'Against all States – Against all Gods' by Venona Q. (ISIS)
A brief musing by individualist nihilist-anarchist, Venona Q.:
The rise of the Islamic State and the atrocities coming out of Iraq and Syria has shocked, distressed and unnerved me. As an anarchist, I am used to criticising the West, capitalism, the incursion of Western troops into countries they want to de-stabilise and turn into a resource for the profit of the rich in Europe and America. But being an anarchist does not make me immune to fear or disgust and it is my responsibility to recognise what I feel, to understand it and if possible to act. Coming at the end of some years now of rising worldwide Islamic fundamentalism, these latest acts send a shiver down my spine. How could they not? Hearing of the beheading of journalist James Foley, the executions of hundreds of ‘non-believers’ and the rape and enslavement of thousands of girls and women, makes me feel as if I have been plucked out of time and place and have been deposited back in the Dark Ages. As a secular Westerner, invocations to God and atrocities committed in his name are frankly medieval. Surely everyone can see how ridiculous it is to fight in a God’s name and to brutalise those who call ‘Him’ something different? Who or what is God? Where is He? Does He exist? How can anyone believe such nonsense in this day and age?
Every anarchist knows that religion is not just about God, but about Power, and I suppose I am accustomed to certain rationales for atrocities committed in the pursuit of Power. But perhaps my horror at the Islamic State is so keen because I do not understand how anyone can pursue tyranny and oppression as God’s word and want.
It is overwhelming to witness these battles: the rotten and irrational neo-liberal project versus the barbaric and irrational theocratic project. There feels like very little I can do about it all. How do you reason with un-reason? Meanwhile, the Left, terrified of being accused of racism or fascism, has never had very much to say on such subjects. It holds to a policy of ‘tolerance’. But actually I do not feel tolerant when, for example, I see women oppressed in the name of religion and my enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend. I am not ‘tolerant’ in the face of religious or secular barbarism or lunacy, be it at the behest of Muslims, Christians, Zionists, bankers or presidents.
Capitalism largely superseded the theocracies of the West, although it continued to use it as a tool of Empire. But is it any less irrational? Isn’t it just as irrational to kill for profit and power? Aren’t money and science the new gods for those living in the West? And didn’t the governments and religious authorities of Europe and America use the same brutal tactics as the Islamic State are doing now, once upon a time? And aren’t they still doing it now? Mass hangings, slavery, transportations, brutal executions, torture, rape and ‘convert or die’ ultimatums are the common currency of all regimes, Islamic or secular. Hundreds of years of European history is the story of such exertions: the Inquisition, the burning of countless women accused as witches, the plunder of India and Africa, the Americas, the execution or exile of hundreds of thousands of British poor in the name of the new god – industrialisation.
But didn’t we learn from this? Aren’t we now different from groups such as the Islamic State? Yes. We no longer live in fear of medieval physical atrocities. We do not expect that if we do not believe in the new gods, we will be hung, drawn, quartered, stoned or inefficiently beheaded. And no. Because something will happen, certainly, if we take action against the new gods who seem to us unreasonable. Something will happen, certainly, if we rise up against the new gods who allow atrocities to be committed in their name, be those in Nigeria, Palestine, the Congo, Guantanamo or at home.
The brutality of the Islamic State should not throw us back into the arms of the secular West, to sigh with relief, appeal to NATO and Thank God! Thank God! It is not like that here. There is no denying that the punishments are softer. There is no point in pretending that some things are not better here than in that middle-eastern place of medieval theological wrath (stirred up by the Luciferian angels of the West). What is happening in Iraq is a hell of fire and brimstone; what is happening here is a hell of eternal boredom, despair and exclusion from a life fulfilled – the ordeal of Tantalus where we starve at the table of the rich. But I am reminded – when I read the reports of the Islamic State and reflect on the differences and the similarities between here and there – of a window in history that has never closed, of the men and women who struggled to liberate themselves from the stranglehold of religious tyranny to pursue a more enlightened and rational philosophy of life. Despite its recuperation into the new church of money, science and technology, that secular rebel drive for freedom, autonomy, human decency and common sense still lives in us and it is that living memory which can continue to guide us through the bloody mire of myriad regimes and their blind idiot gods, East and West.
No Gods, No Masters
This entry was posted on Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 8:36 pm and is filed under Cognitive Liberty.