FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Power of Rhetoric and Reviving Democracy

In the wake of the killing of two Indians, which some of us would rather turn a blind eye to and not label hate crimes, civil society in the United States needs to be more vigilant than ever.

The rhetoric and tactics deployed in the US presidential campaign and election have exposed the underbelly of American society, which a lot of us would rather deny. True reform will happen only when those of us who claim to be progressive are willing to acknowledge that the various legislations over the decades and veneer of civility haven’t been enough to eradicate this seamy, unpleasant side. Democratic institutions cannot be take for granted; on the contrary, they must be protected, refurbished, and reinvigorated periodically by watchful citizens.

Does Globalization Often Lead to Cultural and Religious Fanaticism by Emphasizing a Conception of Identity Between the “Authentic” and the “Demonic”? Are we seeing that phenomenon world-wide, particularly in the wake of the recent presidential election?

Many scholars are of the opinion that contemporary transnationalism helps usher in a new post-national era. But such transnationalism does not necessarily weaken nationalism; on the contrary, it can at times operate to reinforce an ultra-nationalist agenda. Despite the creation of a global order, has not transnationalism led to the politicization of identity in the form of fundamentalism, xenophobia, and a fanatical espousal of tradition, as many critics observe? It is increasingly doubtful that transnational practices are generally counter-hegemonic.

According to Michael Peter Smith and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo, transnationalism enables the fortification of nationalist ideology in two ways:

“The expansion of transnational practices has resulted in outbursts of entrenched, essentialist nationalism in both ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ countries. In receiving nation-states, movements aimed at recuperating and reifying a mythical national identity are expanding as a way to eliminate the penetration of alien “others.” States of origin, on the other hand, are re-essentializing their national identity and extending it to their nationals abroad as a way to maintain their loyalty and flow of resources ‘back home” (10).

Thus the formation and reconstitution of the nation-state is frequently bolstered in a transnational/ globalized realm. Transnationalism implies a process in which formations that have traditionally been perceived as restricted to well-defined political and geographical boundaries have transgressed national borders, producing new social formations.

Yet transnational politics often lead to cultural and religious fanaticisms by emphasizing a conception of identity between the “authentic” and the “demonic.”

In this greatly polarized world in which the rhetoric of hate is being mainstreamed, people forget that South Asian immigrants in the U. S. are a part of the group that caused a brain-drain in the country of origin when it shifted its geographical location.

Jane Singh et al. provide some interesting statistics regarding the movement of South Asian labor and capital to the U. S., “In numerical terms, South Asian did not register a significant demographic presence in Anglo-America till the 1960s, when the Canadian government removed racial and national immigration restrictions . . . And President Lyndon b. Johnson signed the Act of 3 October 1965 . . ., which eliminated race, religion, and nationality as criteria for immigration and phased out the quota system in the United States” (18).

The scrimpy presence of South Asians in the U. S. prior to that era was transformed by the creation of new vistas of communication between peoples of the globe. Theses vistas of exchange and communication were the spaces in which various modes of representation and cultural praxes grappled with and influenced one another.

The dangerous resurgence of cultural, national, and religious fanaticisms obliterates those realities.

More articles by:

Nyla Ali Khan is the author of Fiction of Nationality in an Era of Transnationalism, Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir, The Life of a Kashmiri Woman, and the editor of The Parchment of Kashmir. Nyla Ali Khan has also served as an guest editor working on articles from the Jammu and Kashmir region for Oxford University Press (New York), helping to identify, commission, and review articles. She can be reached at nylakhan@aol.com.

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail