What is ISIS?
We know that criminals form gangs which can get organized (organized crime). However, sometimes criminals form political parties, which are sometime successful at taking control of governments.
We call this party by many names--Nazis, Fascists, Communists, ISIL. As a linguist, specializing in words and vocabulary for the past half century, I know how much understanding depends on clear terminology. Shakespeare wrote in Romeo and Juliet: "What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet." By extension, he might have written, "That which we call poop by any other name would smell as bad." (We have quite a number of names for "poop", but only one for "rose".)
I think the Nazis, Fascists, Russian 'communists', and ISIL are one and the same political party. Let's call it for the sake of this letter the Criminal Party.
The National Socialist Party (Nazi) began by killing all Socialists they could find before they began eliminating gypsies, the mentally ill, homosexuals, and the Jewish population. They were NOT socialists. They simply called themselves socialists because the Socialism was the most popular party of the day.
The Fascists of Italy took their name from the Italian word fascio "bundle of rods". This symbol was originally used by guilds and unions, representing the idea and one rod is easily broken, but many bound together is stronger. Again, socialist symbolism in an anti-socialist anti-human political party.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the farthest thing from communism. They chose that name because the Communist Party was popular in Western Europe as a workers' party. A communist society is one made up local communities that understand that "we are all in this together", where individuals take care of each other, cultivate each other's capacities, and ignore wealth. The USSR was not even a socialist party, for true socialists, like those of the many socialist parties of Europe today, believe first and foremost in democracy.
Now ISIS comes along, claiming to represent the Islamic (Muslim) state. Yet Islam is an extension of Christianity. Muslims believe that Mohammed and Moses were prophets of the same God, Jesus was not the son of God but a prophet of him. They believe in the same God as the Jews and Christians. Does this sound like ISIS? If ISIS were truly Muslim they would want to work together with Jews and Christians, not kill them.
So what do these four parties share in common? They aggressively apply terrorism to control the populations they are supposed to protect. They kill all enemies and supposed enemies. They use guns instead of ballot boxes to get their way.
They were and are still all criminal political organizations.
If we referred to all these parties as the Criminal Party, and understand it can arise in any country under many disguises, I think we would understand them and the world they arise from more clearly.