Friday, 20 June 2014

On the radicalisation of youth...


I look back to this:

Between 1936 and 1939 over 35,000 men and women, from over 50 countries, left their homes to volunteer for the Republican forces. More than 2,300 of these came from Britain, Ireland and the commonwealth, of whom over 500 were killed (see below). Perhaps 80% were members of the Communist Party, or the Young Communist League, though volunteers with an alternative political background or who were active in the trade union movement were also accepted. 

Young men inspired by a passionate belief left their homes and families to go and fight a civil war in another country. They were fighting for a cause they saw as liberating - the fight against fascism was the justification given by Jack Jones but remember that the liberation these men were fighting for wasn't the liberation of western democracy but the liberation of Stalinist communism.

So tell me dear reader what the difference is between Jack Jones, Laurie Lee and Ernest Hemingway and those young men from Birmingham, Bradford or Slough fighting for was they believe in Syria and Iraq? Except that we won't be erecting monuments to their memory in the squares of Glasgow, Reading or San Francisco.

I don't think the young men of today heading to the middle east to fight are right. But then I don't think those who went to Spain hoping to impose Stalinist oppression there were right either.



Curmudgeon said...

To be fair, many young men who volunteered to fight in Spain on the Republican side came back very disillusioned with the often bloody way the Communists sought to impose their will.

Clarissa said...

A question I myself asked recently on Twitter without receiving an answer.

asquith said...

To be even more fair, the likes of George Orwell (front-line fighter, wounded) were never fighting for Stalinism in the first place. They were fighting against Franco and his ideology, which strikes me as an entirely reasonable thing to do. There were several competing groups, as in Syria, but the difference is that (relatively) reasonable and decent groups in Spain got a lot of the British support, whereas those who go over there now are to a man (their sisters won't be joining them) supporting hardcore lowlife.

That is the other reason. And I hope what Curmudgeon describes ends up happening. These Asian youths think they hate Britain, but they are in fact British themselves, not just for the fact that they need pizza and chocolate to be ferried out to them, but because they simply won't be able to hack what jihad actually entails, any more than 1930s "communists" could live with what they had made such a self-serving "case" for in their student debating societies.

This is true both physically- some unemployable tit from Birmingham isn't going to perform at the level of a hardcore fighter hardened by years of desert warfare- but mentally.