A good day for the world

May 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm (anti-fascism, Human rights, islamism, Jim D, Lindsey German, Marxism, Middle East, misogyny, Pakistan, stalinism, SWP, terror)

“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living” – K. Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852).

The death of the islamo-fascist Osama bin Laden should be welcomed as good news by all who value human rights, democracy and common decency. The scenes of celebration that have broken out in New York and Washington may strike us Brits as rather unseemly, but can we really blame them? The death of individual tyrants, mass-murderers and fascists is always something to be celebrated even when you’re pretty sure (as in this case) that it isn’t going to make any fundamental difference to the world. It just makes the world seem a slightly better place and the air seem cleaner now that they’re no longer breathing it.

Actually, Obamas’s announcement was anything but triumphalist and showed this bourgeois politician at his most impressive – articulate, measured and dignified.

And, of course, the execution of bin Laden took place just 48 hours after Obama had chided the racist “birther” movement and the US media who had forced him to release his birth certificate, with these memorable words:  “We do not have time for this kind of sillness. We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do. We’ve got big problems to solve. And I’m confident we can solve them, but we’re going to have to focus on them – not on this.” I notice that “birther”-in-chief, the loathsome and  preposterous Donald Trump, has been uncharcteristically silent today.

The left aught to be at the forefront of welcoming the execution, but sadly, it isn’t. Those who recall the reaction of sections of the “left” to 9/11 (Socialist Worker’s headline The Bitter Fruit of US Policy for instance) will not be too surprised by this sort of mealy-mouthed hypocritical drivel from some of the usual suspects:

“US citizens took to the streets in a frenzy of patriotic fervour following Mr Obama’s announcement.

“In scenes reminiscent of those in Iraq and Afghanistan following the death of an occupation soldier they chanted: ‘USA!’ and ‘Four more years’ for the Obama administration.

“Communist Party of Britain international secretary John Foster labelled the scenes of triumphalism ‘dangerously misplaced.’

“He said: ‘The US and British leaders who celebrate his death are themselves guilty of sanctioning the illegal use of force in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“‘Al-Qaida’s political agenda is totally reactionary and its use of terror is indefensible – but so also is its use by Western powers for no less reactionary purposes of economic and political control.’

“Ex-prime minister Tony Blair heaped praise on US forces for killing bin Laden and said it showed that ‘those who commit acts of terror against the innocent will be brought to justice, however long it takes.’

“But Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German said said the warmongering former prime minister should remember his own words and said that peace campaigners would not rest until he is in the dock for war crimes.

“She added that bin Laden’s death removed the West’s original justification for war in Afghanistan.

“‘The whole point of invading that country was that George Bush wanted bin Laden ‘dead or alive.’

“‘His death takes away the occupiers last justification – not that they ever had a legitimate one to begin with,’ she said.

“And Ms German warned that the factors which gave rise to bin Laden were still present.

“‘Bin Laden was exploiting a whole number of legitimate grievances, including sanctions on Iraq, the ongoing plight of Palestinians and foreign troops on Saudi soil,’ she said.

“‘The situation is much worse now than it was 10 years ago, with Gaza under siege, a new war in Libya, Iraq under full occupation and foreign troops scattered all over the Middle East.

“‘If Western governments are serious about fighting terrorism, they must change policies that create them – get out of Afghanistan and Iraq, stop bombing Libya and stop threatening Syria.'”

Still, what can you expect from the newpaper and political party that backed Hitler between August 1932 and June 1941? Or from Ms German’s so-called “Stop The War” movement, that under her leadership made it a point of principle not to condemn the 9/11 attacks?

NB: I see that the Morning Star has now come up with a crude misrepresentation of the Marxist  view  of the role of the individual in history in order to justify their lack of enthusiasm for the execution (Marx’s real view is at the top of this post):

“Put simply, individuals do not make history, nor are they crucial to the directions that it takes.

“While they can be a part of history they are in all circumstances a product of their historical epoch rather than popping out of nowhere to change the world on their own.

“And of no-one is that more clear than in the case of Osama bin Laden.”

23 Comments

  1. maxdunbar said,

    I would have preferred a trial, for crimes against humanity.

    Still, it’s great news.

  2. baldric said,

    Can they be believed though,a burial in the briny.Would not breakfast America, have smothered their bacon and pancakes with maple syrup,with self satisfied relish if a body and face was on the screen.Did they not that morning with the aid of the UN,kill Gadaffie!s gran kids and son.

  3. SteveH said,

    “The death of the islamo-fascist Osama bin Laden should be welcomed as good news by all who value human rights, democracy and common decency”

    Spot the fallcy!

  4. SteveH said,

    Sorry that should say

    “Spot the fallacy!”

    So the champions of ‘human rights’ now support the death penalty.

  5. charliethechulo said,

    A master-class in comic timing as Obama roasts Trump:

  6. entdinglichung said,

    two other fascist mass murderers died during the last days: René Emilio Ponce who was defence minister of El Salvador, founder of killing squads and directly responsible for the killing of six liberation theologists in 1989 and Orlando Bosch Ávila who was involved in the terrorist attack on the Cubana Flight 455 in 1976 which murdered all 73 people on board … both had one thing in common with Bin Laden: being (at least) temporary allies of the US administration during the struggle against progressive movements in the 3rd world

  7. johng said,

    Jim’s rather peculiar popular front with the US state continues. Some of us think it rather interesting that the carnage and war visited on the world by that state had nothing to do with the capture/execution of Bin Laden. All this could have been achieved without the invasions of countries, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, and the inflation of criminal attack into a global threat. but hey, jim thinks we ought to forget about the dead and join in the cheering. more power to him.

  8. jim denham said,

    I don’t think I’m particularly thick, but I just do not understand that last post from Mr Game: can anyone explain in clear English, the point he is trying to make? I expect I’ll disagree with him, but I’d like to understand what he’s trying to argue first.

  9. sackcloth and ashes said,

    Our failed PhD student is simply parroting the same-old SWP line, Jim, which can be summarised more clearly as follows – ‘We’ll excuse any mass killer as long as he can be described as an ‘anti-imperialist”.

  10. Bin Laden’s death and the idea of ‘justice’ | Liberal Conspiracy said,

    […] It seems to be some on the right who are rejoicing – though not all – whilst some (though not all) on the left have […]

  11. charliethechulo said,

    The first “deather” in the mainstream UK press. Surprisingly, not the ‘Graun’, but the Indie http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/letters/letters-osama-bin-laden-2277995.html:
    *************************************************************************************

    How stupid do Western media outlets think the public is to buy the choreographed story about the death of Osama bin Laden? Without knowing what has actually happened, we can be sure that the US intelligence community want to be as confident as possible that nobody can check their story, or identify the person they claim to have “buried at sea”. Indeed, we can question whether anything has been “buried” at all.

    Dr Rory Ridley-Duff

    Sheffield

  12. Chuckles said,

    It’s to early to call it a good day for the world. When George W Bush is gargling his own blood courtesy of a UN hit squad and Tony Blair is on trial for war crimes then we can talk of good days. It’s a start though.

  13. modernityblog said,

    Jim,

    I appreciate that you’re open hearted but why do you tolerate SteveH, this is a type of shite he puts out on SU blog:

    “No doubt the Americans have behaved like fucking animals in Iraq and Afghanistan but my problem with this is that it assumes Bin Laden was not a reaction to anything. It portrays Bin Laden and his followers as some evil from another world. Whereas the US, despite being the most barbaric pigs on the face of the earth, at least have the excuse of being motivated by a terrible event. So the US are reacting to 9/11, while Bin Laden and his crew are just nutters with a belief in crackpot ideas. This is wrong,

    Bin Laden was reacting to imperialist actions, particularly the US presence in Saudi Arabia. Followers of Bin Laden were reacting to countless acts of terrorism committed by the US terror machine. They had a political agenda and it was very much of this world.

    And more to the point the US were not just reacting to terrible events but were driven by ideology just as much as Bin Laden.

    Comment by SteveH — 3 May, 2011 @ 7:04 pm” [My emphasis.]

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8081

  14. jim denham said,

    Mod: we sometimes allow fucking eedjits to comment here, just for educational reasons: the eedjit SteveH is a case in point.

  15. Chuckles said,

    Bin Laden was as anti-imperialist as Jim Denham i.e. not at all. His sole aim was to get the US to recognize fundamentalist Islamic sates as legitimate in the way it recognizes the sectarian `Jewish state’ of Israel. By fighting communism (really Stalinism) and building a petty bourgeois army of fascistic supporters against it throughout the Muslim world he hoped to win approval for an Islamic empire recognised by America but he was betrayed when the Soviet Union collapsed and the US, no longer in need of its pan-Islamic creation, made it clear that the old imperialist relationship to the Arab and Muslim world would not be changing any time soon. `Westernising’ feudal dictators and Zionist terrorist were the only allies the US now needed in the region. He then unleashed his fascistic terrorist cells on his erstwhile ally in order to persuade it of the error of its ways. He failed. A complicating factor was the Pakistan elite still needed these fundamentalist butchers to terrorise its own population even when the US had finished with them and of course Bin Laden was proving a useful bogeyman for the warmongering Bush.

  16. modernityblog said,

    Fair enough, Jim.

    If you want to see a train crash of thinking then SU blog never ceases to amaze:

    http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=8078

  17. Mr Jelly said,

  18. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘When George W Bush is gargling his own blood courtesy of a UN hit squad and Tony Blair is on trial for war crimes then we can talk of good days’.

    Till then, you can enjoy your meds and your padded cell. It’s nice to see that the staff of funny farms give the inmates the use of the web.

    Mod, Jim, I’d sooner look to Katie Price for informed comment on AQ and bin Laden than the cnuts who congregate at SU and Lenin’s Tomb.

  19. modernity said,

    JIm,

    I’m off, It was nice dropping in, but I can’t stand educated racists like Chuckles, who seems to share many of bin Laden’s hangup about “Zionists” 😦

  20. socialrepublican said,

    When listening to radio 4 describe the news of the death, it struck me more clearly than before how much Bin Laden was a product of his class and his society. His dillantte lifestyle was not of debauch or material grandeur but of living in a fantasy, a mix of arab and Islamic tropes, narratives and paradigms. In this he was no longer the pampered surplus son to a seed spreading rich self man pillar of Saudi society. He could escape the confrontation between a political system and social hierarchy ossified and useless and the hyper modernity that oil and welath brought forth and he was a beneficary of. He could be heroic, he could play at being important, historic, regain a supra-individual meaning.

    Note his radicalism didn’t take him to pursue efforts to aid the armies of indentured immigrants from other Arab countries within Saudi, nor support the Secularist struggles of the PLA or those of the Shi’ite Hezbollah, or even the mounting militancy of Islamism in North Africa. The Romantic cause celebre was the atheist intrusion into Afghanistan by the Soviets. Here History seemed to turn, echoes of the Muhammed mythos abounded and he could find easy monies to support his play acting. His propaganda of the deed was solely used to find out the spectacular, the cosmo-central idea of a Muslim world regenerated stuggling with the forces of materialism and decadence. In this high drama, Usama bin Laden, nouveau riche of Yemani stock, 17th of 52 children, destined to live his life as a minor engineer in a building conglomorate betwixt the desert and the city could remake himself.

    In short, Osama was looking for a struggle, a cause, a drama. The reasonings he gave, Israel, troops in Saudi Arabia, support for dictators, inertia over Bosnia and Kosevo (until there wasn’t), Kashmir, all these were excuses. On a par with these, he placed Western cinema, the impious practice of Democracy, drug treatment programs and usury. The actual killing of Muslims was, clearly, not too important to him. Serbia, India or post Soviet Russia never suffered a al-Quida attack proper (other more local Salafist groups were responsible). Neither did the Pakistan military before 2001 despite their genocide in Bangladesh in 1971, the biggest killing of Muslims post 1945. Attacks had to be saturated with a wilder global meaning. The civil war in Algeria, Egyptian Islamic Jihad’s campaign in the early 90s and the I/P Conflict were too parochial in scope, their effects too slow and likely to achieve half measures, their “markets” all too crowded with other Islamist terror groups. Hitting the far enemy, or the west proper provided all the drama one could hope for.

    Until 9/11, Saudi money was easy to come by. His attacks suited the purposes of his Saudi benefactors, either their shared prejudices or to keep some influence within the Jihadi movement. 9/11 transformed this, “democratised” his appeal. The audacity of it, its sheer scale and effect energised and radicalised similar Salifist and Islamism militancy. Al-Quida, even as it virtually ceased to operate on its own, showed a symbolic map to action, to rhetoric. Older established groupings adopted the aethetic of their propaganda and the ruthlessness of their attacks. Newer grouyps tried to gain bin Laden’s blessings for their own actions and aped the stylings and ideological trappings of a internationally linked struggle.

    It is worth noting that bin Laden completely mis-calculated the US responce. He was so convinced that the society was decayed by high living and moral rottenness that there would be little or no comeback. He even foresaw a rapid decrease in US involvement overseas. Yet, adeptly he used the occupation of first Afghanistan and then Iraq to massively strengthen his narrative, one taken up through out the shades of Islamist activity and some parts of the left. This was not material, it was not about America grabbing oil or strentgthening Israel. In it Islam itself was the target, as it had been since it had first brushed with the Byzantium Empire. every Christian/Muslim conflict was thus used as proof than Islam, and particularly the puritan forms of Sunni Islam that bin Laden proclaim was the major challenger to American and thus materialist meaningless mundane tyranny. This struggle was more than ourselves, magical and would decide the direction and history of the world.

  21. jim denham said,

  22. Skepta said,

    I copied the following from a message board, thought it deserved a wider audience:

    I don’t care about the fate of Bin Laden one little bit but I do care about the moral corruption that the war on terror has caused for the body politic of the US and here in Britain. When we think it acceptable for our governments to disregard due process and any pretence at legal boundaries we guarantee that at some point that degradation of legal principle will return to haunt us.

    Because for all the “I make an exception for Bin Laden” argument, the truth is he is not an exception at all. The acceptance of extra judicial assassination and the assumption that arrest and trial are not necessary in this case, comes on the back of ten years of the US tearing up its own constitutional obligations and trampling over human rights and international law across the board, usually followed like an obedient poodle by the British government.

    Torture is now acceptable. Senior political leaders justify, defend and excuse it. How the fuck did that happen? I remember a time when a politician would never dare write an article suggesting torture as a viable option for military or law enforcement. Now we have a growing narrative that claims the killing of Bin Laden proves the necessity of torture. Indefinite imprisonment, sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, rendition, illegal invasion and regime change, military courts and detention without trial, mass murder of civilians, use of illegal weapons, all have been carried out in the name of fighting Al Qaeda.

    Every single day in Pakistan and Afghanistan men, women and children are torn to pieces by predator drones, 2000 dead in since 2004, the vast majority of them civilians and the majority of deaths in the past 2 years. 17 people died today. They are killed in their homes, in their fields, in their schools and while attending weddings. The majority of them completely innocent. It is estimated that 9 out of ten people killed by drones are civilians. When did this base immorality become acceptable and normal? When did the rule of law get thrown out the window? When Obama was asked why he didn’t just blow up the house containing Bin Laden, the brazen two faced hypocrite had the nerve to say it was out of concern for civilian casualties. I don’t know how he can keep a straight face.

    We really shouldn’t be suprised by horrific stories of the rape and mutiliation of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners. Why be surprised when we kill civilians day after day with scant regard or consideration. We demonstrate with our actions that we consider them less than human and their lives less than ours and we have demonstrated that our actions are not bound by any law, consideration for civilian suffering, principle or ethics of our own. In their haste to destroy Bin Laden Western governments have become him. And if that sounds extreme then answer me this. What is the difference between murdering innocent civilians on a tube train and murdering innocent civilians in a Pakistani school? Both are extrajudicial killings and the definition of that is murder. The victims of both are innocent and their blood runs just as red. The deaths of every innocent Pakistani and Afghani and Iraqi man women and child scream out the lie that there is something “exceptional” in the assassination of Bin Laden. The lie is written in blood in Fallujah and in countless Pakistani border villages whose names will never be remembered.

    No, the execution of Bin Laden isn’t a one off. It isn’t an “exception” at all and it is precisely because it isn’t that we should care about what happened. Out of fear and panic our political leaders have dragged our nations into 2 unending wars at the cost of millions of lives. The US has torn up its own constitution to implement the most draconian internal repressive legislation in its history. Our governments have lied to their own people to such an extent that now half the world refuses to believe a word they say. They have tortured and disappeared the innocent. Collaborated with brutal dictators. The list goes on. There is virtually no principle of their own that they have not stamped into the mud and yet still we hear that Bin Laden’s assassination was an exception to the rule and doesn’t really matter.

    The cost of the war on terror has been an ongoing and corrosive assault on every democratic value our countries claim to uphold and not by Bin Laden but by our own governments and in our name and if anyone thinks these abuses will end now they are deluded. That Bin Laden was assassinated is no surprise it is the logical and inevitable outcome of ten years of fighting a war with little concern for the very principles our nations claim to uphold. As a result of this jackbooted disregard for legality or process has been allowed to eat like a corrosive poison into the political soul of America and I am sad to note here too. They can blame this on Bin Laden but the truth is, in their reckless desperation to defeat him they have drunk this poison themselves. But hey, who cares if Bin Laden was assassinated. He deserved it right?

  23. modernityblog said,

    A seemingly good statement, but without a link to the author.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user-comments/dancingroads

    The poster, dancingroads, himself isn’t against assassinations, he just argues over the grounds for it and to whom.

    A peculiar and somewhat contradictory position when and if, you think about it.

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