Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Within the nature of European culture there exists a statement of value or of "moral" behavior that has no meaning for the members of that culture. I call this the "rhetorical ethic;" it is of great importance for the understanding of the dynamics of the culture. The concepts of traditional European anthropology are inadequate to explain the phenomenon to which I am referring here, as it has no counterpart in the types of cultures to which anthropologists have generally directed their attention in the past. But with the concept of asili, which facilitates an ideological approach to the study of culture, the rhetorical ethic becomes visible; even compelling. It fits the logic of the European asili, assisting the culture in the achievement and maintenance of power. Without this interpretation certain manifestations within the verbal iconography of the culture appear to be inconsistent with its underlying ideological thrust. And that simply would not make sense. Let us see how the mechanism of the rhetorical ethic works.
The related distinction used traditionally in anthropology is stated in terms of "ideal culture" and "actual behavior" and is said to be characteristic of all cultures, thereby helping to confuse the issue of the uniqueness and problematical nature of European culture. The conventional distinction is illustrated in the following manner by the authors of a recently published anthropology textbook.
For example, an idealized belief, long cherished in America, is that all doctors are selfless, friendly people who chose medicine as their profession because they felt themselves "called" to serve humanity, and who have little interest in either the money or the prestige of their position. Of course, many physicians do not measure up to this ideal. Nevertheless, the continued success of television programs that portray the average American M.D. as a paragon of virtue indicates how deeply rooted in our collective psyche the ideal of the noble physician is.
This is a common misconception that has led to a mistaken view and superficial understanding of the nature of European (Euro- American) society. To refer to the images offered above as "ideal" is a misuse or at least a misleading use of the term "ideal." The projection and success of the image of the committed, altruistic doctor do not indicate that it is a "deeply rooted" ideal in the American psyche.
It is rather an indication of the fact that this is how Americans want to appear to others, most often to non-European peoples-their "objects.'' In this case it is the way that the doctor wants to appear to his patients, or ''objects,'' because this appearance works to his advantage. On the other hand, an image that projects him as a potential exploiter can lead to the possibility of malpractice suits and to the institutionalization of socialized medicine-neither of which is lucrative for him.
An ''ideal'' should be understood to be some thing that functions normatively and something that is emulated; that which has meaning for those who share it. It is the European experience that encourages the confounding of meaning and commitment with mere verbal expression. (It was within the incipient European experience that "rhetoric" came to be regarded as art.) In African culture words have power. The European mind is a political one and for this reason constantly aware of the political effect of words and images as they are used for the purposes of manipulation. By "political" I mean to indicate an ego that consistently experiences people as others; as representatives of interests defined differently and, therefore, as conflicting with this "ego." The individual is concerned, therefore, with the way in which his verbal expression and the image he projects can influence the behavior of those to whom he relates, be they patients (would-be consumers), neocolonial subjects, an opposing candidate for office, or an African selfdeterminist/nationalist. This is what is "deeply rooted" in the American mind-the psychology of "public relations," "salesmanship," and political strategy. It is in the Euro-American vernacular that the word "image" is used so frequently. To be concerned with one's image as opposed to one's self is a European characteristic.
To be aware of the strategical advantage of appearing to be altruistic when one is operating out of self-interest does not mean that altruism is a meaningful "ideal" in terms of one's value-system. It is, instead, an outgrowth of the propaganda that the Europeans have fed "non-European" peoples since they first sought to conquer them. Because they exported ("sold") this altruistic image so successfully, they have had to project themselves as adhering to this "ideal"; similarly, the projection of themselves or their motives in this way has been essential to the successful imposition of this "ethic" on others.
The basic principle to be kept in mind in order to understand this dynamic of European culture is that the major contributing factor to the success of European nationalism has been its projection as disinterested internationalism,
The use of "ideal" in the passage quoted above is simply an inadequate concept for the ethnological analysis of European culture. Hoebel, in an earlier textbook, offers his version, which is similarly inadequate: "Ideal Culture consists of a people's verbally expressed standards and behavior." The examples that these anthropologists offer from other cultures to explicate the distinction between "ideal" and "actual" in no way represent the phenomenon in Western culture under consideration.
Hoebel describes "normative postulates or values" as "deep- lying assumptions about whether things or acts are good and to be sought after, or bad and to be rejected." This is precisely what the "rhetorical ethic" is not. Hoebel's definition can be used to get at the converse of the phenomenon I wish to describe. A "rhetorical ethic" is not a "deep-lying assumption." It is a superficial verbal expression that is not intended for assimilation by the members of the culture that produced it. The "rhetorical ethic," a European phenomenon, has been neglected in conventional ethnological theory, which has consistently offered concepts devoid of political significance.
Anthropologists talk about the gap in all cultures between thought and deed, between ideas and actions. The gap to which I am referring, however, is between verbal expression and belief or commitment; between what people say and what they do. Nowhere other than in European culture do words mean so little as indices of belief. It is this characteristic that is of concern here and this characteristic for which the concepts of traditional anthropology are inadequate to explain.
As a cultural trait it has, however, been described by others, particularly those who have been made victims of European cunning. Below an indigenous American describes European behavior:
They would make slaves of us if they could; but as they cannot, they kill us. There is no faith to be placed in their words.
They will say to an Indian, "My friend; my brother!" They will take him by the hand and, at the same moment destroy him.... Remember that this day I warned you to beware of such friends as these. I know the Long-Knives. They are not to be trusted.
It is an inherent characteristic of the culture that it prepares members of the culture to be able to act like friends toward those they regard as enemies; to be able to convince others that they have come to help when they, in fact, have come to destroy the others and their culture. That some may "believe" that they are actually doing good only makes them more dangerous, for they have swallowed their own rhetoric-perhaps a convenient self-delusion. Hypocritical behavior is sanctioned and rewarded in European culture. The rhetorical ethic helps to sanction it. European culture cannot be understood in terms of the dynamics of other cultures alone. It is a culture that breeds hypocrisy-in which hypocrisy is a supportive theme a standard of behavior. Its hypocritical nature is linked to the Platonic abstraction, to objectification, to the compartmentalization of the person and the denial of the emotional self. Below Havelock characteristically understands the case:
Another thing noticeable about them [pre-Platonic" Greeks] in this period is their capacity for direct action and sincere action and for direct and sincere expression of motive and desire. They almost entirely lack those slight hypocrisies without which our civilization does not seem to work.
The distinction and definitions that can lead to a better under- standing of the Europeans and their culture can only come from a perspective that is not one of European chauvinism; for it is the method of European chauvinism or cultural nationalism to conceal European interest. As I use it, "value" is only meaningful value; it is that which motivates behavior and is the origin of human commitment. Value determines what is imitated and preserved, what is selected for and encouraged. "Avowed values" on the other hand, which are merely professed, which find expression only verbally, which are not indicative of behavior, belong to what I have called the "rhetorical ethic."
The European rhetorical ethic is precisely that-purely rhetorical- and, as such, has its own origins as a creation for export; i.e., for the political, intercultural activity of the European. It is designed to create an image that will prevent others from successfully anticipating European behavior, and its objective is to encourage nonstrategic (i.e., naive, rather than successful) political behavior on the part of others. This is the same as "nonpolitical" behavior.) It is designed to sell, to dupe, to promote European nationalistic objectives. It "packages" European cultural imperialism in a wrapping that makes it appear more attractive, less harmful. None of these features represents what can culturally be referred to as an "ideal" in any sense. The rhetorical ethic is, therefore, not dysfunctional in European culture.
It does not generate nor reflect conflict in European ideology or belief-system; but it is, rather, necessary to the maintenance and projection of the utamaroho and performs a vital function in sustaining European cultural nationalism in the pursuit of its international objectives.
The rhetorical ethic is made possible by the fact that hypocrisy as a mode of behavior is a valued theme in European life; the same hypocritical behavior that its presence sanctions. Again, "value" refers to that which is encouraged and approved in a culture. European culture is constructed in such a way that successful survival within it discourages honesty and directness and encourages dishonesty and deceit-the ability to appear to be something other than what one is; to hide one's "self," one's motives and intent.
People who are duped by others and relate to a projected image are considered fools or "country bumpkins." Hypocrisy in this way becomes not a negative personality trait, not immoral or abnormal behavior, but it is both expected and cultivated. It is considered to be a crucial ingredient of "sophistication," a European goal. European intracultural, political behavior is based on hypocrisy-as are business relations, the advertising media, and most other areas of public, and social interaction. It is merely a manifestation of this theme when Americans claim that politicians are basically honest. The claim itself is hypocritical, and the public expects it to be so. We all know that the objective of commercial advertising is to convince us to buy products so that manufacturers can make large profits, but the slogans attempt to persuade us that the product is beneficial to our well being, as though the producer has our welfare at heart.
This hypocrisy touches the lives of every member of the culture in their dealings with one another, and yet it originates in part in the nature of their intercultural relationships. It is a part of the mechanism of European expansionism, All of these factors must go into the understanding of the rhetorical ethic and not an overly simplistic distinction between "ideal" and "actual" culture; perhaps a relevant distinction with regard to other cultures that create and are created by very different "cultural personalities." Let us look more closely at this "ethic" and see how it has functioned historically.
The above excerpt from chapter 6 can be found here.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Unfortunately, the reason so many men paid for sex was because they could: the girls were freely available to them and the social restraints didn’t exist; questioning their behaviour was not the done thing. Everyone’s doing it… you can’t question what we’re doing, we’re in Cambodia and it’s normal here… don’t be such a spoilsport (you stuck up bitch)… you’re only jealous ‘cos you’re not as beautiful or skinny as they are and we don’t want you… you haven’t been here long enough - this is just how things work…
...so many men (from what I could fathom, the majority of men), even socialized in a western culture, are so willing and eager to become part of a culture that exploits women and sex as a commodity. They quickly come to value beauty, subservience and effectively ownership over equal companionship...
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Ariel Levy cleverly leads us to explore the role models women aspire to emulate. We are not pursuing the confident, powerful, free ideal the women's liberation movement would have dreamed for its daughters.
Instead our icons are porn stars and strippers and prostitutes. Paris Hilton and Jenna Jameson flaunt their successes in the pornography industry, and in doing so seem to earn our adulation.
The reality that we model ourselves on images whose 'individuality is erased' is harsh, yet Levy's work is imbued with hope that women can celebrate their uniqueness instead of their 'hotness', explore their sexuality as delight rather than consume sex as currency, and succeed professionally because of their personalities, not because of their brilliant bodies.
--Megan Jones Ady
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The AntiPornMenProject aims to provide an online space for (mainly) men to write about and discuss anti-porn issues, providing others who are perhaps only just arriving at anti-porn thoughts a place to read, ask questions and feel part of a wider movement. We also hope to effectively provide and sign-post anti-porn resources and news articles concerning pornography. We hope this website will be used as a place to find opinions and resources for those who are genuinely interested in respectful engagment and -we hope- adoption of an anti-porn attitude.
It is the general opinion of those involved in the AntiPornMenProject that pornography is one of the most important social issues that we face in tackling both violence against women and wider gender inequality, as well as an important personal issue in the lives and relationships of many people. It is for these reasons -and not out of any conservative or religious sentiments- that the AntiPornMenProject is anti-porn. Our mission is to help develop a wider knowledge and recognition of the harms of pornography. We hope this will help bring about a greater level of public questioning of pornography.
Friday, September 24, 2010
"Can we really end poverty within our current economic system? Think again."
Global poverty did not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries.
Renowned actor and activist, Martin Sheen, narrates The End of Poverty?, a feature-length documentary directed by award-winning director, Philippe Diaz, which explains how today's financial crisis is a direct consequence of these unchallenged policies that have lasted centuries. Consider that 20% of the planet's population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate. At this rate, to maintain our lifestyle means more and more people will sink below the poverty line.
Filmed in the slums of Africa and the barrios of Latin America, The End of Poverty? features expert insights from: Nobel prize winners in Economics, Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; acclaimed authors Susan George, Eric Toussaint, John Perkins, Chalmers Johnson; university professors William Easterly and Michael Watts; government ministers such as Bolivia's Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera and the leaders of social movements in Brazil, Venezuela, Kenya and Tanzania . It is produced by Cinema Libre Studio in collaboration with the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
Can we really end poverty within our current economic system? Think again.
The film has been selected to over 25 international film festivals and will be released in theatres in November 2009. Directed by Philippe Diaz, produced by Cinema Libre Studio with the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, 104mins, 2008, USA, documentary in English, Spanish, French with English Subtitles.The End of Poverty? is a daring, thought-provoking and very timely documentary by award-winning filmmaker, Philippe Diaz, revealing that poverty is not an accident. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries.
The End of Poverty? asks why today 20% of the planet's population uses 80% of its resources and consumes 30% more than the planet can regenerate?
The film has been selected to over 25 international film festivals and will be released in theatres in November 2009. Directed by Philippe Diaz, produced by Cinema Libre Studio with the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, 104mins, 2008, USA, documentary in English, Spanish, French with English Subtitles.
Video from: hulu.com
Text taken from: theendofpoverty.com
Monday, August 30, 2010
That steal the goose from off the common.
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.
-Folk poem, circa 1764
A Film Coming Fall 2010
For more than three decades, transnational corporations have been busy buying up what used to be known as the commons -- everything from our forests and our oceans to our broadcast airwaves and our most important intellectual and cultural works. In This Land is Our Land, bestselling author David Bollier, a leading figure in the global movement to reclaim the commons, bucks the rising tide of anti-government extremism and free market ideology to show how commercial interests are undermining our collective interests. Placing the commons squarely within the American tradition of community engagement and the free exchange of ideas and information, Bollier shows how a bold new international movement steeped in democratic principles is trying to reclaim our common wealth by modeling practical alternatives to the restrictive monopoly powers of corporate elites.
This film was previously titled Silent Theft.
David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and consultant who has spent the past ten years exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He has pursued this work as an editor of Onthecommons.org -- a leading website about commons-based policy and politics -- and in collaboration with a variety of international and domestic partners. He speaks widely about the commons, and recently co-founded a new international organization, Commons Strategies, dedicated to developing and promoting commons-based public policies and initiatives. In 2010, Bollier taught a course on the topic as the Croxton Lecturer at Amherst College.
Bollier's latest book, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009), describes the rise of free software, free culture, and the commons-based movements seeking to advance open business models, open science and open educational resources. His first book on the commons, Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth (2002), is now widely used in colleges around the world. It surveys the many market enclosures of people's shared resources, from public lands and the airwaves to public spaces, plant and animal genes, and knowledge. Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture (2005) documents the vast expansion of copyright and trademark law over the past generation.
Bollier has worked with American television writer/producer Norman Lear since 1984, and is Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. He is also Co-founder and board member of Public Knowledge, a Washington policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the information commons. Bollier lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Visit David Bollier's site at www.bollier.org.
Let's Reclaim the Commons | from Section Z
The State of the Commons | from OnTheCommons.org
Speeches by David Bollier
Reposted from Media Education Foundation: This Land is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
By Chris Hedges —
By the end of Howard Zinn’s 423-page FBI file one walks away with a profound respect for the historian and a deep distaste for the buffoonish goons in the FBI who followed and monitored him.
Posted on Aug 1, 2010 on Chris Hedges' Columns
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
The spanish anarchist site alasbarricadas.org interviewed last month members of the exiled Kurdistan Anarchist Forum. Here is the full interview:
Where are you based? I mean, are you living in Kurdistan or in exile or have you emigrated to other places inside Turkey or abroad?
KAF We are mainly based in different countries in Europe: UK, Germany, France and Sweden. We are Kurdish but originally from Iraq not from Turkey. We all immigrated to Europe at different times but all for political reasons.
How did you become an anarchist? And other Kurdish anarchists? Is Kurdish anarchism old? Do you ‘fit into’ any particular tendency inside anarchism [anarchist-communism, insurrectionalsm, anarchist-syndicalism, eco-anarchism, etc.]?
KAF We all came from different left organisations, for example, communist parties that were controlled from Russia and China, and other Bolshevik organisations. We became Anarchists the hard way, after first being in a number of different political tendencies like:Maoist, Stalinist, Marxist and Leninist. Our ideas and activities changed gradually within these movements. Then when these struggles failed we looked for a different direction. Eventually we realised that Anarchism is the only way to achieve proper Human Liberation. This is what we mean by we became Anarchists the hard way.
As far as we know there were no Kurdish anarchist groups, organisations or parties, but that does not mean there were no individual Anarchists. Do not forget that Iraqi society at the time was almost a prison for its people, and the entire society was suppressed and oppressed by the Regime. The only political books and information available at the time were Communist Party ones coming out of Russia. These views, as you know, were against anarchist ideas and full of propaganda against them. As far as we know there were no anarchist books in Iraq except one from Joseph Proudhon, and the reason why this was available was because Karl Marx had rejected Proudhon’s politics, philosophy and economic ideas.
The names or terminologies for us are not very important. What is important for us is setting up local groups within local communities and making connections with other groups whether on a national or international level. We are happy to have links with all types of anarchists and anarchist groups as long as they do not intervene in our work and struggle against this current system and its representatives (i.e. the state and corporations). Saying that, we would say we are closest to Anarchist Syndicalism and Anarchist Communism.
Do you support national liberation / self-determination for the Kurdish people ? [I'm not necessarily meaning if you support the creation of the Kurdish state]
KAF We are fighting for Social justice. We are against every type of discrimination, sexism or racism or exploitation whatever its basies, whether it is nationality, sexism or religions [Exportation whatever on the ground of sexism, sexism that has its basis in sexism?]. We fight to create an anarchist society that is free of all types of exploitation in order for its citizens to enjoy their full rights and duties.
However, we don’t support any type of state and we would not participate in any activity whose idea was to create any type of state. But we are in favour of breaking the centralization of the state.
What are your relationships with Turkish anarchists? Are you close to any particular group?
KAF We have contact with one of the Turkish Anarchist Groups based in Switzerland (Karakök Otonomu Türkiye / Isvicre ). They operate a radio station there. We also have contact with a Kurdish Anarchist Group that are more Anarcho-Communist.
In addition, we have contact with a group of anarchists from Jordan (Jordanian-anarchists) and Iran (Anarchist Geography ) but in practice we are not that close to them for different reasons.
Do you have any relation with other foreign groups [Germany, Greece, Armenia, etc.] ?
KAF Yes, we have contacts with anarchist groups in the UK (Haringey Solidarity Group (HSG), Germany (Anarchistisches Forum Köln and anarchosyndikalismus.org ) and France (CNT-AIT info). We actively work with them.
As to the Kurdish movement, could you explain to us the present situation in the area? Is there [cultural/ethnic/political] repression? how hard is it?
KAF You question is not clear as to whether you mean in Iraq, Iran, Syria or Turkey. However, if you mean the Kurdish movement in Turkey, there are a few Kurdish organisations, but among them the PKK is the most active and largest party. However, since their leader was arrested their tactics and strategy have changed. Currently they have split into 4 organisations: Iraqi Kurdistan, Irani Kurdistan, Syrian Kurdistan and Turkey Kurdistan. In each, they have their own party and Freedom Fighters. In Turkey at the moment the PKK have stopped militant fighting against the Turkish state, and are in a position of no war, no peace.
There is a lot to talk about in response to your question which cannot really be answered here.
Are there any Kurdish anarchists in prison? What for? have any Kurds become anarchist inside prison?
KAF We cannot answer this question as we do not have specific information about this.
In Spain we know PKK, because the Basque nationalists (among other leftists groups) have some links with them. What can you tell us of that political organisation? How big or important is it? Is there still some guerrilla warfare? Are there still mousiest/Maoists?
KAF We touched on this in the previous question. We believe that the PKK is a Stalinist, Maoist and terrorist organisation that was created in the climate of terror, suppression and oppression. The military, fascist and racist government in Turkey pushed the situation further and further until the announcement of the birth of a radical, popular but suicidal organisation, the PKK. In our opinion they serve neither their cause nor that of the working class. In fact, what they do by their actions is give justification to the military government to damage the Kurdish question nationally and internationally. they ( PKK & Turkish Government) have caused the destruction of so many Villages and small towns, displacing million of people, killing so many innocent people.
The Turkish government and the PKK actually help each other. The PKK makes the Turkish government stronger, and the working class issue much weaker. At the same time, the way the Turkish government has tackled the problem has made the PKK stronger - at least in some parts of Kurdistan.
These actions by both of them have made the working class and anarchist movement in Turkey weaker and weaker.
Are there other groups apart from PKK acting against Turkish army/state in Kurdistan?
KAF There are certainly other Kurdish Groups active against the Turkish government but these do not use guerrilla tactics. They believe in struggling against the government through peaceful ways. They will use any possible kind of struggle that serves their cause but avoiding armed struggle. We are not sure there are any groups apart from the PKK using armed struggles against the Turkish government.
What is your relationship with other leftists groups?
KAF We do not have any relationships with other leftist groups.
What has been the influence of Iraq's war in Turkey/Kurdistan? Has political repression risen? Has the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq [virtually independence] improved the desire for the independence of Kurds in Turkey?
KAF The Iraq war period was probably not a good time for the PKK. During this particular period, all the PKK’s enemies, including the USA, Western countries, Iraqi and Kurdish main parties (PUK & PDK) and their forces, got together and controlled the territories as they were happy to fight the PKK if it was necessary. In fact, the PKK was surrounded by all the forces mentioned above. At the same time Turkey was in a good position to fight the PKK without fear from USA. America was happy to support this dirty war and closed its eyes to it and its victims as long as Turkey let the big powers use its land as a base for the occupation of Iraq.
We do not think that during the Iraqi war the repression & suppression was beyond its normal levels. This was because the PKK kept a low profile and stopped any major operations or attacks.
The spirit for Kurdish independence in Iraq might have increased with the setting up of Kurdish self-rule in Iraqi’s Kurdistan but did not help or support the Kurdish question in Turkey for two reasons:
The Kurdish Self-rule in Iraqi’s Kurdistan, as before, has always been very much in a compromised position with the Turkish government for political, trade and economic reasons. so that they did not mind to sacrifice all Kurdish and their cause in Turkey for their own safety and survival.
By setting up Kurdish self-rule in Iraq it meant Iran, Syria and Turkey became very close as there is a ethnic Kurdish minority in each of their countries. With an alliance between the three of them the PKK became a major enemy, and this squeezed the PKK movement in Turkey. Further, Turkey managed to force the leaders of Kurds self- rule in Iraq to cooperate with them in fighting against the PKK although most of the time the Kurds would fight them alone, but with the military support of Turkey especially By Fighter Planes.
How is the economic situation there? Is there any kind of labour resistance / radical unionism in Kurdistan?
KAF The economic situation for Kurdish self-rule, until the war, was very bad. But, since the collapse of Saddam Hussein it has been getting much better. The USA have spent a lot of money there to bribe people and also to isolate Islamic terrorist groups and the PKK as well.
After the uprising in 1991 many organisations emerged and most of them were leftist - from women’s movement, union, student – and they tried to unite. In addition to this a strong worker movement emerged at the factory level which they organise themselves. There was also very good links between them and the unemployed organisation (Unemployed Trade Union in Kurdistan). These groups could never overcome their leftist influences, and their methods of struggle, organising tactics and their strategies were exactly the same as the Bolshevik and Social Democrat parties who were gradually getting smaller and smaller until they completed disappeared.
You have talked about the Uprising in 1991. Could give us more information about what have happened?
KAF To answer this question we need a brief explanation of the Iraq situation before the Uprising in general and Kurdistan in particular. There was no doubt that Iraq-Iran war brought a disaster on Iraqi and Iranian people and at the same time it weakened the regime in Iraq. Both governments in Iraq and Iran have had their motivation to go to war and for different reasons while both of them were in a big crisis.
During the Iraq-Iran war there was a feeling that the Iraqi regime had lost power over its own people. This was to some extent was right when people in Iraq saw their life had got worse, things had got very expensive and we had to wait in a long queue to get it, every day hundreds or more dead bodies returned to the parent and relatives, the hospital, schools, the rest of the offices, factories , companies with many more of offices or the administration were getting empty either because they had been called by the regime to join the military service or because many of them refused to join the military service and had gone underground or had been transferred to protect the streets, public places in case of riots or uprising. In addition to this people were very well aware of the propaganda machine about the war, aim of the war, the future of the war that all was a pure lie.
The regime on one hand tried to bribe those families who had lost their son, daughters, parent in the front lines of the war, on the other hand tried to suppress and oppress any opposition voice by using a very heavy hand.
In Kurdistan, because of the existing Kurdish movement, although it was becoming very week and many of them had abandoned their struggles by moving to the neighbouring countries or Europe, USA or Canada, the regime has used a few different tactics from what he used it in south and middle of Iraq, like: using chemical weapons, the Campaign of Anfal(1) and moving all the far villages from the town to a concentration camps and destroyed all the original villages and the people’s belongs even their cattle, animals whatever they had in the villages.
The situation in both parts of Iraq, south and north became intolerable and pushed people to make complaints, small protests in different areas.
When the war finished the regime in Iraq became weaker and its crisis was getting deeper and deeper. So Saddam Hussein tried to find a way to get out of these crises. So the only way to get out of this was launching another war in the gulf. Of course this happened with approval and the support from America, CIA. The consequence of the war was terrible as thousands and thousands of soldiers and ordinary people were killed and made the situation unbearable.
By the time when the war ended the situation were getting ripe for emerging so many different organisations against the regime in south, middle and north of Iraq, particularly in north, Kurdistan. The Iraqi forces have already evacuated in many places and have lost control over the distance Areas from the main towns. At this time the whole Kurdish movement became very week and was almost about abandoning its entire army struggles.
By 1991 the time had arrived for uprising, A few months before March 91 some of the lefties organisation prepared themselves for something like, later called Uprising by contacting most of the rest of the origination and the individuals, collecting weapons and bringing them to the big towns, publicity preparation and the starting points with the starting places. In the end the uprising happened and almost whoever was able to get out of home has taken a part in it. In a matter of a couple of days most of the small towns and a couple of big towns had fell under the control of people. The people had used revenges against the regime agent and spy and people from the Intelligence organisation (Istkhbarat) in a barbaric way by killing and executing so many of them that people thought they had a contact with the regime and have blood on their hands without trial, court or any thing.
When the people realised that the regime’s force completely defeated then the Soviets ” Shura”(2) in the neighbourhood, school, hospital and the rest of places of work have been set up by the workers, student, the local people and the member of the lefties, communist organisations to carry out the necessary work in the community. The situation was getting serious and dangerous for the high class, the bosses because this experience was about to spread in everywhere in Kurdistan and even in Iraq. The US, Briton and the regions especially the neighbouring countries have observed and examined the situation very closely and seriously. So they tried to abort the Uprising before completely succeed and spread in elsewhere. The first step was to revive their agents in Kurdistan in getting close to whole organisation and fraction that involved in Kurdish movement while at the time of uprising and before that they almost disappeared especially in the army way. Then they intervened directly to send their own spy and agents and give advice to the forces that were in the opposition against the uprising because they have already lost control and influences among people. Many of the individuals who have already left Kurdistan went back and gradually with the support and help of CIA and MI6 took control on almost every administration. At the same time they created a situation and persuaded people or at least did not mind when people had taken whatever was valuable including most of the equipments in hospitals, schools, universities and the rest of the government’s building. To stop this disorder, they organised the police and soldiers forces. At the same time they tried to weaken the Shuras by using various propaganda against them, taking over their buildings, asking the organisation to register themselves with the government and getting permission for protests, rallies and demonstrations.
This new administration by 1992 became stable and almost was in control everywhere with the entire support of US, Briton and Europe. There was the first election in May 1992 for Kurdish self-rule parliament. The election was fake and both major originations PUK (Kurdish united patriotic) and KDP (Kurdish Democratic Party) between themselves decided they won the election by 50% each of them and they set up their own government. By 1994 when the Kurdish self-rule was completely established with the support of west and USA, the Shuras had been disappeared and the trace of Uprising you could only find in the history museum. And now it was the time for the internal war between PUK and PDK over money, power and influences. This war lasted until 1998 and ended under the threat of USA.
Of course there was another factor for defeating the people’s movement and its Uprising. The threat of the lefty’s organisation to the Shuras was no less danger than the USA & the rest as they used this threat in a different way. The struggles between themselves to control the people’s movement and its achievement, the Shura, were a great threat and badly damaged the movement by making it very week. They all were happy to sacrifice the Uprising to their politics.
(1) Anfal: It was a campaign was launched by the government against Kurdish people in 198os (the first Anfal was in 1982 and second Anfal was 1988) in this campaign the regime evacuated the entire people for the far villages, the number estimated by 180,000 people who are completely disappeared.
(2) ” Shura” Soviets, The Council of the worker
What is your opinion on the so-called revolt in Iran? Is it possible that from that reformist’s fighter could arise a solid anarchist faction?
It might not be realistic for us to be so optimistic to expect from current revolt a solid Anarchist movement will be emerged. But before we are coming to that conclusion we need to remind ourselves that the CIA and the West brought Ayatollah Khomeini and his party to power in a reluctant way. We say in a reluctant way because almost everybody in Iran was involved in the Uprising, therefore USA and the West was between couples of choices: Ayatollah Khomeini or people’s power. In other words between a minor enemy and a major enemy, so they have gone for the minor enemy. In the same time they thought it will be easy to control the Mullah s power or tame them especially after involving Iran in a long war with Iraq. They knew that the war given them a great benefits and advantage as first the war is the best weapons to defeat the powerful resistance that had existed there before the uprising. Secondly the war makes both regimes in Iran and Iraq very week and through this they can play a big role in controlling the situation and finally bringing back the USA & the West forces, their politics into the region, in addition to achieve financial gain .
And now 30 years is too long and USA could not have big influences over the regime to achieve what they wanted in the first place. In the same time people have had enough with the regime. People’s life in respect of freedom, economic has not got better and certainly their Social life has got worse, this is apart form that almost every family in Iran lost one of its beloved during the long war between Iran and Iraq that lasted for 8 years.
This situation is getting worse day by day and people lives in a big fair there when they hear that the so called “ international community” using sanction against them or the idiot regime may involve them in another long war.
We can say that the people were looking for some sort of crisis that can be happened and opens a door for them to protest against the regime. We believe that the election was a perfect pretext for people especially when some powerful people with the support of USA and some countries in the west could be seen supporting the protest. However, the protest has become very bloody but surely no everybody is on the side of the “Green revolution”. As we said above the majority of people in Iran have been fed up with the regime and the situation and they want changes. The demonstration and the protest were emerged from every section of the Society. We believe the vast majority of the protests are nothing to do with Mossawi or his supporters, but while the regime is very brutal as we saw it in oppressing the protester, it was difficult for people to come up independently and in obvious way demanding the regime change. They need to express there unsatisfaction and their hatter against the system through or under umbrella of the powerful people that who are a part of the System because of a couple of reasons: 1- if they came out without connecting themselves to the main stream of the protester they would have been faced a savage, brutal; suppression that cause so many death. 2- Again if they came out as independent groups there was a possibility for Moussawi and the rest of the powerful people who supported the protest to reconcile with the government. This could be happened because both of them, the government and the opposition, would face a very serious danger that threats the entire regime and their politics.
However, we think the protest will be continuing, stronger and goes forward that may some major changes take place by the end of the year. We are aware of that the Anarchist movement in Iran is strong but we are not sure whether they can organise themselves against the authoritarian, the power to achieve what they have been struggled for in the past and also whether they have got a lesion from the past.
We have noticed that some Kurdish Social movements are more and more fed up with those Maoists parties, leftist political groups and their practices and they are being progressively substituted by an anarchist/ grassroots practice. Is this affirmation?
That is true. People are fed up with them and from their experience they realised that these originations have already bankrupted but as we mentioned in our answers to your previous questions we have not seen the Anarchists movement neither in Kurdistan nor in Iraq. While everybody is fed up and wants changes, a huge number of the population has organised themselves in the movement called “Changes, movement for changes”. This has not yet formed it selves in the party or a proper organisation yet. They are not really different from the old organisation or the current one that is leading the Kurdish Self-rule. We believe that this like the many before will be a failure experience as well.
Whether later on people substituted by anarchist/ grassroots practice? It is difficult to be optimistic about this. But we are very much sure the grassroots movement in the nearest future will organise themselves and may form some Anarchist or libertarian origination. Please refer to our answer to your previous question for as to why we believe there is a ground for emerging Anarchist movement.
Do you think anarchists ideas can develop well in Kurdistan? Are there some communitarian traditions similar to the anarchist practice? [In some places this situation happens; Kropotkin put it well in Mutual Aid]
KAF We definitely believe anarchist ideas could develop in Kurdistan. It is not just that we believe in anarchism. Anarchism is the right struggle and will be a very strong movement in the near future because:
All the old ways of struggles from guerrilla war, to sham voting, to relying on the various kinds of leftist organisations from PUK, KDP, Communist party, all Islamic groups, liberals and Communist Worker Party have all been shown to be bankrupt and cannot escape from complete defeat as they lose the confidence and trust amongst poor and ordinary people.
There are many, many basic rights that have already been won in the Western, US, Canada and Scandinavian, but in Iraq or Kurdistan these basics are still a main or daily demand among the ordinary people. Again the corruption that infected every level of administration from the bottom of society to the very top (like Parliament) has recently become a major issue and has become the top priority of the list of demands that people are struggling for.
The relationship between individual people within the community is still extremely strong and this makes it very easy to trust each other and have collective action or struggles.
Final words... you can say what you want …
KAF We are trying to do our best to write on different Kurdish websites to persuade people of our politics, going to Kurdish Seminars, and translating old Anarchist texts and articles. We are also making people there aware of what is going on in the rest of the world.
Reposted from libcom.org
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
"I designed these logos to describe the connections between corporate power, American politics, war, and greed." -- Heather Ault
Printable graphics for the production of stickers and other uses are available at World Can't Wait
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday 28th 2010
Yesterday, Israeli and Polish activists met in the ruins of Warsaw’s old Jewish Ghetto.
The activists sprayed ‘Liberate All Ghettos’ in Hebrew, followed by ‘Free Gaza and Palestine’ in English on a wall of an original block in the ghetto. The block is across the street from the last fragment of the remaining perimeter wall of the Ghetto. They also hung Palestinian flags from the wall.
This was first time such an action took place in the ghetto.
Yonatan Shapira former Israeli Air Force captain and now refusnik and BDS activist said:
‘Most of my family came from Poland and many of my relatives were killed in the death camps during the Holocaust. When I walk in what was left from the Warsaw Ghetto I can’t stop thinking about the people of Gaza who are not only locked in an open air prison but are also being bombarded by fighter jets, attack helicopters and drones, flown by people whom I used to serve with before my refusal in 2003.
I am also thinking about the delegations of young Israelis that are coming to see the history of our people but also are subjected to militaristic and nationalistic brainwashing on a daily basis. Maybe if they see what we wrote here today they will remember that oppression is oppression, occupation is occupation, and crimes against humanity are crimes against humanity, whether they have been committed here in Warsaw or in Gaza’.
Ewa Jasiewicz, activist with Kampania Palestyna and one of the co-ordinators of the Free Gaza Movement who just returned from participating in the Freedom Flotilla said:
`Yonatan could have been the pilot in the Blackhawk that dropped commandos onto the Mavi Marmara that killed nine activists from our flotilla. I could have been one of them. Poland is full of the ruins of ghettos and death camps and shrines to those who sacrificed their lives in the defence of not just their communities but in resistance to fascism.
People here need to wake up and realise that occupations and ghettos did not end with the end of the second world war. These tactics and strategies of domination and control of other people and lands are present in Palestine today and are being perpetrated by the state of Israel. We have a responsibility to free all ghettos and end all occupations’.
Poland continues to deepen its’ military and political alliance with Israel whilst ignoring its obligations under international law to stop the ghettoization of the West Bank by Israel’s apartheid wall and to ensure the protection of civilians.
Kampania Palestyna together with the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, calls for an end to Israeli impunity and degradation of human rights and international law.
Ewa Jasiewicz said, ‘Poland can no longer be a Greenzone for the normalisation of Israeli apartheid. We all have the responsibility to end the occupation and ghettoization of the Palestinian people’.
Yonatan Shapira said: ‘I was always taught growing up that the atrocities that happened to the Jewish people here happened because the world was silent. And therefore I cannot be silent. The Jewish people needed to be liberated from the ghettoes, and now Israelis need to be liberated from the crimes of their own government. Each one of us can take part in this global struggle for justice, and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for the sake of not just the Palestinian people but for Israelis too’.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Hope in this age of bankrupt capitalism will come with the return of the language of class conflict. It does not mean we have to agree with Karl Marx, but we have to speak in his vocabulary.
Posted on May 31, 2010
Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out.
Posted on May 24, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Marxian Class Analysis Theory and Practice Online Course - Run time: 7 hours 45 minutes (in 5 parts)
There are two basic purposes of this intensive class taught by Professor Wolff at the Brecht Forum in New York city in the Spring of 2010. The first is to teach the specifics of Marxian class analysis (its history, different interpretations, and basic structure). The second is to show in detail how to apply Marxian class analysis and what unique insights it achieves both in terms of understanding society and strategizing for social change.
Economic Crisis and Globalization - Run time: 10 hours, 30 minutes (in 8 parts)
This eight session lecture series, from Spring 2009, is taught by Dr. Wolff, in the context of the same name graduate course, offered by the Graduate Program for International Affairs (GPIA) of the New School University in New York. Not only does Dr. Wolff challenge the conventional thinking of the crisis, he provides one of the central frames which links all of our projects: the role and influence of capital as a structuring force in our daily lives
Marxian Economics: An intensive introduction - Run time: 7 hours (in 4 parts)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
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Monday, June 14, 2010
Robert Jensen - Real Men, Real Choices Robert Jensen at the National Feminist Antipornography Conference: Pornography & Pop Culture Wheelock College, Boston March 24, 2007
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
All amusement suffers from this incurable malady. Pleasure hardens into boredom because, if it is to remain pleasure, it must not demand any effort and therefore moves rigorously in the worn grooves of association. No independent thinking must be expected from the audience: the product prescribes every reaction: not by its natural structure (which collapses under reflection), but by signals. Any logical connection calling for mental effort is painstakingly avoided. As far as possible, developments must follow from the immediately preceding situation and never from the idea of the whole. For the attentive movie-goer any individual scene will give him the whole thing. Even the set pattern itself still seems dangerous, offering some meaning – wretched as it might be – where only meaninglessness is acceptable. Often the plot is maliciously deprived of the development demanded by characters and matter according to the old pattern. Instead, the next step is what the script writer takes to be the most striking effect in the particular situation. Banal though elaborate surprise interrupts the story-line.”
— Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, 1944