Murder in Woolwich, London (trigger warning)

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Murder in Woolwich, London (trigger warning)
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There has been a murder in London today apparently involving an ex/serving soldier. From the reports and videos available at this time I gather he was knocked down with a car and then decapitated with a knife/machete. It was during the day on relatively busy road with many witnesses. One of the killers (I think there were two black males) gave his reasoning to a witness who recorded him. It went something like this, to paraphrase: 

'I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our land women have to see the same. You people will never be safe, remove your governments, they don't care about you.'

On all the videos I've seen a journalist is talking over the rest of what the guy has to say. It is obviously a politically motivated act and not a bout of madness or religious nuttery which of course will be lost in the bourgeois media and general sensationalist fallout. Some witnesses suspect the murderers were on drugs but I'm not sure how relavant that is to be honest. 

Apparently when the (armed) police turned up they attempted to attack them but were both shot and I presume killed.

The reaction of the far right has been swift and there are apparently near riots that have been encouraged by English Defence League fuhrer Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Paul Harris aka Tommy Robinson.

I won't post any video links as they may be distressing to some, if you want to search they are easily found on YouTube, the ones I watched were not particularly graphic.

Britain standing firm

It looks as though the attackers were shot but not killed by armed police. I don't think the victim was decapitated. The politicians have already regaled us with their condemnations about standing firm against terrorism. They will milk this for all its worth, including the beefing up of security.

The guy who did the talking seemed calm but the jihadist ideology was evident: for example, 'eye for an eye' and talk about British soldiers killing people in 'our lands', reflecting the weirdly distorted nationalist notion that some parts of the planet are 'Muslim'.  But young men like this are also products of the hopelessness and irrationality pumped out by a decaying social system.

There were some very brave acts, mainly by young women, who went to see if they could help the victim and talked to the guys wielding the knives and machetes.   

So the bourgeoisie and their

So the bourgeoisie and their nationalistic world view get yet another boost.  The image of a young man with bloodied hands wielding a butchers cleaver, and going on calmly and rationally about " an eye for an eye" - I though that was the Jewish faith,  or do they all have these simplistic lunacies in common, these world religions? - is not an easy one to forget. He made his point, whatever it was. And the Union Jack flying at half mast over the barracks, and prime minister Cameron doing a take off of  Churchill -the  British people; we shall stand together; nothing shall shake our resolve etc. - even the cold May wind contributed its part in ruffling his hair and the microphone  (but not his stoic demeanour) as he explained that he had nothing to say because it was all secret service stuff. COBRA.  I thought Cobra was fiction but apparently not.  



It is of course appalling that a young soldier can be so hacked to death on the streets of Woolich in the middle of the day. Barbarism at work. But it's one up for religion, isn't it?  Good Moslems, like good Christians, are not fanatics and all condemn such acts, we're told.  We all need to pray more!  It appears the young murderers, sorry jihadists, used to be good Christian boys before becoming good  Moslem boys. So what went wrong for them? Could it be something about decaying capitalist society? Have they been driven to the edge of sanity?  Why did they wait for the police to arrive, so quietly?  And why did they have to wait so long for the police to arrive,  the bourgeois media wants to know? 



If this had happened in Pakistan or Libya, it would have been easier to deal with. Drones could have been sent in killing the perpetrators and lots of innocent bystanders too. What fun!   President Obama says his drones don't kill innocents - well not so many - and the  idea that they do is a media invention. Anyway, hasn't he got to keep America safe? (What happened in Boston?) And he also says again, but very firmly, that he's going to close Guantanamo - it was on the tv this morning! - but if you believe this you might believe anything. After all, didn't he open his presidency by saying the same thing?



He talks with great conviction. The bourgeoisie all talk with great conviction, but it's all lies. They are as much victims now of their  out-of-control and decaying economic system as are we all.  If dying capitalism demands war, civilian butcherings, drone strikes, giant killer twisters, more firearms all round in the US, child abuse, bird flu, massive tax avoidance by the very richest companies, and  gay marriage for all in Europe, then so be it. We are, after all, only here to obey its crazed diktats, aren't we? Who are we to question it? 



Well. In fact we are the working class, and we are starting to question it  if only in an undertone as yet. But this "questioning" needs urgently to rise to a massive crescendo if we're not all to be destroyed. 




voice of the working class

good post Fred. The voice of the working class is cruelly lacking in all this.

Jihad! Behead the Infidel!

No, Islam is peaceful! Muslims are loyal citizens!

These murders are the true face of Islam! Support our troops!

This was an attack on the British way of life, on democracy, on tolerance, all we hold dear, and we utterly abhor violence in all its forms! Support our troops and let them get the job done!


The din is so loud that there are elements in the media saying: maybe we are giving this too much publicity?




"our lands"

the 2 tabloids here in nyc blared 'decapitation' but i haven't heard this elsewhere. (the nyt doesn't even have the story on the website's front page, that i can see)

Alf wrote:

... talk about British soldiers killing people in 'our lands', reflecting the weirdly distorted nationalist notion that some parts of the planet are 'Muslim'. 

yes, spot-on

Yes, Alf was spot on there. I

Yes, Alf was spot on there. I would suggest nationalism is pretty prevalent among Muslims in general becasue of the idea of the 'Ummah'. All nationalism is poison even among the so-called 'moderates'. By the way where did the term 'moderates' originate from? It sounds specifically statist. Like Fred said, the bourgeois likes the 'good poor' and the 'moderate' religious i.e those that know their place, are mystified, don't cause us any trouble and are submissive.

Some thoughts

 I think that, apart from the differences, there are great similarities between this murder at Woolwich and the Boston bombing within the framework of the decomposition of capitalism. Rather than al-Qaida meets Columbine, in this case it's al-Qaida meets the South London streets and its rotten ideology of nilhism and despair. Ever since the bourgeoisie pronounced al-Qaida dead it's continued to flourish across the globe - not as a unified, layered organisation but as what they call a "franchise". There is a distorted, decayed nationalism here but also a perverted internationalism - the pan-Islamic state - that is a perfect recruiting agency for imperialist war.

The British bourgeoisie's response to Woolwich also has great similarities with those of Boston in that it's completely over the top, insane even, but there is this element of reality from the ruling class point of view in that British imperialism, "our boys" (now turning into "our heroes") and British-run wars must be supported.The idea that "our heroes" commit atrocities, that the British state is involved in mass murders, torture and support for the most ruthless killers is, from the bourgeoisie's point of view,  something that is entirely incidental and secondary to this fundamental support for British imperialism. Anyone pointing to the diabolical atrocities of the latter can now be lumped in the same basket as jihadi murderers who make the obvious point rearding who cares about the many nameless victims of the British state and its role in global warfare.

The rise in the attacks on muslims and others these last few days was to be expected from the response by the media and politicians. There's plenty of murders in south London involving someone's son, there's even one man who was hacked to death with what very much looks like police complicity, but of course these murders don't generate this sort of fanfare. This scapegoating of muslims in also consistent with developments in British politics these last couple of months with the immigration card being played not just by UKIP, but by the Conservatives and the Labour Party. The response from the bourgeoisie to the Woolwich murder is a demand for support for British imperialism and its atrocities.

The parrallels between this

The parrallels between this attack and Boston are striking and represent the global nature of decomposition. In this case, it appears the attackers weren't even raised Muslim, but Chrisitan. One of them seems to have fallen into a life of criminality, only later to convert to radical Islam. It seems that in some ways the Islamist ideology is acting as a kind of "false solidarity" for many young, alienated youth (particularly immigrants) who see in it some kind of transcendence of their current condition. It doesn't even appear to be a necessity to have been from a Muslim family to fall under its influence--much in the way many prisoners in American jails convert to Islam in order to survive the experience of incarceration (albeit this is generally not the same expression of jihadi rage as appears to have overtaken the Tsarnaevs and the attackers in the London case).

However, one apsect of these cases that we must be especially aware of is the increasing focus of the bourgeois experts and the press on the issue of "radicalization." There is now a developing obsession on attempting to understand how young people come to believe in such fantastical and outlandish ideas as the global jihad. While, as Marxists, we have a certain interest in this question ourselves; the methodology that is being employed by the bourgeoisie seems to want to paint "radicalization" as a new kind of mental illness, a pathological deviation from the normal mature personality who learns to function in liberal society. Thus, its not just anyone that points out the atrocities of Western imperialism that can be lumped in with the jihadis, its anyone who questions the normal functioning of bourgeois society. This is being painted as a failure in the maturation process, an inability to transcend juvenile fantasy and accept the rules of liberal democracy, with all the "risks" it entails, as the only rational way to order society.

Its not long before the language of "radicalization" is turned on Marxist revolutionaries. But this raises a more fundamental question that perhaps we need to examine reflexively--how does one come to assume the identity of Marxist revolutionary? Is it a form of emotional radicalization similar to what happens to young people who fall under the Islamist sway (and thus religious radicalization is merely a failure of a questioning person to arrive at class positions) or is it a different process altogether, an expression of consciousness that cannot be compared to the emotional forces that produces "radicalization"?

Nice post jk. The use of the

Nice post jk. The use of the word "radicalization" also bothers me. Whenever the bourgeoisie use it it's usually in the context of what might better be termed "dumbing down" or "lumpenisation".

jk wrote:
Its not long before the language of "radicalization" is turned on Marxist revolutionaries. But this raises a more fundamental question that perhaps we need to examine reflexively--how does one come to assume the identity of Marxist revolutionary? Is it a form of emotional radicalization similar to what happens to young people who fall under the Islamist sway (and thus religious radicalization is merely a failure of a questioning person to arrive at class positions) or is it a different process altogether, an expression of consciousness that cannot be compared to the emotional forces that produces "radicalization"?




Arriving at a Marxist understanding of the world, is a process of coming to an actual consciousness of the way things are, and is the antithesis of arriving at any sort of religious justification for the world. I can only speak very personally about this. As a teenager in the awful 1950's I was very religious: there was nothing else to do. Besides I loved the music, ceremonies, ritual, bells and smells etc. It was all am emotional substitute for something else that was missing. What you might call: LIFE. The excitement of having a life to live. It didn't take long to discover that religion was no substitute for this. But there seemed nothing else! There was nothing to do; nothing to be; you just had to bumble along as best you could, like everyone else; trying to believe that if this was all there was to life, then this was all there was! Grin and bear it like everyone else, and pretend it's all fun. (I hope this account is not too depressing.) But living without some sort of motivating aim is difficult. Just as living without illusions is difficult - or so various esteemed novelists have told us.




The trouble with religion is that its quality as an illusion is only too apparent if you give it any thought. So it's better just to be "fanatical" that is to say all sound and fury: this way you don't have to question your values, or your existence. Perhaps only after having indulged in some atrocity or other, in the name of fanatical allegiance to an ideology (isn't religion an ideology: a false explanation of life?) may someone be brought up suddenly to consider what they're doing. Isn't this the subject matter of some of Joseph Conrad's best novels? (Yes:it is.)




So it is possible to understand a little the strain and stress that some young men give way to, in trying to find something to believe in, some motivating aim in life, such as underpins the events in Boston and Woolwich. The bourgeoisie in the form of al-Qaida, or now UKIP and the like, are able to make use of this desire for a commitment to something (something to believe in) on the behalf of sincere young people (it isnt just young men, young women are vulnerable too) who are looking for a reason to live, or, as turns out more frequently today in decomposition, a "good" reason to die. UKIP use hatred of anything that's different; the black immigrant, the gay, the socialist, the Moslem, the FOREIGNER! While al-Qaida resent, envy and hate the bourgeois West and christianity and want to replace it with the bourgeois East and islam. And anything goes in the process, anything can be sacrificed, for this bourgeois aim. Marxism is the only remaining alternative to this labyrinthine confusion. Capitalism has no solutions left. They've all been tried.





For those of us who find/come across/ hear about/ Marxism the relief of the release from the labyrinthine and bourgeois confusion can be dramatic and startling. At last, here is something that makes sense; that explains just about everything; that doesn't demand a blind allegiance but can be submitted to rational and scientific thought; that liberates not restricts; and that opens possibilities for life and living and provides true motivation for being at all. This doesn't necessarily have to mean arriving at class positions immediately I think. But I don't know. Do class positions lead to Marxism, or does Marxism, in providing a goal for life - in the way in which the religions provide a goal for death - lead to class identification in the pursuit of consciousness?

Some big qustions here I need

Some big qustions here I need to spend some time thinking about before really commenting. I think communists can quite easily be added to the "extremist" tag. That way communists can be lumped in with all sorts who wish to 'attack' the 'natual' order or "our way of life", civilised society or whatever terms they come out with these days. EDL, UAF, communists, leftists, jihadists, islamists all extremists against 'our' society. 

I noticed by chance in the Sunday Mail today there was a small article at the bottom right of page 7:

Copycat knife attack in Paris

A uniformed French soldier on anti-terrorist duties in Paris had his his throat cut by a knife-wielding maniac last night. In the suspected copycat attack, a man of North African origin pounced outside a Virgin store in the La Defense district at 6pm, as horrified shoppers looked on. The attacker escaped and the 'badly hurt' soldier is being treated in hospital but his life is not thought to be in danger.

The BBC interestingly report the story quite differently saying that the soldier was stabbed in the neck and that the attacker took off a robe and was wearing normal clothes underneath as he fled (cctv). 

The conspiracists will no doubt point to incidents where British soldiers have apparently dressed as locals and performed acts of state terorism.

This BBC interview might shed some light on the whole subject:

"MI5 Offered Job to London Woolwich Suspect"

disparate points from Woolwich

I think that it's worth pointing out that on the evening of the attack the senior BBC political correspondent described the assailants as "of a muslim appearance"! This set the tone for the whole pogrom mentality that followed with the concession from elements of the ruling class that 'the only good Muslim is a British Muslim', ie, just as in Boston, the whole putrid ideology of nationalism was boosted from all angles. And, just as in Boston, there are murky dealings between the jihadi assailants and the security forces.

Lumping revolutionaries and anti-state elements in with jihadists is useful for the bourgeoisie but not the prime concern here. For example, normally, revolutionaries are lumped in with elements such as trade union activists, trotskyists and the like though at some level I would think that there are political police that know how to differentiate and spot the real threat. I think that the real weight of state repression will continue to hammer down on the muslim communities.

I absolutely disagree with the idea that seeing the bourgeoisie plan, plot and scheme, seeing it as machiavellian, is some sort of conspiracy theory. It's a factual reflection of what the bourgeoisie does and we underestimate this at our peril. Specifically, there are examples in Mid-East of British security agents dressing as locals in order to carry out terrorist attacks.

Maybe the machiavellian

Maybe the machiavellian plotting of the bourgeoisie should be researched and discussed a lot more and not all left for the conspiracists? I have read quite a lot through the ICC which has been good, Gladio being a prime example.


radicalchains wrote:

Maybe the machiavellian plotting of the bourgeoisie should be researched and discussed a lot more and not all left for the conspiracists? I have read quite a lot through the ICC which has been good, Gladio being a prime example.

Indeed, but we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that everything that happens is some kind of manufactured bourgeois plot. As Steve Hauser's post illustrates, some believe the Newtown massare didn't happen and the same Alex Jones he quotes (whose politics are mostly right wing) has recently stated that the Oklahoma tornado was a false flag.

Baboon is basically right, but we have to be careful to make sure we are anlayzing these things with a Marxist method, which has to appreciate the dialectic between bourgeois Machiavellianism and decompositon, something that necessarily entails a certain loss of social and political control by the state. Of course, one symptom of this could be more Machiavellian plotting as a way of trying to reassert control.

The ICC's tendency in the past to see certain events as "bourgeois maneouvers" (like the 1996 events in France) has been one point of contention between it and the ICT, so it is clearly an important issue.