Earlier this month, Occupy AIPAC convened as the national AIPAC conference took place in Washington, D.C. With the drum beats heralding war with Iran growing louder, what seemed lost in both the AIPAC conference and the Occupy AIPAC conference was Palestine. With the Israeli government and supporters of Israel distracting the discourse away from Israeli settlement building, unlawful imprisonment of Palestinians, and the continued occupation of Palestinian land, the national AIPAC conference operated under the premise that Israel is a legitimate state actor with legitimate grievances to Iran’s governance over its nuclear energy program. Occupy AIPAC mimicked this distracting discourse in order to counter hollow arguments, from the Israeli government and its supporters, on Iran’s role as a “rational” or “irrational” actor and the role of the Arab revolutions in destabilizing Israel’s political and discursive power within the region. Thus, this action was a semi-unconscious performative result of the compelling Israeli/U.S. discourse, and Occupy AIPAC attempted to subsume itself within this discourse as a means to combat it.
NYPD surveillance of Muslims, particularly the surveillance which occurred on college campuses (including Columbia University), is controversial in part because of the strong rhetoric on both sides of the issue. The arguments weigh civil liberties with an emphasis on free exercise of religion against concerns for safety and national security. This is an old battle with many manifestations, though surveillance of Muslim students has risen to the forefront of highly charged local and national politics from an unlikely source: the implications of NYPD’s own argumentation. Continue reading Monitoring Muslims
Professor Mahmood Mamdani the good folks over at Africa is a Country (If you don’t know it, click this link now!) are running an unabashedly inconclusive poll of who might be named the most influential African intellectual alive. One name most of us probably know all too well, Mahmoud Mamdani, is leading the pack so far. With a few days remaining to vote, that may or may not change.
They’ve put together an interesting mix of names, all deserving a word or three. Here’s a brief rundown of the other front runners:
Samir Amin — Trained as an economist and best known for his southern-centered analysis of underdevelopment, de-linking theories of development, and engaged militant activism, this Egyptian intellectual has called Senegal home since the 1980’s. His prolific intellectual output on key political and economic issues is impressive and certainly warrants your attention. Check one of his recent review essays and his vision of the The World We Wish to See.