Oleg Kireev on 30 Jan 2001 22:26:36 -0000

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<nettime> mailghetto # 35 (anarchist-orientalism)

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Text no. 91


Even the most correct and intelligent scientists of the past century could not overcome the feeling of superiority towards archaic cultures. First in anthropology and then in philosophy and critical theory there was arousing keenness on countries of the Third world and "primitive" nations. Then the time of universal political correctness came. And, although now black people are called (even at us sometimes) "Afro-Americans", Europe still retains and maintains anew the imperialist attitude of cultural supremacy. 

Now there is a possibility greater than ever before for us to get rid of that cultural imperialism. Now it becomes really obvious for us that a European man is in no way better than the same man from a country of the Third world. This is first of all connected with the influence of the East.

There is Chechenian war in Russia now, and it will certainly be much time more. 16 years passed since the beginning of Perestroika, and the Communist idea exists no longer. The only thing that still resists the spreading order of capitalism now is the archaic Eastern culture. In general, the brightest efforts of resistance originate from the Third world in the last time: Mexican zapatistas, Columbian partisans, Palestines, Chechens. In Russia the overall keenness on Orientalism obviously relates to the steadfast images of Aslan Maskhadov, Shamil Basayev, Ruslan Gelayev created during the war years even by Russian media. This attracts intellectuals first of all. The keenness applies to all aspects of everyday life, from Oriental apartment design to listening to Muslimgauze all the time. The "Oriental style" also penetrates the mass culture level as well, and not only in Russia: according to Frontier magazine, in US more than 8 million people practice yoga on regular basis. And !
yoga studies, however apolitical they are, mean one's preferring East to the Hollywood culture.

It is possible that the influence of the East will grow weak and pass away in short time, thus becoming just another mass trend of fashion. In this case the European values will keep on deteriorating rapidly. In particular, the leftist politics "led" by social-democratic parties will disintegrate. For rather a long time the most radical plans are developed not by political parties, but by extraparliamentary groups, citizen initiatives, from NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to minorities' movements and network resistance. Their method bears the name of "art of campaigning", and it can be also defined as "campaigns of civil disobedience". As far as this goes, I can say once again that Orientalism can be very useful for the leftist movement. 

The history of NGOs, as described by the analysts of the 90s, ended with their being absorbed by NATO and eventually transforming to "dedicated clubs". The network resistance grew weak, the minorities' movements have succeeded in reforming state laws and establishing political correctness. Their "campaigns" have ended. Meanwhile in the first half of the century grand campaigns of public disobedience took place in India. Mahatma Gandi's uncompromising victorious struggle against the capitalist and imperialist order was based on the principle expressed by these fine words: public disobedience. It was performed not by parliament representatives, not even by activists, but every citizen of the country expressed his will by boycotting British goods or not collaborating with the British. This struggle resulted not in reforming the drug law, but in the birth of a nation. 

What could be an end to this message, which became too long and full of generalizing conclusions? Maybe that there was a campaign of such kind in Russia, "Against all parties", and if only more people and money were into it, it could have been a real campaign of civil disobedience. Or that this campaign is led by Russian people alone, from elections to elections, when no less than 5-7 per cent vote "against all" (without any PR or special agitation), and the intellectual activists and marginal politicians have lost their connections with it from the very beginning.

Oleg Kireev 

INFO: As "Prava i volya" net-bulletin reports, the NRA case situation turns out to be the following: 

There are witnesses who confirm A.Biriukov's participation in arranging explosions of FSB iffice entrance at April, 1999. He is still kept in Butyrka and keeps refusing to give evidence. Court session was scheduled for December, but it was cancelled again because of absence of some important witness. The court session is about to be held soon; most probably, it will be closed. FSB officials have finally managed to get some evidences against L.Romanova (Shiptsova), N.Raks and T.Nekhorosheva. They're still kept in the 6th isolation ward for women, deny their guilt and refuse to give evidence. N.Raks and T.Nekhorosheva are kept in "strict regime" cells, where they are almost deprived of communication with the outer world and where living conditions are extremely poor. Local censors won't let in most of the letters, authorities prevent Raks and Nekhorosheva from receiving proper medication, calls for a doctor are almost always ignored. Prisoners are repressed regularly. Nadezhda R!
aks refused to participate in investigation because of repeating conflicts with the authorities of the prison. Rights defending activists and relatives of the prisoners arranged round table negotiations with the authorities of the isolation ward in October. (The initiative belongs to the administration of the district where isolation ward #6 is located - as an answer to the attempt of holding a protest action near the ward). Director of the isolation ward was present at the meeting. She told about "brilliant conditions" in which the prisoners are kept. She had to admit that a conflict between L.Romanova and the administration members took place, but she insisted that it was the rightful reaction of the guards to Larisa's refuse to obey the administrative orders. Then the rights defending activists visited the isolation ward. 

According to information provided by "MosBabylon", a press conference "Falungiung in Russia and China" took place on the 22th of January in the Institute of media development. The main subject of the press conference was acts of repression against Falungiung in China and the attemps of Chinese authorities to extend these acts to Russia. As the coordinator of Amnesty International in Moscow Boris Suvorov says, in China approximately 150 followers of Falungiung are condemned to 18 years imprisonment; no less than 92 followers of the teaching were killed at police stations during the 18 months of the repressive actions. Fanlugiung appears to be a mass movement in China opposing the ruling regime, although its followers insist on the movement's being apolitical. A planned presentation of Falungiung in Moscow was cancelled due to the demand of Chinese embassy, which was exasperated by the presence of Falungiung in Moscow and informed about possible mass civil disorder.

As it has recently become known, a very good newspaper called STRINGER is distributed freely in Moscow. It is published by the editorial team of Exile (which is also very well-known and appreciated by English readers in Moscow). Stringer is published in Russian and is characterized by very sharp and informed anti-state criticism. The January issue features detailed and precise denunciation of Putin's new imagemaker Gleb Pavlovsky, formerly known as the chief of Russian political Internet and the office called "The foundation of effective politics" (pre-election campaigns of Eltsin in 1996 and Kirienko in 1999, etc). "Into the world of seeming decency and honesty a Kremlin political technologist has broken. He has the lexicon of an aesthete-like intellectual and behaves like a criminal baron". You can find the newspaper in Internet at www.stringer-agency.ru.

A new issue of the magazine "Counteract" appeared. The magazine is published by aged stern men who call themselves "anarcho-syndicalists" (KAS, or KRAS). They thank AD and MPST for financial support.

On the 26th of January the 18th exposition of the exhibition "MAN AND PRISON" opened in the State exhibition hall of South-East administrative district. The address is: str.Batiulinskaya, 14.

Translation: Alexey Kovalev

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