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David Horowitz has a long and scurrilous track record of blatant racism, politically driven witch-hunts in academia, and constantly spewing out bald-faced lies. All of this is being ratcheted up to new levels in his upcoming “Islamo-Fascism Awareness” (IFAW). To let the lies of “IFAW” stand unexposed and unopposed would be a grave mistake with lasting consequences.
“IFAW” is both a major heightening of an ongoing assault on critical thinking and dissent in academia – and a calculated move to disorient students and professors who would expose and act against a potential new war on Iran, to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment, and to isolate and chill women studies.
Nothing about Horowitz’s “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” can stand up to critical interrogation. IFAW needs to be taken on with the truth – by opening up the debate, exposing the lies packed into the premises of IFAW, and revealing the underlying motives driving it.
Let’s look at what Horowitz claims is his major objective of the week: to oppose the oppression of women under “Islamo-Fascism.” In fact, everything Horowitz is doing will contribute to strengthening the oppression of women here and all over the world.
A look at the line up of speakers he is dispatching for his “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” is the first sign of the level of Horowitz’s hypocrisy. Sorry, you don’t get to put anti-women fanatics like Rick Santorum, who opposes birth control and believes “it is harmfulto have a society that says sex outside of marriage will be tolerated,” and Ann Coulter, who says women shouldn’t vote because “women have no capacity to understand how money is earned,” on the road and claim to speak on behalf of women anywhere! Especially not while calling for sit-ins at women’s studies centers, as Horowitz is!!
Further, Horowitz’s claim that U.S. aggression in the Middle East is good for women is a LIE. By attempting to force people to align with or at least be cowed into going along with the “War on Terror,” Horowitz will not only be green-lighting further war crimes and crimes against humanity being commit in these wars, he will be strengthening the forces oppressing women in the Middle East. This has been well-documented in Iraq where the U.S.-installed puppet government wrote a Constitution that established Islam as the official religion, moved marriages and divorces from civil courts to the domain of the clerics, and removed women’s right to child custody after divorces. The U.S. allied with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Sistani who ordered women to cover themselves, an order that was enforced with beheadings and acid burns. And violence against women generally has skyrocketed under U.S. occupation, just this year, the UN has documented a stunning 250 “honor” killings in Northern Iraq alone.
Then there is Horowitz’s LIE that the “left” has been silent about the abuses against women under fundamentalist Islamic movements and regimes.
In fact, many have spoken out the oppression of women in Islam, but since he specifies the Revolutionary Communist Party in this regard I have to say it again, David Horowitz is a fucking liar. (No, that is not a “personal attack”–it is a statement of fact which I am about to prove.)
For years RCP Chairman, Bob Avakian, has been an uncompromising voice against the oppression of women in all forms–including the ways in which fundamentalist Islam (as well as fundamentalist Christianity) has this oppression embedded in its core and can never lead to liberation. He has released volumes of writing and talks that get into this–with a new book out soon, Away With All Gods! Unchaining the Mind and Radically Changing the World–and these are widely available to anyone.
I myself have written for Revolution–the voice of the RCP–about the need to oppose both the U.S. wars of aggression and the Islamic fundamentalist response, polemicizing against the view that anyone opposing U.S. aggression should be supported and insisting that the liberation of women is a cornerstone of how any struggle for emancipation should be judged. A simple “google” will turn up excerpts, like this, where I describe the consolidation of power by the Islamic Republic of Iran: “women who refused to wear the hijab were whipped, beaten, and arrested and the legal system was changed so that the testimony of one man was equal to that of two women.”
Beneath his LIES is Horowitz’s real agenda. As a self-described “battering ram” of the right and for Bush’s wars and fascistic repression, Horowitz wants to rule out of order–through whatever dishonestly and bullying is necessary–any discussion of the unjust role the U.S. plays in the world.
Horowitz wants to forbid any discussion that points out how, even with all this, the far greater force that is destroying the lives of people and worsening the conditions for women around the world is the U.S. empire–through its exploitation and subjugation of whole countries and their resources (including their people) for massive profit and accumulation. Horowitz wants to rule out any discussion of the role of unjust wars, torture, and crimes against humanity commit by the U.S. government as part of forcefully maintaining and reordering the U.S. empire in a world that is going through major transitions since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
For all his claims of concern for women in Islam, he cannot tolerate any examination of the major role played by the U.S. in creating conditions that have worsened the lives of millions and strengthened the oppression of women.
These conditions include millions and millions of people being uprooted from the countryside and their traditional ways of life by U.S. dominated imperialist globalization–leaving people every more brutally exploited, desperate, and longing for the sense of stability and order that fundamentalist religion often provides. These conditions include the complex pattern of cooperation and conflict between U.S. imperialism and the traditional, largely feudal based classes whose interests are represented in the political program of Islamic theocracy. These conditions include the history of the U.S. both “working through” and “propping up” these feudal strata to carry out imperialist penetration in the region while at the same time this imperialist penetration has disrupted the conditions of life and undermined the position of these outmoded and oppressive feudal and semi-feudal strata. And these conditions include a history of collaboration between the U.S. and fundamentalist Islamic forces in literally killing off secular, revolutionary and communist forces opposed to imperialism–largely burying a truly anti-imperialist political program that included equality between men and women and, instead, allowing fundamentalist theocrats to pose as the only viable “opposition” to imperialism.
There is more to be said–and learned–about all of this, but this is precisely what Horowitz wants to prevent.
Rather than really examining or disputing any of this, Horowitz is seizing on real outrages committed by fundamentalist Islamic forces against women, gays and others in order to lubricate public opinion for a potential war on Iran, intimidate and silence any who would challenge this by labeling them “terrorist-sympathizers,” and take a leap in cohering and unleashing a movement of fascist foot-soldiers among a new generation to target Muslim students and women studies.
Through all this, Horowitz is playing off of and seeking to exacerbate a situation where increasingly, humanity is being confronted with two intolerable choices: Bush’s crusade for empire or a reactionary Islamic fundamentalist response. The Bush regime has committed crimes on a far greater scale and is by far the greater danger to humanity, but both are complete nightmares. Both reinforce and feed off each other, and as they grow, they suck up the air to breathe for secular and progressive forces in this country and around the world.
If IFAW is ignored and unopposed, this bad polarization will be furthered.
If, on the other hand, Horowitz and his ilk are exposed, if their bullying and dishonest methods are revealed, if their underlying motives are challenged, and their political terms (with “us” or with the “terrorists”) firmly rejected–then this fascistic assault on the campuses and on critical thought can be utilized to spring open discussion, debate, and political protest so desperately needed on campuses and throughout society.
Politically taking on David Horowitz and his “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” can–and must–be a part of bringing forward another way for humanity–an option that refuses to choose between crusading McWorld or reactionary Jihad–and of stopping the assault on critical thinking in academia.
For more info about IFAW and ways to take it on, the best place to start is The National Project to Defend Critical Thinking and Dissent in Academia: http://defendcriticalthinking.org/index.html.