As Norway mourns, the “root cause” apologists break cover

July 26, 2011 at 10:33 am (apologists and collaborators, fascism, Human rights, Johnny Lewis, Norway, terror)

Even as the people of Norway were holding their dignified and moving anti-violence vigils in Oslo and elsewhere…

…the “root cause” apologists started to crawl out of the woodwork. These are the people who are not terrorists themselves, but come close to justifying terrorism by claiming that such acts are the inevitable result of some government policy – foreign or domestic – that they don’t like. Terrorism can never be defeated, they say, unless these policies – the “root cause” of terrorism – are changed. It’s a despicable line of argument that crosses the line between a legitimate exploration of what makes a terrorist tick, and a justification of terrorism. And whatever your opinion of the government policy that is the alleged “root cause”, no democrat or respectable commentator could possibly argue for changing the policy on that basis. Could they?

H/t: Max D


  1. Andrew Coates said,

    The worst is that some of the ‘root cause’ apologists are trying to blame, I feel this is almost so obscene I can hardly write it, us lot,

    Comment on Tendance Coatesy,

    “Hope this makes you think twice about your own Islamophobic output. You are part of the sewer this guy swam in.”

    There’s plenty more in the same vein on Socialist Unity.

  2. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    “The modern spectacle, as the theorist Guy Debord pointed out, is a potent tool for pacification and depoliticization. It is a “permanent opium war” which stupefies its viewers and disconnects them from the forces that control their lives. The spectacle diverts anger toward phantoms and away from the perpetrators of exploitation and injustice. It manufactures feelings of euphoria. It allows participants to confuse the spectacle itself with political action.
    The celebrities from Comedy Central and the trash talk show hosts on Fox are in the same business. They are entertainers. They provide the empty, emotionally laden material that propels endless chatter back and forth on supposed left- and right-wing television programs. It is a national Punch and Judy show. But don’t be fooled. It is not politics. It is entertainment. It is spectacle. All national debate on the airwaves is driven by the same empty gossip, the same absurd trivia, the same celebrity meltdowns and the same ridiculous posturing. It is presented with a different spin. But none of it is about ideas or truth. None of it is about being informed. It caters to emotions. It makes us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge. And in the end, for those who serve up this drivel, the game is about money in the form of ratings and advertising.”

    now… a blerrgH commentaytor werth there salt, at this point would argue that it’s whomever cunt – insert whoever is current news item/media cunt in ‘News” – that are providing the genuine politics by virtue of their capactiy to transform ‘mass media’ platforms into forums for ridiculing “the political”.

    They wood be wrong of course. by dint of the fact that THEY AREALL fUCKKINGCUNTS.

  3. SteveH said,

    So let me get this straight, we have now abandoned materialism and leaped headlong into idealism have we? Don’t look at the root causes? Just react? Bring back capital punishment? Bring back the rack? WTF are you on about.

    Saying that attempting to explain something equates to condoning it incriminates every psychologist, sociologist and social theorist that ever existed. It is the nail in the coffin of the enlightenment. The people of Norway will not fall for this bollocks and your attempt to divert attention away from your own blatant Islamophobia by this dollop of horseshit won’t wash.

    • Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

      fuck off. yoo are a cretin. and boring.

  4. Jim Denham said,

    First of all, SteveH, your hysterical rant seems to ignore what the article says about “legitimate exploration of what makes a terrorist tick”; secondly (and I have to ask you this), do you think government policies should be changed on the basis of a terrorist threat? If so, do you agree with this:

    “I think it was predictable,” Robinson said of the attack. “I think it’s disgusting, and my thoughts and prayers are with all the victims. We don’t want English lads blowing themselves up on our soil, but that will happen if they don’t give us a platform.” He continued, “I don’t think any of them understand the undercurrent of anger. He’s just a sick lone individual, but you’ve got a lot of angry people. And if British politicians don’t learn from this, God forbid, it might happen again.” ????

  5. martin ohr said,

    unfortunately I feel I have to turn off my internet for a couple of weeks until all this blows over. While I feel ideologically compelled to argue out the utter rubbish which is appearing daily, the genuine sense of shock and grief makes it impossible to want to win an argument.

    I’m repulsed on a regularly basis by sections of the left, but this week plumbs new depths.

    • skidmarx said,

      And hide all the mirrors.

  6. sackcloth and ashes said,

    SteveH is in fact the author of the comment Andrew Coates refers to.

    The fact that his gut response to the Oslo tragedy is to try and pin Breivik’s crime on the blog postings of any genuine leftist who’s had the nerve to disagree with his party line tells you what a pusillanimous little scumbag he is, and those like him.

    UnityMitford is a complete sewer. The fact that the Cardinal seeks to sermonise on this atrocity despite his own record of offering apologias for mass murderers testifies to his own sense of hypocrisy.

  7. johng said,

    So Martin your not going to bother arguing with racists who want to blame multi-culturalism for a fascist murdering large numbers of people because your offended that many realise that islamophobia ought to be taken seriously?

    The AWL all over.

    • Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

      gameboY – a bit thick but a giant of a man and an intellectual collosus compared to shitskidders the anti-zionazI pony show-jumping loving oxbridge fuckking toff.

    • martin ohr said,

      johng -like the shopkeeper in mr benn- appears as if by magic to prove my point.

      Of course I’ll never stop arguing with the racists; jim only has it half right; I’m sickened by all those parts of the left- in which I include Harry’s place types who are using this tragedy to bolster their shaky politics.

      I’m sure it can’t be very many days until I find out that I am actually somehow to blame for this facist.

      • martin ohr said,

        I read today in the commetns on the socialistunity website that the awl are part responsible for the fascist attacks. truly the left is seriously f.cked up

  8. Jim Denham said,

    “…(Y)our not going to argue with racists who want to blame multi-culturalism for a fascist murdering large numbers of people because your offended that many realise that islamophobia ought to be taken seriously? ”

    That comment simply does not make any kind of sense. It is, literally, nonsense. Not because it’s politically nonsense (although it is), but because it is a completely illogical non sequitur.

    And I think Martin was referring not to racists (who the AWL have no difficulty arguing against, and nor does Shiraz), but so-called “left wingers” who are, sickeningly, trying to use this tragedy to bolster their capitulation to Islamism.

    The SWP all over.

  9. SteveH said,


    The reason I made those comments to Coates and to this site is because for years you lot have been calling us clerical fascist supporters and Taliban apologists, anti semites etc etc bloody etc. I am simply giving you lot a taste of your own medicine, and it tastes bad doesn’t it?

    What is interesting sackcloth is that I am holding up a mirror to your own ridiculous level of argument and you don’t see it.

    But I stand by the root cause points I made previously. I am not prepared to just say Brievik is a mad guy and leave it at that. I have this human like need to understand. You should all try it sometimes.

    Actually this isn’t a bad article on the subject:

    Jim Denham said,

    “your hysterical rant seems to ignore what the article says about “legitimate exploration of what makes a terrorist tick”

    Nothing hysterical about my comment just your response. The title talks about root causes as if that shouldn’t be explored. That is a very right wing position to take. I for one am interested in the root cause of this attack, very interested. I think the people of Norway share my interest. In many cases of murder victims relatives just want answers. It is a very human emotion. When acts like this occur, root causes are always to the forefront of my mind.

    “secondly (and I have to ask you this), do you think government policies should be changed on the basis of a terrorist threat?”

    No, I believe that, for example, the British should be out of Northern Ireland and believe this whether there is or isn’t a terrorist threat. I certainly wouldn’t allow terrorist acts to put me off what I believe. I wouldn’t suddenly be in favour of British presence in NI just because the IRA carried out some outrage.

    The pro imperialist left have been trying to play this game of equating Breiviks actions with that of resistance fighters in Iraq who have seen their country invaded and thousands of their people killed. This is a sick comparison. It is an argument for never fighting back, for always turning the other cheek. It is a dangerous argument.

  10. sackcloth and ashes said,

    John Game wants to lecture us about ‘tolerance’ for racism and fascism? How about marching in favour of anti-Semitic organisations, alongside people delivering ‘death to Jews’ chants. How about aligning politically with people who say that gays should be killed, and that women are second class citizens.

    Or how about belonging to an organisation that champions a crank who says that the ‘Protocols’ are real, and which includes members who either parrot neo-Nazi propaganda (Sean Wallis) or endorse the works of Holocaust Deniers (Tom Hickey)?

    The SWP are not just aligned with fascists. They are Strasserite scum themselves.

  11. Guest Post from blefg commenterarty said,

    Who knew that Micheal Barrymore was (is?) such a racist cunt?

    yor wellcome btw.

  12. Jim Denham said,

    SteveH:..”for years you lot have been calling us clerical fascist supporters and Taliban apologists, anti semites etc etc bloody etc”…

    Yes, we have, haven’t we: because that’s exactly what you are.

    And by “pro imperialist left” I think you mean “Marxist,” don’t you?

    • skidmarx said,

      I think he’d say that “pro imperialist Marxist” is an oxymoron.

      • Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

        why has this…

        NEWS: “Seven suicide attackers killed at least 21 people in near-simultaneous assaults Thursday in a provincial capital in southern Afghanistan. The victims included 10 children and three women who died when an assailant crashed a vehicle *into a hospital maternity ward*…”

        …not been admitted from the quarters who lump ALL those (i.e. marxists) who are against obscurantist, barbaric, islamonazi shite with mad cunT eurobaia type cunts, and that their shit about islamist shit as being a ‘non-existant threat’ is fuckking shit (especiallially for Muslims as it so happens – as islamist shit tends to kill yer Muslims on a huge fuckking scale)?

        they are all isollationist, petit bourgois scum of the the liberal kind of tossers who post here (except for me and Jimbo).

        ps. re Iraq: There is no reputable anti-war position. None at all. Zilch. Fuck the fuck all. Two werDs – Kurds.

  13. Jim Denham said,

    Lenny Seymour is even sicker than SteveH, quoting Breivik’s “manifesto” as serious evidence for the “antiZionist” cause; these SWP-type scum really can stoop to the utter depths, can’t they?
    From Lenny’s Tombstone:

    Breivik: Hitler should have been a Zionistposted by lenin

    An interesting insight onto the specific kind of antisemitism prevalent on much of the far right – Tony Karon quotes from the mass murderer’s manifesto:

    “Were the majority of the German and European Jews disloyal? Yes, at least the so called liberal Jews, similar to the liberal Jews today that opposes nationalism/Zionism and supports multiculturalism. Jews that support multiculturalism today are as much of athreat to Israel and Zionism (Israeli nationalism) as they are to us. So let us fight together with Israel, with our Zionist brothers against all anti-Zionists, against all culturalMarxists/multiculturalists. Conservative Jews were loyal to Europe and should have been rewarded. Instead, [Hitler] just targeted them all … He could have easily worked out an agreement with the UK and France to liberate the ancient Jewish Christian lands with the purpose of giving the Jews back their ancestral lands … The UK and France would perhaps even contribute to such a campaign in an effort to support European reconciliation. The deportation of the Jews from Germany wouldn’t be popular but eventually, the Jewish people would regard Hitler as a hero because he returned the Holy land to them.”
    Nick Griffin (cited here: and ‘Stormfront’ have also denounced Breivik as a “Zionist”…

  14. Monsieur Jelly est formidable said,

    SteveH:..”for years you lot have been calling us clerical fascist supporters and Taliban apologists, anti semites etc etc bloody etc”…

    yes. beacuse that is what you are. walks like a duck quacks like a duck. probably a duck.

  15. ShittyNikNakS said,

    Jimbo sez “so-called “left wingers” who are, sickeningly, trying to use this tragedy to bolster their capitulation to Islamism.”

    this is exactly true. No ifs or buts about it.

  16. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘for years you lot have been calling us clerical fascist supporters and Taliban apologists, anti semites etc etc bloody etc’

    To paraphrase Malcolm Tucker, we should always call a spade a cunt.

  17. Andrew Coates said,

    .”for years you lot have been calling us clerical fascist supporters and Taliban apologists, anti semites etc etc bloody etc”…

    Indeed Jim,

    But I see no prosepect of him mending his ways.

    One can but try.

  18. Jim Denham said,

    More drivel from the despicable public school Stalinist Milne in Thursday’s Graun:

    to which one CIF commenter replied (and, amazingly, it got past the CIF censors):

    “There is a continuum between the toxic bigotry of the mainstream media, EDL slogans and Breivik’s outpourings” (writes Milne):


    “Of course there is a continuum between the reasonable concerns of people about multiculturalism and the insane xenophobia of Breivik et al.

    “Just as there is a continuum between a devout and peaceful Muslim, who would like to see western society embrace Islamic values, and the perpetrators of 9/11.

    “And a continuum between the liberal left and Stalin.

    “Mr Milne and others strive to manipulate the Norwegian tragedy for their own political ends. This is intellectually dishonest and repugnant to any fair-minded person.”

  19. Jim Denham said,

    While Milne sees a “continuum”, Andeas Malm in this week’s ‘New Statesman’ sees a “straight line” – one that the likes of Milne have not so far referred to. I wonder why not?

    “At the end of ‘2083’ [Breivik’s ‘manifesto’ – JD], Breivik answers a series of questions he imagines a reporter would want to ask him. ‘What tipped the scales for you? What single event made you decide you wanted to continue planning and moving on with the assault?’ Answer: ‘For me, personally, it was my government’s involvement in the attacks on Serbia [Nato bombings in 1999] several years back. It was completely unacceptable how the US and western European regimes bombed our Serbian brothers. All they wanted was to drive Islam out by deporting the Albanian Muslims back to Albania.’

    “Brievik’s obsession with the Serbs’ struggle against Muslim intruders, his praise for the Serbian politician Radovan Karadzic as an ‘honourable crusader’ and a ‘war hero’, his vision of Arkan’s paramilitary brigade as a model for his ‘resistance’ are all symptomatic. The ideas of today’s Islamophobic right were put into practice in the Balkans in the 1990’s, in the most recent genocide on European soil. There is a straight line running from Srebrenica to Utøya. The military leader Ratko Mladic burned with the same fire as Anders Behring Breivik. The only difference is that Breivik targetted the ‘traitors’ rather than the ‘conquerers’.”

  20. Jim Denham said,

    Roger commenting over at Dave’s:

    And the reference to Serbs highlights a pretty fundamental problem with the Breivik is an Islamophobe, the decent left also oppose Islamism, ergo the decent left in Chris Bertram’s weaselly formulation are part of the ‘epistemic environment’ that created Breivik.

    But if we are to look for the real genesis of the ‘decent left’ it was not over Iraq or Israel or 9/11 but over Bosnia and Kosovo – the know nothing pseudo-left anti-imperialists and the far right all rallied behind the Serbian fascists while it was the neo-liberal centrists Blair and (after a vast amount of prodding) Clinton who eventually sent the bombers and tanks in to defend and ultimately liberate Muslims.

    FWIW (which is I’ll admit very little) my own moment of truth was at the Socialist Scholars Conference in New York that year (1999) where for the first time I realised the impossibility of holding together a movement that included both enthusiastic apologists for the fascist Serbian murderers and rapists and people who maintained any degree of sanity and moral decency.

    And this is a fundamental dividing line – rational leftists accept that every national and regional conflict produces different configurations of progressive and reactionary forces – so that in Bosnia and Kossovo Muslims under attack from Serb fascists deserved our support just as did/do Muslims in Kurdistan or Kashmir or India.

    A Breivik or for that matter a Phillips or a Beck or a know-nothing anti-imperialist is utterly incapable of making such fine distinctions – for them there is only ever one global enemy and all who are not against it are its agents.

    But making clear distinctions and revising them as the facts change – constantly asking in Lenin’s phraseL ‘kto kogo?’ who-whom? – is precisely what effective politics is.

    Everything else is just narcissistic posturing or what Carl Schmitt characterised as political romanticism.

    And the wonder of the internet is that through it capitalism has given every preening political narcissist a means of instantly broadcasting their opinions and then commoditised it.

    And even more brilliantly still it ensures that those of us who do retain any shred of sanity and morality spend countless hours arguing with imbeciles when we could be down the pub or pushing leaflets through letterboxes or attending tiny but real meetings with actual people.

    We really are fucked beyond all hope of redemption…

  21. Jim Denham said,

    Another of Breivik’s supposed sources of inspiration; William S. Lind, a contributor to ‘Counterpunch’:

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