It’s now clear to those of us unfamiliar with Charlie Hebdo before the massacre that it was a xenophobic, racist, Islamophobic journal that pandered to the most reactionary political forces in France. It wasn’t so much satirical as it was scurrilous hate-mongering. That doesn’t mitigate one iota the outrage of the massacre.
Those who want to change the world don’t have to be pacifists or sheep led to slaughter. Self-defense is a human right, as Palestinians well show. But we don’t use the death squad methods of terrorist states like Israel, the US, Mexico, & so many other regimes because thuggery & barbarism are incompatible with social transformation.
The way to shut down racist journals is to create a movement–like the massive protests held in Paris (& around the world) last summer in solidarity with Gaza. The way to oppose their xenophobia is to build solidarity with Afghanis, Iraqis, the Black community in the US, the disappeared in Mexico. The only way to defeat social hatred politically is to out-mobilize its proponents.
So many achievements of the US Civil Rights Movement have been reversed but not the essential lesson that a united massive social movement can change the world.
As for who carried out this massacre? It wasn’t Islam. And that’s all we know.