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category international | anarchist movement | link to pdf author Thursday April 10, 2008 02:57author by Griffin - Zabalaza Books (ZACF) Report this post to the editors

Latest additions to the Zabalaza Books site as of 30 March 2008

Anarchism Section

* The ABC of the Revolutionary Anarchist & On Revolutionary Discipline by Nestor Makhno (New Layout)

* Anarchism and Anarchy by Errico Malatesta (New Layout with missing footnotes added)

* A New World by the Class War Federation (New Layout)

African Resistance History Series:

* Anarchism and Revolution in Black Africa by Stephan P. Halbrook (New Layout and Zabalaza Introduction added)

* Africa, Nationalism & the State by Sam Dolgoff

African Anarchism Section:

* Freedom for All: An Introduction to Anarchism (New Layout)

* African Socialism: An Anarchist Critique (New Layout)

Women's Liberation Section:

* Anarchist Revolution and the Liberation of Women by Martha A. Ackelsburg (New Layout)

* Feminism, Class and Anarchism by Deirdre Hogan

Revolutionary History Section:

* The Spanish Revolution: Anarchism in Action (New Layout)

Economics Section:

* Anarchism Communism: Its Basis and Principles by Peter Kropotkin (New Layout)

Various Section:

* The Irrational in Politics by Maurice Brinton (New Layout)

* Anarchism and Violence by Errico Malatesta (New Layout)

* You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case Against Terrorism (New Layout)

* Pleasure Not Duty (2 Essays on inter-personal relationships)

Leaflets Section:

* The Koran: Road Map for a Religion of Violence…

* Rethinking Crimethinc

* Towards More Effective Political Organisations: The Role of Leadership in an Anarchist Society


Also don't forget, if you haven't got your copy already, the new issue (#8) of Zabalaza: A Journal of Southern African Revolutionary Anarchism is available for download.

Zabalaza #8 includes the following articles:

- Asgisa: A Working Class Critique
- Now is the Winter of Our Discontent: SA Public Sector Strike Stokes the Fire of Popular-Class Unity and Reveals “Communist” Weakness
- The 2010 World Cup, the Neo-liberal Agenda and the Class Struggle in South Africa
- Students and Staff Protest University Privatisation
- A Short History and Introduction to the Anarchist Black Cross
- Vigilante Farmers Want Refugee Camps on the Borderland
- Swaziland: The Royal Assassination of Our Dear Comrade
- Europe, Africa and the Neo-Liberal Strategy of Co-Optation
- Blood, Water & Oil: Fallacies of the Darfur War
- The Congo’s Dilemma: Why the Congo is yet another example why we have to rethink our political system
- A New Guantanamo in Africa?
- Misrepresentation of Self-Management in the Caribbean
- Some Thoughts on Theoretical Unity & Collective Responsibility
- Clarity on What Anarcho-Syndicalism Is
- Towards an Anarcho-Syndicalist Strategy for Africa


Yours for a truly free humanity,
Griffin
on behalf of Zabalaza Books

Related Link: http://www.zabalaza.net
author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Thu Apr 10, 2008 18:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm wondering what's the use, from an anarchist view point, of publishing a pamphlet such as "* The Koran: Road Map for a Religion of Violence…"

What's the use of singling out Islam as a religion of violence? Isn't it true that violence has been a component of all religions?

The danger I see in this, is to reinforce the prevalent prejudice in the Western world that Muslims are necessarily "violent" people, dangerous terrorists that through their violent culture justify fully the civilizing crusade into the Middle East. This is pure ideology as stated in the excellent article from a Syrian anarchist http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=8555

It's a shame that an otherwise good book service is stained with such a pamphlet that from the very title reinforces misconceptions and prejudices that give the ultimate excuse to the War on Terror.

author by nestor - fdca - personal capacitypublication date Thu Apr 10, 2008 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While I am no supporter of Islam or any religion, this leaflet contains a profoundly racist text whose only aim I can see is to foment hatred. It takes it for granted that Christianity and Judaism are founded on correct and just truths, whereas Islam is lumped together with the Mormon church and described using derogatory, condescending language such as:

"Like the Book of Mormon, the Koran purports to be ..." and "Also like the Book of Mormon, this one is supposedly the transcript ...".

Not to mention the dedication to Oriana Fallaci, an Italian writer famous for her racist anti-Islam stance so beloved of Italy's right-wing parties (yet coming from the pen of a "respected" left-wing -or ex-left-wing- writer). Her bile served only to stir up race hatred in Italy (indeed she faced legal action both in Italy and Switzerland for this). It is an appalling text (particularly as it is written by a supposed anarchist), an appalling leaflet and anarchists should have nothing to do with it.

author by Jonathan - ZACFpublication date Thu Apr 10, 2008 21:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We usually try to have all pamphlets published by Zabalaza Books endorsed by other ZACF members before publishing them online.

This one however slipped through the cracks and was published without the knowledge of the entire front. We have therefore asked for our webmaintainer to suspend the pamphlet until we have had a chance to read and discuss it. After which we will make a decision as to whether or not to remove it from the ZB portfolio, or to publish it with a critique.

The PDF has now been suspended until further notice.

author by Griffin - Zabalaza Books - ZACFpublication date Tue Apr 15, 2008 22:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'd like to apologise beforehand because of my lateness in replying and having to keep this short because of lack of time but there are definitley some things that need to be mentioned here...

In Reply to Paddy...

* I'm wondering what's the use, from an anarchist view point, of publishing a pamphlet such as "* The Koran: Road Map for a Religion of Violence…"

** you dont think that breaking down irrational thought helps the anarchist idea and movement?

* What's the use of singling out Islam as a religion of violence?

** does ZB "single out Islam"? We also critique christianity (see Most's The God Pestilence for example) and irrational religious thought in general. Re: the author, please remember that this is a very short leaflet and not a book. For more on the author and religion see the 9/11 link below.

* The danger I see in this, is to reinforce the prevalent prejudice in the Western world that Muslims are necessarily "violent" people

** Difficult statement... if you read the text carefully the author states "the impact of his “Koran” upon Arab culture and the world has been profoundly, unrelievedly bad" - I think the author is very careful about critiquing Islam as a RELIGION that promotes violence and hatred and not people of "Arabian" decent, or origins, as such (we need to differentiate between Muslims ie. believers in the Koran - the topic of this leaflet - and those people you come from a specific region of the globe). If you lump all people who might have the same physical characteristics together, then yes, it could be dangerous. Is our job not to get people thinking along rational and libertarian lines... and for internationalism? See further comments below on a western viewpoint.

In reply to Nestor...

* "While I am no supporter of Islam or any religion, this leaflet contains a profoundly racist text whose only aim I can see is to foment hatred."

** There is a definite problem in your argument here... how can a critique of a particular RELIGION and RELIGIOUS tract be "profoundly racist" which is the belief that one so-called RACE is superior to another?

* It takes it for granted that Christianity and Judaism are founded on correct and just truths

** you contradict yourself here. On one hand you say the author praises christianity and judaism and then further on you say he lumps in Islam with Mormonism, which is a PART OF THE CHRISTIAN TRADITION. Another thing to be said here is that you should be careful of removing things from their particular context. The full references read "Like the Book of Mormon, the Koran purports to be the further chronicles of what God wants you to do"... and "Also like the Book of Mormon, this one is supposedly the transcript of a tablet preserved in Heaven"... the author is very specific in his comparisons between the 2 books.

* Oriana Fallaci, an Italian writer famous for her racist anti-Islam

** here you might have a point... if the author was both RACIST and ANTI-ISLAM. Was this the case, or only ANTI-ISLAM? (as the author of the leaflet under debate is a pretty well respected anarchist as far as I know, I dont see why he would have any truck with racists or their writings)
** Can we not learn something from Das Kapital even though we think the author was wrong on a lot of other points (...and look what that book has been responsible for). Could Woodworth not maybe be doing the same in this case ie. taking what is useful from an author without necessarily subscribing to all of their ideas? (if there was any major disagreement between the two (like race/ism), I doubt Woodworth would write the dedication to OF)
** When publishing the pamphlet, I had no idea who Oriana Fallaci was... I actually thought that it was a personal friend of the author.
** No one can help what people do with texts that are used out of context like "Italy's right-wing parties" using her/his texts to further their own agenda. All we can do is try reduce this to a minimum.
** please dont assume that I support Oriana Fallaci (I dont know enough about her/him) but the question is are you sure you are remaining objective in YOUR opinon of him/her? You state that s/he was a ""respected" left-wing -or ex-left-wing- writer" - dont know how far their opinion changed.

* It is an appalling text (particularly as it is written by a supposed anarchist), an appalling leaflet and anarchists should have nothing to do with it.

** this sounds like you are writing from a very emotional and not really rational point of view and reading quite a lot into the leaflet which is not necessarily there. I still dont see where the problem with the text is.

A further couple of points...

* I picked up and scanned in the original leaflet from the anarchist bookfair in London last year - i dont remember who was distributing it but sure as hell didnt see anybody complaining about it.

* When we rage against fascism for its promotion of hatred and acts of violence against people of different places of origin or so-called races, are we also not justified in arguing against a religion that threatens all of us with "Those who deny our revelations we will burn in fire. No sooner will their skins be consumed than we shall give them other skins, so that they may truly taste the scourge.” Do you know the saying "The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend"? - just because we are not with Bush doesnt mean we must respect the sexism, hatred etc. of Muslims... my favourite quote in this context would be (addressed to Bush) "We’re not with the terrorists, we’re not with you and we’re not alone".

* a quick search on wikipedia for the author and The Match! can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Woodworth

* This text, as well as a critique of it and an answer by the author can be found here: http://flag.blackened.net/liberty/woodworth-koran.html

* A further text by the author (which is against ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY) on 9/11 can be found here: http://flag.blackened.net/liberty/woodworth-sept11.html

* ZB is a publisher of anarchist materials that are not from, and has never claimed to be, from a specifically anarchist communist or platformist position (this would limit us to a handful of texts... might give me time for a nice holiday in the sun tho') but of texts that are useful (for self-education and outreach) and globally (as much as possible) relevant. Sure, anarchists in the USA might be a bit touchy about one topic because of their specific situation (the one in the leaflet under discussion for example) but might an anarchist in Iran or Iraq not maybe find it useful in their outreach work?

* also, please keep in mind where this text will be available... sure anybody can download it but what racist is gonna distribute it when it has direct links to an anarchist website on it and carries none of their race-hatred in it. I think the critiques raised of this leaflet are assuming the wrong context in which it is, and will be, available. Also when any quick search on the author will bring up clearly ANARCHIST texts?

I DO NOT believe that all Muslims are "evil" or violent but it is easy to see how the Koran can easily lead some of them to commit acts of violence (ok, American state/capital foreign policy can clearly also drive people to it... but add US foreign policy and a book which promotes violence against all those who have a different opinion and you're juggling with dynamite). I am prepared to respect all people no matter what their beliefs are. It is when their beliefs infringe of the respect for others and their freedom that I have a problem. The Koran is a book that strongly incites this and in an extremely brutal fashion.

I dont have time for further comments now. I seems that the current opinion (which I do not agree with!) in the ZACF is that the leaflet should be dropped, but I would still like further discussion of this particular text as I have yet to see a good enough reason to drop it.

For freedom & Respect,
Griffin
ZB-ZACF

Related Link: http://www.zabalaza.net
author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Wed Apr 16, 2008 03:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You completely miss the point both Nestor and I tried to make Griffin. I will explain my point with an example that you can easily understand being South African: I would find very odd if the ZACF came out with a pamphlet called "down with the black bourgeoisie". Certainly, I would understand the need to oppose the bourgeoisie whether white or black. But is there any need to single out that particular type of bourgeoisie? What effect would it have to anarchist propaganda? Considering the peculiarities of South African history, many readers, regardless of the original intentions of the publishers could either get the wrong message or suspect that there are other issues involved.

Here in Ireland, if there was a pamphlet in the north with a single criticism on "Catholic bosses" back in the '80s, it would have looked quite suspiscious to me.

In the current international context of "War on Terror" and the use of islamophobia as an excuse to justify neo-colonial policies towards the Middle East, I would be extremely careful of this material as it can actually reinforce racism and prejudices which are there and which create a new invisible border between the oppressed. Particularly, because it does, indeed, single out Islam, sending an implicit message that Judaism, Christinaity, Hinduism, etc. as institutionalized religions, have a different "nature" or as if Islam has been the only religion to use violence against the infidels.

All religions, as Nestor said, have a history of violence and this history should be remembered. This violence has been particularly exacerbated when religions have been turned into a State ideology. Having said this, I think it is a bit more complicated to do blanket judgements on religious communities. Personally, I do know Catholics, Christians and Muslims of libertarian and progressive leanings. And I am not just talking of people of a certain religious background, but actually of people who practice religion. Sacred texts can be interpreted in many ways, and I see it as something very dangerous saying Christianity leads to servitude and Islam leads to intolerance and violence. This is not the case for so many people I know and indeed it is not the case for the vast majority of people in the world who do actually have a credo, and yet, take part from time to time in struggle and rebellion.

Just to finish: if the pamphlet was written in Afghanistan, I could understand why they single Islam out, as it is their dominant religion and is used there as an ideology to justify oppression on women, etc. Coming from an author who lives in the US, a country which actively promotes the view of Muslims as backwarded and violent in order to justify their imperialist adventures in the Middle East and to exploit the "terrorist menace" I would be more suspiscious. And, worse than that, I think that it can actually contribute to many people in the Middle East who are in the search of revolutionary ideas -and I don't mean the fundamentalists- to grow suspiscious on anarchism.

*I find quite cynical the distinction made between Islamophobia as not being the same as racism because Muslims are a religion and not a race. Muslims tend to be Arabs or asian and not white, and it is a view quite prevalent among biggots and racists to equal a number of racial prejudices (the darker you are, the closer you are to bestiality) with cultural or religious prejudices (Islam is a religion of fanatics and murderers). Racism is never about the genes; it is about whatever attributes are culturally given to a certain group of people who are easily to identify and single out from the rest of society. With your logic, you could deny that Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany was a real issue because Jews are a religion and not a race. Or you could also deny that Irish people, being as white as the English, suffered racism in the UK because of their religion and nationality ("No dogs, no blacks not Irish allowed" read signs in many English pubs)

 
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