August 15, 2006

The Smokescreens of War Link: Imraan Siddiqi: The Smokescreens of War. The Smokescreen of Islamic-Fascism: This is the du jour label that the news outlets such as Fox and CNN have been throwing around at the behest of Israeli and America's right-wing hawks. The term fascist is most often used as a parallel for what the Nazis did in Germany during the Holocaust. Fascism summons images of Stalin, Mussolini, or Franco---individual ideologues whose ultimate goal was not rooted in faith, but power alone. Coupling the word Islam, with the word fascist is a clear attempt to embed seeds of hatred towards Muslims worldwide. The use of the terms Islam and fascist together is a deliberate attempt to incite hate towards the religion of Islam as a whole. The implication is that the religion teaches fascist ideas, and that a fundamental following of Islam equates into a fascist ideology. How can a religion that has been around over 1400 years be labeled as a precursor to fascist behavior? Now if you are going to give a laundry list of totalitarian Muslim countries that have committed atrocities, be prepared to recite an equally long list of fascist theocracies based in Judeo-Christian beliefs. How can such an irresponsible term be used, when the actual fascist tactics are being used on the other side of the equation? In present day society, there is only one country that is building walls between religious groups, forbidding entry and development of religious groups creating refugee populations based on ethnic demographics---that country...
The president gives a press conference Here is a link to an article by David North at the WSW, the beginning of which I excerpt below: The president gives a press conference. I'm excerpting these passages because I am ambivalent about them, or, more precisely, about the angle of the article, one that relies on the "the president is an idiot" theme. I'm ambivalent about this angle not because I don't think the president is an idiot, but because I worry that this angle deflects attention from actual political machinations. The account of the press conference, then, may be important for thinking about how politics and political speech work today. Political speech today eschews the giving of reasons and the making of arguments (as if such a fantasy of publics was ever more than a fantasy). It even foregoes the pretense of argument: the powerful are above argumentation; the decider simply decides; he is, we might say, a deciding object who determines what will count, what will be put into affective alignment with a predetermined cause. The voice of the president is both the mechanism attaching affect to a cause and the attachment itself, a kind of material performative operating outside of meaning. Anyway, back to the question of idiotic speech, the neocons, however disagreeable, are not idiots. Karl Rove is not an idiot. So, what's involved in this kind of presidential address? I would think that it functions on multiple levels. At the level of idiocy, it could lull critics of the administration into complacency,...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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