As the U.S.'s crimes against humanity in the Middle East mount, it is of tremendous importance for people in the U.S. to honestly confront and rise to the profound challenges and responsibilities before us in bringing this to a halt. In this spirit, I welcomed the argument made by Hadas Thier and Aaron Hess in the Socialist Worker on April 20, 2007 entitled “Standing up to Islamophobia,” even while I find their central arguments to not only be wrong, but harmful.
I do not doubt that Thier and Hess want to oppose U.S. wars of aggression and their accompanying assault on Muslims, Arabs and South Asians living in the U. S. But they end up arguing for an approach that will neither meet the actual challenges of opposing the U.S. “crusade,” nor bring forward new, truly liberating possibilities here and around the world. They end up in this unfortunate place through the use of bad logic, flawed methodology, and a duck-from-unpleasant-realities epistemology (method for arriving at what is true).
Let's look at how this is so.
“Standing Up” quotes George Bush as arguing, “The war we fight today is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation, the right of all people to speak and worship and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism.”
Then, they write, “Unfortunately, some voices on the left--even radical sections of the antiwar movement--accept these same terms.” They go on to quote from an article of mine: “Increasingly, humanity is being confronted with two intolerable choices: Bush's crusade for empire or a reactionary Islamic fundamentalist response… The Bush regime has committed crimes on a far greater scale and is by far the greater danger to humanity… but both are complete nightmares. Both reinforce and feed off each other, and as they grow, they suck up the air to breathe for secular and progressive forces in this country and around the world… People in their hundreds of millions--in this country and around the world--must be presented with a third option, an option that refuses to choose between crusading McWorld or reactionary Jihad.”
that's from sunsara taylor's 'u.s. impearlism, islamic fundamentalism ... and the need for another way' (revolution). brandi e-mailed that. she noted that i highlight sunsara from time to time and hoped that i'd include that.
glad to. it's an important essay and, though written in 2007 when bush occupied the white house, it is still pertinent and maybe more so now.
and the truths in it are still truth.
we have 2 many false choices out there. i have a friend who feels like she's always being sold and programmed by the evening news. we'll talk about something she saw on the news and i'll say, '--- but you don't feel that way' and she'll be like, 'i know but i watch the show and then ...'
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'