VIEW: O Judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts — II —Dr Saulat Nagi - Friday, February 11, 2011

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Abandoning Mr Taseer in the lurch in his lifetime is ample proof of the impotence of this government. He was the only one who called a spade a spade. He was left to face the music alone while the rest of the ministers were twiddling their thumbs

It was not in the nature of the Germans to hate the Jews; human nature is not an abstract, fixed and immutable thing — a concept derived from religion and transcendentalist thought, which is equally supported by capitalism. Rather, human nature is a totality of historically determined social relations. These relations were made to tilt against the Jews. While German capitalism had gone stagnant, it invented anti-Semitism.

The middle class and petite bourgeoisie reacted by sacrificing one of its parts to horrible economic pressure, to the threat of diffuse destruction that rendered uncertain the existence of each of its members, hoping in this way to save and ensure the existence of others. Due to economic constraints the hatred of the Jews, instead of becoming an a priori reason for their destruction, became the desire to limit and concentrate destruction on them. The Jews were thrown to the wolves. The middle class liquidated one part of its own, through its own will. It was gradual expropriation but was incremental in all forms. Religion and race were used as tools. During the entire period, the policy of the Nazis towards the Jews was contained in two words: Juden raus — Jews out. They wanted their migration, which would come at a cost. They actually wanted to sell them to the “more enlightened Europeans”.

In ordinary times, capitalism had allowed those ejected out of the productive system to die on their own but it was not possible in the middle of a war and for millions of people. Therefore, the Joel Brand Mission was not only tolerated but was allowed to see Karl Adlof Eichmann — a Nazi Lieutenant Colonel — with military commander Heinrich Luitpold Himmler’s consent, where it was asked to make a bargain with the Anglo-Americans: ten thousand trucks for every 100,000 Jews. But Lord Moyne, the British minister of state for the Middle East, refused to oblige Joel Brand. It was not the earth but the capitalist society that had run out of room for these oppressed people.

Now the German capitalist system had to arrange for their systematic death, but not before it extracted every ounce of surplus value from their flesh. Capitalism does not kill any person as long as it can squeeze labour from it or it is benefited by his demise. In life it was the German capitalist system that exploited them. Posthumously, they were sold by Anglo-American capitalism and by their puddle press, which earned lots of money by selling the stories of their grisly murder.

In some way, Pakistan is going through a comparable if not similar situation. Pakistan is a part of global capitalism, which is in a state of flux, trying to wiggle its way through one of its inherent crises, more monumental than the crash of 1929. The military-industrial complex is consistently looking for enemies and pre-capitalist markets where it can continue to sell its weapons and ammunition and enlarge its hegemonic base. Incidents like 9/11, the war on terror and religious-ethnic intolerance are indispensable for the survival of capitalism; otherwise it cannot realise and reproduce itself.

A profound analysis of the meticulous timing of Salmaan Taseer’s cold-blooded murder leaves us bewildered. Fazlur Rehman and Altaf Hussain, the two blue-eyed boys of the establishment, had withdrawn their support from the ruling coalition, one after the other, leaving the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) high and dry, having to prove its legitimacy in the House. Mr Gilani was running from pillar to post to save his neck from the noose prepared to strangle him. People exasperated by inflation and weary of inept and corrupt government were at the tether’s end, ready to rise against the state.

Abandoning Mr Taseer in the lurch in his lifetime is ample proof of the impotence of this government. He was the only one who called a spade a spade. He was left to face the music alone while the rest of the ministers were twiddling their thumbs. The role of the guards surrounding him was equally bizarre, giving birth to various hideous theories. The mute and muffled response of the ruling elite in the face of inflammatory statements of certain loathsome forces raises the question whether Mr Taseer was used as a scapegoat. The ruling elite has been completely pulverised and has lamely capitulated to the religious frenzy. One certainly cannot expect pathos from those who have succumbed to this orgy. There is no error more common than that of thinking that those who are the cause or occasion of a great tragedy may share in the feeling suitable to the tragic mood. No error is more fatal than expecting it from them.

The state should not have surrendered so meekly. But then how else could it have shown its cowardice and the class of its character? Another noteworthy factor is that whenever simmering class conflicts tend to cross the threshold of the status quo, the ruling elite instantly crafts a diversion. Its immediate price may be hefty but it manages to save the day for its long-term interests. On whose accord Mr Salmaan Taseer had been sacrificed on the altar of expediency is anybody’s guess. In Pakistan, questions are posed but not answered.


The writer is based in Australia and has authored books on socialism. He can be reached at

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