Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.
In a previous post entitled REFLECTIONS: Of Structures, Infrastructures and Superstructures, I argued that the following sign / indicator (ayat) from The Qur’an [=Final Proclamation of God/Allah to Humanity]:
(16:26) Those before them had already plotted, but God/Allah came at their building from the foundations, so the roof fell upon them from above them, and the punishment came to them from where they did not perceive.
might be usefully interpreted, albeit partially, in ‘structuralist’ terms, viz.
- Building / structure (bunyaan)
- Foundations / Infrastructure / base (qawaa’id)
- Roof / superstructure (saqf)
I then went on to ‘map’ / correlate the trans-historical / archetypal terms mentioned in the above sign / indicator (ayat) onto our contemporary historical socio-material reality, viz.
- Building / structure (bunyaan) – colonial modernity
- Foundations / Infrastructure / base (qawaa’id) – antiblack racism
- Roof / superstructure (saqf) – White Supremacy (Racism)
However, earlier today I reflected further upon the wording of this sign / indicator and the fact that qawaa’id is a plural noun, the singular of which is qaa’idat. For this reason, I am inclined to think that (16:26) might better be understood as pointing to the many (kathra) forms of structural (bunyaaniy) oppression that a single (waahid) supremacist system might be founded upon. In this connection, consider the following figure taken from Andrea Smith’s essay “Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy” which appeared in Global Dialogue 12(2) in 2010:
In this diagram, each of the three ‘pillars’ – or foundational structural components – of White Supremacy (Racism) contributes to the system as a whole. One intriguing question is whether one or more components is more foundational / constitutive than others in the sense of having greater ‘ontological depth and/or breadth’. There is also the question of how the three structural component oppressions stand in relation to each other historically / temporally; while the static nature of the above graphic might give the impression that the relation between the components is synchronic, historical inquiry indicates a diachronic relationship.
In “Islam between Inclusion and Exclusion: A (Decolonial) Frame Problem“, Syed Mustafa Ali has argued that a historically-sedimented anti-Islamic ‘core’ lies at the heart of ‘the West’ insofar as the latter formation is emergent from Europe which is in term emergent from Christendom. On this basis, it might be argued that war against the Oriental ‘other’ – specifically, the Muslim ‘other’ – has the greatest ontological depth in the globally operating system of White Supremacy (Racism). However, I should like to point out that historical priority does not necessarily entail ontological depth – and certainly does not entail ontological breadth.
If not anti-Islamism, then what is most foundational (if anything)?
Although I have yet to articulate the position fully, I should like to suggest that what is most foundational – the foundation of foundations (qaa’idat-ul-qawaa’id), if you will – is, in fact, a trans-historical, mytho-poetic Ibleesian scorn of Adamic hamaa (‘dark mud’). (Note: The Qur’an does not make reference to blackness / sawad in this connection.)
I think this means that those, like Fanon, Gordon, Wynter and the Afropessimists, who argue that ‘anti-blackness’ is fundamental are onto something; it’s just that I think there is a need to get beyond the terms of the ‘secular’ frame within which that something is articulated: I would like to suggest that the key issue is hamaa and the ‘hamaaitic’ or Hamitic. And what is the nature of the Hamitic, and where is it to be found?