“Right and left, who strew war against political Islam internationally, are harvesting the war of Islam nationally,” tweeted the anarcho-French philosopher Michel Onfry the night of the Friday the 13th massacre. A tweet which earned him the scorn of the establishment. Basically, you reap what you sow.
For the past 25 years, ever since the First Gulf War, the West has been bombing Arab Muslims on a daily basis. The number of dead is in the hundreds of thousands by all accounts. For every targeted militant, there are at least nine collateral losses. It is no wonder so many are willing to die for revenge. Muslims are angry. And as in the past, those who want to fight will go to those who are fighting, no matter the ideology: e.g. communist in France and Italy in WWII, Hamas in Palestine, IS in Iraq, Taliban in Afghanistan …
In France, the Arab Muslim population are left on the sidelines with little hope of sharing in the pie. They are part of the 50% of the world’s population who have no stake in the global wealth. The top 10% have 85% of the world’s assets with the top one percent detaining at least 40%, more than 50% according to Oxfam. This corresponds very closely to what the French call the ‘Ancien Régime’ – the pre-revolution nobility.
There is an interesting twist Marx never foresaw: not only is this ten percent extremely internationalized, having made national borders a thing of the past for finance capitalists, but they are also responsible for the destruction of the nation-state, something Marx said was a proletarian task. (Point made by French philosopher Alain Badiou).
The interventions in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, destroyed those states and left chaos behind. Every now and then, they intervene militarily when their interests are jeopardized by some local mafia-war lord, but otherwise seem quite content to leave the former nations in tatters. This is why France intervenes in Mali (to protect uranium mines in neighboring Niger) but not in today’s Libya or Burundi.
Between the bottom half and the top 10%, there is a group on which the whole system stands.
It is the 40% in between on which the interests of the 10% depends. In reality, this middle class which owns roughly 14% of the world’s assets should side with the have-nots to see that there is a better distribution of wealth but that is not happening. The agents of the 10%, those political leaders and industrial and finance captains, have managed to convince the 40% that their enemy is the bottom half. They have instilled fear in the middle class of the ‘losers’ for which modern society has no place,neither as producers, nor consumers. This is why the middle supports the state of emergency in France without asking any questions.
The agents of the 10% have convinced the middle that their salvation lay in a national identity finance capitalists gave up on two decades ago. The latter are as much at home in Shanghai as they are in New York or Aruba. Their assets are globalized and no longer anchored in one nation. They are internationalists in the truest sense of the word. Marx would be dismayed.
The middle class in France are asked to identify with the nation, to hang out flags, sing the Marseillaise, support the Army, declare war on an elusive enemy, accept radical restrictions on freedom and all for the ‘values of the Republic’ and of the nation.
The Jihadists of the banlieues who feel they are humiliated on a daily basis and who cannot see their place in this nation, naturally flock to those who offer them a sense of dignity and power. And what power is greater than the power to kill and rape and get good pay for doing it? They are the fascist militia of a mafia business hiding behind the smokescreen of religion, much like the militia in France under Pétin during Nazi occupation or Franco’s falangists. Viva la meurte!
For IS is above all a business. They deal in oil and cotton, collect taxes as a racket. And in any business, when you are selling something, someone else is buying which is not a problem for the 10%. We can bomb Raqqa and buy IS oil at the same time. What is a problem for them, however, is when they shake the base upon which their power resides: the middle class in wealthy countries. This is what happened in France on November 13.
All fascist ideologies have people who are willing to die for the cause. The more anger there is at the bottom, the more ‘martyrs’ there will be.
This may turn out good for the top as long as they can continue to rally the middle around the state of emergency and the notion of a ‘nation’ whose only purpose is to assure the global dominance and wealth of the ten percent.
Unless the middle understands they have nothing to gain through the state of emergency, and everything to gain by siding with the aspirations of a better life for the bottom, this war will go on. There are plenty of recruits for the fascist IS. I actually wonder whether it is not too late to prevent a new civil war in Europe? It is also a dangerous game for the 10% because fascism in the nation-state could easily undermine their global interests and strip them of the captains and politicians who assure their wealth. Some fascists actually believe what they preach.