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WHEN IN DOUBT by Burton Sankeralli

posted 20 Sep 2012, 19:24 by Gerry Kangalee
Comrade Norris Deonarine may have called it agitation and propaganda. But I prefer a shorter more concise term. In the words of the old mythic revolutionary, when in doubt – riot. And the news from the “Middle East” is good (and from Libya especially good but I digress). This as the fire spreads. 

Now the hegemonic imperially “embedded” Western media has its own grand narrative. These are Muslim barbarians and fanatics getting on over a film. And I wholly agree this would indeed be out of order. But it’s not just a movie is it? This is a response to the sustained war that the West and in particular the American Empire has been waging against Muslims.
And the list of countries keeps getting longer, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Iran has joined the queue. And let’s not forget the work of the genocidal Zionists in occupied Palestine. So there will be riots. The poor man’s war. 

And when you think about it compared to the murderous bloodletting that the West is unleashing on Islamic countries these scenes on our television ought really to count as non-violent protests. Now of course we must not rule out the role of some religious elites in all this. Here the motives are quite mixed including but not limited to anti-imperialist struggle.
There are more than enough extremist nut jobs running around the place but upon reflection, put in its proper context, the reaction of the masses is entirely understandable and like I said comparatively speaking peaceful. 

I also detect emanating from said Islamic religious elites a certain historical resentment. And you must be aware that this is a part of the world where people’s memories are very, very long. Many are still a bit peeved over that matter of the crusades and a thousand years from now long after the USA has ceased to exist people will still be singing the praises of the Iraqi anti-American “insurgency”. 

This historical resentment revolves around the displacement of the previous Islamic hegemony by the Christian-secular West. Do remember that it was Muslim Empires that ruled the world (or a great deal of it) and this was only completely put to rest with the capitulation of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. 

I find this to be a key historical juncture as this also signals the end of a certain type of “feudal” oriented imperialism and the ascent of the present global hegemonic order. This was sealed by the end of World War II that led to the dissolution of the British Empire and the United States seizing control of the global system. Here, by the way, the farce of “third world” independence really signalled a handing over of these so-called nations as vassals of the new Imperium. 

Now this is all unravelling or undergoing profound modification though it is by no means clear what is emerging. America appears to be in terminal decline (although admittedly its total collapse will take time) and there is another queue of would-be imperialists ready to take its place with China at the head of the line. And let’s have no illusions about what would happen next.

Now for a range of reasons forces in the Islamic world stand opposed to this now unravelling system. And it is significant that it is here an authentic struggle (with all the contradictions) arising from the people themselves against injustice, oppression and global Empire has materialized. 

The Arab Spring has in turn inspired similar movements of resistance in the West. So we have the anti-austerity and Occupy movements this as the imperial heartland is itself engulfed in economic crisis. And now this has all turned into the Arab Autumn of peace-full rioting. But of course feeding this has been the crude and nasty involvement of the West in its attempt to appropriate the Arab Spring to further its own agenda and settle old scores in the process, note Libya and Syria. 

Indeed, now that you mention it I do recall talk going around in the days of Gulf War II that it was all part of a plot by the imperialist to re-draw the map of the Middle East. Well it seems as if the masses have similar ideas. Now here arises a possible counter narrative. That this is all part of some master plan, some grand conspiracy theory to further the hegemonic agenda. Perhaps, but let us not second guess the times. When in doubt…

Riot however is clearly no panacea and this wisdom clearly assumes a fundamentally unjust system like the one we are confronting. On the other hand we can see how such a response can be engineered by the imperialists themselves as was the case in Venezuela some years ago with the attempted coup.

So what about us (and I say “us”) in the thinking Left. Is it just a matter of plunging into this vortex where radical anarchism and fascism seem to intersect? And this kind of thing can get badly out of hand (as a scholar I hope they don’t burn the libraries and museums). Surely there is to be method in the madness. True. But I fear we are ourselves ill-equipped in the new time and we will have to engage by a process of trial and error.

Moreover I disagree with a certain classical Marxist view of linear history. History does indeed have its purpose but it unfolds precisely through chaotic creative processes going in several directions at the same time.

However I am in full agreement with my other comrade who says that it is critical that we get involved. What is even now emerging is not pre-determined; rather we have to determine it as far as we may.

And we have to so determine right here in our own space. This as we ourselves are being engulfed in this crisis of capitalist collapse in its global and local dimensions. Here our so-called crime problem is but a symptom.

Even as we speak the state apparatus is preparing to unleash or rather escalate its own war on the people. Our notorious apathy notwithstanding, I am cautiously hopeful that when it comes to the crunch the masses will be up to the challenge.

Did somebody say – RIOT?