Racist or far-right and anti-Islam!?
Photo: Dutch elections billboard (2017). DennisM2 / Flickr (Public Domain CC0 1.0) .
Mainstream media providing us with the headline that people in the Netherlands, and the rest of Europe, adjust to the shock of Geert Wilders’ surprise victory! They warn us: He is anti-Islam, while they treat him very kindly and call him far-right!
The issue at hand is that he does not apply different strategies to those categorized as non-Dutch. His language maybe is harsh, but what is so much deferent? Apparently, migrants/refugees who come from other places are treated differently than Muslims!? (Yes, we know what the general racist policy of Europe is towards Ukrainians, but all the population of migrants and refugees are Muslim?) These policies, persisting for numerous decades, will likely endure even after his tenure. However, the crux of the matter is why these measures are branded as anti-Islam rather than racism?
This is how society can be directed towards conservatism. Mainstream media and political literature establish a misleading divide. Instead of fostering a diverse society where both religious and non-religious beliefs coexist freely, they create a false dichotomy of “us and them.” This dichotomy insists that, despite differences, “they” should coexist in the same society without equal treatment from the foundation.
Within the framework of this deeply racist and colonialist policy, it appears that individuals from the East are expected to adhere only to Islam and its principles and they can not believe in something else or be deferent than this European expectations! By this rhetoric, even ongoing secular struggles in societies who by west called “Islamic” are either overlooked or construed as anti-Islamic rather than anti-authoritarian.
This narrative becomes advantageous for liberal-lefts in Europe. By turning a blind eye to reality and opposing the western right-wing, it portrays deeply authoritarian and ultra right-wing Islamic groups as the sole forces of resistance and anti-authoritarianism. This encapsulates the essence of European racism and colonialism.
A case in point is their discourse on the liberation of Palestine. They can not articulate how breaking free from the bonds of a colonial regime can transform into unreserved support for another right-wing political trajectory! Consequently, protests against the war and genocide in Gaza inadvertently serve as a platform for the promotion of national/religious right-wing tendencies.
In his seminal work, “The Black Jacobins,” C. L. R. James traced the history of the Haitian Revolution and its impact on the world. He argued that the Haitian Revolution was not simply a local event, but was part of a larger global process of struggle against colonialism and slavery. He saw the revolution as a result of the migration of African slaves to the Caribbean, and he argued that the struggle of the “slaves” was part of a larger struggle against colonialism and imperialism.
We are in a situation where the right-wing trend in the Middle East is using exactly this opportunity to expand its anti-Western ideas, but this does not mean fighting colonialism and imperialism. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism, not something different. But we are witnessing a phenomenon that, instead of uniting the progressive anti-capitalist forces, presents an Eastern far-right tendency in competition with the Western far-right as an anti-colonial/imperialist force.
One of the most important steps toward the abolition of slavery in the US was the uptick in literacy among African-American slaves. For them, literacy meant greater access to knowledge, an increased understanding of the laws used to justify their mistreatment and an ability to politically organize. Indeed, in many cases, knowledge is power.
The opposite of this historical experience is the political phenomenon that trap people in false bipolarities. Instead of society taking a stand against policies and racist behaviors, it falls into the trap of a discourse in which not racism but taking a stand against a political/social movement is introduced as racism.
Talking about religion is not racist in itself, but racists use it for their own purposes. They use a lot of pseudo-science to express their beliefs on other topics as well, such as climate change. However, this abuse does not affect science or experts.