reading for 5/30

Inspired by the weeks of hate that more or less happened, we look at ISIS this week.

Basic ISIS Logistical Facts(ish):

ISIS had a propaganda magazine called Dabiq from July 2014 to July 2016. Dabiq is a place in Syria that is supposed to be the location for one of the final battles according to certain Muslim myths about a final apocalypse. They published 15 issues. It is self described as “a periodical magazine focusing on the issues of tawhid (unity), manhaj (truth-seeking), hijrah (migration), jihad (holy war) and jama’ah (community). It will also contain photo reports, current events, and informative articles on matters relating to the Islamic State.” Then in October 2016 Turkey(+allies) took control of the town Dabiq.

So they started a new magazine called Rumiyah after that, which is the currently runing one. Rumiyah means Rome in arabic, gesturing to that which ISIS intends to capture. They’ve published 9 issues of this, the last one released this month in May 2017. They translate it into Arabic, English, German, French, Indonesian, Turkish, and Uyghur.

I skimmed through all 24 issues and picked out a few articles to read. I’ve uploaded just the pages you need to save you the scattered images of them executing non-believers/criminals.

The main article we’ll be reading is in the 15th and last issue of Dabiq: Why We Hate You And Why We Fight You. A second reading from the same issue, one instance of a running segment titled In The Words Of The Enemy.

Some things you might think about when reading:

  • What sounds legit about their criticisms?
  • What rhetoric is similar to anarchistish rhetoric?
  • ISIS is grounded in Islam and the quran, so it’s not Christian, but what sounds Christian about them?
  • Damn the design of this magazine is clean!

Next I’ll just drop some quotes, notes, and images I found interesting/funny from going through all this shit.

The second reading was one of many in a running segment by the same name: In The Words Of The Enemy. This usually is just quoting Western politicians(/intelligence chiefs/private corporations like RAND) when they say that ISIS is strong and has made real gains, and some minor comments on the quotes. For example

“ISIS is no longer a state in name only. It is a physical, if extra- legal, reality on the ground.”

Another example serves to prop up their binary mode of thinking:

“The world today is divided into two camps. Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.’ Meaning, either you are with the crusade or you are with Islam”

Along that same line of thinking (in an unrelated article talking about tribal groups and how they can stay somewhat culturally intact but they need to be loyal and partially assimilate):

“So we warn the tribes, that any tribe or party or assembly whose involvement and collaboration with the crusaders and their apostate agents are confirmed, then by He who sent Muhammad with the truth, we will target them just as we target the crusaders, and we will eradicate and distinguish them, for there are only two camps: the camp of truth and its followers, and the camp of falsehood and its factions. So choose to be from one of the two camps.”

They also have a running segment titled “Among The Believers Are Men” where they do a short bio of one of their men, maybe have a few quotes from his friends about how pious/funny/brave he was, and then tell how he was martyred and ask that Allah accept him. Sometimes they die in a suicide bombing, or just uninterestingly in the course of war. I read one where the man bravely ran to try to save a suffering comrade who was dying slowly from sniper wounds (bait) and got sniped in the process.

They also had three instances of a segment called #JustTerrorTactics (really [Just Terror] Tactics) where they talk about the logistics of committing terror attacks in Crusader Countries. They stress (and make a compelling case) that it’s extremely easy to carry them out successfully, especially if you’re not trying to live through it. They have one on knife attacks and give knife buying tips. They have one on arson (make sure to really cover the stairs and exists). They also have one on vehicle attacks. In the vehicle attack article,they use parades as an example of a way to get lots of kills.

(Click any of these images to enlarge)

This was the first moment that I realized that they very intentionally were not depicting women in any of their images. In all of the magazines there wasn’t a single image of a woman, and here they’ve blurred out every woman.

Another from the same article, quite funny out of context.
In a section titled “Blood Is Halal”,

Muslims currently living in Dar al-Kufr must be remind- ed that the blood of the disbelievers is halal, and killing them is a form of worship to Allah, the Lord, King, and God of mankind. This includes the businessman riding to work in a taxicab, the young adults (post-pubescent “chil- dren”) engaged in sports activities in the park, and the old man waiting in line to buy a sandwich. Indeed, even the blood of the kafir street vendor selling flowers to those pass- ing by is halal to shed – and striking terror into the hearts of all disbelievers is a Muslim’s duty. There is no shar’i re- quirement to target soldiers and policemen nor judges and politicians, but all kuffar who are not under the covenant of dhimmah are fair game. How can the disbelievers ever dream of safety and security while Muslims suffer anywhere in the world and while the rule of Allah is mockingly replaced by manmade monstrosities of democracy?

And accompanying image.

This is the front page of one. Replace the ISIS flag with a black flag and the head garb with a black hoodie and facemask and GET EXCITED.

I don’t understand what’s up with this full page joke? ad? but here it is

Handful more images to end the ISIS show.

reading for 11.3.15

we’re starting one of our most ambitious readings ever, namely the influential anti-oedipus, by deleuze and guattari.

full text is here.

we will start with the introduction and first chapter (so linear!), so through page 8 (the chapters are short).

and we hope to have a few of the interesting people who have been intrigued and influenced by this text come and talk to us about it, over the course of reading the book. so, stay tuned.

reading for 10/8

something from the zapatistas

this was suggested by david, who will not be at the reading group — so we should all come prepared to weigh in on some of the topics, ie homogeneity, the four wheels of capitalism, and the idea of invisibility (which obviously comes up also in tiqqun), perhaps.

also – there is this video on youtube of a decolonization panel at the seattle bookfair. we will NOT be talking about this this week, but if people are interested in it, perhaps the next? just noting it here so that the collective memory is engaged. 😉

10/2 reading

also – potluck! come at 7pm for food and conversation.

readings are

reading for 8/28

in the interest of continuing our intro series – here are some readings about individualist anarchism/-ists

here is the obituary of laurance labadie by his old friend james martin.

not sure how much we’ll refer to it, but it is an interesting read, i think…
and finally, a letter from laurance labadie to a friend, discussing rights, mostly. (those of you who have enemies of society – you already have this text.)

A Letter to a Friend
by Laurance Labadie

Apropos your series of articles on Human Rights:
There was a University of Chicago “professor” who wrote a book entitled Might is Right, under the pseudonym of “Ragnar Redbeard”. In it he maintained that life is essentially a battle in which “to the victor belonged the spoils”, and claimed that the truth of this fundamental warfare is disguised by various pretenses, ruses, and moral codes, originated and propagated by the weak who couldn’t stand up to the stern realities and who expected to soften-up their adversaries. He elaborated his contentions by citing history, politics, business, religion, etc., in fact all the activities of humans (and animals?). The book is rather uncomfortably convincing, though I think the author was terribly unscientific and unreasonable in justifying what seems a pretty sorry scheme of things.
It does not seem to require much acumen to realize that the power of might is the most potent ingredient regarding human conduct, and over-rides all “rights”, and until mankind decides to forego the use of might it will naturally be the deciding determinator. Stirner said, “I would rather have a handful of might than a bagful of right”, or words to that effect. Anyhow, that is the only language that governments, as such, understand.
“Rights” could hardly have preceded government in some form, as you surmise. Your “rights” are postulated as being against something, and the only thing anyone could be against was some hindrance to living, viz., government. “Rights”, therefore, are usually considered as limitations on government (such as the Magna Carta and the American Bill of Rights, etc). That government had power, and could often over-ride “rights”, made it appear that the “rights” were granted by governments. Naturally, it wasn’t long before the theory arose that governments themselves were protectors of human “rights”. In fact, this is the kind of baloney taught in all “state-supported” schools, everywhere and at all times, and of course religious schools and churches teach that God grants all “rights”.
Whether warfare, even though disguised, was and is a normal mode of human activity, it has been fairly well established that the origin of government was a band of robbers who in conquest set themselves up as rulers over the people they had plundered and subjugated. As it was to no advantage to have these slaves scramble among themselves, the tyrants “maintained law and order” among them, and in time even directed them in “public works”, such as building roads, making armor, battleships, etc., originally of course for purposes of further plunder and conquest. As time went on, the slaves actually believed they couldn’t do without their masters, until today we see them concernedly run to the polls to elect new ones every few years.
These stupid human animals can become inured to almost anything, and only occasionally rebel and demand “rights” for themselves, against their masters. They never dream of abolishing mastership itself. The most energetic advocates of “rights” are, naturally, authoritarian socialists, communists, fascists, nationalists, 100% Americans and what have you, and other such lack-wits ad nauseam, who want to set up a supreme master in the State which will take care of them and direct them in all things.
Prior to government, there could not have been any concept of “rights” whatever. Men breathed, ate, hunted, propagated, etc., because it was the natural thing to do. No one could even imagine that he did so because he had the “right” to do so. The American Indian, for example, lived in this clime not because he thought he had a “right” to use the earth. “Rights”, in land, originated or rather were brought here from Europe where property in land was a “right”. By the way, I think your obsession about “rights” is a hangover from your ardent single-tax days.
Although it is improbable, “rights” may have originated by men agreeing to forego the use of might, to make recourse to consultation, compromise, and agreement as the most economical method of getting by in this world. And natural selection might indicate that those who resorted to this method, rather than settling differences by warfare, in the long run survived. This was Kropotkin’s and, I think, Herbert Spencer’s interpretation. However, mutual agreements put into the form of contracts are of different origin and nature than so-called “rights”. They come into existence among equals.
At any rate, the stupid belief that “rights” originated from God or the State is pure superstition, promulgated by preachers and politicians to promote their game of getting a living without work and to enhance their “take”. The plain fact of the matter, it seems to me, is that, like many other transcendental, teleological, and social “truths”, all theories of “rights” are merely human inventions, used by one party or another in order to enhance, as they think, their ability in getting along in the world. “Ethics” is another branch of the same tree.
The foregoing is, at least, a hasty outline of my convictions anent the doctrine of “Rights”. The very advocacy of “rights” is itself a hostile attitude and I doubt whether a peaceable and gregarious society can be built on such a premise.
A more useful alternative to whatever you might write on the subject (which in any event would only be a rationalizing of your own desires) would be to discard all hallucinations about “rights” and propose acting as one’s inclinations direct—in short, that “instinct” is the safest guide. Of course this will demand considerable courage from the individuals in our modern goose-stepping snivelization, and will not meet acceptance by the proponents of the “natural depravity” or “original sin” theory. Another and perhaps better alternative would be to gauge all human action according to consequences. This might involve a “transvaluation of values”.
To summarize briefly, I contend that there is no such animal as “natural rights” and that all you might say about governments, constitutions, or edicts of God (ten commandments, etc.) would be mostly hogwash for the gullible. No person has any “right” to do anything, unless he has the power to do it, or because his neighbors do not prevent him from doing it. Or, if it be claimed that he does have “rights”, I maintain that they are not of much value if the State or “Society” takes it in hand to veto them.
The very tendency of thinking in terms of “rights” usually results in the smug assertion of them, and then waiting until politicians embody them in laws before they can be acted upon. Why not try to get people out of the clouds in their thinking about what they may, should, or can do. Direct action is what is needed. Tell people what to do, and don’t worry about their “right” to do it, like some pettifogging lawyer.
Humans are neither good nor bad, but egoistic. I personally believe they are rather congenial cusses, but they are so astoundingly stupid and have little confidence in their neighbors. That is why demagogues have such an easy time of it playing on their hopes and, mainly, fears. If they would only have sense enough to treat each other fairly, or at least leave each other alone, there would be no inordinate amount of trouble in the world. They would certainly have to do away with that relic of a warlike age, the State, which messes up all their activities. And yet, when I look around me and see so many of the dubs even more ignorant than myself, I can have but little hope for the human race.
So, my advice to you is to investigate human well-being directly, as you have been doing, rather than indulge in a lot of circumlocution and useless speculation about “rights”. The latter can safely be left to metaphysicians and theologians.

Laurance Labadie

This letter is from a carbon copy of the typed original, signed and dated April 19, 1949.

plans for 3/22 and 3/29

3/22 we will be reading aloud from an excerpt from kafka, the title of which escapes me at the moment “before the law”. link brought to us by absent friend will –
and for 3/29 we’ll be reading excerpts from A Pattern Language, on building and organizing space(s). it would be great if people think about and bring in supplemental material for this reading, because it’s pretty concrete – so we’ll have to provide our own theory…