Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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August 19, 2005
The Economist has anarchists in its midst.

Or at least its August 20-26th issue does, in the form of the article, "For jihadist, read anarchist."

The relatively balanced and non-idiotic essay provides some interesting information, including a snippet of a 19th century street song -- "It will come, it will come/ Every bourgeois will have his bomb" -- that is suspiciously reminiscent (to my warped ear) of some Eno lyrics.

Insofar as the essay focuses on anarchist "terror" from across the European and American experiences from generations ago, it shifts and expands the frame beyond the USA's truncated and oddly selective versions of the Official Narrative of the WOT, in which the terrorists are always sponsored by an identifiable (and regime-changeable) state and the victims always carry blue passports (if they carry any at all).

As the essay puts it, in a swath of examples almost wide enough to raise the instinct of disagreement in someone just about everywhere:

The anarchist terrorists of 1880-1910 were replaced by other terrorists —- Fenians, Serb nationalists (one killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and thus sparked the first world war), Bolsheviks, Dashnaks (revolutionary Armenians), Poles, Macedonians, Hindu nationalists (among them the killers of Mahatma Gandhi), fascists, Zionists, Maoists, Guevarists, Black Panthers, Red Brigades, Red Army Fractions, Palestinians and even al-Qaeda's jihadists.

But why? The Economist does not identify the source of "terror" as Evil, but instead invokes Conrad's Professor, and quotes chapter five of The Secret Agent. The essay concludes,

As long as there are men like Conrad's Professor, there will be causes to excite them, and therefore deeds to terrify their fellow citizens.

The assertion begs the question: But where do "men like Conrad's Professor" come from?