– Shunpiking Interview with Sandra L. Smith –
ON 26 October 2006, Tony Seed, editor of Shunpiking Magazine, interviewed Sandra L. Smith on the topic of Muslims and the Media. Sandra is the National Leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and editor of the party’s daily newspaper, TML Daily.*
* * *
On the question of Muslims and the Media, I want to make several important points. I will stay away from the examples of media disinformation that are prevalent and well known to us all, especially to Muslims who are its victims. Instead, I want to highlight aspects of the modus operandi and underlying premise of this media disinformation.
According to the political theory that informs the European nation-state, many nations have existed since time immemorial but only those nation-states of a European style have history. This European nation-state was brought into being and established in the 19th century on the backs of the peoples of the colonized nations. It was then further imposed on various colonized peoples who were marching towards liberation and independence in the period immediately following the Second World War. The Eurocentric view that only those nations that accept the European nation-state have history was used to justify smashing the striving of the colonized peoples to determine their own way of life. In the 19th and 20th century this Eurocentrism played a dirty role to undermine the ability of the colonized peoples to base their nation-building projects on their own thought material and establish nation-states that served their own interests. Today at a time when European nation-building projects are in profound crisis, their imposition on the peoples fighting for liberation is causing disasters of unprecedented proportions.
History is Memory
Think about this for a moment. History is memory. Memory is intelligence. Thus, only those peoples who accept the European nation-state have intelligence and are worthy to join the international community of nations. Only they are worthy of respect.
If you have no history, you have no intelligence. You are therefore not human. Even though the cultures of the east — itself a Eurocentric geographical rendering — are millennia-old civilizations, unless they submit and form states acceptable to Anglo-American dictate and its ruling elite, and adhere to ways of life agreeable to it, then those states must be eradicated. This is what informs the Anglo-American “war on terror” and media disinformation.
Unless we understand this basic premise and are able to reject it by providing ourselves with a guide to action that favours the interests of the peoples, we remain vulnerable to the demand to prove that various countries are worthy members of what is called the international community of nations. Without such a guide to action, our conviction and beliefs, constantly bombarded with lies and attempts to sow doubt, will be undermined.
Revenge-Seeking Against those Who Will Not Renege on Their Conscience and Beliefs
We have to understand further that what we see today in the “war on terror” is a failure of the nation-building projects of the Anglo-American imperialists and their Zionist offensive to dictate the ways of life of others. Their perseveration in pursuing failed projects seriously hampers the ability of the U.S. imperialist-led forces to achieve world domination. Thus, what we see is their revenge. In desperation, their own morbid preoccupation with defeat makes them rabid and leads them to commit any crime to extinguish the human spirit that defies them. If they are going to come tumbling down, then they are determined to bring everyone else down with them.
There is nothing rational about their policies, behavior and responses. The “war on terror” is not an expression of war as politics through other means. It is revenge-seeking against those who will not renege on their conscience and beliefs. Revenge is the basest emotion and motive. It leads to outright wrecking of all norms of civilized conduct. The fact that revenge in the “war on terror” is backed up by the most powerful states and military machines humankind has ever seen makes it truly dangerous. But if we clearly understand how Anglo-American imperialist disinformation works, and oppose it with nation-building projects of our own, then the peoples can prevail.
A Government’s Duty Is to Guarantee the Rights of the People and Look After Their Well-Being
We should take a close look at the modus operandi of the institutions of that moribund nation-state given rise to in the nineteenth century. It was meant to protect the way of life of the white men of property who took possession of the lands, resources and markets of others at that time. They imposed a theory of government according to which political parties are primary organizations whose role is to organize the people to vote for one of them. Then, through the election of Members of Parliament, the clear and coherent political will of the people is expressed in the form of party government. A party elected to rule receives a mandate to turn the political will into the legal will. Whether the system of representative democracy was parliamentary or presidential or a mixture of the two, the political theory informing the system is the same.
Political parties were and are to be the gatekeepers of the power of the property owners. The mission of parties was to keep the people themselves from coming to power while the property owners chose which party best represented their interests. The people were to have no role in making the actual decisions guiding the societies upon which they depend for their living and their well-being. Today these political parties have for the most part degenerated into cartels. The rank and file have been deprived of power by a mafia in control of the parties’ affairs. Similar to the polity as a whole, the rank and file have been reduced to a vote bank designed to provide the ruling mafia with a veneer of legitimacy.
The people’s conception of a political party and democracy that promotes a vision of society which favors the people is anathema to this system. The people’s vision of a ruler and government whose duty is to provide the rights of the people with a guarantee and look after their well-being is likewise abhorrent to such a system. When the people’s conception of democracy finds its expression in an election, the imperialists will not accept the verdict.
They spend oodles of money in what they call democracy-building to impose their own conception and bring to power in the oppressed nations, those who will build on the old colonial European model nation-state that submits to foreign interests. This explains why anyone who opposes foreign rule or truly stands for the well-being of the people is labeled a terrorist, why various countries are labeled “rogue states,” “axis of evil,” “dictatorships” and so on. It also explains why the imperialists and their media are so eager to promote sectarian violence between and within political parties or between communities, and why they have their secret services commit terrorist acts and blame the people for them. By imposing a state of civil war, all coherence is lost unless the people build a bulwark against it.
The promotion of sectarian fighting between one religious sect and another, between one nationality and another, between one community and another, between one political party and another is the act of a reactionary state, native or foreign or both. Self-serving explanations that blame the people for sectarian violence hide whose interests this violence serves, who is behind it and its aim.
People’s History, Memory and Vision
The peoples’ history reveals that different communities have come together since time immemorial. They formed nations and provided themselves with public institutions and formed states. They have every interest in doing so on a broader and broader basis in the future as well, until indeed it is possible to conceive that humanity itself will break down all borders and establish itself on an entirely new basis, determined by what is required to affirm human rights under those conditions.
Disinformation, whether from the media or any agency of the state is precisely this — the work of secret agencies of the state to wreck the people’s coherence, whether in terms of their ability to think or their capacity to act in a manner that favors them.
For lack of a future on the old basis, societies die and dying societies degenerate into corruption, crime and violence. In contrast, societies striving to build a future for themselves give rise to those ways and means, forces, and thought material that provide the problems they face with solutions. It is to stop the people from finding solutions to the problems they face that the Anglo-American imperialists are imposing their outdated model of a European nation-state through violence. They, not the people, are behind the sectarian violence of all kinds. Disinformation, whether from the media or any agency of the state is precisely this — the work of secret agencies of the state to wreck the people’s coherence, whether in terms of their ability to think or their capacity to act in a manner that favors them. State terrorism uses its secret services to attack civil targets and then blame the people. Propaganda is spread to sow doubts about the motivation of certain personalities or the truth of events. These methods are used to smash people’s ability to find their bearings and to think rationally.
Thus, the only thing that stands between us and the wrecking taking place, the corruption, crime and violence which have replaced all norms of civilized human conduct, is our own ability to find our bearings by promoting what serves our interests and opposing those of our detractors. We must build our own unity on that basis. This is what we mean by having our own nation-building project. Only we can provide ourselves with a vision on which our societies can move forward.
The aim of disinformation is to dis the form — to destroy the social, political, cultural, religious and other forms people have established. Those forms include the organized societies and cultures they have given rise to, which permit them to flourish as a people
The aim of disinformation is to dis the form — to destroy the social, political, cultural, religious and other forms people have established. Those forms include the organized societies and cultures they have given rise to, which permit them to flourish as a people. Those forms, in which our lives and cultures find expression, stand between the imperialists’ dreams of dominating the world and the actual realization of their dark dreams. The imperialists must target the forms and we must defend them. But far from hankering for the past and seeking to re-establish forms that the imperialists have smashed through state attacks, by defending our being we give rise to new forms, better forms. Only thus can we flourish.
… this is also the role of the media to in-form, to provide new content in a form that is coherent and helpful
Far from apologizing for the peoples’ historical forms and the thought material that lies behind them, we must defend them as the Muslim resistance is doing. And this is also the role of the media to in-form, to provide new content in a form that is coherent and helpful.
We must study and discuss the aim of both information and disinformation and their methods, not for purposes of complaining, as if the gods of plague have an interest in changing their ways, not for purposes of lamenting what has passed away, but to strengthen our own resistance to the wreaking, until we can turn things around and go on the offensive. Then, instead of having to daily establish what we are not, we will be able to proudly proclaim what we are.
Infidels Are Those with No Fidelity to Their Way of Life
Permit me to comment on one of the many lies used to disinform our resistance struggle. According to the imperialist media, Muslims consider all non-Muslims to be infidels and their enemy. In my opinion, this is an outright lie. It can be ascertained a lie because such an interpretation cannot be reconciled with the proud tradition of tolerance established by Islam through the centuries. Conquered peoples were not only permitted but also encouraged to continue their own religions and cultures. This remained the case until such a time when their nation-building projects lost their way for lack of renewed visions.
More important than historical truths however is to consider that this lie is designed to overwhelm the profound thought-material that gave rise to the Mohammedan nation-building project in the first place.
At that time, as tribal warfare was replaced with the need to engage in nation-building, the corruption of a few sought to undermine the coming together as one people. The times faced the call of history to build an authority commensurate with the conditions and the needs of the people under those prevailing conditions. A series of corrupt individuals blocked the call of history. They used their positions to impede the coming together of the people as one people. It was then that Islam defined infidels as people who had no fidelity to their own way of life, be it Islam or any other. Such people had no consciousness of their social responsibilities and thus no conscience or convictions. They were cowards, persons with no fidelity to principle of any kind.
Philosophy in those days served to explain the relations among people and the relations between people and nature. It should do so today as well. Such a philosophy was not one of marauders whereby the truth is what works and the ends justify the means.
The peoples from other cultures, political systems and religions who proudly adhere to their own beliefs and way of life and respect the right of others to do the same are not considered infidels. Today the imperialists are the marauding infidels. And always, once the real infidels fail to achieve their aims through one method, they adapt in order to survive. This is because for them, there is no principle, there is no culture, only their rabid self-serving belief that the end justifies the means.
Thus today, these infidels are adapting. They failed to rally people to their “war on terror” by demonizing those who refuse to submit to their dictate. So now they claim to respect all religions and cultures, while they denounce “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamo-fascism” and communism as hate ideologies and declare that all those who they say espouse these hate ideologies are to be outlawed. In this way, the imperialists are using their state power and institutions to criminalize conscience.
The mental constructs, which they call “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamo-fascism” are for purposes of establishing a precedent whereby they can outlaw all Muslim resistance to the Anglo-American imperialist attempt to take over the countries of Asia and Africa and suppress the resistance of all within the heartlands of imperialism as well. Today, any belief that hampers the imperialist cause is attacked under the guise that it is hate ideology. The Anglo-American imperialist agenda today is to criminalize all those who refuse to accept its values, way of life and dictate. They are called fundamentalists, extremists and terrorists.
Unite in Defense of the Rights of All
In my opinion, we are facing ever-greater challenges to speak out in the coming period. But this battle is one the imperialists cannot win. Survival is the activity of the animal kingdom, not of human beings whose ability to cognize, abstract absence, think and plan is not about survival through adaptation. It is about living, growing, flourishing. If someone wants to have fundamentalist beliefs, and another liberal beliefs, it is a matter of conscience. Politicizing belief and making it a matter upon which the state rules, is not acceptable. Only those matters that the public accepts to make public, deliberates on and develops conviction of what is good for the society as a whole, can be made matters of award and punishment. And it is we the people who are the public. It is our deliberation that matters. The media have an important role to inform, lead deliberation and the development of conviction. A starting point would be to accept the world as is, not as we would wish it to be. To accept the conditions as they are is for purposes of changing them. It does not mean we agree with those conditions but that we must base ourselves on what is. In this regard we cannot afford to become overwhelmed by an ideal of what we would like the world to be because we do not agree with how it is. We must pay attention to our direct experience, draw warranted conclusions and provide ourselves with guides to action that unite us in our common cause. We must unite by defending the rights of all.
These are some of the conclusions that I and the TML Daily technical and editorial staff and the journalists who write for TML from the ranks of the fighting workers and people are drawing. We do whatever we can to seek truth from facts by paying utmost attention to the call of history. The imperialist line of end of history is intended to deny memory, which means to deny intelligence so that the peoples cannot unite on the basis of providing the real problems they face with viable solutions that serve humankind. We are determined to march on in the coming year so that together we take the necessary bold step in defense of the rights of all.
Source: Reproduced from TML Daily, 14 November 2006, http://www.cpcml.ca; originally published in Shunpiking Magazine, November 2006, http://www.shunpiking.com, as well as on Montreal Muslim News and several other websites.
Related reading on this website