Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In Debt to Islam

Couple of years ago, British newspapers disclosed the legal but 'unethical' schemes of the famous soccer clubs, which enable some players to avoid paying nearly half of the Inland Revenue. Among the various methods of dodge, one of them was distinguished by its speculative approach to the problem: Through employee benefit trusts clubs lend money to the players, in a weak currency such as Turkish Lira and when the repayment day arrives, the profit due to lira’s steady loss of value against sterling remains at players.

We are now witnessing a similar speculative transaction on behalf of the continuity of the historical forms of fundamentalist consciousness. The absence of self-critique in fundamentalisms is being ensured by putting the diverse modes of universal individual into debt on the cultural float field of universal values. On the one hand we have the superior ideals of the neo-liberal social contract (democracy, freedom of speech, social security, human rights, equality of men and women, sexual freedom, etc), on the other, we have the witch kettle of the evil in which our present is dissolving in the archaic mixture consisted of totalitarianisms, mind-control, terrorism, restriction of criticism, mass surveillance, patriarchy, subordination of women, and so on. Since the promises of the social contract had unveiled its dependence on class division and lose its material relevancy to the day-to-day struggles of the working class, those ideals have been re-established as a series of moral principles which could attract the ordinary consumers only by fluctuations in their values in comparison with the exchange value of the counter-moralism of transcendental irrationality. And the shares of the outcasts of neo-liberalism are intentionally being stabilized at over-price to aggravate the debt burden of working class in the divine circle of the moral “relativism” of the modernity.

Opposing the procedure applied by Arsenal to praise its star players with deceiving the Treasury, this cultural chicanery tracks the way of swindling the working class for the benefit of the common treasury case of global capitalism. For instance, since democracy (the abstract guaranty for the individual to partake in the process of resolving social questions) have been substituted by supra-political officialdoms which put only frivolous issues to the vote of majority, the neo-tyranism could maintain the commitment to the imaginary democracy (the moral image of earthly democracy) via the fear of totalitarianisms originating from celestial devotions but which also have a serious tangibility of “barbarous” violence. Then the working class debtor thinks that he should be glad for being offered with the potential advantages of the democratic risk society, for being shepherded by the notion of national security to assure his individual security to the cost of the “security” promise of the bourgeois social contract. Shortly, the imaginary virtue-value of democracy is determined by the actual unsanitary-value of oppressive paradigms. But as Marx disclosed, “it is evident that by making the value of one commodity, say labour, corn, or any other commodity, the general measure and regulator of value, we only shift the difficulty, since we determine one value by another, which on its side wants to be determined”. After this difficulty has been shifted, there show up the debt collectors to materialise the cultural debt burden on the back of working class. As we saw in the case of the proposed First Job Contract in France, or in the never-ending assaults against the social security system of Turkey, those cultural debts are paid typically with the real money, with the genuine vital energy of the nameless players who have the maximum work-rate attribute just as in the soccer management simulations.

But who are those debt collectors? They are the self-enlightened apostles of free market fundamentalism, of cultural individualism, of quasi-universal values which could not be determined without the mediation of their supplementary angles on the horizontal lines of global moralistic space, etc. Last month, amongst those distinguished debt collectors twelve of them issued a hot-tempered Manifesto against the resurrection of classical totalitarianisms (Nazism and Stalinism) in the guise of Islam. Those unblushing creditor’s lawyers were merely carrying out the legal responsibility of reminding the cultural debtor that what criminal codes will be applied if he dodge from compensating the particular Dominion Theology of New “Enlightenment: Universal values (such as indisputable merits of capital, freedom of monopolising the instruments of speech, defunctionalized suffrage, notion of “equal opportunity” which postulates that markets and social structures are exterminated and regenerated with the entrance of every single individual, etc) grant the Universal capitalists and their bootlickers dominion over the Universe.

In the celebrated Manifesto, we are being threatened with an infantile narrative analogous to a fairy tale classic, Sleeping Beauty: There was infertile king (inferior individuals of the History) who could not impregnate his wife (Mother Nature). Then his wife cheats him with a productive young man (bourgeois) to gave birth to a gorgeous princess (democracy) who would be gifted to perfection by the right-minded fairies (intellectuals of Enlightenment) of the Empire. But some envious fairies (Nazism and Stalinism) cursed this little princess with a terrible gift: On reaching maturity, she would wound his finger with a spindle (Totalitarianism) and die. Then comes those analgesic fairies (the authors of the Manifesto), assuring the king by a spell that she would not die but fall into a sleep until a prince (Universal Values) would condescend to kiss her. The whole story in their minds is as pathetic as this and all their claims about the alleged cultural superiority rely on enchanted narratives and historically conditioned inferiority of their comrades in the global brotherhood of fundamentalisms.

They are arguing that, Islamism is pursuing to establish “man's domination of woman, the Islamists' domination of all the others”. In respect of women question, they are right. Islamism contemplates to relocate the dignity of woman in the divine hierarchical order. It is a method of ensuring the celestial dignity by secular degradation. All right, but there is something mysterious in this assessment: How could a heavenly currency conserve its liquidity in the global economy of scientific reason? Because your quasi-secular evaluation system is still mediated perception of the links among humankind, therefore it is just another stage of human alienation. For instance, last year a rape scandal broke out in Turkey, involving a young television star and a former basketball player. The raper had recorded all the action with his cell-phone while the young girl (who was his girlfriend on that occasion) was lying unconsciously by the affect of an unknown soporific. After the images from the action began to circulate on the Internet and in media, Turkish people found themselves in the midst of a zealous debate concerning the ethical values. Religious men contributed the discussion by recalling that adultery is forbidden in Islam. Liberals responded that she had made her bed and now lying on it. And the wisest social democrats eventually set up the precise solution: It is because of that we have not yet established a system of secular ethics. In a letter to a friend of mine, I had asked this crucial question as a rejoinder to the desire of crude-secular ethics: “What if those images were broadcasted as an amateur porn movie and we had no idea about that they were from a real rape?” Any approach to this enquiry reflects the stage of development of your secular-ethics, and none of those quasi-seculars could give a negative response to this paradox. And they could not logically go beyond this vicious circle: If the exchange value is the determinant of your moral values, there is nothing to condemn in the act of one’s exchanging his or her body with other commodities to sustain his or her life. Thus, while the half-time secularisms seem to equate men and women on a higher stage, they actually function as a worldly ground for juridical degradation of humankind.

So, in the language of celestial moralist the semi-secular emancipation of women is translated as constitutional promiscuity, institutional pornography, encouragement of nudity, etc. Sexual freedom exposes itself as sexualization of freedom and therefore outdated symbols of patriarchal chain of Islamic collaboration maintain their relative value. For that reason, the Europeans are mistaken in accusing Muslim immigrants for their resistance against cultural assimilation. The actual defect stems from the deficiency of theirs own culture, which was petrified and left the human emancipation half-finished. This state of affairs interrupts every challenge for a voluntary assimilation. The riddle of history has been renounced unsolved and powerless men are clinging to an archaic resolution. As a result, the priests of archaic solutions do not strain to persuade their followers to the validity of the promise of resurrection of deceased social unity forms where there is no sign of concrete unity. And since the every social question been extirpated from material ground and converted as a theme of cultural fieldwork and ethics, the last thing that the both sides of dispute are in need for is scientific knowledge. Just as some canny scholars easily take care of Marxism after presenting it as a sort of religion, both sides of the global fundamentalism seem that they are determined to herd common men according as the invaluable advise of Sun Tzu: The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

Marx once said that, “Communism is the riddle of history solved”. But nor Marx neither Hegel suggested an End of History as a “final form of human government” or “end point of mankind’s ideological evolution” as Fukuyama fancied. In Marx case, communism is not the end of history as history-in-itself, but it is the negation of history as history-for-other. Therefore, although communism is the solution of history as history of alienated men, it is essentially the genesis of the real history as history of the objectivity of men.

Present form of democracy, neo-liberalism, longing for the restoration of values of the Enlightenment, existing appearances of various grounds for freedom, etc. are the interruption instruments of this objectivity, and “backward movements” as in the Hegelian terminology. Just as the clownish authors of the neo-Enlightenment Manifesto are producing a new form of cultural relativism while negating the older, we have no need to surprise that labour is producing scientific knowledge on one hand and superstition on the other.

New fundamentalists are singing a love song to Islamist fundamentalism and modern voice of Paul is overriding the deceased voice of John which was taped long ago:

“Whatever happened to,
The life that we once knew?
Can we really live without each other?”

Mehmet Çagatay
March, 2006

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Essence of Kurdishness

In his Science of Logic and then in Shorter Logic, Hegel designates the distinction and connection between the analytical and the synthetic methods. While the analytical cognition is the apprehension of what it is in the simple, unmediated condition of something, synthetic cognition is the comprehension of things in “the multiplicity of determinations in their unity”. As a repetition of Hegel’s illustration, after decomposing a piece of meat with chemical operations, a chemist is right to arrive to a conclusion of that it is composed of nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, etc. But these elements have ceased to be mediated within the notion of flesh, so the investigation of our chemist had arrived to the abstraction of periodic table but not the concreteness of flesh. In this manner, if the objective is to handle phenomenon as it is, empiricism contradicts with itself at the beginning. On the contrary, synthetic method is the examination of that in which conditions these elements which are at once posited at the periodic table turn into a piece of flesh and it is to keep the track of the movement and development of the notion of flesh in the object matter. Briefly, the synthetic method progress from abstract to concrete which is completely reversed course of analysis. However, as Hegel emphasizes, the method which is to be applied must not be determined according to our subjective preferences but through the dimensions of our acquaintance with the object. As a plain example, even though they were forged, the pictures of white aproned scientists in the mysterious labs of Hangar 18 who are analyzing the dead bodies of the bulge-eyed aliens reflect the practicing of a suitable scientific method. Yet, although they seem real, the Turkish scientists standing over university seats, surgery tables of newspapers, etc. who are flinging analytical scalpel blows to the symbolic body of Kurds are far more fantastic and unreal than those alien models.

Similarly, in the section called “The Method of Political Economy” of Grundrisse, just before criticizing the metaphysical character of Hegelian dialectics, Karl Marx compares the analytic method of political economists of 17th century (probably William Petty) with the synthetic method of their successors such as Smith, Ricardo, etc. He sets us right that, “It seems to be correct to begin with the real and the concrete, with the real precondition, thus to begin, in economics, with e.g. the population, which is the foundation and the subject of the entire social act of production. However, on closer examination this proves false. The population is an abstraction if I leave out, for example, the classes of which it is composed. These classes in turn are an empty phrase if I am not familiar with the elements on which they rest. E.g. wage labour, capital, etc. These latter in turn presuppose exchange, division of labour, prices, etc. For example, capital is nothing without wage labour, without value, money, price etc. Thus, if I were to begin with the population, this would be a chaotic conception of the whole…” [1]

After the prototypes of economists had discovered the abstract determinants such as labour, money, value, etc. by peeling the layers of living unities like state, nation, population, etc. namely, since the famous top-hat that Marx once mentioned in Poverty of Philosophy [2] (and which was imported by Turks through the revolutions of the republic) [3] had been brought out of the chest, there comes the real masters, Smith and Ricardo who would transform men into hats. They set forth from simple social relations such as labour, division of labour, exchange value and arrive to macroeconomic categories of state, foreign exchange, world market, however this time not as a chaotic individuality [4] but as the loaded unity of the hat through the various determinations and social relations. To comprehend the real process of that how men have been transformed to hats, we have to invoke the last part of the first volume of Marx’s Capital which is called Primitive Accumulation. Here, while Marx was pointing out that “primitive accumulation plays in Political Economy about the same part as original sin in theology. Adam bit the apple, and thereupon sin fell on the human race” [5] he also implies that the masters of political economy, ‘Adam’ Smith e.g. reduced not only the “previous accumulation” but individual relations of the bourgeois mode of production to unhistorical categories. Hence in the Wealth of Nations, the previous accumulation which causally appears on the stage by holding the identity card issued in the name of John Doe, confronts us in Capital as an historical protagonist as vivid as Julius Caesar. And akin to his appearance which was implanted by Shakespeare, the poet quoted many times by Marx, into the ominous dream of his wife, Calphurnia: “like a fountain with an hundred spouts / Did run pure blood: and many lusty Romans / Came smiling, and did bathe their hands in it” [6]

The wise intellectuals who analysed the question of Kurdism – Kurdishness – Kurd had started out of their appearances in material world and arrived to ludicrous conclusions by isolating their object from its differences and clothing it with costume of abstract universality. Wherefore, they are both the internal reflections of the same essence that to demand the dignification of the Kurdish identity against the sublimation of Turkish subject by elites and which has partially adopted by Turkish working class. Similarly, the narrow-minded solution of that the universal Kurd which in appearance is an absolute separatist, a terrorist and devoted instinctively to violence could be emancipated from political illusion bolstered by the enemies of the republic through the recognition of Kurdish identity and philanthropically transforming them to equal citizens are nothing more than wishful thinking within the essence. What is this essence? It is the painful process of development of the ideal individual of the bourgeois – civil society. Consequently, the essence of immediate Turk or Kurd does not reflect the human essence but the essential dialectic of the protagonist which appears in the history in different shapes. Just like the insomniac, nameless man suffering from multiple personality disorder who is assaulting to his own body by posing as Tyler Durden, our protagonist, sometimes as an English gentleman against an Irish, sometimes as a noble French philosopher against immigrants or sometimes as a Turkish upstart against the wretched Kurds, delivers cruel blows to his body for reaching to the fantastic tranquillity of national synthesis.

If I begin with the population of Kurds, its proportion to Turkish population, with the organisation structures of young Kurds throwing stones and molotovcocktails to police forces in the metropolises, or with PKK, etc. and I conclude with simple social relations such as conspiracies of intelligence agencies of hypocritical nations, drug trade, inconvenient geographical conditions, paternal apathy in king-sized families, philistinism, etc. I do not disclose any secret about Kurds thus they had disappeared among this analytical abstraction. Nevertheless, we have no change to comprehend the concrete Kurd by grounding our investigation to these sloppy premises above. By this way, I fall into the trap of mechanical – metaphysical dialectics which is discernable with its most vulgar form in Proudhon and criticised sardonically by Marx. Because, these are the particles that have been introduced through an analysis which is practiced half-heartedly and this is partially by the reason of the allegiance to official ideology and partially of slow-wittedness. It is not a scientific approach to transmute every living thing to a puppet of our method by imposing the products of our imagination as thesis – antithesis –synthesis. If the Turkish intellectuals devoted to liberalism are keen to make the synthsis of Turk and Kurd by the romanticized notions like equality, freedom, justice, human rights, which they barely filled up with a sanctified profane ethic, we Marxist should fill them up with human practice, the real individual, the real essence of human, i.e. the process of labour in which human transform their essence by transforming the material world. Thus, we could explain that how a nation produces molotovcocktails, guerrillas, counter-guerrillas, terrorists, a rotten justice system, a president metamorphosed from the distributor of gaseous drinks, etc. while producing iron and steel, hazelnut, various textile products, a cut-rate literature, unskilled philosophers, etc.

As usual, the whole story begins with the discovery of something. Firstly, there was the discovery of the New World which had transformed the Kurdish population dwelling upon the old trade routes, into the ranks of bandits. Up to 1891, Kurds had been employed as a mutable minefield in the conflict between Ottomans and Persians. This was the multi-centennial process of transformation of Kurds into guns and the ultimate executor was Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who had established a special warrior force in the Ottoman army consisted of Kurdish tribes. While the main reason of the militarization of Kurds was to keep their hazardous vagabondness under the supervision of the Empire, the others were to infuse them into the false nationalism of the Christian minorities in the region and to concoct a stable position in response to Russian and Persian threats.

With the discovery of oil in the middle-east at the beginning of the 20th century has paved the way to new ideas. Among the imperialistic quarrel for the new resource, aboriginals of the rough lands leaking oil had found themselves as the “Mountain Turks” in the ideological economy of “Young Turks”. Contrary to the Bolsheviks, they were not the rebellious seeds arising from the unburied corpse of an irrational regime, but the naughty children of the Empire and a bunch of revisionists who absorbed from West the idea of “cultural-national autonomy” which was criticized by Lenin as, “precisely the most refined and, therefore, the most harmful nationalism, it implies the corruption of the workers by means of the slogan of national culture and the propaganda of the profoundly harmful and even anti-democratic segregating of schools according to nationality. In short, this programme undoubtedly contradicts the internationalism of the proletariat and is in accordance only with the ideals of the nationalist petty bourgeoisie” [7]. Clearly, they were the class of modernistic priests who had no knowledge of psychiatry to exorcise the demonic spirits of imperialism without the aid of a holy cross and their cross was nationalism. Just like the other representatives of modernism, Young Turks were instinctively beliving that thoughts that did not fit their ideal subject were the products of “false consciousness” [8]. This predisposition is straightforwardly observable through the pages of Mustafa Kemal’s Nutuk, his 36 hours long speech given at the first general meeting of the Republican People's Party. There he quotes from the telegrams that he had sent to the officers in the region, stimulating them to take steps for restraining the chiefs of the Kurdish tribes from spawning a current of Kurdism. But as if one can eliminate the profit motive without smearing one’s clean hands with the capital, the Turkish nationalism was the dialectical negation of the imperialistic nationalisms and which was supposedly eradicate oppressive the sides of them. As this eradication was possible only through the ideas of a conscious brain, the ultimate synthesis has been implemented as “everyone who feels himself as a Turk is a Turk. This axiom could probably remind our readers of the painstaking education process of the young Jedi’s, in which the mysterious masters are frequently urging them to feel the force. Thanks to the history, we have witnessed that how the force is objectifying itself and how triumphant the Turkish synthesis is. That was the transformation of Kurds into ideas.

By the courtesy of American’s infamous “Project Democracy” which had managed to purge the Turkish communists by arranging a military coup, Turkish elites gained knowledge of transforming these abstract ideas into profits. While the former leftists who had started behaving sensibly were welcomed to the bodies of media and universities for researching the wonders of the civil society, the actual society was rapidly being militarized. Terror and ‘counter’offensive measures circulated the scared Kurds cutting and running from their lands, to assemblage them as variable capital in the ghettos of metropolises in where they would serve as an appendage of the constant capital which was ensured by colossal foreign debt distributed as a sort of primitive accumulation among the close circle of prominent Turkish executives. A little difference from the imperialistic primitive accumulation was that the exploited man would pay for it not only with the mechanical energy of his muscles but also later on with the kinetic energy of his pocket through the unbearable tax burden and ‘uncontrollable’ inflation which was helpful to enable a steady decrease in real wages. Fallowing process was reproducing the basic manifestations of capitalist accumulation: After the expedition of obligatory conscription of workers when the demand for working power was more than the supply in the sweet-smelling days of competition, the filthy smell of monopoly has begun to arose from the suburbs, just as the veteran soldiers of the army of Caesar meandering on the streets of Rome with the confusion of their function, the discharged soldiers of the working class was deserted to hunger, burglary, vandalism, etc.

Of course, the surplus population would have to die. But what if they are resisting to their destiny? The descendants of immigrant stereotype banished from the social production in France are now burning the cars in which they have saw the dead labour of their ancestors. Ironically, young Kurds are desperately perceiving it in the body of police force, frigidly dressed like a creature rushed out of movies like Universal Soldier. In other words, we are still producing the archetypes of commodities rather than the real commodities itself.

The Kurdish question is a political question as long as surplus Kurds resist their practical needlessness with respect to the organic composition of Turkish capital. Namely, it is not question of politics as the art of mutual reconciliation of diverse identities but is the question of politics as the concentrated economics in which the identities in the gaseous state are continuously solidifying. One could argue that the Kurdish question might be solved by encouraging quixotic capitalists to make more investment in the region. Probably, by increasing the division of labour, this chivalrous charity would disrupt the semi-feudal social network in the southeast of Turkey. But in reality, this structure owes its stubborn existence against the modern world directly to the investment which had torn off the ancient bounds of the society in the west of Turkey. Moreover, if it is supposed that the unemployment is the cause of the ultimate evil (The Kurdish Question) of Turkey, one should admit that investment is not the solution but precondition of unemployment.

One might argue that Kurds should hang on to their identity. But one should recall that what happened to “black power” when it has been converted to the disinfected slogan of “Black is beautiful”. After the political emancipation of the beauty of Afro-American is granted in the bourgeois sense, the disturbing lyrics of rap music soaring from slums has been tamed as a demonstration of excess in which the black man can only achieve to survive by testing their beauty with expensive cars, precious jewelleries, dancing bombshells, etc. In this way, black men whose humanity was once theoretically questioned have practically been regulated as the accessories of entertainment devices to depict the travesty of nouveau richness. So, if you are keen to claim abstractly that Kurdish language is as substantial as Turkish language, you have to venture to take a step on the cultural competition field of the universal bourgeois in which the representatives from countless nations are competing with each other to fabricate no more than bizarre forms of literature, eccentric philosophical mixtures to interpret the eccentric word, advertisement texts of an utopia in which the ordinary man could feel the confidence of the social unity only in the act of consumption, etc. The answer of capitalism to the question of reconciliation of identities is just to transform the surplus identities into a sort of documentary ethnic dance in which the modern man could prove his development himself by gazing at the childish congeniality of the other. But the “other” is a supernatural notion to conceal the reality that there is labour of this other even in your postmodernity.

One might claim the emancipation of Kurds from Turks with regard to the right of self-determination of oppressed nations. My understanding of Marxism urges me to recognize not only this theoretical right, but also the self-determination of an oppressed individual. But I have strange feeling that woman could not emancipate from washing the dishes with hands without the aid of dishwasher. So, my humble recognition solves nothing without the practice of human. If man must prove the truth, fortunately we will not wait too long to observe how he proves the Kurdish emancipation. The de-facto Kurdish state that is being constructed vigilantly at the northern Iraq with all the devices of an average bourgeois state will manifest that how the conventional political emancipation corresponds with the human emancipation. Let us see how the basic rights of an individual in the civil society will comfort ordinary Kurds when the filthy question of who must sweat and who should take it easy arrives? Maybe, in the future, young Kurds will discover from the history books that the Turkmen of Kurdistan are actually “mountain Kurds” and their penury is originating from deficiency of technical intellect for producing oil.

These ironies are far from mirroring the calamitous history of Kurds. But we should retain that Kurds can not emancipate from the humiliation of the notion of “mountain Turks” by simply emancipating from Turks. They have to emancipate from those mountains too.

In Turkey, the Turkish army is resisting against the role that they deserved in the characteristic bourgeois state. Kurdish nationalism and fundamental Islamism are the very last weapons remaining in their hands. They cling on every opportunity to trigger them for providing evidence of their existence, although a certificate of death has been presented to their close relatives from modern world.

These assertions above could bring in mind the old idea that primitive structures of society could only be overthrown with the revolutionary character of bourgeois. But in Turkey, the bourgeois is the premise of primitivism. Should we wait for the educators to complete their education?

How could you solve the essential problems of the civil society by acknowledging it as the only ground on which the specific subject is erecting himself, folding itself, repulsing and attracting the other, and again banishing the other after absorbing its biological energy? Just as the magical formula of bourgeois economics, by delaying the problems, by leaving your psychotic inheritance to following generations.

In his “Mythologies”, Barthes describes the professional wrestling as a circus where the spectators satisfy their hunger for the image of passion, but not the passion itself. Unfortunately, Bathes did not live long enough to observe the reality shows, by which the spectators have found the fever of the real passion without undertaking the challenge to grasp the glowing coal. But now, the spectators of the sterile world who had once served to modern world as the image of real passion are expressing their hunger for passion in different ways. What is that passion? The passion for the basic premise of humanity, of the property of their labour, which will serve as a proper ground to pursue the pleasures the upper passions of humanity as philosophy, science, art, etc. The question is should we watch the shows of passion from our disinfected environment? If you are not intent on running the risk of broken feelings and not willing to lose yourself to find yourself again in the other, just as the unmediated freedoms of civil society, your love is nothing more than a scholastic question.

Mehmet Çagatay
March, 2006
3) In 1925, as an indicator of modernity Turkish citizens has been obliged to wear hats outside of their house. This code has been known as “Hat Revolution”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Promise of the Truth and A Turkish Anti-American Film

This article was orginally published by sendika.org

The promise of the truth is a profitable mediator in a society where the "mutual relations of the producers take the form of a social relation between the products". Thus, from TV commercials to popular novels, countless O'Briens who had jumped out of Orwell's 1984 whisper paternally to our ears: "We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness". As in the novel, this meeting becomes reality mostly under the spotlights of the chamber of torture in the depths of the Ministry of Truth, which is always kept luminous.

Conspiracy theories function similarly with that spotlights, supposedly arranged to illuminate the truth hiding behind the reality, and the "truth", as Badiou once said, "is first of all something new. What transmits, what repeats, we shall call knowledge". So, the constant promises of the truth on TV screens, on the bookshelves of well decorated stores, on the columns of newspapers signify the transformation of the 'unknown' to a knowledge, unknown as a knowledge. Just as formulated by Donald Rumsfeld as known unknowns. It presents us the most shallow appearance of the reality as the truth. It is the persecution of mind.

The disgusting Turkish political-action, repeating the primitive past of Hollywood's political pictures as a farce, "The Valley of the Wolves" is striving to cut our eyes out with an informative light-sabre. It promises its spectators to display the lowdown of the American politics in the Middle East, but it ends with the conclusion of that all Americans are vulgar materialists, intractable infidels, well-educated torturers, self-seekers, egocentrics, i.e the incarnate Evils, the concentration of our innumerable internal and external enemies who have been depicted in the official discourse of the Turkish elites as they are in everywhere outside the clever and hardworking body of the Turk. By the virtue of its impossibility for an abstract human infant to identify himself with the deliriums of its ancestors, a strict set of non-historical premises is implemented to arrive a educational syllogisms. Throughout the education of my generation, we had been taught that approximately every single nation in the world is our natural enemy, or the enemy by nature (As in the Artistotelian concepts of 'slavery by nature' and 'freedom by nature', attributing the ephemeral outcomes of human deeds to a transcendental being conceals their historycity) and their bloodthirsty jealousy stems from the geopolitical position of our heavenly country which has the richest resources of the world. We are one of the seven the nations managing to survive by leaning on only her resourses (we are never informed about the other six) and these acquisitive evils had sworn to death to take them away from us. They had sworn to disintegrate our country, to defile our purity, to degenerate our substantial language, to trample on our values, to rip off our family bounds, to prevent our soccer teams from reaching further rounds, etc. We are living in a world where Turk was the object of the evil. i.e, Turk is a holly figure suffering in the hands of pure evil. So we have told that our nationalism is just a defensive one, but we have never enlightened about the modern motto: "Offense sells the tickets, Defense wins the game"

In retrospect, by recalling that after the Turkish war of salvation, in his speeches related with the subject Mustafa Kemal had stated that our aims of acquiring the sources of petroleum and getting rid of a possible formation of a Kurdish state as the foundations of our claims on Musul and Kerkuk, i.e almost with the same logic of the imperialist states that we had fought against, we should ask to ourselves, were our bygone purposes stemming from more sublime values from the immediate pragmatic reason of Americans? The historical reality of that you had once confronted a definite stage of capitalist accumulation does not signify that you are truly an anti-imperialist. And after your political emancipation, if your first deed was laying the foundations to build a nation state, a civil society, etc. which was qualitatively identical with the explicit projects of the imperialists but only recognizable by the amount of nation states that it had proposed, it means that you had merely shot at your future. In this way, Marx's famous phrase, The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living", acquires an other dimension. The backward forms of the capitalist production insisting on their relative irrationality, i.e the spectral ancestors of the modern civil society crumbled hither and thither, weights like a nightmare on the utmost social form of capital, in the guise of Turkish nationalism, fundamental Islamism, etc. Anti-Americanism is the crude socialism, the mediated being of the exploited man who has not comprehended himself as a subject of a transitory form of division of labour. Thus what he understands from the emancipation is a progress of himself as an object towards the subject (the god, the prosperous nations, etc) in the given laws of grammar. That could be depicted as the hopeless struggle of the apes against more powerful animals for the sources of nourishment, as long as they share the common denominator of being an animal. However, they have to break loose from the denominator to emancipate from the struggle for throne of the animal kingdom and thus posit themselves as the real masters of nature. In this manner, the emancipation of Turk reveals itself as the emancipation from the common denominator, from the restrictions of bourgeois society. It is the struggle of the Turk in the guise of subjective living labour which has not yet objectified in commodities but which should be materialized properly as an organized movement against the aggregate capital of his own masters, the restrictions of the afficted Turkishness begotten by Turkish elits and then adopted by native capitalists. Namely it is the struggle of the living labour lurking in the muscles of the Turkish working class against their dead labour buried in the inventory books of their capitalist masters, in the walls of the summer villas of politicians, in the gilding epaulets of army officials and in the stylish suits of bureaucrats. In other words, socialism for Turks is not a struggle for future mediated through Americans. It is the complete negation of this mediation which will enable us to a direct confrontation with our past. By only this way, we can truly overcome the actual Americans because Turkey is the anchor of the U.S, immersed to the economical history of mankind. Or, for a while, we can be proud of our artistic taste which does not confuse the art of torture with performance arts.

I have to admit that I am not impressed with the rubbish The Valley of the Wolves phenomenon but with the revealing confession U.S Army. They avow their manipulation of the nervous system of Americans through movies by warning their soldiers in Turkey not to draw close to Turks who are stimulated with a duplicate of Hollywood political-actions.

In its version of TV series, the mafiatic organization which rules the world was once depicted as a sect of Illuminati and in the rite, mafia barons were dressed up just like in Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT. There has been going various discussions about the meaning of Kubrick's title since it was released, I hope that my contribution will make sense.

They have expelled the darkness, I have been illuminated and I saved my soul. Amen!!!

Mehmet Çagatay

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Subjectivity of Hamas

After the recent democratic victory of Hamas, the familiar refrains of 'liberal' democratic songs have been ejaculated. The initial reaction was a firm denouncement of violence which was revamping its face as an armed government. As this organism is an anachronic tumor in the modern world where politics and armed forces have long since been separated, George Bush forewarned them to relocate themselves to the right section of time: "And I know you can't be a partner in peace if your party has got an armed wing". This could be a well-intentioned invitation, an invitation to the real, if the bourgeois society had really materialized its grand project, its empiricist utopia: the separation of ideas and actuality. If the rationality is a serial number scraped on the actual, it could be adequate to check the accounting records or the inventory books to identify the legitimacy of an armed organization, whether it is a recognized state or a bunch of deer hunters.

In the modern bourgeois discourse, a hero is often identified with the rational actuality while an anti-hero or a madman is deemed suitable of ideas in general and a specific ideology in particular. Supposedly, a hero has internalized the rationality so that he is able to overcome most complicated questions by his instincts, without being lost in thought. (For instance, in the Die Hard series, Bruce Willis' instinctive method was sufficient to upset the painstaking plans of the bad guys). For an ordinary official of U.S Army, an Iraqian suicide bomber who is making a list of his relatives and close friends to guide them to heaven on the Judgment Day when he will use his martyrial right, is an ancient subject anesthetized by religious illusion. Identically, a Kurdish guerrilla lurking on the bare mountains of Southern Eastern of Anatolia is usually depicted as a drug addict baited with real drugs when ideological drugs are not sufficient to conceal the reality. The trick here is, establishing a Hegelian Ground with the Spinozan meaning of 'Subject' and demonstrate Evil as the extended Subjectivity. Namely, between the most subordinate minion of El-Kaide and the uppermost evil, dwells a series of semi-zombies who have lost their consciousness in the 'imaginative ideas' of their superiors. It is the most specific quality of modern sagas to present the Evil as a rigidly hierarchic organization, while it is the warmth of intimacy which bands the good guys together. (Remember the photographs from George Bush's visit to USS Abraham Lincoln, in which he is dishing out sweet potatoes and joking with privates).

The outbreak of Hamas in the parliamentarian system has been belied as a corruption within the universality of civil society, as if an armed organization independent from Palestine society, is misusing the innocent flaws of the system. Thus, they have to harmonize with the division of labor and leave their activity of critique by weapon to the official Army of Palestine (a non-existent army of a spectral state inside the imaginary borders), if they are really intending to mutate to a political animal. At the moment, they are barbarian dreamers who are trying to dress the theory and practice with the same uniform; they are straight thinkers blindered with the idea that political struggle is a moment of other struggles. That bigotry revealed itself in the words of Sheikh Mohammed Abu Tir: “In the past, it was said that we don't understand politics, only force, but we are a broad, well-grounded movement that is active in all areas of life. Now we are proving that we also understand politics better than the others".

According to a rumor, a prominent American officer had asked an Indian chief to prevent young Indians from their arbitrary attacks and the chief strained to explain that it was impossible due to the structure of their society, in which everyone had the right to pick off a branch from a tree, shape it and use it as an arrow. George Bush's proposal to Hamas that they should make a selection out of arms or politics, resembles this example of contradiction between different stages of division of labor. Thus, demanding from Hamas to leave its weapons is a cryptic demand from Palestinians to leave their windows open against the burglary. Because, what indicated by the expression “armed wing” were directly the Palestinian people, insofar as there is no definite distinction between a civil Palestinian and a Hamas militant.

What is the real meaning of the fashionable invitation to politics? If it seems that constituents of the modern-universal state are functioning independently but collaborating as the moments of one logic, if it seems that, for instance, army is acting like an appendage of ephemeral governments, it is because the distribution of surplus value, division of labour, conditions of domestic production, etc. have been fixed to the center of the twister of global capital where the strong centrifugal force at margins is the source of the perfect balance at the center. Thus, nor Conservatives neither Democrats want for a armed wing, because the U.S Army is at the disposition of any 'political' enterprise that governs with a respect to the universal law of gravity.

The hyper-democracy of the 'modern nations' presupposes the transformation of politics into the art of rationalization of which is “exists but not real”1, a martial art to combat dialectic. Because of the politics have been reduced to sustenance of the existence which has no justification other than its former possibility, the immediate possibilities is banished to realm of digitality (a mailing list, eg), to secret chambers of conspirators, to tipsy guerillas on the misty hills, etc. and the basic objection to their ideas, whether they are true or not, ascends from their discord with the expensive reality whose maintenance is dictating more and more social labor time day by day. As Marx once stated, “Steam, electricity, and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even citizens Barbés, Raspail and Blanqui”2. Today, for the starvation virus, hydroponics could be a furious foe more than Bob Geldof. But the mystical idea of eradicating the viruses spreading from the third world by the torture with third-rate rock music, reflects the mechanism of the Objective Logic of modern bourgeois society, which is resisting to its own dialectical movement. Hence, escaping from politics, (as Palestinians did by electing Hamas or as the new generations have began to exercise by disregarding elections), signifies the boredom with the politics concerned with the abstract arguments like abortion against anti-abortion, which obfuscates the concrete problems of the conditions of a human infant, which is about to be born.

Seeing a new 'political' baby has born in the guise of Hamas, we should hark back to the time where it was sowed.

If it is the worst thing for a Palestinian to live under the dominance of the racist Israel, the second thing is to be enslaved by the outcomes of his social practice, in other words, to be a citizen in a nation state, governed by a movement whose cause of existence is merely the collective reaction against racism. This was the road to hell paved with good intentions between Auschwitz and West Bank. Just as the emancipation of workers is not merely a the struggle to overthrow the capitalist class, but at the same time it is the negation of their own being as the subject of alienated labor, the object of capital etc, the emancipation of a Palestinian can not be completed only by negation of his being as the object of racists, he must also negate the vicious circle which is reproducing itself by dividing consistently to inferiors and superiors.

If we examine the manifesto of Hamas (The Charter of Allah: The Platform of the Islamic Resistance Movement) which was written in 1988, we can clearly perceive that it is completely a reactionary text which is devoid of any adequate radicalism to “grasp the root of the matter”3. But it is one of the myriad citations which digs the immediate society to pull out the deceased historical subjects which vanished with the advent of real masters. (All mythology overcomes and dominates and shapes the forces of nature in the imagination and by the imagination; it therefore vanishes with the advent of real mastery over them. What becomes of Fama alongside Printing House Square?)4. So, when the manifesto declares that the Palestinian problem is a religious one and it is goal is Allah, it does not only turn its face to the ages where the world was a playground of the insolent gods, it also fixes a religious men against a religious man. It reduces its struggle to the internal quarrel of the world “whose spiritual aroma is religion”5. It turns the biblical cross-eye which masquerades as brothers and strangers to a voluntary bifocality as believers and unbelievers. And this outlook is insufficient to reflect the class division in the Jewish society or the discrimination among the Ashkenazi Jews and the Sephardic Jews. I know that it is a downright insult to propose a Palestinian to rack his brain with the exploitation of Jew for-itself. But he have to understand the objectified forms of socialized production. It is the only way for him to transform the subjective form of labor within himself, his present possibility in his body, to a affirmative mediation of his humanity.

Let me simplify these obscure expressions: If we were living in a world which was turning on the simple exchange nourished by slave labor, it would be logical for us to refer the holy texts which were the witness of a specific stage of social development. Then, we could win the approval of the gods by doing justice to our slaves, by aiding our needy brothers, by trading with a just price (Thanks to Dr. Marx, we know that profit is acquired by selling products on their exact value), etc. If the Palestinian is preferring to travel with an automobile rather than a camel, and at the same time willing to win the approval of his humanity, he have to comprehend the social process which transforms the physical energy of men to a complicated product. He can observe the future of the social limits of his relation to his physical energy, his political limits of his relation to society, etc by observing directly the societies which are more developed. By accepting the class division in the society as a premise (granted by holy texts), he automatically limits himself with the most developed form of this society i.e even if he busts his ass and all the material conditions is provided, he could interfere the administrative decisions utmost limited with the political restriction of a U.S citizen. In other words, if you do not find an other way to produce an automobile without the circulation of capital, it may help you to escape from the biblical prophecy but it always leaves you in the desert of the prophecy of capital.

Hamas is the Palestinian living in space, in other words, the transitory material form of the Palestinian who is still alive as a subject. Hence, behind the subjectivity of Hamas, there is not a terrorist god who is insistently whispering the word of Jihad, but there are real subjects trying to find a way to emancipation through the endless forms of oppression. Along the history, men had produced and have interpreted their products by the tongue of gods. Just as Virgin Marry always weeps the symbolic blood pouring from the religious man's immediate wound, the voice of god which calls for Jihad is the voice of men subjected to a constant violence.

The electoral victory of Hamas was a step forward for Palestinians as long as the premises of the past meet the necessities of the present. They have acclaimed that they do not need the hypocritical policies of the PA (Palestinian Authority). They have disclosed that what they understand by 'politics' is the reflection of their everyday struggle. They have revealed that what they want is to see some concrete and positive changes in their life which was getting worse day by day. And as long as it preserves its progressive qualities, Hamas is not only as actual as Israel, besides it is the rational one too.

But likewise the “objectified labor”6, i.e labor in the guise of a commodity is the parasite of the the labor which is alive in the living subject, If one day Hamas confronts its living subject as an enemy, for instance, if it presumes to establish a society divided between capitalist Mollas and working disciples (Iran e.g). Or it takes this old slip of the tonque “Hamas regards Nationalism (Wataniyya) as part and parcel of the religious faith” seriously, it loses its rationality.

Marxism has nothing to do with the irrational.

Mehmet Çagatay

1) Hegel, Shorter Logic

2) Karl Marx, Speech at anniversary of the People’s Paper