Under Curfew, This Is No Life 1

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/hard_news/archives/iraq/000725.php#more

Under Curfew, This Is No Life
Inter Press ServiceBy Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail*
BAQUBA, Jan 24 (IPS) – Continuing curfew has brought normal life to a standstill in Baquba, capital of the restive Diyala province north of Baghdad. Through nearly three decades of rule under Saddam Hussein, Iraqis witnessed only two curfews; for the census in the 1970s and 1980s. Under the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, curfews are commonplace, enforced whenever the Iraqi government and U.S. military fail to control the situation on the ground. A curfew means all public utilities and services cease. Life becomes frozen, and nobody is able to get to work. Factories and other utilities close, the wheel of the economy and development stops.

“When the government imposes a curfew it does not think of those who have no salary,” 39-year-old labourer Adnan al-Khazraji told IPS. “A very large number of people like me rely on daily income for their living. On the contrary, government employees feel safe whether there is a curfew or not because at the end of a month they receive the salary regardless of stoppage of work.” Members of the government and parliament receive big salaries, “and therefore they forget poor people at such times,” Khazraji added. Not just economically, curfews have taken their toll psychologically as well. In Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, there has been a curfew every Friday since 2005.

“I feel imprisoned when I have to keep to my home,” Salma Jabr, a resident of the city told IPS. “It is the only holiday that we have to do things like visits, shopping, travelling.”

The Friday curfew has also hit peoples’ access to medical care. “When there is an emergency, we cannot go to a hospital, a physician, or even to a pharmacy because moving in streets is not allowed,” resident Abdul-Rahim Ghaidan told IPS. “Travellers who come from outside Iraq have to stay outside the city if they come on Friday,” said a taxi driver who did not want to give his name. “They are not allowed to go to the homes of their hosts, so everyone plans their arrivals on days other than Friday. This kind of curfew is applied only in Diyala province.”
Friday is the Muslim holy day of the week. In Baquba, curfew is enforced on other religious occasions as well.

“The Shia have more than 30 religious occasions in a year,” Ali Hassan, a resident of Baquba told IPS. “On each one, curfew is imposed by the predominantly Shia Baghdad government over all the provinces for a day or two except during Ashura. This procedure is taken for protecting Shia people when they perform their rites and ceremonies.”

And, there are other reasons for curfews in Baquba. “A curfew may be imposed when a VIP visits the city,” a local resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “It is the only way to ensure protection for the visitor.”

Schools and universities are feeling the effects of these curfews. “Curfew has a direct effect on education not only in Diyala but also in Iraq,” a university professor told IPS. “Pupils and students are obliged to keep to their homes and forget about going to school. We cannot give enough subjects to the students because of the repeatedly imposed curfews.” The professor said it has become difficult to complete the syllabus within the academic year. “Sometimes, we wake up early to get to the college but we may be told to get back home because of curfew,” he said. “When we later ask the reason, we are told there may be a VIP visiting the city. We have to ask ourselves whether we need to stop life for such a trivial thing. The current government considers scientific process the last priority on their agenda.”

Besides the full curfew every Friday and on other days, there is a daily curfew in Baquba city everyday from 6 pm to 7 am.

“We have to finish our work before 6 pm,” a local engineer told IPS. “Long hours are lost from our time because of the curfew. We have to stop working, and stay home like animals. It is worth thinking how much work can be done during these lost hours.”

“We have to close our shops regardless how much work we have because it is curfew time,” said a local pharmacist. “It is a curse. We feel we are not free.” “Once, my brother called me from the police station,” Jawadeldine Fakri, a local primary school teacher told IPS. “He was arrested because he was seen in the street at ten past six. He is a lawyer, and he was treated like a criminal by the police.”

“Curfew has reduced social relationships among people because people used to visit each other after they got back home from work,” city official Bahira Jabbar told IPS. “Visiting anyone is difficult now.”
(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq’s Diyala province, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the Middle East)
Posted by Dahr_Jamail at January 24, 2008 04:13 PM
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The Next Radicalism: Rightism without Jingoism, Leftism without Political Correctness Reply

Martin Van Creveld’s masterful work “The Rise and Decline of the State” argues that the nation-state system as it has been known since the time of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia is on its way out. As the twenty-first century progresses, conventional states of the kind that began to emerge several centuries ago and fully established themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries will be challenged by regional autonomist movements, transnational federations, separatist breakaway movements and “fourth generation” private armies and sources of authority outside the state.

If this is true, then the next wave of political radicalism will be the precise opposite of the radicalisms that arose in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries-liberalism, socialism and nationalism-all of which aimed towards more concentrated political authority. More than a century and a half since Proudhon first proclaimed himself an anarchist, it is time for anarchism to achieve its moment in the sun. What would a 21st century revolutionary anarchism look like?

1. It would draw on the history of classical anarchism and other pre-existing forms of anarchism, but modify these to make them more compatible with the times.
2. It would attack the Left, i.e., Liberalism and Marxism, as its primary enemies, particularly in North America, given that North America has no historical attachment to the Ancien Regime and the traditional Right. Instead, the enemy to be assaulted is modern bourgeoise liberalism (internationalist, social democratic, corporatist, multiculturalist, therapeutist, managerialist)
3. It would specifically embrace movements, causes and groups ignored by the Left establishment, focusing primarily on the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoise, rural agricultural population and the declasse elements from all class backgrounds.
4. It would crossover to the radical Middle with a populist-decentralist economic outlook standing in opposition to both Big Government and Big Business.
5. It would crossover to the vast culture of right-wing populism recognizing the many economic, foreign policy, civil liberties, decentralist and cultural rights issues raised by these milieus.
6. Its primary strategy would be the creation of alliance of local and regional secession movements spanning the cultural and ideological spectrum but united against the common enemies of State, Capital and Empire.
7. The leadership corps of such movements should ideally be hardline revolutionaries with a committment to radical action and an understanding of the major issues.
8. Aside from a populist-decentralist economic platform, such a movement would assemble coalitions of consituent groups at the local and regional level with grievances against the state and in favor of the decentralization of power.
9. Such a movement would seek to establish alternative infrastructure so as to reduce dependency on state services and to transfer responsibility to non-state services following the demise of the state.
10. Such a movement would recognize the legitimacy of armed self-defense against the ruling class, and so seek to establish private defense forces independently of the state.

So what would the endgame be?

1. Limited, decentralized and federative political institutions and the elimination of the gargantuan states of modernity.
2. Cooperative, decentralist economics outside the modern fiefdoms of State-Capitalism.
3. Non-interventionist foreign policy in opposition to both neoconservative “global democratic revolution” or leftist “human rights internationalism”.
4. Defense of civil liberties and individual freedom across the board, whether on seemingly right-wing populist issues like the right to bear arms or seemingly left-wing counterculture issues like drug decriminalization.
5. An authentically pluralist approach to social and cultural matters, where the basis of social organization is autonomous ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, linguistic, sexual, commercial, aesthetic or other such particularist enclaves.

So how do we get started?

To some degree, we see the beginnings of such a movement in the Ron Paul campaign, a grassroots revolt against the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, Kirkpatrick Sale’s and Michael Hill’s alliance of neo-secessionist factions, the emergence of the New Right as a genuine intellectual challenge to Liberalism and Marxism, the resolutions local communities have issued against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other abominations of the present system, the success of popular referendums in favor of medical marijuana, the rise of the militia movement in defense of the 2nd Amendment in the 1990s, the rise of the anti-globalization movement a few years later, the economic scholarship advanced by Kevin Carson and other contemporary decentralists, and many other things that serve as prototypes for what might be done in the future.

I favor a trickle-down/trickle-up, inside/outside strategy. This means at the top level we need a new generation of scholars to emerge that challenge the hegemony of neoconservatism and reactionary leftism in the cultural and intellectual realms. At the bottom level, we need streetfighting radical activists devoted to the kinds of ideas that have thus far been outlined.
We need those who work on the outside (like citizens militias confronting agents of the state when necessary or feasible) and on the inside (lawyers and lobbyists fighting the system on its own turf like the ACLU or the NRA).

Obviously, there is much work to be done.

Must Anarchists Be Dogmatists? 5

The first time I ever heard the term “anarchist” was in 1983, when I was a senior in high school. My English Lit. textbook included a unit on the British poet Percy Byshe Shelley and the brief biographical synopsis of Shelley mentioned that he had been the son-in-law of William Godwin, an “anarchist”. As a consistent “D” student, I wasn’t much inclined towards textbooks, but I remember being somewhat bemused to discover there were actually people called “anarchists”.

Five years later, much had changed. I had gone from high school stoner (think the Sean Penn character in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) to full blown outlaw to inmate to parolee to college student to dropout and drifter. Along the way, I starting getting interested in radical left-wing politics. Still not sure why. Probably because it was what I was around at the time (thank God it wasn’t the Branch Davidians). Having grown up a good church-going, God-fearing, flag-waving Republican, I probably figured it was a good way to flip off everyone from where I came from. Problem was I really didn’t like most leftists I met all that much. They reminded very much of the uptight Bible-bangers I grew up around. Just a bunch of do-gooders, know-it-alls, moralistic prigs and pharisees. I didn’t like liberals. I didn’t like Commies. I remembered having once heard of anarchists, so I looked them up in the encyclopedia and found entries on classical anarchism, Proudhon, syndicalism, Sacco and Vanzetti, all the rest. So I decided I was an anarchist and have been one ever since. Why am I an anarchist?

1. I agree with the Augustinian view of the state as a robber band writ large.
2. I agree with the Stirnerite view of political obligation. Why should I obey this guy just because he’s the president, king, mayor, etc.?
3. I agree that democracy is a system where five wolves and sheep vote on what to have for lunch.
4. I agree that the death and destruction perpetrated by states make that of individual criminals look trivial by comparison.
5. I agree with George Bernard Shaw that democracy replaces the rule of the corrupt few with the rule of the incompetent many.
6. I agree that the state exists to monopolize territory and resources, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, expand its own power and subjugate and exploit subjects.
7. I agree with Hayek that the worst gets to the top.
8. I agree that the insights of social psychology show that most people are creatures of the herd.
9. I agree that the herd is the permanent enemy of the superior individual.
10. I agree that values are subjective, that life is ultimately a war of each against all, and that survival of the fittest and the will to power are the only true laws.

So, yes, it would certainly seem that I qualify as an anarchist. I admire Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, De Cleyre, Malatesta, Durrutti, Mahkno, Foucault, Chomsky, Tolstoy, Karl Hess, Murray Rothbard, Murray Bookchin, Albert Jay Nock, Voltairine de Cleyre, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, the French Situationists, the Yippies, and a newer tendency called the National-Anarchists.

That being said, I’ve often wondered why so many people who claim to be “anarchists” are such complete and total assholes. Spend any time around anarchists and one of the very first things you will notice is the addiction many of them have to excommunicating heretics from their own ranks. Deviate by two percent from the articles of faith of any particular Church of Anarchy and you will surely experience the wrath of the Inquisition. Anarchists are much like Protestants in this respect.

So how are we going to go about fighting the state? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Build a strategic alliance of all those seeking to decentralize state power for whatever reason. In recent years, Kirkpatrick Sale has been putting together a federation of those who want their region to secede from the US empire, whether the Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South, the Christian Exodus Project, the Republic of Texas and the Free State Project.

2. Build a coalition of all those who are in agreement about the biggest issues of our time: shutting down the US empire and countering the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, averting eventual economic collapse, rolling back the police state, and shutting down the war on drugs.

3. Develop an economic outlook that moves past the Big Government/Big Business paradigm, attacking them both as part of the system.

4. Build coalitions of interest groups who are under attack by the state but who otherwise have nothing in common into an alliance against the state. This is how the Democrats and Republicans do it. These might include smokers, gun owners, drug users, Confederate flag wavers, tax resisters, anti-NAFTA union members, prisoner advocates, homeless advocates, the mentally ill, blacks fed up with police brutality, whites fed up with affirmative action and victimology, students fed up with tyrannical prison-schools, sex workers, Holocaust-deniers (no, I’m not one of them), civil libertarians, counterculturalists, homeschoolers, religious fundamentalists, the list of enemies of the state goes and on and on.

The triumph of movements composed of such coalitions would have the effect of rolling back the state in ways that would make Goldwater Republicans look like Communists. And the High Priests of Anarchy would oppose such efforts every step of the way.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the struggle against the modern Big Brother state will, if it is to ever become successful, take place outside the realm of the particular sects of Anarchy.

New Views of Nietzsche by Robert Steuckers Reply

http://foster.20megsfree.com/417.htm

Kurt Eisner, the leader of the revolutionary socialist Bavarian Republic, devoted his first book in 1919 to the philosophy of Nietzsche. Though he criticized the “megalomania” that he found in Thus Spake Zarathustra, he also praised its aristocratic ideals. The aristocratic values found in Nietzsche, he said, had to be put at the service of the people, not treated as ends in themselves. Gustav Landauer (1870-1919), another founder of the Bavarian “Red Republic,” emphasized Nietzschean voluntarism in his training of political revolutionaries. Landauer’s original anarchistic individualism became more communitarian and populist during the course of his political career, approaching the folkish, nationalist thinking of his enemies. Landauer died in the streets of Munich fighting the soldiers of the Freikorp, a group of paramilitary adventurers who were classified as “rightist” but who shared much of Landauer’s outlook.