“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Politicos And The Web.

with 2 comments

Many politicians don’t like the media, they hate having their own words thrown back at them. In a previous interview they might have said one thing and now they’re saying another.

So it is with politicos, many of them positively hate the Web, because their previous statements can be juxtaposed with their current political utterings and the absurdity of their views seen in stark contrast.

Edmund Standing recently highlighted the SWP’s latent support for the Taliban, and how their theoretical quarterly publication, International Socialism, has argued in a roundabout way that a victory for the Taliban would be the best result in Afghanistan.

Jonathan Neale, the article’s author has written on a number of occasions about Afghanistan and the dire situation there. Here are some of his remark about the Taliban in 2001:

“…None of this is to deny that the Taliban are reactionary. They are enemies of most women, as they are enemies of most ordinary Afghan people. But their ideas are not traditional, essentially Afghan or Pashtun. In the eyes of most Muslims they are a repellent, heretical interpretation of Islam. Their ideas are new, the product of 20 years of war, betrayal and suffering.

Many of the ideas the Taliban learned in the religious schools came from Saudi Arabia. Saudi is not some backwater. It is at the centre of world capitalism. The US government and the oil corporations have always been the allies and masters of the Saudi royal family. The ideology of the Saudi royal family, too, is one of oppressing women in the name of Islam. The Saudi princes talk of forbidding drink, amputating the hands of thieves and punishing the immodesty of women. Then they go to Beirut, Bahrain, Cairo and London to use prostitutes and drink themselves into stupors. They steal the public purse blind, export the money to London, and yet every Saudi prince still has both hands. The worse their corruption and lying, the more the Saudi people hate them. And the more they are hated, the more hypocritical and vicious they become in their prating about what they imagine Islam to be.

In Kabul, a police unit called the Society for the Propagation of Virtue and the Suppression of Vice patrols the streets and beats women who are ‘improperly dressed’. In Saudi a police unit called the Society for the Propagation of Virtue and the Oppression of Vice has long done the same. And yet we do not see Tony Blair on our TV screens calling for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Nor does George Bush call for elections and freedom there. The Saudi state keeps the oil safe for US corporations. What is revolting about the Taliban comes not from Afghan tradition, but from the needs and deeds of the centre of the world system.


So essentially, Neale has argue for “..there are no easy outcomes for Afghans in this situation, but the best one is a victory for the…” reactionaries?


I have no doubt, with immense political dexterity, that Jonathan Neale will probably contend that the Afghan resistance, in the form of the Taliban, are not really the Taliban of old. That now they are somehow more cuddling and people friendly, reserving public executions or attacks on women to when it won’t be noticed, or not beating women whilst cameras are about.

Same old politicians, same old politicos.

Neale in 1981 and in 1988.

Written by modernityblog

03/12/2008 at 15:31

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. While the Taleban certainly did take something from the Saudis, it was mostly money. The ideology they brought to Afghanistan was actually more home-grown, stemming from the Deobandi school of Islam that started in the 19th C. in India.

    The Saudi Salafis actually have serious theological issues with the Deobandis.

    I’m not going to suggest that some Saudis are funding the Deobandis, Taleban, Al-Qaeda and the rest of the lot. They certainly are. But as a matter of official Saudi policy, they do not.

    John Burgess

    03/12/2008 at 19:30

  2. […] Modernity on Politicos and the Web […]

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