By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
We’re not supposed to acknowledge this, but support for terrorism and mass murder, especially mass murder of the innocent and the poor, is almost entirely a creature of the wealthy and privileged.
Every time the murder of innocent people and denial of their human rights takes place, it is excused and supported almost exclusively by the wealthiest, students or adults, from super-privileged backgrounds. Who calls murder “resistance” and turns a person who killed kids into a “political prisoner” and writes plays and does artistic expression glorifying such killings. It is almost exclusively the very wealthy.
Now we have to ask a question about this. People have all sorts of stories about “self-hate” or romance for certain things, but when you inquire into the class-origins of genocide and murder, then you can only conclude that class is a factor. If it is a factor then support for terror is simply a continuation of the war against the poor. Why do they see a bus bombing and see it as a “glorious operation”? It’s because the victims are a different class. Terror often targets the poor and the weak, the defenseless, lower and lower middle class. People who use public transport for instance have often been victims. Let’s say people with summer homes and several cars are less often victims. But they are more often excusers.
So when I see some “shocking” story about some rich kid or privileged “artist” or “academic” who says terrorists and killers are “resisting”, it’s not shocking, it’s just a part of a suppression of the equal rights of all people, especially the duty society has to give rights to the poor.
Terror, from the 19th century to today, is almost always from middle class or wealthy backgrounds. It’s not the weapon of the poor but of the educated rich. Poor people riot, rich people blow people up. Survey ISIS members, you’ll rarely find the poor, or working class. You’ll find university educated men were MORE LIKELY to join and to own slaves and genocide. Educated women were MORE LIKELY to join, than uneducated women.
So let’s ask. What really is terror? It’s a form of oppression. It’s a form of genocide. And it is a method by which the privileged and ultra-wealthy use to deny rights to the poor who they cannot confront on the field of battle due to numbers. So they use terror.
Just go look at the articles. Stop being “shocked” and start asking about wealth, education, privilege, power. We need to investigate who tend to be victims and perpetrators of terror and who are supporters and filter these factors for class.
Yes, support for ISIS in the West is most common among more wealthy, educated people. Nazism also had a lot of members with PhDs. Stalin’s henchmen, almost all were more well educated than their victims (kulaks etc). And go see who supported Nazism and Stalin in the West… let’s say it wasn’t the guys waiting in the bread line.
Western supremacism and Islamist terror. Never have two things been made to fit together so perfectly than the Islamist far right genocidal terror and western intellectual culture.
Because a type of western intellectual life is so supremacist, it cannot conceive of the idea that what non-westerners do could be indigenous agency, namely that they have chosen to do something of their own accord. In the western mind all terror, for instance, is a reaction, it is never an active choice. People are “driven into the arms of ISIS.” No one ever sets out to join ISIS, even the blond western converts who join don’t do so of their own accord. They are “driven” to do so. Others in Iraq are “reacting” to the “western-backed government.” Far right Islamist terrorists are always victims, never truly perpetrators in the narrative. They are radicalized, something is done to them. They never have any responsibility.
This western logic says that when there are far right Islamist terror attacks that their goal isn’t to kill people but actually to “divide” society and cause the government to harshly crack down and that’s “what terrorists want,” you’ll never hear that they want what the Nazi-KKK-Inquisition wanted, which was to kill. No, it’s always a different motive. It’s like saying the real reason for KKK lynching was to divide society and get the FBI to suppress white people and thus drive people to join, that it had nothing to do with racism.
This western mindset is constructed to be receptive to this narrative because of a long history of racism and Orientalism in which bothers were perceived as “child like” and “primitive” and therefore animal-like in their decision making. That’s why people can’t see ISIS as far-right Nazis. They see it as some sort of opaque thing that is caused by western actions, if you just do X then it is reduced and do Y and it grows. Like a plant. Few will say that it’s not a plant. It’s people who adopt a far-right genocidal worldview based on religious intolerance and hate and that they commit murder and terror because of genocide and when they have power, as they did in Iraq, they total genocide of minorities and ethnic-cleansing.
Only by freeing oneself of the western intellectual tradition can one see the reality of ISIS. It’s actions are not caused by anyone, it is entirely responsible as are its members and they aren’t “radicalized” they choose to become radical and they choose, like the KKK chose, to hate. No one forced them to buy slaves and execute people. ISIS is the strong majoritarian far-right ideology, the nationalist and militarist, it is not some little victim minority.
No one has ever been “driven” to join ISIS; every person joins because they seek it out and want to commit genocide. No one drives you to be a football hooligan, arresting hooligans doesn’t create more of them. Arresting Nazis and KKK isn’t “what they want”.