Monday, May 30, 2005


Abu Dharr of this blog raises an interesting question in his post:

But despite all we hate about what the ANC is doing today, and despite even knowing at the time of the liberation struggle that the class issue, that “socialism”, was being “postponed” and would be considered only after the “first revolution,” all people of good conscious supported the anti-apartheid struggle led by the ANC. What was the alternative?

I think this is a bit of comparing apples and oranges, they are both (pro-democracy, anti-aparthied) round for sure, but the content is a bit different. The anti-aparthied struggle had something very specific, and concrete that it could identify: Aparthied. The resultant South Africa constitution is probably the best that is around at this time. Although, yes, the present day situation is South Africa is not all that great... But there are others on this blog that can talk more about that...

The "pro-democracy" movements, however, as Anna has pointed out:

The problem I see with Kefaya is that they basically are really good at articulating what they're against (Mubarak, the US imperialism, the state of emergency, the lack of electoral reform, government corruption, lots of stuff) but not real clear on what they are for.

The problem here is that there is nothing that the so-called "pro-democracy" movements are really calling for - what is it that "democracy" would bring liberation from? Mubarak? Musharraf? What difference would it make if graduation gowns, and Harvard dipolomas replaced turbans? The rethoric of the "pro-democracy" movements are all fine and well - after all, these days even people who invite Muslims For Bush ("Bush is bringing liberation...") on their boards, also call themselves "anti-imperialists."

Abu Dharr asked the question: What was the alternative? with regards to supporting the anti-aparthied struggle. With respect to the "pro-democracy" moves, this question does need to be asked, and I'd suggest that one alternative is to raise serious questions, the reason why we must do this is because we know that voting does not mean substantive change. We also know that the United States will intervene substantially in any elections, anywhere, to make sure that the results don't go too far from it's agenda.

What kind of vision, or ideas are being brought to the table?

Are these the same old ideas that have been tried and failed just about everywhere, or are they something more comprehensive?

Does a movement address poverty, health care, workers' rights, a comprehensive view of gender justice? What about the rapid spread of global corporatization?

If these movements fail to address these issues, and the only thing they are doing is calling for a "free vote" then it is all really quite meaningless, and an unfortunate waste of time and energy. Infact, I'd say it is a step backwards.

If social justice is to be postponed, then time and energy might be better spent in developing social services. These social work/service efforts may not have the allure of romantic notions of movements, nor the US media attention - but they do have real and concrete impact on people's lives.

And, I wholeheartedly agree with Abu Dharr when he says:

So, to put it simply, it would behoove genuine movements for social change to pay careful attention to all of these spheres of human life, all forming a part of our whole “tauhidi” selves, and our “tauhidi” society.
And of-course, it goes without saying, that all of what I say is through the jaundiced, and ignorant eyes of an American who lives under, for all practical purposes, a news "white out."

However, the borg has adapted and "we're" gonna have to do the same...

This memorial day, in the United States, check out Democracy Now's showing of the documentary: Preventive Warriors, A documentary about war and empire.

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