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A note on the quest|on of "o||t|ca| Sub[ects"

Morad larhadpour
One way to express `the crisis of Narxism' is to point out that since Narx's
time all victorious revolutions have happened in backward countries while
in advanced capitalist ones revolutions have failed or, in most cases, failed
to happen at all. !t seems as though the agent and the goal (or `task') of
the revolution weren't matched in ways that Narx expected-obviously this
is just one, among many, `explanations' offered. Due to the proclaimed
impossibility of revolution (let alone its undesirability), in the past three
decades this `crisis' was only felt at the margins of Academia. But now,
with the advent of The Arab Spring, The Green Novement, Occupation
Novement, and other signs of a resurgent radical emancipator action,
questions concerning the time, agent, force.of the revolution have
become, somehow, unavoidable !
The pathetic and gory game of Bush vs. Bin-ladan is finished, particularly
in the Niddle-East, and people do thinkfact beyond the either-or of
Neo(conservative)Liberalism and Religious(reactionary)Fundamentalism.
The innovative, unforeseen, and collective response of masses, throughout
the Nuslim world, to the final fruit of Liberal Democracy, i.e. `The War on
Terror'-- their political response to many different, complex, and obscure
situations in the depoliticized age of global gossip via Twitter and Facebook
- clearly demonstrates that the poorly analyzed !slamic Revolution of 1979
in !ran cannot be classified and forgotten as `a freak of history' in the
annals of Historical Naterialism. That strange, multifaceted, and hugely
complex process of mixing !slam with politics in the context of modern
history, usually called !slamism, is still unfolding. Contemporary reactions
to !slamism-- from !slamophobic racism and the misguided criticism of
`!slamo-fascism' up to many nave and miss-informed attempts at
rediscovering `!slam's inherent emancipatory potentials' - is itself a vast
and heated topic for research.
As far as leftist politics is concerned, (although considering the almost
omnipresence of !slamism in today's Real Politick and its role as `the enemy
of the free world', western Liberals should also be interested) the first and
most important step is to make a distinction between !slamism and various
forms of Nuslim peoples politics. This distinction is itself an integral part of
an attempt to elaborate the concept of Nuslim political subjectivity." Such
a project involves many challenges and pitfalls-not the least among them,
avoiding any essentialist interpretation of !slam or any substantialization of
Nuslim nations, groups, or sects. !t obviously requires lots of insights from
history, theology, jurisprudence, anthropology, etc; however it is only
Narxist politics that can save it from turning into another `interdisciplinary
topic' (readymade for all the future PhD students).
The following problems are among the most immediate and important aspectsfeffects
of dealing with the questionffact of the Nuslims as political subjects or subject-effects:
1-Every theory of subject has to traverse the gap between a material
history (which also includes `spiritual' or Giestige phenomena such as
culture) and a pure subject that despite its effective presence is not a part
of the situation. This subject which has been called `proletariat' or `part of
no part' is also a universalist one because it dose not represent any one.
!ts' enemy is not the bourgeois class but the system of places which makes
classes possible. The fact that the last candidate for the position of
proletariat, i.e. the western industrial working class, has utterly failed to
become one, shows that the above mentioned gap is still very under-
theorized. Even a totally universalist thinker such as Badiou has been
forced to try to fill this gap through the introduction of concepts such as
`reactive' and `obscure' subjects; however, it is in dealing with concrete
historical cases of Nuslim political subjectivity that the inadequacies of such
concepts are revealed. Unlike Christianity, !slam is more a way of
organizing the daily life of community and individuals than a set of
subjective choices; that's why in case of Nuslim individuals or groups more
of their material history enters the process of subjectivation . Although this
increases the possibility of regression to `identity politics', turning some
fanatic or liberal reading of !slam into the sole content of any action, yet it
also makes them into proper cases for new ways of theorizing the subject.
This process of substantialisation has been happening to many religious,
ethnic, or social groups, but right now it does seem that making the
distinction between !slamism and Nuslim politics is the best way to see
how `the gap of the universal' is introduced into a `substantial identity' and
instead of destroying it simply opens it toward all universal truths.
2- Right now !slamism as number one enemy of `the free world' and the
heir of Russian Bolshevism is a strong force in the global power politics-
thanks to the wars and invasions of American democracy. For many people
in Nuslim countries, such as those living in tribal areas of Afghanistan and
Pakistan, !slamism is the only alternative to being killed and robbed by
Western Liberal Democracies. And when it comes to West itself, the
presence of Nuslim immigrants adds another side to this question of
political subjects who also happen to be Nuslim. Considering the global
economic crisis, the rise of unemployment, the absence of any truly leftist
option (thanks to 3 decades of neo-liberalism and de-politicization), the rise
of far right is more than probable. Whether the turn to right is done by the
self-proclaimed Fascists or is effected through `general consensus', it is
certain that Nuslim communities and individuals are going to play an
important role, whether as objects of hatred for the racist policies of Neo-
fascists (which turns them into a fertile ground for terrorist propaganda
and recruiting) or as possible subjects of a radical struggle for liberty-
equality. Nuslim immigrants, whether they want it or not, are going to play
an important role in European politics, but to expect them to turn into
`pure, universalist subjects' overnight and forego their identity just when
they are being persecuted for it, is more than nave idealism, it is an
obvious case of `beautiful soul' attitude. !n recent years some of the most
radical European thinkers have turned to Christian history and theology to
fight the prevalent political apathy; this move can and has been criticized
but the main point is to have an open mind when Nuslims get involved in
such attempts.

3- Unlike !slamic politics !slamic states can and do exist. To make the
distinction between Nuslim politics and !slamism is the only possible way of
dealing with the thorny problem of secularism in the Niddle-East.
Understanding Nuslim political subjectivity, to see how they can get
involved in different forms of political activity without recourse to !slamism,
is an integral part of defining politics as a form of separation from the
state. !n almost every country in the Niddle-East recent history has been a
bloody fight between people's politics and different ways of saving or
rebuilding the bourgeois state, which is always, despite its secular or
religious ideology, an authoritarian one. A radical politics based on people's
potential of power as opposed to state's actual force, requires new ways of
distancing. There are situations in which any struggle against the state
becomes a way of creating distance between people and !slamism, and
any attempt at creating people's or Nuslims' politics turn into a fight
against the state.