The Clash of Two Outmodeds—and Bringing Forward Another Way

February 17, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

The U.S. has carried out and is continuing to commit monstrous crimes in the name of opposing Islamic fundamentalism. The following points are crucial in getting at the reality behind this imperialist justification.

First, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is in large part a product of the workings of imperialism (including specific policies of the CIA in Afghanistan, where it backed and funded Islamic fundamentalists going up against the Soviet Union).

Second, the crimes of U.S. imperialism—from the Foxconn sweatshops in China to the environmental emergency, from mass incarceration in the USA to the ongoing genocide against indigenous peoples in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, dwarf even the aspirations of these reactionary Islamic forces.

Third, if you don’t oppose, but instead fall into active or passive complicity with either “the West” (U.S. imperialism and other imperialists) or Islamic Jihad, you strengthen them both—in the vicious cycle where every drone attack that wipes out a wedding party in Pakistan (with far, far too little protest in the U.S.) serves to recruit more jihadists, and on and on.

Bob Avakian’s analysis of “the two outmodeds”—two clashing reactionary forces that represent ways of thinking and organizing society that belong in the past—provides a concise and powerful tool for understanding this conflict and acting to change the terms of things:

What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these “outmodeds,” you end up strengthening both.

While this is a very important formulation and is crucial to understanding much of the dynamics driving things in the world in this period, at the same time we do have to be clear about which of these “historically outmodeds” has done the greater damage and poses the greater threat to humanity: It is the historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system, and in particular the U.S. imperialists.

BAsics 1:28

When you start from the interests of humanity, then instead of aligning with “our government” and celebrating and defending its immoral and criminal actions around the world, the challenge is to break out of the terms of these “two outmodeds” and be part of what Bob Avakian has posed as “bringing forward another way.” There is a different way the world can be, and a real alternative to capitalism and all forms of oppression in the new synthesis of communism that BA has developed, and in his ongoing revolutionary leadership.

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