Friday, September 14, 2007

An interesting article about the Italian Red Brigades' newfound interest in the radical Moslem community. This reminded me of discussions in Power and the Idealists about Marxists from the Islamic world like Azar Nafisi who became disillusioned with the "revolutions" to which they originally pledged allegiance.

After reading Berman's book, it seems clear that these new Red Brigades are repeating the mistake that the Marxists in the 1970s made in the run up to the Iranian revolution. The Islamists along with Communist and Marxist parties overthrew the Shah. After that, the Islamists instituted a totalitarian state and wiped out anything left of their left-wing co-conspirators. Berman's main point is that these former Marxists turned away from the ideology to appreciate liberalism and freedoms above all else.

Like the radical Moslems at the helm of the Shah's overthrow, some of the Marxist groups of the 1960s in America also had reactionary ideas about society, they also had prescriptions for personal habits and behavior. This indicates that these are not at once contradictory ideas.

The new Red Brigades state that the Islamists may be the stronger of the violent radical organizations now, but that Marxist conceptions of the proletarian overcoming its oppressors would win out; these Islamists are just vectors towards this outcome. This reminds me of the twisted strategy of Charles Manson, who tried to foment a race war that once finished, he was convinced, would allow him and his group to take over the country.

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