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Hive Mind
Saturday, December 25, 2004
 

Toward an Anti-Authoritarian Islam



The following is an excerpt from an essay recently posted on Infoshop News written by an Islamic anarchist named Salim:
Branding is everywhere in our society and all segments of society engage in it because of the sociology and pathology of our modern society even Anarcho-Punks are just another brand within our communities. The Anarcho-Punks, of which I am sometimes a member of, engage in the producer-consumer mentality. You have to have the right kind of packaging to belong, the right clothes, the right behavior (usually swearing and drinking 40ozers and knowledge of riding trains, hitch-hiking, petty crimes and squatting). And if you do not conform to this then you will be ostracized usually under a pretext of a being a “manarchist” a “infiltrator”, a “reformist”. Everyone in this society is being socially engineered to act in a competitive and destructive manner, checking out from the dominant brand does not change this behavior.

The means of fighting the sociology, this social engineering of individuals into producer-consumers is not political; every political ideology from religious fundamentalist to communist (did you buy your Che shirt for $15?) can be co-opted and turned into another brand. The means of fighting this socio-pathology is fundamentally a spiritual path—which is distinct from a religious ideology or organized institutional religion. It is not based on a materialism or socio-scientific praxis, it is based on seeking values and expressions which at their source are as non-material as the earliest shaman traditions which eventually transformed into prophetic traditions. It is based on transcendental praxis and motivations that which goes beyond the individual or what is within the individual. I am not saying that we should all be blindly obedient (taqlid) to prophets [6] and shaman, we need a thoughtful and disciplined, even scientific understanding of religious or shamanistic psychology, but the core values of naturalism are embodied in the spiritual psyche not the sociology of the producer-consumer. Some of these values are communal consultation (shura), stewardship of the Creator’s creation (istikhlaf), equality (`adl), non-aggression (salam), mutually beneficial economics [7] (mudarabat), sharing and giving (sadaqa wa zakat).

Now I know you're thinking, "Gasp! The Horror! Someone who dares to pollute our infallible anarchist ideology with religion!" However I feel that this article is one of the most interesting it pieces of writing I've seen produced by recent anti-authoritarian thinkers. I'm particularly impressed by the emphasis on flexibility and the critique of dogmatic belief systems conveyed by the author. Just imagine the geopolitical consequences of a widespread and powerful anti-authoritarian, ecologically conscious, and anti-capitalist current emerging within the Islamic world.
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