Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Jihad and McWorld, or, globalization and 9/11

A taboo subject. Remembering Benjamin Barber's great book "Jihad vs. McWorld", the attacks of 9/11 can be interpreted as a response not just to western intervention in Saudi Arabia and Israel but to westernizing capitalist globalization as well. That this response took the form of fundamentalist Islam is somewhat predictable, as socialism sponsored by the Soviet Union had collapsed and independent socialist ideologies had not been able to coalesce. It's possible that the plotters of 9/11 were responding to an erosion of their unique cultural and social worldview. The link between fundamentalist Islam and the the positively medieval interpretation of life put forward by Bin Laden and company added another unfortunate dimension that diverted attention away from the actions of the United States and the global capitalist culture. If it was the first act of total aggression in the globalized world, it was also the globalized world's undoing, as the response of the U.S. systematically shredded any allegiance to any global standard of conduct and to any universal notion of human culture and society.

9/11 was, of course, very very wrong. Not only that, but fundamentalist Islam is a barren ideology compared to varieties of Islamic influenced socialism based on Third World Nationalism. Hiding out in the wilds of Saudi Arabia, where any primitive notion is allowed to flourish without hindrance because of the constant flow of oil money, and where those in charge are able to indulge whatever bullshit they want, and linking up similar backwards regimes in places like Afghanistan, Yemen, and Sudan, without much oil money, and looking at them as the promised lands, as places where pure values of some kind still live, is insane.

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