Behind Islamophobia, Fascism and Complicit Antifascism

by Houria Bouteldja

To exist is to exist politically

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This paper was presented by Houria Bouteldja in April 2014 at the fifth international conference on Islamophobia at Berkely. It was translated from French by Geneviève Rail.

By way of introduction, I would like to start by saying that the situation in France and in Europe is quite worrisome. The economic crisis magnifying the situation, we observe, across the continent, the problematic rise of far-right, fascist and neo-Nazi forces. These radical nationalisms are increasingly uninhibited. Some of them take part, democratically, in different elections and quietly become institutionalized. The National Front is the third political power in France, and its president is a woman with a steel grip who does not hide her ambitions for the country’s presidency. To reach this objective, she will stop at nothing to make her party appear respectable and she is admirably successful. Admittedly, her task is facilitated by a number of circumstances. For instance, Islamophobia — and more exactly a State-supported anti-Muslim type of racism — is a national sport in France. The white political field that goes from the extreme right to the extreme left is completely contaminated. However, we must be precise in our analyses. Let me unpack some of this.
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Novorossiya’s ‘Leftist’ Friends

The frenzied world-wide front is expanding
 Mercy to no one, no one, no one!
Stanza from 1989 Russian anarchists’ song Vintovka – eto prazdnik (The Rifle is a Holiday) by the Russian punk band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defense)

By Aleksandr Volodarsky, originally published by Chetvyortaya Vlast’ and Translated by Michal Pszyk

The annexation of Crimea, the “Novorossiya” project, and the fight against the “Kyiv junta” are not supported in Russia alone.  There are political forces around the world, both marginal and relatively respectable, which voice their support for the separatists in the Donbass.  At times, activists themselves travel to the war zone as volunteers, but they mostly hold demonstrations in support of the separatist republics and pressure their governments to renounce their support for Ukraine and “stop the aggression against Russia.”Continue Reading

Syrien und die westliche Linke

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Yassin Al Haj Saleh ist ein bedeutender, syrischer Dissident. Von 1980 - 1996  in Gefangenschaft, wurde er seit 2011 zu einer führenden Stimme des syrischen Aufstandes. Er versteckte sich 21 Monate lang innerhalb Syriens und lebt heute  im Exil in Istanbul. Das Interview wurde via Email mit New Politics Editor Stephen R. Shalom geführt und von aNtiDote ins Deutsche übersetzt. 

Wir, gewöhnliche SyrierInnen, Flüchtlinge, Frauen, StudentInnen, Intellektuelle, Menschenrechts-AktivistInnen, politische Gefangene … existieren nicht.

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Meet a Syriza Candidate: Yanis Varoufakis

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AntiNote: The following is an extended excerpt of a radio interview, edited for readability.

Last Saturday, 17 January 2015, host Chuck Mertz of Chicago’s This is Hell! Radio spoke with Yanis Varoufakis, a political economist and candidate with the SYRIZA party running in this weekend’s parliamentary elections in Greece.

With the Left blogosphere tying itself in knots either celebrating or denouncing SYRIZA’s broadening political success, we at the Antidote Writers Collective—as is our habit, and since Greece is a context very close to our hearts—are still gathering ourselves and preparing a take which does neither, or both. In that spirit, we simply wish to disclaim that our publication of this interview, just as with any of the material we share, should not be interpreted as an unquestioning endorsement of the views expressed within it.

That said, we find Yanis’s statements worthy of considered attention, especially with regard to the (still) rising threat of neo-fascism in Europe. Expect much more on this topic in the near future.

Transcribed and printed with permission. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“We borrowed the largest sum in human history. As an insolvent nation. On condition that we would shrink our income! That’s not austere.”

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Syria and the Euro-Leftist Double Impotency

Since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, many radical leftist groups and networks, both on the international and local levels in Europe and around the world, have engaged in a heated debate on whether to support the revolution or not, and whether it was a revolution or an imperialist conspiracy.

The European counterargument against the revolution had a quite telling approach that was different from many in the rest of the world. It wasn’t just the usual claim that the Assad regime is one of the last standing anti-imperialist forces. That claim became weaker in Europe after the aggravation of the regime crimes accompanied with hard-to-deny evidence of its brutality continuously coming out from Syria. But many within the European left over and over affirmed that they will not support what is happening in Syria until they find revolutionary forces worthy of their support. The difference in approach was in the claim that there was no third option that is “revolutionary” and that poses a substitute to both the Assad regime and the Islamist militias.

This approach wasn’t only problematic in its privileged laziness in not doing the needed effort to find these networks in Syria, but also in its White-tailored presets for what is a “better future” for the Syrians. Continue Reading

Syria, European Pseudo-Leftists, and Žižek

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I was a bit disappointed when I read Žižek’s article on Syria. It is true that the people in Syria have no excuse for not making a revolution, but compassion is a virtue. Maybe if “comrade” Žižek could’ve taken the time to scribble them a manual of “Revolution 101″ they could’ve been brought to their senses. Possibly a syllabus of recommended readings? Žižek has a lot to teach the people in Syria and Egypt. The European Left as a whole has much to share. I mean, Europe has been revolting for decades and the victories of the European Left are a source of global envy. Žižek himself has stood atop the barricades and put a stake in the heart of neoliberalism in his own country.Continue Reading