Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #67

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

Futurity is a register of freedom, while The Future is another prison-house built to confine it. I describe as futurity the openness in the present arising out of the ineradicable diversity of calculating, contending, and collaborating stakeholders who struggle to make and remake the shared world, peer to peer. Futurity cannot be delineated but only lived, in serial presents attesting always unpredictably to struggle, collaboration, and expression. The Future, to the contrary, brandishing the shackle of its definite article, is always described from a parochial present and is always a funhouse mirror reflecting a parochial present back to itself, amplifying its desires and fears, confirming its prejudices, reassuring its True Believers that the Key to History is in their hands. (p.62)

Extract taken from Carrico, Dale (2013) Futurological Discourses and Posthuman Terrains. Existenz 8(2): 47-63.

Peace

BOOK: (White) Imaginary Futures

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

IF.jpg

I have almost finished reading the outstanding work Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to The Global Village (London: Pluto Press, 2007) by white Marxist male, Richard Barbrook. IMHO, the work makes for a veritable tour de force and is essential reading for those interested in decolonizing computing vis-a-vis understanding how (white) visions of the future repeatedly – or rather ‘algorithmically‘ – inform and inflect the present, not to mention for Barbrook’s useful, yet highly Eurocentric, account of the Cold War origins of computers, ICTs (information and communication technologies) and the Net. (For a brief discussion of the ‘algorithmic’ nature of White Supremacy / Racism, interested readers are invited to check out the following extended abstract by Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University: “Transhumanism and/as Whiteness“.)

Interested readers can download a copy (PDF format) of the book here.

A highly useful overview of the book was presented by Barbrook at Warwick University in 2011 and is available for viewing on YouTube:

One of the most interesting sequences of slides appearing towards the end of the presentation is the following:The Futures.JPG

From a Counter-Racist / decolonial perspective, I am immediately led to ask who is this we that Barbrook is inviting to invent new futures? I should also like to suggest that for non-white VoRs (Victims of Racism / White Supremacy), the wording of the first slide (on the left) should be replaced with the following:

Those who do not remember the [White Supremacist / Racist] future [that shapes the White Supremacist / Racist present] are condemned to [have the White Supremacist / Racist future] repeated [on them]

Peace

Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #55

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

The ‘algorithmic turn’ is a historical phase (‘iteration’) within an arguably algorithmic project – White Supremacy (Racism) under colonial modernity – and we need to understand the history of the present, the ‘now’ (Latin modus as in ‘modernity’) in order to be able to chart / forge Islamic future(s).

Peace

The(ir) Future…

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider the cover of the latest issue of New Scientist magazine and think about the use of the definite article in the title which implies a collapse of possible alternative – and multiple – trajectories onto a single trajectory, thereby pointing to the linear re-inscription of time-space (history-geography) under contemporary conditions of colonial modernity / White Supremacy (Racism):

NS.jpg

Consider also the references to colonization (‘Mars Colony’), a purportedly impending emergence of the post-human ‘singularity’ (‘Super Intelligence’), the threat of (sub-)human destruction (‘population explosion’, ‘World War III’) against the ‘background’ / ‘backdrop’ of an entanglement of such developments with the long duree history of colonial modernity and its refinement / adaptation under increasing contestation of Orientalism / Eurocentrism / coloniality / White Supremacy (Racism) etc.

Peace

EVENT: Imagining Muslims’ Future

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Imagining Muslims' Future

I have just returned from two weeks in Granada, Spain where I attended the Critical Muslim Studies summer school 2014.

Overall, it was a highly constructive gathering, both in terms of the content delivered by the instructors and the after-class discussions and interactions among students and faculty, and I strongly recommend (attempted) Muslims and non-Muslims to consider attending the 2015 school despite the cost.

The last event in the programme was an evening panel discussion at the Fundacion Euro-Arabe entitled “Imagining Muslims’ Future: Politics, Power and the State” featuring Salman Sayyid, Tariq Ramadan, Ahmet Alibasic and Ibrahim Ezzayat which also included Ramon Grosfoguel.

IMHO, Salman Sayyid was the only speaker* who addressed himself to the theme of the panel in a coherent manner offering the following three suggestions vis-a-vis any future polity:

1. Commitment to a post-Madhhabi (i.e. non-sectarian) Islamicate world order
2. Commitment to the Islamicate as Ummatic (i.e. post-national / post-statist)
3. Commitment to diversity as structurally-characteristic of the polity

I also found myself in agreement with Sayyid’s assertion that The Qur’an [=Final Proclamation of God/Allah to Humanity] is, somewhat paradoxically, both constitutiveof “the Muslim” (as an identity formation) and yet non-constitutional. By the latter, Sayyid means that any Islamicate polity (I would refrain from using the problematic term ‘state’) must not be allowed to claim that it is founded on The Qur’an since this would collapse the horizon of “the political” (i.e. the space of contestation) and preclude the possibility of holding the polity to account / mounting a critique of it; in short, Qur’anic-constitutionalism has the tendency to engender a form of authoritarianism. For this reason, Sayyid (and I) maintains that The Qur’an – and Islam – must ever remain above the Islamicate reading of it, a transcendent ideal that can inspire rather than an immanentized idol that leads to stagnation and decay.

* Tariq Ramadan was incoherent and Ahmet Alibasic had literally nothing to say. Ramon Grosfoguel made an interesting intervention in challenging Ramadan’s prioritization of ‘deep’ freedom (sic) over a commitment to justice by arguing that freedom and justice must be understood as relationally co-constitutive and having both internal (‘inner’) and external (‘outer’) aspects.

Peace