It's Ukraine and Gaza. Again.
Critical theory without historical materialism is simply ungrounded cleverness. The PMC that you talk about (the "Left") are simply the courtiers to the really powerful, the capitalist owner class. The courtiers will spout whatever nonsense they have to to keep their jobs and have a chance to move upwards, including doing 180 about turns when required. Zionism is not a religious project, it is a nationalist one that hides behind religious symbolism. Iran is a moderate Muslim nation with a significant degree of socialism. Identity politics was driven from 2010 onwards as a divide and conquer strategy after the masses started to focus too much on the ownership class.
Nowhere do you mention the role of the West in destroying the increasingly secular Middle East of the 1950s and the funding and support for the religious fundamentalists to sow division (including within the immigrant community); how many of those "radical" clerics are on the security services payroll? Nor the real economic grievances of the immigrant community, and its righteous anger at the murder and ethnic cleansing of the Gazan population (to add to the Western destruction rent in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the other Western manipulations of the Arab Spring).
This is not about some "unconscious transference", it is about courtiers doing what courtiers do and the working class (including immigrants) becoming more and more restive against the rulers who don't treat them as fully human. With the real left utterly destroyed, sidelined and penetrated by the security services the only alternative for the working class seems to be the Right Wing, which of course is just the fascist arm of the ownership class. A real left-wing party would easily win, as Corbyn displayed in 2017 in the UK, but the ownership class will make sure that that is not an option.
"Indeed, I think it is now accepted that the doctrine of extreme social and economic liberalism espoused by the PMC has the genuinely enthusiastic support of only a very small part of the western population: perhaps ten per cent at most. The effective capture of major western political parties by the PMC ideology disguises this to some extent, but opinion polls and referenda show with great clarity that western electorates want something else. They may register a protest vote or they may not vote at all, and at a maximum they may vote for whichever of the major parties seems least repulsive that week."
Considering how wildly unpopular most western politicians and their policies are with their respective publics, "democracy" as it is actually practiced is basically a cover for rulers to do what they want. The technical term for this is a "beard".
After all, your elected representatives approved this. So If you don't like it, you can vote for the other carefully vetted corporate imperialist muppet next time around, so until then, shut up and fall in line!
Afterwards, it occurred to me that V.I. Lenin reached a similar conclusion in "State and Revolution".
I don't buy this psychological idea of a mass unconscious transference of hate for unfulfilling PMC lifestyles onto Russians and Gazans in the last few paragraphs. You wrote earlier "The Outer Party is subject to discipline, loyalty checks and compulsory ideological conformity...". Correct. So since the Inner Party is committed to the Israel and Ukraine projects, because Empire, members of the Outer Party have to behave this way or risk their jobs, social connections and/or clients.
"“Support” is a poor word to describe their hysterical, xenophobic gung-ho posture, less in favour of Ukraine, if the truth be told, than against Russia."
I have said from the outset - take away Russia and Poland would go from America's Special Little Buddy to a rather yappy midtier backwater satrapy, like Colombia with delusions of grandeur but no cocaine.
Ukraine would go from The Beacon Of Democracy to a corrupt, violent, nasty pariah state.
Well if Marx turns out to be right, Europe might not much like the dictatorship of the proletariat. I do think you’re on to something in philosophical and political sense of the issues.
I’ve been struck by how badly the standard Israeli propaganda for the west has worked. I would not have predicted the mass protest movement; I have to assume that the Inner Party didn’t expect it either. This too suggests that at a fundamental level cracks are showing in the facade built by the PMC. Nobody’s protesting their family or friends fighting in a war. It’s not personal (for most). It’s ideological but perhaps more. It feels like protest against the ugliest parts of the world built by the Inner Party.
You might find this book interesting, it’s called a History of Russophobia by Guy Mettan, and it really goes way back to the schism of east/west churches and all kinds of ways in which the west has hated Russia for a thousand years. Immediately thought of it when I started reading your post.
These groupings seem to map fully to bourgeois, petite bourgeois, proletariat, and lumpen proletariat, so why not use those terms instead?
I am sorry to say but again I detect the "othering" of Muslims and some "just so" narratives about how the European Muslim communities got radicalized and what happened in Iran. Not mentioned is the West's continued and calculated support of Wahhabi Islam to counter political Islam and Arab nationalism. That ISIS is clearly directed by US and Israeli governments, rather than any sort of authentic expression of the will of more than a tiny minority of Muslims. That most Ukrainians did not want to go to war with Russia in 2014 or 2019 and would not have if they had any say in 2022. That the mainstream western press is completely captured as a tool of elite control as part of the MICIMATT.
In short, this essay manages to speak rather eloquently about some of the symptoms, as seem by a rather perceptive upper ranking member of the European "outer party" but doesn't get into the problem of Western imperialism and capitalism. And that seems like an exercise in examining an elephant's tail without acknowledging the elephant.
Let's try to tell the story a little differently: around the 1970s/80s (Vietnam war, civil unrest, communist danger everywhere) the USA/CIA thought that, since religion was the opium of the people, betting on religion was a wise move (the PMC, as you call them, has no face, and this political choice has authors and names, that's why I say USA/CIA - Europe was not so much in the game by that time, I think). Khomeini's return to Iran (as well as his exile in France) was part of that move. It wasn't so much the hippie idea of a world of peace and harmony (but the CIA has since learned how to use it, bien sur), but the deliberate desire to disturb or defeat the secular Left (particularly in the Middle East, but also in Europe).
As one with a functional brain would expect, the move got out of control. Also because the Muslim world (contrary to what your article seems to presuppose), is today a space of intelligent people and advanced technology (and who also agree that religion is an excellent instrument of control). By the way, Putin did more or less the same move in the successful transition from the USSR to Russia. As for the emigration question, one could argue that in the USA they have a Christian Latin-American problem, not a Muslim one
I don't understand how you take the Vendee as representative of the "common people" of France. Of the Paris faubourgs? Who made up the Revoulutionary Armies that stood off the Great Powers of Europe? Who elected the National Assembly (later the Convention) that voted unanimously to convict Louis XVI of treason and (by a single vote-that of his cousin) to execute him? And when did the French Revolution end? With the execution of Danton and the Terror? with Thermidor (the triumph of your "outer party?") with Bonaparte? Or with the final establishment of a grand-bourgoisie state under Louis-Philippe in 1830?
And why do you not mention the terrible role of Stalinism in the collapse of the "Left" in postwar France as in 1929-1933 Germany, for instance the enabling role of the PCF in the murdeerous destruction of the FLN's rival trade union, the Messalist FNSA? And by the way, isn't the term "inner party" a way to avoid talking about its social power. Wouldn't the term "nomenklatura," which is an actuality, the established ruling class in China as it was in the USSR? Do you think the working class, native and immigrant, is dead or just starting to wake from a drugged sleep?
Quite honestly, I usually like your reasoning on various topics, and unlike most I feel many things can be discussed analytically without necessarily constantly referring back to empirical evidence. I feel, like you probably, that numbers are often smoke and mirrors can in fact hide that we have no clue.
Nevertheless, just like polls which are often incredibly inacurate and unreliable, they are still better tools than mere 'I said so'.
For this one I feel like some more data and sources would be much welcome. You make pretty significant claims about the influence of religion on immigrant communities in very direct terms, any data or sources for this? You say the anti-semitic violence come from this contingent rather than traditional far-right activists, any source or data that you are drawing on to make these claims?
Trying to understand the world in my mind necessarily implies doing so with others, which means at least some basis of shared reality and thus 'facts' - however much we may wish to critique these same facts or underline the importance of other 'facts'. Otherwise, it isn't so much 'trying to understand the world' that we are doing, but instead doing straightforward soft politics - which is fine of course, but it's not the same thing.
What the heck is PMC, is it Private Military Company? Is PubMed Central? Undefined abbreviations are FUBAR.
"Now if only we could do something with these disappointing people… if only we could transfer them, send them out, send them home. Of course, because of the knots of ThoughtCrime that the “Left” has tied itself in, such ideas can never be expressed. Indeed, they must not be consciously thought. So instead, we have the indecent enthusiasm of the western “Left” for the expulsion of the Palestinians from Gaza, as a sublimated and unacknowledged substitute."
And in grotesque irony, where do these foolish Europeans think displaced Gazans will GO? Why, straight across the Mediterranean, you fools!!
Outstanding article. Thanks!
"Nobody thought it was a big issue at the time."
Hum... Actually, a few did... But during decades, they were called "ists" or "phobes" of one kind or an other. And promptly silenced as such.
Then now days, as quite a few people abandoned lately their Pavlovian reactions, they try to pretend that it was everybody's fault and not only theirs.
Still... Great article. As often. Even if it took me a couple of paragraphs to get into it.
True. Only one really made sense in the context, to me anyway. Also, to be fair, Aurelien did use the full phrase first, but I'd vote for putting the acronym in parentheses immediately following the first use, so we don't have to wonder, or wander among the Google options. My working life, long past, wasn't spent in the thickets of abbreviations.
"The effective capture of major western political parties by the PMC ideology disguises this to some extent, but opinion polls and referenda show with great clarity that western electorates want something else."
Mediating further upon this, and using the United States as a leading example, I would not say that both legacy parties are PMC mouthpieces. Team D is the political manifestation of the class consciousness of the PMC, while Team R is the Local Gentry at politics. (This is one reason why Team D are staffed by Front Row Kids, while Team R features a lot more muffler shop owners, Land Grant State U graduates, and former football stars). Think of this like the 19th Century Whigs and Tories, the court party vs the country party.
However, the PMC is the hegemonic class, which in means that PMC values are deemed normative, axiomatic, even. So even when Team R opposes Team D, it does so using PMC-coded language and assumes PMC values, because its members cannot imagine things being any different.