27.6.16

#KeepCorbyn : Demonstrate on Monday 26th May, 6 pm, Parliament Square

We live in interesting times.

Tomorrow (Monday 27th July) at 6pm in Parliament Square, Momentum have called for an emergency action expressing solidarity and confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's leadership. Corbyn - and what his rise means - is a vital trajectory of hope in this increasingly despairing society.

A ray of hope that the media and Labour Right establishments are committed to stamping out.

With the shocking results ( .csv) of last Thursday's EU referendum still being ingested, and a spike in right-wing violence and intimidation of eastern European and non-white people, Tony Blair's political children in the Parliamentary Labour Party  have decided that now is the best time to try a coup.

It is pretty sickening, but hopefully demonstrates the truth of the matter.

The Chilcot Report into the UK decision to  go to war on Iraq is due in little over a week, we can think of Tony Blair' Labour bots as accessories to his acts of national destruction and ISIS creation. Coloniality and imperialism overseas is connected to the political game afoot here today, and we can no because the technocrats.

25.6.16

[New Word] Bremoaner

One who pines over the privileges, marginal or substantial, formerly provided to them by the Afro Asian Exclusion Zone. AKA EU

22.6.16

EU Referendum

For a few months now we have been pondering the costs, benefits and horizons of the UK leaving the EU. My tendency is to cross the remain box, not out of support for enwhitenment values, or the white supremacy that the project represents, but because an empowered Govinator would wreak havoc on Muslims, minorities and the marginalised in the UK, not to mention everything and everyone else. I have some time for Corybnjaan and Varoufakis' respective transformation and transparency proposals, and think in terms of post-Newtonion politics of assemblage, alliance and multiplication with folks on the mainland. There is also the matter of convenience and uncertainty on close ones.

Fundamentally, this referendum is not an epistemological referendum on Eurocentricity, thats not what the Euroskeptic wing of the Tory party have been pushing for all these years.

Perhaps the Benazir effect and Halography of last week's political establishment false flag? assassination of innocent MP Jo Cox will prove an important factor to galvanise and clinch it for the cringeworthy Remain campaign this Thursday. It is hard to know how much disgust will have influenced turnout and decisions and difficult to have much faith in pollsters given their failures last year and propensity to poll superficially, pushily and counter democratically.

In any case Shaytan  is laughing his head off.

13.6.16

#SacredEarth2016 through the Ramadanoscope


The Earthquake ( Chapter 99)

When the earth is shaken with her shaking,
and the earth yield's up her burdens,
and humanity says, "What ails her?'
That Day she shall convey her chronicles;
for thy Lord inspired her.
That Day humankind shall issue forth upon diverse paths to witness their deeds.
So whosoever does a mote's weight of good shall see it.
And whosoever does a mote's weight of evil shall see it.


Here, the Qur'an speaks about the Day of Judgement and Accountability, detailing the Earth herself as an ultra high resolution, female, divinely inspired, live, witness of human deeds. Personally this is an epic chapter to me. Muslims prostrate their heads upon her surface more than 40 times every day, in recognition of the vertical relationship between humanity and The Most High. In another sense, it is an expression of solidarity and horizontal relations with the rest of creation.



12 June 2016 was "Sacred Earth Day of Prayer and Action for People and the Planet", a mobilisation of more-than-material ecological remembrance and embodiment #sacredearth2016. A coalition of religious formations, catalysed mainly by OurVoices, the idea is to compel power holders to commit to deeper global climate safety by building a practical and moral movement.  Over one hundred official events were scheduled all over the world which makes my heart smile.


Sacred Earth Day marked 6 months since the UN Climate Change talks in Paris, and arguably more inspiringly Yeb Sano and company's People's Pilgrimage. It has been about a year since the Roman Catholic Pope Francis published his AWESOME treatise on Socio-Climatic Justice, and the moving Multifaith Convergence on Rome organised by the Greenfaith team that connected Christianities, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim environmentally curious, conscious and activisty types.

Yes, developmentia, coloniality and NGOisation are real, but that cannot overwhelm the sincerity and beauty of bringing action-orientated spirituality's together in convergence for climate justice.

The Ramadanoscope

As it is the month of Qur'anic revelation, Ramadan, there is another ocean of meaning through which Muslims and friends can access the Sacred Earth, without intermediaries or gatekeepers, calendars or colanders. All over the globe we attempt to organise our individual, and communal lives to attain greater piety through acts of devotion, particularly fasting. Though the daylight food cessation element gets a lot of the airplay, it is the spiritual struggle, of attaining excellence in behaviour and journeying through the Qur'an, that is the fundamental purpose of this month.

O you who believe!
Fasting is prescribed for you, 
as it was prescribed for those before you, 
That you may learn piety. (Chapter 2 Verse 183)

Islamic scholars have written about this month's movement for centuries, here's Maulana Rumi on the spiritual richness and empowerment of fasting.

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. 

If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, 
every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.

Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, 
Satan sits where your spirit should, 
an ugly metal statue in place of the Kaaba. 
When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.

Fasting is Solomon’s ring. 
Don’t give in to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents, Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

By Jelaluddin Rumi


This year the poet Daniel Hayy-Moore returned to his Lord, his work is published in books and featured in text and spoken form on www.ecstaticexchange.com and Ramadan is a major theme and inspiration for his poetry.

First Night of Ramadan

A single stone is thrown in

and the canyon resounds with the
hallelujahs of angels

A single breath contains the
known and unknown universes

Back behind edgeless
space are motions that

vibrate the heart

Back behind ancient mountains and
historical intricacies

a shadow gives way to Light that has a
door in it to

let us through

We take no step that
doesn’t bring us nearer

One sip and the oceans disappear

One glance and the skies
bend closer to hear our

emptiness

One heart-wrench elegant elevation
and we’re on a

plateau tossing a stone in the dark
that never stops echoing



Being the words

The social sphere is an integral to enabling and sustaining transformations, and thats what the relatively small official Muslim participation in Sacred Earth 2016 is getting at.  For example, yesterday in Zinj, Bahrain, women gathered to launch their own Sacred Earth initiative and toolkit to drive ecoakhlaq ( practical ecological ethics) back into local Ramadan practices of consumption and waste reduction. Meanwhile, Indonesians have been organising large Zero Waste Green Iftars sunset breakfasts), which sounds like a lot of washing up. Back in the UK of A and the NGO MADE have a short blog post that touches on coffee, vegetarianism, drinking tap water, gardening and eating greens.

Its hardly the green and golden age of eco Islam out there, for all number of unsatisfying reasons. However a lot of people have their ears open and dialogue is widening. There are some real jewels if you spend some time panning, for example a series of 20+ programmes from Iqraa TV channel called Repairing the Earth by Rhamis Kent.



Fasting not Feasting was a series of practical reminders, like Flashmob Iftars and Tarawih prayers with Trees,  that continues to run through Ramadan life, pushing a socio-ecological solidarity and counter-consumer culture. Its 2010 website is still online and hosts resources that you might find a use for in family and community life.
Outdoor praying and Iftar picnics are becoming more common in the diasporic west, for pro Creation Relations reasons as well as racist ones (yes that's you Davis).  And as a consequence, the opportunities to connect and commit to Islamic and civic eco-political-ethical trajectories will multiply.  On the other hand, sole focus on personal and community resource austerity measures and lifestyle issues risks that eco Islam becomes yet another depoliticisation in our Age of Preventitude. I've seen a lot of this in the NGO discourse.

But, by connecting the spheres with decolonial tunnelling, accepting that climate change is fundamentally a problem of coloniality, I believe we can maintain integrity between our teachings, historical communities and futures. Just like they do in the People's Republic of Duriana.

Save the Dates

There are a few advanced notice events worth considering for the diary, thanks to various Muslim Scounts groups there is an action-packed  'Iftar under the Stars' in Luton next Saturday ( 18th) and in Chingford a week after that( 25th). A few weeks after Eid sees the return of the Willowbrook Arts and Music Festival (23/24th July).

Manajat

Wandering through your Beautiful Names, I call on You Al Mani', The Preventer of Harm, to make the pathways to protecting people easy for us, whether that is indigenous delta engineering in Bangladesh, social protection policies or the realisation of the rights of migrants and refugees. I call on You Al Matin, The Powerful, to empower the oppressed to voice and make their way in this world. I call on You Al Jabbar, The Compeller, to open the hearts and minds of climate tyrants, witting or unwitting, to realising a decolonial climate justice. Oh Al Musawwir, The Shaper of Beauty, assemble the courageous into an excellent movement, across your creation to restore balance, dignity and justice. Oh Ar Rashid, The Righteous Teacher, teach us how to speak with animals and plants, give our sciences life not neoliberal death.

1.6.16

White Supremacy at the core of British Green Politics

I love Caroline Lucas, especially for her sincere support of detainee and extraditee poet Talha Ahsan during his ordeal through the British and US injustice systems.  Yesterday she announced she would be running for co-leadership of the Green Party with Jonathan Bartley. I feel a bit annoyed that the new green leadership election looks cringey and predetermined from where I'm standing.

Co-Leader? FFS?!?!?

Bartley is an interesting running mate, not least for the nonsecular possibilities he conveys, but also his ahem ... experience working on John Major's conservative party election campaign fresh out of LSE. However, his whiteness is limiting to what the Green Party can achieve over the next 5 years and says what it is on the tin.

Fundamentally, the world's ecological crisis has a lot to do with white supremacy, and so race and decoloniality are more than decorative issues, they are integral to transformation. Clearly many of the people peopling the party don't really get it, from 'The Surge', to the Tower Hamlets group's silence during the coup on Lutfur while the BME group launched its manifesto from Bricklane, to their failure to select a non white person high up in their GLA list.

So why are they not an enwhitled bunch of neoMalthusianites again?

All Power to Decolonial Dawah.


30.5.16

What's in a name? Beyond Political Black

In the UK situation, Politically Black (PB) has come to be known as a term to cover the struggle of non-white racial groups to racial inequality. I used to think it was harmless enough, so long as folks delivered, but Afro Pessimism knows better. Politically Black is a sediment of an earlier consensus. I wish that I had been a closer witness the inception of this error which is propagating through life, art and politics and confusing matters.

Politically Black deletes the blackness of those who actually suffer anti-blackness. It complicates specific articulation and mobilisation against anti-blackness, an elemental form of oppression and grants weird licences to non black people to empower white supremacy's politics of containment.

Like the meeting of West India Dock Road and East India Dock Road, to become Commercial Road and the artery into the City of London, our histories are materially contributory to the white supremacy project. Yet there is a diversity to the nature and location of our colonial wounds,  decolonial brotherhood means assisting with each other's healing, sharpening and blossoming processes, not obstructing.  [The Three Pillars of White Supremacy is a useful way of beginning to thinking about this: Slavery/Capitalism, Genocide/Colonialism and Orientalism/War.]

So, at a moral level, it should be easy to divest political commitment from a term such as political black.

Following the good news of the election of the new president of the NUS (which has got supporters of Israel and white supremacists foaming at the mouth) there is the opportunity to reflect on and recraft our mental and political structure for the future. Just like after the West Indies cricket team of the 70s and 80s, there was actually no need to invest so much effort in cricket.

Political Black was one of those messy tactical compromises for a slightly earlier white supremacy. We are stronger together, but Politically Black is not The End of History, and the wrong binding agent is not durable under both external pressure and internal growth. It is no disrespect to the love and work of the more middle aged, nor the fiery younglings, to replace the term.

Colonially Wounded Communities (CWCs) must resist being white-mailed by acceptability politics and prevented from speaking the name of white supremacy to its prime beneficiaries, nor reminding them of the colonial realities of why we are here.

At the very least, people of decolonial commitment must never be traitor-shamed by Politically Black Enforcers, nor muffled by a Closed Eared Leaderships.






1.5.16

Undying Benefactor be generous

Lightened up and t shirtified
White supremacist Neoliberalism strikes again with ironic splendour.
A Queer universal chord
Struck across developmentshire
From core to semiperiphery,
Universal exclusivity.
Tormenting the other men and women put in their graves, pyres and asylums
By this regime of epic homocide.
We mourn and mark
With prayer and resolve.
For all souls and hopes
In His way.
Keep those selfies for Benazir.
Shaytan,
Ustad of hypocrisy
Laughs his head off.
"What do you know about justice?"
The death of two shall outweigh that of the hundreds thought massacred in Dhaka just three years ago at Shapla Chottor .
Two human bodies over hundreds invisible subhuman bodies
Monitoring & Evaluation report
Their value
multiplied by white
to the power three.
Upper middle class,
foreign embassy staff,
lgbt.
Shaytan,
Ustad of misdirecting rage
Laughing his head off again,
begins to fill in a very important
Socio-spiritual Impact Self Assessment form.
And abandons his tools to their fate.

27.4.16

Murders in Bangladesh, conditions of danger.

The fact of violence and death on the streets of Bangladesh is sadly not new.  Adolescents, opposition activists and business people regularly disappeared, killed and their bodies not registered on the white archive of pain. With the power to represent being as it is, an argument is being arranged whereby the sole victims of violence crime in the country are minorities, religious, atheist and sexual.

It is a greasy and sleazily maintained narrative, fed by scoundrels in internal and external corporate news agencies. What they should be doing is owning up to producing the current conditions of oppression, confusion and fear, and seeking to make amends, not visa applications.

23.2.16

The 2016 London Elections. More Greens Please.

On May 5th this year, less than half of registered voters in London will vote in the GLA elections. For many commentators it is the opportunity to crucify the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, or whitemail people into voting for Sadiq Khan. However, this election is more interesting than the two main contenders, the media game and business as usual. We could be politically creative for a change.




The London Mayor is responsible for a £150 million annual budget, and has fingers in a great many pies which shape our movement, living, breathing and working. Check out the London Elects site for the full regional democracy propaganda.  There will be a new mayor and 25 assembly members, 14  chosen on a constituency basis, and the others by a proportional-representation-based second vote system. Assembly membership is a great opportunity for up-and-coming politicians to get known, get stuff done and prove themselves. 

[May 5th is also a sad day, the third anniversary of the 2013 Dhaka Massacre, ordered by the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn's aunt, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.  ]

Sadiq Goldaway and the Politics of Life

I remember spending a few afternoons of my misspent youth plastering Tooting High Street with pro-Sadiq posters.  He does have a good chance of making it to City Hall,  London is 'naturally' a Labour kinda space and he has the keys to their machine. However, his opportunistic behaviour and the conditions around him do not permit many principles to survive for long, and the Islamophobia industry is likely to skewer him, and prompt him to skewer himself more and more as polling day draws nearer. It is going to be cringesome.  

Conservative candidate Zak Goldsmith used to edit the Ecologist magazine, and is the ex brother-in-law of Imran Khan. These two facts have an uncomfortably magnetic effect on my political affections, but there isn't much social justice about him, at least that is apparent. He'd block a third runway at Heathrow, and thats about it. He might just get in on big money, whiteness and Islamophobia alone. 

Fresh from losing his Bradford constituency to the Quilliam-busting Naz Shah, political entrepreneur George Galloway is also running. Watching him arrive at a Stop The War Coalition meeting last year, I felt that he had aged a lot since I first encountered him a decade and a half ago, and didn't seem as fearless as he used to. The savage beating he received from former BBC manager Neil Masterton in 2014 probably had a lot to do with that. Remembering Ken Livingstone's narrow misses in 2008 and 2012, it is hard to be pro Palestine in Britain these days, it does your career and your sanity no real favours.  But I guess in the scheme of things,  Galloway's strategic mistake was pissing off a lot of white feminists with his defence of Julian Assange against rape claims. 

GG is not the only figure in public life for whom a principled stand against the demolition of Iraq and Afghanistan has born some political fruit. What is  educative however, is how Jeremy Corbyn is able to combine an anti-imperialist standpoint with being great constituency MP, the butt of establishment derision and yet carry himself with impeccably middle-class manners. As Corbyn's star has risen, it would be easy to conclude that the Labour position in London would naturally get stronger, with Momentum and everything. However, Sadiq Khan has spend most of his time alienating this movement, and it would probably be fair to say that the Labour list reflected the pre-Corbyn era of vanilla careerists.

 Post Labour politics has a number of threads in the UK today, none of which are doing particularly well, but they could use a shot in the arm that is your vote and support. I think that the Green Party, for all the stupidity and blinkeredness of the Tower Hamlets Branch during last years coup, has the closest offering to Octarine, and the Politics of Life.

Drink The Green Potion 

Their Mayoral Candidate, Sian Berry along with Party leader Caroline Lucas, was a consistent supporter of the Free Talha Ahsan campaign, and has been building her campaign's profile in recent months. See articles by Dave Hill in the Guardian and Rosamun Urwin, Evening Standard

As mayor, she would support the London Renter's Union, which would voice, support and represent 2.3 million people living in that tenure. Housing in general is a strong point of policy platform,  from enabling community building and supporting community defence from estate demolition. Transport ideas are pretty visionary too, from a fairer system of Tube fares, turning TfL into a renewable energy producer and the plan to replace London City Airport with homes and businesses.

This last idea will irk a few people, but I am sure they will survive a longer taxi journey home or to work. I think it will go down well in the one party state of Newham. Dusting of my Dhaka hat for a moment, I have always dreamed of replacing the elite golf courses of Dhaka with beautiful social housing landscaping for the urban poor, because that is what smiles are made of, and thats what Bhashani would do.

Here's Ma Berry talking to The Artist Taxi Driver a few months ago, from this interview you can tell she has solidarity with the most marginalised and is a fair person with a hunger for justice and a sense of humour.




Electorology




The ugly table above, pinched off an LSE blog, shows the state of play in 2012. Note the Greens slipping into third place just ahead of the Lib Dems. You only really need 1 million votes to win it, I don't see what the fuss is all about, you just need a turning-on and turning-out machine.  

It is worth reflecting on how the situation differs from  2012. It seems like another world, but its probably much the same.

The Olympic Bread and Circuses are over, nobody really knows much about any of the main vanilla contenders, Russell Brand made some videos and now everybody is at it, the Lib-dems were routed last year, there has been 4 more years of social cleansing,  the far right are on the rise, Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership campaign and survives, and this government's malevolence is being understood even better now that those nice junior doctors are protesting.

Historical London voting data can be found here. With linear growth goggles on there are a few boroughs where the Greens should pass 10% vote share, unless they've been Corbynated, and if campaigns are targeted, systematic and Labour beating they will do much better. 

Who are these people that I've never even heard of?

The Londonwide ad constituency candidates are is as follows. 
Last time around they got 2 London-wide assembly members, this time hopefully more.

London List

1. Sian Berry
2. Caroline Russell
3. Shahrar Ali
4. Jonathan Bartley
5. Noel Lynch
6. Rashid Nix
7. Dee Searle
8. Benali Hamdache
9. Andrea Carey Fuller
10. RoseMary Warrington

11. Peter Underwood


ConstituencyName
Barnet and CamdenStephen Taylor
Bexley and BromleyRoisin Robertson
Brent and HarrowJafar Hassan
City and EastRachel Collinson
Croydon and SuttonTracey Hague
Ealing and HillingdonMeena Hans
Enfield and HaringeyRonald Stewart
Greenwich and LewishamImogen Solly
Havering and RedbridgeLee Burkwood
Lambeth and SouthwarkRashid Nix
Merton and WandsworthEsther Obiri-Darko
North EastSamir Jeraj
South WestAndree Frieze
West CentralJennifer Nadel

22.2.16

Poor Poor Mahfuz what'cha gonna do?

Inequality of knowledge production, publishing and reception being what they are, there is an image being painted of Bangladeshi news baron Mahfuz Anam, father of author Tahmima Anam, as a liberal martyr. It is an image worth exploring.

Both father and daughter are influential media gatekeepers in the international sphere on Bangladesh, the former has edited Dhaka's English Daily Star for a number of years, and the latter written novels on Bangladesh.  In my opinion, they have blood on their fingers regarding the Dhaka Massacre of 2013 and bear some responsibility for the conditions of oppression afflicting the people of the country.

For example, Mahfuz Anam published critical disinformation for the government just days after it committed the worst massacre in Bangladesh's peacetime history, a massacre that people are still too cared to speak about in public in Bangladesh.  Continuing the family business Tahmima Anam's stoking of ultra nationalism and her defence of this Awami League government's rigged 2014 general elections are a matter of record, and UK establishment supported.

The hunter becoming the hunted

The one party state of Bangladesh has kicked up a fuss, and a truck load of cases, concerning a comment Mahfuz Anam made on a chat show admitting to printing a dubious secret service planted story about the present prime minister's corruption.

As my chosen example of the Dhaka Massacre shows, it is standard practice for the Daily Star news organisation. This is something which I say as someone who knows people who have worked there and admired the founding editor, S M Ali. As a powerful voice tuned to the outside ear, disinformation from the Daily Star hurts far more than others.

For calibration's sake, we can observe that Mir Quasem Ali and Mahmudur Rahman too are prominent media figures in Bangladesh, with important audiences in the non-secular liberal political space. They are under death-sentence-upon-kangaroo-court-trial and torture-upon-indefinite-detention-without-trial respectively. J

Just two examples of the inequality of violence and silence in Bangladesh