religion, etc.

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Wed Jun 3 08:50:31 PDT 1998

A few quick thoughts: 1. re Wojtek's conversation with a good ole boy in a Baltimore laundromat, encourage him to refer to criminal lumpen proletarians as hoodlums or thugs or goons, instead of as n-words; 2. how many religious people are progressive activists? When I think of religion, I think of a non-unionized, divorced bed nurse who spends the weekends selling the newspaper of the Jehovah's Witness cult, which preaches that quiet suffering (esp of absued women) will be rewarded in the afterlife and that god's design can be discovered in the chaos of the world, rendering useless any rational empirically based discussion of our society and the possibility of its improvement. 3. re the militias, I do think it is important that they are not demonized in such a way that liberals and progressives beg for protection from Morris Dees and the FBI and call for the enforcement of the anti-terrorism act--surely one of the greatest acts of state terrorism and attacks on civil liberties. Otherwise, I think the Militias are a bunch of punks; and I think anti liberal liberal elites who celebrate them as a way of getting under the skin of their fellow liberal elites are basically the biggest wimps of all--they are too scared to challenge the Militia types head on. Instead the anti liberal liberal elites, like Cockburn, accuse the Militia critics of being softies and wimps. The reverse is true. best, rakesh ps excerpt below is from Eqbal Ahmad; it regards the consequences of religious rule in India today.

When mountains die

Eqbal Ahmad

Each historical time has had its own temper. But one factor has been common throughout history to the attainment of progress and greatness. Historians of culture describe this one factor variously as syncretism, openness, pluralism, and a spirit of tolerance. Where ideas do not clash, diverse influences, knowledge, viewpoints, and cultures do not converge, civilization does not thrive and greatness eludes. The rightist environment of religious chauvinism and intolerance which the BJP and its allies promote in India =96 it pervades Pakistan for other reasons =96 is deeply harmful to India's future. Nuclearisation of nationalism has further degraded this environment. The tests have worsened the xenophobia of Hindutva supporters. Reaction no less than a habit of emulation among fundamentalist adversaries, will undoubtedly reinforce right wing sentiments and excesses in Pakistan. In recent weeks BJP supporters stormed a meeting of anti-nuclear scientist, attacked artist M.F. Hussain's home and destroyed his paintings, in retaliation of US sanctions assaulted trucks carrying Pepsi and CocaCola, disrupted a concert by Pakistani musician Ustad Ghulam Ali. "The atmosphere of intolerance has been gaining ground recently", says an editorial in the Hindustan Times. "Such actions will break up the very fabric of this country" warns Ambika Sen, a leader of the Indian National Congress. In Pakistan, government owned television darkly and repeatedly suggested that opponents of a nuclear test were foreign agents.

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