The ideology of jihadism
The point of comparisions is to make a fact, a concept or a theary clear to a person. Its purpose is the explanation, it functions like an example - the explainer, the person that is making the comparision
The point of comparisions is to make a fact, a concept or a theary clear to a person. Its purpose is the explanation, it functions like an example - the explainer, the person that is making the comparision, seeks to make the audience understand something. As the title says, I am going to compare Jihadism, as in, from Al-Qaeda to ISIL to national socialism - explicitly.
One could analyze Jihadism without making any comparision, sure, one could analyze its apocalyptic elements, its appeal among certain strata of society and its ideology without ever mentioning the Nazis at any point. Maybe this would be intellectually more honest, because as comparision implies in itself, there are still more than enough differences between the two concepts one wants to compare, they are not identitcal.
The reason why I am going to compare those two is normative. I want people to understand what Jihadism really is and what it represents for the Middle East and I also am of the belief that it can be only defeated by pure military power and absolutely nothing else, just like national socialism was, and I am of the belief that the western liberal democracies - or what is ideologically left of them - has to treat the Islamic State as they did Nazi Germany. What exactly I mean with "treat them the same" I will explain after I am done with my analysis.
1. What is fascism
"The Fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value. Thus understood, Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State—a synthesis and a unit inclusive of all values—interprets, develops, and potentiates the whole life of a people. (p. 14) "
There are wildly differing opinions on what fascism really is, and many consider it a buzzword. The most convincing definition and analysis of fascism was given to us by the critical theory. It describes fascism as a movement which seeks to subsumate all of society under itself, to make society as a whole identical with it. It seeks to represent all of society under its banner, it seeks to represent all the national spirits and interests and its truly wants to be totalitarian. It wants to control all aspects of life of a society and liquidate individuality under it as much as possible - in order to create the massive and identical society.
Most people try to pinpoint fascism on its corporatism, when that corporatism has to be seen as a consequence of a deeper lying ideology - an ideology which is a reflection of monopoly and trust capitalism as it arised in the early 20th century. The central idea of fascism is that the state intermediates between all contradictions in society, it intermediates between the class contradictions of worker and bourgeoisie, it intermedieates between big capital and the middle class businesses. In light of social collapse and instability during the early 20th century, fascism was seen as the solution to the endless petty party fighting and class struggles which dominated the political scene in all western european countries of the time.
To describe fascism, the political term of a racket coined by Max Horkheimer becomes useful. A racket is an organization which seeks to gain wealth of commodities not through fair, lawful exchange or production, but through domination and exortion. A mafia of the American 1930s is the perfect example of a racket. A group of people rallying together, abandoning themselves as individuals and working together as a racket in order to look for prey and to extract resources. It is the form of organization that emerges when capitalism and law collapses, if capitalism is unable to produce wealth and to grow, people need to go back to preying for wealth. And rackets always have a welfare aspect - they need to care for its adherents and members. The soup kitchens ran by Al Capone are a testament to their function in society.
States that I would characterize as fascist or at the very least post-fascist other than Mussolini's Italy would be Orban's Hungary and Putin's Russia. In both states, the rhetoric has long taken the route of fascism, except it had it much easier, as late capitalism liquidated actual class struggle and class consciousness, both on the side of the worker as well as the bourgeoisie. Both of those two are states are a conglomerate of different groups, rackets and gangs - Putin's state apparatus controls and intermediates various forms of mafia, oligarchy, secret services and post secret-services as well as local, tribal rackets such as Kadyrov's Chechnya. Putin's keeps his own system alive by allowing privileges to each of those groups and through distributing "prey" effectively - commodities and resources not gained through fair exchanged controlled by law, but commodities and resources gained through domination, based upon the right of the strongest. As the example Khodorkovsky shows, if an oligarch is not in line, he is hunted and his property is taken as prey and then distributed among the loyal followers of Putin. People close to Putin get to control state media, get important positions in the government, get to control resources or enjoy lawlessness like Kadyrov does in Chechnya.
The fascist state is effectively the kind of totalitarian state that subsumes all those different social forces, groups and gangs which are controlled through ready-made racketeering, as in, the extraction of prey as a replacement for exchange and the welfare that follows, the distribution of it among the followers. The ideological manifestation, whether corporatism - "the state fuses with the corporations" - or whatever ideology is around locally, national interest, national spirit, Islamic umma - is effectively irrelevant. As the population as a whole identifies itself with the various rackets satisfied by the fascist system of governance or simply directly with the government and its leaders and representants, the subsumation of society, the overcoming of class differences and the totalitarian state is effectively achieved through the destruction of most exchange and production outside of the state. A country like Russia, whose economy is based on oil and whose profit's distribution is the primary way to satisfy the needs of the Russian population, a totalitarian state, a state involved in all aspects of life, is almost a natural development.
But fascism stays short, and it stays at a certain level, this is because the state still has to intermediate. Just like law intermediates exchange on the market and gives it rules, the state has to intermediate between the rackets. The primary goal of all far rightwing ideologies, the realization of a fully pure people's community, is not yet possible. The radicalization of fascism, national socialism, doesn't want a state with which the nation identifies itself, it doesn't want a state that intermediates between the various systems. The national socialists, instead, seeked to create a fully mobilized society directly ruling over itself, with no intermediation, with no law, no relicts of liberalism. Everything that is not fully identical with the people itself has to be eradicated.
2. What is National Socialism?
In 1934, the Nazis abandoned the idea of a totalitarian state which was adopted from the Italian fascists. Alfred Rosenberg called for the overcoming of the totalitarian state and instead wanted society to not be subsumed under the state, but under itself. Explicitly, he wanted the National Socialist movement to be everything and not the state. And there are some important differences to fascism.
The national socialist non-state, as Franz Neumann called it, is effectively shapeless. Through the abandonment of all law, the classical state ceases to exist. Instead we can observe something different: Different rackets are created for each German class or group. There is a Federation of Women, which had in 1944 4,5 million members. There is the Hitler Youth, which all of the youth had to join. The German Worker's Front, a trade union all workers were joining by law. The NSDAP itself had 8,5 million members by 1944. All of these groups, especially the NSDAP of course, effectively replaced state administration, as the state administration was mostly replaced with NSDAP members whose allegiance is directly the Führer. Germany was ran by the party, all of the other groups of people were ran by NSDAP figures. The life of every single German citizen was subsumed under one of those groups. Whether during their free time or during work, whether it was while watching TV, radio, reading newspapers, playing sports, watching football, reading books, going to school - everything was National Socialism. Everything has become the movement. Whatever people did - they were controlled by party officials. The corporations themselves, from Krupp to IG Farben couldn't help but compete with each other not for success on the market, but for approval by the leader himself.
The fascist state's intermediation between the different groups was dropped, because there was no such thing as different groups that had to be intermediated in the first place. Because all of society became identical with the party and its goals or simply its Führer, we can consider the state to have disappeared. The state used to have the monopoly of violence, but who has the monopoly of violence now? Does it have the Führer himself, does the party have it? Instead of a monopoly of violence we can see that the different groups of the National Socailist party all had their own autonomous tasks, their own autonomous violences - and they existed next to each other. From the Wehrmacht existing next to the SS with both having different tasks, to the Gestapo existing next to the actual police, the Hitler Youth next to the Federation of German women, etc.
This is the shapelessness of the state that Franz Neumann was talking about when describing Nazism. There is no single institution that intermediates and controls, there is no law (effectively the Nazis introduced a term called "healthy people's feeling", according to which certain verdicts could be passed - if the "people" feel it is right, if the people feel it is right for its race - then it has to be banned, destroyed, jailed ...) , all we can observe is different rackets competing with each other for the Führer's approval and are given full autonomy for their task. Violence and terror has become complete and direct, the intermediation of violence that a state sought to do, by centralizing violence within an institution, giving the violence rules of conduct and representation - all of those have been eliminated.
The expansionism of Nazism is a way for it to keep itself alive, it is inherent to it. All of those different groups, the rackets, seeking welfare for themselves and to seek the Führer's approval, are fully mobilized and they need to expand. They need more, necessarily. The SS needs to conquer more, Krupp needs to produce more steel to keep its workers working, the Wehrmacht wants to prove itself on the battlefield for the Führer's approval - the shapelessness of Nazism effectively ends up as Nazism expanding in multiple directions, necessarily so, because the internal tensions of having so many different groups competing for more approval and more prey couldn't be contained in the long run. The people's community breaks out of its prison - the state and its borders.
3. Jihadism and National Socialism
The idea behind my comparision is that I consider Jihadism and especially the Islamic state to have come to the same political, internal condition as Nazi Germany did. The shapelessness and the overcoming of the state as useless, unwanted intermediation and the Jihadi movement becoming everything.
Society and the state, both in National Socialism and under Jihadism, has merged. The state, while for the Muslim Brotherhood a tool to create a virtous Islamic society, is now, for the Jihadists irrelevant, a non-issue - just like it was for the National Socialists.
Both being modern movements, the Islamic State demands complete identification of its subjects with itself with no intermediation in-between. If you belong to dawla (Islamic State), you can be a soldier, an administrative official, a simple wife staying at home or the police. No matter what you are, you are the Islamic state itself. You are part of the movement and as part of the movement you want prey. You want the goods of war, you want that the resource and commodity extraction - however that happens - goes back to you. Dawla is, like National Socialism was, not merely a military group or a militia. Its purpose is also to feed and to care for its members and the population it controls it needs to feed and care for the Arab tribes that support it - exactly how rackets did in the 1930s USA. Individualism under Dawla is unthinkable - everyone is part of the term umma and subsumed under it.
Of course, the lack of law, lack of true institutions, the direct terror and violence which is similar to National Socailism leads to its shapelessness. Dawla, as often is pointed out rightfully, needs to expand. It is the only way it can survive. Like Germany that needs to fuel its industries, get gold to pay its debt and its need to show glorious national achievements to keep all of its different groups mobilized for the national cause, Dawla, too, needs to conquer, it needs to expand. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi needs successes to claim his legacy.
5. Economics in Jihadism and National Socialism
In light of societal collapse in the 20th century, everyone was effectively an anti-capitalist. Trusts and monopolies were controlling the economy, unemployment was high and even now, it is unlikly that the majority of the Middle East believes that Western capitalism is the answer for its woes. And so both National Socialism and Jihadism seem to have developed a similar economic theory - a fetishistic, regressive anti-capitalist view. Both seem to look for the problems of current economic misfortune among the "parasites" of the economy, mainly Jewish bankers. The national socialists always differentiated between the working capital of the Germans and the parasitic capital of the Jews, mostly banking, trade and speculation.
For all of you that have seen The Return of the Gold Dinar by the Islamic State should know that this is returning.
In this movie, it is effectively claimed that the western banking system created by Jews is merely a device used by Jews to "parasitically" extract value from the working people. As a contrast we have Islamic economy as a non-parasitic answer to western capitalism. Without interest and abstract paper money, which is seen as the primary way Jews parasitically extract value from people, the Gold Dinar is supposed to create a liberated economy free from exploitation, which is mostly done by Jews anyway.
It is no surprise that Al-Baghdadi called Palestine the grave of all the Jews in the region - which should remind everyone of the holocaust and how such a thing came to be. Antisemitism is a central ideology among both, as it constructs an all-powerful enemy that needs to be annihilated, an enemy that is the antithesis, the counter-race to all that is good. An enemy that not only exploits everyone through banking, but an enemy which degenerates people - it is no surprise that the Islamic State attacked the Jewish-owned Bataclan in Paris. It was seen as a symbol of degeneracy and apostasy, as people, clearly fooled by the Jewish owner, were enjoying a fairly anti-Muslim metal concert. As should be known by everyone, the Nazis weren't merely focused on Jewish banking, they were also burning Jewish books and Jewish art - for being degenerate, what else? For not being of the German character, for being weak, parasitic and uncourageous. As I said, they are the counter-race. The complete foe. A necessarily constructed being in order to realize the people's community.
6. The Apocalypse
Both of them are apocalyptic. For National Socialism, everything is focused on the Jews. The destruction of Jewry is seen as a liberatory act, as the liberation of humanity, of Europe, it is the realization of the "people's community of equals" as Hitler called it in Mein Kampf. For the Nazis, the destruction of the Jews was of utmost importance and this is why the holocaust truly began in 1942, when the Nazis were about to lose their first battles on the Eastern Front and victory became more and more difficult. The Nazis effectively attempted to salvage and save themselves by bringing liberation - or the apocalypse - earlier.
For the Nazis, what they killed in Auschwitz wasn't merely Judaism. They killed the counter-principle itself, they tried to kill and annihilate all contradictions of their society to realize their full people's community. From economic problems resulting from "parasitism", from societal degeneration due to Jewish manipulation ... the salvation for the Nazis lied in the extermination of Jewry. And the closer the Nazis were to defeat, the more Jews they tried to kill before they were finally beaten - a last, desperate attempt to bring about freedom, the freedom from the state, from exploitation, from class differences.
For the Islamic State, the apocalypse is much more obvious. The desparate attempt at bringing out the apocalypse or salvation - which are effectively simultanous - can be shown every single day at their suicide attempts and their huge lists of people signing up for their suicide operations. Daesh doesn't believe in itself. It believes in a future, a future which can be achieved through the bringing about of the apocalypse - a future which, the Nazis, too, thought they could reach with the destruction of Jewry.
I tried to lay down the similarities between both. The differences should be obvious to anyone, for example, that dawla is in fact further developed from Nazism, that it is truly identical with itself, with no intermediation whatsover - a shred of it still exists in Nazi Germany as the NSDAP and society are still not quite identical by 1945. It isn't split into different groups and rackets like Nazism is, it is one single racket, one single organization everyone is directly part of and everyone in it knows what his or her tasks are. Of course, the Islamic mythology behind IS' history also has to be considered, which is completely different from Nazi mythology based on the German nation and Germanicism - it is useless to name more examples of differences, as there are countless.
My point is simply this: Both Jihadism as a whole and Nazi Germany are the result of something very similar, they are their respective symptoms of the same problem, which is the local collapse of their society, the compelte lack of economic development, the end of competitive capitalism and the replacement of it with a monopolistic, stagnated capitalism and all the misery it creates. They are both the result of a fetishistic view of how to save the world, both focusd on th destruction of the complete enemy - the Jews, or the Kuffar in general in the case of dawla - on which the percieved problems and contradictions of the world are focused on. And they both in actuality achieve the same thing: The realization of the uniform people's community.
My suggestion on how to deal with dawla - as I have promised - is not that we need to start firebombing Raqqa, rather, that we need to destroy the ideology itself. ISIL has to be throughouly and completely destroyed, we cannot allow it any sort of success. I suggest a far-reaching international coalition of countries which will have to occupy the region on which ISIL rules and it needs to fight all resistance, all insurgency with the greatest effort. One has to prevent ISIL from even managing one massacre, to destroy one single Shia mosque, to behead one kuffar - the impotency and weakness of ISIL has to be demonstrated on all levels.
If we want national socialist ideologies to be fought, we cannot appeal to the individual conscience of its adherents, they have lost their individuality long ago and have subsumed themselves in the collective - if we want it to be fought, we need to beat it. We, the liberal, democratic, degenerate forces. The forces of civilization which have disappointed and alienated Nazis and Jihadists alike have to fight them and win it. We need to show that, despite all our degeneracy, that we are still strong. That western-type civilization based around the enlightenment is still the most powerful, the strongest and most resilient society.
I don't understand why the western world isn't taking dawla more seriously, it cannot be beat by a bunch of Kurds or weakened rebel or government forces. The only thing that can defeat them is their own counter-principle - western liberalism - and this counter-principle has to show to them that they aren't the counter-principle, but that they are in fact the best principle, the best race if you want, humanity currently has to offer.