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