otto's war room banner

otto's war room banner

Monday, October 19, 2015

ISIS competes with us for the lost souls

This is being reposted and slightly revised.

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.
If we 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 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 exists. They never really see or hear from them. So those who know specifically what is being excluded from the news and those who know they exist 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 as Muslims. The dominant 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 THEIR 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. The capitalism is no longer an option. 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.
There is also the feeling that there is a sense of spiritual emptiness. They long for a sense of purpose in their lives. Our society shows lots of people who are happy in our capitalist place in life and happy with their Christian religion, but that is not adequate for all people. For many young people it doesn't work. Even in the 1960s when young people actually sought out spirituality from LSD.[1] Many people developed the use of that drug along with the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Even though the young people of the1960s 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 the seek answers to questions that have not been answered by modern Christianity. To put it bluntly CAPITALISM and CHRISTIANITY have FAILED much of 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 bang toys" and no real purpose for their use. We have the technological means but not the wisdom to know how to use it.
It is like a Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Dingle, the Strong." Aliens from Mars give him 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 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 some and only some in 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. People need from Christianity 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, fundamentalist religious fascism[2] is now 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 because 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 that.
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 to aid those who needed it. China and others also sent aid to help these groups. 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 who have now looked to Muslims for a sense of liberation. They hope going back to their religious routs will allow them be break fee of the feeling they are slaves to the US and European Empire.
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 missed 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 murders 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, while 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. Unlike the "wheel of chance" style free market system where some of us come out as BIG WINNERSand others as COMPLETE LOSERS and unlike 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 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. But it is not about supporting those decisions. We also want to destroy imperialism. We will work for that regardless. We are competing with ISIS and imperialism and we will never work with any of those. They are enemy ideologies. They 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.
[2] It needs to be pointed out that this is not about the religion of Islam. Religious fundamentalists exist in almost all religions. It is the fundamentalist and fascistic aspects of ISIS I am writing about. There are many peaceful and progressive Muslims.

No comments: