Monday, April 07, 2008

al-Qa'ida and anarchism


Anarchism is the body of thought and writing about how we achieve anarchy, a social system without the state. Anarchists have long opposed the state and seen state society as the cause of much of the social ills that have afflicted society for hundreds of years.

A new book by Phillip Bobbitt, Terror and Consent, suggests that we anarchists have a new ally in our struggle against the state: al-Qa'ida!

Don't get too excited yet. Bobbitt is a nephew of Lyndon Johnson, a professor of constitutional law, a counselor of presidents and adviser of Congressional Committees. No friend of anarchists, Bobbit refers to environmental activists as ecoterrorists and describes animal rights "terrorists" as "those whose desired world gives a political voice to nonhumans that can override the democratically determined wishes of any society."

Bobbitt is a self-proclaimed free-market capitalist, who sees the world as "progressing" from nation-states to "market-states" that transcend national boundaries and operate in a global economy. He sees the current struggles between the united States and al-Qa'ida as the birth pangs of the new market-state society.

In other words, Global Anarcho-Capitalism: Milton Friedman's wet dream in full implementation.

Bobbitt sees al-Qa'ida as the new market-state challenge to the old nation-state imperialism of the united States and Great Britain. Since al-Qa'ida is not a state power but an economic system, Bobbitt sees it the equivalent of a transnational corporation, in that it is decentralized and outsources terrorist actions aimed at nation-states who oppose Muslim self-determination throughout the world.

Bobbitt argues for a change in uS national law and strategy to meet the new challenges of market-state terrorism, in effect, suggesting that the uS abandon government organized for the well-being of the people of the nation, and change government to emphasize the well-being and maximization of opportunity for individuals, by commodifying everything, including services now provided for the people by the state. This is, in essence, fascism taken to its ultimate global development.

The rhetoric of the market-state is simply neologism for anarcho-capitalism, or free-market capitalism taught and spread by the Chicago School of economics and demonstrated to deadly effect in South American countries by totalitarian dictators propped up by uS power and money.

In Bobbitt's view, the future will be a struggle for world economic supremacy between a newly reorganized global Western market-state, and the Muslim market-state terrorists, such as al-Qa'ida.

There are three silver linings on this cloudy economic and social horizon: 1) Peak Oil; 2) global climate change; and 3) al-Qua'ida.

Peak oil, of course, will limit any vision of a unlimited economic growth as espoused by free-market capitalists. To these creators of their own reality, oil is only one of many freely exchangeable sources of energy that will be replaced by other forms of energy as supply and demand make them economically feasible. There is no shortage of anything, merely the free play of the market, making decisions about what is best. Fortunately, Mother Nature has other plans.

Global climate change is well underway, and unless we make immediate and drastic reductions in fossil fuel use in the next ten years, will result in a world far different than the one in which humans evolved. In other words, the status quo will not long prevail, free-market or none. Any nation-state that does not include this reality in its plans is doomed. The global economy cannot survive in a world thaht cannot grow enough food for hungry billions of humans.

Finally, al-Qa'ida represents a global response to centuries of state terrorism and imperialism from countries that used overwhelming power and violence to extend their hegemony over countries that had resources badly needed to prop up failing capitalist economies around the world. Finally, under the umbrella of a global Muslim economic system, these people have the power to resist, and to meet violence with violence.

As all things become commodified in the new market-state, including weapons, ammunition, weapons of mass destruction and even armies themselves, now anyone with money can create a powerful force of resistance, and export violence to the source of the violence that has historically been visited on them. And, thanks to huge reserves of oil underlying the sands of the Middle East, the oppressed have suddenly come into a great deal of money.

As the anarchists and Socialists of the early 20th Century looked to the Soviet Union as the model of the global revolution to come, today's anarchists can see a future model of decentralized, stateless society in the struggle of the people of the Middle East to gain their independence, self-determination and freedom from oppression.

When I listen to the words of those who resist uS imperialist invasion and occupation of the lands of the Middle East, I don't hear hatred of our freedoms. What I hear is hatred of our intolerance, our bigotry and our our economic oppression. What I hear is a cry for the same freedoms we pretend to enjoy at home.

What do we do here in the united States, where we benefit every day from the destruction of lives and livelihoods in lands far away?

What do we do?

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