>Comrades and brothers

>An interesting reflection on the relationship of radical Islamism and the Marxist left by Fred Halliday, who argues that there are ‘ signs of a far more developed and politically articulated accommodation in many parts of the world between Islamism as a political force and many groups of the left’ that simply the opportunistic grasping for allies characteristic of the (far) left in the 1970s and 80s. The ‘many voices of resistance’ thesis of the post-Cold War anti-globalization movement – which in its broadest interpretation can include the post-fascist European New Right (Nouvelle droite) of Alain de Benoist and friends – and the shibboleth of Neo-Liberalism have added to this pattern. Indeed, as headbanging defences of the fag end of the nomenklatura (Miloševič, Lukasenka et al) and/or its ‘achievements’ under socialism by writers like Neil Clark (part of the bizarre intellectual diaspora spawned by the Revolutionary Communist Party sect of 1980s, naturally) show, this is a club anyone can join. Indeed, even the Chinese – surely beneficiary of globalization, although I guess with some claim to have pioneered a Third Way of sorts – seem to be getting in on the act, cosying up to Hugo Chavez and Iran, although energy supplies, rather than anti-imperialism seems the motive force here.

The declining Western socialist left, says Halliday, has misunderstood that radical Islam has simply gutted and recycling the basics of anti-imperialist thesis, rhetoric and organization forms of old style mass Communist parties for other ends. While ‘Islamo-fascism’ is probably a misnomer for anything but the crudest polemics, other authors have noted the intellectual roots of radical Islam also stretch back to the anti-Enlightenment thinking of the German interwar ‘Conservative Revolution’ , sketching out a Sonderweg, which saw Germany as a distinct culture from the West.

The bizarre logic of all this seems to be that if you don’t find this Hells Kitchen of radical forces remotely appealing you are corralled, rather like the Cold War liberals in an earlier ages, into a Defence of the West camp with US neo-cons as it (admittedly now rather battered) Praetorian guard. If, to paraphrase the placards seen at demonstrations against Israeli attacks on Lebanon, we are not ‘all Hezbollah’ then it seems we are all bourgeois liberals, working out how best to Westernize the rest of the world and which bits can’t (or don’t need to be) Westernized.

Karl Marx, one feels, who saw even small Central European nations such as the Czechs as so much ahistorical detritus, who should be swept away by the juggernaut of (German-speaking) modernity, would be with George Bush on this one.

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