Saturday, October 31, 2009
I apologize for the confusion. This quote is still just as terrible as the book cover though, and this time it is all Onfray's writing guaranteed... Sorry again for the misreading. All the rest, and especially the two critical analyses I linked to, remain valid."
PS Look how Hegal talks about Honor in section 164 of the Philosophy of Right: "It must be noticed in connection with sex-relations that a girl in surrendering her body loses her honour. With a man, however, the case is otherwise, because he has a field for ethical activity outside the family. A girl is destined in essence for the marriage tie and for that only; it is therefore demanded of her that her love shall take the form of marriage and that the different moments in love shall attain their true rational relation to each other." (Third Part: Ethical Life, The Family, (addition).
Friday, October 30, 2009
religious- most insecure, banish by fear of cruel proscription a considerable body of conservative Filipino people, who had aided Americans in well-founded belief that their people are not now fit for
self-government, and reintroduce the same oppression and corruption which existed in all provinces under the Malolos insurgent government during the eight months of its control. The result will be factional strife between jealous leaders, chaos, and anarchy, and will require
and justify active intervention of our government or some other.” (Root, Elihu. 1970. The Military and the Colonial Policy of the United States: Addresses and Report. New York: AMS Press. p. 45)." (thanks Laleh)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"I've just read your blog entry about Michel Onfray and as a French leftist, I have to react: Michel Onfray might have started off (a loooong time ago maybe ?) as a true anarchist, i.e. someone radically opposed to religion but also to any kind of social domination. That would have led him to criticize Islam as a religion but 1. not to become an atheist bigot looking at Islamic history and Muslims as vile or looking at Islam as more dangerous than any other religion, 2. to be able to analyze trends toward emancipation within Muslim social groups themselves and to be intelligent / knowledgeable enough about social movements to know that when we get on the path toward justice and fighting for radical equality, we all start from somewhere, and that somewhere doesn't have to be White, male, atheist, French and anarchist... I strongly believe that he uses the overall libertarian guise of "ni dieu ni maître" / "I dislike and criticize all religions" to actually specifically target Islam and Muslims. Or... a thought has just crossed my mind as I'm typing. Maybe, like some stupid anarchists I've heard, he actually says dumb, ignorant or racist things about all religions equitably, he's as uneducated about Christian or Jewish histories, and this time he happens to write about Islam ??? Who knows ? Either way, if he's an ignorant or dumb anarchist, to me the only part of it that sticks is the adjectives, not the "anarchist" part... I'm all for criticizing and mocking faith, religion, superstitions and rites in each and every variant of them. But I never find blanket statements like "Muslims are this" or "Islam is that [with no time frame or geographical reference or theological reference]" acceptable.
Long story short, here are links to a preface Onfray has recently written about Islam and then two leftist-anarchist websites that demolish the guy's imposture (and do so with arguments, mind you, not with the same kind of messy, sweeping generalizations as Onfray's).
1. Onfray's preface to an anti-Islam book:
Enjoy sentences like: "ce livre assassine l’idéologie islamique comme jamais encore." (what is "the islamic ideology" ??? Not islamist, no, really islamic !) and
"Critiquer l’islam, aujourd’hui, en France, relève du devoir pour tous les esprits libres et pour tous les révolutionnaires. (okay, phrasing is ambiguous, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and not assume that he meant specifically criticizing Islam compared to other religions...)
Comme le dit l’auteur, il faut appeler un chameau un chameau, et, donc, ceux qui adhèrent à l’amputation, à la circoncision, à la flagellation, au statut inhumain des femmes…, des obscurantistes religieux fascistes." (Ha ha ha, you have to call a camel a camel - the original is to call a cat a cat - because you, Islam, Arabs... well, the next image is camel, of course; nothing orientalist about that, right, because no anarchist could harbor orientalist prejudices, right ? And these last two sentence come straight one after another, making for nasty implications and generalizations, so here no benefit of the doubt !!!).
Once you read about the contents of the book he so praises (see last article I mention below), any ambiguity left will have been lifted about Onfray's racism.
The book in question was published by this house:
2. Now two critical views of Onfray by true leftist anarchists (e.g. they strongly opposed the exclusion of female students wearing a hijab from French public schools on anarchist grounds, i.e. "we still don't like religions, but it is totally sexist, classist and racist to exclude them, plus it is wrong to claim to emancipate people forcibly - people emancipate themselves through education, economic independence and common struggles, all things we deprive these women of when we exclude them from schools").
- Great website "Les mots sont importants" (search results for Onfray):
Key article on the issue you wrote about:
Full disclosure: I am acquainted with the two website owners (through common activism).
You should know that Onfray gets invited on mainstream TV quite a bit and seems to enjoy the attention. He is also very popular with anti-Muslim leftist movements, i.e. the failing, traditional left (and sadly traditional feminists who help defeat the Vatican and now think the next big threat is Islam...) in France (the article I suggest above deals with that:
- Funny anarchist columnist Sébastien Fontenelle in one of the last leftist weeklies with a readership of more that 3 people:
I copied the full blog post below.
By the way, your and his writing style and political ideology are very close, I think you would really like that guy's blog (he also likes to post pictures of "serious" people and make something funny out of it, like you !). He is great with ironical understatements and destructive flattery. His thing is also to mix everyday, sometimes rude language and old-sounding or very formal, very educated French to talk about current events, which makes the persons he attacks seem even more ridicule than they already are (case in point: instead of writing "Musulmans" for Muslims, he sometimes uses the weird, pre-20th century "Mahométans", which makes for hilarious effect and makes Sarkozy and the coward left sound like the backward colonialists they are).
Hope all this clarifies the Onfray thing..."
"Le Gray is located in the historic heart of Downtown Beirut, a 15-minute drive from Rafik Hariri International Airport, in the smart Beirut Central District. It offers cool, modern interiors, with 87 wonderfully spacious rooms and sensational suites, exciting restaurants, all accompanied by warm and highly professional service."
See the original here:
I've noticed plagiarism in other Daily Star articles in the past, but never one so blatant and self-serving for the subject of the article."
"The Longevity of Regimes: An Examination in the Causes of the Arab Ordeal"
Arab leaders dream of immortality. They don’t spare anything in their search for potions and herbs, and they seek the help of charlatans to obtain the secret of immortality. Hassan Touhami, Anwar Sadat’s advisor (who had an ill-fated role in the early relationship with
King Fahd started early in his search for the protection from disease, assassination and conspiracies. He learned of a skilful fortune-teller. He hurried to have her brought to him. The rest of the story is well known: how she advised him that it was impossible for him to be cursed if he kept his then infant son, Abdul-Aziz, by his side. His son never left his side in his life, and the king introduced The Ministry of Ministerial Affairs so he can stay with him wherever he went. British Foreign affairs tried once to object when the king insisted to bring «Azzouz» along to his meeting with Queen Elizabeth. And we know today that Saddam was like «Himmler», mesmerized by magicians and charlatans, and how he was obsessed with personal security and the security of his two sons.
But what is the reason behind the longevity of the Arab regimes and their sustainability? Recourse to the Orientalist theories of «Oriental despotism» or Arab exceptionalism, or authoritarianism inherited from Islam does not meet the purpose of analysis, and they are invalid from a sociological perspective. The political purpose of those theories is to justify Western support for authoritarian Arab regimes, and absolve the colonizers from all responsibility. We must not attribute the prevalence of the Arab exception theories to the vulgar American-Israeli Orientalism (which does not rise to the level of classic, serious and abundant European Orientalism, regardless of its methodological and political problems) only, but there are propagandists in the Arab world who promote sweeping stereotypes about Arabs and Islam: What is the meaning of the repeatedly cited statement in Abdullah Algosaimi’s book, «Arabs are a vocal phenomenon»? And does the book include anything but thoughts and projectile generalizations which insult the Arab element as much as the racist writing insults the African element? Abdul Rahman Al Kawakibi’s book “Characteristics of Despotism” contrary to the banality of Orientalism, adopts a closer approach to modern sociology, because the author does not restrict it to one environment, one component or one people: on the contrary, he tries to follow the principles of political science of the time, despite the book’s elitist tendency that gives an utmost importance to science and knowledge as if they were to guarantee the absence of tyranny (Al-Kawakibi says that tyranny and science are «opposites» and describes the «common people» as «ignorant and stupid» ( «The Characteristics of Despotism» in «The Complete Works of Al-Kawakibi», p.459) despite the fact that tyranny in Germany prevailed in a nation that was advanced in science and knowledge.
The promoters of the exception of «Arab despotism» need to review the huge work of the adept Theodor Adorno (and colleagues) on the «Authoritarian Personality», which was based on field studies in the
We can first classify three types of regimes in terms of longevity: The first category is legacy regime where governing families reign. And
First, the end of the Cold War. The Cold War allowed plots that facilitated coups and regime changes. The coups executors found it too easy to visit the
Third, this tremendous growth in the structure of oppressive military intelligence helped Arab regimes survive. And the Arab intelligence, only a few decades ago, used to rely only on informants in neighbourhoods and people-watching in a blatant manner (and they did it without the slightest guilt). Intelligence agencies became one of the most sophisticated devices of the state. When I visited the
Fourth, family control of regimes and the trust of family members only helped in the consolidation of power. They all became a model for” “Shakhboutism”: the father holds the reins, brothers and sons take control of the different arms of the government. Only if Michel Foucault devoted a special chapter about us in his book «Discipline and Punish». The ruler only trusts the sons, in-laws and cousins. And killing family members was not prohibited: as Saddam did with a number of his relatives. What is important is to maintain power. Defections, isolation of Brothers, fratricidal conflicts and the splintering of red princes in the sixties did not prevent the continuation of the rule of Al-Saud.
Fifth, the rulers became experienced in governing and preventing coups. This is due to external support, in addition to the arrival of a number of Arab rulers to power through coups and plots. Hafez al-Assad, for example, participated in more than a coup and a plot to overthrow the government, and Saddam Hussein experienced conspiracy and assassination at an early age. Rulers gained experience and skilfulness in the affairs of coups and plots.
Sixth, the public fear of the unknown. People nowadays do not rely on promises of change: the disappointments accumulated and the dream faded. Maybe it’s the 1967 war, or perhaps it’s the failure of Nasser or the fall of ideologies ... People are accustomed to their rulers, but maybe they feared the worse: This explains how some people in Syria preferred Hafez Assad to his brother, Rifaat (today, he’s a Democratic crusader backed by the Saudis ). And regimes deliberately exploit fear and warn of calamities if the regime was to be brought down.
Seventh, the traditional doctrinal intimidation about the strife. And we must warn here from going too far in relying on the religion factor (which the proficient Maxime Rodinson warned of in his dangerous work “Europe and the Mystique of Islam” ('La Fascination de l’Islam’ ) which he called it “theologo-centrism” in reference to the intolerance in the Orientalist studies which blame all phenomena among Muslims on religion. But we can consider some of the theories of Islamic political conservatism, such as the ones contained in the writings of al-Ghazali, which are supportive of religious totalitarianism. The warning from «sedition», which occupied Al-Ghazali, helped the call for obedience to the unjust ruler for fear of chaos and civil war. And the scholars of the sultans in the Arab countries update their theories of political thought in support of the governor no matter how unjust he becomes.
Eighth, oil revenues and foreign aid reduced the need to use the «extractive capacity», of which Nazih Ayoubi spoke in his book «Veneration of the
Ninth, a mood of despair and fear played down the possibility of armed opposition. Arab peoples have lost a lot of their hopes and desires through decades of defeats, disappointments, conspiracies, oppression and wasted dreams. And the «Arab Dream» musical is closer to a tragedy and the melody is funeral, but expresses the popular mood of today, which is tainted with a lot of dismal
Tenth, the equation of «C. Wright Mills» in his book «The Power Elite» about the recipe of «entertainment, deception and praise» to stay in power, applies to the Arab world. Mills considers that the ruling elite in
Eleventh, the rule of the Saudi era and the protection of pro-Saudi governments (in agreement with the
Twelfth, the widespread violence and the use of massacres for intimidation and to undermine the opposition. This may be the most important factor, which is contrary to all the Orientalist allegations (ruminated today in the so-called Arab liberalism, which calls for individual freedom one hour, and then chants for the lives of oil Sheikhs the next hour, or writes a book on the Poetry of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, as did Shaker Al-Nabulsi who recently came up with a theory which states that the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia is the action of women themselves, not the ruling family) on Oriental despotism, or the Arab inclination toward submissiveness and resignation. It can be noted that the Arab regimes in
Thirteenth, the effectiveness of the coordination of Arab suppression. The meetings of Arab interior ministers can be considered as one of the most important and uniting Arab meetings. Arab regimes oppose all efforts to unite and integrate, but they cooperate with definite effectiveness in the Arab joint suppression. Ashraf Rifi (Director of the Lebanese security forces) sits on the Governing Council of the “Arab”
Fourteenth, we must not overlook the factor of self-repression that Foucault warned us against (and the brilliant artist Ali Farzat): namely the search for deposits of despotism in every place outside the State, from family to religion to traditions and the tribe.
We cannot address the question of the continuance of regimes without talking about the nature of colonial domination that did not leave the
We can also add that the Iraqi model of change achieved the opposite of what the U.S. colonial forces promoted in supporting the domination of Arab regimes, because the change model in the popular psyche became associated with violence, civil strife, foreign domination, corruption, the rule of armed militias and rolling back historically and socially in terms of strengthening tribal ties and clergical control (with all its implications in the decline of the status of Arab women, which means that the Arab liberalism supports the Arab regimes and the wars that increase the oppression of women, but that is not the only contradiction that besets this frail movement).
This analysis should not be perceived as an invitation to further despair. On the contrary, the refutation of Orientalist theories must rely on the ability to overcome the political and economic factors that influence the Arab suppression. Therefore, the power of the weak is more important than (waiting) for the weakness of the powerful, to quote Marx. But change requires you to abandon the remote control for a while, even if it means missing a soap opera or two.
Note: This article is drawn from a lecture I gave at the
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Shi'is against the Sunnis all over the region; Iran is trying to interfere in the internal affairs of the countries of the Arab world; and Iran is committing many mistakes, especially in Lebanon - despite all this, we do not accept threatening it by Israel with the US missile shield and we do not accept this absurd, racist show by America. Despite all the mistakes made by Hezbollah in Lebanon and in the region, we do not allow Israel or America to attack Iran or to threaten Lebanon on the pretext of the existence of the Iranian missiles on its borders.""...If America's claim that Al-Qa'idah is the one that was fighting America on the land of Iraq, then this means that Bin Ladin has achieved victory over the US army and that terrorism is becoming stronger and America is becoming weaker. Therefore, we tell America: Stop making these threats to the Arab and Islamic world. The tiger in Iraq has turned into a 'cat.' The peoples of the Arab world, despite its weakness and fragmentation, can defeat America and defeat Israel in the end. We tell America: Stop committing brutal crimes in Afghanistan. Stop committing massacres! es in Pakistan. Stop supporting Israel by all means of international terrorism. The end of America is coming, God willing.""He added: "Had it not been for Iran's fatal mistakes and had it not been for its adoption of the approach of sectarian discrimination and racial and ethnic incitement against the Arabs, we would have all stood behind it in the face of the US-Israeli threat. Iran should repent. It should, once again, heed reason and wisdom with its Arab neighbours - and I am not saying its brothers in Islam - because Iran's understanding of Islam differs from our understanding of it. Its understanding is based on historical hostility, sectarian enmity, and rancour against the Arabs. This prompts it to play this negative role in our Arab arena. This role serves Israel and America, weakens
Iran and cancels the power that it claims."" (thanks Nicholas)
And there is this and this and this and this and this and this. (thanks FT)
If there is a group that will bring democracy and feminism to Afghanistan, it is the Kandahar Strike Force
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
PS I am so not crazy about Onfray's "post-anarchism". And between Proudhon and Bakunin, I would never choose Proudhon.