their actions.

So Tummon thinks he's being proudly anti-Eurocentric, anti-racist and anti-imperialist when he says the “atrocities” of IS “are not on a different moral plane to other atrocities committed over recent years in the region”. In fact “they emerge out of it and the brutalized context resulting from imperialism and the struggle against it”.

What John Tummon is conveniently forgetting here is that many (perhaps most) IS jihadists aren't even Iraqis. Thus their violence simply couldn't have emerged “out of” the “brutalized context resulting from imperialism and the struggle against it”. In other words, many IS fighters -- as everyone except Tummon knows -- went to Iraq (as well as Syria) specifically for the violence (as well as the sex slavery, etc.). Their violence didn't grow out of the conflict or even out of Marx's terrible socioeconomic conditions. 

John Tummon also argues for the “progressive potential” of IS and its Caliphate. (Clearly is pathological hatred of capitalism has turned his brain to mush.) He says:

“Unlike a continuation of the framework of western-imposed nation states, it therefore, theoretically, has progressive potential....” 

John Tummon advances his progressive IS thesis by saying that that there's more hope for “progress” with IS than with any other group. In his words:

“My question back to you, therefore, is do you think more space for progress exists within the status quo or within a proto-Caliphate which breaks with the imperialist settlement?”

John Tummon even defends IS by defending Stalin (or vice versa) in this way:

“If the Left feels there was nothing wrong with Stalin providing an overarching stability to eastern Europe in these circumstances.... why should we be shy of supporting ISIS’s attempt to provide a new, overarching settlement in the northern Middle East?” (August 13th, 2014)

John Tummon's Hizb ut-Tahrir Version of the Caliphate

Perhaps the worst part of John Tummon's screed is his defense of a Caliphate that just before it destruction (in 1918-24) had slaughtered over two million Armenians and Chaldeans (i.e. in the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian Genocide) and which had sided with the Central Powers (including Germany) in World War One. (Ironically, many of the Armenians were slaughtered in what is now Syria and 25,000 Armenians also fled to what is now Iraq.)

As I said at the beginning, John Tummon's whole position on the Islamic Caliphate -- and indeed on IS's attitude towards it -- is straight out of Hizb ut-Tahrir's book. (Though Hizb ut-Tahrir is not entirely happy with the idea that the Islamic State has taken ownership -- as it were -- of the Caliphate from itself.)

John Tummon also reprimands us for not knowing about -- or accepting -- Hizb ut-Tahrir's stance on the Caliphate. He says that “[c]riticisms of the call for the Caliphate must be countered by knowledge and understanding. Painting it as inseparable from violence or empire building is a false association that lacks historical, political and intellectual credibility”. 

And then Tummon tell us the truth -- the Hizb ut-Tahrir truth -- about the Caliphate:

“The Caliphate represents an alternative political vision that is gathering support amongst Muslims across the Muslim world because, for its adherents, like Hizb ut-Tahrir, it stands for replacing the brutal regimes in which they live with a political system based on Islam that sets up an accountable executive, an organized judiciary, representative consultation, the rule of law and citizenship.”

(See the close similarity between John Tummon's vision of the Caliphate and Hizb ut-Tahrir's in this Hizb article entitled 'Muslims Will Not Compromise on the Khilafah!')

Conclusion

As we have seen, some (many?) Leftists have swiftly and easily moved from defending Muslims to defending and even championing Islam itself. 

So what could possibly happen next? 

Yes, that's right: the obvious next step will be for some (many?) Leftists to actually become Muslims. In fact this has already happened on a fair few occasions. 

The International Socialist “reverts” to Islam are doing exactly what many Nazi war criminals did immediately after World War II: embrace an equally-totalitarian and collectivist ideology by the name of Islam.

Note: Most of the quotes from John Tummon are from aLeft Unity conference. The other quotes (with dates) are from a Left Unity article entitled 'Arabia – the demise of the old colonial order'. John Tummon didn't actually write this piece, his words can be found in the 'Responses' section after the article.