[lit-ideas] Re: Radical Islam and Radical Americanism

  • From: Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2010 23:46:16 -0500

I agree with Donal that I use "fascist" much like the right-wingers use the
word "socialist" -- as a generalized term of contempt for various political
positions and programs and philosophies.  I would argue with Max Weber that
there's a significant difference between the use of force by a society that
is democratically controlled and one that is controlled by oligarchs or
plutocrats or autocrats.  At the same time it can certainly be argued that
America is an oligarchy of corporatism and that our "democracy" is mere
theater, and the fact that this election cost some four billion dollars
lends credence to that argument, but that's another topic all together.

Perhaps I should have used the word "murderous" rather than fascist.  Those
(persons, groups, nations) who take it upon themselves the right to kill
those with whom they disagree are murderers.  But then, murder is a legal
term, murder is an unlawful killing of a human being and most people
acknowledge circumstances in which killing someone is lawful.  In some
cultures the killing of family members who bring "shame" upon the family is
not only lawful, but sanctioned.  That's not murder.  That's honor.  So what
do we call blanket bombing from twenty thousand feet at the direction of our
supposedly democratic government.  Murder?  No.  Terrorism?  No.  It is
sanctioned by the government that sends the bombers.  It is patriotic duty.
What's the difference then between what we did in Vietnam and what Sunni
terrorist bombers in Iraq do or what the al Queda terrorists did flying
planes into buildings?  Or the IRA bombers in Belfast?  Or ten thousand
other incidents where innocent people are killed to effect a political or
religious or economic ends.  I call that radical.  I call that the most
radical of radical measures.  Some may call it duty, patriotism, honor,
jihad, Crusade, etc.   Christianity will never be able to clean the blood
off its hands.  A millennium of bloodletting in the name of Jesus -- well,
we all know that story.  But we're not that way anymore.  No, no way.  OK,
so the Pope never condemned the Holocaust, and most Christians gladly turned
over Jews to the Germans -- but that like some 60 years ago.  Give me a
break.  We Westerners are the bright light of Civilization.

DONAL: "Mike says "Get your facts straight, Lawrence." Irish people, who
know something of their history, might wonder if he is "straight" with these

MOI:  I am certainly not as well versed at you are in the struggle for the
unification of Ireland.  My sister probably is.  She has long been a
supporter of the IRA, the the extent of sending them money.  "You're
supporting murder,"  I would scream at her -- to no avail.  My grandmother
was brought over from Ireland to Memphis by her sister Katie when she was 6
months old -- grandmother's mother having died of complications from birth.
In fact Katie brought over all six of the Agnew kids.  For some reason my
sister identifies very strongly with Ireland and carries a deep hatred for
England.  I remind her that Shakespeare was English and arguably the
greatest writer in human history.  She would counter with "No, James Joyce
is."  And I would counter with: "Joyce, yes, and didn't he write: 'Ireland
is an old sow who eats her farrow.'   That pisses her off royally.  To me,
the aspirations of Irish unity is a gigantic "who cares"?  There's a whole
universe out there.  Who gives a damn who governs Belfast?  Jesus, get for

In response to Eric Yost -- all criminals, especially murderers should be
hunted down and brought to justice.  Like Lt. Calley for his My Lai
murders.  What was his punishment?  Six months in the stockade?

But I am vehemently opposed to giving the state the right to exterminate its
citizens -- regardless of their crimes.  It puts us all on the same level as
the murderers.

mouthing off in Memphis
on a night that I wish I could go out and shoot a lot of Republicans

On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 7:04 AM, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> --- On Tue, 2/11/10, Mike Geary <jejunejesuit.geary2@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >I have time and time and time again equated Radical Islam with fascism --
> just as I equate Radical Christianity and Radical Judaism and Radical
> national movements such as ETA and the IRA and some groups in South America
> with fascism.>
> In the Mike Leigh film "Life Is Sweet" there is a dysfunctional young woman
> who hurls the epithet "Fascist!" at anything that provokes her anger. There
> is a danger of trivialising "fascism" as a notion by over-applying it. It
> might be better to say that some of these groups share a fascist belief in
> using force to get their way; but this would not make them fascist anymore
> than this belief makes the Cosa Nostra fascist. Max Weber was no doubt on
> the right lines in suggesting a state, including a democratic state, is
> partly defined by its claim to a monopoly on the legitimate use of force
> [including its sanction of such force by others (say, by way of
> self-defence)]; and democratic states can only survive against violent,
> non-democratic attack by using force to get their (democratic) way. This
> does not turn a democratic state into a fascist one, unless we are to expand
> "fascism" to a point where its meaning is so wide that its application
> becomes vacuous
>  and misleading.
> Mike mentions the IRA. The IRA can hardly be said to be fascist in its aims
> or ideology: of course, by using lethal force, the IRA uses a method that
> fascists have used, but also a method used by communists and by democratic
> states. This is surely not sufficient to make them "fascist".
> But the anti-fascist character of the IRA's aims and ideology goes much
> further. The IRA's constitution (its 'Green Book') states that it had the
> legitimacy to use violence because the IRA is an interim military
> government. So, despite the old question, in their own view they are not
> either terrorists or freedom-fighters; the IRA regarded itself as the
> interim military government of all-Ireland pending the end of partition, at
> which point the interim military government is to cede to a democratically
> elected all-Ireland government. Whatever you make of this, it's hardly
> "fascism".*
> Donal
> * The reason the IRA took this view goes back to the 1916 Proclamation of a
> Republic, at the point of the Easter Rising, which it regarded as setting
> out the all-Ireland constitution of which it was the serving army in the
> ensuing War of Independence. The PIRA descend from that strand of the IRA
> that did not accept partition because it was, to them, a betrayal of the
> all-Ireland constitution on which the War of Independence was fought. The
> issue of partition split the IRA into the faction who accepted the Treaty
> (as a necessary if temporary compromise), who became the Free Staters, and
> those who did not, who remained the IRA. These factions then fought each
> other in the Irish Civil War. The IRA eventually called a truce with the
> Free State, which ended the Irish Civil War, but the IRA did not surrender
> (this truce was effected through standing-order No.8 in the Green Book). The
> IRA remained of the view that both the Free State government in the south,
>  and the Stormont government in the north, were illegimate - a view
> reflected in the electoral philosophy of Sinn Fein of "We can stand, but we
> can't sit." The IRA therefore continued with its campaign to achieve a
> united Ireland, with the 'British-controlled' north the focus of its
> military operations. Mike says "Get your facts straight, Lawrence." Irish
> people, who know something of their history, might wonder if he is
> "straight" with these facts?
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