otto's war room banner

otto's war room banner

Sunday, March 29, 2015

ISIS competes with us for the lost souls

There has been a lot of blather on the radio lately as to why young people from Europe and the US are going to the Middle-east to join ISIS (Islamic State). A lot of theories have cropped up. Some people may feel left out of the society they live in. If they are made to feel as outsiders in their own society, there is a good chance they will turn against that society.
Consider that today our news media has learned to make certain people and ideas disappear. Since the end of the cold war, the bourgeois press has decided that any kind of socialism is no longer to be discussed. Socialist people are only mentioned as relics of the past and a past that never could or would work. Those who favor socialism never exist in the sense that they are never quoted nor heard from. Their books and actions are completely ignored as if they don't exist at all. Likewise is the peace movements, which oppose war, but more specifically the imperialist system that requires constant war. Many people don't even realize that such groups or people exist. They never really see or hear from them. So those who know specifically what is being excluded from the news and those who know what exists when the news media seems to suggest they don't, feel left out of society all together. They are invisible.
The same may be said for minority religions such as Muslims. The dominant western religion is Christianity. Even though discrimination is not encouraged out-right, it develops from a sense that the Muslims are not really part of this society. The less sophisticated Christians automatically look at Muslims as a competing religion. Even though our society is supposed to be tolerant of all religions, most Christians really see that as tolerance for OTHER CHRISTIAN religions and the others, such as Muslims, simply found a loop-hole. So as with atheists and socialists, the Muslims find that in this society they are invisible.
So we constantly see, on TV, a society that is capitalist and Christian. Any opposition to capitalism is no longer an option. Christianity is almost treated the same way. It would be easy to believe that it is almost illegal and definitely not tolerable to oppose the "great and all powerful free-market" (so-called). We also see a society in which there is no opposition to the military and we all love and support our troops. Not since World War II has the media been so pro-military. Those who oppose our imperialist "heroes" are made to fee like outsiders.
Many people have the feeling that there is a sense of spiritual emptiness in US society today. They long for a sense of purpose in their lives. Our society shows us (mostly from TV) lots of people who are happy in our capitalist life and happy with their Christian religion, but that is not adequate for all people. For many young people it doesn't work. In the 1960s young people actually sought out spirituality from LSD.[1] Some of those people developed the use of that drug along with the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Even though the young people of the 1960s seemed almost anarchistic in their approach to life, they sought out a spiritual meaning they could not find in Christianity. That is the key to today's spiritually lost youth. They are no longer anarchists, but they seek answers to questions that have not been answered by modern Christianity. To put it bluntly CAPITALISM and CHRISTIANITY have FAILED US and European society.   
So when I heard a panelist on NPR (National Public Radio) say that "Google is an alternative" I couldn't believe it. Technology is a reason people find spiritual emptiness. We have all these "gee wiz toys" and no real purpose for their use. We have the technological meansbut not the wisdom to know how to use it.
It is like a Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Dingle,the Strong." Aliens from Mars give Mr. Dingle great strength, but soon they realize he will only use it for petty exhibitionism. They get bored with him and take the powers away. As with that episode young people notice the petty exhibitionism of modern technology and its use, but have no way to take it away when they realize how shallow its use actually is.
The panelist I heard also said he thought the free market was also a solution to the problem. But the free market is part of the problem for the spiritually empty. The free market is a brutal "dog eat dog" form of realism that sucks the spirituality out of many people. This is one reason why capitalism relies so heavily on Christianity. The free market has no soul. It works on pure logic and benefits someand only somein pure materialist pleasures. Those who lose out become invisible. But such pleasures can lead to a feeling of emptiness. Christianity is suppose to give us that sense of belonging and purpose. We are suppose to work hard and prosper, to get THINGS we need and WANT. But those things lack a sense of purpose and connectedness. What people need from Christianity is to give them that sense that our lives actually have purpose. But Christianity doesn't work for everyone. If it did there would be no LSD gurus of the 1960s and today no one would want to leave our society to spiritually fulfill themselves in broken down third world countries fighting for Allah.
And that brings us to the life and death struggles in the Middle-east. In that part of the world, religion is now seen as the liberating force outside of the unworkable capitalist ideology that the US is imposing on people in the Middle-east. There is very little actual capitalist development in the Middle-east compared to the more industrialized countries. The people there know that won't change. They know the US could have made those changes 30 years ago and they didn't. The US government just wants control of the resources and people there know it.
During the 1960s Marxist groups held promise to those who were tired of suffering under the US empire. But back in those days there was a Soviet Union or China to aid those Marxist groups who needed it. As the cold war ended, so did any outside support to these Marxist groups. Now the remaining Marxists must work all over again to gain back the support of people. They also have to develop their own resources and weapons. Now a lot of people there look to Muslims for a sense of liberation. People now hope that going back to their religious roots will allow them be break free of the feeling they are slaves to the US and European Empires.
So the longing for a better life under Muslim fascism combines with the spiritual emptiness of the west and its children to create a monster of a movement in the Middle-east. For the US imperialists and their grand plans this is a disaster. For the left, it is a lost opportunity.
For those of us who are leftists we are competing with a movement that is not as sophisticated, but it IS winning the hearts and minds of both disillusioned imperialist youth and the underlings of the Middle-east. For us it may be a long hard road to win back the hearts and minds of people in either of these places. In the 1980s young people went to Central America and made connections to the people there. That is a far cry from groups such as ISIS. ISIS acts out senseless and grandiose actions and encourages aimless murder.
The one and ONLY thing we have in common is our enemy; imperialism. We both seek to destroy a system that reduces the people in the imperialist nations to mindless consumers and the actual people of the Middle-east are slaves.    
Marxism can also fulfill spirituality in the sense that as humanists we are part of a bigger whole; something that is bigger than the individual. This is in contrast to the "wheel of chance" style free market system where some of us come out as big winners and others as complete losers. We can provide an alternative to a system that encourages us to hate and despise those who have lost. Marxism encourages us to take a leap forward were ALL of us are winners. That ideology worked for the youth in SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) in the 1960s and the supporters of Central American revolution in the 1980s, and it can work again. 
This is about understanding what people who join ISIS really want. Both of us want to destroy imperialism. We will work for that regardless. We are competing with ISIS and imperialism and we should never work with any of those. They are enemy ideologies. Those other ideologies are poison to the people in the long run. We seek to destroy all of them eventually.


ISIS's propaganda

"He uses his powers for petty exhibitionism."

[1] Lysergic acid diethylamide, an extremely powerful hallucinogen.

No comments: