Nidal Hasan: The Soul of a People

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written with fatima & Will

For the moment, no one can say for sure that they understand the dynamics behind the events at Ft. Hood involving Nidal Hasan. What is clear is that he attacked military personnel whose sole purpose is to kill Arabs and Muslims. This should not be forgotten. He was humiliated and attacked for being Arab and Muslim, he desperately wanted to avoid deployment in a war that was directed against him and our people, and he believed that it is our duty as brown, black, Muslim, Asian, Arab, South Asian and many more to stand up and fight our oppressors. This rage that we feel swelling up in our hearts, weighing heavy in our chests, that rises up to choke us and bring tears to our eyes can only be held back for so long.

This rage cannot be controlled. Liberals and Conservatives get upset when we don’t express that rage in ways they are comfortable with.  They send troops to put bullets in our peoples’ heads, and then council patience and moderation to us. This lets them offer the solution of dialogue to everyone who has their necks under the boot of Empire.  When they disband the U.S. military, then dialogue can be considered with these hypocrites. There is no hope of explaining this rage to them. They will never understand.

At the same time, many liberal and conservative Muslims are afraid of this rage as well because they profit from their role as our prison guards. It is clear that the Muslim community is not united and can never be under these conditions.  There are some who want to join the club of American Empire.  They just want American Empire to kill less Muslims and to interrogate them with less electricity.  They are just as afraid of the Black people, poor people, and queer people as the racists, the homophobes, and the rich.

There has been a plethora of responses to the shootings. The Right jumped immediately to the fact that he is Arab and Muslim saying we’re all terrorists, and that our culture is violent and degenerate, and in response progressives call out the Right for being racists, and instead say it was a result of PTSD or part of the history of soldiers who, as canon fodder in a rich man’s losing war, frag their superior officers. We should be proud of Black soldiers in Vietnam who fragged their commanding officers that told them to kill other people of color.  Those soldiers are some of the heroes from that war. Those soldiers had the courage to defy an Empire, defy the most powerful military in the world, and stand in the face of history and say enough.

Why aren’t the thousands of US soldiers who have killed thousands more Iraqis, Afghanis, and others not called sick? Some of them come home suffering from PTSD because of this, and deserve treatment, but Nidal Hasan represents something else, and something more. He is not degenerate, and he is not simply sick; his actions represent an outburst of the frustration and rage caused by years of degradation and slaughter of South Asian, Arab and Muslim peoples.

Nidal Hasan was a human being with deep feelings and sensitivities. No “normal” person should be able to come from war and have dinner with their family as usual and talk about the Monday Night football game.  It is a sign of humanity that soldiers have PTSD.  Human beings are not meant to kill others, meant to see the violence inflicted upon civilians as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.  PTSD and other forms of “un-normal” behavior is not a sign of their weakness, a messed up psychological state or anything else. Simply put, it is a testament that their soul and humanity has been deeply scarred- as it should be after any war.

To help you understand Nidal Hasan, we’ll put it simply: We are not sick. We are not crazy. We will not apologize. We will defend our communities and our families. We will continue to fight back.

For over eight years now Arabs, South Asians and other Muslim peoples have seen our homes, our families and our nations become the central target of an unbridled military assault by US Empire.  Our fight against occupation and apartheid in Palestine has entered its 62nd year. But we have, in fact, been struggling in our lands against you honkey-ass crackers – who call us “towel head,” “terrorists” and “camel jockeys” – for generations.

And despite that it has been our lands, which have been occupied for centuries, we are the ones who are asked to apologize. When have the imperialists apologized for the millions that have died because of their bombs and guns? When Madeleine Albright glibly declared that 500,000 lives of our Iraqi sisters and brothers were worth their sanctions, why wasn’t the white man made to apologize? Why are Palestinians made to pay for a holocaust perpetrated by white fascists? You are the degenerate ones, not us. In an age where the virtues of equality are professed by all, the truth is that white, American lives are worth more than Muslim lives. We wish someone on TV would be honest and just say this. At least the country would not live that lie anymore. Just go on TV and say that killing Muslims is OK, but when white people die it is a historic tragedy. At least we would not have to hear your lies.

But it doesn’t stop there. You study us like caged animals, and write books about us trying to decipher the “Arab Mind” but when Timothy McVeigh blew up Oklahoma city where were the psychological profiles of the white mind?  You… yes you, you white supremacists and imperialists, are the ones who are sick. You are a disease, and we are the cure. You are a blight that should be wiped off the face of the earth.

We can’t even travel safely. When we go to the airport our hearts pound, our nerves tense, our chests get heavy, our stomachs drop, our mouths get dry and we can taste our own bone and flesh that may very soon be hammered, and bludgeoned, and pounded, and mashed, and stomped, and crushed, and cracked, and shattered on the floor, under your boots as we gasp, and choke, and scratch, and drown in our own blood.

In Iraq and Palestine, just so we can get to work, we wait hours in line to go through checkpoints, and then we’re thrown on the ground and searched because of our brown skin and brown language, but that’s not enough.  When we come home at the end of the night you break down our doors, destroy our homes, rape us, and then put a gun to our head and pull the trigger…  blood, bone and brain matter splattered on the wall.

When the white man went into Afghanistan, you claimed you were there to liberate women, only to legalize rape through your munaafiq, Uncle Tom puppet governments, as if the bombs and bullets weren’t enough. We, Arab and Muslim and South Asian women, can see through your bullshit and we have since the beginning. We will fight patriarchal dicks wherever we find them, among the imperialist crackers, among the crackers in our own communities who think they can crack the whip on us because they have a penis. We will fight against white “feminists” who think we need your bombs and guns to be free. We don’t need you to save us and we don’t need saving. We will fight with our brothers who love and respect us for our strength and strong will, and who we love and respect for their gentleness and their love for our people. it don’t matter whether we’re wearing a burqa or a push-up bra — being in front of the barrel of your gun don’t make us free.

WE WILL NOT BE AFRAID ANYMORE! WE WON’T! ENOUGH! Without an organized alternative, there may be more Nidal Hasans. The army, the schools, the cities are about to erupt. People all across the country are angry. They are just not sure which way is forward.

There has been another response from the “official” leaders and organizations in our communities.  US Empire tells us we can be the ‘good Muslims’ by supporting their wars and their occupations, but if we don’t we’ll be called the ‘bad Muslims’ who support terrorism and only want to spill American blood. We can no longer be silent about these cowards and traitors in our community. But CAIR, ADC and other bourgie, middle class organizations have fallen in line with this argument and denounced Nidal Hasan, and by extension the rest of us who resist, and lash out every day. These groups condemn people who fight U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and those who fight Israeli apartheid.  The irony is, of course, that many of these people are refugees of colonialism.  They conveniently forget that it took violent struggles to throw the British and French out of the Middle East.  Now that they are in the comforts of the United States they counsel a course, which will only lead to the continued oppression of our people. These people condemned Nidal Hasan the same way they have condemned our people every other time our sisters and brothers have fought back, as if we don’t have a right to defend ourselves. They are licking the very same boots that stomp on their necks. These “leaders” tell us to “be American first,” insist the “Islam means peace,” and that “jihad only means inner-struggle.” Inner struggle and betterment cannot happen in the backdrop of our brothers and sisters being killed.  That is the sick irony of their so-called “inner jihad.” It is meaningless. They have forgotten that Islam means submission to something greater than ourselves, no matter what the cost.  And no matter what the cost we will be free, and our homes will be liberated.

There is a crisis in our communities. Everyday we walk around with an open wound. We are forced to be two people at once. We cannot be whole people. We tell our children not to talk politics in school.  We stay away from those discussions ourselves.  We prostrate not only in front of Allah, but to U.S. Empire.  That is the secret truth of where our community is at today. And those of us who boast of strength need to look in the mirror. What is strength? Strength is the resistance in Palestine, the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything less is not strength. It is time to be honest about strength. Because of these betrayals, because of fear, and maybe because we’re not sure how to exactly fight back there is a lack of hope. When 9/11 hit, some Muslims ran to buy crosses to wear around their necks as if we could escape who we are.  Weeks later, many more Arabs and South Asians could be seen waving American flags — the same flag that lashes our backs, pierces our hearts and conquers our nations — embracing US Empire’s desire to see us live on all fours as dogs and slaves. The FBI infiltrates our masjids, the cops harass us, the Feds set up checkpoints for us in our neighborhoods just like in Palestine and Fallujah, and our leaders continue to “submit.”

Others have responded to Nidal Hasan and the apologies by these so-called leaders by asking, “Why should we apologize? We’re not all the same. Why should I be responsible for something I didn’t do?” They know we shouldn’t apologize, but don’t embrace our people’s revolts, however individualized, when they happen. They evade the fundamental issue. They don’t ask the question, “What do we need to do to fight back?”

Perhaps this explains the tragedy at Ft. Hood. Because the anti-war movement is so weak, and because Muslims don’t have our own fighting organizations, Nidal, and so many of us who have also felt isolated and alone, are forced to lash out in individualized ways. The actions of Nidal Hasan are not a program for liberation. Soldiers must refuse to fight in these wars, and organize on the basis of an anti-racist and working class resistance. Our liberation is a political and social question before it becomes a military question. One person will never put an end to empire, patriarchy and white supremacy on their own. The sadness of this event lies in the fact that that most soldiers are working people who don’t share the gains and interests of imperial wars, and that Nidal did not organize a revolt within the military.

This moment reflects the reality of where Muslim and Arab progressives and radicals are at politically, socially, and personally. Our people are dying everywhere, and we have barely a shadow of the organizations necessary to help them. Like our flesh, our souls are burning. It’s time we bring that rage to the streets. It’s time to tear down everything and everyone that’s holding us back. It’s time we think hard about the course ahead. It’s time to revive Malcolm’s vision, Stonewall’s courage, and the Intifada’s spirit. If the imperialists have their own organizations to oppress us, it’s time we build our own organizations to destroy that oppression, and free our people once and for all.

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48 thoughts on “Nidal Hasan: The Soul of a People”

  1. This is a poorly reasoned article. You start by saying that “What is clear is that he attacked military personnel whose sole purpose is to kill Arabs and Muslims. This should not be forgotten.”

    You then end by saying “The sadness of this event lies in the fact that that most soldiers are working people who don’t share the gains and interests of imperial wars, and that Nidal did not organize a revolt within the military.”

    Did you not see the inherent logical fallacy here?

    “What is strength? Strength is the resistance in Palestine, the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    Say what? Three completely different situations, only tangentially related by the conditions of the civilians living there. What is the “resistance” in Iraq? Is it the same as the resistance you reference in Palestine and Afghanistan? Of course not. You’re painting these situations with such a broad stroke that what you’re saying is literally laughable. And none of these situations are anything other than deadly serious.

  2. Calling every white person a “honky-assed cracker” is no different from some redneck calling you a “towel head.” Both are ignorant and unthinking responses to situations that encompass hundreds and thousands of years of socio-politcal and economic factors that are out of the control of 99.999% of the humans on this planet.

    Celebrating Hasan as anything other than a profoundly disturbed person who cracked and murdered a bunch of people is no less despicable than the right trying to portray him as a Jihadist.

  3. With as little hostility as I can muster, I have to say I disagree with your assessment of this article, scenebooster.

    You say, “Did you not see the inherent logical fallacy here” between Hasan attacking military personnel that kill Arab and Muslim folks and Hasan not organizing a revolt in the military among the working people whose interests these wars do not serve.

    I think this logical fallacy you refer to may refer to attacking military personnel that, by and large, are normal working people. If I’m wrong, please correct me. If not, I would simply say Hasan’s individualized resistance, the fact that he struck back in these attacks rather than organizing resistance among the working people that undoubtedly make up some of his victims, is the tragedy or sadness that the article points to.

    It is both true that he attacked military personnel whose purpose, by and large, is to kill Arab and Muslim folks AND that those same folks are working people. This isn’t a logical fallacy. It is a problem or contradiction inherent in our world today, that we need to confront head-on as we struggle against both white supremacy and capitalism simultaneously (among many other oppressions built into our society).

    Second, you say it is “literally laughable” to compare Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine in the same breath as examples of the strength of Arab and Muslim folks fighting back today.

    It seems like the reason you are saying it’s a ridiculous comparison is because these are “three completely different situations, only tangentially related by the conditions of the civilians living there.”

    All I think need be said in response is what I said just a second ago – the relation between these situations is that they are instances of proud Arab and Muslim folks who refuse to be dominated by the machinations of the US, both militarily and politically, in their sovereign lands. That relation seems clear as day to me.

    On the issue of calling white people “honky-ass crackers” I think the article makes quite clear that this is not a blanket condemnation of all white people, but a condemnation of those that continue to identify and support US empire at home and abroad when doing so isolates and keeps them from fighting alongside their brothers and sisters against that same empire. What the article does is point squarely at white folks – “you,” it says – and tell them to make a choice – support empire, or fight with us to tear it down.

    Finally, I think the article does an excellent job of putting Hasan’s actions squarely in the context of the war on people of color in the US, abroad and in the military and understanding it as a rational and even reasonable response to the scourge of white supremacy. It suggests that Hasan’s actions are just beneath the surface of many thousands of Arab and Muslim folks in the US treated like shit day in and day out for who they are. In this sense, we are all “disturbed” because we are sensitive human beings forced in order to survive to do terrible things. Our society forces us to make terrible compromises every day in order to make it to the next. When we can no longer take it on a mass scale, and seek to finally mobilize to change our lives for good and forever, the result is one of those “disturbances” also known as a revolution.

  4. I think wrong or right it’s about time someone articulate this arguement. It’s obviously from the heart and historically when the debate gets framed the people start organizing and the change starts flowing. So let’s keep talking. Let’s keep debating. Let’s keep the movement coming from the heart. I think the most empowering question in this response was “what can be done?” and I applaud the heart compassionate and brave enough to frame the question.

  5. There’s lots of justified anger in this article.
    We shouldn’t have to apologize for the massacre and domination of our own people
    At the same time we cannot embody this oppression and spread it.
    Criticisms must come but we have to renew our strength within ourselves as human beings in a struggle against oppression and imperialism, building stronger communities, building unity and understanding.
    Racism, tokenism, orientalism, leads Nidal Hasan to be viewed as a marker for his “kind” – any non-white can be viewed in this sense but the browner and less assimilated (or diluted to white American culture) your culture is the more you appear as such.
    We need more voices standing up, that this is not justified but we cannot justify violence at the same time, we cannot become the oppressors or use their tools in our liberation.
    Peace.

  6. thanks for sharing AA.

    that anger which you are referring to was intentionally one of the main animating features of this post for a couple reasons.

    first, the brutalization that our people endure everyday can only result in this rage. i think the post gets at why, so i won’t try to do so again.

    but i think another key aspect to this rage, as discussed above, is that so far we have failed to pose any organized possibility of freeing ourselves. this explains not only our rage, but maybe, also Nidal’s action.

    and i believe that we can only regain who we are by tearing down those things and people who oppress us. if we do nothing we will always ask ourselves, “why didn’t i do anything? am i weak? am i really less of a person like they said i was? did i deserve that?”

    i’m not sure i agree with you that armed resistance is a tool of oppression. i’ve looked at Fanon a little, and i agree with his assertion that ‘the violence of the oppressed is not the same as the violence of the oppressor.’ we have a right to defend ourselves, and when strategically and tactically appropriate engage in armed resistance.

    this question has haunted both the anti-war movement and the Palestine solidarity movement. there is a political dimension to this. the imperialists, patriarchs and white supremacists have already proven that they will kill hundreds of thousands of us. they have no problem slaughtering us en masse. plain and simple: we have a right to defend ourselves.

    self-defense is not a form of oppression, and in a national liberation movement armed struggle, as one layer of the resistance among others, is just that. sometimes it requires taking the offensive, but i would not qualify that as oppression.

    if we equivocate on this point this leaves the right to violence solely in the realm of the oppressor — which is what much of the white anti-war movement did. the liberals focused on the danger to US troops repeating the line of thought which places white, American lives at a greater value than Muslim & brown lives.

    i don’t think you are arguing this point, but it’s worth revisiting if we’re to avoid the mistakes of past movements.

    having said all this, there are many political and strategic problems that define the resistance movements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine that i would be willing to discuss. but i will not denounce them, nor will i denounce Nidal Hasan. i’m a little tired of my people being told not to fight back, instead of engaging in a critical discussion of strategy and tactics, and working towards building real solidarity. again, i don’t think you are doing this, but others certainly have and will.

    as long as there is a lack of an organized alternative, strategic insight, and political analysis individualized and strategically poor acts, such as those of Nidal Hasan, will continue to be the norm.

  7. this post said a lot, my mind is kind of everywhere so bare with me as i try to bring it together…i think i agree with you in a lot of ways…speaking of the anger that comes from the belly…talking about how hasan’s actions were very logical given all of us are in a state of an attacked mind, body, and spirit…makes since…but also, hasan’s actions were illogical, they did not go beyond anger and response to his state of being attacked…he did not organize with the ppl next to him..who were / are also being attacked…he did not form resistance..instead he chose death..and understand me, i do not believe there is anything wrong in choosing death, as a part of your struggle…but if you can’t live in struggle then what is it worth? i mean the true question is, what has Hasan’s actions worth? he showed us how dire the times are? he showed the severity of the situation? sure. i guess. but you and i already knew. now we need collective action. organizing. shit, and self love. and smiles. yeah, i know i’m getting a bit corny but its all a part of humanity. believe me, i sure as hell will stand up and fight in the name of the many who have fallen in the same vein as hasan b/c he is a fallen souljah..his death was a murder..as his victims were also murdered…by hasan and others..i mean the blood is on everyone’s hands…call ur self a murderer or not..we’re all walking around like lady mcbeth..crazy as hell..consumed by our transgressions, lack of action, or our constant state of being attacked…i feel like i’m saying a lot without saying much…i’ll end with this…we need to reach for more…action and organization…i’m unable to glorify, rectify, and hold hasan up as an exemplar resistor…the contradictions are too many…i guess that’s true for all of us…idk…well, i said something, even if it didn’t mean much..thanx for listening though

  8. jus read my post. i realize i said hasan is dead. last time i checked he was not. but they originally said he was…so i kinda got that stuck in my head

  9. Thanks ibn jubayr, fatima, and Will for this post. It was really moving and awesome. In the comments, ibn jubayr says “i’m a little tired of my people being told not to fight back, instead of engaging in a critical discussion of strategy and tactics, and working towards building real solidarity.” In that spirit, I wonder about the tension between justified violence by oppressed people against their oppressors and the possibility of that violence lending itself to a culture of “might makes right,” which most certainly undermines solidarity. I’m sure many writers and historical examples address this; I’d be interested in learning more.

  10. MC,

    i hear you. no corn. we are a beautiful people. we have laughed and loved, built both communities and the most radical democracies. the imperialists deny this richness in our histories. they say we need to be taught civilization and democracy. we fight, not simply to defeat our enemies, but to restore this richness, courage and compassion that both the imperialists and the apologists in our communities have denied and tried to erase.

    the actions of Nidal Hasan need to be understood. but his actions sprang from his soul and the spirit of Muslim, South Asian, and Arabs everywhere which should be vindicated. the crisis in our communities, also, must be understood and acted upon.

    MC, are you involved in any organizing?

  11. JK,

    there are several ways to explore the question of violence.

    there is a psycho-spiritual dimension that Franz Fanon has written about concerning the liberating aspects of armed struggle by a colonized people.

    also, there have been the debates which i alluded to above in both the anti-war movement and the Palestine solidarity movement. here are a few articles that explore some of the different positions, but by no means exhaust the debate.

    http://isreview.org/issues/42/Arnove_Ali.shtml

    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/6198

    http://psreview.org/content/view/13/70/

    and finally, here is an outline of how one tendency in the previous generation of anti-war activists thought about supporting national liberation movements.

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1969/abc/abc.htm

    all of these are worth discussing.

  12. I don’t want to cast Hasan’s actions as “reactionary” by any means, but I recently read Huey Newton’s “Revolutionary Suicide” memoir and much of what he says when defining those terms is relevant not only to the Nadal Hasan incident and the condition of oppressed people in this country, but to all of us who have taken up this project in our lifetimes.

    Reactionary suicide, Newton says, is “the reaction of a man who takes his own life in response to social conditions that overwhelm him and condemn him to helplessness.” He connects this to a study showing that the suicide rate in young black men had doubled from about 1955 to 1970. “The young black men” in the study, “had been deprived of human dignity, crushed by oppressive forces, and denied their right to live as proud and free human beings.”

    Later, Newton describes the circumstances surrounding this. “Connected to reactionary suicide,” Newton says, “although even more painful and degrading, is a spiritual death that has been the experience of millions of Black people in the UNited States. This death is found everywhere today in the Black community. Its victims have ceased to fight the forms of oppression that drink their blood. The common attitude has long been: What’s the use? If a man [sic] rises up against a power as great as the United States, he will not survive. Believing this, many Blacks have been driven to a death of the spirit rather than of the flesh, lapsing into lives of quiet desperation. Yet all the while, in the heart of every Black, there is the hope that life will somehow change in the future.”

    Newton then goes on to describe revolutionary suicide: “I do not think that life will change for the better without an assault on the Establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth [speaking of Fanon!]. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions. This possibility is important, because much in human existence is based upon hope without any real understanding of the odds. Indeed, we are all – Black and white alike – ill in the same way, mortally ill. But before we die, how shall we live? I say with hope and dignity; and if premature death is the result, that death has a meaning reactionary suicide can never have. It is the price of self-respect.”

  13. There is no way a practicing Muslim wrote this article. This just sounds like an anger filled rant written by people who are not really connected to the Muslim community. Thanks for pointing out that Muslims are divided on this issue. However most of us Muslims resent anyone, Muslim or otherwise, trying to be the voice of the collective ummah. These are not the sentiments of all or even most Muslims. Our faith does not nor did our prophet ever teach us to call people honkey-ass crackers regardless of the names we have been called.

  14. was asked to read this, are we angry? sure. do we dislike when people like CAIR or ISNA try to speak for us? Definitely. we arent saying, though, that because they bow down to the imperialists that they arent muslims. we arent saying that we know what the “sentiments of all or most Muslims” are. we arent trying to decide who gets to be muslim or not, who gets to be involved in the debate or not, based on whether they share our political perspectives. So we’d appreciate it if you did the same. Now, if you have specific questions or comments about the issues we raise, I would be interested in hearing them and engaging with them.

    If you agree that Muslim are divided on this, then you must agree that that is a crisis in our community. What do you suggest for organizing in order to forge Muslim communities that are principled, strong, and not willing to bow down to racists? What do you think it will take for us to be free? Because one thing I know for damn sure, more infighting and skirting the issue is not going to do it.

    If we are going to actually change the position of Muslims, Arabs, and South Asians in this country and around the world under the boot of US Empire, than we need to act NOW and we need to work and fight and struggle until we are truly free.

  15. how about writing articles that reflect the manners taught to us by our prophet? you want to work towards freedom by way of the word, writing on a website to mobilise a people, then utilize the manner in which the prophet delivered his word-with the best of tone and patience.

  16. the first theological point the Muslim community agreed upon after the death of the Prophet (pbuh) is that Muslim identity was free for all to take up. how “Muslim” someone was, was not open for debate. that was for God to decide. i think this speaks to the fact there has never been one monolithic, or archetype Muslim. we have a rich diversity of complex mystical, spiritual, theological and political traditions. we always have, and we always will.

    following this tradition i guess i’m a little uninterested in having abstract conversations about piety divorced of any organizing. as our sisters in the 60s & 70s taught us the personal is very much political. we seek the transformation not only of society, but also ourselves. but this must be accompanied with struggle and movement. the two go hand in hand — you can’t have one without the other.

    with that in mind i’d like to move the conversation to the government seizure of the assets of yet another Muslim organization.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/nyregion/13seize.html?_r=2

    for years the state has been infiltrating our masjids, locking us up on bogus entrapment cases, and destroying the social service organizations that we form in order to provide some relief to our sisters and brothers who are suffering under US wars and occupation.

    it’s really a question of can we form our own people-to-people foreign policy in defiance of the aims of US Empire?

    have there been protests? picket lines? are there Muslims in NYC who’ve heard of this? what are folks saying? are there possibilities of a pray-in at the masjid?

  17. A few more points:
    1. I don’t think anyone, liberal or otherwise, was arguing that Nidal Hassan suffered from PTSD as he had never, as far as I know, been in combat.
    2. Many of the soldiers massacred were army engineers. I don’t think their “sole purpose” is to kill Arabs and Muslims. I think there main purpose is to build up infrastructure (admittedly, some of it may be used to facilitate the killing of Taliban fighters).
    3. I am pretty sure that PTSD results from the constant fear of being killed– not from killing others as you suggest.
    4. Contrary to your assertion, hundreds of books have been written about white supremacy and American imperialism– just as they have been written about the Arab mind. You are clearly over sensitive. When people write books about the mind of an artist, do you think, “why are they studying artists like animals?”
    5. You claim to be the defenders of women and gays and minorities and detainees. How are these groups doing in the Muslim world? Couldn’t men rape and beat their wives under the Taliban and other Arab regimes? Isn’t homosexuality denied, and aren’t homosexuals persecuted in the Middle East? Are the detained Iranian protesters not tortured? Don’t the Taliban continue to torture and kill tribal elders in Pakistan?

    I understand your point that you do not think freedom can come from the barrel of a gun– so maybe you should go to Iran or Saudi Arabia and start a movement to protect those groups that you patronize. Women, gays, minorities, and detainees enjoy far more rights in America than they do in most Middle Eastern countries. Any claim to the contrary is laughable.

  18. Wow, you deleted my first comment rather than responding to it. There was nothing offensive in there. Was it because you had no arguments to make in response?

  19. Here is the original post if anyone is interested in what was censored:

    This article is both hysterical and terrifying. In one breath, you call Nidal Hassan ‘the soul of a people,’ and in the next you complain about the treatment you receive at the airport! Are you serious? You complain about racial profiling while at the same time advocating and predicting an uprising! And you cannot be concerned about the treatment Muslims who do not advocate jihad are receiving since you ridicule them in your article.

    Maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing. Maybe we honkey-ass-crackers started profiling and treating you badly before you started flying planes into buildings. But you must realize (unless you are ignorant extremists) that what you are advocating will only lead to more violence. More Muslims will have their civil liberties curbed, and America will stop trying to establish democracies (occupy, if you prefer) in the Middle East and simply annihilate it (which it obviously has the power to do).

  20. Nice post Krisna. What exactly made me lose the privilege? My disagreement with the article. Censorship, inability to tolerate different viewpoints… hmmmm, sounds like you would be a good member of the Taliban.

  21. there were in fact number of speculations about the role of PTSD in regards to the case of Nidal Hasan.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1936085,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1936407,00.html?iid=tsmodule

    http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thehumancondition/archive/2009/11/06/is-fort-hood-a-harbinger-nidal-malik-hasan-may-be-a-symptom-of-a-military-on-the-brink.aspx

    but as your last point is, unfortunately, all too common, i want to take the time to address that.

    just like in the US, women and queer folks in the Middle East need to organize in order to fight the state, patriarchal forces and the enemies of queer liberation. but US Empire is not, nor has it ever been, a progressive force for women or queer folks.

    you inquire about the Middle East. i have a simple question: who provides material support – money and military hardware – for those authoritarian, patriarchal and anti-queer regimes. the US ruling class does, that’s who.

    Afghanistan is worth examining. one of the pretexts for the war was the liberation of women. but we’ve seen nothing of the sort. first, the US supported what was called the Northern Alliance, which have attacked and raped women, imposing draconian gender norms. more recently, Karzai, the US’s hand-picked ruler, legalized marital rape.

    if the rulers of US Empire were so concerned with liberating women and queer folks why don’t they fund democracy movements in places like Saudi Arabia, instead of making Saudi rulers rich?

    you also seem to think that women and queer folks are free in the US. the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, the denial of marriage equality rights, and constant threats to attack abortion rights are just some of the prime examples of attacks against women and queer folks in the US.

    there is no progressive ruling class. it’s a myth.

  22. thank you for reposting, MC. the deletion was a mistake.

    MC, that’s cool, I dont want you to feel sorry for us.

    I think its hysterical and terrifying that you think that racial profiling and other forms of repression are justified and inevitable for people who want to fight to liberate themselves with the people in their communities. Perhaps I need to be clearer with you- Muslims in this country and around the world are sick and tired of being stomped on. You would be too. So we are asking ourselves what we can do to make sure that there are no more Nidal Hasans, because we love our sisters and brothers, and we dont want them to waste their lives in senseless acts. We are advocating for people to come together, learn the lessons of our histories, organize to take back control over our mosques, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools, and refuse to allow white supremacists to ride on our backs any longer.

    So how is this going to happen? You clearly dont think that it needs to change. You are fine and dandy with the fact that the forces that keep you feeling safe and cozy at night are the same ones that our killing us in our beds. This blog is a forum for anti-racists and anti-imperialists and probably not for people like you. But this is the question that we are trying to answer with people who are willing to fight for freedom with us.

    MC, I would prefer to live in a world where neither “America” nor the Taliban or any other authoritarian power dominated. I prefer to live in a world where normal people can control their lives in democratic fashion, which is certainly not the case either in the US or in the places you say “America is trying to establish democracies.”

  23. Ibn,

    I really appreciate you responding to my post in a sensible manner. The Time article was interesting. I had never heard of “secondary trauma” before.

    I never suggested that the US was a progressive force for women and queer folk. I merely commented that women and queer folk have many more rights in the US than they do in most Middle Eastern countries. I think there is a great difference in kind between the type of oppression women and gays face in America and in the Middle East, and it is probably a better idea to focus on the latter.

    As far as Afghanistan is concerned, the US and Karzai government have been building girls schools. In Pakistan, the Taliban is bulldozing them. I have not looked into the other points you raised about Afghanistan, but it sounds like the US has supported some pretty despicable things. Nevertheless, I’m sure all the horrible things tolerated by the Karzai regime were tolerated during the reign of the Taliban with no chance of ever changing through domestic action. If Afghanistan develops a functioning democracy at least the people could elect officials who would change the law.

    It is no argument to say that America does not care about the women and gays in Afghanistan because they don’t support movements in other countries. That is like saying that you must not care about the homeless if you give one homeless person a home, but don’t give every other homeless person a home as well.

  24. Fatima-

    I am only advocating racial profiling if we live in the world that the article suggests we live in– one where nadal hasan represents the “soul” of the Muslim people and a violent uprising is imminent.

    You say Nadal Hassan engaged in a “senseless” act, but your article is dedicated to justifying it. That is my problem with it. Your article not only attempts to justify his act, but also encourages soldiers to murder their officers.

    You then say the question this site is trying to answer is how to rise up and take back control. The article seems to answer this question— you advocate violence against the military and you expect me to believe that the uprisings within your communities will be anything other than violent? Maybe you think a violent uprising is justified. I am simply saying that it will lead to much more violence against Muslims.

  25. Fatima, Ibn Jubayr, and Will, this is a beautiful post. I’m proud to be associated with folks who have the guts to publish this. It reminds me of Malcolm, and like BlueInferno I agree it is urgently necessary to make these points to reframe the whole debate. Part of the reason the anti-war movement declined was too many people on the Left were not able or willing to grapple with these questions.

    now for the haters….

    MC (the second MC, not the first), do you even understand how racist your argument is? In your first post you say:

    But you must realize (unless you are ignorant extremists) that what you are advocating will only lead to more violence. More Muslims will have their civil liberties curbed, and America will stop trying to establish democracies (occupy, if you prefer) in the Middle East and simply annihilate it (which it obviously has the power to do).

    Basically, what you are doing here is saying that Arab and Muslim folks need to act like good docile brown folks and keep their heads down. If not, it will be their own fault if white supremacists exterminate them.

    Would you ever say this about other oppressed people? Would you say that the Warsaw ghetto fighters shouldn’t have been so adamant about opposing Naziism because they provoked the Nazis into shipping them off to concentration camps? Would you tell Black folks that they shouldn’t have spoken up against Jim Crow because it provoked the Klan to lynch folks? These are not rhetorical questions MC, I really want to know your answers. Either you are a white supremacist across the board or you are making an exception and saying that Arab and Muslim folks in particular need to shut up and take it or else it’ll be their fault if they get tortured, raped, and exterminated.

    I’m glad your post was not censored like you thought it was, but you are pushing it buddy…. there are plenty of venues for people like us to debate racists but this is not one of them, this is a place for us to brainstorm and dialogue about how to fight white supremacy. Sorry to break the news to you, but not every conversation needs to put whitey at the center. Not every conversation needs to involve explaining to people like you why people of color have a right to be angry when forces you seem to support destroy their communities.

    Finally, the term “cracker…” as far as I understand it, a cracker is anyone who acts like a master, anyone who cracks the whip. Will, Fatima, and Ibn Jubayr also use it to refer to Arab and Muslim patriarchs who crack the whip to dominate women in their communities. In my mind, a cracker is as a cracker does. There are folks with white skin who don’t act like crackers….. unfortunately there are some people of color who do. MC, what do you do?

  26. Mamos-

    Thanks for your post. It really gets to the heart of the issue, and reveals why we will never agree. I can get back to studying and out of this hateful forum

    I would never compare the holocaust with the plight of Muslims in America. I would never conflate the evils of Nazism with the evils of so-called “US Imperialism.”

    So— of course I would not argue that Warsaw Ghetto Fighters should remain docile because they would risk their own annihilation by resisting. I would, however, argue that Muslims in the US– who may be occasionally surveilled and looked down on but never herded up, tortured, and exterminated– should seek change through means other than violence. Your plight is not nearly as extreme as the Warsaw Ghetto Fighters was. Your situation can get worse. There is no need to take actions that will be so obviously counterproductive. I am not saying the “white supremacist” response would be justified– I am only saying that it would happen.

    Some white supremacists say the N word only applies to certain African Americans. Nice job using the same argument to justify the use of the word “cracker.”

  27. hey, what’s up ppl…i c there are two MC’s here? i was the first MC who wasn’t on that bullshit cracker shit…just want to clarify

    yes i organize…trying to stay dedicated..learn more..i just started checkin out ya’lls readin list. bout to get on it

  28. Seriously disappointed in the “cracker” and “honkey” business, Krishna. Doesn’t do much to bolster your argument.

    As always, respect to you – I have love for you. Nothing will change that. But you never responded to what I consider the most salient point from the FB discussion – Hasan killed a pregnant woman. Any person that “identifies” with that action or finds anything positive or laudable in it is, in my humble opinion, lost. That unborn “honkey,” “cracker,” “spic,” “towelhead,” whathaveyou (I don’t know what race the woman who was killed was) might have been the human being to bring some unquantifiable bit of change and peace to our world. For that reason alone, Hasan is nothing…he’s less than nothing.

  29. A lot here comrades. i’ll try and say something thoughtful.

    The absolute first things that must be said is that it is an unforgivable crime what the US war machine has done and is doing to the peoples of Iraq, Afrghanistan, Palestine and far too many other regions of our planet.

    It is a mark of shame that the working-classes here have allowed and too often actively supported the running of the bulls.

    It is also a truth that we, who oppose these wars, have not built the kind of movement – radical, liberatory, effective – that might have served as a pole of attraction away from ineffective, immoral action like Hasan’s.

    When I said these were the first things that need to be said, I was serious, not just softening you up for a left hook. We need to create a radical antiwar movement capable of mass direct action, with roots in the class (muslim & military & everywhere else) and an anti-authoritarian revolutionary vision of what liberation from imperialism, patriarchy, and the state could be.

    I am serious about building this type of movement and I think that you all are too. We’ll talk.

    OK, so here’s the other part. Hasan’s action was shit. Too much of this essay is concerned with what the powerful are saying, and getting caught up in Hasan as an abstraction, with him as the representation of your righteous anger. But he is not an abstract representation, he is a man. Flesh and blood, ideas and actions.

    And as an action, his was no good. It did not effect the war, it did not divide popular support away from the war, it did not draw any class line. Among the dead (lets not make them abstractions either): a pregnant 21 year old Latina from Chicago, a 23-year old Hmong father of three from St. Paul, some small town white boys and a bunch of medical staff. Really? This is who the “soul of a people” picks out?

    We should deal with Hasan as a real person and not a symbol. And on that level the action should be criticized. Not for the reasons, and against the reasons that the imperialists gnash their teeth. But because it did not help”gather our forces”, it did not help stop the war, it did not target the warmakers. It was either crazy or incompetent.

    Solidarity,

    Kdog

    Michigan-Minnesota anarchist group
    (personal capacity)

  30. Kdog, i appreciate your comments.

    The problem is, though, that there is the connection between the lack of a strong movement and Hasan’s actions. So while CAIR and ADC and the other middle class organizations who claim to speak for our communities run to distance themselves from the event, apologize for the undesirables in the community, and maintain their status as “good” muslims under US empire, we refuse to do that. We are asking different questions. We are asking how we can work together so that someone like Hasan has the support, historical knowledge, and efforts of thousands to help him organize within the military against Empire. But we are a long way away from that.

    The fact of the matter is that innocent people who didnt do a damn thing are killed all the time in Iraq and Afghanistan by soldiers who had a bad day. Or they are raped. Or tortured. Their lives are just as valuable as the lives lost at Ft Hood, and we should be equally enraged by them. I am. Everyday is a damn Ft Hood and a whole lot worse in Nablus, in South Waziristan, in Mosul, and in Kandahar. I am walking around with that rage in my belly, and I am not going to waste my time damning the actions of one man who acted alone, when there are literally millions of people who participate in an orchestrated massacre of my people everyday, and everyone knows it, and who are people we someday have to come up against or spend our lives trying.

    It is good to hear that you are serious about building the movement. We should talk about this. What do you think is the way forward? What have you seen or been involved with that has worked or has not worked?

  31. so, fatima, are you saying a bad action is better than no action?

    i agree with Kdog that this action was shit and does nothing to actually stop the massacres and bloodshed. It does nothing to undermine Empire.

    The original post comments, “For the moment, no one can say for sure that they understand the dynamics behind the events at Ft. Hood involving Nidal Hasan” but then you all go into speculation based on both fact and your personal subjective emotions, in effect attaching to Hasan a reason for his actions the same way the media of Empire have attempted to color him and what he did.

    Ok, so yeah, that isnt the worst thing, we should try to think through what lead to this situation. but then you all basically with not so many words justify the action without a real investigation into a) what motivated him or b) where those motivations were really coming from.

    Unless you feel that any action against the Empire is progressive or opens up space for a humanist and libertarian radicalism, then what you fail to start dealing with that there are multiple forces and ideas at war with the System, some of them right wing and fascist. In fact it has been in my opinion that the most advance or should i say dramatic attacks on Empire have been waged by groups who are not liberatory or our allies but have been fascist Jihadi who would eliminate you all as much as they would the “crackers” for Empire.

    And this gets to another point, what is up with all this cracker shit? While white supremacy still exists and has its effects, and that this war is racist, global capital and its ruling classes are not just White. Capitalism is comprised of varying dominant ethnic regimes that suppress other ethnic groups – China, India, Africa. or all the ruling classes of these bloc’s crackers to? How absurd.

    But beyond that, saying cracker is so simple and self defeating and does nothing to get at the heart of why white (or anyone who supports Empire) people should rethink their relationship to the System, make a break with it and unite within a new multiracial and multicultural community for survival.

  32. c. alexander,

    i don’t think that’s a fair caricature of fatima’s points. i understood her saying that the dominant organized ideological tendency in our community is liberalism, which entails support for US Empire. this needs to be fought against from inside our community.

    to do this it is worth trying to understand what our people are saying, doing and thinking. there is a right wing inside our community, but individual acts are often times not ideologically committed. they are contradictory.

    so i would conclude this point with your words that “there are multiple forces and ideas at war with the System,” so every time a Muslim lashes out it can’t simply be written off as “Jihadi fascism.” this is a stale analysis that, unfortunately, is common among both the Right and the Left, which fails to recognize the richness and diversity of thought and action among our people. Nidal Hasan’s acts are indicative of these tensions and contradictions.

    i’ve heard many on the Left say they are for class struggle, but i’m curious what they think that looks like. the fight against white supremacy has class content, but it will not be perfect in all its forms. we can’t impose an abstract notion of class struggle on real divisions within the working class. if we’re going to wait around for the perfect political line or the perfect movement, then we better get comfortable.

    fatima’s other point, i believe, is that we need to pull away from and defeat the way the racists are framing this issue. insinuating that he might be a Jihadi fascist doesn’t do this — instead it aids the Right. there is almost no one out there vindicating — with our contradictions, tensions, warts and all — the soul of Arab and Muslim resistance. the anti-war movement couldn’t even come to a consensus on this.

    we need to rest control of how we understand this from the racists and the Right. we’re not defending his actions — we’re trying to understanding it.

  33. BlueInferno,

    the movie looks interesting. i’ll have to put it on the docket. i actually just watched “Jarhead” with Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal. i think it captures something similar to what “The Good Soldier” might be trying to do. without giving anything away it shows how soldiers are told to be and do one set of things that doesn’t match at all with their reality as human beings, and how they try to carve their own understandings and relationships with what they have.

    the only thing the film is missing, which might be the same with the”The Good Soldier” is how and where this can be transformed into working class resistance inside the military, but i suppose these limitations are to be expected.

  34. Pretty clear this is a pretty sensitive and emotional topic for everyone, myself included. I will do my best to keep a cool head and provide calm responses, especially to the folks like you (Kdog and C Alexander) and others who I consider comrades. So with solidarity here goes…

    1. Race and Class

    I argue that much of the debate on whether Nidal Hassan’s actions advance the class line/ struggle are reflective of deeper differences regarding the relationship between class and race.

    I will start with a few brief quotes from Selma James’s excellent Sex, Race and Class:

    “identity—caste—is the very substance of class.”

    “When Black workers burn the centre of a city, white Left eyes see race, not class.”

    Race and class cannot be separated. Real ideological and material divisions exist in the class along the lines of race. In other words race is expression of class politics and it cannot be just understood that it is an ideological-material force that just divides the class. While it certainly does that, race creates its own modalities and terms of liberation which while are part of the class struggle, also have unique features which an abstract conception of class struggle is blind to. In the context of Anarchist/ Communist revolution each nationality also has to face down the ideological and material divisions which have held them down. This does not happen in a manner of “black and white unite and fight”—at least I don’t think so. (I also am pretty confident C Alexander and K dog agree with me on this.) In fact I argue that this phrase kills the subjective agency and process of racial pride and development which is vital to building a multi-racial community and eventually a left-revolution. I argue it happens more along the lines of the pamphlet, “Black Workers White Workers” by Noel Ignatin. I will develop the importance of BWWW later.

    Concretely, what is the relationship of Nidal Hassan’s actions to class politics? Nidal Hissan has to be looked at in the context of the wars happening in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan—immense class dimensions to these wars. It is pretty clear these wars shook him to the core. Second, Nidal Hissan has to be seen in the context of the immense repression happening in the United States towards Muslims and Arabs—again tied to class politics. Third, the liberal and middle class domination of organizations has to be precisely understood in terms of class politics in Arab, South Asian and Muslim communities. These organizations come out of the woodworks and posture themselves as “good Muslims” who give advice to U.S. Empire or the racist judicial system on how to better treat Muslims.

    The fact that Nidal Hassan did what he did is directly tied to the lack of a broader anti-war movement and most accurately by the domination of these organizations. These groups seek to contain the popular self-expression of more radical and libertory politics of Arabs, South Asians, and Muslims in the United States. They fear that the latter will get out of hand and out of their control. It is analogous to the role the NAACP plays in the Black community. Furthermore, these groups have consistently failed to organize on a radical and libertarian manner against the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Palestine. These groups are coming out now and giving liberal-patriotic-authoritarian-middle class interpretation of Nidal Hassan’s actions. In my mind the class dimensions and contradictions of Nidal Hassan’s actions could not be seen more clearly.
    I recently saw a U.S. House of Representative declare that even when a worker walks into a workplace and shoots people, it should be declared terrorism. I would never support a law like this. The rulers are using this attack by Nidal Hassan to open up another front in their assault on workers. Revolutionaries need to recognize the class implications stretching from Nidal Hassan all the way to the point of production.

    The question I keep asking myself is what if Nidal Hassan’s name was John Doe and he was a worker at Ford which is facing massive attacks by the UAW and Ford. And because John Doe’s family was going broke, was facing increased exploitation etc went into the plant and shot managers and co-workers. I don’t think the left would necessarily defend John Doe, but there would be a much more sympathetic, nuance, and contradictory reading of his self-activity. But this brings us back to the Selma James quotes I started this point with. This is a major crisis in the left.

    Just like Black people and women had to fight for their agency and subjectivity in the mass movement of the 1960s, we find this happening with Muslims today. Their anger, their subjectivity, the self-activity is always second-guessed, quickly demonized, and at times ignored. And this is happening on the left, forget about the state, the media etc.

    2. Three Way Fight Analysis

    C. Alexander, I have a lot of agreement with the TWF analysis, but one of my consistent critiques of it has been that almost all it can see in the self-activity of Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians is the danger of fascism. While I agree with you that the Taliban and Al-Queda are straight up right wing reactionary groups or networks, I think we have fundamental disagreements on what the broader self-activity of Arabs and Muslims mean. I would include in this debate questions of the nature of Hamas and Hezbollah. They are extremely different from such groups as the Taliban and Al-Queda. It does not distinguish the ideological and historical origins and differences between these groupings.

    I think you jump the gun too quickly in implying the danger of right wing fascism in Nidal Hassan’s actions. I don’t know all the details myself regarding this person, but the piece is not trying to analyze Nidal Hassan’s politics but a state of being: in ourselves and in our communities in a larger context.

    3. Subjectivity of Arabs, Muslims, South Asians and people of color in general in crisis and ignored by the Left

    I take a lot of inspiration from Fanon, Malcolm, and CLR regarding these questions and I believe they are fundamentally correct. What was amazing about these three revolutionaries is they realized that the historical, civilization, contemporary, and I would argue even the theoretical and organizational agencies of oppressed people of color have to be vindicated in the struggle against white supremacy and capitalism—and obviously in the path towards Revolution.
    What is vital about connecting BWWW, Fanon, CLR, and Malcolm is that the leadership role of people of color also helps develop confidence, washes away the much of racism that many pocs have come to accept about ourselves, deals with the fear of own self-activity etc. etc. BWWW and CLR ties this to the point of production in a powerful way. What is clear that all these authors recognize that self-expression of race politics is vital to class politics. I am not conflating the concrete actions of Nidal Hassan with the post we posted which has a far more nuanced, angered and tortured state of being. In other words it is doing something different although Nidal Hassan is an important point of axis to revolve around and think about things.

    This piece was in conversation with a tragic figure and a community. I could not disagree more that this piece was talking to the powerful. At times it lashes out at U.S. Empire, but what is the subject/ agent which is doing it. It is Muslim, Arab, and South Asian people who in an era have been brought on tv shows to prostate themselves in front of the nation to apologize every time a Muslim person sneezes. This has tormented the community, it robs people of their dignity, and it creates a forum where middle class representatives of the community propagate middle class political visions/ solutions to the crisis. An alternative is desperately needed.

    Furthermore, all three authors I believe have felt that a militant reclamation of race is vital to the coming out of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities. This anger is not abstract or just emotional. It is a political expression of where the community has to go if it going to stop living under fear. This is tied to the community’s ability to explore difficult questions without throwing in the towel to the right that it was terrorism or something like that and opening up further class war on workers at the site of production. The community has to say “no apologies,” “Nidal Hissan was not an insane person,” “the wars in the Middle East are insane” etc etc. In my opinion this is the real becoming of a revolutionary, libertarian, race and class based Arab and Muslim community. Perhaps we just differ on how race, revolution and class intersect and how they dialectically animate one another.

    Nor does subjectivity come in purely ironed out revolutionary forms espousing all the correct lines which I think is one of the major flaws of Anarchism. A lot of anarchists I have met only understand other movements when it picks up the banner of Anarchism. I am not sure where Kdog or C. Alexander fall on this, but this has been the general trend I have observed.

    4. Humanism and Moral Dimensions

    I believe the post pin points the Humanist and moral predicaments and tragedy of Nidal Hassan’s actions. I don’t believe the post glorifies or vindicates his actions. It explores the tensions and that is what complex humanism or morality is about. Most precisely the post tries to put his actions in a context of the Arab and Muslim community and in from a vantage point of Muslim people’s humanity. In other words a humanism foregrounding the needs and crisis of a certain community which is what I believe BWWW, Fanon, etc try to do in their works.

    This post also tries to reclaim the soul of a person who is now going to be put on national trial by the nation. Furthermore each time this is done, it is not only the soul of one man, but the entire Muslim people. “Why do Muslim people do this” “Is Islam inherently violent” etc etc.
    I do not feel the post took up Nidal Hasan abstractly or disregarded the soldiers who died. Many of us have seen people dying before our eyes. I know what it is like and am fully aware of what it means for a family and other loved ones. At the same time there is the real experiences of Arabs and Muslims in this country and around the world. They are not abstractions either. This is broadly related to the visceral and violent experiences pocs are experiencing in the U.S. and around the world. And the post explores what Nidal Hissan was possibly groing through, what Muslims go through, and what the authors go through. Instead of making an abstract class the subject, we posited Arabs and Muslims as agents of the class and we felt putting out subjectivity on the same piece of paper as Nidal Hassans. All Muslims and I would argue the entire American working class has to deal with the soul of Nidal Hassan.
    5. Strategy and Nidal Hassan’s actions

    I don’t think I have much to add, other than the fact that the post stated what the authors think is the way forward which is to organize, organize, and organize. I will not comment more unless there is confusion over this.
    6. Cracker Debate

    First, I believe all three authors are against the national bourgiousies of not only the United States, but importantly, the rest of the ruling bloc of the global order in this period. We all recognize this is a multi-racial ruling coalition more or less. At the same time the dominant form of racism expressed by this coalition has been white supremacy. This is probably obvious to everyone.

    This still leaves the question regarding the cracker references. (I am assuming no one disagrees with sentences like “truth is that white, American lives are worth more than Muslim lives.” I will not explore this for now assuming we have agreement.)

    Part of the strength of this essay when the three of us wrote it up was that was not only an anyltical piece, but also a reflection of the anger and torment we live with and beielve many Muslim people live with, and also at times was a piece that played with prophecy. We did not want to put out only an analytical piece, or just an anger filled piece etc. We felt that all three forms were legitimate expressions and that especially the anger was called for considering the context of anti-Muslim racism in the last ten years. A lot of us have been in rooms with liberals, whites, and pocs who always tell the militants to calm down and that their rage does not ehlp the conversation. We have always felt that these people could not be more out of touch with the grassroots. At times we have had the grassroots to support us and times we have found ourselves in the extreme minority, but either way we have felt as principled anti-racists that this an important psycho-spritual dimension of people of color politics which has to be reclaimed.

    Connected to this point is that there is a tradition in people of color communities (Malcolm in mind here) of calling racist whites “crackers.” In this context I do not think there is anything wrong with this. None of the three authors have what is known in the left as “privilege politics” or “identity politics.” When I look at the article’s usage of term “cracker” that is pretty obvious. I stand by the position that patriarchal men and that racist whities need to be made fun of. I definitely feel leave the door wide open for white folks to be not crackers. They just don’t need to be racists. I don’t feel this is a controversial position.

    I hope this clarifies certain dimensions of the post.
    In solidarity and respect
    Will

  35. My apologies to both Kdog and C Alexander

    My point number 6 is kinda all over the place as I re-read it. It seems I did not fully expand on their remarks regarding why describe this as a white man’s war and other points along those lines. That is a separate issue from white lives being more valuable then Muslim lives.

    And second I wonder if I am not fully understanding what Kdog is getting at regarding advancing/drawing the class line. My first hunch would be that Nidal Hassan’s actions did not draw the class line by his actions, although class politics were involved. My guess is that Kdog would not disagree. More can be explored along these lines. Another angle of exploration is whether this post advances/ draws a class line to some extent? I would be curious to hear responses. We could also explore what class lines are being drawn around the country regarding his actions? The post and my comments directly takes that up. I also think it is important to investigate the relationship of worker’s violence at work and how the right can use that to attack militant worker’s movements. What relationship does Hasan’s actions have in this dimension? My previous comment begin this exploration, but only superficially.

    I do not have any more time tonight to give justice to these points, but I am excited to hear rebuttals in the upcoming days.

    in solidarity
    Will

  36. I agree with what Will, Ibn Jubayr, and Fatima laid out as clarifying points. I think this friendly debate with K-Dog and C. Alexander is eye opening and instructive, as opposed to some of the earlier debates we had about this piece with straight up haters.

    The piece makes it clear that the authors were not trying to justify Nidal Hasan’s actions…. they were only trying to show compassion and understanding toward him and to ask fellow Arab and Muslim folks what is to be done to make sure that noone will feel so alone and isolated that they feel compelled to do what Nidal Hasan did. I thought this was pretty clear but just to make sure, I’m pasting the second to last paragraph of the article which speaks for itself:

    “The actions of Nidal Hasan are not a program for liberation. Soldiers must refuse to fight in these wars, and organize on the basis of an anti-racist and working class resistance. Our liberation is a political and social question before it becomes a military question. One person will never put an end to empire, patriarchy and white supremacy on their own. The sadness of this event lies in the fact that that most soldiers are working people who don’t share the gains and interests of imperial wars, and that Nidal did not organize a revolt within the military.”

    The piece attacks white supremacist and middle class Arab and Muslim perspectives on Nidal Hasan’s actions FIRST and THEN critiques his actions in terms of their moral, political, and strategic flaws. I think this is the right approach. We’re not saying that every action taken against US empire is objectively good (for example, 9/11 was a total disaster and it WAS planned by right wing forces). We’re just saying that the first thing that needs to be done in the current situation and current moment is to argue down racists who condemn Arab and Muslim militancy and THEN, once we’ve done that, we can have a serious conversation among principled anti-racists about the political, moral, and strategic problems with particular actions of resistance to empire taken by specific Arab and Muslim individuals or organizations. I think we would all agree that killing civilian noncombattants is wrong and that in the past the most honorable revolts in the military have targeted commanding officers not foot soldiers, and have been done with the clear and public intention of stopping these commanders from ordering their troops to kill occupied peoples. All of this is important, but I don’t see why it has to be shouted from the rooftops before the authors can make all the other valid and crucial points they make about Nadil Hasan.

    Of course different situations would require different approaches. If Nidal Hasan had told me beforehand he was going to take these actions the first thing I would have told him was not to do it and to think of other ways to resist…. I think the authors of the piece would probably agree with that. But we’re not talking about that situation, we’re talking about a situation where he has already taken the action and now we need to deal with all the racist bullshit that’s being directed against him and anyone that looks, talks, or prays like him.

    In terms of the 3 Way Fight analysis I share Will’s concerns. I’ve been part of protests against folks like David Horowitz who claim that the biggest threat to America today is “Islamofacism.” At the same time, I’ve been a part of struggles in Arab and Muslim communities agianst patriarchy, heterosexism, etc. and if I lived in a place where there were actually existing and widespread Muslim fascist organizations then I would oppose them. Frankly I’m surprised that you mistook my comrades’ piece for being soft on right wing ideology/ fascism considering that this is one of the very few pieces I’ve seen that calls out US empire AND right wing patriarchy/ heterosexism in Arab and Muslim communities in the same breath. Usually, liberals and progressives support one and oppose the other. We’ve been actively organizing to oppose both, and this piece is a reflection of that. If you notice, the authors even say, “We will fight patriarchal dicks wherever we find them, among the imperialist crackers, among the crackers in our own communities who think they can crack the whip on us because they have a penis.”

    In addition to Will’s points, I think that last quote also should clarify how the authors are using the word cracker. Anyone who cracks the whip to oppress another person is a cracker. This would include people of color ruling classes and the “rainbow coalition” of people of color elites who support, justify, and apologize for white supremacy and who help keep workers of color in check. C. Alexander, you suggest using the term cracker in this way is absurd. Why do you say that? In my mind, it seems like a promising way to expand anti-racist struggles outward so that they more deeply take on capitalism and patriarchy.

    Finally, I agree with Will…. Unity and Struggle folks and the majority of the writers for GF do not subscribe to the idea that all white people are inherently racist because of their privileges. We should judge people based on what they DO and whether or not they are standing up against white supremacy, not who they “are”. But, hell, if someone is acting like a cracker then why not call them a cracker?

    Finally, we are for building multiracial oragnization, in ways that Will suggested when he referenced Black Worker White Worker, CLR James, and Frantz Fanon. We will write more on this later for sure.

  37. Hey folks,
    I agree with what Will, Ibn Jubayr, and Fatima laid out as clarifying points.
    The piece makes it clear that the authors were not trying to justify Nidal Hassan’s actions…. they were only trying to show compassion and understanding toward him and to ask fellow Arab and Muslim folks what is to be done to make sure that noone will feel so alone and isolated that they feel compelled to do what Nidal Hassan did. I thought this was pretty clear but just to make sure, I’m pasting the second to last paragrph of the article which speaks for itself:

    “The actions of Nidal Hasan are not a program for liberation. Soldiers must organize to refuse to fight in these wars, and if they must go, to continue the proud tradition of fragging their commanders. Our liberation is a political and social question before it becomes a military question. One person will never put an end to empire, patriarchy and white supremacy on their own. The sadness of this event lies in the fact that that most soldiers are working people who don’t share the gains and interests of imperial wars, and that Nidal did not organize a revolt within the military.”

    The piece clears out white supremacist and middle class Arab and Muslim perspectives on Nidal Hassan’s actions first and THEN critiques his actions in terms of their moral, political, and strategic flaws. I think this is the right approach to take. We’re not saying that every action taken against US empire is objectively good (for example, 9/11 was a total disaster and it WAS planned by right wing forces). We’re just saying that the first thing that needs to be done is to argue down racists who condemn Arab and Muslim militancy and then, once we’ve done that, we can have a serious conversation among comrades about the political, moral, and strategic problems with particular actions of resistnce to empire taken by specific Arab and Muslim folks or organizations.

    In terms of the 3 Way Fight analysis I share Will’s concerns. I’ve been part of protests against folks like David Horowitz who claim that the biggest threat to America today is “Islamofacism.” At the same time, I’ve been a part of struggles in Arab and Muslim communities agianst patriarchy, heterosexism, etc. and if I lived in a place where there were actually existing and widespread Muslim fascist organizations then I would organize against them. Frankly I’m surprised that you mistook my comrades’ piece for being soft on right wing ideology/ fascism considering that this is one of the very few pieces I’ve seen that calls out US empire and right wing patriarchy/ heterosexism in Arab and Muslim communities in the same breath. Usually, liberals and progressives support one and oppose the other. We’ve been actively organizing to oppose both, and this piece is a reflection of that. If you notice, the authors even say, “We will fight patriarchal dicks wherever we find them, among the imperialist crackers, among the crackers in our own communities who think they can crack the whip on us because they have a penis.”

    In addition to Will’s points, I think this last quote also should clarify how the authors are using the terms cracker. Anyone who cracks the whip to oppress another person is a cracker. This would include people of color ruling classes and the “rainbow coalition” of people of color elites who support, justify, and apologize for white supremacy and who help keep workers of color in check. C. Alexander, you suggest using the term cracker in this way is absurd. Why do you say that? In my mind, it seems like a promising way to expand anti-racist struggles outward so that they more deeply take on capitalism and patriarchy.

    Finally, I agree with Will…. Unity and Struggle folks and the majority of the writers for GF do not subscribe to the idea that all white people are inherently racist because of their privileges. We should judge people based on what they DO and whether or not they are standing up against white supremacy, not who they “are”. But, hell, if someone is acting like a cracker then why not call them a cracker?

    Finally, we are for building multiracial organization, in ways that Will suggested when he referenced Black Worker White Worker, CLR James, and Frantz Fanon. We will write more on this later for sure.

  38. AP reports today that Hasan will present a defense of “insanity” in regard to the murders he is alleged to have committed.

    Kinda throws your argument out the window, no?

  39. Are you fucking kidding scenebooster? You really think that the way someone negotiates a racist criminal justice system, in which the DEATH PENALTY is a possibility, indicates anything at all about the web of social, economic, and political processes that shape individuals and the choices they make? Seriously?

  40. So, JK – your position is that this man was so enraged by the treatment of Muslims that he decided to kill a bunch of people in the name of “justice” – but when asked why he did it, instead of saying “to protest against the hegemony of the US empire,” he’s going to attempt to get a lighter sentence by saying he’s “crazy?” Are you fucking kidding me? That’s been my point all along – the authors of this article have no goddamn idea why this guy did what he did. But if he did it because of the “inherent white supremacy and racism” of the USA and its military and foreign policy, doesn’t it stand to reason that he’d say as much going into court????

  41. Additionally – he decided to go “guns blazing” at Fort Hood, and now he’s worried about the death penalty?

    He’s a coward with no convictions.

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