a.nihil

politics

A few days ago I wrote an essay about the plight of the Indian Muslims and the perils of rising Hindu majoritarianism in India. Though it was a small slice of refracting India through a religious lens, the basic point remains that a State should be free of all religious influence, no matter how hard it is to shake individual religious beliefs before getting into political office. Can religion stop being a performative act, with thousands upon thousands and of temples, mosques and churches, each vying for a growing market share? Are the subliminal metaphysical beliefs be outsourced to a cheap god, expending our collective energies in the worship of the unknown unconscious? Can we dream of a world without the weight of idle stones and crosses, our beliefs extending to the primitive beliefs from nascent past civilizations?

A true land of for the people will not harp over imaginative pasts and glorious futures, our dreams should structure around what is possible, through work that is legitimate not mythical. Break those temples, stone the mosques, raze them churches, what is political is not hidden in the confines of a book or that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the human self. A true leadership will rid of the ills of past lives we cannot shake off, our culture is worth only if there is space for us to live within it. For all the blood spilled over the name of religion, let's shun ourselves from the intoxication from a false set of beliefs.From the dust that will remain in our public spaces, let us fill our amnesia with rational knowledge. A desire for a sip from the fountain of knowledge must remain, but the methodology shouldn't be outsourced to abstract gods created in our identity. As long as these archaic institutions remain in our midst, we will be draining our precious mental resources for stone cold pieces that have no interest in our lives. Burn them, break them, bury them, their job here is done.

#religion #politics #philosophy

Part One

on anarchism

Anarchy or anarchists have a lot of bad reputation in the media, with constant association to chaos, stone pelting and acts of vandalism. It is often misunderstood with protestors on both sides of the political spectrum labelled as anarchists in American media and in extension, world over. Anarchism has for long been a hard political concept to define and to accept, the question remains what events in the past decade have morphed from anarchic ideas and helped bolster democratic participation and principles. The word anarchy is etymologically derived from the Greek work anarkhia, which means “without a ruler”, strives to be a political thought which functions with hierarchies of power. The definition explains why anarchism does not sit well with established analogies of power and the modern democratic State which has hierarchies built into its bureaucracies and decision-making clusters, making it hard to imagine a system without the structure of hierarchical leadership.

Roughly 2.4 billion people live in electoral and liberal democracies across the world with the rest living in a mix of electoral, mixed, and other kinds of autocracies. Of this, India is the largest democracy with 1.3 billion people which has been classified as an electoral autocracy as of 2020. Inequality, democratic discontent, and populism have been identified risks for democratic backsliding. The gap between the richest people in the world and everyone else has been widening in the past 30 years, where the poorest half of the world population have seen only 1% increase in global wealth while the richest have seen a 50% increase.

Some studies show that economic inequality is a barrier to the democratization process because of the economic elite’s fear of excessive re-distributive reforms under democracy. Through the competition between different economic elites’ democracy emerges, thus positively associating income inequality to democratization, though they do hint that the elites are more powerful when they control more of society’s wealth.

Here the definition of democracy serves as a handy principle, where democracy is a method of collective decision making at an essential stage of the decision-making process where all the participants have a kind of equality. Depressed voter turnouts have been linked to economic inequality, with all income groups voting less. This points to a reduced democratization, with the power concentrating in the hands of a few who profit from the non-participation of a sizable majority of the population. The effects of economic inequality and loss of democratic principles is a problem that cannot be ignored.

According to the Russian revolutionary anarchist Bakunin, a State without the domination of one class by another is unimaginable and as a result a State without slavery is unthinkable, while a more modern interpretation of anarchism based on the critique of liberalization argues that all States are criminal organizations. A common misconception is that chaos and anarchy go together – but that does not relate to the social thought of Anarchy, as anarchists typically believe in high levels of democratic organization, just that it is constructed with bottom-up model. States level societies on the other hand are relatively new introduction in the human political organization, having existed only for the last 5000 years, a recent development when considering modern humans existed for over 300,000 years. This suggests that modern States should be considered as a mixed experiment than an absolute structure. Thus, anarchic activity focuses on refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the structure of power, as the participants acknowledge that they are inherently free from any kind of State obeisance. It is in this case that anarchic principles of collectivized groups forming to serve their immediate interests, invested in good of the people.

Changes to inequality are rare occurrences and they're often associated with other dramatic consequences such as wars and economic depressions. Also, policies to reduce wealth inequality are rarely enforced as the can result in a total upheaval of the entire political system and can lead to severe political events such as wars. This entrenches populism, as populists’ message that elites are corrupt and that the people need better representation, a key indicator in countries such as India under Modi, USA under Trump and Hungary under Orban. The voters supporting the populists want a radical change from the usual politics without their untoward repercussions, that is losing cultural or economic status.

One way to oppose populists is to vote and the other is to take principles of anarchic thought and question the very idea of obedience. This brings forward the question if obedience is simply a pragmatic choice or a strategic one but on the ideas of loyalty to the State and identification with its laws. If the State itself is illegitimate, then participation is merely a choice and not one of a duty. Some might argue that anarchism is incoherent but the issues it brings up are deep, questioning the traditional notions of sovereignty and political obligation, making one wonder about things taken for granted. Anarchism provides scope for organization based on voluntarism and mutual help as well as consensus. From this vantage, anarchist communities can work well if they can shield themselves from coercive authority.

Given the challenges to democracies around the world, it helps understanding different forms of collective organizations and their role in the democratization process, and anarchic movements with their focus of individual freedoms and collective participation can be a healthy paradigm against the oppression of the elites.

#anarchism #democracy #politics

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Two hundred years from now the great American history rewriting machine will have erased memories of the proxy fights with Russians in the sovereign nation of Afghanistan. What will be remembered is the horror across the world after the World Trade Center was brought down in an act of sheer terror. The word terror will be emphasized and the perpetrators names will be lost in generalizations. The wars that followed which destabilized an entire region will be an after thought. America won that war at an ideological level, convincing the world of the same. America propagated Islamophobia is internalized across the globe, equating the idea of a terrorist to a Muslim.

A Muslim pogrom will happen somewhere in this century (the Rohingyas? the Uighurs? the Kashmiris?) there will be excuses that the community asked for it. In this whole scenario, America always has and will be the victim. In broad strokes of history, the 3000 people who died in the buildings will be forgotten but the savagery of the actions that brought them down will play in memory.

The perpetrators were brought to justice through military occupation and with shiny, invisible drones that breathed hellfire. The Architect-in-Chief was killed in a clandestine military operation in another sovereign nation. This is all forgiven because we are all America and what is against this Great Nation is against all of us. Hunter S. Thompson was right in saying, “It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.”

There exists a memorial for the dead at the site of the fallen towers – but who will cry and remember the 31,000 Afghan and the 650,000 Iraqi civilians? The greater instability induced in the regions and the mass migration that followed has induced a death grip on European politics as well, but as far as we are concerned, America is absolved of all guilt. America is our only savior against the twin evils of China and Russia, in this respect we are all American, overwhelmed by the country more than the places we live in.

The real memorial for the thousands of dead, the millions displaced and the future millions that will be killed and displaced is the falling of the Twin Towers itself. It showed a moment of belligerence and exposed the deep arrogance of the American state. That a crude organization could overwhelm the greatest superstate in the history of nations with a handful of planes and some symbolism is a fact that cannot be translated into history.

$ 2 trillion (and counting) of American money went into wars after this event, even as a majority of its citizens crumble without a public safety net. The true victors in this war have been the handful of people who plunged the planes into the buildings on that Tuesday morning. They exposed what we know of America's diabolical power all along, its corruption and violent hunger. They teased America off of its money in a war that will never go anywhere. But I cannot say that, as talking against the politics of this Great Nation, is talking against the interests of the world itself.

11th September 2001 is a memory of the millions that perished because of American political greed. With this being said, God bless America.

#America #politics #power