There has been a lot of controversy in the past few years in the UK about the 'radicalisation' of Muslim youth in the UK. In July 2005 we had to suffer the atrocity of multiple suicide bombings in London which claimed the lives of 52 people in London. In the USA, there was the horror of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York, which killed 2,752 people.
But what was the cause of these atrocities, and what bearing does that cause have on what is happening now in the West? If you want a simplistic explanation of the terrorist attacks in London and New York, you'll choose to believe they were simply the work of deranged fanatics, madmen who were intent on destruction. But it's essential to analyse the root cause, and the root cause for both of these atrocities was, and is, Western capitalist interference in middle eastern Muslim countries. This interference has a long history because of the strategic importance of the region, which is largely based on oil.
In 1953, Mohammad Mossaddegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, was overthrown in a coup d'etat organised by the CIA. Why did this happen? It happened because Mossaddegh threatened the strategic interests of the USA and its capitalist corporations, by nationalising the oil industry, and by introducing progressive reforms which favoured the Iranian people and was against the interests of the ruling Iranian elite. As a result of the coup, the Shah of Iran was installed as a puppet ruler to serve the interests of the Iranian elite, the USA, and western capitalists.
Of course, we could go back even further to British imperial interference in the region, but suffice to say the autocratic rule of the Shah lead to the Iranian Islamic revolution and the creation of the modern Islamic State of Iran which is still a bugbear to western capitalism. There's more, much much more, western interference in Egypt, Palestine and Afghanistan - including the CIA backed support to the war lords and Islamists who resisted the Soviet 'invasion' of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The point is that the continuing meddling by Western powers in these Muslim middle eastern countries has encouraged the development and formation of extreme Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda. These are the terrorists who now pose a threat to 'our way of life', but these monsters are entirely the creation of western meddling in Muslim countries. In fact, now that the Soviet Union has ceased to exist groups like Al Qaeda provide a convenient way for our political leaders to keep us all on their side, because they promise to protect us against a terrorist threat - which they have created.
Now, because of the crisis in capitalism that we are going through, a crisis which has lead to ordinary people here, in the USA, and in Europe, being made to pay to bail out the banks and financial system, and to suffer unemployment, homelessness, and deprivation as a result of austerity - ordinary people in the west are being radicalised by the extremes of western capitalism - just as their counterparts in Muslim countries have been, and continue to be.
One of the responses to the capitalist crisis and the bank bailout in the USA has been the Tea Party, which is a manipulated and deluded outburst of anger because Main St has been screwed by Wall St - see here. Elsewhere, in Greece, Ireland and France we have seen outbursts of anger, with mass demonstrations against the austerity imposed on ordinary people by the politicians, who are acting in the interests of the capitalist elite.
This is good, old fashioned class war being waged by the capitalist class against the rest of us, and the crisis is so serious that it's the middle classes who are suffering, not just the working classes and the poor. And that is where capitalist class and their tame politicians have a real problem, because if the middle classes and the working classes can unite to fight back, the capitalists may well have to retreat, and foot some of the bailout and debt crisis bill themselves, through losses to investors and bondholders.
But will this happen? The reality is that, on the back of the danger posed by Islamist terrorism, Western governments have been introducing ever more repressive police state legislation to contain the anger of the victims of austerity. This police apparatus, in the UK, represents a genuine threat to civil liberties and is expressed in an ever more restrictive attempts to criminalise legitimate protest. A recent example of this was the closing down of the Fitwatch website, and the demonisation of students who protested against rises in tuition fees.
I'm sure that the people who run the UK would like to think that the old days of revolutionary socialism and communism are long dead and buried. But if you oppress people and screw them, you radicalise them. Here, in the UK, hardly a day goes by without a fresh attack on the poor, women, disabled, disadvantaged, and the middle class, on the pretence that we are all in this together and we have to reduce the deficit. Well no, no we don't. Austerity is an ideological choice on the part of the Coalition government, and not a sound economic response to the crisis we are in.
Where will this class war, and the fightback against, it lead us ? Its hard to tell but the crisis of capitalism is far from over - as the recent forced 'bailout' of Ireland has shown. There are still many $billions of toxic debt in the world financial system, and banks in the USA and Europe are teetering on the brink of collapse. The crisis threatens to bring down the Euro, and threatens the whole European Union project.
In the UK, resistance to the austerity measures to pay for the crisis is growing as more and more people face the daily reality of reduced incomes, unemployment and the danger of losing their homes. A key problem is that people no longer have a mainstream political party to represent their interests, because New Labour abandoned them long ago. Only the Green Party offers resistance to the austerity programme. We live in interesting, if difficult times. We are witnessing the biggest heist in history - pulled off by financial capitalism aided by our democratically elected politicians. Will they get away with it? I don't think so - but it remains to be seen exactly how and when they will be brought to justice.