We know what Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao wanted (state control of everything) and how they achieved this goal (brutal totalitarianism); but what do their successors today want and how do they hope to achieve it? It’s a curiously unexamined subject.
Ernest Sternberg of the University at Buffalo offers answers in an eye-opening article in a recent issue of Orbis, “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For.” He begins by sketching out what the contemporary far Left (as opposed to the “decent Left”) opposes and what it wants.What the Left opposes
: The prime enemy is something called “Empire
” (no definite article needed), a supposed global monolith that dominates, exploits, and oppresses the world. Sternberg summarizes the Left’s all-embracing indictment of Empire:
People live in poverty, food is contaminated, products are artificial, wasteful consumption is compelled, indigenous groups are dispossessed, and nature itself is subverted. Invasive species run rampant, glaciers melt, and seasons are thrown out of kilter, threatening world catastrophe.
Empire achieves this by means of “economic liberalism, militarism, multinational corporations, corporate media, and technologies of surveillance.” Because capitalism causes millions of deaths that a non-capitalist system would eliminate, it also is guilty of mass murder.
The United States, of course, is the Great Satan, accused of hoarding disproportionate resources. Its military oppresses the poor so its corporations can exploit them. Its government promotes the pretend danger of terrorism to aggress abroad and repress at home.
And Israel is the Little Satan, serving as Empire’s sinister ally — or maybe the Jewish state is really the master? From World Social Forum meetings in Brazil to the United Nations anti-racism conference in Durban and from mainline churches to NGOs, Zionism is represented as absolute evil. Why Israel? Beyond not-so-subtle anti-Semitism, it alone of Western countries lives under a barrage of constant threats, which in turn compel it to engage in constant wars. “Stripped of all context,” Sternberg notes, “Israel’s actions fit the needed image of aggressor.”
To fight Empire’s superior resources, the Left needs to ally itself with anyone else opposing it — notably Islamists. Islamist goals contradict the Left’s, but no matter; so long as Islamists help fight Empire, they have a valued place in the coalition.