Unexpectedly Intriguing!
May 2, 2011

Late on 1 May 2011, United States President Barack Obama announced that the United States had successfully killed terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the man whose role in orchestrating the hijacking of four commercial airliners on 11 September 2001 and the subsequent controlled flight of three into the two largest towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C., causing the deaths of thousands of Americans in the largest premeditated act of mass murder in American history, earned his place in infamy.

We find the timing of President Obama's announcement to be interesting, given that he knew of the event days earlier and because of the day's prominence among the world's Marxists and the obvious direct influence of Marxist ideology in shaping Osama bin Laden's hate-filled and twisted worldview.

Waller R. Newell described the Marxist roots of Osama bin Laden's worldview back on 26 November 2001:

MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about Osama bin Laden's Islamic fundamentalism; less about the contribution of European Marxist postmodernism to bin Laden's thinking. In fact, the ideology by which al Qaeda justifies its acts of terror owes as much to baleful trends in Western thought as it does to a perversion of Muslim beliefs. Osama's doctrine of terror is partly a Western export.

To see this, it is necessary to revisit the intellectual brew that produced the ideology of Third World socialism in the 1960s. A key figure here is the German philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), who not only helped shape several generations of European leftists and founded postmodernism, but also was a leading supporter of the Nazis. Heidegger argued for the primacy of "peoples" in contrast with the alienating individualism of "modernity." In order to escape the yoke of Western capitalism and the "idle chatter" of constitutional democracy, the "people" would have to return to its primordial destiny through an act of violent revolutionary "resolve."

Heidegger saw in the Nazis just this return to the blood-and-soil heritage of the authentic German people. Paradoxically, the Nazis embraced technology at its most advanced to shatter the iron cage of modernity and bring back the purity of the distant past. And they embraced terror and violence to push beyond the modern present--hence the term "postmodern"--and vault the people back before modernity, with its individual liberties and market economy, to the imagined collective austerity of the feudal age.

This vision of the postmodernist revolution went straight from Heidegger into the French postwar Left, especially the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, eager apologist for Stalinism and the Cultural Revolution in China. Sartre's protégé, the Algerian writer Frantz Fanon, crystallized the Third World variant of postmodernist revolution in "The Wretched of the Earth" (1961). From there, it entered the world of Middle Eastern radicals. Many of the leaders of the Shiite revolution in Iran that deposed the modernizing shah and brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1979 had studied Fanon's brand of Marxism. Ali Shari'at, the Sorbonne-educated Iranian sociologist of religion considered by many the intellectual father of the Shiite revolution, translated "The Wretched of the Earth" and Sartre's "Being and Nothingness into Persian." The Iranian revolution was a synthesis of Islamic fundamentalism and European Third World socialism.

In the postmodernist leftism of these revolutionaries, the "people" supplanted Marx's proletariat as the agent of revolution. Following Heidegger and Fanon, leaders like Lin Piao, ideologist of the Red Guards in China, and Pol Pot, student of leftist philosophy in France before becoming a founder of the Khmer Rouge, justified revolution as a therapeutic act by which non-Western peoples would regain the dignity they had lost to colonial oppressors and to American-style materialism, selfishness, and immorality. A purifying violence would purge the people of egoism and hedonism and draw them back into a primitive collective of self-sacrifice.

Newell then draws the connection to their influence upon Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda creation:

MANY ELEMENTS in the ideology of al Qaeda--set forth most clearly in Osama bin Laden's 1996 "Declaration of War Against America"--derive from this same mix. Indeed, in Arab intellectual circles today, bin Laden is already being likened to an earlier icon of Third World revolution who renounced a life of privilege to head for the mountains and fight the American oppressor, Che Guevara. According to Cairo journalist Issandr Elamsani, Arab leftist intellectuals still see the world very much in 1960s terms. "They are all ex-Sorbonne, old Marxists," he says, "who look at everything through a postcolonial prism."

Just as Heidegger wanted the German people to return to a foggy, medieval, blood-and-soil collectivism purged of the corruptions of modernity, and just as Pol Pot wanted Cambodia to return to the Year Zero, so does Osama dream of returning his world to the imagined purity of seventh-century Islam. And just as Fanon argued that revolution can never accomplish its goals through negotiation or peaceful reform, so does Osama regard terror as good in itself, a therapeutic act, quite apart from any concrete aim. The willingness to kill is proof of one's purity.

And so it is with the truest believers of Marxism and terrorism. How pleasantly ironic then to have the most celebrated day of Marxists now marked as a day for the celebration of the death of a terrible man who learned their most successful practitioners' lessons all too well. If we are truly lucky, this new way to celebrate May Day will also mark the beginning of the end of the modern age of terror, a postmodern period the likes of which the world's greatest Marxist philosophers could never have imagined.


Newell, Waller R. "Postmodern Jihad: What Osama bin Laden Learned from the Left." The Weekly Standard. 26 November 2001.

Elsewhere on the Web

Core77 has a really interesting look at how the story broke across the Internet!

Time Magazine identifies history's other major death announcement on May Day: Adolf Hitler!


About Political Calculations

blog advertising
is good for you

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

Recent Posts


This year, we'll be experimenting with a number of apps to bring more of a current events focus to Political Calculations - we're test driving the app(s) below!

Most Popular Posts
Quick Index

Site Data

This site is primarily powered by:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Visitors since December 6, 2004:

CSS Validation

Valid CSS!

RSS Site Feed

AddThis Feed Button


The tools on this site are built using JavaScript. If you would like to learn more, one of the best free resources on the web is available at W3Schools.com.

Other Cool Resources

Blog Roll

Market Links
Charities We Support
Recommended Reading
Recommended Viewing
Recently Shopped

Seeking Alpha Certified

Legal Disclaimer

Materials on this website are published by Political Calculations to provide visitors with free information and insights regarding the incentives created by the laws and policies described. However, this website is not designed for the purpose of providing legal, medical or financial advice to individuals. Visitors should not rely upon information on this website as a substitute for personal legal, medical or financial advice. While we make every effort to provide accurate website information, laws can change and inaccuracies happen despite our best efforts. If you have an individual problem, you should seek advice from a licensed professional in your state, i.e., by a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case.