Heeding the Times from Harry Antonides' Desk
Middle East Politics
Politics -West
Review Articles
What Happens to Truth

What Happens to Truth in an Age of Delusion (part 16)

Why Radical Islam and the American Left Are Allies

 November 5, 2014


Americans have only begun to understand that, if radical Islam is one face of our enemy, the other is the radical Left. For two hundred years the radical Left has believed in a religion promising a heaven on earth whose end justifies any means. That is why progressives like Lenin and Stalin and Pol Pot killed so many innocent people. (David Horowitz,The Black Book of the American Left, Volume III, The Great Betrayal, p. 94)  

We have in Washington a poisonous government that spreads its venom to the body politic in all corners of the globe. We now resume… our quests… like David going forth to meet Goliath, like Beowulf the dragon slayer…. And modern heroes, dare I mention? Ho [Chi Minh] and Mao and Lenin, Fidel and Nelson Mandela and John Brown, Che Guevara who reminds us, ‘At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.’ (Lynne Stewart, quoted in David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, p. 163) 

One of the great conundrums of the contemporary world is that the radically secular, mostly atheistic, political Left, and the radically religious, supremacist branch of Islam have a common goal. How such commonality is possible since their deepest reason for existence is fundamentally opposite?  One believes in the reality, even supremacy, of the spiritual, the afterlife, and a system of very detailed Allah-given laws to which all Muslims must adhere.  On the other hand, the political Left believes that there is no God, no afterlife, and therefore there is no transcendent order by which we distinguish between truth and falsehood, good and evil.  

In trying to understand this apparent contradiction, I will concentrate on the American scene because it is the most influential player in the violent drama of current world events.   Let me first summarize, then elaborate on what I suggest makes for an alliance between these unlikely partners.   

First.  They are united in their hatred of the West, especially America. That is the reason for their similarity in demonizing Western civilization and especially America. 

Second. They are also united in the belief that life on this earth is insignificant and has no intrinsic worth, both are driven by a death wish.  Jihadists express this in their motto, “You love life, but we love death.” The radical Left’s notion is expressed in Marx’s saying: “Everything that exists deserves to perish.” 

Third. Both have as their goal totalitarian, that is, political power, which is the reason this alliance will not last.   

 America in the  Dock

I am much indebted to the large volume of material   produced by David Horowitz in defence of America and Western civilization. He grew up in a Communist family and at first followed in the footsteps of his parents by becoming a leader in the 1960s revolution.  His Marxist faith was severely shaken in 1974, when a colleague Betty Van Patter – a mother of three children – was brutally murdered by members of the Black Panthers Party, a ruthless gang of fanatic believers in the socialist revolution.  

Profound soul-searching followed and led to a complete break with his former comrades.  In scores of essays, books, interviews and his online news magazine (FrontPageMag.com) Horowitz has exposed  the treachery and hatred that animate the radical Left in America. He has explained his life’s mission as “fighting Marxism in all its forms, not as a conservative ideologue but as a seeker after truth and the meaning of life…. My mission is a personal mission – to undo what I did as a leftist, to witness to the truth that I learned and to try to save even if it’s only one or two individuals. That’s what I do.”

(The complete and riveting story of Horowitz’s new mission is in his  Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, 1997.) 

Bill Ayers, together with his wife Bernadine Dohrn, were and are beholden to the ideology of anti-Americanism. Both played a major role in the Weather Underground and its campaign of bombings and rioting during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ayers told a NYT’s reporter at the time of the launching of his book Fugitive Days in 2001 that he has no regrets about setting bombs at the Pentagon and the Capitol because they represent the abuse of American power and therefore they are monuments to U.S. domination over the planet. Ayers was radicalized by the Vietnam war which he saw as a global struggle against U.S imperialism, a war which he wanted America to lose. He said: ”My country stood on the wrong side of an exploding  world revolution…I thought of myself as a revolutionary, committed to overturning the whole system of empire.” ( Quoted in Dinesh D’Souza, America: Imagine a World Without Her, p.58) 

For Ayers, being part of a revolution even during his time in hiding (underground) gave him a sense of invigoration that was different from anything he had known before. He writes; “There was a sense…of being born again. But, yes, it’s true, I was born again, born underground, awakened to new ways of seeing and hearing, and new openings of human possibility.…  The underground gave me a whole new world, and I gave myself to it wholly and without reservation.”  (Bill Ayres, Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Antiwar Activist, p.242) 

David  Horowitz’s Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (2004) is a detailed description of the Left’s   radicalization and its hatred toward America, especially fueled  by its opposition to the  Vietnam and subsequent  wars. This movement received its inspiration from the Marxist ideology in its search for a perfect world. Its guiding principle is that the existing world, especially America, is rotten to the core and must be totally overthrown. 

This revolutionary idea at one time made the American Communists look to the Soviet Union as the land of promise. That promise collapsed, but the same motive continues to inspire the true believers. They did not change their loyalty to the Marxist ideology, but to hide their real intentions they began to call themselves “progressives” or “liberals.”  The universities played a critical role in making their intentions more palatable to generations of students. 

A number of prominent university professors led the way in mapping out a radical stance against their own country.  Professor Eric Foner, like Horowitz grew up in a family of Communists, but he never left the fold.  His history of the United States, The Story of American Freedom, has been described as an attempt to rehabilitate American Communism.  The same can be said about the influential book by another “fellow traveller” the late historian Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, which presents American history as a story of theft, greed, and treachery.  There are many others, including Herbert Aptheker, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Nicholas De Genova, Todd Gitlin, Norman Mailer, Michael Moore, and Jeremiah Wright,  who serve as  propagandists for the hate-America ideology. 

The shocking events of 9/11 and their aftermath was the “defining moment” that set off a movement of opposition to the policies of the Bush administration.  Again, the tenured university professors led the way. Shortly after the start of the war in Iraq, a group of professors at Columbia University held a “teach-in” where they denounced the American-led military action.  Anthropology professor Nicholas De Genova called for “a million Mogadishus” a reference to the 1993  humiliation of  American soldiers in Somalia. He said that U.S. patriotism is a form of imperial warfare and white supremacy and that the “only true heroes are those who find ways to help defeat the U.S. military.”  He also said that a peaceful world would be one in which “the U.S. would have no place.” (Unholy Alliance, p.34)  

David Horowitz has an apt description of the role now played by the universities: “As a result of the Left’s colonization of the academic social sciences, this anti-American culture is now part of the educational curriculum of America’s emerging elites, and as much an element of the cultural mainstream  as any other historical tradition. Indeed, it is a dominant element.” (Ibid., p.105) 

A Faith Without a Future

Tracing the highlights of the life and career of the late Eric Hobsbawn (1917 - 2012) will help to understand how the Left has become a prominent influence in the shaping of Western culture. Horowitz refers to this lifelong Communist and teacher/author as “an Icon of the contemporary intellectual Left.” Though Hobsbawn remained true to his faith in the Soviet Union, one of the most oppressive empires in history, he was a much respected history professor in the universities of Europe and America. His latest book, The Age of Extremes, has been published in thirty-seven languages. (Ibid., p.60)  

Hobsbawn’s faith was shaken by the shocking revelations about  Stalinist dictatorship by the very top of the ruling Soviet leadership, the then Premier of the USSR Nikita Khrushchev. Then came the eloquent voice of  Aleksandr  Solzhenitsyn  exposing the horrors of living and dying in the Soviet Union’s death camps. No one had caught the attention of the free world as Solzhenitsyn did with his Gulag Archipelago revelations. He exposed the awful truth about this evil empire, which murdered millions of its people while those who survived were condemned to a life of hopelessness and misery.  

Hobsbawn  recalls in his autobiography of 2002 that the demise of the Stalinist dictatorship  caused him  sadness and “nostalgia” rather than outrage and guilt. He wrote, “To this day I notice myself treating the memory and tradition of the USSR with indulgence and tenderness.” If he had used those words to describe the German Nazis, he would have been disowned by his academic colleagues.  But  Hobsbawn never broke with his commitment to the Communist cause, because, as he explained,  his life “would lose its nature and its significance  without the political project  to which he committed himself as a schoolboy, even though that project has demonstrably failed, and as I know now, was bound to fail. The dream of the October [Russian] Revolution is still there somewhere inside me.” (quoted in Ibid., p.61) 

It’s worthwhile to reflect on the enormity of the implications of  Hobsbawn’s admission that the “project”  he devoted his life to turned out to be an empty shell, a mere Utopia.  What is worse, as a professor who spent a long career with an international reputation he likely persuaded hundreds of thousands of students and through them millions of people to believe in an ideology that caused the death and brutalization of untold millions. 

What stands out in Hobsbawn’s disillusionment about the failure of the Soviet experiment is that he has no regrets about his considerable influence in, and responsibility for, the spread of the Marxist ideology with devastating consequences for entire generations and nations. He expresses no remorse for the suffering endured by all who had the misfortune to live under a Communist regime. Rather, he is sorry that his hope for a successful revolution were dashed on the shores of reality, which is the fault not of himself and his utopian fellow believers, but of the enemy –which first of all is America. 

 When the Soviet disaster came to an inglorious end in 1991, Hobsbawn wrote an article entitled  After the Fall”  in which he lamented that  the Soviet Union’s  disappearance meant that the lesser evil, that is the Soviet empire,  was no longer able to check the “predatory designs” of the greater evil –the Western democracies. He sided with Rosa Luxemburg who argued that faced with the choice of socialism (Communism really) or barbarism in 1917, the world may yet come to regret that it decided against socialism. In other words, America, which has been a haven for the refugees of many woebegone countries who came to enjoy its freedom and its raised living standard, is here called barbaric.  (Despite the fact that the Western nations are now in serious spiritual, moral, and political decline, there is no justification in calling them barbaric in comparison with what the Communist revolutions have wrought.)    

 The revolutionary academics are able to proclaim from the safety of their privileged positions the idea that Marxism is the way to break down the old order and construct in its place the Communist ideal of a society where equality and justice will rule. We now know that the reality of this ideology is the very opposite to its promise.  Wherever Communism has been applied, untold millions have been and are condemned to lives of slavery and deprivation. Nevertheless, the instigators and preachers of the Revolution refuse to accept any responsibility for the soul- and life-destroying disasters that result from the application of their revolutionary theories. They are like an arsonist who starts a fire, then stands by to watch the building go up in flames. Then he blames (who else?) the evil American empire of course.    

United in Hate

What is behind the unlikely alliance of the secular political Left and the fanatic religious believers in Islam? The short story is that both want to destroy the Western civilization and build on its ruins a better, if not perfect, world of peace and harmony. Until now, they have been busy with the work of destruction.  The reconstruction will have to wait, because the two allies are totally opposed on that score. Therefore, for now all efforts are focussed on tearing down. 

At first sight what David Horowitz calls an “Unholy Alliance” is impossible because the motives of the two parties are fundamentally different.  But we have seen this phenomenon before. In the 1950s, Arab nationalists cooperated with the Communist bloc and adopted the Marxist view of the world in line with the anti-American and anti-Western ideology.  

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the master mind of the 1979 Iran revolution adopted the Marxist concept of a world divided into oppressors and oppressed.  By introducing the theme of the revolution of the oppressed, Khomeini could attract the support of the political Left. The radical Islamists believe that by conquering nations and instituting sharia they can establish the caliphate and thus redeem the world for Allah. The political Left believes that by using state power and violent means to eliminate private property it can bring the millennium into being. 

The radical Left believes with Marx that religion is merely an attempt of seeking relief from the suffering   caused by the capitalist system of private property rights. Hence, removing private property will also remove the need for religion. David Horowitz formulates this Marxist thought process as follows: “The revolution that removes the cause of this suffering will also remove the religious belief it inspires.  Thus, the liberation of mankind from private property – the defeat of America and Western capitalism—will liberate Islamic fanatics from the need to be Islamic and fanatic.”  

 Hamas, founded in 1987, offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has as its main objective the destruction of Israel.  On September 11, 2001, the day the Towers fell, Hamas issued an “Open letter to America” explaining that the attack on America was in retaliation for America’s misdeeds. The reasons listed in this letter give you a clue about the alliance of the anti-American Left and the radical Islamists. The letter states:  

You will face the mirror of your history for a long time to come. Thus you will be able to see exactly how  much you have oppressed , how corrupt you are, how you have sinned  --  how many entities you have destroyed, how many kingdoms you have demolished!  America, oh sword of oppression, arrogance and sin…. Do you remember how the blacks lived under your wing? Your white sons bound their necks with the fetters of slavery, after hunting them in the jungles and on the coasts of Africa…. Have you asked yourself about your actions against your “original’ inhabitants, the Indians, the Apaches?  

Why do you pour this continuing oppression on the head of Baghdad as you do on the head of Jerusalem, on the head of Jenin? Every time Dick Cheney and his girlfriend Condoleeza Rice admonish us, [and] gloat at our misfortune, they incite to more [violence against us]!! We stand in line and beg Allah to give you to drink from the cup of humiliation – and behold, heaven has answered. 

David Horowitz writes that the Western radicals are in total agreement with this indictment since their list of American crimes is the same.  These radicals had endorsed the enemies of America when they embraced the Palestinian movement in the 1960s, backed by the Soviet bloc, when Arafat created modern terrorism. Assisted by the Castro dictatorship, which the American Left also admires, Arafat organized the first terrorist training camps for airline hijackers and hostage-takers.

 Thus the attack of 9/11 occurred with hijacked airliners whose targets were Wall Street and the Pentagon, the very symbols of the American nation.  This was the point of convergence where the radical Muslims and the American Left found each other in the fire and smoke of the crashing towers that killed nearly three thousand innocent and defenceless people. (See Ibid., pp. 144-5)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Harry Antonides