Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hakim Bey on the Clash of Ciphers

Here's something I've been curious about lately. I figured that Hakim Bey was opposed to Islamism, since nearly everything he advocates, it condemns. But, one reading of T.A.Z. would seem to suggest that he advocated a sufi jihad back in the 1980s. I do think this is a serious misreading. But, what is the alternative when the old "Three World" model has become two worlds, or even one world with a lot of outsiders?

Here, in his recent article Jihad Revisited, he elaborates...

From the US Empire's p.o.v., Islamism makes the perfect enemy because it's not really anti-Capitalist or anti-technocratic. It can be subsumed into the one great image of Capital as Law of Nature, and also simultaneously used as a bogeyman to discipline the masses at home with fear-of-terror, and to explain away the miseries of neo-liberal readjustment. In this sense Islamism is a false ideology or "Simulation" as Baudrillard put it.

America makes a perfect enemy for the Islamists because Americanism isn't a real ideology either. Brute force, McDisney-kultur, an Orwellian "Free Market" and a frothy "post-industrial" economy based on out-sourcing the entire misery of production to the former third world--all of this fails to achieve even the tarnished and untrustworthy status of "ideology''--it's all simulation. "Money talks," as the popular wisdom has it. Money is the only master of speech here and money speaks only to itself. "Democracy" is now a codeword for coca-colonization by cluster-bomb--"Islam" for the emotional plague. It's the wrong jihad.

Americanism & Islamism: a plague on both their houses. As for true jihad, there's more going on in South America and Mexico now than anywhere else. Maybe while President Tweedledee and the Imam ibn Tweedledum bite each other's throats out on CNN, something interesting might have a chance to emerge from the barrios of Argentina or Venezuela, or the jungles of Chiapas.


The Pagan Temple said...

Aren't Sufi's more mystical than most Muslims? Also, isn't Hakim Bey an anarchist? He doesn't seem to be advocating anything like that to me, at least going by the part you posted. He seems to be more analyzing the forces of competitiveness between the two ideologies of capitalism and islamic theocratism. He doesn't seem to be siding with either one.

As for the Sufi's the idea of them engaging in a Jihad might be more in keeping with the spirit of what moderate Muslims like to claim is the true original meaning of Jihad-a war the spiritual self might wage against the physical, base self for spiritual enlightenment. A war against sin, in other words, not so much an actual physical war of violence and bloodshed.

Rufus said...

Actually, a sufi anarchist makes perfect sense because the sufis were equally opposed to hierarchical structures. I think he's positing mystical ontology as a third way, neither western capitalist nor islamist. I suspect that his jihad is revolted by bloodshed.

Maybe David will weigh in on this. He's more of an expert than me...