by Houria Bouteldja
To exist is to exist politically
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.
There are elements of neoliberalism that we consider fascistic. Let’s start calling them by their name.
by Antidote’s Ed Sutton
In recent years, there has been a discussion emerging about the rise of neofascism worldwide, with the example of Europe (where it has taken classic, readily identifiable, highly visible forms) being most frequently noted. References to a “21st Century Weimar” were being made, even in mainstream Western media, at least as early as 2012 as Golden Dawn’s political prominence was surging and the economic suffering in Greece appeared to explain it.
The unprecedented success of radical rightwing parties in last year’s EU parliamentary elections and the more recent wave of fascistic anti-Islam movements in Europe (most spectacularly in Germany but with parallels in France, Britain, and elsewhere), not to mention the lethal islamophobic violence that accompanied this wave, have accelerated this discussion.
Transcribed from the 8 February 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“I thought it was just another detainee holding facility. But we knew that it was not on the map; this was not on the books. The soldier with me said, ‘We just found our Auschwitz.’ It shook all through my body, and I said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’”
Chuck Mertz: Guantánamo is a horrible place that should be closed, never should have been opened in the first place, and may very well have been the scene of a triple murder. Here with an insider’s account, Joseph Hickman is author of Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantánamo Bay.
Joe has spent most of his life in the military—first as a marine, then as a soldier in both the army and the national guard. Deployed on several military operations throughout the world, sometimes attached to foreign militaries, the recipient of more than twenty commendations and medals, Joe was awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal while he was stationed with the 629th military intelligence battalion in Guantánamo Bay. He is currently working as an independent researcher and senior research fellow at Seton Hall Law School’s Center for Policy and Research.
You start your book by writing, “I am a patriotic American.” Is this a book written out of a sense of patriotism? Is this a patriotic book?
Joseph Hickman: Yes. I do believe it is. Like you said, I was in the military for fourteen years when I arrived at Guantánamo. It was my life. And I believe that, as an American soldier, it was my job to come forward and report a war crime. I think it’s every soldier’s duty to report a war crime if they see one occur. I believe I witnessed a war crime, and I tried to report it.
By Mazen Kamalmaz, first published in 2008
It is a big question for us, Muslims who consider freedom as our main aim or our main principle of life, where we stand in the conflict between what can be defined as neo-colonialist policies of the capitalist west and Islamic fundamentalism. In brief, my answer is that I think we must stick to our main principle: that is freedom, away from both.
Von Georg Meggle
Philosophischer Versuch zur Klärung und zur Verwendung des Terrorismus-Begriffs
The only hope of ever winning the “war on terrorism” lies in ceasing to invest in its bankrupt philosophy. – Jackson 2005
Mit diesem Beitrag verfolge ich drei Ziele: (1) Ich will erklären, was Terrorismus ist (T-Semantik); (2) ich will zeigen, an welchen Merkmalen unserer Verwendung dieses Begriffs es liegt, dass “Terrorismus” zu dem Kampf- und Killerbegriff par excellence avanciert ist (T-Pragmatik); und (3) ich will abschließend deutlich machen, dass mit dieser Diagnose bereits alles Nötige zur Erklärung unseres “Terrorismus”-Tabus gesagt ist.
By Budour Hassan
The appearance of the Egyptian Black Bloc in Cairo’s streets in January 2013 triggered gullible excitement in Western anarchist circles. Little thought was given to the Egyptian Black Bloc’s political vision – or lack thereof – tactics, or social and economic positions. For most Western anarchists, it was enough that they looked and dressed like anarchists to warrant uncritical admiration. Facebook pages of Israeli anarchists were swamped with pictures of Egyptian Black Bloc activists; skimming through the US anarchist blogosphere during that period would have given one the impression that the Black Bloc was Egypt’s first-ever encounter with anarchism and anti-authoritarianism. But as American writer Joshua Stephens notes, the jubilant reaction many Western anarchists have towards the Black Bloc raises unflattering questions concerning their obsession with form and representation, rather than content and actions.
We have in the first part attempted to show how and why the struggle against Islamophobia is a major issue for the radical left (although it is unfortunately often overlooked by some comrades) in its struggle for an egalitarian and emancipated society against the capitalist system. In this second part, we want to demonstrate that the struggle against Islamophobia should under no circumstances be replaced by “Orientalism in reverse or in return” that affects certain parts of the radical left when we analyze the Middle East and North Africa.