Thursday, August 21, 2014


This is from a piece by The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson about the killing of James Foley:
Yesterday's guerrillas have given way to terrorists, and now terrorists have given way to this new band, who are something like serial killers. ISIS, an organization of thugs, is the Middle East's answer to the psycho-killer narco gang Los Zetas, trying to out-bad their enemies, to frighten them into submission, and to somehow draw themselves into an ugly cartoon of evil.
Anderson juxtaposes ISIS and brutal drug gangs -- which interests me because I've been thinking that jihadism and narcoterrorism are the only alternatives to capitalism left for anyone who chafes under the established order in a post-communist world. Capitalism triumphed a generation ago, communism is dead, but what remains is deeply unsatisfactory to much of the world, especially after the 2007-2008 economic collapse -- yet there appears to be no alternative.

No alternative, that is, except jihadism in parts of the world, and narcoterrorism in others. They're the only forces that create pockets wherein the Masters of the Universe, and the governments they own, aren't completely the masters.

Anderson goes on to write:
Last week, I met with Faisal Ali Waraabe, a politician in the Justice and Welfare Party, from Somaliland. He is a candidate in next year's Presidential elections. As a younger man, he was a socialist and a devotee of Che Guevara. Last year, he lost his twenty-two-year-old son Sayid, who was born and raised in Finland, to the dark enticements of ISIS.... I asked Faisal what he thought of ISIS, and about what his son is doing. He shook his head sadly, raised his hands helplessly in the air, and said, "They are the new barbarians."
Yes -- but if you're young and thoroughly unsatisfied with the status quo, they're pretty much all that's left. You're certainly not going to get very far in 2014 as a socialist devotee of Che Guevara.

The old bromide says that when nonviolent revolution is impossible, violent revolution become inevitable. Here's a variant: When economic revolt is impossible, nihilist revolution is inevitable. And it's going to be extremely violent nihilism, because that's the only thing that scares the crap out of the universe's Masters enough to hold them at bay.


Anonymous said...

So, having typed that on your no doubt superb computer (made in Taiwan, perhaps) you probably wandered down to your favourite bar for a drink and then perhaps to the café next door where you enjoyed an excellent hamburger. Then, maybe, you decided to take the car for a spin out to the local mall where, maybe, you treated yourself to some new jeans (made in China, probably, but, hey, they were cheap) before returning home to switch on your multi-channel TV to watch the latest Hollywood flick.

God, it's a tough life in America!

David Duff

Steve M. said...

No, I went to a job I could lose at any minute if my company has a bad fiscal quarter and decides to go "lean and mean," the result of which, because I'm in my fifties, would be that I'd probably never find another job that pays even half what I'm making now, decades of work experience and Ivy degree notwithstanding.

But thanks for asking.

Victor said...

Nice comeback to that nit/half/dim/fuck-wit, Steve!

Ken_L said...

Interestingly, an American ex-colony has been experiencing much the same kind of violence as we're now seeing in Iraq for decades. Mindanao in The Philippines has sadly seen thousands of people killed, including in kidnaps for ransom, in violence labelled Islamic insurgency but which is really straight-out gangsterism. But there's no political mileage to be made out of blaming Obama for it, so hardly anyone in America is even aware of it.

Cirze said...

Gangsterism took hold here under Bush during the outright theft of the 2000 election.

And has never let up.

There's never an honest cop around when you need one.

Philo Vaihinger said...

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've seen on your blog.

But it plays nicely into the all too true narrative of post-communist obit writers that the whole red movement was nothing but nihilism in disguise, all along, anyway.

Only very young children believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the glorious Utopia at the end of history's rainbow common to Marx and his anarchist brethren.

The reality of the thing was always only sheer destruction motivated by hatred of property owners, just as François Furet wrote in 1995.

Dark Avenger said...

You're the dumbest thing I've seen on this blog,
Philo. At least with the Commies, we had to do more than give lip service to the notion of human rights. Nothing like a competitor to keep one relatively honest. Of course, we're still waiting on the conservative Utopia of plucky small business owners, freed by low tax rates to innovate and prosper under the tender mercies of the Free Market, as preached by St. Reagan.