[Marxism] Re: Al Qaeda-Emerging New International Resistance to Imperialism

Jim Farmelant farmelantj at juno.com
Sun Mar 21 17:26:33 MST 2004

On Sun, 21 Mar 2004 13:18:39 -0800 Michael Perelman
<michael at ecst.csuchico.edu> writes:
> One minor point:  flying the airplanes into buildings was not 
> revolutionary violence,
> but it probably solicited the sort of response that al Qaeda 
> desired, by dividing the
> United States from Muslim and weakening secular states in the Middle 
> East.  The
> organization had no need for the people of the United States to 
> understand its
> motives.

I am inclined to agree.  I don't think that Al Quaida gives two
figs about US public opinion as such.  That's not the
audience that they are attempting to appeal to.  What they are
concerned about is public opinion in Muslim countries,
where they are attempting to drive a wedge between those
countries and the US and a wedge between the regimes that
govern in those countries and the masses there.  Al Qaida 
wanted the US to invade Iraq.  In fact I think it was a part of 
their calculations that the Bush Administration would try take 
advantage of 9-11 to invade Iraq.  And that suited Al Qaida just fine
because they hoped and expected that an invasion of
Iraq would turn into a quagmire which would over time
weaken the various regimes in the Middle East which
are close to the US.  If the negative political fallout from
the US invasion helps to weaken the regimes that
govern in Jordan, Egypt, and especially in Saudi Arabia
then so much the better, from the standpoint of Al Qaida.

In this sense I think that Louis' critique of Al Qaida perhaps
misses the point about them.  They are not leftists or socialists.
They are not attempting to create the sorts of mass mobilizations
that revolutionary socialists attempt to create, which is why
comparisons between them and the Russian narodniki
are in the end unpersuasive.  If Al Qaida represented even
some sort of Islamic socialism then such criticisms would 
make sense.  It made sense for people like Plekhanov,
Lenin, and Trotsky to criticize the narodniki for their terrorism
since the narodniki were avowed socialists who were at
least in theory committed to the mobilization of Russian
peasants and workers against the czarist regime, so it
was quite reasonable to criticize them for having adopted
tactics that were likely to lessen the probability of a
revolutionary mass movement emerging in Russia.
I don't think that sort of thing is what Al Qaida is about,
however.  I seem to recall that Richard Rubenstein
in his book  *Alchemists of Revolution* emphasized
the ineffectiveness of terrorism as  a means for
promoting  for seizing power or bringing about social transformation
by progressives but noted its relative efficacy in the hands
of nationalist and ethnic movements and reactionaries of various stripes.

> On Sat, Mar 20, 2004 at 05:37:20PM -0500, Louis Proyect wrote:
> >When revolutionary 
> > violence takes place in the context of a mass movement and is 
> supported and 
> > understood by the masses, it is one thing. What al Qaeda is up to 
> is 
> > another altogether. It is *counter-productive* to fly airplanes 
> into office 
> > buildings or commuter trains filled with working people. It helps 
> to get 
> > them to identify with their rulers as has been obvious in the USA. 
> -- 
> Michael Perelman
> Economics Department
> California State University
> Chico, CA 95929
> Tel. 530-898-5321
> E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
> _______________________________________________
> Marxism mailing list
> Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/marxism

The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!

More information about the Marxism mailing list