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

No comments: