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Massacre in Norway: the culture of discontent

The attack in the centre of Oslo and the subsequent massacre of adolescents on the island of Utoya, carried out by a Norwegain neo-fascist on July 22nd , has been the centre of media attention around the world. An overwhelming amount of information has poured out over public opinion.

Carlos Vidales

Typically, most of this informational bombardment concerns facts about the killer, the victims, the circumstances and the sequence of events of the tragedy, in other words, all the concrete details of what happened; but very little space and time has been spent on discussion of the deeper causes of this crime, or investigation of the social and political context in which it took place.

The result has been what one journalist recently called the infotoxication effect , in other words an effect of disorientation and confusion caused by the excess of circumstantial details and an almost complete absence of interpretation.

Television,  principally through daily news programmes, has played a decisive role in this. It has fulfilled exactly the function that Ignacio Ramonet, in his latest book “The Explosion of Journalism”, exposed so clearly: the TV news programme has turned into a means of distraction, which has to divert and distract people’s attention, taking it away from what is important and putting it in contact with what is trivial or frivolous, the morbid or spectacular details, which in the end are irrelevant to understanding the deeper meaning of events.

We don’t get true information, what we get is infodistraction and infotainment.

In this way it has been possible to infuse public opinion with the idea that the horrible massacre of Utoya is an isolated event, the product of the individual action of an ‘odd loner’, in other words a crime outside of any political or social context.

But the reality is different: the killer published on the internet, a few hours before the massacre, a 1500-page manifesto, in which he repeats obsessively his rejection of the ‘multicultural’ politics of liberals, socialists and communists, and his call for a struggle against a growing ‘Islamization’  of European society.

He uses the same words, the same expressions , and the same arguments as the neo-fascist parties that under populist disguises, are advancing and growing in Norway (2nd party of the country with 23% of the vote), Denmark (where they are the Government), Sweden, (where they have gained seats in parliamant), Holland, Belgium and others.

And the arguments of the killer are taken up and supported by mainstream politicians. The German Chancellor, Merkel, the French President, Sarkozy, the Italian Prime Minister, Berlusconi, and the British Prime Minister, Cameron, have all said some time ago, that “multiculturalism has failed”.

In Sweden, Erik Hellsborn, one of the leaders of the Swedish Democratic party (Sverigedemokraterna), wrote in his blog: “ The massacre in Norway may be the worst incident of violence in Scandinavia since the Second World War, but it is not a bolt of lightning that fell from a clear sky.

This is what multiculturalism causes, which creates conflicts between people, and leads to hatred, violence and a general brutalization of society”.

When confronted with public reaction, Hellsborn softened his position, but that didn’t prevent the official webpage of Sverigedemokraterna repeating the call to fight against multiculturalism and the ‘Islamization of Sweden’.

And the same arguments can be found on all the official webpages of European neo-fascist parties, which are on the rise today.

Multiculturalism, once supported by the neo-liberals to give a more attractive appearance to their policy of globalization, now turns back against the big European cities, trapped in the paradox of presenting themselves as champions of liberty, while at the same time, raising the floodgates against a wave of immigration from the countries ‘on the periphery’.

The new conquest of the world, with the inevitable consequence of invasions, military interventions and alliances, and ‘civilizing’ or ‘democratic’ wars, has lead to a state of permanent war, maintained according to the parameters of a new cold war: the confrontation between Christianity and Islam.

At the same time the universalization of the methods of state terrorism are reinforced, because as a consequence of the former, ‘security’ is no longer a matter for each individual country, but for the Globalizing Crusade in general.

In its name no-fly zones are imposed in no matter what country, thousands of people are detained in whatever corner of the planet, and locked up in hundreds of secret concentration camps, Guantanamo style, scattered around the world. Or, without going further, if an Interpol arrest warrant is ‘activated’ against a traveller it obliges a government to detain this person, without meeting legal requirements, and to deliver the arrested person to the state that is pursuing him, in violation of all the norms of the right to asylum. These are not isolated acts: this is the process of the globalization of repression.

Within the same framework, since people are not passive puppets, protest movements and mobilizations grow, but so do the forces of racism, discrimination, hate between peoples and the fear of the Other.

The mass communication media feed the latter, sometimes simply because journalists receive payments from secret organizations of the state, or of multinational companies, and sometimes because public opinion has been brought to a state of cultural stress, and news which spreads cultural hate and fear always sells better than any other material. The world is polarized and cultural mindsets are created.

In 1929 Freud wrote a heretical work “Civilization and its discontents”. In this book he suggested that the dissatisfaction of the individual with civilized culture, is due to its repression of his aggressive impulses. Between then and now the ploitical power structure has learned to re-orient, strengthen and channel the aggressive instincts of the individual, replacing discontent with culture by the Culture of Discontent.

In this environment racial and cultural extremisms of all shades feed and proliferate. There are, as a result of the global economic crisis (in reality a crisis of the metropolises), millions of unemployed, and people without work wander across Europe and constitute an excellent culture medium for feeding hatred against Africans, Arabs, people with dark skin, and against immigrants of all colours.

The politicians and bankers who caused the crisis and are incapable of solving the problems they have created, feed and stimulate this xenophobia, in the same way they did on the eves of the two world wars.

In this context the excluded peoples, frustrated, alone, give birth to, nurture and chew over their resentments, plotting ‘heroic’ projects like bombings, assassinations, sabotages , against the groups that they consider responsible for their inferior situation. The cycle is complete: the mass media and those who hold the power have raised the banner of cultural fear, and the lowest layer of social rubbish has picked them up and begun to take action. As Jesus would say, a Jew in whose name the Nazis acted, the pure Aryans, the enemies of multiculturalism: “everything has been accomplished”.

Like the massacres in Colombia, Ruanda, Sudan, this crime is a product of the system. Its importance doesn’t lie in the number of dead, nor in where it happened. Its true importance is in uncovering the strategy of those in control of economic power, the new Crusaders of Civilization. On the back of the multicultural hate that they sow every day, ride the organized forces that carry out the ‘democratic invasions’ and the ‘humanitarian bombardments’; and also ride the impulsive, the impatients, the megalomaniacal imbeciles, those who carry out acts of ‘individual’ terrorism.

So the Oslo killer did not act alone. He has simply been the instrument of the psychopathy of the system.

The intellectual authors, the instigators of the massacre, are the statesmen, the big media companies and the politicians that have already spent decades sowing fear and hate, preparing new and more cruel ‘wars of civilization’ in the service of greed.

(Translated by Graham Douglas – Email:

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