Sunday, February 18, 2007

Anti-Imperialism and Waves of Rage

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBrendan O'Neill is editor of Spiked Online, the organ of one of the successor bodies to th Revolutionary Communist Party, an eccentric ultra-left organisation that converted en masse to libertarianism in the 1990s. Still, whoever he is, this post of his (from Comment is Free) is very interesting.

He's commenting on the way that "Muslim Rage" seems to have replaced political analysis at the root of the politics of many in the anti-war movement, and among the self-appointed "community leaders" so beloved of both the government and sections of the left. This has disastrous consequences in terms of a crisis of representation that leads all sorts of people to think they can set themselves up to speak, unelected, for the UK's Muslim communities.

Bizarrely, the prevailing wisdom among liberals and left wingers is simply to buy into this kind of politics as though it were self-evident fact. For instance, many people seem to simply accept that the war in Iraq and/or the Israeli occupation of Palestine were the cause of 7/7, as though the relationship were a direct and causal one. As O'Neill puts it:

"The idea that it somehow 'makes sense' for Khan and his three mates to kill themselves and others in protest at British foreign policy shows the triumph of the narrow and divisive politics of identity. There is also something uncomfortably racial about it. The assumption seems to be that there's something in Muslims' ethnic or religious make-up that makes it more acceptable, or at least more understandable, for them to carry out murderous acts in response to wars abroad, as if they are unthinking automatons driven more by emotion and instinct than rational political thought."

It's uncomfortable terrain, but he has a point. Could you seriously imagine progressives arguing, that David Khoresh or Tim McVeigh were driven by root causes based in unfair US policies towards the white working class, as though that was just the obvious explanation for the former's arming of his followers or of the murderous outrages committed by the latter? I certainly can't imagine a set of circumstances in which that would happen.

Have a look and see what you think. It's food for thought, anyway.

(Hat Tip: Modernity Blog)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home