Al Qaeda Mass Movement?
The 46th Letter of an Autonomous Thinker

Bangkok, April 1 2004

Dear reader, 

In the Bangkok Post of March 17 2004 Salah Nasrawi wrote: "Islamic militants rally under Al Qaeda banner".

The Egyptian Abdel Rahim Ali, author of "Alliance of terror, Al Qaeda organisation" states that "Al Qaeda is now separate and loose groups bound only by an ideology but working independently. If you believe in their ideas, you are one of them. You are Al Qaeda".

This description reminisces the former Dutch Provo or Squatters Movements. Also the early socialist, anarchist or communist Movements, the anti-colonial and anti-nuclear Movements could be defined as a loose combination of independent groups bound together by a vague idea of a better society.

All these Movements built on the dormant hatred for self-appointed leaders who have a better life than the average massperson. Thinkers as Marx and Bakoenin or the unknown philosophers in contemporary Movements have hardly any direct influence on what happens in the field. They only inspire Movements. The men in the field "read between the lines and conclude where Bin Laden might like them to act ... They know the general guidelines and they know what is required to do ...... It is recruiting by remote control."

Saad al-Faqih, the Saudi head of the Islamic Reform Movement, even said that "there is no organisation as such you can call Al Qaeda now, but rather followers who believe in the ideas of Bin Laden and can organise themselves in small cells and carry out attacks."

Leaders of Al Qaeda can no longer work in the open to lead followers but the Movement thrives on a growing anti-American sentiment. It is becoming less dependent on the old combatants that were trained (with the help of the American CIA) in the Afghan War against the Russians.

To suppress Movements governments often use a surplus of violence. This hardly influences the wish for change. Most movements dissolve after political changes. The ETA and the IRA started to wither away when some of their demands were met.

The American military approach must fail. It tries to neutralise humans while leaving ideas, the basic reason for resistance, untouched. The imprisonment (Guantanamo) and the killing (Iraq and Afghan War) of innocent citizens strengthens the wish to resist.

Even when Al Qaeda leaves people with real power virtually untouched its actions do not weaken the Movement because Moslem masses from which the followers are recruited are hardly attacked. Actions affirm the idea that all First World people agree with their own elite. The First World elite reinforces this idea ("We Americans want Saddam out!") because a foreign enemy as Al Qaeda gives more possibilities to increase control over the own masses.

In the past leftist politicians supported some of the above mentioned Movements to improve their own position. When they won elections the sympathetic words from before were replaced by deeds that resembled the ideas of the old leaders. The interest of the elite remains in first place but the chance that the own masses will support foreign Mass Movement decreases. The present American leaders are not interested in the well-being of Moslem masses. Therefore the Al Qaeda mass Movement will still grow.

The next American government will pursue another policy. It will promote the disappearance of some bad Arab regimes so the growing power of Al Qaeda will be undermined. But the situation in the world will not change. The all-mighty and rich Western elite will remain on top. The poor Arab (and other Third World masses) will remain under.

The Al Qaeda Movement is not on the right track. They will for some time be loved by the Arab masses but because the situation of these masses does not improve and because the power of the Western elite does not weaken , the movement will wither away. Unless the American elite perseveres its present stupid policies.

For real improvement a world-wide mass movement must win support of First World masses by only attacking the power position of the highest elite. Both conditions are not met by the Al Qaeda Movement.

Yours truly, Joost van Steenis

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47. The future is needed in actions
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