Monday, August 27, 2012

Hamas/Hezbollah Are Progressive; On The Left


Yes. You heard it right. The learned Professor who made the statement is Judith Butler, a professor in the rhetoric and comparative literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.

I think, yes, understanding Hamas/Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive that are on the left; that are part of a global Left is extremely important.... Again, a critical and important engagement, I mean I certainly think it should be entered into the conversation on the Left.

She will be receiving the Theodor Adorno Prize from the city of Frankfurt, Germany. Oh, she also supports BDS. Go figure.

Read more at Elder of Ziyon


  1. Every generation, antisemites make "the case" against Jews.

    Sometimes they dupe the right, sometimes they dupe the left. These days they clearly have gained their foothold on the left, so that is where we must fight them.

    None of this is a surprise.

    Why, or how, anyone can dispute this is beyond me.

  2. This ties in with my previous comment of how wedded people become, even if they turn blind.

    I am curious how the Progressives rebut this person, who is of the Left, proclaiming these connections.

    From the Post article:

    Dr. Charles Small, the director of The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy and the Koret Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, told the Post, “It boggles the mind that a so-called scholar has come to perceive Hezbollah and Hamas as part of a progressive Left. [These are] organizations dedicated openly to the killing of Jews, Israelis and Zionists; the subjugation of women; the doing away with basic notions of democracy and equality for all citizens. This supporter of reactionary, xenophobic, sexist homophobes, who are on the payroll of the Iranian regime, will actually be killing innocent Syrians as she accepts her ‘reward.’” Small noted that “hundreds of thousands” of refugees are fleeing what Butler terms a “progressive social movement” in Syria.

    Bruce Bawer in the article said:

    “It’s striking how scared Butler seems to be that the Adorno prize people will change their minds. This is after all a woman who turned down an award from a German gay rights organization a couple of years ago because she considered that organization ‘Islamophobic’ for having criticized Muslim gay-bashing.

    “With that act, with her kind words for Hamas and Hezbollah, and her enthusiasm for the BDS movement, Butler has made it quite clear which side she stands on when the rights of free individuals are up against the politically correct cause du jour, however violent, intolerant, and tyrannical it may be.”

    That about says it all.

  3. You should read her stuff. It's absolutely wretched. She is a post-structuralist obscurantist. Check out this one sentence which I stumbled across on her wiki page:

    The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.


    In defense of her obscurantism she apparently "argued that writing clearly can make the author too reliant on common sense and as such make language lose its potential to 'shape the world' and shake up the status quo."

    One scholar suggested that Butler "bullies the reader into granting that, since one cannot figure out what is going on, there must be something significant going on, some complexity of thought, where in reality there are often familiar or even shopworn notions, addressed too simply and too casually to add any new dimension of understanding."

    1. Simple and clear writing almost always is better.

      No doubt what is above is obscure.

  4. I'm sure I just heard a ghostly chuckle from the general direction of George Orwell's grave.

  5. This comment from a reader over at the World Affairs Journal does a good job of summing up not only Judith Butler, but the entire post-structuralist intellectual movement which she represents a particularly grotesque example of:

    "Obfuscation, or in this case, post-structuralism...a French virus which infected North American social science departments in the 90's, providing a tonic to desperate Marxists faced with the total collapse of their worldview in 1989. The result: identity politics expressed in invented language (as above), which makes your code analogy quite apt. The virus is inevitably fatal, however: as it is based on a theory of total moral and cultural relativity, in which truth claims are merely convenient fictions, it's expressions must themselves be relative, and lacking in truth value. By their own claims shall they be ignored.

    After all, if theories and claims are 'contingent', and power based, then why should anyone listen to what Ms. Butler has to say? She's caught in the same web as the rest: if there is no truth, and no objective theory by which to navigate, and it's all based on 'it depends...', then there can be no expertise, no higher knowledge, and hence no professors.

    Making Ms. Butler and her ilk little more than self-preserving charlatans: they argue against authority and objective knowledge and the centrality of capital even as they live well on the elite level wages of the high-profile professor. Here's your contemptible percentile, if there ever was one. Talk about gaming the system."


    My only quibble would be to point out that post-structuralism first infected the humanities in the 1980s, particularly the departments of literature and philosophy.

    It made only limited inroads into the social sciences and history and I think has basically run its course by this point.

    Yet there she is.

    1. Under any name, the phenomenon is alive and well where political activism trumps scholarly inquiry at the university.

      Bawer's soon to be released book addresses this, as have several studies of the UC system.

    2. That's an excellent point, actually.

      Post-structuralism dovetails nicely with efforts at political propaganda.