Home / Opinion / Capitalism: a civilization clash | By Saulat Nagi
Capitalism: a civilization clash

Capitalism: a civilization clash | By Saulat Nagi

No one can deny the hideousness of the crime committed in France by two brothers of Algerian origin. It must be condemned but not before determining the cause and revealing the truth.

The world has been ripped off
by another explosion of extreme proportions, bigger than what is happening in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Pakistan. Gigantic and even bigger than the cold blooded slaughter of nearly 150 people, mostly children, in the city of Peshawar by a group of mercenaries called the Taliban, once an allied ally of both the US and Europe. The gory murder of more than a dozen people in France, including cartoonists of a weekly newspaper, has been portrayed as the most atrocious crime ever committed in the history of humankind. The responsibility of this grisly crime allegedly lies on the shoulders of two psychopaths suffering from ‘infantile neurosis’. “Religion”, according to Spinoza, “is a ‘tissue of mysteries’ that attracts men ‘who flatly despise reason.’” In 2011, the deadliest attack carried out in the history of post-world-war Norway took many more lives than the tragic incident in France. The cynical crusader Anders Breivik belonged to the ultra-right wing of Christianity and for enemies he had chosen both Islam and cultural Marxism. According to his own statement, through this bloodbath, “he was only trying to market his ideas”. In principle, market laws are not subject to any criticism since they regulate themselves. Like private property, ‘privatisation of reason’, the rational irrationality of civilisation too is the hallmark of market economy. Probably under the spell of the same (un)reason, no one cared to mention the reincarnation of savagery in Christianity, which dominated and till now continues to cast its sombre shadows over the history of this religion’s medieval era. Nietzsche, while analysing this eclipse of reason, states: “where market place begins the noise of the great actors and the buzzing of the poisonous flies begin too”. All sane voices are likely to drown in this shrill.

No one can deny the hideousness of the crime committed in France by two brothers of Algerian origin. It must be condemned but not before determining the cause and revealing the truth that, according to Democritus, “lies at the bottom of a well”. Without undergoing this ordeal how can one claim to be privy to the facticity of the reason lurking behind this phenomenon? While confronting Nietzsche’s intellect, much eloquent wisdom is likely to become mute. He defines the subtle difference between the conditions of truth. “It is not when truth is dirty,” he states, “but when it is shallow, that the lover of the knowledge is reluctant to step into its waters.” That is when truth is not desired for its own sake but for something alien or different from the truth itself.

In this case, the actual truth, however muddy it becomes, leads us to one fact that at least one of the culprits, Cherif Kouachi, was not alien to the secret agencies of the world, let alone France. In May 2008, on charges of terrorism, he was condemned to prison for three years. As word goes, he worked for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Islamic State (IS), who was assassinated courtesy a drone attack by the US. The question is how he could manage to stroll half the globe, including Syria and Egypt, unscathed? Was he assured a deliberate safe conduct or were the agencies, which can spill the blood of Lumumba and Allende with nonchalant ease while successfully spying on their own presidents (the Watergate and Lewinsky scandals to name a few) with equal skill, looking somewhere else, to some other benign target, or was he left alone to fill his bosom with religious bigotry, which ultimately led him to execute a handful of journalists? Or was he a plain puppet prepared and armed by the west to be used against Assad, hence bound to be liquidated once the mission was apparently accomplished?

Whatever the reasons, this phenomenon as a whole highlights a society seriously lacking in freedom. A society that fails to provide peaceful means of catharsis falls in the category of a sick society where id is repressed to the extent that ego, the suppressor, transcends its limits hence elopes with thanatos. It explodes. Yet again it proves the ‘fathers’ as guilty; they are not only intolerant but the freedom offered by them is equally false. By making their sons guilty they wish to salvage their own guilt, their own shame that comes with the guilt. But the sons do not want to live in a world based on chicanery and violence. Hence, through ‘legal’ or ‘illegal’ means, they are expressing their resentment. The instinctual aggression has moulded itself into an intellectual resistance against a system that is based on alienated labour where no escape from the life of toil and misery seems possible.

In this society, the oppressed is left with two alternatives: outright rebellion or a brazen show of violence. The former is a remedy, the latter a meaningless, sometimes lethal, reaction, lethal not against society at large but the very cause one is espousing. This is exactly what happened on that day in France. In the aftermath of this incident, who suffered the most? Muslims in general and the unity of the international working class in particular. The energy and aggressiveness that was otherwise meant to overthrow an exploitive system could not be steered to fight the real enemy, hence allowed to hit upon a wasteful phenomenon of religiosity. The establishment, while fully realising the real basis of this revolt, not only added fuel to the fire of religious hatred but also unleashed all the forces of law and order against it to nail the real cause of rebellion. “Law and order,” Herbert Marcuse says, “have always had the most ominous sound; the entire necessity and the entire horror of the ‘legitimate force’ are condensed and sanctioned in these phrases.” ‘Fathers’ yet again, albeit temporarily, have won the battle.

Militants or reactionaries “do not think and act in a vacuum: their consciousness (true or false) and their goals make them representatives of the very real common interest of the oppressed.” But “as long as a social system reproduces, by indoctrination and integration, a self-perpetuating conservative majority, the majority reproduces the system itself — open to changes within, but not beyond, its institutional framework” (Herbert Marcuse). This is exactly what was anticipated by the establishment, hence in the shape of a march of millions led by the apostles of this criminal system, it ultimately became an unfortunate reality. Upon the ‘sons’ the situation brought back the fear of ‘castration’. Akin to the ‘fathers’, modern capitalism has, through fear, reduced the human being into an instrument, hence converting him into a sublimated slave.

Akin to several other words, ‘violence’ too has not only different connotations but altogether inverse interpretations as well. In case of the state and its instruments of coercion — the police, military, intelligence agencies — this word, though having brutal consequences, is considered a routine practice and hence becomes an acceptable norm but once used by those who wish to ‘subvert’ the system it is decried as inhuman, barbaric and marred with savagery. Herbert Marcuse once again succinctly elaborates the gimmickry hidden in this word. According to him, “In the established vocabulary, ‘violence’ is a term, which one does not apply to the action of the police, the national guard, the marshals, the marines, the bombers. The ‘bad’ words are a priori reserved for the enemy, and their meaning is defined and validated by the actions of the enemy regardless of their motivation and goal. No matter how ‘good’ the end, it does not justify the illegal means… In radical political practice, the end belongs to a world different from and contrary to the established universe of discourse and behaviour. But the means belong to the latter and are judged by the latter, on its own terms, the very terms, which the end invalidates.”

Source: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/02-Feb-2015/capitalism-a-civilisational-clash-i

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