[Swiftwater Gazette] A reading about Jhadism
kroposki at att.net
Sun Mar 19 07:27:20 EDT 2017
ToKill an Ideologyposted18 March 2017
fromSTRATFOR by Scott Stewart
Afew weeks ago I wrote about how uncannilysimilar today's jihadists are to the anarchists who came a centurybefore them. At the time I focused on the resemblancebetween the two groups' ideologies, global reach and aspirations,propaganda, appeal to grassroots followers, and use of new technologyto further their agendas. But as I've had a chance to reflect on thetopic in the weeks since, I've come to realize that their likenessesdon't end there.
Forone, both types of terrorists rely on celebrity ideologues to recruitand radicalize new followers. Consider the modern jihadist movement,which has trotted out a procession of thought leaders to fill itsranks and fundraise. Figures from Abdullah Azzam and OmarAbdul-Rahman, known as the Blind Sheikh, to Osama bin Laden, Anwaral-Awlaki, Abu Bakar Bashir and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have traveledthe world to promote their particular brands of Islam. These men havegained a level of influence rivaling that of their anarchistpredecessors. Celebrity figures such as France's Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Russians like Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman andMikhail Bakunin were instrumental in spreading anarchism throughouttheir regions and the globe. And they, like today's jihadists,inspired and sometimes plotted countless attacks.
Greekriot police clash with anarchist protesters in Athens on Dec. 6,2015. Anarchism continues to survive - and inspire - to this day,gaining momentum across the West as nationalism spreads.
Takethe assassination of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901. Hiskiller, Leon Czolgosz, was an anarchist who traveled to Chicago justweeks before the attack to meet with Emma Goldman, a comrade ofBerkman's who had been involved in a failed plot to killindustrialist Henry Clay Frick in 1892. Authorities eventuallydetermined that Goldman had rebuffed Czolgosz's proposals to worktogether in the assassination, fearing that he was a police informantsent to infiltrate her group. But his attempt to seek the help ofother anarchists is eerily familiar. Failed "underwear bomber"Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen in 2009 to meet withal-Awlaki, who convinced him to try to bring down a passenger jet.Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan reached out to the al Qaeda leader via email as well ahead of hisattack on the Texas military base the same year.
Celebrityideologues don't have to have direct contact with potential recruits to radicalize and mobilize them, either. For instance, anarchistleaders proved critical to drawing in followers to fight in theSpanish Civil War, just as modern jihadist icons have had greatsuccess in sending men to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Bothanarchists and jihadists, meanwhile, have had to find homes away from home. Expelled from their countries because of their radicalideologies, many top leaders have sought refuge in havens around theglobe. After escaping a gulag in Siberia, Russianrevolutionary Bakunin traveled through the United States for a timebefore settling down in London. Johann Most, an advocate of terrorism and the coiner of the phrase "propaganda of the deed,"likewise set up shop in London after being exiled from his nativeGermany. He later moved to New York after his public praise of CzarAlexander II landed him in a British prison, eventually helpingBerkman to radicalize Goldman. Only a state away, Italian anarchistLuigi Galleani holed up in Patterson, New Jersey, after beingdeported from France and Switzerland for promoting violence. From theUnited States, Galleani called for terrorist attacks on American soiluntil he was sent back to Italy in 1919.
Sanctuarycities like London and New York had a lot to offer anarchists on therun. Freedom of speech and liberal attitudes afforded them a place toestablish propaganda outlets, where they could print newspapers,books and speeches to attract readers to their causes - and to issuecalls to arms.
Today'sjihadists have followed in their footsteps. Under pressure to leavehis native home of Saudi Arabia, bin Laden moved first to Sudan andthen to Afghanistan. Al Qaeda's current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, likewise fled to Egypt after getting out of jail. When the BlindSheikh and al-Zarqawi were released from prison, they, too, found newhomes in New Jersey and Afghanistan. In fact, the relocations ofjihadist preachers like Abu Hamza al-Masri and Omar Bakri Muhammadhave saddled the British capital with the nickname of "Londoninstan."
ALesson in History
Asis often true of unexpected patterns, we can draw valuable lessons from these groups' similarities. Chief among them is that it is very difficult to kill an ideology.
Afterall, ideologies often outlast those who helped to create and spreadthem. Goldman, for example, died in 1940, but a shooting last monthat a Baltimore anarchist bookstore named Red Emma's in her honor is achilling reminder of how she - and her anarchist ideals - continue toshape people's actions and beliefs.
Followinga rash of anarchist attacks in the late 19th and early 20thcenturies, the world's governments took steps to prevent furtherbloodshed. They worked to improve cross-border information sharingand liaison procedures, created new special agencies while expandingthe jurisdiction of others, and instituted new immigration bans thatdenied entry to anarchists. But none of these measures had much of animpact on - much less destroyed - the concept of anarchism.
Infact, the Marxists' success in creating the Soviet Union likely didfar more to curtail anarchism than these policies did, in part bydrawing anarchists to the Marxist strain of socialism. The Marxistsalso brutally oppressed anarchists, labeling them"counterrevolutionaries," and figures such as Goldman andBerkman got a cold reception when they were deported to Russia in1919. (Goldman even wrote two books chronicling her disillusionment with the Marxist government in Moscow.) But even harsh Marxistregimes didn't eradicate anarchism completely, and it continues tosurvive - and inspire - to this day, gaining momentum across the Westas nationalism spreads.
Ifthe anarchists' history is any indication, it is unreasonable toexpect jihadism to die out anytime soon. Even if the movement's mostinfluential leaders are killed, their vision will no doubt live on.Many of the most famous jihadists - bin Laden, Azzam, al-Zarqawi,al-Awlaki and the Blind Sheikh, to name a few - are already dead, yetjihadism is anything but. Because these figures were killed at theheight of their international influence, it could even be argued thattheir sway will fade less after their demise than it would have ifthey had lived on, gradually losing standing to younger, moreambitious leaders. Either way, jihadism is here to stay. And asconflict continues to grip much of the Muslim world, jihadists willhave no trouble finding sanctuary in places that offer shelter and ameans to keep plotting and propagating their beliefs.
"ToKill an Ideology" is republished with permission of Stratfor.
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