Not surprisingly, the UK's main “progressive” newspaper, The Guardian, has provided its readers with a thoroughly Marxist analysis of Boko Haram's recent kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. Yes, revolutionary socialism may be almost dead in the UK; but Marxist theory is still alive and kicking.
So why Marxist? Well this newspaper has blamed Boko Haram's actions on the economic and social problems supposedly caused by man-caused global warming in Nigeria. In other words, the Guardian doesn't blame Boko Haram for the actions of Boko Haram: it blames global warming. In fact I will argue that it ultimately blames Western capitalism.
The Guardian's position isn't a surprise. This newspaper doesn't blame acts of terrorism on the terrorists who commit those acts either. (Unless the terrorist is white, right-wing and goes by the name of Anders Behring Breivik.) The Guardian, instead (depending on the article and the time of day) blames Islamic terrorism on: unemployment, the Iraq War, Islamophobia, racism, oil, the Danish cartoons, anti-Islamic films, the banning of the burka, Westerners in Saudi Arabia, The Satanic Verses, Israel, 1967, the Balfour Declaration, autocratic Arab regimes (which are, of course, “propped up by the West”), the “far right”, “anti-terrorism legislation”...
Come to think of it, Noam Chomsky (much loved by Guardianistas) also blamed the Syrian war on global warming. He once said:
"There was a drought of unprecedented scale in Syria... Therefore, the tragedy that has unfolded in Syria is partly a consequence of global warming."
The Guardian article in question (written by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed) partly relies on a study by the United States Institute for Peace (which is funded by Congress). More specifically, the Institute “links climate change with violence in Nigeria”. In terms of detail, it states that
"poor responses to climatic shifts create shortages of resources such as land and water. Shortages are followed by negative secondary impacts, such as more sickness, hunger, and joblessness. Poor responses to these, in turn, open the door to conflict."
Three things are taken for granted here:
i) That man-caused global warming is an firmly established and universally-accepted scientific theory.
ii) That the kinds of things listed above simply didn't happen before man-caused global warming (though this is hinted at rather than stated).
iii) That poverty must of necessity lead to large-scale violence and indeed to such things as mass kidnappings.
How much “sickness, hunger, and joblessness”, for example, did the hundreds of British Muslims who went to fight in Syria suffer from?
There is indeed sickness, hunger and joblessness in Nigeria. Nonetheless, does that necessarily mean that Boko Haram was created by hungry and unemployed men? Indeed are all the leaders of Boko Haram at present hungry? I doubt it.
[Image above: the young Osama bin Laden.]
Take the founder of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf. He had a university graduate who could speak fluent English. In addition, even though many in Boko Haram may indeed be poor, etc., Osama bin Laden was a billionaire, most of Hamas's leaders are middle-class professionals. Indeed the majority of Islamist leaders and Islamic militants are university graduates and professionals (or at least ex-professionals).
This is not to say that all the foot-soldiers of Boko Haram are like its leaders. Then again, the foot-soldiers of the Bolshevik Party weren't of the same class as their upper-middle-class leaders (such as Trotsky and Lenin) either. So this simply goes to show that it can't all be about oil, global warming or other “socioeconomic material conditions”. In the case of the Bolsheviks, it was also about ideology. And in the case of Boko Haram, it's also about Islam.
Again, are all the sick, hungry and jobless of Nigeria joining Boko Haram? No doubt some have done so. Nonetheless, what this United States Institute for Peace report says about the Nigerien hungry and jobless (above) may not be strictly or entirely applicable to Boko Haram – at least least not to its leaders. In fact there is a lot of evidence to show that Boko Haram is itself responsible for much of that sickness, hunger and joblessness: not global warming.
In any case, what has “peace” - as in the United States Institute for Peace - got to do with what some people call “the science of global warming”? Actually, a hell of lot. Or at least politics and the science of global warming are extremely closely connected.
i) Most believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) believe that Western capitalism is overwhelmingly to blame for it.
ii) Man-caused global warming caused Boko Haram, the Syrian conflict, etc.
iii) Therefore global warming causes war.
And that's partly why the US Institute for Peace has the word “peace” in its name. That is, by fighting against man-caused global warming, they are also fighting for what they call “peace”. Here, yet again, global warming and global politics fuse.
This Guardian's account of Boko Haram's actions is also Marxist because it totally and utterly discounts Islam as an independent force in the matter. And, as we all know, Islam just happens to be the religion of Boko Haram. Not only that: Boko Haram has justified what it has done in Islamic terms; just as it has repeatedly justified its other violent actions in terms of Islamic teachings (including the Koran) and centuries-old Islamic traditions.
But none of that matters. According to Guardian journalists and nearly all other Leftists (not only self-described Marxists), Islam is but a mere “epiphenomenon of the socioeconomic conditions” which are hidden underneath (though, of course, they don't use those precise words). Or, in this case, Boko Haram's behaviour is a response to the “poverty and joblessness” created by a global warming which is itself created by Western capitalism.
As I said, Islam is literally erased from the whole Guardian story. That's strange, really, because the article itself is written by a Muslim by the name of Nafeez Ahmed. Now you wouldn't ordinarily think that a Muslim would himself think that Islam is a mere epiphenomenon of socioeconomic material conditions. Hah! But Nafeez Ahmed undoubtedly does not really believe that... except in cases like this. That is, this Marxist analysis of the actions of his fellow Muslims will prove to be very useful and convenient. After all, Islam itself is completely excused of having anything to do with the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. Yet when the Guardian shows us the positive things (in Guardianistas' eyes) Muslims have done, then Islam is most certainly not seen as a mere epiphenomenon of socioeconomic material conditions.
(For more of this Marxist reductionism, check out three more of Nafeez Ahmed's articles for the Guardian: 'Iraq invasion was about oil', 'Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil' and 'Tony Blair's Islamist obsession is a smokescreen to defend “blood for oil”'.)
Critics may say that what I'm arguing is just as reductionist as the Marxist analysis of Boko Haram (as well as of much else). For example, they may say:
You argue that Leftists say it's about about oil, economics, etc. But you yourself say that it's all about about Islam. So what's the difference?
No: hardly anything is “all about” X or Y. For example, I've mentioned many factors which have nothing to do with Islam. The Guardian article, on the other hand, never once mentions Islam or anything remotely connected to it. (Though it does use the words “Islamists” and “Muslims”.)
The Marxist/International Socialist position on Islam (or on the actions of Muslims as Muslims) is both reductionist and essentialist: it's all about (Western) capitalism. In fact this position replicates the National Socialist (Nazi) theory that everything that's wrong with the world today is down to the Jews (or “Zionists”, as Jews are now known).
Finally, until people begin to realise the basic and yet massive fact that the vast majority of Leftists believe that Islam is merely an epiphenomenon of socioeconomic material conditions, then they will never truly understand what's at the heart of all the absurd and ridiculous things they say about this religion and the actions of its followers.
As usual, Leftists (such as this Guardian journalist) are trying to make reality (or the facts) fit Marxist theory, rather than make Marxist theory fit reality (or the facts).
Notes on American Thinker Comments:
1) Large segments of the Left would still use the man-made global warming theory even if they knew it may well well be false. It would be a new Sorelian myth, like the General Strike or the overplayed "austerity" of recent years.
Man-caused global warming is a godsend to Leftists. Just as having a large minority of Muslims within "capitalist societies" is a godsend to them: "By any means necessary."
Socialism has been reinvigorated and warmed up by global warming. People like George Monbiot have realised that the Marxist dream of a violent revolution (led by people like Monbiot and other public-school boys) is a dead dog in the West. And that's why the Monbiots have rejigged the whole damn anti-capitalist show via the scare stories and moral blackmail which come along with man-made global warming.
The Monbiots are as socialist as ever – only now green, pseudo-democratic, even posher and even more elitist. Monbiot despises the working class (read the hints in his articles). That doesn't matter nowadays: contemporary Green anti-capitalism doesn't need Western workers: it has global warming and the poor in the Third World to patronise.
2) The Muslim writer of the Guardian article, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, also blames Boko Haram, and the events in Nigeria, on oil. Or, more correctly, he blames it on the West's relationship to Nigeria's oil. He also blames many conflicts on precisely the same thing: oil. Now why would a Left-leaning Muslim blame everything on the West? Now that's certainly a difficult one to work out.
Oil and global warming are of course very different things: yet Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed blames both of them for much that is wrong in the Muslim world. Nonetheless, they do have one important and relevant (from a Leftist and Muslim perspective) thing in common: Western capitalism.
In other words, this is a rewriting on Lenin's theory of imperialism of 1898: every conflict in the Muslim world, including the Muslim parts of Nigeria, are to do with Western imperialism, not Islam or indeed anything else.
That, my friend, is the crudest Marxist reductionism you could ever hope to find.
3) "I don't understand why after over 150 years and all of the abject human and political failures of Socialism and Communism, Karx Marx has not been buried, once and for all, for the quack and academic dilettante that he was."
Because the belief in Marxism, or in (revolutionary) socialism, is deeply religious in nature. People believe in Marxism and its promise of Utopia (despite Marx's gimmicky and false anti-Utopianism). Reality, facts and communism's historical failures simply don't matter when it comes to the religion that is Marxism/socialism.
Marxism gives Hope and promises a perfect future (Marx's afterlife): a revolutionary socialist society. If only we had faith, then we could make this happen. The facts may be against Marxists/socialists - but endless Hope and self-delusion can change all that.
"Karl Marx had no economics or econometrics training before he wrote the Communist Manifesto."
Perhaps it can be said that his largely Hegelian philosophy, and love of theory, ruined his economics. That is, his economics was always secondary to his philosophy and politics. Marx's economics, on the whole, came after he had formulated his philosophical and political theories. After all Das Kapital - his only real work of "scientific" economics - came some 18 years after the Communist Manifesto. In other words, the academic research (not the science) of Das Kapital came after Marx's communist theories had already been formulated in his mind