Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Decaf Fascism, "Reasonable" Race Hate and the Common Project.

A recent poll conducted by Searchlight has found that 48% of the British people would vote for a far-Right political party if the violent xenophobia, football-related thuggery and proto-Nazi regalia was ditched. The growing support, which is probably exaggerated, is the result of the financial crisis and the subsequent recession. Apparently a party which is opposed to mass-immigration and Islamism would be preferable, but only so long as it wouldn't take a violent form. So a decaffeinated fascism, Hitler without the Holocaust and fascism without Fascism would be preferable to deal with the decaffeinated Other. At the same time, David Cameron has conjured up a "muscular" liberalism as the alternative to liberal multiculturalism which will "capitulate" to Islamism as well as the forced repatriation favoured by fascists. The call for a liberalism with "muscles" is essentially a call for a bit of "caffeine" in liberalism, a little bit of racism or cultural chauvinism just to make it all right.

Just like Robert Brasillach celebrated the achievements of Jews like Charlie Chaplin, whilst insisting on a "moderate" anti-Semitism to constrain "extreme" anti-Semitism, or when Jack Straw attacked Nick Griffin as a racist and then evoked Griffin's white meat line on Pakistani men. Naturally the extreme Right have been aware of this for a long time, which is the reason that Nick Griffin tried to "modernise" the BNP and transform it into a politically acceptable party of "moderate" racists. As the fascists are trying to fit the decaffeinated profile, that the public supposedly desire, the Establishment simultaneously attempt to transform themselves along the same lines as a way of preventing the emergence of Fascism. The Right is opposed to the multicultural "experiment" along nationalist lines and the political class has responded with populist rhetoric, as seen in Cameron's controversial speech, in order to reaffirm the economic order whilst obfuscating the explosion of inequality.

The displacement of class struggle opens up a space into which the far-Right can enter as the defenders of austerity and authority. It is not only that multiculturalism should be opposed by the Left for it is promoted only to be attacked, in defence of the system and in advocacy of an even worse system. Let us remain optimistic of the will and pessimistic of the intellect in regards to the hysterical opposition to the "state-sponsored" doctrine of multiculturalism. As there are significant flaws, limitations and problems with the idea of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is not sufficient, putting aside cultural relativism, it's disturbing manifestation in South Africa is too often overlooked. Officially apartheid was initiated to separate the multitude of tribes and ethnic groups into bantustans in order to prevent such groups from "drowning" in white culture. The racist hegemonic nature of multiculturalism was not obfuscated in South Africa and the ANC were labelled "terrorists" by the regime.

So where do we turn for an alternative? The answer: the East. The pro-democracy movement in Egypt is a secular and grass-roots based resistance to the Mubarak regime culminated in a sublime moment in Tahrir Square. It was overlooked by most of the mainstream media. In the Square, as part of the demonstrations, Muslims and Coptic Christians came together in prayer and chanted "We are one!" In a common struggle against dictatorship the oppressed came together, the old religious and ethnic "divisions" are knocked down in the name of the cause. This is not the only sublime moment to point at in admiration. On the West Bank in the village of Bilin a group of Jewish lesbians came each week in 2009 to protest against the village's partition and demolition by the Israeli government. The lesbians, who sported tattoos and piercings, found themselves joining the ranks of conservative Palestinian women many of whom wore the veil. In spite of the differences between them, the women developed a new respect for one another.

The proposed common struggle feels slightly dangerous, even if you are not a fan of Israel and my example has not offended you. It still seems to be on a slippery slope to falsifying an external threat in the name of some domestic agenda, a game played by the neoconservatives and by all kinds of right-wing governments over the decades. At home the neocons seek a small-state and favour supply-side economics, whilst a cultural conservatism can be implemented to constrain the individualistic currents of the markets and maintain a cohesive society. In the name of cohesion the neocons assert the noble lie that the nation has a special place in history (perhaps even chosen by God) to fight and defeat evil for the good of the world. The point was to unite the people through a shared purpose, a common struggle of sorts, in order to reverse the social disintegration caused by liberal politics and promote democracy abroad. To accomplish this these self-proclaimed "democratic revolutionaries" would mobilise the masses through fear.

On a Žižekian theological note: the "detoxification" of the Other suggests a clear passage from direct barbarism to barbarism with a human face. It reveals the regression from the Christian love for thy neighbour back to the pagan privileging of the clan versus the barbarian Other. Ironically the decaffeinated fascism yearned for, according to the poll, retains this aspect. Even though it would be cloaked as a defence of Christian values, as fascist movements have been in the past, it is itself the greatest threat to the Christian legacy of Western civilisation. The neocon and liberal chickenhawks so eager to fight Islamist Terror that they end up destroying freedom and democracy in the process. The terrorists wreck this world for their love of another world, to counter this the neocons are ready to wreck their democratic world out of hate for the Muslim Other. In a loving pursuit of human dignity they are even prepared to legalise torture, infringing upon dignity to defend it. Out of patriotism the neocons trample Western values and out of piety they regress to Europe's past paganism.

The words of Christ from Luke point in the direction of a universality which ignores every social hierarchy: "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and his mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes even his own life – he cannot be my disciple." (14:26) Each individual has an immediate access to the Holy Spirit, it is strictly universal, anyone can participate in this dimension directly regardless of a privileged place within the global order, which is so craved by the nationalists and neocons alike. The family stands in for ethnic, hierarchic and cultural roots that determine our place in the global order. The "hatred" enjoined by Christ is therefore not the polar opposite of Christian love, but its direct expression: it is the love itself that enjoins us to break from our organic community into which we were born and enter into a project for the common good with one another. Only through such a common project can the cultural, ethnic and religious boundaries be put aside to make room for solidarity.

In a interview Žižek said "You may remember that in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the ANC always appealed to universal Enlightenment values, and it was Buthelezi, the regime's black supporter in the pay of the CIA, who appealed to special African values." The dismissal of universalism as Eurocentric should be countered with such an example. We can also point to the movements for independence from European imperialism in the past century. The demands and slogans of many of these movements appeal to a universalist premise. 70% of the borders in the world were drawn up by the French and the British, the nation-state is a European invention exported around the world through empire. Therefore, we might interpret calls for a Kurdish state as "Eurocentric" in that the liberation of an oppressed people is still presupposed by a product of Europe. We can say the same of the legitimate demand for an independent Palestinian state, or a bi-national solution, and the dismissal cannot challenge such cases.

In a nutshell the liberal caffeine offered by the Right is a reaction against the Other, which really conceals a defence of capitalism, whereas decaffeinated fascism still conceals the same hatred that sent millions to the gas-chambers. Another alternative to multiculturalism is possible. The WW2 poster Together featured in this article is exemplary, as it was a war against Fascism fought by people of many nationalities, ethnic background and social class. Though it was not a totally "just war", it was the closest we've ever came, as our side committed atrocities and there were invested imperial interests in the war as well the genuinely noble. But it is not a "just war" we're looking for at all. It is that international, not just national, solidarity might be best established through a common project for the Common Good. At a deeper level, a secular and militant egalitarianism in opposition to racist degenerates and capitalist pigs everywhere. In the Together poster for such a project the black man should be situated at the front of the march.

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