Thursday, March 27, 2008

While browsing the internet today Molly came upon the following interesting report on the A-Infos site from a Jordanian anarchist. It's further proof of what I have said many times here at this blog, that anarchism today has the widest geographical extent (if not the depth of penetration amongst certain populations) that it has ever had in history. There are many reasons for this. One is that there is basically no longer an isolated society on the face of the globe (with the possible exception of some of the Andaman Islands which the government of India maintains as some sort of an "ethnological preserve"). There are computers and the internet in Mongolia, for God's sake, and I wouldn't be surprised to hear of "Mongolian anarchists" at some point. Ideas pass from mind to mind much faster today than they did in the past. Another reason is that anarchism is basically "expanding into a vacuum" with the worldwide disintegration of the Leninist idea of socialism. As I have also said before anarchism is basically well on its way to becoming the "ultra-left" which all other currents to the left of social democracy have to orient themselves towards - often by biting the backs of the anarchists like fleas, but perhaps more often by borrowing from the anarchist bag of ideas and trying to pass the result off as their own brilliant plans as if their party structure doesn't eviscerate and decompose any such good ideas that they may borrow.
I think that it is a safe prediction that the age of Leninist revolution is really and truly dead, never to rise again, and it is wonderful thing that it has died. Another left wing tactic- left wing social democracy- has a little more life in it, once more quite often by borrowing from libertarian ideas (usually quite unacknowledged), but outside of the South American continent this "way to socialism" generally has nothing of the vitality it had even 2 decades ago. There is also a leakage of people from both the Leninist parties and left social democracy towards libertarian socialism as people discover the source of the socialist ideas that are still attractive, no matter how much their leadership might want to keep them in ignorance. The leakage is more gradual from the social democratic camp because social democracy is nowhere near as flagrantly in contradiction with both anarchism and morality and reality as Leninism is. Social democrats generally don't suddenly convert ; they just get slowly more and more libertarian.
Anyways, the following article explains how such leakage is playing out today in a country that previously had little or no anarchist tradition. The following has been slightly edited for English grammar.
An overview of anarchism in Jordan today.*..theory and activities
Finally after more than 50 years of communist activism in Jordan the anarchists started to gather…Most Jordanian anarchists are artists who work in music, film making, and graphic design. One of our comrades is finishing his master in gender studies…Some comrades are Jordanian and others are Palestinian refugees living in Jordan… ---- Most of us come from a Marxist background so theory has great importance for us…Two comrades finally found an Arabic book that talks about anarchism…Actually we found three more books but with different Arabic words for “anarchism” ---- 1- Fawdawiya which literally means kenotic ---- 2- La soltawiya which literally means anti-authoritarianism ---- 3- Taharoriya which literally means libertarianism ---- 4- Anarkeya which literally means anarchism
We also found Egyptian and Lebanese anarchist websites which were extremely helpful. Until now we are about 20 comrades …I believe that there are more anarchists in the country, but it is hard to find them! Lately, we became part of a bigger movement called the social left which consists of Marxists feminists and others…Despite the fact that the movement has more than a 1000 members, we –anarchists- have ,relatively, very strong influence and effect in/on the group… we meet in Anti-globalization office in Jordan
When we started reading we looked for any form of anarchy in our own history and local culture…After reading a book called “Sufi tropics” written by an Iraqi writer(Hadi al Alawi).. we found that Sufism is ALL ABOUT anarchism…Actually we found a website on the internet that talks abut Sufi-anarchism…Now most of us label themselves as Sufi anarchists…We even found Sufi anarchist movements and groups from the 8-16 century… So after reading what we were able to find from Bakunin’s Proudhon’s Kropotkin’s books…and after studying the history of anarchy in Spain Ukraine Paris Mexico…and after studying Sufism, we started to have our own understanding of anarchism…
Another real messed up comrade of ours even worked on his own understanding of Sufi-anarchism in a way compatible with his own understanding of post modernism and the fall of ideology or what he called nihilist Sufi anarchism(plz don’t ask me to explain!!!)
We heard about other groups in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine but never met any of them…Last week, a very important columnist wrote about us –anarchists- in the most popular newspaper in the country…after he saw our flag for the first time in a protest…
All political movements and parties in Jordan have a problem with numbers,…recruiting more people can be very difficult because most people are too afraid to participate…In Jordan we still suffer from expulsion from universities because of any political activities. Laws that are extremely hard to understand and interpret which are used against political activists like: disturbing civil harmony! bashing higher status! long tongue!!! (I wonder what that is-Molly )copying without permission! Unauthorized gatherings!
Human Rights Watch talks about torture, kidnappings…There is also 3 years in prison because of founding unauthorized groups..So, anarchism in Jordan still has a long way to go but it is expected to grow in the upcoming years…
From your brothers/sisters …
Anarchists of Jordan
* by H - jordanian anarchist


Larry Gambone said...

I have long hoped for the development of anarchism in the Arab world. I knew there were historically small groups in some countries such as Egypt and Lebanon, but this Jordanian report is truly inspiring. I am glad they are able to link anarchism to their traditions. Like with the Chinese and Taoism, the Jordanians link their anarchism with the highly anti-authoritarian form of Islam caled Sufism. Wonders never cease!

mollymew said...

I, myself, am very happy that the Arab comrades have linked their anarchism to a national tradition in their part of the world. To my mind it is an act of wisdom. If you want to se anarchism develop roots in a given society.