ISIS, the Attacks in Paris, and the Left

The attacks in Paris have justifiably shocked the world. Now, as a product of this extreme violence we are about to see further military escalation in Western Asia by the world’s imperialist powers. A few weeks prior there were attacks on a peace demonstration in Turkey, after that an attack in Beirut, after that a Russian airliner was destroyed, and within the last couple of days a bomb scare in Germany. Russian, French, American, German, UK, take your pick of which imperial power will be commencing, expanding, and/or intensifying their military action against ISIS. For the average citizen of any given nation such action will undoubtedly be seen as legitimate, even necessary, to prevent further bloodshed domestically. However, so much of the historical context of this conflict is absent from the general discussion that just how terrible a mistake this escalation is, and will certainly be, is invisible.

In order to comprehend the reality of the situation we must examine the post World War Two history of Western Asia and the subsequent  interventionism of the imperial powers. During the Cold War governments were established in countries such as Iraq and Syria that were essentially vassal states of European imperialism, England and France respectively. These secular, totalitarian, military dictatorships violently suppressed all internal opposition and created the circumstances for vast appropriation of wealth by the internal regime and the external imperialism, whichever form it specifically took. The national ruling class fought amongst themselves for control over the social surplus that was not to be exported to the international ruling class and used every mechanism available to them to snuff out any potential internal dissent or dissident activity. The constant pressure brought to bear on the working classes of these countries can not be overstated.

As a result of this international interventionism propping up governments based on international ideology the only place left for opposition forces to turn was Islam, the religious organizations. These organizations were also bitterly suppressed, but they still provided an framework for solidarity and resistance that was native to the region and native to the specific nation. Not only that but they also provided much in the way of social and economic programs that were recognized by the populace to improve the lives of the people living therein. Western political ideology and institutions were seen as either failed experiments or blatant tools of oppression. Taking these facts at face value it is not too difficult to understand exactly why an organization such as ISIS has emerged. In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks the government of Iraq was demolished and replaced on an ad hoc basis, its institutions dominated by Shia Muslims, it Sunni Muslim and Kurdish Muslim populations denied any substantial role in the management of their own society.

This pattern only worsened once American military forces pulled out of the country as a result of a 2008 Status of Forces Agreement signed under President George W. Bush. Sunni’s took to the streets in protest of their disenfranchisement only to be met by bullets and bombs. With nowhere else to turn the old Baathist officer corp. aligned itself with ISIS. The Arab Spring provided the spark to this conflict as a great variety of opposition groups, some democratic, others Salafi/Wahhabi militias forming in Syria after the development of the Arab Spring commenced an insurgent campaign against the Shia dominated Iraqi government, a government that is also quite clearly a proxy state for another Shia dominated Muslim country, Iran. The entire region has become the perfect illustration for the irrational imperatives of 21st capitalist imperialism, unstable, highly contradictory, and spreading uncontrollably.

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Cult of Conservatism Part III

The aftermath of the Republican debate on CNBC has provided further proof of just how insular and cult-like are the conservative movement and the Republican Party. Members of the cult so rarely come into contact with individuals outside the bubble that it comes as an enormous surprise when the un-initiated confront them, even when confronted in the most innocuous manner possible. CNBC, for example, is a creature of Wall Street. Surely their interests align quite well with those of the donor base of the Republican Party, not to mention the numerous multi-millionaire presidential candidates who graced the stage with their wealthy presence. Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and whom columnist Charlie Pierce refers to as “obvious anagram Reince Priebus, issued a statement announcing the suspension of the February debate to be held on NBC News because of the “gotcha questions” on offer in a debate that the chairman claims was held in bad faith.

This statement was released mostly because immediately following the debate a number of the candidates initiated an attack strategy on the network. Clearly the goal here is to work the refs. For Christ’s sake the candidate who was leading in the polls for the majority of the campaign season thus far, Donald Trump, accused Fox News of treating him unfairly. One wonders just how much further NBC, and other mainstream outlets, can capitulate to the demands of the Republican Party and the conservative movement if even Fox News cannot adequately appease them. The only apt comparison for the conservative movement at this point is the Church of Scientology. They have spent decades creating their own infrastructure for distributing their message to their supporters, poking and prodding them with race hatred, religious hatred, sex hated, economic hatred in order to direct the unthinking horde to the polls on election day to pull the lever for whatever Republican party candidate the political elite anointed to run.

Now, the horde, believing all that they have been told low these many years, have taken control of the entire process. The Republican Party has created an unstoppable feedback loop from which they cannot disentangle themselves otherwise they will enable their own destruction. The most amazing aspect about this entire affair is that the mainstream press is forced to ignore it. As a result when the Republican National Committee chairman begins screaming about his presidential candidates being burned at the stake because they were asked to participate in a debate where they were asked to perform tasks such as basic arithmetic and justifying their own policy proposals, they are forced by their very own cowardice and complicity to pretend that what they did was untoward and promise that it will never happen again.

One wonders if they are too afraid to leave because the conservative movement will hunt them down and kill them saying all the time, “If I can’t have you no one will!” Recently, on the MSNBC show Morning Joe, the host of the weekly political talk show Meet The Press, Chuck Todd, was asked to comment on the falsehoods spoken by the candidates in the recent debate, and Todd responded with “I don’t know what your definition of lying is”. One has to wonder if these people could be made to admit the lunacy and cultic nature of the conservative movement under any circumstances or if they have persisted in this state of avoidance and denial for so long that there is not even room enough in the unconscious for this reality to exist. It is as though there is a secret fifth column in the United States dedicated to destroying the country. Only it is not just kept secret from the rest of us, but from the fifth columnists themselves.