Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Doctors, Terrorists, and the Proletariat: What's a Person to Think?

Doctors and medical professionals being mixed up in the recent set of London-Glasgow car bombings seems to be confusing, at least to some in the news media.

I can understand that. White-collar professionals don't fit into the oppressed-poor / unworthy rich mental model that seemed to work so well with previous street-level terrorists.

When someone wearing explosive underwear was somehow related to poor people, the mass-murder-suicide perpetrator looked a lot like a revolutionary in the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.

When a doctor pops out of a flaming jeep in an air terminal, things get complicated.

Doctors, as professionals, do fit into a Marxist scenario, either as Petit-Bourgeoisie or maybe part of the proletariat, since they do a kind of work.

On the other hand, since professionals, at least in the United Kingdom and the States, get paid for something that they presumably ought to do for free, they're guilty of Commodification ("the transformation of relationships, formerly untainted by commerce, into commercial relationships, relationships of exchange, of buying and selling"). That would seem to make them at least complicit in the oppression of the proletariat.

The suspects in the recent terrorist attacks seem to have Islam as a common thread. Religion has a place in Marxist thought, too, as "the sigh of the oppressed creature," so for people who didn't notice the end of the Cold War, the "struggle will continue between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie."

I'd say that it makes better sense to decide that what we have these days, after generations of the Cold War, is something new. Or, rather, something very old: religious fanatics who are convinced that it is their sacred duty to kill certain kinds of people.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.