Slowly catching up 2: Counter-jihad and right-wing terror
According to Dennis King, the original party line in the LaRouche cadre organization was set in an essay by LaRouche himself in 1977, "The Case of Walter Lipmann". A long examination of LaRoucher's conspiracy theory appeared as "The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and `Political Correctness'" in Fidelio, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter 1992 (KMW Publishing, Washington, DC). Fidelio was LaRouche's culture and arts magazine. But since LaRouche considers himself an extension of Marx, Marxism itself is not critiqued, but a plot by the Frankfurt School ideologues to create a "New Dark Age" which crushes Christian nations. LaRouche wrote a book: The Science of Christian Economy, and other prison writings, by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., 1991, 506 pp, which expanded the framework for the attacks on the Frankfurt School theoreticians.
According to scholar Martin Jay, the Frankfurt School has long been a scape[g]oat for right-wing conspiracy theorists complaining about "political correctness." (See: Martin Jay, 2011, "Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe," Salmagundi, 169, (Fall 2010-Winter 2011) in which Jay traces the history of this mania including a discussion of the LaRouche connection.)
Such views are often justified by their holders as being ‘pro-Western’, whereby ‘the West’ is counterposed to ‘Islam’, as if the two were binary opposites. In reality, the very opposite is true: modern European civilisation was built upon foundations that were Islamic as well as Christian, Jewish, pagan and others. The Enlightenment gave rise to a Europe in which the sectarian religious animosities that characterised the pre-Enlightenment age could be transcended; modern Western liberal and secular values are founded upon the principle of religious toleration.Far from being ‘pro-Western’; our contemporary right-wing Islamophobes, in seeking to rekindle the religious divide between Christians and Muslims that characterised pre-Enlightenment Europe, reject Western values in favour of pre-Western values. During their successful Vienna War of 1683-1699 against the Ottoman Empire, Austrian Habsburg forces slaughtered, plundered, expelled or forcibly converted to Christianity the Muslim population of the Hungarian and Croatian territories they reconquered, which were forcibly de-Islamised; the Austrians burned the Ottoman Bosnian city of Sarajevo to the ground. The subsequent Ottoman Bosnian victory over Habsburg forces in the Battle of Banja Luka of 1737 saved the Bosnian Muslims from their destruction as a people that an Austrian conquest of Bosnia would have involved. Yet when the Austrian Habsburgs did finally succeed in occupying Sarajevo and Bosnia in 1878, they protected the Muslim population and respected the Islamic religion. Europe, in the interval, had experienced the Enlightenment. It is the pre-Enlightenment Europe to which today’s right-wing Islamophobes look back nostalgically; something symbolised in the name of the anti-Islamic hate-blog, ‘Gates of Vienna’, named after the Ottoman siege of Vienna of 1683 and cited approvingly by Breivik. Hence Breivik’s own obsessive demonising of the Ottoman ‘other’ and its history, all the way back to the Middle Ages.
The first serious vigilant[e] action happened in Dalston, where large Turkish shopkeepers organised to chase away looters. Which destroys the case of the Enoch Powell Defence League at a stroke. Those pesky immigrants with their shops and communities and comradeship! Coming over here. Defending our streets. Restoring order. Margaret Thatcher must be turning in her grave.
A leader of the Waltham Forest Palestine Solidarity Campaign [Ellie Merton] wrote over the weekend [on Facebook]: "As far as I can see, globally, Christian far-right supremacists work hand-in-hand with Zionist fascists, since their aims are mutually inclusive. This geezer was actively hooked up with EDL, who as we all know is inextricably linked with Zionist Federation in the UK". Another writer "read somewhere that the Labour Party youth had voted on a proposition to boycott all Zionist Entity goods and services. Could this be why Mossad programmed ABB to go on the rampage?"[More from Jessica Elgot.]
A further example of this sort of thing comes from Slavoj Zizek in CiF. While not as nutty as Atzmon, this is more alarming, because Zizek should know better and so should CiF. Or maybe not.
Some commentators have argued that this psychopathic mass-murderer represents such an exceptional case that his actual beliefs are irrelevant to understanding his actions. According to Simon Jenkins in the Guardian, ‘The Norwegian tragedy is just that, a tragedy. It does not signify anything and should not be forced to do so. A man so insane he can see nothing wrong in shooting dead 68 young people in cold blood is so exceptional as to be of interest to criminology and brain science, but not to politics.’ As a rule, Jenkins is absolutely wrong about everything, and this is no exception.
This may reflect the development in Breivik’s political thinking towards terrorism, as much as any changes in the EDL. However, Breivik is not the only convicted far right terrorist to have had contact with the EDL. It may be best to view the EDL as a gateway organisation: one which does not carry out or explicitly support terrorism itself, but creates and promotes the political discourse and identity-based grievance narrative, from which a small number of individuals move on to terrorism.
The EDL got into a right kosher pickle recently when paper Jewish Division leader Roberta ‘EDL No’ Moore tried to link up with the Jewish Task Force whose leader had been in jail for terrorist offences. Oops! Moore was eventually booted out for making mental statements and generally being a PR liability. And now there are ongoing problems with her replacement Robert Bartholomeus who appears to be endorsing Breivik’s actions much to the irritation of the various EDL forum posters.After the Moore fiasco many on the EDL forums were angry that they should be seen to be supporting Israel when they were the ‘English’ Defence League. Tommy [Robinson] responded in no uncertain terms that EDL support for Israel would continue. Is this because of Alan Lake by any chance? Lake has been accused of being a Zionist and has been bankrolling Tommy for some time now and Lake, Moore and Tommy have all been photographed together. On the neo-Nazi websites accusations of being a ‘Zionist,’ ‘red’ or ‘nonce’ are frequently made and many have called the EDL a Zionist front and for once the accusation may prove true. If Lake is still funding Tommy then he’s hardly going to allow him to renounce one of his principle interests – which is Zionism. So although a lot of EDL members thought they were flapping the Star of David to annoy ‘muslamics’ the Star is now there for good and the EDL leadership, i.e., Tommy, is going to find it difficult to extricate himself from Israeli extremism. Paul Ray who was booted out of the EDL by Twitching Tom has been ranting away on his website about being a Knight’s Templar and attempting to link Breivik somehow to Alan Lake but this has yet to bear fruit. (And Knight’s Templar? That’s soooo 12th Century!).