Sunday, September 07, 2003

Islam and the End of the Left

One of the principal lieutenants of Osama Bin Laden, Yussuf al-Ayyeri, describes the victorious struggle of Islam against the proudest ideological doctrines of the Europe. In a new book published by Al Qaeda entitled "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad", Ayyeri narrates how Islam has triumphed over Marxism. The Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, summarizes the main points. 

Al-Ayyeri argues that the history of mankind is the story of "perpetual war between belief and unbelief." ... As far as belief is concerned, the absolutely final version is represented by Islam, which "annuls all other religions and creeds." Thus, Muslims can have only one goal: converting all humanity to Islam and "effacing the final traces of all other religions, creeds and ideologies."

...various forms of unbelief attacked the world of Islam in the past century or so, to be defeated in one way or another. The first form of unbelief to attack was "modernism" ... which led to the emergence in the lands of Islam of states based on ethnic identities and territorial dimensions rather than religious faith. The second was nationalism, which, imported from Europe, divided Muslims into Arabs, Persians, Turks and others. ... The third form of unbelief is socialism, which includes communism. That, too, has been defeated and eliminated from the Muslim world, Al-Ayyeri asserts. 

The Left, long accustomed to seeing itself as the vanguard of history, has been definitively rejected in its strongholds: first in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union where it once controlled entire states, and now by the Arabian secret societies and terrorist organizations which formerly took it as their ideological creed. It is now rotting garbage in the dustbin of history, and survives artificially only in the sheltered precincts of western academia and bohemia the way a dying sect lingers in isolated deserts. Although still capable of mischief, as David Horowitz warns us, the Left has lost all physical power of self defense. Its Bolshevik core is dead. Should the United States Armed Forces somehow be overcome by the Islamists, the Left would be helpless to prevent its inquisition, torment and extermination at the hands of a vengeful Muslim world.

The hollowing out of the Left -- the death of its Bolshevik core -- is one of the great unwritten stories of the late twentieth century. The decline of the cadre of professional revolutionaries at its center was simultaneously matched by the inrush from the periphery of the network of sympathizers, fellow travelers and "useful fools" which it once adopted as protective coloration. It was a classic case of the inmates taking over an asylum from which the keepers had fled. To appreciate the difference one can compare the Communist cadres faithfully depicted in For Whom the Bell Tolls or And Quiet Flows the Don or even Silone's Bread and Wine  with the freak show of autonomists,  zapatistas, rage-against-the-machine cultists, transgender spokespersons, abortion rights activists,  militant gay and lesbians and tattered academics that characterize today's Left. The former, who seized power in the vast spaces of Europe and Asia, were practical revolutionaries who lived by strict democratic centralism. The latter have never even heard of Party discipline, confining their 'militance' to marching with their ass cheeks protruding from spangled underpants or affecting obnoxious attitudes while wearing adolescent masks. The current Left even lacks the capability to establish a viable underground organization -- child's play to the generation of Borodin, Tan Malacca and Ho Chi Minh. The organizational memory has gone clear out of its core. The Red Brigades of 1969 could probably not be created today. To experience any real militancy, today's Left wing activists must attach themselves as pathetic dogs to Islamic causes like the International Solidarity Movement. There, they can indulge their fantasy of advancing world socialism while objectively dying for Osama Bin Laden or Yasser Arafat. The circle is complete. The roles have been reversed. The heirs to moribund Bolshevism have now become the "useful fools", the protective coloration of a dynamic militant Islamism.

The decline of the Left was preceded by its comprehensive vulgarization. The Leftists of the generations of Beatrice Webb, Eric Hobsbawn, Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy and even Joan Robinson actually believed in "scientific socialism" and seriously debated such issues as the correct calculation of the surplus value of labor and the role of money in Communism. The Marxism of that era was regarded as a potentially exact science, capable of accurately predicting social trends and even human behavior. It was treated seriously. As late as the 1970s, Chairman Mao's Little Red Book was regarded as a scientific guide to action in the same sense that a trigonometry textbook contained formulas for the solution of angles, given the sides of a triangle. One wonders what Lenin would have made of the current coterie of abortion activists, transgenerational sex promoters, tree huggers or the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, all of whom would fall in the Big Tent of today's Left. It is doubtful whether such a menagerie would even understand the meaning of "dialectical materialism" except in the most degenerate terms. Like a fish, Western Communism has been rotting from the head downwards for many decades. Its putrefaction is complete.

Already pronounced dead by Al Qaeda, the Left continues to get colder by the minute as it loses its remaining lifeblood to Islam. Since Islam is unlikely to hold any attractions to conservatives, it will gain membership largely at the expense of Left. In business terminology, both the Left and militant Islam are competing for the same market of addled, alienated and resentful individuals. That market share will be dominated by the party with the better product and the most competitive advantages. That is undoubtedly Islam, with an ideology of 11 centuries standing, vast financial resources and an infrastructure of action. Against this, the Left can only set its fading strongholds in the academe and the western mass media. Fading as the aging cohort of Leftist baby-boomers is edged out by increasingly conservative younger people, as the Eurosocialist nations age and decline in population. Leftist attempts to compensate by allying themselves with Islam will only accelerate their downfall as the madrassas cannibalize the faltering socialist base. The weaker the Left becomes, the more dependent it is on alliances with Islam. The closer its alliances with Islam, the weaker the Left becomes. By and by, the Left will have nothing left to offer their allies. The Taliban did not even make a pretense of sparing the Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women from persection.  Al Jazeera is already buying media outlets in the west.  Islam is creating endowments at Harvard and establishing a network of community schools. How much longer can the Left offer its decrepit wares, hobbling forward, not to the expected Historical Dawn but only deeper into the crypt of forgotten beliefs?

The Iranian journalist Taheri continues:

What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a "clean battlefield" in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels "secularist democracy." This threat is "far more dangerous to Islam" than all its predecessors combined. The reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's "seductive capacities." ... "If democracy comes to Iraq, the next target [for democratization] would be the whole of the Muslim world," Al-Ayyeri writes.

The corpse of the Left has already been twitched aside by Islam, which refers to it only in the past tense. All that remains in its path is the United States of America, behind whom the feeble stragglers from Marxism's golden age shelter, still resentful, still self-important and still contemptible.