November 2007


Other night i saw a dream, where ‘Forough Farrokhzad”, was crying in the deserted streets of Tehran, following her were corpses lips sealed , hand tied , clad in black chador—“

Forough Farrokhzade

I want to mourn Tehran, a dream that turned into a nightmare. A revolutionary city which stimulated thought and dreams of freedom, equality and the rise of an eastern civilization , now is the seat of a Fascist government , which want to erase even the idea of freedom from people’s mind and i am happy that Farrokhzad is dead, but how can i be happy? No i am not

Farough Farrokhzad was born into en era of hope, when it was possible to dream of an Iran that would be free, where women could be humans , not black skinned sinners. After Tahireh , Farrokhzad took the task of “breaking the silence” on her shoulders

Years later secular humanist Ayan Hirsi Ali will use the term “Islamic gendericide” and cause a big scandal . In post 9/11 world its easy to write “The Caged Virgin” and become the heroine of neo conservative America . In this paradigm the discourse becomes reactionary because the boundaries of freedom and tyranny have been blurred by right wing Hegelians of USA, but in Tehran of Shah it represented a dream , the dream of liberation and equality. The spirit of modernity was singing in the air.

The veiled Chasity and forced modesty was the fate of Iranian woman , when Farrokhzad decided to speak. The question of Love and Desire haunted her and the first step was to acknowledge it. It was the desire that gave her a being, made her a human , “Asir” or the captive is the poem that says it all:

I want you, and I know

That I can never take you in my arms;

You are like that clear, bright sky,

And I am a captive bird in this cage.

(“The Captive”)

The bird in the cage , had started flapping her wing, the voice that never was ,emerged out of the Herms and Slave markets which had now taken the shape homes .

Divorced at 19 , she decided to live as an independant woman in Iran . Love that she desired so much, the love of man, which she cherished was a Sin. How could a thing that was so liberating, so pure , so completing could be a Sin, she pondered on it again and again, she cried to God for guidance , but the conflict never resolved .The only thing which made her feel like a living human being was Sin. It couldnt be , love cannot be sin;a rebel was born. Her masterpiece “Gonah” or Sin deconstructs the concepts of Love and Sin and find harmony in it—-Forugh Farrokhzade

“I sinned a sin full of pleasure,
In an embrace which was warm and fiery.
I sinned surrounded by arms
that were hot and avenging and iron.

In that dark and silent seclusion
I looked into his secret-full eyes.
my heart impatiently shook in my breast
In response to the request of his needful eyes.

In that dark and silent seclusion,
I sat disheveled at his side.
his lips poured passion on my lips,
I escaped from the sorrow of my crazed heart.

I whispered in his ear the tale of love:
I want you, o life of mine,
I want you, O life-giving embrace,
O crazed lover of mine, you.

desire sparked a flame in his eyes;
the red wine danced in the cup.
In the soft bed, my body
drunkenly quivered on his chest.

I sinned a sin full of pleasure,
next to a shaking, stupefied form.
o God, who knows what I did
In that dark and quiet seclusion”

The Sin[Gonah]

The Rebel was on the go , her poem had reached new heights in craft and style , the modern poem with extremely rebellious ideas , In the old Iranian mystic poetic tradition , the poet often describes the idea of “unity with God”. Speaking in God’s language , its the ultimate climax, fulfilling and pacifying .When Farrokhzade became God she was angry and chaotic , the “woman” silenced and suppressed for thousands of years speaks in “The Divine Rebellion” as a God who will be a rebel , who will let the sun loose in darkness, who will throw mountains in sea , will join souls with the bodies in the grave and who will drive the flocks of ascetics from unholy pasture of heavens , but the ultimate revenge from him was:

“weary of divine asceticism,
at midnight in Satan’s bed
I would seek refuge in the downward slopes
of a fresh sin.
I would choose at the price of
the golden crown of godhood,
the dark and painful pleasure
of sin’s embrace”

But God’s revenge was fatal , this beautiful , bold woman who simply desired Love and equality , but who was pushed to rebellion by the tyranny that prevailed died in a car accident but in Iranian literature and libertarian tradition she lives for ever. Farrokhzade had a dream , a dream of a rising red star over Tehran , she never lived to see the star breaking into a curse , a curse that resulted in a bigger cage , A Tehran where another Farrokhzade will not die in a car accident but will be hanged and burned., the dream is still a dream—

I’ve had a dream that someone is coming.
I’ve dreamt of a red star,
and my eyes lids keep twitching
and my shoes keep snapping to attention
and may I go blind
if I’m lying.
I’ve dreamt of that red star
when I wasn’t asleep”

I mourn Tehran and i mourn the revolution, and i mourn the freedom———–

 

 

 

UNESCO like always is celebrating “World Philosophy day”. November 15th was the “world philosophy day”, but the celebrations were planned for the full week , the climax being the official event in Turkey on 21 to 23 of November . The invitation we saw was impressive , it read :

Dear Friends of Philosophy,

Dear Friends of Wisdom,

On behalf of UNESCO, the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO and the Philosophical Society of Turkey, it is a special pleasure for me to let you know that the main celebration of the World Philosophy Day this year will take place in Istanbul, hosted by Turkey.

The main aims of establishing such a Day is to call public attention to the enlightening role that philosophical reflection and knowledge can play in public life and in facing world problems, besides the benefits that philosophical education and the teaching of philosophy secure in the life of individuals, whatever their profession might be.

In a world in which, despite the efforts of the UN, one third of the human beings living on our planet �have to do with one or two dollars a day� and the gap between the rich and the poor is broadening, in which terrorism has become a method to achieve any aim; and in which obscurantist worldviews try to gain �and in fact had gained� ground in many parts of our world, we need philosophical knowledge and action based on it——–“

A very impressive letter that is in line with the tradition of Philosophy , the Leftist turn it has taken since Marx and the Enlightenment project it holds very dear. All seems great, it appears that philosophers understand the problems and have identified it, but the Sky is falling —-

As a student of Philosophy i remember when my term started with the question, “what is Philosophy.” The answer as the tradition goes always started with etymology , “Philosophia” in Greek means love or friendship towards “Sophia”, which is wisdom, skills, knowledge etc. As we go further we develop ideas about what Philosophy is , its simply “thinking about what we think about, and questioning what are known as established truths“. This makes Philosophy a very radical subject, a revolution in itself. Every thing we cherish , freedom, equality, social justice, tolerance , represent a philosophical tradition and project. Since Socrates, who is called father of philosophy , Philosophy has been linked with revolt and struggle as well. From Socrates to Sartre philosophers have stood up against norms, gods, states, kingdoms and tyrants and their legitimizing  claim has not been a birth right, a revelation from God , but a simple human virtue , the ability “to think” , and the ability to examine claims on rational grounds. This simple insistance on thinking has brought about this change , the change where in principle freedoms have been accepted by every one, but the sky is falling—–

When UNESCO was busy celebrating the “enlightening” tradition of philosophy, promising to spread the education of philosophy , Taslima Nasrin was being dragged from Calcutta by police , what is her crime . Its “thinking”. He crime is that she thinks and insists on expressing her thoughts , through language , her crime is that she doesnt accept the established or not so established truths , her crime is that she insists on examining God’s commands on rational grounds, her crimes is that she can show how what is known as  God’ s words cannot even stand up to a Man’s word or worse a Woman’s word. This crime has been committed by every thinking man , Socrates was killed for thinking , Bruno was burned alive for thinking but why the Sky is falling?

The Sky is falling because India is not ruled by godly priests , its not Vatican, Union of India was established on the highest of philosophical principles of Enlightenment , Modernity, Democracy, Socialism and Secularism , but here this woman is being dragged from one city to another for the crime of following the “foundation principles” of constitution of India.

The Sky is falling because the foremost secular and socialist Party of Asia , the defender of spirit of enlightenment in India , the Congress Party has maintained a criminal silance over all this. Congress government has become a party in terrorism against free thinking

The sky is falling because the Communist Party of India who call themselves “Marxist”, who owe their name and being to a “infidel” Atheist Philosopher Karl Marx failed to protect Taslima Nasrin and forced her out of Calcutta , the sky is falling because Biman Bose supported censorship!! The sky is falling that Communist Party bowed to Fascists , sky is falling because it showed that Communist Party government is no different that Nirandra Moodi’s government

Sky is falling because Taslima Nasrin has been accused of Blasphemy , she has been accused of criticizing and challenging Koran , sky is falling because it is the challenge which Koran itself gives to whole world , the Sky is falling because No thinking mind from the Muslim world has come out in support of Nasrin. Sky is falling because Muslim world for 700 years tolerated Philosophers who wrote books like “Contradictions of Koran”. Sky is falling because tradition of thinking has died in Muslim world which produced people like Averroes , Ibne Sina, those who criticized Islamic traditions, the sky is falling because the books of muslim theology are filled with  great debates between Imams and Atheist philosophers. These atheist philosophers ofcourse lived and florished in Muslim world and were called in courts to debate with muslim Imams.

The sky is falling because this was hundres of years ago , but today in 2007 no muslim intellectual came out to defend Muslim tradition of tolerating thought

The Sky is falling because in 9th century Ibn al Rawandi could live in Islamic caliphate and write books against Koran, Prophet hood and God, not only write , but publish and defend his works and Live freely. He could live freely after pointing out errors in Koran, he could live after questioning the concept  of God and Prophet , but in 2007 Taslima Nasrin cant do so , not in Bangladesh, not in secular India. This is Post Philosophy , Post Enlightenment world

The sky is falling that a woman who thinks so beautifully is being humiliated and tortured in Modern World by Marxists and secularists , what philosophy we want to spread??

Sky is falling because such a beautiful mind is being tormented–

EVE, OH EVE 

Why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Didn’t she have a hand to reach out with,
Fingers with which to make a fist?
Didn’t Eve have a stomach for feeling hunger,
A tongue for feeling thirst,
A heart with which to love?

Well, then, why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Why would she merely have suppressed her wishes,
Regulated her steps,
Subdued her thirst?
Why would she have been so compelled
To keep Adam moving around in the Garden of Eden all their lives?

Because Eve did eat of the fruit,
There is sky and earth.
Because she has eaten, 

                    There are moon, sun, rivers, seas,

Because she has eaten, trees, plans and vines.

Taslima Nasrin– 

“On the political situation in Pakistan, we have seen many analysis, all of which end in confusion , who is dealing with who, who support who, every point ends in a factual contradiction. On an international Marxist website i found an interesting analysis of Pakistani political situation, i thought it should be shared”

By Lal Khan
Friday, 16 November 2007

With the unleashing of a new wave of state terror after the imposition of martial law in the name of a state of emergency, the Musharraf dictatorship has shown its true colours. There has been brutal repression. Thousands of political and trade union activists have been arrested. Women workers have been severely beaten in front of the TV cameras. Trade unions have been further crushed and along with the state oppression there has been an avalanche of price hikes, and increase in poverty and unemployment – all as a direct result of the policies of the present regime.

At the same time the imposition of a state of emergency has further exposed the contradictions and conflicts within the state itself. The condition of the regime is so fragile and desperate that the Supreme Court, which in fact was trying to vent the wrath of the masses arising from the blundering and disastrous policies of the government, could not be tolerated by Musharraf and was dismissed. Through judicial activism, the Supreme Court was acting as a safety valve to preserve the existing order. The act of attacking the judiciary was in reality a self-inflicting wound for a crisis-ridden state. Most dictators in history enter a state of megalomania and madness on the eve of their demise. Cut off from reality, besieged in their echelons of power, they enter into the realm of insanity. Musharraf is no different; he is suffering from the psychosis of indispensability.

Pakistan today is in the throes of a civil war in several areas, the social fabric of the country is in tatters, the economy is crumbling and the army demoralised. More military personnel have been lost in these recent insurgencies than in the wars fought with India. This also shows how the imperialist “war against terror” has proved to be a disaster for every state that has joined the front line. It is also America’s failure ‑ the imperialist rhetoric of “democracy”, “human rights” and “freedom” has been exposed by this act of desperation on the part of Musharraf. It has also exposed the impotency of American might ‑ not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but now in Pakistan. Musharraf is gambling on that. The Economist (10 November) writes:

“He may have been surprised by the vehemence of the condemnation he has faced, especially from America. But, like a borrower whose insolvency would bring down a bank, he may calculate that much of his former backers’ anger is bluster, covering a fear of their own impotence.”

With Musharraf’s fortunes tumbling and stability being ravaged by the severity of the crisis, the Americans have been trying desperately to bring some stability to their beleaguered ally. They tried to concoct a “deal” between Bhutto and Musharraf to give some support to their policy executioners in Pakistan. But as soon as Bhutto came out of Karachi airport on October 18, the sheer size of the crowd that had gathered sealed the deal.

Napoleon once remarked that there were times in war when every thing you do turns out to be wrong. Musharraf would have gone long ago. One of the major factors that have prolonged his rule was the compromises and capitulation of the opposition at every vital juncture. The main reason being the decline of the left, the hobnobbing of the PPP leadership with US imperialism and the rhetorical anti-imperialism of the Mullahs, whose rise was in fact the product of US policy itself. Across the board, all mainstream political parties are committed to the same economic doctrine that the Musharraf regime has pursued over the last eight years. This means that in a society ravaged by extreme hunger, poverty, disease, ignorance, unemployment, and other basic issues facing society, had in reality been abandoned by the traditional political leadership. They had no alternative economic policy or programme for the oppressed masses. The media, the intelligentsia and other institutions dominating the social and political horizon were obsessed with issues like “democracy”, “independence of the judiciary”, “liberal secularism”, “the constitution”, “the rule of law”, “good governance”, etc.

The parameters of all the political and intellectual debate were strangled within the conflicts of the political and state superstructure. After the failure of the economic model of Keynesianism in the 1960s and 1970s, all regimes, both dictatorial and democratic, have been aggressively pushing the policies of so-called “trickle down economics” and espousing the glories of the “free market”. This has been disastrous for the masses in general and society as a whole. The uneven and combined pattern of growth has devastated both the physical and social infrastructure. The plight of the masses has become agonizing.

Yet the reality is that the Pakistani economy is in such a dire state that no politician could seriously embark upon any policy that could possibly salvage this rotting capitalism. Without its overthrow not a single issue faced by society can be solved. The ex-lefts and the traditional leadership shudder at this. Hence, they want to go into oblivion and drag the masses along with them. The Islamic fundamentalists have their real base in black money from drugs and weapons smuggling ‑ the madrassas, the fanatical zealots and reactionary tendencies being the main shield for their criminal financial networks and the black economy. Unless these financial resources are severed, the monster of fundamentalism will not go away. Above all, this is the financial material interest that props up and sponsors this religious bigotry. This is not going to happen under the existence of capitalism. After all, the black economy is as much a part of this system as a malignant tumour is part of a diseased body.

The petty bourgeois notion of finding a political solution to the war in the tribal areas and Swat is absurd and utopian. The regime has tried several “political solutions” from jirgas (assembly of tribal elders) to some of the most rotten compromises with the Taliban. Yet the conflict has flared up again and again. The crisis is too deep, intensified by the evolution of this paralytic capitalism and has now escaped the control of the structures of the existing system. It needs a surgical or revolutionary solution which is not possible through the military aggression of a decaying state or political compromises between different factions of finance capital. These contradictions have exploded as a result of the intensifying socio-economic crisis.

Similarly the lawyers’ movement, although there were heroic deeds within it, could not get mass support because its demands and aims did not reflect the needs of the masses. Words such as “civil society”, and “citizen” are the product of a Newspeak created by the intelligentsia in the service of the NGOs ‑ sponsored by Social Democracy in the West. This terminology is deliberately fabricated to blur the class divide and confuse the class struggle. These petty bourgeois outfits are totally absorbed by capitalist society. Most of these ex-lefts have a contemptuous attitude towards socialism and are trying to inject reformism into a society, the economic system of which has lost the capacity to reform. More than 150 years ago, Karl Marx very aptly described these tendencies in, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. He wrote:

“The fact that democratic republican institutions are required as a means, not of doing away with two extremes, capital and wage labor, but of weakening their antagonism and transforming it into harmony, epitomizes the peculiar character of social democracy. (…)

“But the ‘democrat’ because he represents the petty bourgeoisie, that is a transition class, in which the interests of two classes simultaneously mutually blunt each other imagines himself elevated above the class antagonism generally. The democrats concede that a privileged class confronts them, but they, along with all the rest of the nation, form the ‘people’. What they represent is the people’s rights; when a struggle is impending, they do not need to examine the interests and positions of the different classes.”

  “Now, if, when it comes to the actual performance, their interests prove to be uninteresting and their potency impotence, then either the fault lies with pernicious sophists, who split the indivisible people into different hostile camps, or the army was too brutalized and blinded to comprehend that the pure aims of democracy are the best thing for it itself, or the whole thing has been wrecked by a detail in its execution, or else an unforeseen accident has this time spoilt the game. In any case, the democrat comes out of the most disgraceful defeat just as immaculate as he was innocent when he went into it, with the newly won conviction that he is bound to win, not that he himself and his party have to give up the old standpoint, but, on the contrary, that conditions have to ripen to suit him.” (pp 46, 50, 51)

Even up until a few days ago Musharraf considered himself to be acting according to these notions. He was the apostle of “enlightened moderation”, “liberation”, a “democrat” in pursuit of “human rights”, “women’s rights”, “secularism” and other such things. The fact that he has resorted to state repression demonstrates the futility of a genuine democracy and other such liberties in a crisis ridden economic set up.

Paradoxically, most of these slogans end up in the same language as the rhetoric being broadcast by US imperialism on a world scale. Hence, fundamentalism and other reactionary forces do not have to make much of an effort to paint these “liberal”, “secular” civil society activists as an extension of imperialism. The rhetoric on imperialist “democracy” and “freedom” has been exposed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here in Pakistan, there is a seething revolt and revulsion toward the USA, and especially in the Pushtoon areas. The fundamentalists are trying to exploit this. But due to their own convoluted and obscurantist ideas they have not been able to get a mass base beyond certain limits. The real irony is that most “liberal” and “democratic” politicians, including the PPP leadership, are relying and appealing to US imperialism to reinstate democracy, get fair and free elections and force Musharraf to abdicate or give in to civilian rule.

The whole political establishment is waiting for the Americans to intervene and solve this mess for them. The man who is supposed to carry out this great democratic task is none other than the butcher of Honduras ‑ John Negroponte, the assistant US Secretary of State. What he is going to do does not need much explanation.

The question of free and fair elections and democracy are important. But if we take a glance at the chequered history of Pakistan, we can see that the only elections which were relatively free and fair were in 1970. If we look at the context in which those elections took place, we can see that there was a revolutionary upsurge of the masses which had brought the state to its heels. In reality these elections were relatively free because of the enormous pressure exerted by the 1968-69 revolution.

In those conditions, the state could not dare to rig them. The present movement of Benazir and her rapidly changing stance towards the Musharraf dictatorship is the product of another totally different contradiction ‑ the class antagonism in society. The long march she announced was brutally suppressed and subverted to some extent when the State could easily detain Benazir in Lahore and diffuse the thrust of the rallies. However, the regime has proven incapable of quelling the movement as a whole.

The students are joining in as have the lawyers, journalists and other sectors of society. The ideological conflicts have reopened between the different opposition parties. The right-wing APDM refused to join in the long march. When Imran Khan, who has been in league with the right wing, went to the Punjab University, a stronghold of the fundamentalist IJT ( Islami Jamiat Talaba), the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, his ardent ally in the APDM, he was given a bashing by IJT activists and bundled into police custody.

After her initial mumblings of ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’, (Food, clothing, and shelter- the founding slogan of the PPP) in Dubai and Karachi, Bhutto has been withdrawing from that stance. She has been consciously reluctant to issue a call for a 24-hour general strike that could have bolstered her long march ‑ because along all the routes of the march there are industrial belts with millions of workers.

The one element missing in this movement against the Musharraf dictatorship is the entrance of the Pakistani proletariat onto the scene as an organised force. If the movement continues for any length of time, achieves a greater rhythm and higher momentum, the workers, who are not unaffected by the rapidly changing situation, could join in. Then the floodgates would open.

The discontent amongst vast sections of the Pakistani proletariat is enormous. They are seething with revolt. In the telecommunications, power, water, electricity, airlines, and postal sectors ‑ in fact in almost all sectors of industry ‑ there is a rising anger against the severe attacks upon the workers by this regime.

The state has plans to intensify those attacks. If Benazir had linked those demands with the political movement and called for a general strike on November 13, the day she announced the launching of the long march to Islamabad, Musharraf would have been finished.

In any case he is hanging by a thread. But such a call would have antagonized the Americans and threatened the system she wants to preserve. Hence, she has resorted to forming alliances with right-wing parties, including the Jamat-e-Islami, for a transition to democracy.

Just yesterday the Jamat gave Imran Khan a lesson on their democratic ideals. Perhaps she can learn a bit from Imran’s experience. Musharraf is weak and dithering. But as of yet the Americans have not abandoned him completely. Negroponte might succeed in striking another deal. Musharraf is so disgraced by the current mayhem that he may accept harsher terms. Even if he is removed and elections are held under a new set-up things won’t change substantially. Benazir could become prime minister as a result of elections in January, if they are held. But those elections would almost certainly be rigged. It is not ruled out that the agencies of the state might spring up a right-wing coalition through this doctored electoral process. Another military coup cannot be ruled out either.

In the present uncertainty that engulfs Pakistan there are all sorts of rumours going around. But whatever the outcome, Pakistan is not going to escape this conflagration any time soon. If Musharraf, the commander-in-chief, couldn’t control the agencies and fundamentalist elements in the army, how would Benazir be able to do so within the context of the same teetering state structures, economic set-up and disjointed society?

In power under capitalism she will have to resort to the same policies of “trickle down economics” and as a result carry out the dictates of US imperialism. But the symbolic aspect of another PPP government could bring to the fore the other side of the class divide. The proletariat and oppressed masses are yearning for change. In spite of the pernicious suppression of media reports on this aspect of Pakistani society, the country has revolutionary traditions. There have been long periods of exploitation and socio-economic repression. The conditions of the toiling masses of Pakistan have become intolerable. They are losing patience. A change ‑ with their traditional party in power ‑ however symbolic it may be, could trigger a mass revolt.

The slowing down and impending recession of the world capitalist economy will have a devastating impact on the already rapidly deteriorating Pakistani economy. This will exasperate the social contradictions, and for Benazir to cope with such a scenario, on a capitalist basis, would be a nightmare. The vague illusion will evaporate and there will be no option for the working classes but to move on to revolutionary action.

If, with the lack of a clear programme and direction, and the hesitant and confusing policies of the leadership, the movement fizzles out, the prospect of right-wing government will become more probable. The ruling class might keep Bhutto in opposition for a later date when the threat of the movement erupts again.

With the presence of a strong Marxist organization such a revolutionary movement would not stop where it left off in 1968-69. That movement created a tradition ‑ the PPP. This will also bring the question of the survival of the PPP itself to the fore. The only option left is to implement the founding manifesto of the Party, which calls for a socialist transformation of society. That is the only way forward for Pakistan. All other roads lead to disaster and barbarism.——–

Joint Statement of Communist, Workers and Left Parties
of the World:

Against Another American War and For
Peace and Democracy in Iran

We the undersigned parties express our grave concern with the heightening tensions in the
Persian Gulf region emanating from the US militaristic and hegemonic stance in its conflict
with Iran (including Bush’s latest statement on September 12th 2007). The US led pressures
against Iran on the question of Iran’s expressed wish to develop nuclear technology for
peaceful purposes, is only a cover for the US attempts to secure US control over an area of
the Middle East that is best situated to control the production and export of energy resources
from this part of the world. We also express our concern over the provocative and
unacceptable statements from the Iranian president. These statements have provided the
US and its allies, in particular the Israeli government, with the excuse to continue their
provocations against Iran. The Iranian regime is exploiting the current situation to extend its
suppression of progressive forces, trade unions, youth and student movements as well as
women’s movements.

We express our full solidarity with the people and progressive forces of Iran, with trade
unions, women, youth and student movements that are campaigning for peace, democracy
and social progress. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all political
prisoners
particularly the trade unionist leaders, student movement activists and women’s
right campaigners who have been arrested and tortured in recent months.

We strongly and unconditionally express our total opposition to any military attack or
intervention against Iran by the US, the EU or Israel.
We resolve to support all genuine
efforts directed at the resolution of the current differences between the US and the Islamic
Republic of Iran through peaceful and diplomatic means. We call for the elimination of all
nuclear weapons in the Middle East, strict observance of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
and declaring the region a nuclear weapons free zone. The future direction of developments
in Iran should be decided only by the people of Iran and no one else.

October 2007
Supported by:
Tudeh Party of Iran
Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus (AKEL
Communist Party of France
Communist Party of Greece
DKP (Germany)
Communist Party of Portugal
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Czech Republic)
Hungarian Workers Communist Party
Communist Party of Finland
Communist Party of Italy – Refoundation
Party of Italian Communists
Communist Party of Spain
Communist Party of Sweden

Communist Party of Britain
The Swiss Party of Labour
Communist Party of Ireland
Communist Party of Norway
Communist Party of Turkey
European Left Party
Die Linke (The Left Party) Germany
SYNASPISMOS – Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology of Greece
Communist Party of USA
Communist Party of Canada
Party of Mexican Communists
Communist Party of Venezuela
Communist Party of Peru
Communist Party of Lebanon
Communist Party of Jordan
Communist Party of Syria
Communist Party of Israel
Communist Party of Iraq
People’s Party of Palestine
Communist Party of Australia
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
South African COMMUNIST PARTY
PADS Algeria
Communist Party of Egypt
Party of Patriotic and Democratic Labour of Tunisia
MPLA Angola
Independent and Labour Party of Senegal
Communist Party of Guadalupe

I saw this great document on Tudeh’s website. The greatest of all world communist parties have “this” to say to world imperialism. At most it can be called a Liberal-democratic document. What is “communist” about it? how does it differs from the policy of other Left liberal positions like lets say UK’s Respect Party?. or Pakistani center right PML or PTI?. First Tudeh failed to understand the Revolution in Iran, failed to lead it . When masses were yearning for revolution , Tudeh was busy in theoretical debates of democratic change and national democracy. When Revolution happened Tudeh flirted with the Mullahs, ultimately killing the revolution it self. Now Iran is in grip of Fascists , trade unionist and workers are being killed, at least Tudeh is issuing statement. When will it realize its role ? There is a lesson here for Pakistani left which is just propelling the engine of a movement on which Religious Right is returning to Pakistan. Democratic illusion that is haunting Pakistani left could be suicidal.It has the potential of converting Pakistan into a new Iran or Afghanistan. Work on your agenda , not on a right wing or Liberal agenda, work for a revolution , a workers state , democracy will come as a by product ,or there will be just hangings, torture and statement—

Slavoj Zizek is perhaps one of the most well known of the living philosophers. A cultural theorist and radical leftist philosopher of highest grade. Terry Eagleton once called him the “most formidably brilliant” recent theorists to emerge from continental Europe. 

In the academy where Post modernism ruled , where “Enlightenment” was  tyranny , Marx and Freud were the great deceivers and pseudo scientists, Humanism became Fascism and Communism the great tyranny, Zizek made his market by appearing to defend orthodoxies of Enlightentment, defending Marx, Freud , and Lenin. 

His field was nevertheless Ideology, critical theory and Postmodern academic discourse, so always spoke in the language of Lacan , Derrida and Foucault but he made it obvious that he doesnt agree with most important of the Post modern academic assumptions like “end of ideology” or ‘Epoch of Post ideology”, reading the discourse of Enlightenment as essentially totalitarian, Postmodern hatred of orthodox left politics. To many he appeared to be the Messiah of academic Left , fighting its confusions and prejudices.

I never had such assumptions about Dr Zizek though i always found his position on Post ideology a bold one. It seems that during his crusade against the logic of late capitalism, Zizek has fell the victim of the same.

I have in front of me the “London Review of Books” , which has Zizek’s latest article “Resistance is Surrender”. I am simply speechless!! Calling it contradictory will be a insult to great concept of contradiction, especially for the work of a Philosopher who prides himself to be Philosopher of Contradiction, i.e “Dialectical Materialist“. This though is not the dialectical materialism that was developed by Marx. its a “Dialectics of Defeat”. The great work starts with most shocking of the observation that i have seen in my life :

One of the clearest lessons of the last few decades is that capitalism is indestructible. Marx compared it to a vampire, and one of the salient points of comparison now appears to be that vampires always rise up again after being stabbed to death. Even Mao’s attempt, in the Cultural Revolution, to wipe out the traces of capitalism, ended up in its triumphant return”

I am simply out of words to understand by which dialectical, empirical or logical analysis is this “indestructibility thesis of capitalism” developed? Even the poor Fukuyama had to retreat from his “End of History” thesis but our most radical Leftist Philosopher have discovered “indestructibility” of Capitalism. That being his great achievement, what reading of Marx implies this great dialectical “indestructibility?”.

The irony continues that Zizek later develops a brilliant attack on academic, and political left’s positions on grounds of their acceptance of capitalist hagemony and lack of “true left position”. he writes:

“These positions are not presented as a way of avoiding some ‘true’ radical Left politics – what they are trying to get around is, indeed, the lack of such a position”

One wants to cry , later he laments the liberal left’s politics. The conclusions he draws from China’s capitalism are equally “brilliant”. He endorses Chavez for the wrong reasons! grabbing the state power!!

Zizek’s problem is that he looks to Stalin. The mess he laments is the logical evolution of Stalin’s aberrations Not due to his annihilation .

Marx is Marx because he thought capitalism is destructible , if we know the method! Marxists make state, grab state , not to glorify it , not to strengthen it, not to convert socialism into Statism  , rather they make a State to destroy the  State itself! They engage in defensive violence to end the end the violence it self. They resist to be Victors , not to be mourners , or singers of surrender.

Resistance is never surrender  . In your thouroug reading of great sciences of history, psychology and Politics , you have neglected the “Myths” or you would have known , a Vampires never rise if one has the right knife, and it is stabbed in the center of the heart.

From Stalin to Zizek capitalism is being stabbed every where except its heart! therefore it lives.

Its surrender of Intellect, surrender of the Mullahs of Socialism who have turned it into Metaphysics of dictatorship, tyranny and genocide——

LAHORE, Pakistan — All through the years of the Soviet empire, its Politburo held “elections.” Of course, calling something an election and actually having it be an election are different things.I am under house arrest in Lahore, barricaded in by Pakistani police with bayonets. Despite Gen. Pervez Musharraf‘s announcement of a date for parliamentary elections, I doubt that we are in for a change.

   

I cautioned the general earlier this year that his election as president by the present parliament was illegal. He insisted otherwise.

We agreed to disagree and decided that we both would accept a ruling by the Supreme Court regarding eligibility.

Yet when the court was on the brink of deciding, Musharraf imposed martial law by suspending the constitution, and he removed several of the Supreme Court justices. Today the nation is paying for his mistake.

We are witnessing a farce in Pakistan: While an election schedule has been announced, the problem lies in what has not been announced. No indication has been given as to whether Musharraf will keep his previous commitment to retire as army chief on Thursday.

No date has been given for the lifting of emergency rule; the reconstitution of the election commission; the implementation of fair election practices; the removal of biased officials; or the suspension of the mayors, who control the guns and the funds — that is, police and government resources — to adversely influence elections.

Moreover, judges, lawyers, human rights activists and students across the country are in prison or under house arrest. The independent media have been shut down, television stations stopped from broadcasting news. Several foreign journalists have been expelled. Thousands of political activists, a majority from my Pakistan People’s Party, have been arrested.

Police have erected barricades and deployed armored personnel carriers and trucks filled with sand to cut off access to my house and to prevent people from going from one city to another.

Musharraf knows how to crack down against pro-democracy forces. He is, however, unwilling or unable to track down and arrest Osama bin Laden or contain the extremists. This is the reality of Pakistan in November 2007.

The only terror that Musharraf’s regime seems able to confront is the terror of his own illegitimacy. This is the second time Musharraf has imposed martial law and the second time he has sacked judges since taking over the country in a coup in 1999. It was then that he first promised “to bring true democracy.”

The election commission has promulgated election rolls judged illegitimate by Pakistan’s Supreme Court and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. Some polling sites have been kept secret. Musharraf’s political opposition is banned from campaigning or organizing and has been denied access to state-controlled media. We cannot meet, we cannot rally, and when we try to bring the people to the streets they are gassed, beaten and shot at with rubber bullets. This is not only a military dictatorship, it is a classic police state.

On top of a litany of assaults on the rule of law, the general has unilaterally amended the Army Act of 1952 to grant the army the power to try civilians in military courts. Courts-martial will operate by military rules in secret, and defendants are not allowed legal representation.

No attempt has been made to differentiate between average citizens and terrorism suspects associated with militant groups. Many believe that these laws were passed to intimidate pro-democracy forces, not to try terrorism suspects. This is the “democracy” that Musharraf envisages.

While living in America when I attended Harvard in the early 1970s, I saw for myself the awesome, almost miraculous, power of a people to change policy through democratic means. Today I am seeing the power of the people coalescing once again. Journalists, judges, and political and civil activists have joined together against Musharraf’s second declaration of martial law. They see him as the obstacle to the democratization of Pakistan.

This is why I have called upon Gen. Musharraf to resign as president and chief of army staff, and to pave the way for the composition of an interim government of national consensus that will oversee the transfer of power to duly elected representatives of the people.

The people of the Soviet Union knew that “elections” for the Politburo were fraudulent. The people of Pakistan know that elections under martial law are a similar sham.

By Benazir Bhutto

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

 

Iqbal“The inspiration behind these articles is the article by my friend Raza Rumi “Almost forgotten radical message of Iqbal”. I will approach it as a “Problem of Knowledge” , Knowledge being “To Know”

 

The principle failure in understanding Iqbal in Pakistan, which Raza has highlighted very thoughtfully is most profoundly an academic failure above every thing else! Iqbal has been studied and explained in the following academic paradigms:

 

1, Logical-Analytical Paradigm, which understood Iqbal as a “Reformer” in Modern sense! As the motor of modernity in Indian subcontinent was over overwhelmingly Marxist and Leftist, it historicized Iqbal highlighting his “Reformist Project”, Luther style, his Internationalism, his libertarian-Leftist leanings esp reading his work in light of his work on economics, and his poetic work on Europe , his concept of “eternal change” which was confused with Hegelian dialectics. This trend took shape by the efforts of Syed Sajjad Zaheer, Jan Nisar Akhtar and Syed Sibete Hassan. etc later is progressed further outside the Marxist-Leftist umbrella. By far this can be considered most academic of the trends but by no means true to Iqbal. The principle failure of this trend is the failure of its methodology itself, i.e. Logic and Analysis. Because of it Iqbal appears “contradictory” [Logic cannot over come contradiction, to this day Logic cant explain “Motion” very satisfactorily] Iqbal was a “Nationalist” but he opposes “Nationalism”, Iqbal was a “Socialists” but he opposes “Socialism”, Iqbal was lover of India but proposed “Partition”. Iqbal was a Sufi and Saint, but Iqbal vehemently opposed Sufism. Iqbal was an Islamist but he rejected every known version of Islam!!! All these are logical contradictions, due to use of Logic in Analyzing Iqbal but resulted in perception of Iqbal either as confused or an opportunist, changing his positions over time—

2. Second academic paradigm “Islamic Paradigm”, which was driven simply by ignorance. It considered Iqbal as a Sufi, a Saint and Messiah for Islam. Its spirit was simply icon worship. It developed in his life time as a “cult of Personality”, It never bothered about academic rigor or reading Iqbal. This trend didnt continued apart from “cult of Personality” that still exists in Pakistani Public

3. Third trend was the “Islamist Paradigm“. It also was a trend of Modernity but looked toward Fascism as its soul, Maududi and Hassan of Egypt were to extend this trend. This trend saw the “Power” and “Passion” axis in Iqbal as driving force of his Philosophy. It developed the existing understanding of “Islamic Revivalism” “Islamic Nationhood”, “Martyrdom” “segregation” “Sexism” “Anti westernism, later Anti Modernism” “Anti Communism” “glorification of Arab Imperialism” etc. This understanding was inoculated in Iqbal [Meaning was given to Iqbalian text]. This was Logical Anti thesis of the first trend! Due to formation of Pakistan and later her association with Imperialism it became the dominant trend in Iqbal Studies , the “Canonized” version of Iqbal. Neo Fascist Zia ul Haq’s destruction of Academy in Pakistan resulted in its dominance .”Knowledge departed” what was left was “Iqbal Academy“. Strictly speaking this was the “Revisionism”. All the ideology that was imposed on Iqbal was by one way or another rejected by him in the first place. Most of the academic work that emerged within this trend can easily be called “academic dishonesty.” Distortion, ideological motivated hermeneutic studies,selective reading, was one thing but most recently “out right” “de factulization” of historical Iqbal is underway. A typical example I saw a out right “denial” of the most severe opposition of Iqbal’s “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam” by the traditional Islamic clerics of India, some of whom were the friends of Iqbal. This trend progressed from “Right wing revisionism” of Iqbal to “Ahistorical and Antihistorical analysis” Neo Fascist style. Result is Iqbal is perceived In Pakistani class rooms as Poet with Sword in hands urging the Muhammed Bin Kassims and Mehmoods of Ghazna of Islam to crush, loot and plunder the infidels , no one bothers to tell or explain that “opposition to Arab Imperialism” was actually one of Iqbal’s most cherished ideals. Opposition so great that Iqbal rejected the very understanding of Islam [Islam we know and practiced] that developed under its umbrella.

These are the 3 main academic paradigms which intend to decode and reveal Iqbal, all 3 of them actually hide and distort him, his image and his Philosophy. Ill like to comment on few sub-trends , that never gained general acceptance but nevertheless are worth mentioning

 

  1. Allama GA Pervez: A Modern academic of first rank, Pervez is included in the first trend because Philosophically he is Logical and Analytical, and represent the Indian version of “Linguistic turn” that Analytical Philosophy took after Wittgenstein. He studied Iqbal in strict Logcal-linear way and from him got 3 point on which he started his Project of “Islamic Reformation”
    1. Charge sheet against traditional “Islam”
    2. Analysis of Koran in Modern way
    3. Anti clericalism

Pervez expanded Iqbal’s theory of “Adulteration of Islam” by Arab Imperialism and Persian Metaphysics. Unlike Iqbal his sword was Logic, the result was an excellent attack on Hadith Literature, the Fikkah and Kalam, none of which could withstand his rigorous attacks. His work is iconoclastic and has influenced a whole generation of Liberals, and secularists in Pakistan. He subjected Koran to “Linguistic Analysis”, which gave importance to “structure of Prose”, “Syntax of Language” and “grammar” instead of “tradition”. In theory he “completed” the Lutheran style “Reformation” of Islam. The result is not very consistent with Iqbal’s Islam, becausein place of worshiping graves this is subjugation to Language! Anti clericals have become new Clerics and “Talou e Islam” a “Khankha” of Koran it self

 

  1. Ali Abbas Jalalpuri

Ali Abbas Jalalpuri was a very rigorous historian of Philosophy and Epistemology. As the dominant mode of Philosophy in Indian Subcontinent has been “Analytical” I include him in the first trend as well. He is amongst first of the Modern Pakistani academics who took interest in the “Question of Civilization”, “History of Ideas” and “Academic Clarity”, “Relationship of Metaphysics, Language and Folklore”, the questions which would eventually become most important issues for European Philosopher especially after “Structuralist” revolution in Paris. Jalalpuri was aware of the inconsistencies and contradictions in explaining Iqbal when subjected to traditional Analytical Model of Philosophy. Where to place Iqbal in the Web of Modern Philosophical Ideas?” was the question he faced and he thought he had theperfect solution. Instead of trying to put Iqbal in the Project of Modernity and face the problem of Contradiction, Jalalpuri placed Iqbal in the in traditional Islamic Philosophers or the “Kalamist”. So the “Paradox” is “Avoided”, Instead of Philosopher, Iqbal is a “Schoolmen” trying to complete “Islamic Scholasticism” after Ghezali. Jalalpuri is rigorous in his work. due to non existent academy , the trend ended with him. “Completing Islamic Scholasticism” is certainly a part of Iqbal’s work, but it’s a Part , not the whole.

 

On Knowing “Iqbal” what is my take , the model I think can explain iqbal will be next.

 

 

To be continued—

 

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