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sufi
30-11-2004, 12:30 AM
what place should religion play in politics?

bit of a loaded question innit, ;) especially in these days of osama and george, not to mention vicar tony...

the iraqi resistance thread made me think...
i see that on both sides there is this whole neo-con flirtation with fundamentalist religion, which only serves to excuse aggressive and brutal behaviour, as i say, on both sides in the current war, and should be incompatible with pragmatist neo-con realpolitik...

so, is that a false distinction? do religious ethics conflict with imperialist conduct?
obviously, many examples of oppressive religious regimes can drop easily from the tongue, but these are by their nature irreligious if they have committed oppressive acts.

should religion be utterly separated from the state - does such a state currently exist?
so would that mean that state would act solely on self-interest, or what would any ethical element to it's conduct be based on??

or is there a way that religious ethics can contribute positively to politics?

i mean they all do agree that:
lying is bad
be good to your mum

thoughts please

rewch
30-11-2004, 11:35 AM
trouble is allegiance to god tends to override any more temporal hierarchy...unlesss the head of state is some sort of element of god...in which case no conflict...unless you're a heretic...which you are!

sufi
30-11-2004, 02:47 PM
well yeah...
the queen <cha spit!!!> is like the head of the church and the state innit - like god's representative on earth for the fair isle of yewkay <hawks up a fat phlegm and let it loose ! chwa!!> however, nappy-wearing nobility are not, i would say, an ideal configuration for statedom, but then as you mention rewcha - i am heretical, also treasonous

statedom/nationhood itself involves competition with other national groupings and is thus directly in conflict with any religious ideology that supports human rights. of course, the get out clause is always sectarianism

rewch
30-11-2004, 03:00 PM
religious ideology supporting human rights...ummm...i'm sure i'll remember one in a minute...it's on the tip of my tongue...oh you know the one...the jainists...???!!

sufi
30-11-2004, 03:26 PM
they all support human rights
jainism is the only one that extends rights to all living creatures, ¿que no, facetious one?

religions are generally egalitarian and humanitarian movements that only get mixed up with nastiness through the exegencies of statehood and earthly politics

rewch
30-11-2004, 03:43 PM
how does a crusading christianity support my human rights as a muslim?

in an effort to not be facetious i'll just have to say that i disagree with this one...they might support an interpretation of human rights, but if there is any universality to those human rights i think religion is not going to be the required framework...i.e. in terms of sexual rights, gender rights, ethnic &c. &c. rights in those terms would appear to stand outside religion in that no religion can guarantee them, unless perhaps you are positing an ideal religious framework that has not been corrupted by human frailties & gibberish...?

rewch
30-11-2004, 03:44 PM
which would be interesting...a sort of revelatory religion that was perfect in conception & corrupt from that moment onward... a sort of quark religion with a measurable but tiny half-life...

sufi
30-11-2004, 03:57 PM
aye, not so much disappointed at failing to acheive best ethical practise as establishing a target and aiming for it ...

'crusading christianity' is not a theology it's a sectarian political movement,

this is my point (i think, tho this whole concept does make my head spin, thas why i fancied posting something about it...) generally religion gets the blame for failed theocracies... i'd blame the necessities of statehood for twisting up any positive aspect of religion

rewch
30-11-2004, 04:46 PM
religion may get the blame, but unfortunately someone has to interpret the divine revelation which would tend to lead to the problem...ideally there would have to be some sort of ideologically pure form of religion with built-in incorruptability...not exactly likely...but then religion should get the blame for failed theocracies...after all nazism got the blame for german state-failure...actually probably bad analogy...scratch that...what's the law where first mention of nazi germany loses argument...think i just lost that one...

Woebot
30-11-2004, 06:58 PM
do i need a membership to the railton road illuminati to post on this thread? are you boys in the same room right now by any chance?

sufi
30-11-2004, 07:32 PM
nah, we're jus sparring while we wait for the rationalists to turn up, then i'm gonna start talking bout astrology

(anyway it's well known that woebot is grand wizard of railtonroad comparable only with eminence guru selector steve baba ;) )

be.jazz
30-11-2004, 09:04 PM
Well, in France you can't wear an "Islamic scarf" to school, and neither can you wear a Sikh turban. Which is kind of sad. "No ostentatious religious symbols" was the age-old law, which was recently strengthened to explicitly target the above-mentioned scarves. Ostentatious Nike logos are still allowed, I believe.

sufi
30-11-2004, 10:22 PM
does god play any role in the french state/constitution? e.g. like US: "in god we trust"

rewch
01-12-2004, 10:14 AM
hello your overlordship...no we are not in the same room...that is one of the joys of this site!!! (with much obsequious fawning)

rewch
01-12-2004, 10:18 AM
don't think god does have a formal role in french constitution...constitutionally their god is secularism hence the furore about the symbols...trouble is it looks very much like discrimination because it is a catholic country & children don't tend to wear nun outfits to school...neither do they carry crucifixes...and before anyone deels the need to jump on me...i'm not defending them...they're french


sorry

sufi
01-12-2004, 10:53 AM
so what is the basis for moral authority in france?
who told them to stop guillotining people - was it Yurp?

sufi
01-12-2004, 10:56 AM
good morning brother rewch by the way

rewch
01-12-2004, 11:38 AM
morning...not sure about the basis for moral authority though i suspect it is the law via the constitution in that all citizens are equal before the law regardless of any other factors (liberté, egalité, fraternité)...in a kind of 'l'état c'est nous tous' sort of way ...which would seem to be in the favour of the french state in terms of overt religious symbols...but it still looks like discrimination, especially when you take into account factors of marginalization...as to madame la guillotine...i think they did that themselves...will have to find out why...strange place france...one religion (ish) but hundreds of kinds of cheese...

sufi
01-12-2004, 12:15 PM
so...
in what way is religion not a useful tool in establishing the moral code of a state,
given that the french experience of enforced secularism is oppressive.

and i'm NOT talking about bizarre taliban style extremist sectarian theocracys like the US frinstance :rolleyes: ;)

be.jazz
01-12-2004, 05:52 PM
does god play any role in the french state/constitution? e.g. like US: "in god we trust"
No. Public institutions enforce laicity. Sometimes "Dieu" will creep into a political speech, but it is, to me at least, almost shocking and nowhere near as prevalent as in the US.

I don't know when it was last used, but the death penalty was abolished in the mid-80s. I don't know when the guillotine was last used.


in what way is religion not a useful tool in establishing the moral code of a state,
given that the french experience of enforced secularism is oppressive.
Whoa! That's quite a leap. Oppressive? Freedom to exercise your religion, just not inside defined non-religious spaces is oppressive? If it is, I prefer that to theocracies. Islam is France's second religion. My intention is not, of course, to paint a rosy picture of the country.

sufi
01-12-2004, 06:09 PM
Whoa! That's quite a leap.
Aye ... i'm leaping!

because i want secularists to explain to me why religious ethics are seen as a less valid basis for politix than any other moral code,

i mean, enforced laity - that's another imposed oppressive belief system, innit? grrrr!

be.jazz
01-12-2004, 06:21 PM
i mean, enforced laity - that's another imposed oppressive belief system, innit? grrrr!
Perhaps, but one that allows the expression of multiple beliefs. And it's not like there aren't Catholic and Muslim schools. So I don't think it's oppressive. In France, a Muslim woman can wear a scarf in the street if she so chooses (or has to). In Saudi Arabia, the woman does not have a choice. The difference is clear.


because i want secularists to explain to me why religious ethics are seen as a less valid basis for politix than any other moral code,
Some religious principles (eg. "I am your one and only God") are not applicable in democratic societies. That does not mean that no "religious ethics" are worthwhile. I thought that the general consensus was that Western secularity emerged from Judeo-Christianity?

sufi
01-12-2004, 08:49 PM
what i'm looking for is some ideology that will alleviate the current decadence & depravity that afflicts society, i reckon a bit more religion would go a long way. i don't see much sign of it in any overtly religious regime at the mo, who are all bloodthirsty. yr e.g: saudi monarchy uses religion repressively to keep all manner of filthy conduct out of sight.
political philosophies don't encourage moral behaviour on a personal or social level

true that 'western' secularity is based partly on principles derived from the old religions (which followed graeco/roman, even indo/egyptian theisms) ... concepts of state & nation also rely heavily on that belief system, however, it seems to lack the necessary moral fibre to protect it's own adherents from atrocious behaviour on a social or personal level.

am i making sense at all? :D

rewch
02-12-2004, 12:08 PM
true that 'western' secularity is based partly on principles derived from the old religions (which followed graeco/roman, even indo/egyptian theisms) ... concepts of state & nation also rely heavily on that belief system, however, it seems to lack the necessary moral fibre to protect it's own adherents from atrocious behaviour on a social or personal level.

:D

you are making sense...but surely enlightenment principles (which i agree emerged partly from old religious thought but also from other sources) shape the secularism much more than the religious angle...there were various rebellions/civil wars that effectively limited the prevalence of religiousness as a guiding principle...it was easier to exploit religion as a tool of oppression than it was to exploit any 'rational' enlightenment principles...at least in wetsern terms...but there are of course many howevers...and in fact it tends to lead to chemical scum & backwater planet-type thoughts...oh dear

sufi
02-12-2004, 05:04 PM
so...
can we say that secularism is failing to encourage us to look after one another and look at how religion can fill the gap?
i want to move on to looking at non-fundy, non-extremist religious politix, if such a thing exist?



(wanted to respond to rewch before you go offline for the night... :rolleyes: )

but shirly
but my names sufi, not shirley ;) :D

rewch
02-12-2004, 05:17 PM
...it is very hard for me to let you have that...in fact you can't so there...but i will discuss religious aspects if necessary...but i think it is necessary to make it clear that religious hierarchy is an obstacle...in fact i can see no way in which hierarchy in religion is a good thing...and just to pre-empt any dalai lama gibberish...he may be a living buddha, but tibet (certainly not better under chinese rule) was/is a deeply mediaeval society that was ruled by a theocracy which if not deeply exploitative/oppressive was at least tacit to exploitation/oppression...

sufi
02-12-2004, 05:38 PM
alright star
i'm off home now, what you up to later?

rewch
02-12-2004, 05:43 PM
dunno...will give you a call...

rewch
02-12-2004, 05:44 PM
i'm not a junior member...i am a member...i feel part of something bigger...

craner
03-12-2004, 10:24 PM
When I went to Turkey I was amazed by the Cult of Ataturk: his framed picture in carpet shops, bars, everywhere.

Ataturk was pretty ruthless in divorcing state from religion.

rewch
06-12-2004, 11:02 AM
that he was...but he saw it as necessary to break the power of the 'mullahs' in the ottoman power structure because of turkey's inherent weakness in the face of western modernity...most of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw a constant see-saw between the reformist wishes of various sultans and the entrenched religious interests blocking same reforms...his technique to stop the dismemberment of ottoman empire was to ruthlessly suppress islamic political tendencies and promote nationalism...the fruits of which we are currently reaping...

sufi
06-12-2004, 01:37 PM
interesting to follow the line from attaturks cult of secularism -> kurdish vs turkish nationalisms -> breakup of iraq and emergence of iraqi religious resistance

that's another thread...

saddam was also a keen secularist tho he flirted with the mullahs to some extent by building some awesome mosques

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/images/dg-baghdad-mosque1_s.jpg
05 September 2002 the Saddam mosque under construction. The building is 830 feet (meters across and occupies 11 acres. If completed, it will be the largest in the world.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/images/baghdad_mosque_031106-f-7234p-030.jpg
05 September 2002 the al-Rahman mosque under construction. The building is 750 feet across ( 250~meters) and occupies 11 acres. If completed, it will be the second largest mosque in Iraq.

rewch
06-12-2004, 02:01 PM
i would've said that he wasn't really flirting with the mullahs...more providing hoi polloi with their opiates & exploiting his muslim status as & when...unless that's what you meant...

also was going to get into the kurdish/iraqi/whole middle eastern issue including palestine &c. &c. but...i think it does need a new thread...i was too daunted

sufi
06-12-2004, 03:04 PM
it's interesting that we keep ending up talking about islam, as if it is the only religion that has muddled itself up with politics,
i think that we're quite blind to the extent that religion is part of the western political landscape, without clever ideas about having had a 'reformation' (oh yes very clever well done), this makes it difficult for us to relate to how we're perceived by, say, iraqis under occupation & gives us a comfortable rationalist/scientificalist standpoint from which to justify bombing the shit out of em (was there WMD or not is a very 'rational' argument, compared to is it ok to invade a country & kill innocent people).

at least religious/ideological states (including the communists here i guess) are out of the closet, even if they're not following their creed to the letter of the holy books

rewch
06-12-2004, 04:31 PM
aye...partly because neither of us is particularly religious & because we tend to know more about islam (& find it more interesting than say an interpretation of the influence of catholicism on eu foreign policy)...

having said that i think economic factors are still probably he most important in determining foreign policy objectives & reasons for said objectives...mish?

rewch
06-12-2004, 04:35 PM
i think that we're quite blind to the extent that religion is part of the western political landscape, without clever ideas about having had a 'reformation' (oh yes very clever well done), this makes it difficult for us to relate to how we're perceived by, say, iraqis under occupation & gives us a comfortable rationalist/scientificalist standpoint from which to justify bombing the shit out of em (was there WMD or not is a very 'rational' argument, compared to is it ok to invade a country & kill innocent people).

at least religious/ideological states (including the communists here i guess) are out of the closet, even if they're not following their creed to the letter of the holy books

but also there is a difference between a justification and a pretext...i.e. blair can stand up & swear all he likes about his virtue but this is really something for the voters & those who would impeach him...he can use this in his defence whether it is a pretext or not...which i think we would agree it is/was

Pearsall
07-12-2004, 12:17 AM
it's interesting that we keep ending up talking about islam, as if it is the only religion that has muddled itself up with politics,


That's probably because, at this moment in time, there is far more interest among Muslims (not all, sure, but plenty enough) in melding religion with politics. The Christian element in American politics is about frameworks - a prism through which to view the world. They're after a more Christian approach to politics, and hopefully getting their way on a few banner issues. There are no systematic proposals for a full-on meld of Biblical elements with the power of the state (beyond a few Christian Reconstructionist loons). Anyways, the whole Christian conservative thing is over-hyped...basically the top of the Republican Party is run by the corporate types (as it always has been) and their concerns are basically economic. Cut taxes, loosen pollution regulations, tax giveaways for favored industries, that sort of stuff. Sure, they'll occassionally throw a few goodies to the evangelicals, but it's not in their interests to do anything substantial. That would mean losing their easiest populist weapon.

With Islam there are existing theocracies, in words if not in deeds. Saudi Arabia and quite a few other countries have Sharia as the official basis of their legal system. There is no Christian equivalent of Sharia, although Jewish Halakha is similar. Anyways, there is also a sizeable amount of people in the Muslim world (and among Muslim minorities in the West) who want either outright theocratic states based on the Sharia, or a full revival of the Caliphate. There's no movement in the Catholic world to restore the Pope's temporal powers.

That's the difference (as I see it anyways) and why it's interesting and worth talking about.

sufi
07-12-2004, 01:26 PM
That's probably because, at this moment in time, there is far more interest among Muslims (not all, sure, but plenty enough) in melding religion with politics. i reckon this is spurious!


The Christian element in American politics is about frameworks - a prism through which to view the world. They're after a more Christian approach to politics, and hopefully getting their way on a few banner issues. i reckon this is spot on! & applies to islam as well, more than what you said before. Religion does provide a framework for economics, diplomacy etc, but i don't think any state behaves ethically in those areas - the only areas where religious ethics and politics mix up is on social issues - abortion, hijabs, single mums, - e.g. where religion can be used to keep conservatives happy by preying on vulnerable populations


With Islam there are existing theocracies, in words if not in deeds. Saudi Arabia and quite a few other countries have Sharia as the official basis of their legal system. There is no Christian equivalent of Sharia, although Jewish Halakha is similar. yeah, but there is no equivalent in the islamic world for a country where the head of state is the head of the religion - like the vatican, or UK!! even in Iran there is a separation between the religious juridical establishment and the parliament (which proportionally contains more women than in UK!)


Anyways, there is also a sizeable amount of people in the Muslim world (and among Muslim minorities in the West) who want either outright theocratic states based on the Sharia, or a full revival of the Caliphate.
What makes you think that? there's such a lot of cultural misunderstandings about this issue....

sufi
07-12-2004, 01:31 PM
case in point:
after the attack on the US consulate in Jiddah the Saudis are calling the attackers deviants!


"Members of the deviant group this morning threw explosives at the gate of the US consulate in Jeddah and then entered the compound"


be pure, be vigilant, behave!


where's rewch?

sufi
07-12-2004, 01:33 PM
....& where's all the secularists & rationalists?
if they don't turn up soon to make their case i'm gonna officially declare dissensus a theocracy...

rewch
07-12-2004, 03:52 PM
firstly you've mashed the page width with saddam's mosque...

secondly have to agree with the islamic head of state issue...especially given that a large proportion of muslims think that the saudi royal family is itself heretical & or essentially illegitimate...which is even more true for any of the dictatorships...i think the fundamental issue here is the hypocrisy of the western world vis a vis egypt (pseudo-democratic, essentially secular=good arab state) or syria (non-democratic, essentially secular=bad arab)...egypt has chosen to accept the umbrella of western patronage & syria is demonised for its opposition to same...i don't see a difference between mubarrak & al-assad & i suspect most arabs don't either...substitute allawi for mubarrak & what do you have? iraqi insurgency...

to us the higher echelons of the republican party & the administration have the flavour of rabid crusading christian nutters...how much stronger would this flavour be to an arab/muslim?

as to the khalifa in many respects this is an essentially nostalgic atavism akin to little england fondness for the british empire & raj...who would the caliph be? given that the last one died rather a long time ago...don't think even bin laden/zawahiri have come up with a proposal for that...other perhaps than a rhetorical one...

Pearsall
07-12-2004, 08:38 PM
i reckon this is spurious!

Why? It's pretty obvious that politics with heavy Islamic themes has a pretty widespread appeal around much of the Muslim world at the moment. Consider the Turkish government, elected in a landslide. Or the success of the religious right in Pakistani elections. When (ok, if!) there are elections in Iraq do you doubt that religious parties will do really well? If they held elections tomorrow throughout the Middle East how do you think Islamist parties would do? In Palestine how do you think Hamas and Islamic Jihad would do in parliamentary elections?

And, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those paranoiacs who thinks that all Muslims are a fifth-column and they are trying to take over the West, but you do see a much higher amount of religious observance among Muslims in the West and a greater interest in 'Islamic solutions' (as far as I can see). I lived in Britain for twelve years (I came back to the US in February) and in that time the amount of girls in hijab and dudes with beards and the hats (dunno what they're called, sorry) increased exponentially. Something is up.


i reckon this is spot on! & applies to islam as well, more than what you said before. Religion does provide a framework for economics, diplomacy etc, but i don't think any state behaves ethically in those areas - the only areas where religious ethics and politics mix up is on social issues - abortion, hijabs, single mums, - e.g. where religion can be used to keep conservatives happy by preying on vulnerable populations

Agreed.


yeah, but there is no equivalent in the islamic world for a country where the head of state is the head of the religion - like the vatican, or UK!! even in Iran there is a separation between the religious juridical establishment and the parliament (which proportionally contains more women than in UK!)

Well, there's the tradition of the Caliphate to draw on. Anyways, although sure there is a division between the juridical establishment and the parliament in Iran who is holding most of the cards?


What makes you think that? there's such a lot of cultural misunderstandings about this issue....

Tbh that comment was a bit exaggerated, and I apologize, but it seems to me anyways from my reading that there is a lot of movement towards re-Islamisizing (is that a word? I dunno) areas of life. Consider the demands from certain groups for the introduction of Sharia courts for civil matters in the UK (same thing is happening in Canada).

Pearsall
07-12-2004, 08:46 PM
as to the khalifa in many respects this is an essentially nostalgic atavism akin to little england fondness for the british empire & raj...who would the caliph be? given that the last one died rather a long time ago...don't think even bin laden/zawahiri have come up with a proposal for that...other perhaps than a rhetorical one...

I think they'd probably like it to be them! Anyways, extreme politics don't need a plan with a rationally possibly outcome to be deadly. Witness how many people (hell, some still do) believed in the Marxist conception that if you followed the steps the state would collapse and there would be some kind of worker's paradise on earth. Shame one hundred million had to die to end that particular fantasy.

sufi
07-12-2004, 10:14 PM
i don't see a difference between mubarrak & al-assad & i suspect most arabs don't eithereh wot the fak u on about???
in what way is assad a proxy of anyone? d'you think 'most arabs' don't appreciate that? grrrr

وَأَلْخِلَافَة ؟؟؟
well, i read an excellent story a year or 2 ago about OBL on the run, he turns up in the pulpit at the graet mosque in mecca, friday prayers, eid, & proclaims the khilafa
mecca is taken switly then the peninsula, then the middle east...

but it wuz only a story - d'you remember it? i'll see if i can find it...

sufi
07-12-2004, 10:26 PM
good set of responses to my responses :)

the reason i was nitpicking yr post is cos i worry that the meeja really portray the relationship between islam & politics partially - over-emphasising the fundamentalistic aspects, as well as the extent to which it is a 'movement'. So, i didn't want you to take that for granted without some justification- if you get my drift ...(rewch on the other hand is me old mate whom i can slap if necessary, or grass im up to his mum - don't take it personal!! :D )

i'd agree that there is a resurgence in religiosity in the islamic world, from personal experience of living in the M-E during a period when students at my uni were rioting for the right to wear hijab, but i reckon that this resurgence is a reaction to decadent western modernist secularism (e.g. in this case the egyptian government which squashed the demos brutally), and is in evidence in the west as well, as - it's just expressed differently & in a way that is more tricksy to identify for us westerners - as we tend to express religiosity sartorially thru bumper stickers & tiepins,

http://www.av1611.org/bumper/images/amos_412.gif http://www.supercoolstuff.com/items/Christian/pics/RL009.jpg http://www.motorcycle-pins.com/Christian%20Pins/Jesus-Fish.jpg

just to be clear, i'm not suggesting any nasty huntingdonian clash thesis :eek: - the cultural miscommunication is consciously reinforced by conservatives on both sides - even the more modernistic e.g. OBL


Anyways, extreme politics don't need a plan with a rationally possibly outcome to be deadly. Witness how many people (hell, some still do) believed in the Marxist conception that if you followed the steps the state would collapse and there would be some kind of worker's paradise on earth. Aye, i think that is the limitation of ideology, whether political, religious or whatever... it's impossible to translate into reality without making brutal macro sacrifices...
ethics on the other hand are more personal and without agenda

Pearsall
08-12-2004, 01:01 AM
No worries. You might be interested in this piece (http://onepearsallandhisbooks.blogspot.com/2004/12/religious-revivalism-and-lower-middle.html) I wrote earlier.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised to see a revival of Christian religiosity in Europe among the poor. God knows there are a lot of lost souls on white council estates in Britain. I don't think the CofE has it in itself to do so, so it will probably come through small pentecostal/evangelical type churches (here in the US you go to pretty much any slum neighborhood and they are everywhere). The current anything-goes nihilism will, I imagine, produce a reaction.

rewch
08-12-2004, 12:04 PM
eh wot the fak u on about???
in what way is assad a proxy of anyone? d'you think 'most arabs' don't appreciate that? grrrr

not suggesting any such thing...if you had read what i had written...& perhaps i failed to make myself clear, i was contrasting a western view: mubarrak=good & assad=bad with an arab one mubarrak=bad & assad=bad...what is it most arabs don't appreciate?

wot the fek...eh? eh?

will have a look for that makkah piece...however this thread begins to get interesting...despite aattempts at personal abuse threats to self & family etc.

rewch
08-12-2004, 12:16 PM
Why? It's pretty obvious that politics with heavy Islamic themes has a pretty widespread appeal around much of the Muslim world at the moment. Consider the Turkish government, elected in a landslide. Or the success of the religious right in Pakistani elections. When (ok, if!) there are elections in Iraq do you doubt that religious parties will do really well? If they held elections tomorrow throughout the Middle East how do you think Islamist parties would do? In Palestine how do you think Hamas and Islamic Jihad would do in parliamentary elections?
is this not a reaction also to the way they have been represented in the past? i.e. we attempt to elect the govn. we want, the election is stolen from us, we therefore have no representation...the only people who offer us any way to be represented in the future are miltitants/religious hardliners etc. ...the people have in a sense been radicalised by their prior lack of representation...not true of turkey perhaps where representation is available, though perhaps they have been radicalised by their innate peculiar position...almost the only democracy in the islamic world, though historically much closer to the west...(not trying to get into a debate of turkish history, but i hope you see the distinction i am trying to make)...i think islamic parties would clearly do very well but then look at the voters' alternatives...eek my brain begins to melt

sufi
08-12-2004, 04:54 PM
the only people who offer us any way to be represented in the future are miltitants/religious hardliners
Algeria is a good example, where the govt infiltrated GIA to polarise the conflict


mubarrak=bad & assad=bad
the situations of Egypt & Syria are obviously not the same, but i think that the secular arabist baathists in syria command more rsepect than hosni " بَقَرَة حَلُوبَة " mubarak

that's a nice article pearsall - very relevant!! thanks!

rewch
08-12-2004, 05:12 PM
OBVIOUSLY...

Pearsall
08-12-2004, 07:18 PM
is this not a reaction also to the way they have been represented in the past? i.e. we attempt to elect the govn. we want, the election is stolen from us, we therefore have no representation...the only people who offer us any way to be represented in the future are miltitants/religious hardliners etc. ...the people have in a sense been radicalised by their prior lack of representation...not true of turkey perhaps where representation is available, though perhaps they have been radicalised by their innate peculiar position...almost the only democracy in the islamic world, though historically much closer to the west...(not trying to get into a debate of turkish history, but i hope you see the distinction i am trying to make)...i think islamic parties would clearly do very well but then look at the voters' alternatives...eek my brain begins to melt

Sure, it's a reactionary position, but it's out there.

Long term I don't think there's much constituency anywhere for extreme theocracy in the modern world. I think part of the attraction of it in much of the Arab world is that secular nationalists like the Baathists or Mubarrak have completely failed to bring progress (or any personal or political freedom) , so if secularism has failed, why not try Islam? Yet you look at Iran where the government is wildly unpopular with the people and you have to conclude that theocracy has little long-term support; by this I mean that even if you were to get hardline Islamic government in a lot of Arab countries people would ultimately be chomping at the bit, because there simply isn't any way clerics with theological training can run modern states. If the Christian Right here were to start really legislating on social issues there would be a huge backlash. People like to pay lip service to holy concepts but when actually faced with attempts to legislate personal morality people will want to err on the side of libertarianism.

I also wrote an article sort of on this topic here (http://onepearsallandhisbooks.blogspot.com/2004/11/puritan-failure-to-reform-public.html) (I don't mean to spam my blog but I've written at length some of my thoughts on the matter, which I don't want to do again!), about the way in which the Puritans failed to create a 'moral reformation' of England during Cromwell's time. I think there's a lot of applicability in it to modern times. For instance, the Taliban were able to enforce their particular obscurantist take on religion at gun point but once they were gone a lot of the cultural things they had been extremely dour about (music, video, etc) returned instantly.

Pearsall
08-12-2004, 07:30 PM
Having said that, I fervently hope the Christian Right gets the chance to legislate personal morality. Sure, it will suck for a little while, but ultimately if it's the only thing to turn people against the current Republican administration it's a sacrifice worth making (because as far as I can tell Bushco is really trying to wreck the federal government and America's economy, military, and standing in the world).

sufi
08-12-2004, 07:47 PM
Puritans
hmmm that eejit moonbat (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1346632,00.html) has been chasing that meme also... prolly he copied off you, feckin scunner



it will suck for a little while
ouch

Pearsall
08-12-2004, 09:32 PM
Yet you look at Iran where the government is wildly unpopular with the people and you have to conclude that theocracy has little long-term support; by this I mean that even if you were to get hardline Islamic government in a lot of Arab countries people would ultimately be chomping at the bit, because there simply isn't any way clerics with theological training can run modern states.

Just to add to this point, I just found this article (http://www.asanet.org/footnotes/indextwo.html). Worth a read.

sufi
08-12-2004, 11:22 PM
astounding stats

62 percent of Saudis described themselves as religious, compared with 82 percent of Iranians, 85 percent of Jordanians, 98 percent of Egyptians,wow - that's as much as 'voted' for hosni in the last referendum, almost :D

and 81 percent of Americanshehehe

good article, interesting detail, but fails to transcend the religious/modern dichotomy...

Pearsall
09-12-2004, 12:32 AM
I think a lot of what is happening now is the blowback from globalization and from information bombardment. We live in a time where persecution complexes are everywhere, where people feel that what I'd call their 'demographic markers', the building blocks of identity, are under attack by nefarious forces. I think there are strong parallels between all of these manifestations, from 'immigration and multiculturalism are a leftist plot to destroy Britain/Europe/America' Daily Mail viewpoints to 'the Umma is under attack from the nefarious Zionists and Crusaders' to 'assimilation is an attempt to annihilate our special traditions' identity politics, and so on. Because people have access to so much information and so many viewpoints it is so easy for anyone to find attacks on themselves and to begin linking them up in a paranoid way (after all, the human mind far more easily remembers insults and bad events than compliments and good events).

rewch
09-12-2004, 11:29 AM
good points all round...but holy batshit! Christian Right takeover! eek!

as to your bushco thoughts...it certainly looks that way...do you think there is a chance that there will be an amendment to the constitution - possibly due to some other critical security event - that will allow a bushco reich-type thing?

with things like this i always remember goebbels & his (paraphrased, but i hope essentially correct from memory) 'we were elected through democratic means, but we're not going to be so foolish as to allow anyone else those means'...

i'm off to the states on friday & am deeply disturbed at the thought that some agency somewhere is going to have my fingerprints and iris scan...

seem to have gone off topic and into paranoia! sorry!

Pearsall
09-12-2004, 06:21 PM
To be honest, I wouldn't be soooo paranoid. The likelihood of some form of Bush trying to convert his rule into a fascistic takeover is minimal in the extreme; if democracy didn't shatter during the Great Depression, I can't see it happening now. There have been other examples of creeping authoritarianism in American history (such as McCarthyism), but it's always ended and there's been a swing of the pendulum back in the other direction. The general pattern in the post WWII period has been for second term presidents to be swarmed with scandal, and I can't see anything to change that with this one (considering how mendacious it is). I think that's infinitely more likely than some conversion to an authoritarian state.

Basically, if Bush tried to install himself for life, there would be secession and civil war. Anyways, I see little evidence that they would want to. I don't like his policies, but the hysteria of the left-wing media in Europe media in its personal portrayals of him (and America in general) paints a picture that is at odds with reality. I live here and from reading the Guardian you'd think that if I looked out the window I'd be seeing black shirts marching down the street butchering the unbeliever. It's ridiculous.

Of course, if either we hit a major economic collapse or terrorists get off a nuke, then shit gets much more complicated much more quickly.

sufi
13-12-2004, 01:00 PM
To be honest, I wouldn't be soooo paranoid. The likelihood of some form of Bush trying to convert his rule into a fascistic takeover is minimal in the extreme; if democracy didn't shatter during the Great Depression, I can't see it happening now. There have been other examples of creeping authoritarianism in American history (such as McCarthyism), but it's always ended and there's been a swing of the pendulum back in the other direction. The general pattern in the post WWII period has been for second term presidents to be swarmed with scandal, and I can't see anything to change that with this one (considering how mendacious it is). I think that's infinitely more likely than some conversion to an authoritarian state.

The leaders of the US have had the state hijacked for a long time, and is it too cheesy to mention that it doesn't really matter who wins the elections?... you always gonna get a monkey in a suit in friont and the same anonymous unelected dodgy geezas in background...

the govt don't have a majority of citizens behind them already, (just more than what the other party got), they already behave with total impunity - they didn't need the support of either the US people, nor the UN to start up GW2. I wouldn't call US a healthily functioning democracy (or UK for that matter) if senate/parliament, whatever, cannot prevent the leaders from undertaking an illegal war whih the majority of the electorate don't support.


Basically, if Bush tried to install himself for life, there would be secession and civil war. Anyways, I see little evidence that they would want to. I don't like his policies, but the hysteria of the left-wing media in Europe media in its personal portrayals of him (and America in general) paints a picture that is at odds with reality. I live here and from reading the Guardian you'd think that if I looked out the window I'd be seeing black shirts marching down the street butchering the unbeliever. It's ridiculous.
America is a big place Pearsall - i don't think there is any need for the blackshirts, or orange jumpsuits to disturb tranquil Brooklyn
What you say about secession or civil war is just rubbish, given levels of complacency in 21stC america (or Yurp for that matter) - & the junta doesn't need to be so audacious as to openly declare 'martial law' or whatever (if you consider that hasn't already happened with the 'patriot act') = stealthy democratical coup de etat - bush quoted by zizek (sufi quotes zizek :eek: ) "the future will be better... tomorrow"


Of course, if either we hit a major economic collapse or terrorists get off a nuke, then shit gets much more complicated much more quicklyyou better hope they ain't paranoid and won't feel like a nuke or crash (or another terrrrist spectacular) is necessary for them to consolidate power, luckily though, they won't need to while apologists like persil constantly excuse their contempt for their electorate.

sufi
13-12-2004, 04:32 PM
السادة الكرام

تقوم فرنسا وبتوجيه من الكيان الصهيوني بأبشع حملة ضد قناة المنار الفضائية، وذلك بهدف إيقاف صوت المنار الذي كان جسرا بين المسلمين في العالم، وكان صوت المقاومة والانتفاضة.

نرجو منكم دعم قضية قناة المنار، التي تحاكم اليوم في محاكم فرنسا، بهدف إيقاف بثها عن فرنسا. عبر إرسال تعاطفكم وتأييدكم باللغة الفرنسية او الانكليزية الى العنوان التالي:

Dear Sir,

Directed and influenced by the Zionist entity, France is conducting the most
hideous campaign against Al Manar satellite channel with an aim to ban its voice
and image which have been serving as a bridge between the truth lovers, moralists
and just causes worldwide.
We are kindly asking your support for Al Manar TV satellite cause channel which
is subjected today to prosecution before France's court for the purpose of prohibiting
its broadcast in France. Please, send your support and sympathy to the following
site:
http://www.csa.fr/outils/contact/contacteznous_formulaire.php

probably from one of the palestinian groups ("moqawama/مقاومة"= "resistance")
i'd like to research further but my french is poor...

rewch
13-12-2004, 05:17 PM
well hamas is meant to be the haraka al-muqawama al-islamiya (h m s)...so probbly...i'll have a look because my french is parfait...n'est-ce pas?

Pearsall
13-12-2004, 08:43 PM
The leaders of the US have had the state hijacked for a long time, and is it too cheesy to mention that it doesn't really matter who wins the elections?... you always gonna get a monkey in a suit in friont and the same anonymous unelected dodgy geezas in background...

I used to believe that, that it didn't matter who was elected, and then Bush was. The last four years have been a real wake-up. It's fashionable to act like it doesn't matter, but it's not really true. I find it hard to believe, for instance, that Gore would have approached issues like the economy and national security in a way that he would be no difference from Bush.


the govt don't have a majority of citizens behind them already, (just more than what the other party got), they already behave with total impunity - they didn't need the support of either the US people, nor the UN to start up GW2. I wouldn't call US a healthily functioning democracy (or UK for that matter) if senate/parliament, whatever, cannot prevent the leaders from undertaking an illegal war whih the majority of the electorate don't support.

In Britain a majority of the population didn't support the Iraq War. Here, they did (I didn't). It's falsifying history to suggest that, initially at least, a pretty sizeable majority of Americans didn't support the Iraq War. Of course, they supported it through paranoia and lies, but they supported it nonetheless.

Is America a 'healthily functioning democracy'? How do you define what one is? There has always been corruption and backroom dealing in American democracy, from the inner-city machine politics of the 19th century to Eisenhower's military-industrial complex to today's K Street lobbying firms. That is the nature of the beast.

Bush may have won on fear, but he won.


America is a big place Pearsall - i don't think there is any need for the blackshirts, or orange jumpsuits to disturb tranquil Brooklyn
What you say about secession or civil war is just rubbish, given levels of complacency in 21stC america (or Yurp for that matter) - & the junta doesn't need to be so audacious as to openly declare 'martial law' or whatever (if you consider that hasn't already happened with the 'patriot act') = stealthy democratical coup de etat - bush quoted by zizek (sufi quotes zizek :eek: ) "the future will be better... tomorrow"

Rubbish? I don't know, feelings are running pretty strong here. If Bush were to decide at some point that he were to become permanent leader there would be armed conflict (after all we have a lot of guns in private hands). I find the argument that the population is 'complacent' a bit strange considering the election we just went through. What should Americans have done to prove they were less complacent about politics? Armed raids on each other's political rallies?

Having said that realistically I don't see it happening. For one thing the Patriot Act can be seen of a piece with other bits of authoritarian legislation from the past, from laws passed in WWI to the McCarthy era; in none of those times did it lead to juntas and such. Ultimately, people woke up, were embarrassed, and the laws were gutted. I personally doubt that this time is much different, because the Republican Party itself is a coalition that is weaker than it looks. The different factions showed amazing discipline this time around but now that the election is over they are already starting to attack each other (ie the social conservatives trying to block Arlen Specter's nomination to the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee). Since Bush is out in four years and Cheney isn't going to run for president the Republicans will probably devolve into furious infighting, because there isn't really much to tie the Christian Right together with the corporate boosters and the isolationists.


you better hope they ain't paranoid and won't feel like a nuke or crash (or another terrrrist spectacular) is necessary for them to consolidate power, luckily though, they won't need to while apologists like persil constantly excuse their contempt for their electorate.

Apologist? No, I'm just a realist who knows the history of my country. I think Bush is a disastrous president, but this idea that they are going to seize all levers of power is just ridiculous. For one thing, it is ahistorical, if it hasn't happened before in darker periods then I see it unlikely to happen now. Plus you seem to be making assumptions about their competence in carrying out policy that I surely won't. These people are basically useless at everything except running for office.

And for another, Bush is less strong than you think, and in his second term he won't benefit from a Congress that is lock-step behind him because they wanted him to be re-elected. Now that he is, they are going to turn their attention to their own turf wars, their own interests. Already recently the intelligence reform bill failed because of the immigration restrictionists. Bush values loyalty above all else (otherwise why would Rumsfeld still be at defence?) but there are a lot of Republicans who were loyal to Bush purely out of a marriage of convenience. And the Democrats are slowly but surely rebuilding.

Apologist? No, I'm just not a paranoiac who thinks this is the end of American history. Maybe you should get your information about America from a wider variety of sources than Chomsky and The Guardian.

sufi
13-12-2004, 11:15 PM
cheers pearsill, good response to a bit of a rambunctious post ;)
mebbie as an outsider it's easier to see the USG as a longterm regime rather than personalising the issue with with parties or presidents, either as an era or as a celebrity (altho many uhmerkins i've met have felt disenfranchised from the machinations of USG)-
i mean how would 'clinton' have reacted to 9/11 he'd be under even more pressure to act tuff, he was no stranger to pre-emptive anti-turrism activities ?
civil insurrection vs apathy in the US - aye, same as over here, only if they switched off TV.. :D it'd prolly do wonders for voting turnout if they cut TV for 1 day for elections.
guardian - i stopped reading it cos i got fed up with it's simplistic outlook and fixed repertoire & agenda,
chomsky, nah not really... i don't read much

In Britain a majority of the population didn't support the Iraq War. Here, they did (I didn't). It's falsifying history to suggest that, initially at least, a pretty sizeable majority of Americans didn't support the Iraq War. Of course, they supported it through paranoia and lies, but they supported it nonetheless.

Is America a 'healthily functioning democracy'? How do you define what one is? There has always been corruption and backroom dealing in American democracy, from the inner-city machine politics of the 19th century to Eisenhower's military-industrial complex to today's K Street lobbying firms. That is the nature of the beast.
Bush may have won on fear, but he won.
ok this is like,the crux,innit?
yr looking at this situation in a positive way, i guess, like well it's not perfect but we're doing as best we can with what we got
but unfortunately that's making excuses for another debased ideology - justice & righteousness has been lost in the intricate web of realpolitikal loopholes, haggling & propaganda.

we have to face it - this is a shit situation, the world over, & is unacceptable

religion has played a part in all this coming to pass of course - but not a positive part, as we mentioned way pages back it's been a domestical issue - only appearing internationally in the broadest most huntingdonish* way...

so i guess how to unhijack ethical conduct from the fundies???

.................................................. .................................................. ...................
bibliography * huntingdon (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/islam/story/0,1442,577982,00.html)... grrrr

Pearsall
13-12-2004, 11:57 PM
cheers pearsill, good response to a bit of a rambunctious post ;)

I stay calm. :D



mebbie as an outsider it's easier to see the USG as a longterm regime rather than personalising the issue with with parties or presidents, either as an era or as a celebrity (altho many uhmerkins i've met have felt disenfranchised from the machinations of USG)-


I think big changes happen, but they happen as an evolutionary process, not really through revolution. Really, I think the best way to view American political history is as a series of rise and falls of different interest groups. This is a society that has always been pluralistic, so much of American history revolves around the combat between organized groups, a process that is reinforced by the size and the complexity of the country as well as the machinations required by our own peculiar electoral system. Different groups wax while others wane, because American allegiances are pretty transferable. Example: over the last thirty years the power of labor unions has shrunk dramatically while the power of evangelical Protestantism has increased exponentially. Small groups, strategically placed, can receive much more attention that larger groups without the same advantages: see how politicians pander to the Cuban community, because they are heavily concentrated in the electorally crucial state of Florida while ignoring the much larger Puerto Rican community that is concentrated in northeastern states that are less competitive.

I think the disenfranchisement is a natural function of American history and ideology. This has always been an atomised country where politics has served as the brokering of the demands of different groups. The vast majority feel like they aren't getting their fair shake of things, or that government is neglecting their needs, but this wanting government to be oriented towards them conflicts with the other powerful strain of American thought which is 'leave me alone'. People want government to help them, or at least to be on their side, but then they want to be left alone as well.

My view of the USG has become a lot more nuanced and grey over the years as I read more and learn more, it's a complex thing that requires complex responses.


civil insurrection vs apathy in the US - aye, same as over here, only if they switched off TV.. :D it'd prolly do wonders for voting turnout if they cut TV for 1 day for elections.

Something like twenty million more people turned out this year than in 2000. Personally I think it would be better if, like Australia, we had mandatory turnout, but even so when the stakes are high people will show up in much greater numbers.


ok this is like,the crux,innit?
yr looking at this situation in a positive way, i guess, like well it's not perfect but we're doing as best we can with what we got
but unfortunately that's making excuses for another debased ideology - justice & righteousness has been lost in the intricate web of realpolitikal loopholes, haggling & propaganda.

we have to face it - this is a shit situation, the world over, & is unacceptable

I think the current situation is not optimal, but I am very leary of utopian/revolutionary ideas, because they tend to go monstrously wrong. Even at levels lower than outright Bolshevik/Khomeini revolutionary transformation sudden social change can lead to unanticipated side effects.

I'm a reformist at heart I suppose.

rewch
14-12-2004, 04:06 PM
Something like twenty million more people turned out this year than in 2000. Personally I think it would be better if, like Australia, we had mandatory turnout, but even so when the stakes are high people will show up in much greater numbers.

but surely forcing people to vote is total anathema to any system of individual choice...there are fines if you don't vote, which makes it a perfect rebellion...democratic societies cannot have it both ways..if the politicians are too filthy to vote for i can't see that penalizing the voter can help...on the other hand minority elected govns give all critics a wonderful reason to have a go...

sufi
14-12-2004, 05:22 PM
how to unhijack ethical conduct from the fundies???
i posed that question coupla posts back...
now we dealt with a lot of the governmental issues lets get down towards the earth a little

what i'd like to see is more consciousness amongst people.
more ethics and less of this filthy selfish 'individualism'

i think that if we had a more supportive, community minded culture - globally - then politicians, and more importantly i think corporations should not be able to get away with the type of conduct that they do now
sexist, materialist, short-termist looters.... grrr

however, i'm loathe to associate this 'people's empowerment' with anything like 'ethical consumerism' which i think is bollocks - a futile sop to let people feel like anyone gives a fuck, when the problem is with the producers rather than the consumers... grrr

i guess that moves us a little way away from politrix towards thought, but hey-ho, here we go!

rewch
14-12-2004, 05:48 PM
but let's face it...it is damn near impossible for one individual to be ethical...if you make that unit a family it is geometrically more difficult...by the time you step up to governments it's clearly asking the impossible...

so your question should be is it possible to be ethical?

or possibly what level of ethical-ness is acceptable?

but i'm not sure we need to unhijack ethical conduct from the fundies...more like how do we unhijack the fundies from ethical conduct...education is what we need to quote the good doctor

sufi
15-12-2004, 11:18 PM
i'm quite an ethical individual

i enjoy an actively anti-sectarian existence predicated on some sort of ethical righteousness, as far as i understand it...
i'd recommend it as a lifestyle choice... ignorance covers an astonishing variety of blisses :D

sufi
14-01-2005, 09:50 AM
The Secular fundamentalists are fighting Back!! (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4732533,00.html)