Revolution #101, September 16, 2007
America's Fascists Call for “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”
“The Left controls the labeling machines in our culture—universities, virtually the entire press, network broadcasting, the schools… I want to scream every time one of my conservative friends uses the term ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ to describe totalitarian reactionaries who would send them all to gulags if they had a chance…A Noam Chomsky, a Howard Zinn, an Ibrahim Hooper—these are Nazis, or fellow-travelers of Nazis…
“This October 22-26 I am declaring Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. I will hold demonstrations and protests, teach-ins and sit-ins on more than 100 college campuses. Our theme will be the Oppression of Women in Islam and the threat posed by the Islamic crusade against the West.”
David Horowitz, August 28th, 2007 interview at Frontpagemag.com
This declaration by David Horowitz can’t just be dismissed as the rantings of a reactionary meglomaniac. Horowitz is a major figure in Republican and Christian Fascist political circles. He has been a major spearhead of the assault on dissent and critical thinking in the universities, with the aim of transforming them into servile sites of indoctrination. Over the summer we saw the purging of two prominent scholars at the top of Horowitz’ hit list for scholarship and public statements that challenged official “truths” vital to mobilizing the country behind the Bush regime’s global war for empire: Norman Finkelstein from DePaul University and Ward Churchill from the University of Colorado. And Horowitz and others have made it clear that this is only the beginning.
“Islamo-fascism Awareness Week” is his call for a major fall campus offensive, a concentrated effort to combine racist bullying with insidious deceit to recast this country’s global war for empire as an historic defense of freedom against the threat from Islamic fundamentalism in alliance with the “radical left.” And through it to further harden the dangerous polarization that sees the only choices in the world as between Jihad and McWorld/McCrusade—between Islamic fundamentalism on the one hand and capitalist-imperialist domination led by the U.S. on the other. This fall campus offensive needs to be met by a Fascism Awareness counter-offensive that focuses on the threat represented by this country’s Christian Fascists and the Bush Regime, and at the same time brings forward an alternative vision of the future that is tied neither to the imperialists nor to the Islamic fundamentalist states and movements.
We must both take on and defeat this—and see the real opportunities this poses to flip the script on Horowitz and his ilk. In other words, the negative polarization that Horowitz is driving for must be and can be re-polarized.
Behind “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”
In March of this year Horowitz brought former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and other right-wing politicians to Washington D.C. to huddle with his campus brownshirts—Students for Academic Freedom—at their annual conference. (Santorum, among other things, is the Senator that attempted to insert into the “No Child Left Behind” Act the teaching of Intelligent Design creationism in the country’s science classes.) There they began laying plans for this fascist offensive on the college and university campuses this fall. In his keynote speech, Santorum told the campus Republicans “Words matter. How you define things matter, particularly in this war.” He explained "You see, they [Shia Muslims] are not interested in conquering the world; they are interested in destroying the world … But it's not just radical Islam; it is also the radical left … They fight us on college campuses, and they fight us in the streets of Central and South American countries, in North Korea … They see the soft underbelly of America, just like the Soviet Union did. And they're going after it…. What must we do to win? We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate … We need to do more…to spread the ideas throughout your campuses."
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is planned as a national effort “to rally American students to defend their country.” It will feature “memorial services for the victims of Islamic terror both in America and around the globe.” It will include sit-ins at the offices of Women’s Studies Departments and campus Women’s Centers “to protest their silence about the oppression of women in Islam.” According to the Anti-Racist Blog, “The stated goals of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week are:
TO EXPLAIN WHO THE ENEMY IS—not ‘terror,’ but a fanatical religious movement associated with … the sponsors of the Muslim Student Association (MSA)…
TO COUNTER THE LEFT’S BIG LIE – that ‘George Bush created the war on terror…’
TO PROTEST THE VIOLENT OPPRESSION OF WOMEN IN ISLAM;
TO STRENGTHEN THOSE ON CAMPUS WHO REJECT THE ANTI-AMERICAN CURRICULUM OF THE TENURED LEFT;
TO TEACH AN ALTERNATIVE CURRICULUM THAT WILL ARM AMERICA AGAINST THE RADICAL JIHAD.”
Horowitz envisions this the “biggest conservative campus protest ever” that will tell the truth about “the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted.” Campus speakers will include David Horowitz, Christopher Hitchens, Rick Santorum, Daniel Pipes, and more. Senator John Kyl and Santorum will be among those hosting showings of “Obsession,” a controversial “documentary” on the threat of radical Islam, marketed by a self-described pro-Israel group—HonestReporting—and promoted by Fox News and CNN.
A particularly racist component of this week is the targeting of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) around the country. Claiming it ise sponsored by fanatical religious movements, MSA is already being “baited” by these brownshirts—insisting that it sign on to their “Islamo-Fascism Petition” to prove that it “reject[s] the hateful agendas of its sponsors, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.” This vilification of immigrants from the Middle East and Muslims of all countries is meant to appeal to and inflame the most ugly, nativist passions. In his speech to the SAF in March Santorum explained: “What losing looks like is pretty easy, in my mind. Look at Europe….The most popular male name in Belgium—Mohammad. It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys. They [native Europeans] are losing because they are not having children, they have no faith, they have nothing to counteract it.”
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
If this weren’t so deadly dangerous, it would be laughable. Stop and think for a minute about who these people are that are portraying themselves as the opponents of fascism:
They are the staunchest champions of the Bush Regime, which has legalized torture on an industrial scale. That claims the right to declare any U.S. citizen an enemy combatant and strip them of all legal rights—and did just that with Jose Padilla. That has declared its right to spy on anyone, and is doing so on an unprecedented basis. That is continuing the war in Iraq—an ongoing and outrageous war crime launched on the basis of complete lies. And that is now threatening and preparing for a pre-emptive strike on Iran—launched either by the U.S. or Israel—with potentially disastrous consequences for the world. And these campus brownshirts are planning to shove this whole program down the throats of college students by telling them “you’re either with U.S., or you’re with the Islamo-Fascists.”
These forces also claim to be the champions of the rights of women and opponents of fundamentalist religious fascism. Meanwhile they work hand in glove with the Christian version of fundamentalist religious fascism in this country—forces who are determined to deny women not only access to abortions, but to birth control as well; to reinforce the subjugation and degradation of women in all its imperialist forms; to blur and overwhelm the boundary between science and religion; and to knock down the wall between religion and the state and establish a theocracy. How can we let them pose as opponents of the oppression of women? Or as “champions of religious tolerance?”
The Two Outmodeds
The world is a complex and dangerous place at this time in history – and we cannot allow these reactionary forces to define the future.
Bob Avakian has brought forward a crucial analysis of the present situation and the road forward in Bringing Forward Another Way (available online at revcom.us/avakian/anotherway and also as a pamphlet). In it he elaborates on his characterization of the two forces contending in the world at this time—McWorld / McCrusade or Jihad—as representing “the two outmodeds,” and he argues that there is no future in the interests of the people of the world in allowing our vision to be reduced to choosing between them:
“What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you end up strengthening both.” (From the talk, “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today…And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution. ”)
This analysis must be deeply grappled with. As we wrote in our article on line last week: “Islamic fundamentalism is not a progressive force for the world. It, or any kind of religious literalism, is a program full of outmoded and oppressive content: vicious patriarchy and bigotry, religious warfare, “honor killings,” and the promotion of unscientific, superstitious ignorance. But the U.S. is a much more powerful and more dangerous reactionary force. Overall, it is the far greater threat to humanity. It is in no way the "answer" to the genuinely oppressive nature of Islamic fundamentalism…. Every progressive-minded student and teacher should begin preparing now to politically – and ideologically take on these hypocritical fascists.”
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week must be met by a determined counteroffensive. The “two outmodeds” – either Islamic fundamentalism or capitalist-imperialist domination—must be repudiated as choices that represent any road to the future. And we need to be collectively grappling with the road to a future that genuinely represents the interests of the people of the world.
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