21st Century: ID Politics Vs. The People

Patrick Henningsen with Gilad Atzmon and Jay Dyer

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 Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

http://21stcenturywire.com/

This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast from the UK, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen is joined by two incredible guests to discuss the disturbing political situation in America. In the first hour we’ll be joined by artist and the brilliant and controversial best-selling author and internationally acclaimed jazz artist, Gilad Atzmonto discuss Charlottesville and the problem of Left vs Right identity politics in the West, as well its roots in Jewish ID politics, and how society might be able overcome the downward spiral it currently finds itself in. In the second hour we’re joined by author and analyst, Jay Dyer, from JaysAnalysis.com to talk about America’s new culture wars and why Leftist activists are now pulling down statues across the country and how this might accelerate to more censorship and ceremonial ‘book burning’ activities. In the final segment, we hear a thought-provoking interview with an American man who managed to turn from hating all Muslims to adopting a more open-minded, civil approach to dialogue – proving that communication is the key to conflict resolution.

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ID Politics, Diversity and Biological Determinism?

August 20, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

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Introduction by Gilad Atzmon: The following is a segment taken from my new book Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto. The book offers a crude attack on ID politics.  This mini chapter examines the exclusive nature of the New Left discourse and its detachment from working people and their politics.  It points at the divisive apparatus that drives the Identitarian philosophy. By adhering to such an ideology, New Left  has managed to adopt the most problematic chapter in Hitlerian ideology namely biological determinism.  

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United Against Unity  (Being in Time pg. 46) 

What does it take, in an era dominated by progressive identity politics, to be accepted as a fully qualified member of the ‘New Left’ or to be considered a ‘liberal?’

Jane is a well-off London lawyer who identifies politically ‘as a woman,’ and marches enthusiastically for human rights. Can she join? I think the answer is yes, she can.

George is a medical doctor who also happens to be a black man and identifies as ‘Black middle class.’ Can he subscribe to a progressive email group and contribute to the discussion? I hope and suspect that he can.

And what about Julie? She runs a real estate agency on the posh side of town but she also identifies politically as a ‘gay lesbian,’ can she join the parade? What a question! Of course she can.

Abe is an accountant and very attached to his Jewish heritage. Abe identifies as a ‘secular liberal Jew,’ can he join the anti-war movement? More than likely he can, in fact, he may even, within hours of his joining, find himself in a position of leadership.

But what about Hammed, a metal worker from Birmingham? Hammed identifies as a ‘Muslim’ – can he join  a Left demonstration against the War in Syria? It’s a good question and the answer is not immediately obvious because it’s no secret that many of those who subscribe to ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ ideologies and especially activists, are rather troubled by religion in general and Islam in particular.

So, while Hammed identifies with an inclusive, universal and humanist precept, Jane, ‘the woman’, Julie ‘the gay lesbian’ and George ‘the Black’ subscribe to political identities that are largely determined by biology. Furthermore, Abe, as a secular Jew, affiliates himself with an (imaginary) blood- based ethnocentric tribal identity. Clearly, the contemporary so called ‘New Left’ has no problem with marginal and exclusivist political identities that are often biologically oriented.

How has the contemporary ‘liberal’ discourse been sustained by people who subscribe to biologically- determined identity politics, yet often reject those who actually support equality, human rights issues and who are also often from the working class? Could it be that the ‘New Left’ is detached from working class politics and instead focuses on a vague and inconsistent pseudo-empathic discourse primarily engaged in sectarian battles?

Let’s consider some more possible cases:

Uri is an Israeli peace activist and writer who identifies as an Israeli Leftist. Is Uri welcome within the progressive network? The answer is an unreserved yes.

But how about John Smith, an English bus driver from 47

Liverpool who is proud to be English and ‘as a patriotic Englishman’ opposes the war because John truly believes that peace is patriotic. Can he join an anti-war protest and, while he’s at it, carry a Union Jack to demonstrations? Perhaps.

Tony is a ‘Jewish Socialist’ – certainly not religious but an ethnic Jew who identifies ‘as a Jew’ racially and ethnically. And by the way, Tony also operates politically within Jews- only anti-Zionist groups. Tony is hugely welcome at most progressive gatherings. But can the same be said for Franz who identifies as an ‘Aryan socialist?’ I suspect not.

The point is that there is a critical discrepancy in contemporary Left, liberal and progressive movements between professed humanism and the reality on the ground. Jewish ethnocentrism and even Jewish racial exclusivity is fully accepted, while other forms of ethnocentrism are bluntly rejected.*

And, while we’re at it, what about Laura? She’s a Muslim convert who often hides her face behind a veil. Does she feel comfortable in ‘progressive’ or liberal gatherings? Not really. But Laura certainly supports human rights and equality almost as much as she loves Allah. But the Left, supposedly progressive and liberal, shows very little tolerance towards Allah worshippers while worshippers of the Talmud who are willing to oppose Israel are not only tolerated, they are welcomed. Torah Jews, for instance, are often invited to progressive gatherings though, it must be said, they may encounter some resentment, especially from Jewish secular activists (this surely is because progressive Jews don’t like to be ethnically and ‘racially’ associated with ‘reactionary’ people in caftans).

Membership in a progressive club is not a straightforward matter. We are dealing with an operation that is far from being universal, open or inclusive. The discourse is selective, incoherent and unprincipled. The working class is not represented unless they demonstrate adherence to an Identitarian ideology and subscribe to a predetermined tablet of diverse ‘correct politics’, or shall we call it, an inconsistent set of progressive values. If they espouse a commitment to ‘working class’ values, its presence is not detectable.

So what are ‘correct politics?’ Where are they defined and by whom? Is it the same people who set a ‘progressive threshold’ that excludes the Muslim, the nationalist and the so-called ‘White’ (whatever that means), yet embraces biologically-determined sectarian politics and even racial categories?

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 Being In Time: A Post Political Manifesto is available now on: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and gilad.co.uk.   

 

*Black ethnocentrism had been accepted within the progressive milieu for some time, however this has changed recently once it was revealed that Black Lives Matter stood for the Palestinians. To read more: http:// http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/why-did-black-american- activists-start-caring-about-palestine/496088/

Being in Time – a Revolutionary Leftist review by Roy Ratcliffe

Introduction by GA: the following is an extended review of my latest book, Being in Time, by Roy Ratcliffe, one of the last free creative thinkers within the Left milieu.

Far from being surprising, Ratcliffe, a revolutionary Marxist, found a lot of truth in the book. The same can be said about conservative and Right Wing intellectuals who also praised the book. How is it possible that both Right and Left ideologists/intellectuals agree upon the validity of a critical text?  Being in Time offers an answer to the above question. In Being in Time, Traditional Left and Right thinking modes are complimentary substances. They are like day and night, the ‘dream’ and the ‘real,’ together they from a mirror image of the human psychic, that mental transition between the ‘ought to be’ and ‘Being.’

Being in Time – a post political manifesto is critical of all forms of Identity (ID) politics: Jewish, gender, White, Black etc. The book argues that the breaking of society into biologically oriented ID sectors has obliterated our ability to fight together as one people. It was set to serve the interests of big money: the Soroses, the JP Morgans, the Goldmans, the Sachses. Being in Time attempts to explain why the USA is being pushed into a civil war. It explains why Trump became the president. It predicts Corbyn’s growing popularity.  It seeks a to offer a new synthesis of our human faculties. Instead of looking into that which spreads us apart, time is ripe to look into that that which unites us all.  

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عن حيل الجبناء والمهزومين

عن حيل الجبناء والمهزومين

ابراهيم الأمين

ارتداء القفازات، كما الأقنعة، حيلة الجبناء. لكن جعل الخوف من تهمة الخيانة وكأنه خوف من رصاصة طائشة، فهذا والله حيلة البلهاء. أما التذرّع بالاختلاف الدائم حول الهوية الوطنية، فهو، في حدّ ذاته، المرض المستعصي مع حاملي فيروس “الانكار”. ومعهم لن يستقيم الحال ولا النقاش!

مشكلة أهل الانكار مزدوجة: فشل ذريع في التوقعات والتقديرات، وإلقاء اللوم على المنتصرين. هؤلاء ينفون عن الآخرين معرفة الحق والصواب. جلّهم لا يرتاح على مذهب أو رأي، والتاريخ عندهم حمّال أوجه لا حقائق فيه.
في حالتنا اللبنانية والعربية، يصبح فشل النظام الرسمي العربي، ومعه نخب وأفكار وأحزاب، في حفظ السيادة والاستقلال والعجز عن تأمين التطور والازدهار، مبرراً للاعتراف بالعدو. يريد أهل الانكار لنا أن نكون مثلهم. أن نعيش تحت وطأة الهزيمة كل العمر.

أهل الانكار يشكون من أنظمة متهالكة تسببت بالفقر والتخلف والاحتلال. ثم يقولون لمن يحاول ــــ وقد نجح ــــ في مواجهة الاحتلال وتقليص حجم الظلم:

لا نريد سيادة واستقلالاً على أيديكم. ثم يصدرون الفتوى بأن المشكلة ليست في الاحتلال والاستعمار، بل في من يرفض الاستسلام.

ومع خلاصات كهذه يصبح صحيحاً قولهم بأنه لا مجال لاتفاق على وطنية أو مقدّسات، ولا حتى على بعض من قيم!

لنعد إلى بديهيات كالتي تلجأ إليها الشعوب من أجل صياغة تفاهمات الحدّ المقبول للعيش بسلام. يتم جمع الأوراق والأفكار في دستور يرسم إطار الوطنية العامة، ولا يغلق الباب على تعديلات فيه أو نسف له. وفي حالتنا نسأل:

هل ثمة تفاهمات أولية لدينا في لبنان؟
هل إسرائيل عدو لنا؟
هل تمثّل مجموعات الإرهاب خطراً علينا أم لا؟

إذا كان لدى البعض رأي آخر، فليخرج ويقل لنا، علناً، إن إسرائيل ليست عدواً. وليطالب بإلغاء حالة الحرب معها، وليقل لنا إن ارهابيي العصر لا يشكلون خطراً وإنهم أخوة لنا. ولكن، ليرفق موقفه بالدعوة إلى استفتاء، كما تفعل الدول التي يعشقها أهل الانكار، وبرعاية من يشاؤون. وإذا ربحوا بفارق واحد في المئة، سنذعن لهم، أو نترك البلد ليرتاحوا منا.

أما إذا كانت النتيجة، كما هو واقع الحال، حيث أن غالبية لبنانية حقيقية مقتنعة بأن إسرائيل هي العدو، بعدما جرّبناها جميعاً، محتلاً أو حليفاً، وبأن الإرهابيين يمثلون نقيض الحياة، وقد جربناهم انتحاريين أو ثواراً أتقياء… فماذا نفعل؟
كيف يستقيم الحال مع هؤلاء، وهم لا يرون حقيقة القوى المعادية لبلادنا. وهي القوى التي تعطينا الدرس تلو الآخر، عقداً بعد عقد، بأنها تحتقرنا، ولا تريد لنا مكانة تعلو فوق نعالها.

كيف لنا مناقشتهم وهم يقولون لنا إنه لا موجب لمقاومة الاحتلال وقتال الإرهابيين، وإن كل ما علينا فعله هو الصمت، وانتظار بركات الرجل الأبيض؟

هل يقول لنا أهل الانكار كيف نتصرف معهم وهم يرفضون مراجعة مواقفهم وتصريحاتهم ونصوصهم خلال ربع قرن، وكيف لم يصيبوا في تشخيص أو تحليل أو تقدير واحد؟

بماذا نصفهم، عندما يصبح موقفهم معادياً لمن يرفض الاحتلال والقهر والمجانين. بماذا ننعتهم وهم يرفضون كل مقاومة للعدو والإرهابيين؟

هل من صفة تطلق على هؤلاء، سواء في العالم المتخلّف أو المتقدّم، أو حتى في عوالم من ينتظر على الرصيف، غير صفة الخائن والعميل؟

أهل الانكار يريدون لنا اعتبار فشلهم، المتوالد سنة بعد سنة وإطاراً بعد إطار ومشروعاً بعد مشروع وفكرة بعد فكرة، أنه نتيجة تعنّتنا نحن، وإصرارنا نحن، على مقاومة الاحتلال وأدوات الاستعمار!

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على أيّ حال، من بين قلة يمكن مناقشتهم، بعض العقائديين، حتى العظم، من فريق يرفض كل ما يمتّ إلى عالم المقاومة بصلة. بينهم حازم صاغية، المنتمي طواعية إلى نادي الخصوم. وبرغم ما يعتبره جرأة في رفض المقاومة، فهو لا يزال يخاف من قول حقيقة موقفه من إسرائيل ومن الإرهابيين وفي كيفية مواجهتهم… إذا كان يرى وجوباً لهذه المواجهة.

في مقالة له في ٢٦ تموز الماضي، كتب حازم صاغية في «الحياة» ما عناه درساً لنا بعد انتصار المقاومة في تحرير جرود عرسال من قتلة وإرهابيين. قال بجدية أو سخرية:

«إنّ من ينتصر يتعلّم الرحابة والثقة في النفس. يدعو خصومه، وقد انتصر، إلى طيّ صفحة الماضي. إلى فتح صفحة جديدة. وقد يقول، مثلاً، عبارات من نوع: «عفّى الله عمّا مضى». قد يتذكّر الأوصاف القديمة التي نسبتها كتب الإنشاء إلى العرب: العفو عند المقدرة».

حسناً، لنفعل ذلك، وقد فعلنا، لكن: كم مرة تقول للشخص نفسه عفى الله عما مضى، وكم مرة تسامحه، وكم مرة تطلب له العفو؟ ألم يتعلم من كل ما مضى، ويتوقف عن الخطأ؟ ألا يعرف أن المدرسة التي يتعلم فيها فاشلة، وأن مرجعيته خائبة، وأن خياراته تجعله في مواجهة الجدار دوماً؟ لكن حازم صاغية يكرر وصفته الدائمة بأن «انتصار طرف كهذا ــــ وليكن على «داعش» أو «النصرة» أو إسرائيل ــــ هزيمة. لن يُبتزّ أحد بالطبيعة القبيحة للطرف الآخر، لكنّ أحداً ينبغي ألّا يُبتزّ بالطبيعة المثيرة للغثيان في هذا الطرف».

هل نعود هنا مع حازم صاغية نفسه، إلى ما كتبه عشية تحرير العام 2000، يوم طالب المقاومة بإلقاء السلاح والرحيل، حتى قبل خروج قوات الاحتلال؟ وجد ما يكفي من الأسباب لحلها. لكن الجواب جاءه يومها من جهاد الزين الذي دعاه لأن يصبر ويهدأ ولا يغضب من انتصار مقاومة ليست على ذوقه الايديولوجي!

ثم يعود حازم صاغية، في ٢ آب ٢٠١٧، لينشر في «الحياة» درسه الجديد لنا بأن 

«ظاهرة العمالة والخيانة، لا تنشأ إلّا في بيئة الأنظمة الاستبداديّة والتوتاليتاريّة التي تقول بوجود قضيّة مقدّسة أو قضايا مقدّسة»،

ثم تراه لاعب جمباز يقفز فوق كل الحقائق صارخاً

«أعطنا قضيّة مقدّسة وخذ عملاء وخونة».

وحتى لا يطول بنا الانتظار يقف بيننا مثل خطيب حاسماً النقاش: 

«نحن مختلفون عميقاً في معنى الوطنيّة، في معنى مكافحة إسرائيل، في معنى محاربة الإرهاب».

ثم يزجر بنا متوهّماً تفوقاً معرفياً وأخلاقياً ليقول:

«قياساً بوطنيّين كهؤلاء، يسعدنا أن نكون خونة هذا البلد وعملاءه. إنّ الدنس خير من تلك القداسة».

في كل ما سبق، يبقى حازم صاغية أميناً لفكرة سكنته منذ اكتشف عجز المقاومة الفلسطينية عن تحرير فلسطين، وعجز الحركة الوطنية اللبنانية عن إنتاج حل لأزمة لبنان. وهذا حقه. لكن المشكلة التي تحزّ في القلب، أن يصل به فقر المنطق وصدأ أدوات التحليل، إلى أن يعتبر مهاجمة الخونة والعملاء تورية تخفي «طائفيّة مقنّعة بحيث تُستخدم تهمة العمالة لتجنّب ذكر جماعات طائفيّة أخرى هي المقصودة فعلاً بالشتيمة».

في هذه النقطة، من المفيد لفت انتباهه إلى أن آخر ما يتمناه المرء لشخص مثل حازم صاغية، أن يكون مواظباً علىسماع أناشيد فؤاد السنيورة حول الطائفية والمذهبية. لأن حقيقة ما نعيشه يقول، بوضوح، بأن اتهام الآخرين بالعنصرية والطائفية هو، في الحقيقة، حيلة المهزومين!

بالأمس، كتب حازم صاغية مقالة بعنوان «زمن حزب الله» متحدّثاً عما شهده لبنان في الأسابيع الماضية، وبدا فيها متفاجئاً وعاتباً كيف

«نعيش اليوم الحقيقة الخطيرة التي هي اندماج البندقيّة بالتأييد الشعبيّ العابر للطوائف». ثم في لحظة تخلٍّ يرى أن هناك أسباباً لانتصارات حزب الله بينها «سبب اسمه حسن نصر الله: الوجه السياسيّ الوحيد غير التافه في صحراء السياسة اللبنانيّة. ذاك الرجل بنى موقعه بالعمل والجدّ والسهر، والعيش تحت الأرض… في خطاباته سلّح، ويسلّح، جمهوره بالحجج التي تغذّي سجالهم السياسيّ…

يخطب نصر الله فيُشتقّ موقف سياسيّ من خطابه». ربما يجد البعض في ما يقوله حازم صاغية «إقراراً بالهزيمة». ربما في ذلك بعض الحقيقة. لكن الأكيد، أنه إقرار يشبه إلى حد المطابقة إقرار ابو مالك التلي بهزيمته في جرود عرسال. إنه أشبه باستسلام من خسر المعركة ولم يبدّل قناعاته.

حازم صاغية، هنا، لا يخبرنا بجديد عندما «يمدح» عدوه الأول، و«يبهدل» من اعتبرهم هو، يوماً، الأمل في بناء دولة لا وجود للمقاومين والممانعين فيها. لكن الصدمة التي لن يتأخر حدثها وستفقده صوابه، تتعلق بأن الغرب، الذي يعشقه صاغية، يركض بكل أنفاسه، بالإغراء كما بالتهديد، صوب حزب الله وما يمثله، يريد منه تواصلاً، أو علاقة وتعاوناً، وربما تحالفاً إن لزم الأمر. وهي صدمة سبق لحازم أن جرّبها قبل عقود!

في ذلك الزمن، كتب الراحل جوزيف سماحة عن صديقيه وليد نويهض وحازم صاغية، محللاً علاقة خاصة بينهما، وسجالاً حيال النظرة إلى إيران والغرب في ثمانينات القرن الماضي مع انكشاف فضيحة «ايران غيت»، إذ تبين أن الأميركيين يبيعون السلاح لإيران. قال جوزيف يومها إن «حازم ذهب في «الحداثة» محمولاً على المد الريغاني باعث أمجاد الغرب وأميركا ووائد كارتر، «الديمقراطي المائع» الذي لم يعرف أن يلقن خاطفي الأميركيين في بيروت الدرس الذي يستحقون. لكنه عاش مفاجأة «أميركية». أحسّ أن ريغان غدر به. جعله يعتقد أن أميركا العائدة بقوة إلى قيادة العالم هي خارج إطار التعاطي السياسي مع إيران».

قال جوزيف

إن حازم «يهاجر من جواب إلى جواب». هي الهجرة التي تحولت مهنة. لكنها بلغت حدوداً تتجاوز الحدود المعقولة لسن التقاعد، وهو ما قد يكون العلاج الأنجع… أو لنقل إنه حيلة المفلسين!

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اليوم، 14 آب، الذكرى السنوية لتحطيم المقاومة أسطورة جيش إسرائيل. ويصادف، أيضاً، يوم صدور العدد الأول من «الأخبار». نعود إلى ذلك الصباح الذي كتب فيه جوزيف سماحة إننا في «زمن يتميّز بوفرة «الحسابات الخاطئة». إنّ لبنان في مرحلة مفصلية، وكذلك منطقتنا. ويمكن قول الأمر نفسه عن العدوان المتمادي الذي نتعرض له. لقد دخلنا هذه المرحلة المفصلية لأن هناك من أجرى «حسابات خاطئة». لقد كدنا نعتاد أن هذه التهمة توجّه إلى من يقاوم ظلماً، أو يتمرّد عليه، أو يرفضه بعنف. إلا أن الفترة الأخيرة توفّر أدلة لا تحصى على أن التهمة انتقلت من جهة إلى أخرى. لم يعد سرّاً اليوم، من هو الطرف الذي خالف الدقة».

قال جوزيف قبل 11 عاماً ما يطابق حالنا اليوم، حيث

ان لبنان «الخارج من صلابة الممانعة وركام الخرائب لن يكون لبنان الذي عرفناه قبل. فلبنان قبل 12 تموز 2006 كان وطناً معلّقاً ومزرعة سمّيت، تجاوزاً، دولة. يجب الحؤول دون ترميم المزرعة من أجل التقدم نحو بناء دولة المواطنين التي يمكنها، وحدها، بعدلها وقدرتها وحرصها السيادي، أن تستوعب هذا الاستعداد المذهل للانتصار على الصعاب، وأن تنظر إلى المقاومة، أيّ مقاومة، بصفتها عصباً يشدّ النسيج الوطني، ويقوّي صلابته، ويدافع عن عروبته، ويمنع انزلاقه نحو الخراب الكبير الرافع وهم «الحياد» والداعي إلى حرمان الأمة من المساهمة اللبنانية الفذّة. دلالات المواجهة المستمرة كثيرة».

اليوم، نقترب أكثر، من أي وقت مضى، من فرصة إعادة صياغة المنظومة السياسية والاقتصادية التي ستحكم هذا الشرق لعقود طويلة. وهي حقبة قاسية وموجعة بعوارض نموها، وربما بأصعب من آلام المواجهة مع المستعمر وشياطينه.

بيننا مقاوم يرتفع دوماً فوق القامات.

وبيننا خونة وعملاء لن تغسل الدماء عارهم.

وبيننا مهزومون يحتاجون الى علاج على يد مبدع يمنع عن مرضاه الارتماء في حضن شياطين العصر، حيث لا شيء سوى الجنون والانتحار!

مقالات أخرى لابراهيم الأمين:

Who is afraid of Gilad Atzmon?

June 12, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Adam Garrie is one of the most sophisticated scholarly minds around. We discussed censorship, identity politics, social cohesion, Left tyranny,  the crisis of the post-modern west. We tried to figure out what being in time  is all about. If you want to see me challenged, here is your opportunity…

https://youtu.be/mmL-f020mlY

On Corbyn and Nostalgia

June 09, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

If you want to grasp Corbyn’s success Being in Time is your book…For the working people ‘utopia’ is nostalgia…

“People who were born in the 1960s and before are often nostalgic about the 1960s and 1970s, the promises and beliefs that things were getting better.  Barack Obama’s first election campaign was, in that respect, a nostalgic moment.  It was an instant of delusional liberal democratic reawakening.  The recent surge in popularity of Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, both old-style Leftists, shows the same longing for the ‘political era.’  And, in fact, the incredible presidential victory of Donald Trump may not be much different; it evokes nostalgia of true rebellious freedom as opposed to the post-political tyranny of political correctness.   Sanders, Trump and Corbyn have been reminding many of what the electorate’s hope was all about.” (Being in Time-a Post Political Manifesto, pg. 20)

Being in Time-The Post Political Manifesto can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad’s site  here

Being and Politics – a Left oriented critical review by Kim Petersen

June 07, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

Introduction by GA: The following is a Left oriented critical review of Being in Time by Kim Petersen (Dissident Voice). I would like to thank Kim for his eloquent approach. However, in Being in Time I obviously refrain from following the orthodox definitions of Left and Right. I actually insist that Left and Right are not what they seem to appear or represent but instead are a mirroring of the human condition: a dialectical interplay between the dream and the real (or shall we say being and becoming).  Petersen writes in the end of his review, “it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing.” This point must be addressed. While activists tend to know who is right and what is wrong, I see myself as a philosopher. My task is to refine questions rather than produce answers.  I leave the domain of  ‘promising structures’ of the Jerusalemites.  I am, by far more excited by the Athenian approach, namely thinking things through. For me to teach, is to teach other to think for themselves. 

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad's site  here. 

The book can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com and on Gilad’s site here.

Being and Politics by Kim Petersen

http://dissidentvoice.org/

Gilad Atzmon has a new book just out titled Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. The title probably is influenced from a book, Being and Time, written by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Atzmon has put forward his manifesto that attempts to synthesize various political, cultural, psychological, linguistic strands to explain why the western world finds itself in its current state of unfettered capitalism, crushed communism, the continuing Jewish occupation of and oppression in Palestine, supremacism, the West fighting Israel’s wars, and the discourse being manipulated (even within purportedly independent media).

In Being in Time, Atzmon pulls on many threads, including sexuality, psychoanalysis, the Frankfurt school, cultural Marxism, cognitive partitioning, political correctness, language, identity politics, leftism, rightism, and more.

Identity Politics

I continue to dissent from how Atzmon characterizes the Left, which he divides into the Old and New Left. Fine, there are divisions in the Left. There are certain core principles that leftists adhere to: pro-human rights for all humans, accepting of diversity, anti-war, pro-worker, anti-exploitation, etc. But what must also be realized is that many persons may pose as Left but are not leftist in orientation. People who do not embrace core leftist principles are not leftist, they are faux-leftists. To criticize the entirety of the Left because a fifth column has undermined a segment of the Left speaks to the level of infiltration, the gullibility of certain leftists, or the fragility of social conviction among some leftists.

The Left is not a monolith, and neither is the Right a monolith. Hence any criticism leveled at the entirety of a political orientation is only valid when the entirety of a political orientation espouses an identical platform.

Atzmon considers that identity politics characterizes liberalism and progressivism. (p 8) He names, for example, LGBTQ, feminists, Latinos, Blacks, and Jews as forming exclusive political alliances. However, a major plank of the Left is solidarity as it is widely understood that to bring about some greater form of socialism the masses must unite. Ergo, strict allegiance to identity politics is contrary to leftist principles. Atzmon further notes that patriotism is secondary among leftists. Jingoistic nationalism is an enemy of the working class, and it is certainly anathema to anarchists. Therefore, insofar as patriotic sentiment prejudices one’s attachment with wider humanity, it serves to divide rather than unite peoples.

Yet rightists also engage in identity politics as Whites, militarists, religious sects, and anti-abortionists attest. In the case of the US politics, Amanda Marcotte of Salon writes, “Democrats are always accused of playing ‘identity politics.’ The reality is that Republicans do it far more.”

Left-Right

I wonder what exactly Atzmon means by post-politics. I assume this refers to the “fatigue” he points to in the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump, as well as the discarding of Left and Right politics.

He sees Left and Right as “now indistinguishable and irrelevant.” (p 9)

According to Atzmon, the Left is focused on “what could be” and the Right on “what is.” (p 13) Atzmon argues, “The Right does not aim to change human social reality but rather to celebrate, and even to maximize it.” (p 13)

But the Right has engineered this “social reality” through neoliberalism, imperialism, and militaristic violence, and the only ones really benefiting from this so-called maximization are the capitalist class. That the Democratic Party in the US, the Labour Party in the UK, the Liberal Party in Canada are in step with this engineering of “social reality” adduces that they are rightist parties.

“The Left,” continues Atzmon, “yearns for equality, but for the Right, the human condition is diverse and multi-layered, with equality not just tolerated but accepted as part of the human condition, a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world.” (p 13)

The imprecision of what constitutes a chunk of Atzmon’s manifesto is annoying. The Left “yearns”? This might be written in a less biased manner as a “desire.” But it is not simply a desire for an undefined “equality.” The Left calls for an equality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources. Why not? Should an inequality of conditions, opportunities, and access to resources be accepted? Should one class of people be accorded privileges over the rest of humanity? Is this not supremacism – which Atzmon deplores? And for most of the Left – most (and for anarchists, likeliest all), respect for diversity is a valued principle. Diversity is recognized by the Right, specifically, pecuniary diversity. But American society historically has been considered a melting pot rather than a celebration of diversity.

Atzmon sets up the parameters for discussion,such that the “post-political” author can diss both Left and Right. He does not discuss in the Left-Right context as to what constitutes “the human condition” and whether the rightist perspective is indeed “a natural part of our social, spiritual and material world.” I find such a statement ahistorical. The economist Karl Polanyi presented a compelling historical perspective in his book The Great Transformation that elucidates how communitarian human society was changed.

Atzmon writes, “For the Right ideologue, it is the ‘will to survive’ and even to attain power that makes social interactions exciting.” (p 13) The sentence strikes this reader as platitudinal. There is no example or substantiation provided. Which ideologue from whatever corner of the political continuum does not have a will to survive or seek exciting interactions?

Atzmon sums up the Left-Right schism as “the tension between equality and reality.” (p 13) If one cannot accept the definitions, and if the premises are faulty, then the logical structure collapses.

One flips the page and the Left is described as dreamy, illusory, unreal, phantasmal, utopian; thus, it did not appeal to the working class. Atzmon asserts, “Social justice, equality and even revolution may really be nothing but the addictive rush of effecting change and this is perhaps why hard-core Leftist agitators often find it difficult to wake from their social fantasy. They simply refuse to admit that reality has slipped from their grasp, preferring to remain in their phantasmal universe, shielded by ghetto walls built of archaic terminology and political correctness.” (p 14-15)

Atzmon is also abusive of the Right, seeing the Right ideologue as mired in biological determinism. (p 17)

Atzmon says he wants to push past political ideology. I am unaware of his professing any political leaning, so I guess he is, in a sense, already post-political. This strikes me as illusory since in western “democracies” the corporations still pull the strings of their politicians.

Atzmon applies the noun democracy recklessly. Without defining what is a democracy, through using the word (as so many people do), he inadvertently reifies something that does not exist in any meaningful sense.

Atzmon writes darkly, “Symptomatic of the liberal democratic era was the belief that people could alter their circumstances.” (p 19) Yet contemporary politicians still play on that sentiment, witness Barack Obama in the US and Justin Trudeau in Canada whose political campaigns appealed to such a belief. Does Atzmon think people cannot alter their circumstances?

Atzmon points to how the Labour Party under Blair became a neoliberal, warmongering party. He concludes, “The difference between Left and Right had become meaningless?” (p 24) I would describe this as the Left (to the extent the Labour Party was genuinely Left) being co-opted and disappeared by the Right — a political coup.

Atzmon says the political -isms and free markets are empty. He does not specifically target anarch-ism, however. Besides mentioning anarchist professor Noam Chomsky, one supposes anarchism is too fringe for Atzmon, but also it is beyond much of the criticism he levels at the Left. And as for the notion of a “free market,” there never has been one. Polanyi wrote in The Great Transformation: “The road to the free market was opened and kept open by an enormous increase in continuous, centrally organized and controlled interventionism.” (p 146)

Why has the genuine Left never attained power and brought its vision to fruition? Rampant capitalism has allowed 1% to profit grotesquely relative to the 99%. The 1%-ers have the money and the power that money buys: media, corporations, resources, and government. With the government controlled by the 1%-ers that puts the state security apparatus also under their control – and paid for the 99%-ers (because the rich all too often escape paying tax) to keep them in place. The police and military is, in essence, socialism exploited to protect capitalism. The few countries that have brought about Communism (Cuba, China, USSR, Viet Nam, etc) have found themselves under incessant militaristic and economic threat from capitalists who fear the example of successful socialism. This is missing from Atzmon’s analysis.

Atzmon even proposes that socialism can also be considered greedy because “… it promises that neither you nor anyone else will possess more than I.” (p 25) Really? Where is this stated and by who? Anarchist economics does not propose such a premise.1

Political correctness

Political correctness (PC). What is it? Atzmon calls it “a tyrannical project. The attempted elimination of essentialism, categorization and generalization… in opposition to human nature.” (p 38) Basically, it is the avoidance of language that stigmatizes other groups. Who wants to be stigmatized? Nobody. I can agree that PC has been pushed to extremes. PC also does not distinguish between intention and denotation. Should it? I confess when younger that I, close friends, and colleagues would call each other “gay.” It was actually a term of affection we used for each other. No negative sentiments were felt toward any sexual orientations; in fact, many of us were frequently in the company of LGBTQ. But we were not PC.

Atzmon finds that self-censorship is an outcome of PC: “Initially we don’t say what we think; eventually we learn to say what we don’t think.” (p 39) Perhaps. But sometimes it is better to bite one’s tongue and say nothing. I prefer to think of PC having encouraged a more respectful discourse, but PC should be criticized when it becomes excessive. There are plenty of non-PC examples among those who affiliate with the PC crowd, such as denigrating people who demonstrate for Palestinian human rights as “anti-Semites” – probably the most abused anti-PC term. PC becomes a tool of indoctrination when not practiced with equanimity and sincerity.

Is PC a freedom of speech issue? In some cases, yes. For instance, why is it okay to label someone a “holocaust denier” when questioning the veracity of certain aspects of WWII history? No serious person denies that Jews were among those targeted by Nazis; and no serious person denies that Jews were among those people transported to and having died in concentration camps.

An inordinate focus on PC can be vexing; there are much bigger issues in the world than a focus on whether to call a female “girl” or “woman.” It seems simple enough to raise awareness of inappropriate use of language. Most people will come around to a polite request to avoid words that may offend.

Miscellania

Being in Time finally begins to hit its stride when focusing on manipulations to grab and maintain power. The author is unafraid to point a finger and criticize identitarian groupings that create and exploit divisions.2 The stride is bumpy though, as Atzmon discusses sexuality, LGBTQ, feminism, Left abandonment of the working class, psychoanalysis and the scientific method, Athens and Jerusalem, severe criticism of Marxism, etc. The depth and breadth of the manifesto is beyond a book review.

The scope of Being in Time even looks at a 1970’s sitcom, All in the Family, which Atzmon sees as having “succeeded in pushing the liberal agenda into every American living room.” (p 109) Atzmon calls it a “sophisticated” “cultural manipulation.” (p 110)

Atzmon sees Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as an institutional failure “embedded in progressive and liberal thought.” (p 120) Describing the ardent neoliberal Clinton or her supporters as liberal or progressive is classic mislabeling.

Atzmon is razor sharp when discussing aspects of Jewishness and what the different aspects mean for being a Jew. However, when discussing the political spectrum, political ideology, and society, his definitions too often seem contrived to support his thesis.

In the final pages of Being in Time, Atzmon speaks from deep familiarity with the subject matter: capitalism, Mammonism, and tribalism. With a closing flourish, Atzmon poignantly dares to ask, “And isn’t it correctness, pure and simple, that stops us from mentioning that the protagonist [in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brotherhood leader Emmanuel] Goldstein is, himself, Jewish?” (p 208)

Final Comments

In the typical human perspective, Being proceeds in a linear fashion. But from a cultural, historical, linguistic, ethical, scientific perspective Being is clearly multi-faceted and not confined to linearity. Atzmon is fully aware of this, nonetheless his Being in Time tackles myriad issues in a rather binary fashion.

There are arguments presented in the book that I diverge from, but Being in Time presents points of view that deserve contemplation and a threshing out. Over all, it is a manifesto that I find unrefined; in dire need of definitions that are substantiated, not merely asserted; and (although I believe Atzmon would state this was beyond his remit) it would be fruitful if the book erected a promising structure, rather than simply tear down structures with little left standing. Being in Time comes across as an interesting foray to understanding and twining politics, power, and ontology that deserves deeper development. A dialectical approach might be most illuminating.

Alas, politics is not yet dead.

The Dream of a better world is not yet dead either. But one day the Dream must end because the Dream must be made a Reality. That is my simplistic two-sentence manifesto.

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