Scoop Blogwatch: How to defeat
fascists and their terrorism
A New Zealand blog about progressive ideas
The indiscriminate mass murder and injury caused in India's financial capital is getting worldwide sympathy for the innocent victims.
In due course, political leaders will turn their attention to (1) the objectives of the fascists and (2) the best way to marginalise and ultimately nip this ultra-reactionary force in the bud before it, like a virulent disease, spreads its evil tentacles still further afield.
Early reports suggest that those that organised the mass butchery in Mumbai are motivated by the same ideology of prejudice and hate that produced the Saudi Arabian-origin Al Qaeda, the Afghani and Pakistani Taliban and various off-shoots in west Africa through to south east Asia - sometimes collectively referred to as Salafists.
Like the fascist movements in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, these groups represent an existential threat to those that do not belong to their definition of orthodoxy.
In the 21st Century version of the fascist threat, the group that carried out the attacks in Mumbai belongs to a movement that represents an existential threat to non-Sunni Muslims (80 per cent of Muslims are Sunni), namely Shiia and other Muslim denominations from the mystical sufi through to pantheistic and esoteric interpretaions of Islam. The fascists represent an existential threat also to Hindus, indigenous Christians and Jews, to agnostics and atheists -to anyone that belongs to either a pre-Islamic or post-Islamic faith.
So in answer to (1), it seems that a primary objective of these facists is to impose a strict, Saudi Arabian-style of law and society in place of the dynamic, democratic, vibrant and multi-ethnic society that exists, for example, in the Republic of India.
The government of Pakistan, which recently had elections which were won by a party led by a member of the minority Shiia sect of Islam (a minority in Pakistan as almost everywhere else in the Muslim world with the notable exceptions of Iran, Iraq, Bahrein, east/ south Lebanon and Azerbaijan), is an anathema to them.
The democracy movements and free political parties in other major Muslim nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Nigeria and Bangladesh) are all anathema to Salafist fascists.
It is a pretty absurd thought: India, on its way to becoming a global economic and cultural powerhouse, is universe away from the tyranny of Saudi Arabia, stuck as it is in a peculiar 10th century bedouin re-interpretation of Islam - an interpretation that would have been laughed out of the mosque by Muslims of the 7th-10th centuries when Islamic civilisation was born and offered the world much.
As ultra-reactionaries, they also represent a malignant threat to women's civil and individual legal rights, to universal education, to trade unions and workers' social rights, to the idea of equality before the law - or indeed, anything that is vaguely defined as "liberal" "secular" or "progressive".
These sort of movements glorify a mythical past and, while they offer no solutions for ordinary people in the present, nevertheless get their recruits among those that feel threatened and insecure, rather than challenged and liberated, by all the opportunities and complexities of modern industrial life in an an increasingly competitive global market place.
In short, they are the scum of the Earth.
But how to defeat them effectively, that is the question for decision makers.
We know from our grandparents about the terrible price paid by Europeans, Middle Easterns and North Africans between 1939 and 1945 by the failure of political leadership after World War I and throughout the 1920s.
We know in 2008 that German culture is not rotten to the core. Our grandparents might not have agreed in 1933, when Hitler's party was gaining popularity in the polls in Germany.
So how is it that during the 1930s Germany, Italy, Spain and other States came to be led by what were, in 1918 and the first half of the 1920s, marginal, tiny organsiations with ambitions for mass destruction and pain but only a small dedicated following?
Was there something that the leaders of France, England, America and Russia could have done beween 1918 and 1925, or by 1932 at the latest, that would have diminished the chances of the rise of the Nazis and their fellow travellers by the mid '30s?
We know that the German and Italian fascist parties prospered as unemployment soared, as inflation destroyed wealth and savings. We know the fascists used the humilitations imposed on Germany and Italy (by France and England primraily) as a rallying call when looking for recruits.
We know they singled out those they deemed not part of the "mainstream" as a convenient excuse to blame for either being party to the cause of thier national humilitation, or the cause itself.
Was there anything France and England, America and the Soviets, could have done better to help nip the bud of rising fascism in Germany, Italy, Spain and elsewhere in central and eastern Europe in the early 1920s?
If the modern fascist movement is getting its largest numbers of recruits in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan - then what is needed is a massive investment in the economic development of those territories.
Sudan could be a major agricultural exporter - if the EU, US and Japan would both remove their economic apartheid tariff barriers on Third World farm produce, and if the rich nations would invest properly in the nation's ports, roads, airports and energy generation.
Pakistan has the potential of India. There must be economic development opportunities in Afghanistan and Somalia.
There is no question that had the Four Powers invested a Marshall-type Plan in Germany in 1918, instead of waiting until American taxpayers took up the challenge after 1939, then the chances of fascism taking hold in Germany in the 1930s could have been averted.
But it is clear that massive investment in infrastructure development, and opening markets, won't be enough to eradicate the Salafists in the short-term.
Tragically, the mass murders will continue in spite of the best efforts of States, and the U.N., to fight back with counter-terror operations because the terrorist organisations have grown significantly since first being established (with Saudi funding) to battle the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1979.
The world didn't help with its failure to properly invest in Afghanistan after throwing the Taliban out in late 2001 - Afghanistan should have been very quickly absolutely showered in First World investment.
The U.S. Government didn't help by its conduct in Iraq, that provided free propaganda opportunities for those claiming all Muslims are the victims of a "Western conspiracy".
The U.N. doesn't help by not resolving long-standing injustices - particularly the consequences of the 1947 U.N. General Assembly partition of Palestine.
The fascists utilise every real and imagined injustice for their own purposes.
Their evil plotting will continue - the latest attack perhaps designed to create conflict between India and Pakistan, and between Muslims and Hindus in India - fascists hope to make gains out of social chaos and conflict.
How quickly we empty the reservoir of the potential recruiting grounds where the ignorant young conscripts live, however, will undoubtedly be related to how quickly economic and social development is promoted in the backwater regions of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where the Salafists are strongest.