Sunday, March 28, 2004

The post-political  

" Terrorists Don't Need States":Fareed Zakaria quotes an unnamed government official: "States have been getting out of the terror business since the late 1980s. We have kept many governments on the list of state sponsors for political reasons. The reality is that the terror we face is mostly unconnected to states." Zakaria continues "Today's terrorists are harbored in countries like Spain and Germany --entirely unintentionally. They draw on support not from states but private individuals -- Saudi millionaires, Egyptian radicals, Yemenite preachers."
This article makes me wonder about whether we are seeing something new developing.
Just as in art, when post-modernism overturned modernism, and in sociology, when post-feminism destabilizes feminism, so to in politics, perhaps we are facing a post-political century in which "isms" themselves are rejected.
Perhaps the new terrorists are rejecting both despotism and democracy, which both represent a state approach to social organization.
It would be difficult for any committed politician to conceive of people whose basic orientation is apolitical, but this seems to be what Zakaria is actually describing -- terrorists whose goal is NOT to take over a state, but rather to destabilize it, to detach people from allegience to it, to demonstrate the state's irrelevance to their lives.
In favour of what? I'm not at all sure, perhaps the goal is the creation of a new allegiance to the family, the tribe, maybe the region, but nothing bigger than that.

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