Thursday, January 22, 2004

I could not believe it. Driving from Berkeley, I was listening to the Democratic debate airing on FOX News (on my satellite radio). So Peter Jennings asked Sen. Edwards how much he knows about Islam and its teachings, and Edwards answered him by saying that he is no expert on Islam, but that he met Gen. Musharraf of Pakistan and US Afghan puppet Hamid Karzai. I am not making this up. On another note, I read somewhere that some 40 percent of democrats who participated in Iowa caucuses made their selections not on the bases of first preference but on the basis of ability to defeat Bush. There is a strong mood among liberals and democrats to defeat Bush, obviously. I follow American political process so closely and yet I never vote: not in Lebanon nor in the US. How can I vote for somebody, or anybody, who may in my name do something horrible one day. And I cannot find a party or person with whom I agree fully on anything, not even partly on anything. So I am an amused spectator, who does not cheer.

On another note: it is striking how different the socio-economic backgrounds of my students at UC, Berkeley compared to my students at California State University, Stanislaus. My students at the latter campus struggle with school, jobs, and pressing family situations, and much less resources. Berkeley students are, by and large, far more privileged. It is all about social class, here and elsewhere. I disagree with many aspect of Marx (especially in his disagreements with the Anarchists—read Paul Thomas’ book on that—but find that he is more relevant today, than ever, and this is not to be disrespectful of the thought of Tony Danza. Eric Hobbesbawm has an interesting introduction to the new edition of the Manifesto by Verso.