Saturday, 1 August 2015

Hope Not Hate and the Coming English Civil War



Hope Not Hate has just published a report ( 'The Muhammed Cartoons') on a forthcoming cartoon exhibition which will feature the prophet Muhammed. It has also featured this exhibition in a recent website piece (click here).

The exhibition itself is scheduled for the 18th of September and it will take place in London.

This is the main claim of the piece:

Our report... reveals that while some people are supporting the exhibition out of a strong belief for free speech, others are hoping for a violent reaction from British Muslims in order to prove the incompatibility of Islam in the West.”

You can assume that the stated main worry (as opposed to the real one of being against the criticism of Muhammed) is that counter-jihadists “are hoping for a violent reaction from British Muslims”. As ever, if Muslims do react violently, non-Muslims will be blamed. ( Nick Lowles once blamed Charlie Hebdo for the Islamic violence against it which happened before the recent killings.)

So let's be absolutely clear here: Hope Not Hate wants to ban the exhibition. Nonetheless, Nick Lowles does say that “if the exhibition goes ahead” then his organisation will do X and Y. Though if Hope Not Hate has its way, it will be banned. (My bet is that it will be banned.)

What else would Hope Not Hate ban if it had the political power to do so? After all, the banning of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from the UK was a direct response to Hope Not Hate activism. (Here is Hope Not Hate itself claiming victory!)

Hope Not Hate's Position


Nick Lowles's position is ridiculous anyway. If acted upon, it would render almost all demonstrations, acts, groups, parties, etc. illegal simply because some of the people involved in them may be planning illegal acts elsewhere and at other times.

So let's bring this argument closer to home.

There will be many Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) supporters - and indeed leaders - who believe in violent revolution; that 'bankers', 'Tories', etc. should be strung up; and that “racists” and “fascists” should be imprisoned for what they believe, not for what they do. Many supporters of Hope Not Hate and UAF will have also indulged in violent political acts. Indeed, although Hope Not Hate is less violent than UAF, the violence of Hope Not Hate supporters is well documented (as can be seen on the Nope, Not Hope website).

Thus, by his own reasoning, Hope Not Hate exhibitions, demos or activities should also be banned. Indeed since Hope Not Hate has called for the banning of political parties, groups and individuals (as well being the main force behind the omnipresent Leftist “no platform” policy), it can be said that Hope Not Hate itself should be banned because of its communist or totalitarian inclinations.

We believe in free speech... but...”

Nick Lowles rather ridiculously says that Hope Not Hate's

opposition to the cartoon exhibition is not an attempt to curtail free speech....”

You can hear it coming, can't you?... “but”! Yes, Nick Lowles continues by saying “but to prevent a clear incitement to violence” the exhibition should be banned.

In any case, it all depends on what Lowles takes the words “incitement to violence” to actually mean. To him and to others socialists/”progressives”, many varied things will be seen as incitements to violence: critical remarks about Islam, Muhammed or the Koran; critical remarks about immigration; EDL demos; and so on. Indeed the very existence of patriotic parties and groups will be deemed as incitements to violence by Lowles and Hope Not Hate. And that's one of the reasons why Lowles's socialism or communism always leads to totalitarianism.

You can also see how Nick Lowles uses the old trick of “guilt by association”. He connects Anne Marie Waters (of Sharia Watch), for example, with all sorts of bogeymen. Nonetheless, the majority of these bogeymen have never carried out a terrorist attack; never condoned terrorist attacks; don't believe in violent revolution; and are committed to democracy and free speech. Their only real sin, then, is to criticise Islam. And because many followers of Islam have brown skin, that is indeed a sin to Hope Not Hate. After all, as many people know, Hope Not Hate is a racist organisation that has different moral and political standards for people of different colours.

The other strange thing is that just after mentioning Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters, Lowles writes that counter-jihadists “make little or no distinctions between moderate or hardline followers of the religion”. Yet Tommy Robinson and Anne Marie Waters have made precisely that distinction. What happened to them? They were heavily and violently criticised by both Leftists and the Muslim community for doing so!

That must mean that if you make a distinction between hardline and non-hardline Muslims, you loose. And if you don't make such a distinction, you also loose.

Despite all that, some counter-jihadists do believe it's possible for some “Muslims and non-Muslims to get along peacefully” (to use Nick Lowles's words). Nonetheless, it's suicidal to place all our eggs in that basket. Because there are far too few Muslims who can be classed as moderate or reformist (discounting nominal or tribal/family Muslims), it would be madness to do so. Indeed look around the world to see which kind of Muslim is gaining the upper hand at present.

Perhaps there are more seemingly moderate Muslims in the UK simply because Muslims are currently a minority. But what's going to happen once the Muslim population increases? As it is, Muslims on the whole are far more radical and extreme than they were twenty or even ten years ago.

Nick Lowles's touchy-feely stuff (which is insincere anyway) about “Muslims and non-Muslims getting along peacefully together” isn't going to become a self-fulfilling prophesy any time soon.

Civil War?

The fact is that a civil war is very likely to occur in the UK whether or not there are any counter-jihadists or “far-rightists” egging it on. How do I know that? Well, Muslims have already caused civil conflicts in the UK dating back to 1989 and most notably in 1996 and 2001. (E.g., riots in Dewsbury, Bradford, Oldham, Burnley, Birmingham, London, etc.) There have also been Muslim riots in Paris, Oslo, Malmö, Marseilles, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Gothenburg, Stockholm, the Hague, Dijon, Tours, Orleans, Nantes, Grenoble, Toulouse and so on. And then there were the Islamic terror attacks in Europe: in Madrid (2004), Paris (1995, 1996), London (2005), Copenhagen (2015), Brussels (2014), Toulouse (2012), Montauban (2012), Frankfurt (2011), Stockholm (2010) and so on.

Now we can think globally and see what happens when Muslims live next to non-Muslims in the Philippines, southern Thailand, Burma, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, Armenia, Albania, Chechnya, the Sudan, Libya, Nigeria. Israel/Gaza and so on. The list, basically, includes every country in which Muslims live next to non-Muslims. In virtually all cases, there is violence – often mass violence.

Civil war in the UK (rather than civil conflict) will be entirely dependent on Muslim demographics. In order for full-scale civil war to ensue (rather than civil conflict – which could occur tomorrow), the Muslim population would need to have reached a certain level – a certain critical mass.

Now when it comes to certain demographers on the Left, by 2050 the Muslim population would have only increased by one or two people. Some on the Right, on the other hand, have forecasted a British Muslim population of 100 million by the same period... As you can see, I'm joking. So all I can do here is cite the lowest possible figure of around fifteen million Muslims by 2050. However, the lowest estimate I've seen – by Channel 4 News - puts the Muslim population at 10% by 2050. (It doesn't give the numbers; though the percentage must mean that at least ten million Muslims will live in the UK by that date.) The Commentator, on the other hand, argues that Muslims will be the majority by 2050.

Consequently, Hope Not Hate and Lowles's fluffy (if insincere) words and anti-free speech actions will ultimately lead to more violence, not less.

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Notes

1) Nick Lowles knows that every single banning, act of censorship or imprisoning that's ever occurred has been carried out under noble rationales not too dissimilar to his own. In other words, no one simply bans, censors or imprisons for the hell of it. Every banner or censurer in history has given a whole host of impressive reasons for doing so – just like Nick Lowles. It still ends up with the same result – banning, censorship or imprisonment.

So carry out this act of imagination. Imagine what would happen if Nick Lowles and Hope Not Hate had total/complete political power. I'm pretty sure that thousands of people (probably more) would need to be imprisoned and virtually all right-wing parties would be banned. Perhaps the Conservative Party wouldn't be... at first.

Of course this scenario is far-fetched in that even I can't see it happening. But the best way to stop such a thing happening is to understand the true nature of Nick Lowles and Hope Not Hate's politics. The more people who are fully aware of that, the less chance this totalitarian will have his way. And, luckily, many people do realise all this – even a couple of Conservative MPs probably do so. Having said that, HnH has the full support of the Mirror, various trade unions, all Labour MPs, most councils, the Guardian, the Independent, large parts of the legal establishment, the universities (at least at the official level) and so on.

2) Nick Lowles is a communist; though, for publicity reasons, I would guess that his preferred term would now be 'socialist'. Of course it's hard to establish Nick Lowles's views in terms of documentary evidence because the Guardian, the Independent and even right-wing newspapers have rarely interviewed him or even discussed him, let alone asked him what his political views are on issues not directly related to “fighting racism and fascism”.

And just as Lowles frequently attempts to besmirch people by associating them – however tangentially – with Nazifascistbigots, so we should do the same with Nick Lowles himself. For example, he can be linked to the Communist Party of Great Britain, the Communist Party of Britain and various extremely violent “anti-fash” groups in the 1980s and 1990s. (Matthew Collins, Lowles's second-in-command, began life as a black/Nazi fascist and is now a red fascist.)

What does Lowles think about, say, capitalism, “public ownership of the means of production”, what causes racism, the nature of the United States foreign policy, the Conservative Party and so on? He must have views on all these issues. And, indeed, some of his political and theoretical views on these things will determine to some extent his position on the nature of racism and fascism and what to do about them. So, again, other than being against racism and fascism, what does Nick Lowles believe? Is any Guardian or Independent journalist ever going to ask him these questions? After all, they scrutinised and quizzed the EDL's Tommy Robinson until the cows came home. Is Nick Lowles an untouchable simply because he's a Leftist rather than “far right”?

3) Some supporters and activists within Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism yearn for such violence as much as Nick Lowles claims the “far right” does. After all, every communist/socialist revolution in the 20th century only occurred after much violence and political turmoil. “The worse, the better.”

4) The thing is that laws already exist “to prevent a clear incitement to violence”. (Though they're very rarely used against Muslims.) You can't ban simply on the whim of a theoretical interpretation of a future event or a set of words. And you can't ban before there is any actual incitement to violence.

 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Blair & Cameron's Toothless Battle Against Islamic Extremism in the UK


 
The British government must face facts. Whatever action it takes to counteract Islamic extremism in the UK is bound to (as the BBC puts it) “attract criticism from parts of the British Muslim community”. So let's simply take that for granted.

In other words, the government will always be seen as “alienating Muslims” or “putting all Muslims in the same basket”. This will be the case whether or not what David Cameron does is forceful or pathetic. Any action whatsoever will produce criticism from Muslims; as well as from left-wing groups and individuals.

Prime Minister David Cameron

Despite all that, in that last few days David Cameron has said (yet again) that he hopes to encourage “Muslim reformists” and “moderates”. The problem with that is these genuine reformists and moderates (the few that there are) are always violently criticised by a whole host of other Muslims. Basically, the genuine Muslim moderates are seen as Muslim Uncle Toms by the bogus moderates and by large sections of the Muslim community.

That means that the small number of Muslims who do speak out are immediately pounced upon by a much larger group of pseudo-moderates; as well as by many Islamists and radicals who don't even pretend to be moderate.

Nonetheless, Cameron has said he'll set up a “community engagement forum” which will be designed to provide a voice for Muslims fighting extremism within their own communities.

Cameron has previously talked about getting Muslim moderates to speak up. Back in 2007, for example, he said that the “hardline members” of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) were “crowding out more moderate voices”. (The MCB is a sleek and sly Islamic advertising campaign aimed primarily at non-Muslims.)

And as recently as January 2015, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wrote a letter to more than 1,000 imams and Muslim leaders asking them to publicly condemn the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in France. Guess what, the MCB and nearly all other Islamic groups criticised the letter with the usual rhetoric about “criminalising an entire community”.

This is the catch-22.

When forces outside of the Muslim community take action against Islamic extremism, Muslims resent that precisely because it's outsiders who are taking the action.

However, when Eric Pickles asked the Muslim community itself to tackle Islamic extremism, the reaction was just as negative. As I said, the MCB still talked about “stigmatising Muslims” despite the fact that Pickles and the government were attempting to work with elements within the Muslim community.

Mr Pickles reacted to this in the only way he could.

If outside action against Islamic extremism is castigated by the Muslim community, and inside action is also given the same treatment, then it wasn't a surprise that Pickles concluded by saying that some/many Muslims had “a problem”. And he was dead right!

In any case, David Cameron has fluctuated (depending on which way the wind is blowing) between being a touchy-feely fan of every aspect of multiculturalism to being a strong critic of its vices.

In a speech in Munich in 2011, for example, Cameron talked about a new "muscular liberalism". He went on to say that "the passive tolerance of recent years" had to make place for a more open and vocal defence of “British values” (i.e., in order to stem of rise of Islamic extremism in the British Muslim community). Indeed he said that one consequence of our free-for-all multiculturalism and zelous tolerance was that many Muslims – in dozens of British Muslim ghettos - no longer really belonged to British society.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Tony Blair



Moments after the London bombings of 2005, the Labour Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair, had the idea of setting up a commission to look at multiculturalism. Blair said that "the rules of the game have changed" because of that Islamic terror attack. He went on to say that there

"are people who are isolated in their own communities.... That worries me because there is separateness that may be unhealthy”.

Blair suggested various programmes to counteract Islamic extremism in the UK. They included plans to deport foreign Muslim clerics without appeal; the banning of extremist Islamic groups; and the shutting down of “radical mosques”. These plans remained precisely that – plans.

Muslims and left-wing groups reacted to Blair's ideas in predictable ways. In fact there was so much noise from Trotskyist “super-lawyers” and suchlike that hardly anything was actually done.

So many previous plans to “combat extremism” were anything but that. In fact they ended up being actions to advance Islam instead.

After the London bombings of 2005, again, Tony Blair and the Labour government said that “anti-terror strategies” had to change. So what happened? A “rapid rebuttal unit” was set up to fight “Islamophobia”. Just before the bombings, in 2004/5, the Labour Party had also proposed laws which would have effectively criminalised the criticism of Islam. That legislation was blocked by the House of the Lords. Nonetheless, a watered-down version did become law in 2006. It is now known as the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006.

Action was also taken to make sure that Islam became a bigger part of the National Curriculum in British schools.

Now what had all that to do with fighting Islamic extremism?

In 2013, however, Abu Qatada was eventually deported to Jordan to face trail. Before that, in 2012, Abu Hamza was extradited to the United States and faced trial there in 2014. None of this was thanks to the Trotskyist lawyer and Socialist Workers Party-supporter Gareth Peirce (who, at various times, defended and freed both Hamza and Qatada) and other members of the Leftist (legal) establishment.

Mohammed Dilly Hussain



Mohammed Dilly Hussain (the Deputy Editor of the website 5 Pillarz) exemplifies the problem the British government and authorities have with Islamic extremism.

This is the guy who referred to Ahmadis as being less than monkeys; liberals as “drunken, pisshead liberal garbage”; and moderate Muslims as “coconut sellout[s]” (not Uncle Toms). He has also criticised the persecuted (by the Islamic State) Yazidis of Iraq. On the positive side, he praises the Islamic Caliphate and can't bring himself to criticise the Islamic State. (You can see his obnoxious tweets here.)

Basically, Hussain is at war with non-Muslims. Yet this man has frequently appeared on the BBC, he's written for The Huffington Post and he once claimed that he was going to start working for The Independent.

Dilly Hussain exemplifies the problems the government has in two ways.

One, in the way the the government itself, the BBC and other authorities keep on relying on Islamic extremists to “tackle Islamic extremists”. Two, in the way that Hussain himself exemplifies the attitude that many Muslims have towards genuine Muslim moderates and reformists.

Dilly Hussain firstly puts the case for the pseudo-moderates. In the Middle East Eye he writes:

Like his predecessor, Cameron is refusing to engage with Muslim organisations with grassroots support in tackling extremism, be it the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) who the Prime Minister dismissed as 'having a problem' over extremism, or Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) that was tarnished by The Telegraph as 'entryists' with an Islamist agenda during the run up to the general election.”

Since Dilly Hussain is a fan of the MCB and MEND (though they may not be “radical” enough for him), it won't be a surprise to anyone that he's not a fan of Quilliam. This is what he said about that organisation:

I guess the greatest irony of Cameron’s crusading speech was that Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation helped put it together.... this is the same individual who outraged the Muslim community for posting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [they weren't caricatures at all] .... It was former Metropolitan chief superintendent Dal Babu who highlighted the highly problematic choice of allocating taxpayers money to the Quilliam Foundation, which he said was viewed with deep suspicion, and had minimal or no support in the Muslim community.”

Hussain is right when he says that Quilliam has had almost zero support from Muslims. Why? Primarily because it's not an Islamist or a “radical” Islamic group. Thus it's basically seen, by many Muslims, as an organisation for Muslim Uncle Toms.

Catch-22 Again

In the end it seems that Islamists and radical Muslims (as well as their left-wing enablers) win no matter what happens.

If the actions of the government are forceful and strong, then such actions will be deemed to be “forcing Muslims into extremism”.

If the government does next to nothing, then Muslims are free to become as extreme as they like. Indeed some Muslims even end up being free to commit violent acts.

However, the situation has got markedly worse precisely because the government and other agencies have done next to nothing to combat Islamic extremism in the UK. Oh, I forgot, they have indeed funded and publicised “moderate” Muslim groups which were in fact anything but moderate.

One can only assume that Muslim groups such as the MCB - as well as left-wingers of various persuasions - don't want any action to be taken against Islamic extremism. And that can only mean that they want such extremism (i.e., Islamism) to increase.

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Monday, 20 July 2015

Slavoj Žižek Wants Revolution, Not Pluralism



Marxists (or revolutionary socialists) were against Western “capitalist democracies” because they created and then allowed poverty and inequality. Then, in the 1950s and 1960s, many Marxists were against capitalist democracies because they created and then allowed affluence (or “materialist consumerism”).

Many contemporary Marxists are against capitalist democracies because they don't allow sexual freedom, rights for ethnic minorities, free speech, etc. Other Marxists are also against capitalist democracies because they do allow these things.

Take the case of the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. According to Jennifer Wallace (during an interview with the philosopher), Žižek believes that capitalist democracy “allows sexual freedom, grants rights to ethnic minorities, and upholds free speech” (page 311).

However, a Marxist like Žižek isn't happy with all that because “we actually live within a regime of self-imposed, hidden, and eroticised prohibitions”. Or to use Žižek's own words:

Precisely by dwelling in this postmodern world, effectively your life is much more regulated.”

Žižek continues by saying that “beneath the appearances of free choice, it's a much more severe order because it terrorizes you from within”.

Marxists like Žižek have glided effortlessly from arguing that capitalist democracies impose their “prohibitions” on people; to arguing that such prohibitions are “self-imposed, hidden, and eroticised”. Of course that may still mean that it's capitalist democracies which are – indirectly - doing the imposing of such prohibitions; even if people are now seemingly doing it for themselves. That may be because the subjects of capitalism have “internalised” (Chomsky's term) such prohibitions. That is, many people still suffer from that old malady which all non-Marxists suffer from - “false consciousness”. (One variation on the Marxist notion of false consciousness is Noam Chomsky's “manufacturing of consent”.)

None of this should be a surprise. After all, Žižek's still a revolutionary socialist and anti-capitalist. And all this pseudo-freedom still occurs within capitalist democracies. Thus, almost by definition, Žižek sees dark in the light. That's his job. He's a Marxist.

Peripheral Subjectivities

It's not only the case that “sexual freedom”, “rights [for] ethnic minorities” and “free speech” are simply not enough for Žižek, it also seems to be the case that these peripheral matters end up becoming counter-revolutionary in nature. Indeed Žižek hints at this when he states the following:

In the old days of essentialism.... the left focused too much on simple economic issues and the primacy of the class struggle. Now the days of essentialism are over and instead of the one struggle, you have plurality, gay rights, ecology, ethnic identity, whatever.”

Žižek becomes more explicit when he concludes by saying:

I nonetheless claim that the price paid for this apparent plurality is that something has been excluded. Nobody on the left really thinks about a global alternative to capitalism.” (pg. 314)

Since Žižek himself mentions Marxist “essentialism” (he also uses the phrase “the left focused too much on simple economic issues and the primacy of the class struggle”), that would appear to suggest that Žižek is against such a thing. However, when you actually read his work, it doesn't seem that way at all. Indeed it doesn't even seem that way when you read the full passages in which these claims about essentialism are made.

For example, Žižek repeats his idea of “apparent plurality”. That must mean that such plurality is unreal simply because it occurs within capitalist democracies. But how does that follow? Why can't these things be real and yet still occur within capitalist democracies? Is Žižek such an zealous anti-capitalist that he rules that out by definition?

It's clearly the case that Žižek believes that “plurality” can only be real (not “apparent”) within a “global alternative to capitalism”. In other words, “gays rights, ecology, ethnic identity”, etc. mean almost nothing if they occur within capitalist democracies. They will all remain apparent or unreal. Though how and why are they unreal? It's not enough to say it's because they all occur within capitalist democracies. We need to be given reasons as to why Žižek holds this view.

Žižek explains his position thus:

... today's capitalism, rather, provides the very background and terrain for the emergence of shifting-dispersed-contingent-ironic- and so on, political subjectivities.” (page 108)

You'd think that Marxists would argue that capitalism works against “the emergence of shifting-dispersed-contingent-ironic- and so on, political subjectivities”. Yet Žižek is saying the exact opposite. It seems, then, that capitalist democracies are criticised for not allowing “political subjectivities” and they're also criticised for allowing them! Žižek is admitting that it's capitalist democracies themselves which allow “political subjectivities” to flower and flourish – and he doesn't like that.

Žižek goes into detail as to why capitalist democracies - rather than stopping the expression of “subjectivities” (or “hybrid entities”), have, in fact, enabled them or even brought them about. And Žižek, as I said, isn't happy with this.

Žižek has a problem with capitalism's enabling of Difference and the Other.

Žižek says that capitalism

has created the conditions for the demise of 'essentialist' politics and the proliferation of new multiple political subjectivities. So, again, to make myself clear.... [capitalism] creates the very background against which 'generalised hegemony' can thrive.” (319)

Let me put that in plain English.

Multiple political subjectivities are a problem for Žižek because he doesn't want them: he wants the working class (as a whole) to fight capitalism. Or, at the very least, Žižek wants all the other subjectivities to unite behind the “hegemony” that is the working class. This multiplicity of “hybrid identities” simply muddies the water that is the ancient (Marxist) class war.

Žižek puts his case more explicitly by arguing against the Argentinian “post-Marxist” philosopher Ernesto Laclau. The latter believes that “all elements which enter into hegemonic struggle are in principle equal”. However, according to Žižek, “there is always one which, while it is part of the chain, secretly overdetermines its very horizon”. That “part of the chain” is of course class. This must also mean that “economic, political, feminist, ecological [and] ethnic” struggles (or what Žižek calls “antagonisms”) are all peripheral to the class struggle. Indeed, as a Marxist, Žižek evidently believes that.

You see, what postmodernists, post-structuralists, multiculturalists, etc. don't realise is that all this

playing with multiple, shifting personas... [simply] tends to obfuscate... the constraints of social space in which our experience is trapped” (103).

In other words, all this “playing” occurs within capitalist democracies. It really is that simple. Therefore it's all an example of “playing” because it's all carried out with the domain of capitalism “in which our experience is trapped”.

I don't suppose that Žižek ever out-rightly says that all this playing is utterly pointless because I suspect that such an explicit statement - or absolutist stance - would work against his image as a hip and radical philosopher (even a “dangerous” one). Nonetheless, he comes pretty close to saying that!

No Alternative to a Marxism Revolution

Žižek is showing his 'totalist' credentials in that, like all Marxists, he will never be happy until the whole of society - not just his own academia and other Gramscian “institutions” - belong to Marxists like himself.

Žižek knows as well as anyone else that many – probably most – postmods, post-structuralists, etc. have problems with capitalism (even if they don't essentialise it as Žižek himself does). Their problem, according to Žižek, is that they aren't outright Marxists who believe in (violent) revolution. Similarly, they don't see everything in terms of “class antagonisms” either. However, it doesn't also follow from all this that they see capitalism as being “the only game in town” (as Žižek claims they do).

Again and again Žižek argues against any position (or any “subjectivity”) which works against total Revolution. Despite that, it's of course the case that Žižek must (in a sense) support these “subjectivities” otherwise he'd be classed as a reactionary (or even a fascist) by some non-Marxist radicals. However, Žižek's support for these subjectivities is violently qualified. In fact he's fundamentally against the dilution or dissolution of the class war.

The bottom line, then, is that postmods, poststruts, etc. aren't outright revolutionary Marxists (or old-fashioned Marxist fundamentalists). The apostasy of the postmods, etc. is their “silent suspension of class analysis”. Žižek also believes that “class antagonism is disavowed” (97) in postmod, post-structuralist, etc. analysis and theory. And that's a great sin against Marx and the Revolution.

There's more.

Žižek not only accuses the postmods, etc. of being counter-revolutionaries: he also gets personal. He argues that because postmods, etc. aren't in favour of violent revolution (as he appears to be), then they must of necessity pay “somewhat 'excessive' attention to” such things as “sexism [and] racism” (97). Now that sounds like a terrible thing for such a trendy philosopher to say. It could easily be seen as, God forbid, reactionary. Žižek, of course, has an easy answer to that blasphemous accusation. It's this:

Instead of paying excessive attention to racism, sexism, ethnic identity, ecology, etc. you postmods, post-structuralists and whatnot should look at the true causes of sexism, racism and indeed of all evils – capitalism. You're simply focusing on the symptoms rather than on the true cause.

This is why Marxist (especially Trotskyist) collaborations with feminists, blacks, gays, Muslims, etc. are only ever half-hearted; or, more accurately, opportunistic and cynical. In the black-and-white mind of the Marxist there always lurks the idea that postmods, gays, Muslims, blacks, etc. should be agitating for total Revolution; not putting plasters on the wounds of capitalism. In other words, all this newfangled “human rights, ecology, racism, sexism” (97) nonsense simply gets in the way of real change. And that real change, of course, can only be brought about by Revolution.

The problem, according to Marxists, is that not only have these groups and individuals got it all wrong: they're actually working against Revolution and, ultimately, in support of capitalism.

Žižek's Alternative

Žižek alternative to pluralism (as well as to multiculturalism) is uniformity – Marxist uniformity. Marxists like Žižek have always seen Marxism as a “universal” ideology or belief-system. Or as Žižek himself puts it:

The only way to break out of this deadlock is to propose and fight for a positive universal project shared by all participants.”

That “universal project” is one which includes the “fight for emancipation” and the “struggle against neocolonialism”. That Grand Narrative is Marxism. In other words, what will tie the so-far warring tribes, religions and even classes together - within a multicultural or pluralist society - is a joint commitment not to patriotism or shared civic, social and political values/traditions, but the sharing of Marxist theory, Marxist ideology and Marxist causes.

References

Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler and Ernesto Laclau, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (2000), Verso
Slavoj Žižek, 'Rotherham child sex abuse: it is our duty to ask difficult questions', published in the Guardian, 1st September, 2014.
Predictions: 30 Great Minds on the Future (1999), edited by Sian Griffiths, 'Slavoj Žižek: Closing the Gap' (interview by Jennifer Wallace).

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Francis Fukuyama & the Left: “The worse, the better.”


 
Many will know about Francis Fukuyama's thesis about the “end of history”. This is how Fukuyama himself expressed his position way back in 1989:

What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such.... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

Of course many commentators have offered various reasons as to why Francis Fukuyama's well-known (or notorious) prophesy never came to pass and, indeed, could never come to pass.

Last year, for example, a New York Times writer, Ross Douthat, saw it in terms of whether or not there's a genuine rival to “capitalist” or “liberal democracy” that “isn't merely different but fully owns its difference”. That rival, he believes, is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Slavoj Žižek (the Slovenian philosopher) also believes that his own “global alternative to capitalism” (i.e., communism/socialism) will be a “self-consciously different” to what we have today in Europe and the United States.

Not that Fukuyama is a typical conservative or right-winger. (Perhaps there aren't many typical ones.) Indeed he publicly endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 election. This was after he'd accused the Bush administration of - amongst other things - exaggerating the threat that radical Islam posed to the United States. Thus he also called for the “demilitarization” of the War on Terror. That was before the Boston and the Fort Hood massacres, Obama's increased public and private sympathy for Islam and indeed for Islamism (particularly the rise of CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood in the US), the emergence of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, etc. Though in many ways some of those changes can still be regarded as not posing a direct threat to the US. (In this, surely, Fukuyama aligns himself with the conservative “isolationist” position.)

Fukuyama had a lot of distancing to do in 2008. After all he'd been a major contributor to what was called the Reagan Doctrine. He'd also been active in the Project for the New American Century. Indeed he even co-signed that organization's 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton which urged support for Iraq's insurgents against Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, he was among the co-signers of William Kristol's letter (of 2001) to President Bush which urged the President to "capture or kill Osama bin Laden" and make "a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq".

Hegel & the End of History

Even some of those who bought the End of History (with Germanic capitals) idea were often unimpressed by Fukuyama's Hegelian extravagance.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel believed that the Prussian state had embodied his/the Absolute Idea roundabout 1818; which, coincidentally, was where and when Hegel lived.

Francis Fukuyama believed that History had ended (again) in 1989 with American capitalist democracy; which, coincidentally, was where and when Fukuyama lived at the time.

Hence the scepticism.

America has been called “the best system in the world”. Though I can't really say whether or not this is the inevitable result of some kind of Hegelian dialectic.

Fukuyama put some meat on the bones of his End of History thesis by saying that democracy tends to exist side by side with technological advance. These two things are also found together in capitalist societies. Thus he saw a link between capitalism and democracy; as well as between capitalism and technological advance.

In these regards, all the historical data is on Fukuyama's side. Though perhaps you don't need the Hegelian flamboyance to go with it.

Nonetheless, the End of History thesis was criticised and even ridiculed when the conflicts in the Balkans, Congo, Algeria, Rwanda, etc. burst on the scene. Those criticisms didn't make that much sense, however, because Fukuyama was referring exclusively to Western Europe and the United States. In other words, these other places weren't “at the end of history”. Or, to put that another way, they weren't fully-fledged capitalist democracies. (This also applied to most of the the Balkans.)

The Worse, the better”

Leftists hate optimists like Francis Fukuyama. That's because - as endtimers (or prophets of doom) - they have to pretend that things are terrible (or getting worse) in order to fuel the revolutionary fires.

Sir George Monbiot, for example, said that Matt Ridley's book The Rational Optimist tells the rich what they want to hear”. Similarly, it was said that Fukuyama made Voltaire's Dr Pangloss (who lived in “the best of all possible worlds”) look like a pessimist. They also classed him as the official spokesman for the rich and powerful (again, just like Matt Ridley). Fukuyama himself, on the other hand, said that he's simply being “realistic”. I'm not sure if “realistic” is the right word here. Fukuyama is simply trying to be honest about today's realities; which isn't also to say that he always gets things right.

As I said, Fukuyama says things which dowse the revolutionary fires. One way he does this is with what he says about poverty and inequality. He writes:

The shift towards freerer markets and more open, democratic political forms has been broadly empowering for many people, and not just for the crowd that stands at the top of the social hierarchy. If you look at the economic development of East Asia you look at millions and millions of people who were living in poverty who are now leading middle-class lives and have done well.”

(Of course Leftists can change tack here. They can focus, instead, on the sins of 'consumerism', 'materialism', etc. - as they did in the 1950s and 1960s.)

Despite what Fukuyama says, Leftists deliberately fail to comprehend that when the rich get richer, it's often the case that the poor get richer too.

This reality is complicated (if it is complicated) by the simple fact that even when the poor become better off over time, it may still be the case that levels of inequality (or the gap between rich and the not-quite-so-rich) becomes wider. To many, of course, that sounds terrible when this context is ignored.

Let's take an extreme example which deliberately includes exaggeratedly low figures in order to simplify the basic point being made.

Say that the poor in country X began by earning (on average) £20 a week and the rich earned £60 a week (3 times as much). Move forward only five years. At that point the poor are earning £60 a week, and the rich are earning £300 a week. So even though the poorer have become three times richer in only five years, the rich have become fives times richer (per week) over the same period.

That also means that the gap between £20 (for the poor) and £60 (for the rich) was narrower than between the later gap of £60 (for the poor) and £300 (for the rich). Or, alternatively, the “pay gap” has risen over five years even though the poor have £40 more to spend each week. Thus even though poor are much better off, the gap between rich and poor has widened.

It will be this gap that Leftists will obsessively focus on; despite the fact that “the poor”, on the whole, are often no longer as poor (or poor at all). It's the gap that matters to Leftists who want to fuel the revolutionary fire; not the poverty. (The term which is often used to describe this state of affairs is “relative poverty” rather than “absolute poverty”.)

Conclusion

There's an interesting story about this revolutionary progressive/socialist belief in Nikolay Chernyshevsky's idea “the worse the better” (i.e., “better” for their own revolution or in order to bring about “radical change”).

Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man (1992) started out as a 1989 lecture to the University of Chicago. I'll let Fukuyama tell the story. He says:

I was asked to lecture in a series on the decline of the West. I said I would give a lecture but that it would not be about the decline of the West, it would be about the victory of the West..”

You get the feeling, then, that revolutionary progressives/socialists are attempting to bring about a self-fulfilling prophesy here. Indeed it's indeed the case that the West is declining in certain respects. And many of the respects in which the West is declining is largely a result of Leftist, postmodernist and post-structuralist politics, ideology and actions; as Fukuyama himself soon realised after overdosing on Derrida, Lyotard and Baudrillard in France. Yes, by saying that the West is declining (or that “capitalism isn't working”), it's hoped that this will indeed become the case. So it's hoped that the decline of the West (or capitalism) will precipitate (yet more!) radical change or even revolution. Or to repeat the phrase: “The worse, the better.”


Friday, 3 July 2015

David Cameron says: “Don't call the Islamic State the 'Islamic State'.”


 

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has just criticised the BBC for referring to the Islamic State as the “Islamic State”. In response, the BBC's John Humphrys made the obvious point that, well, it's called the “Islamic State”. So what's Cameron's preferred alternative? It's the acronym 'ISIL'.

In full, Mr Cameron (during an interview on BBC Radio 4) said:

I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it's not an Islamic State; what it is is an appalling, barbarous regime.

It is a perversion of the religion of Islam and many Muslims listening to this programme will recoil every time they hear the words 'Islamic State'.

I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it's not an Islamic State; what it is is an appalling, barbarous regime.”

Various other political Islamophiles have got in on the act too. The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader (Angus Robertson), for example, also called for politicians and the media to stop using the words 'Islamic State'. Roberson added that the US Secretary of State (John Kerry) and the French foreign minister (Laurent Fabius) were already “using the appropriate term” (which, apparently, is Daesh).

Mr Robertson went on to say:

The time has come in the English speaking world, to stop using Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL, and instead we and our media should use Daesh as the commonly-used phrase across the Middle East.”

So it's seems that Mr Roberson has seen the flaw in Cameron's own alternative. Yes, 'ISIS' or 'ISIL' isn't good enough either because it also includes the word “Islamic”.

However, Cameron himself said that he doesn't

think we will move them all the way to Daesh so I think saying ISIL is better than using Islamic State because it is in my view neither Islamic nor a state”.

Now I don't want to spoon-feed readers, but Cameron preferred alternative (as Mr Robinson noted) stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Yes, the first two words are “Islamic State”. This is also almost like saying: “Don't call Nazis 'National Socialists': call them 'Nazis'.” Anyway, as the phrase goes: “A rose is a rose by any other name.”

Is Cameroon attempting to do what Leftists, postmodernists and post-structuralists do in our universities, councils, law firms, etc. – alter the way we think by changing the words we use?

In any case, the fact is that the Islamic State almost perfectly replicates Mohammed's own state and that of his “companions”. It does so more closely than any other Islamic/Muslim state or empire has done since Mohammed's death. The fighters of the Islamic State have replicated almost everything Muhammed and his own fighters did: slavery, sex slavery, beheading, child marriage, crucifixion, expansionism/imperialism, jizya (the Islamic tax) and the rules of dhimmitude.

If anyone doubts me on this, simply spend a few hours reading the Koran, hadith and the various lives of Muhammed. I'm tempted to advise people not to read Muslim accounts of Mohammed's life. However, even they aren't averse to chronicling the fact that Muhammed was a slave trader, a warrior, a beheader, a plunderer and someone who married a six-year-old (who later consummated the marriage when she was nine years old). If Muslims were adverse to chronicling these facts about their prophet, then there wouldn't be a problem with the Islamic State in the first place.

In a certain sense you can almost understand what Cameron and so many others are trying to do. They think that by lying or dissimulating about Islam, Muhammed and the Islamic State that they'll help further the cause of that almost mythical beast: moderate Islam. In fact he's doing what many Leftists do all the time: he's “lying for Justice”. However, precisely because the entire enterprise is based on a mountain of lies and deceits it probably will never work. Yes, both Muslims and non-Muslims know that Cameron is lying about Islam and Muhammed. His pet project, therefore, is almost bound to fail.

What Cameron is doing is utterly perverse anyway. Fair enough, historically all sorts of Christians have said their own version of Christianity is the “true one”. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists have said the same to their own co-religionists. Nonetheless, in all these cases it was people from within their own religion that they were castigating. (Protestants criticised Catholics and vice versa, Sunni Muslims criticised Shia Muslims and vice versa, etc.) However, in Prime Minister Cameron's case we have a non-Muslim preaching to the Muslim world about “true Islam” and, correspondingly, the “perversions of Islam”. This is utterly incredible. It's almost like Britney Spears lecturing Steven Hawking on the true nature of physics and cosmology.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Salon: It’s not about mental illness, Palestine, Iraq: The big lies that always follow terrorist attacks by Muslims*




*The following is simply a rewriting of an article published by Salon (last week) entitled 'It’s not about mental illness: The big lie that always follows mass shootings by white males', which was written by Arthur Chu. I have, of course, made a few additions and amendments.

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Blaming “mental illness”, “alienation”, “unemployment”, “the invasion of Iraq”, “the price of bread”, etc. are cop-outs - and ones that let us avoid talking about Islam, Muslim hatred, the violent passages in the Koran, the violent life of Muhammed, etc.

I get really really tired of hearing the phrases “mental illness”, “alienation”, “the intervention in Iraq”, “unemployment”, “lack of identity”, “Islamophobia”, “the price of bread”, etc. thrown around as ways of excusing Islamic terrorism and avoiding saying other terms like “toxic Islam”, “jihad”, “Islamic misogyny”, “Muslim hatred of kuffar”, etc.

We barely knew anything about the suspect in, for example, the Ottawa killing of Corporal Nathan Cirillo by Muslim Michael Zehaf-Bibeau in October 2014. We certainly didn’t have testimony from a mental health professional responsible for his care that he suffered from any specific mental illness, or that he suffered from a mental illness at all. (Though he was a drug user and criminal.)

The media insists on trotting out the phrases “mental illness”, “alienation”, “the invasion of Iraq”, “unemployment”, “racism” and blaring out these non-stop in the wake of any mass killings by Muslims. I had to grit my teeth every time I personally debated someone defaulting to the mindless mantra of “The real issue is the US invasion of Iraq” over the New York, Madrid, Boston, Paris, London and other Islamic atrocities.

And “The real issue is Western imperialism and oil” is a goddamn cop-out too.

What I hear from people who bleat on about, say, “The real issue is Muslim disempowerment” when pressed for specific suggestions on how to deal with said “real issue,” is terrifying nonsense designed to excuse Muslims and Islam itself. Western Muslims should attempt to get their own house in order before they complain about the actions and legislation of European and American governments. What about the rights of the victims of Islamic terror and Muslim grooming-gangs? Where are the super-posh and super-rich Leftist lawyers when we need them?

What’s interesting is to watch right-wing groups and counter-jihadists being thrown under the bus to defend Muslim killers and their fellow travellers in the Muslim community. In the wake of the Lee Rigby killing, for example, Muslims and Leftists focussed almost entirely on the so-called “surge in Islamophobic attacks”; which turned out to be almost entirely bogus. (The idea of a plague of Islamophobic attacks in the UK was mainly spread by Fiyaz Mughal and his Tell Mama organisation.)

We’ve successfully created a world so topsy-turvy that being a member of the English Defence League (EDL) or the Tea Party is a stronger evidence of terrorism than purchasing the Koran, reciting its violent passages and going on demos which have banners which proclaim “Death to the West!”.... Indeed not blowing things up is stronger evidence of terrorism and violent intent than blowing things up itself... God bless America.

What’s also interesting is the way, say, the phrase “The real issue is Israeli oppression and Palestinian rights” is used to defend Muslim mass murderers. When you call someone “alienated”, “unemployed”, “angry at Israel and the invasion of Iraq” in this culture it’s a way to excuse Muslim killers and the tens of millions of Muslims who passively support them.

This is cruel, ignorant bullshit when it’s used to discredit those groups and individuals who speak up for the victims of Islamic terrorism and Muslim grooming-gangs.

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