• Books: Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild, Endless War: Hidden Functions of the "war on terror" by David Keen, Capital Vol. 1, Tin Drum by Günter Grass, What is Islam? by Shahab Ahmed, Desiring Arabs by Joseph Massad, Spies, Soldiers and Statesmen by Hazem Kandil, La Condition Humaine by André Malraux, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Imagined Community by Benedict Anderson, Culture and Imperialism by Edward Said, The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, The Richness of Life by Stephen Jay Gould, Children of the Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, Noli me Tangere by José Rizal, Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm, ذهنية التحريم لصادق جلال العظم, Karl Marx by Francis Wheen, وليمة لأعشاب البحر لحيدر حيدر, Candide by Voltaire, النزعات المادية في الفلسفة العربية الإسلامية لحسين مروة, Listen Little Man by Wilhelm Reich ..
  • Films: Alexanderplatz by Rainer Fassbinder, Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, The Battle of Algiers, films by P. P. Passolini, Persepolis, Midnight Express, 1984, Papillion, Gangs of New York, Sophie Scholl, Life of Brian, Ivan the Terrble, Battleship Potemkine ...

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Once again on the “clash of barbarisms”

(written after 13 November terrorist attack in Paris)

There is a Western imperialist responsibility, as there was after the 1914-18 war (with the Treaty of Versailles) in the rise of Nazism in Germany. The antifascists of the time did not fail to recall it systematically. However, once it took off, the Nazi Party was denounced and combated as such. Daesh has taken off...
We must continue to explain the context, but the Islamic State must be seen for what it is, not as a mere shadow of the West. Contemporary imperialism, neo-liberal policies, capitalist globalization, enterprises of colonization, endless wars, are tearing the social fabric of a growing number of countries, releasing all sorts of barbarism. But religious fundamentalisms too are formidable agents of the disintegration of whole societies. There is not in fact a “major barbarism” (the West) that we should be fighting today and a “secondary barbarism” (Daesh and consorts) that we should be concerned about in the indefinite future. The reverse is also true: we should not condone imperialist barbarity and that of “allied” dictatorships under the pretext of fighting fundamentalist barbarism. There is no hierarchy of horror. We must actively and without waiting defend all the victims of these twin barbarisms, which feed on each other, otherwise we will fail in our political and humanitarian duties.
Religious fundamentalisms were often initially supported by Washington in the name of the struggle against the Soviet Union (in Afghanistan, Pakistan…), before asserting their autonomy and even turning against their sponsors. These deeply reactionary movements have nothing progressive about them. There is no “reactionary anti-imperialism”! They want to impose a model of society that is both capitalist and backward-looking, totalitarian in the strong sense of the term. Of course, France is being hit because of its Middle East policy and its colonial and post-colonial history. But when Daesh slaughters Yezidis because they are Yezidis, reduces populations to slavery, sells women, destabilizes Lebanon, pushes sectarian violence to the extreme, (particularly against Shiites), what is the relationship to a supposed anti-imperialism?
All fundamentalist movements do not have the same bases, the same strategy. Are some of them, such as the Islamic State, fascists? They do not maintain the same (complex) relations with sectors of the imperialist bourgeoisies as in Europe in the 1930s, but they reproduce them with sectors of the bourgeoisie of “regional powers”, such as, in the Middle East, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey ... They attract the “human dust” of decaying societies as well as elements of the “middle classes”, of a “petty bourgeoisie”, of educated workers. They use terror “from below” to impose their order. They dehumanize those who are different and make scapegoats of them, as yesterday the Nazis did with Jews, Gypsies or homosexuals. They eradicate all forms of democracy and of progressive people’s organizations. Religious exaltation occupies the same function as national exaltation in the interwar period and enables them, in addition, to deploy internationally.
It would be strange if the convulsions caused by capitalist globalization did not give rise to new forms of fascism, just as it would be surprising if they resembled feature for feature those of the previous century. There is a difference with European fascism: it resides in the overlapping between this totalitarian fundamentalist reaction and the crisis of disintegration of states and of the imperialist economic and military relations of domination that enmesh the region.
The fight against terrorism must be waged by the peoples of the region, and not by a coalition of Western powers. A new military intervention of the imperialist powers and Russia, supported on each of its flanks by the Gulf States and the Syrian dictatorship, can weaken Daesh militarily, but it can only provoke a backlash from all the Sunni peoples of the region.

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