Today both the holy war and the democratic one claim to impose a principle of order. Both are dividing with precision the fronts, asking to line up in order to meet the established targets. To reject the order of war does not mean, though, to embrace pacifism. To repeat the experience of the great movement that, after the assault on Iraq in 2003, was identified as no less than the second biggest world’s power, does not even remotely appear possible. In spite of the widespread diffidence towards war as a solution, in spite of the scarce trust in those who should wage war, to simply oppose the peace and the ongoing war seems unrealistic and basically impracticable. There is a big hurry to declare a war which has already plenty of adjectives. There is someone who, thanks to his authority, says that the third world war has already started; someone adds that this world war is a civil war; someone else says that we are facing the mother of all wars, i.e. the global war. And in the beginning there is, obviously, the holy war. The time we are facing, however, is not only made of fights, but also of a peace which is marked by oppression and by border-lines which continuously blur inside the metropolis and on the roads that connect them. If we want the opposite of this present time, we cannot simply demand the suspension of war: we must aim at the transformation of the conditions that make this very present possible. Despite the proclaims, we are also not in front of the fundamental clash between irreconcilable principles. On November 13th, in Paris, no one declared the war that finally makes the fronts evident; it is not desirable to entrust the present to the relations among States, where the enemies can suddenly become, if not friends, at least allies. For us, this is decisive. We must clearly identify our enemies without looking at the fronts designed by others.
You cannot paint a black door red. In the last days a lot has been rightly said concerning the different weight of the dead, comparing the few tears shed in front of the massacres in different and distant war fronts with the scandal triggered by the attack against one of the most important European capitals. A lot has been said in order to point out the causes of what happened in Paris, remembering the role of Western weapons and money in the constitution of this great enemy which has chosen the name of Daesh. Proceeding from one cause to the other, we run the risk of falling into an imperialistic determinism that makes Daesh, if not an hetero-directed puppet in the hands of the West, at least a mechanical and necessary reaction to the Western neo-imperial strategies. In order to reject war’s order we must recognize that there are not only good subjectifications, and that on the terrain prepared and financed by the Western States an autonomous force arose, one that, for wide strata of the Arab and partly African proletariat, presents itself as a herald of a credible revolt against the oppression of the West. It is necessary to face the reality and to recognize that, even in the places of oppression, movements and institutions of oppression arise, which are able to act and impose their domination both in their territories where they organize their own strongholds, and in their enemies’ strongholds.
It is necessary to see that, through its actions, Daesh is not just pointing against its enemies of the moment, but it unfolds its discourse, it makes propaganda, it finds new men and women to enrol. It is necessary, therefore, to recognize the ideological and political autonomy of Daesh, together with the capacity of enticing masses which are traditionally excluded, offering them the reasons to mobilize by means of a specific construction of the enemy: certainly not the «robber barons», not those who unleash wars in the name of profit, but a West which is uniformly blasphemous and marked by sin. It does not matter at all that in Paris some proletarians died. It does not matter at all that in Paris some Muslims died. Daesh’s practices an armed populism that annihilates every difference in the name of a single, globally relevant opposition, an opposition that perfectly mirrors the one with which the West legitimises its war against terror. Daesh claims to return its terror to the West, but this happens by intensifying it and confirming its logic. Daesh is West’s reverse side. It is not by chance that, while it says to be running after Caliphate, an authentically Islamic political form, Daesh has self-appointed itself a State, showing to have completely internalized and to be willing to replicate the political logic of the modern West in a global dimension.
In order to interrupt this game of mirrors, we must acknowledge that Daesh aspires to establish borders in order to tie together the people and the territory that it is violently building. Its end is that of securing this territory against every external threat – whether this threat comes from the West, or from the revolutionary Rojava project. Daesh pursued this end through the bloody night of Paris, moving the battle front for scaring the enemy and strengthening the State by acting outside its borders. Daesh is not only a funereal mark, but also the instrument for ordering the chaos left behind both by the US war on terror with its European offshoots in North Africa, and by the post-colonial liberation movements, which engendered tumultuous societies that have been contained through the use of force. Furthermore, Daesh is a way of governing the tensions caused by the so-called «Arabs springs», and it uses offcuts of modernity in order to reaffirm the traditional immutable roles of men and women. If a thirty years holy war is affecting the «Umma» – the Islamic community whose unity Daesh pursues – it is not surprising that the State appears as the most convincing form apt to govern the anarchy produced by that war. The power of this territorial and global State, based on slavery and extermination, focuses on strategic areas, where the control of oil wells and sites of production is – in the most classical way – the basis for imposing an iron domination over the territory and the unity of the people.
When we speak of this transnational subjectification process that involved thousands of young Muslims, we should avoid jargon, easy solutions, comforting explanations. There are no doubts that a whole generation grown under the bombings of the Middle-East clearly saw the link between Bush’s «enduring freedom» and the horrors of Abu Grahib. It is at least probable that Daesh offered to many of that generation – who perhaps migrated to establish themselves in a European metropolis – an effective ideological alternative to the package of broken dreams arranged by the European Union. Despite the anti-imperialists of today, however, it does not seem that Daesh organizes recruitments by unveiling to its potential followers the exploitation, class segregation and institutional racism that lie behind liberté, égalité, fraternité. This would create connections behind all religions and all territories, thus breaking the Western front. But the West as an homogenous and undifferentiated enemy is necessary in order to build the identity of the people and to conquer a territory, to sell the possibility of avenging a condition of oppression that has been suffered for too long. It is therefore clear that this funereal subjectification occurs through the black door which connects Raqqa to Paris. Only in this way the assemblage of exploitation, oppression and humiliation experienced in different forms and places can feed the armed populism. Only in this way the failure of the West – which is the truth that lies behind its ideology of liberty and equality, of progress and democracy – makes Daesh so seductive.
Every attempt of explaining what is happening can seize fragments of reality only insofar as it refuses an opposition between the center and the periphery, and to consider periphery as an exception to an otherwise ordered condition. This approach would reproduce the stigmatization which affects the population of the so-called Arabs or European metropolitan «peripheries», that are not by chance the first to suffer the hits both of bombings and of the states of emergency. All explanations must recognize that in those same metropolis, next to some who chose to wear explosive belt and to take up arms, there are also hundreds of thousands men and women who daily fight against exploitation and oppression without turning to terrorist fanaticism. Anyhow, even the best explanation does not release us from asking what we could say to this segment of the transnational working class in order to avoid that the answer against oppression and exploitation is found in an intransigent and bloody interpretation of the Coran. When we part from anti-imperialistic formulations, from victimizing justification, from a reactive pacifism and the glorification of the West as the sole global political actor, we must ask ourselves how those who are not satisfied with the crumbs allowed by global capitalism, those refusing to pay the price of subordination imposed by the promise of integration, those despising the silence imposed both by democracy and by terroristic domination could radicalize themselves.
While Daesh appears as a global and territorial synthesis, while the West reacts through the closure of the State borders and a global government of mobility to the challenge opened by migrants, our answer can be neither the one provided by small coalitions who speak their jargon, nor a territorialized initiative starting from which one claims to assault the world. We can only try to be up to the ongoing transnational movement, a movement made by hundreds thousands of migrants who are assaulting the core of Europe with a force that is more powerful and more full of future than the jihadist terrorism.
We cannot let them paint black a red door. Against the war and its order there is only the possibility of breaking the fronts by creating on a real scale a communication between the movements that are crisscrossing Europe, and that are unexpectedly connecting Europe with Africa and Asia. These are not only migrants’ movements, whose political centrality cannot be denied. These are also the movements that the war aims to silence, the movements raised by the watchword «refugees welcome», who pointed to the possibility of a subversion of the European government of mobility. These are all those political collectives and unions who consider Europe the minimum space of their initiative, and that are facing many difficulties and contradictions in the perspective of organizing the first transnational strike. All these movements will be forced to face the order of war, which is not simply a state of emergency, but also the chance of reestablishing the normality that they aspire to subvert. In any case, the global political dimension that those movements stress is the only one that could effectively oppose the war, because it provokes a disorder that goes beyond the alternative between war and peace. It is not anymore possible to build an internal pacifist front, different and opposed to the front of war. However, there is still the possibility of connecting men and women that cross both fronts: some of them materially, challenging and overcoming borders and barbed wires; others just refusing the very existence of those borders. The rigid and false opposition between the absolute states of war and of peace can be fought only starting from those who move between the tragedies of the first and the oppression of the second, towards the apparently unreachable destination of freedom.