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<nettime> Geert Wilders / Borders, borders, more borders
Adam Anonyme on Tue, 23 Nov 2004 05:57:22 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Geert Wilders / Borders, borders, more borders

The ironies that need to be taken into account in the Coco/Patrice emails 
are that you have, on the one hand, Geert Wilders, a right-wing, 
anti-immigration MP; and, on the other hand, segregationist, right-wing 
fundamentalism. The immediate qualification - and a very strong one - that 
needs to be made here is that, of course, Islam as such is not inherently 
right-wing nor fundamentalist; but, it must also be said, in its rising 
fundamentalist manifestation around the world (not to mention the parallel 
rise of Christian fundamentalism chez Bush), 'right-wing' slightly 
understates the case. And, lest that qualification not be strong enough, let 
me simply narrow my point to the following: the murder of an artist by 
right-wing Islam. We're not talking about a person - or a group of people - 
who value artistic liberalism, in other words, let alone such chestnuts of 
the left as freedom of speech.
So, continuing with the ironies, you have - pace Paul Berman's recent book, 
*Terror and Liberalism* - people who profess an open-minded, ostensibly 
left-wing globalism, suddenly defending people further right than the 
politicians they claim to abhor. The irony, then, is that you have people - 
Fortuyn, Cheney, Wilders, Rumsfeld - on the crypto-racist offense against 
*people further right than they are* - with the left just standing there, 
not knowing which group to protest.
The irony, again, is that to knee-jerk react and label strong immigration 
policies as 'Borders, borders and more borders' is to overlook the rather 
obvious fact that the Muslim far-right is not exactly out to tear down any 
walls - walls of gender, politics, religion, or even diet. I, for one, 
certainly don't see any logic behind defending the religious right-wing in 
the name of erasing borders. Pretend for a second that we're not talking 
about Islam (though, to be clear, I am referring here to *radical* Islam, 
ie. fundamentalist Islam), and that we have, say, a rising political 
movement that subscribes to gender segregation, polygamy, arranged marriage, 
and literally medieval religious law, and I could easily imagine that what 
we've seen in the worldwide liberal protests against Bush-Cheney & Crew 
would happen all over again against them. In other words, liberal protests 
against this increasingly powerful right-wing group.
Instead... We claim that such protests (here, unfortunately, and to the 
left's embarrassment, voiced only by far-right politicians) are really an 
attempt to raise 'borders, borders and more borders'.
But why protest one right-wing, and not protest the other?
A brief answer to my own questions: because Wilders little immigration 
program - or pogrom, perhaps - would unjustifiably affect thousands upon 
thousands of people who are not fundamentalist Muslims; because to deny an 
international presence in any country today is not only to shoot oneself in 
the foot economically but to erect a fundamentalist blindfold of our own; 
and, not by any stretch the last point, because rejecting right-wing 
foreigners in the name of right-wing localists is a suicidal menu of 
My point is simply that while Wilders, Cheney, Le Pen, Bush, etc., launch 
their doomed Crusades, it would do us well to consider a philosophy other 
than 'an enemy of my enemy must therefore be my friend', lest we 
accidentally extend invitations to people far more right-wing than today's 
left seems capable of imagining.
It is, after all, deeply ironic to use the word 'racist' (however correctly 
and justifiably) in the context of Fortuyn, but then to abandon the term - 
or even stronger alternatives - when referring to segregationist, 
fundamentalist Islam. Religious medievalism does not, for instance, allow 
much room for a discussion group such as nettime.
The problem we're faced with is a confusion of protests on behalf of the 
left; and a flat-footed, militant anti-foreignism on behalf of the right.
Between these choices we have to find a policy that *makes sense* - and that 
plan must, by necessity, include a few borders. It's naive to protest Geert 
Wilders and Dick Cheney but not the radical imam next door.

>>On Sat, Nov 20, 2004 at 06:50:46AM -0800, coco fusco wrote:
>>The racist spirit of Pim Fortuyn lives on in Holland - this suggests that 
>>all liberal and progressive attempts to argue that Fortuyn was an isolated 
>>extremist are completely wrong.
>>Borders, borders and more borders...
>Chill, Coco!  Geert Wilders is a MP, but hardly representative for the 
>_whole_ country, even less for the whole political spectrum.

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