We Made It in America: The Political Undertones of Pop-Culture & Hip-Hop [continued…]


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In Part I of his interview with BBC broadcasted in 2009, prominent rapper & social icon Jay-Z expressed his views on many contentious issues gripping the politics of America & the international community today.

The photograph above is very significant to this blog entry. It is a picture of Kanye West & Jay-Z during their Watch The Throne tour throughout the US. The title of this blog, is the title of quite a meaningful song on the album: “We Made It in America”. The song laments on the grievances & legacies of the African-American people, as well as the African culture from which they were essentially kidnapped; & which continues be exploited today.

This is Part II of the interview, continued:

The song is inspiring. The message too. Not only does it expose the crimes of the US against its own people, it expresses the genius of the African people, in the realms of art, music & culture. Watch The Throne, was a political masterpiece. A magnum opus. All the words fit. I felt like I was LISTENING to Plato’s The Republic. It’s the soundtrack, if indeed The Republic were a movie.

Essentially the political undertones of Watch The Throne are echoing the socio-economic grievances of all disenfranchised, marginalized, gentrified & exploited minorities. The twisted sense of “individualism” in the Western culture justified the historic atrocity of the trans-atlantic slave-trade, which exists today in a more elusive form, such as police brutality, gentrification, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, income inequality & unequal opportunities for minorities.

These grievances are echoed by intellectuals of the 19th & 20th century, mostly non-American. I’ve listed a few examples below.

George Orwell, famed writer of 1984 & Animal Farm, was a “democratic-socialist” who warned against capitalism & communism, arguing the two led to statism.

Albert Camus, an anarchist, was sympathetic to communism but stressed that collective apparatuses might lead to corruption and statism.

Any Rand, hailed by Conservatives, defines the epitome of the hypocritical dogma of anarchical-capitalism. A self-proclaimed anarchist, Rand proved she was not loyal to her own creed, as she relied thoroughly on state welfare & sponsorship from the state of Israel, inconsistent with her atheism as well as her free-market fundamentalism.

All these perspectives force the following questions to float around in my head:

Is socialism another power-grabber?

It seems like the US & Europe despise socialist entities.

Are we the devil or are they?

Who’s killing who?

While most fight for freedom for some, who fights for freedom for all?

So what is the evil? It seems that hyper-individualism mirrors the tyranny of hyper-collectivism, both of which result in the exploitation of minority classes.

Prominent African-American scholar Cornel West associates the suppression of Civil Rights with statism as well as capitalism. He argues that America is not a democracy, because it serves an elite class at the expense of the will of the people. Furthermore, West suggests that capitalism results in many of the imbalances in the economy that cause misery for the lower classes.

I would argue, like 20th century German economist Fredrick List, that every successful nation-state adopts mixed economics combining state intervention with free market flow, which suggests that democracy & capitalism alone cannot guarantee the protection of individual rights. In many ways, democracy has engrained & perpetuated the tradition of exclusivity in the West which deems minorities, including blacks, latinos, arabs, gays, muslims & atheists are second class citizens, with little access to mobility in the economic ladder.

Freedom, salvation & happiness are not products of capitalism, materialism or the intellectual dogma of hyper-collectivism.

Rather, these virtues are achieved through humility, hard-work & self-reliance and the rest follows. Meanwhile, the power-hungry aim to deprive man of these freedoms, through propaganda & excessive force. How well do democracy & capitalism alone ensure these virtues? Historically, they’ve done as much as communism to improve the living conditions of the lower classes.

In his recent acceptance speech at the BET Honors ceremony, Kanye West took time to reflect on issues that form the bedrock of the Hip-Hop culture. Here is a snippet:

Fundamentalists, be they religious or atheistic in essence wholly worship man-made ideologies that eventually collapse on themselves, such as the neoconservative model of hyper-capitalism exhibited by NATO countries or the police-like communism of the USSR.

The association between the American & European traditions of suppressing & exploiting foreign countries is based in their logic of exclusivity. That is why 1% of Americans own America, while the vast majority remains living check-to-check. That is why, while the institution of slavery ended some time ago, the US remains at the top of the list for highest incarceration rates in the world, with the highest prisoner count than any other in the world. Yet, Iran is the great satan. Syria is the great satan. Venezuela. We go to war for oil & that oil never trickles down to the poor. In fact, it is usually the taxpayer funding all of this, against his will for the most part.

It is times likes these when I begin to question the logic of ‘democracy.’ There isn’t even 1 single definition of democracy. It is a vague term that is thrown around. Most people think it means representative government. Some think it means majority wins. Others believe it means universal law. I would say one of the distinctive features are the electoral process & term limitations. Democracy, especially by the Right-Wing, is viewed as the protector & guaranteer of capitalism & free market competition. But in reality, it seems, like communism, only to concentrate wealth in the hands of an already established elite so as to convince the masses they are free, to sustain them for lack of self-sustenance & to thereby garner their support for all political/colonial initiatives. The free-market is not protected by democracy or capitalism, but rather, just as in communism, becomes held hostage to the ignorance of mass-minded forces of collectivism. The freedoms awarded to the elite are limited to the mass because of a fear of intimidation & competition. A lot of propaganda is aimed at trying to convince us (both capitalism & communism do this) that earth’s resources are scarce & need proper redistribution.

But “exclusivity is the new N word,” said the courageous Kanye West during his most latest interview with Zane Lowe, in reference to the culture of hubris & bigotry that has disenfranchised all minorities & expressionists from the conversation of social justice.

LINK HERE: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_one#

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The Trials of Democracy in the 21st Century


Criticism without an alternative is obsolete. Democracy is the only method of government that isn’t absolute. Human nature isn’t absolute.

I have no qualms with free speech; I do believe in respect too. I am a moderate and a follower of the Supreme therefore I do not associate with any ideology or religion except for God and a political ideology of anti-opinion pro-constant change. Human nature like God is an enigma and slavery is akin to ideology, religion, and power.

For critics of democracy, what is your honest alternative?

Libertarians echo grievances without offering alternative to majoritarian democracy.

The only alternative is consensus democracy but ultimately I do not believe this model will even appeal to Americans nonetheless actually work.

It has got to be understood that criticism with no alternative is premature. Churchill once said, democracy is the worst form of government; except all other forms.

This sentiment accurately captures the imperfections, necessity, and ultimately triumph of democracy over all forms of dogma; even those within democracy that seek to stifle it.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS: One Nation, Divided Under Law (The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict & Ferguson)


First, Israel is already a Jewish state, and second, from the perspective of its Arab citizens, it’s a state that’s already seen as a preferential rather than full democracy. And passage of this gratuitous and provocative new law will only widen the growing and still irreconcilable gap between the two.

But now in the highly charged world of Israel’s political right, it’s made its biggest advances to date in the effort to enshrine Israel’s Jewish identity, as one of its Basic Laws that provide the foundation for the country’s legal and political system in the absence of a formal constitution, which Israel does not have. The bill’s defenders (among them Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu) maintain that it states the obvious, is long overdue, and is also essential to making clear to the Arab world (and the Palestinians in particular) that there can be no right of return for Palestinians into Israel proper.

“The natural and best way is for the ‘national’ character of a state to be ensured by the very fact that it has a particular majority.” And, as if taking its cue from the Zionist leader, that’s just what the Israelis have done.

It’s a Jewish state not just through declarations but through deeds as well. History, tradition, law, symbols, and practice anchor Israel’s Jewish nation-state identity through its ancient biblical connections; centuries of exilotic longing; a Law of Return; a national anthem that puts a return to Jewish Zion upfront; a flag that depicts a Jewish prayer shawl and star of David; a Hebrew language unique to only one nation-state; and, above all, as Jabotinsky had hoped, a population of 8 million, 6 million-plus of whom are Jews. It’s hard to believe that despite the secular character of Israel that aliens arriving in Tel Aviv wouldn’t quickly realize that they had landed in a distinct nation-state run by Jewish Israelis.

And yet a series of laws (most notably the Law of Return and the 1952 Citizenship Law) explicitly favor Israeli Jews. Other administrative rules and regulations give preference to Jewish and Zionist organizations in matters relating to access to land and housing. Then there is systemic, institutional, and societal discrimination that simply does not ensureequal allocation of state budgets and symmetrical benefits to Arab and Jewish communities. The clear absence of a shared public square where Israeli Jews and Arabs can participate equally and take pride in the symbols of the state — national anthem, flag, state holidays — can only reinforce a sense of isolation and separation. That Israeli Arabs may well enjoy more rights than citizens of many Arab countries and would likely not choose to live elsewhere, including in a putative state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, are often arguments used to rationalize their second-class status. But these arguments really don’t work. If you are a real democracy then you make a determined commitment to try to be one, and that means doing everything possible to ensure that all citizens of the stare are treated equally in a de jure and de facto manner too.

1. Either democracy is the enemy in the sense that it is, like communism, and other collective ideologies, a method of propagating fears to suppress individual innovation, self-faith, God, diversity and success out of envy and self-asceticism.

2. Perhaps the issue is gerrymandering or manufacturing of facts, by battling democracy through republican-esque funding and manufacturing consent.

3. Israel never intent on being a democracy and can’t be do to religious and exclusive foundation thus rendering it incompatible with modern institutions and international peace. Apartheid, not democracy.

4. Keep in mind total population of Palestinians in the world outnumbers the total number of Israelis: 11 million Palestinians to approximately 9 million Israelis. (If we want to count Jews then we ought to count Muslims, which would be no comparison). Obviously, the Palestinians are not in Israel and the majority have left Palestine due to the occupation; but this diaspora of refugees would not exist if Israel wasn’t there. Democracy, or apartheid?

“Israel is a relatively young country. If you looked at the United States in 1830, roughly 60 years after independence, you would have found a nation where women couldn’t vote (and many white males, too), blacks were slaves, and native Americans’ lands were seized and tribes forcibly relocated. In a way, Israel’s situation was much closer to America’s in the 1950s, when millions of African-Americans suffered de facto and de jure discrimination. So it’s critically important to give maturing democracies an opportunity to deal with inequalities and discriminatory policies. After all, it took America a full century and half, a civil war, and a bitterly contested civil rights movement to reconcile the promise contained in the Declaration of Independence with the reality that our Constitution validated chattel slavery. And by the looks of Ferguson, Missouri, we still have a ways to go before eliminating the patterns of racial discrimination in our system.”

  • America Today: Mike Brown murdered; Eric Garner murdered; prison-system; jim crow…not very promising for ‘democracy’ or ‘State of Israel’.

The Problem of Collectivism


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If there is one thing I have come to learn to really appreciate it is my individual freedom.

It is becoming extremely taboo to tout your individualism.

It is often viewed as a sense of paranoia.

I have learned to face a fact: most people prefer to rely on others – instead of themselves – for financial/political gain.

They themselves do not possess the qualities necessary for financial success.

The irony is that these qualities are not just scarce but that most people are unaware of them entirely.

These qualities are spiritual, and this is the irony, that it requires a form of spiritualism to succeed in the realm of materialism.

This is my philosophy of Islam, a perfect blend of secularism and spirituality. This is my version of what I believe is perfect Abrahamic monotheism.

As a Syrian, I have seen the lines drawn between believer and non-believer; adherent & heretic. Usually the lines are separated between Alawite & Sunni, but my version of pure Islam embodies neither and at the same time a little bit of both.

My emphasis in this post is on how my philosophy in life has brought me to a confrontation with a worldly dilemma: collectivism – the inability of other human beings to develop a sense of self-respect and individualism due to a variety of reasons ranging from insecurity to familial underdevelopment to political suppression.

In America the general idea is that Republicans, the right-wing, Libertarians, the tea party, Ron Paul, Ann Coulter & Ayn Rand are the de-facto symbols of individual freedom – especially the individual freedom that birthed the American model of governance.

Initially, the preservation of individual rights sprung from the individual concern about the fate of his most basic rights. Eventually, once the individual discovered his innovative capacity, he wanted a new form of individual rights: the protection of intellectual property.

The general narrative against collectivism is that human beings form tribes that eventually turn into governmental forces that suppress individual innovation and ultimately bring an end to prosperity and the general welfare.

The USSR, Nazi Germany, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Iran, the DRC – these are all national entities which have evidently subjugated their people to terrible standards of living throughout history – some still exist today.

My ultimate question is, from where does this ultimate desire to stifle the “ultimately economic” freedom of the individual?

Why must we as individuals suppress our self-expression, our ambition to be great, our desire for dignity and freedom…for the sake of preserving the insecurity of other individuals?

But what insecurity do I speak of? If all individuals in a given society are free to do as they wish; what fear of failure ought any of these individuals have? The fear of fulfillment? The fear of not being acknowledged? The fear of being overlooked? The fear of financial insecurity? Or, less innocently, the fear of not losing exclusivity and power?

Ultimately…my political philosophy can be described as a classical liberal monotheist, with some socialist elements that recognize the crimes of history. Conservatism, collectivism guised as individualism, and all other forms of collective thought-manufacturing, is the antithesis of freedom, salvation, enlightenment, education, happiness & prosperity.

Capitalism purports to be the preserver of competition but in reality what it does it strip the realm of ‘God’ as the superior deity in order to fill a void or insecurity of skill, thereby relying on arbitrary ownership of ideas. This is capitalism. Communism does the same.

All the isms of this world serve one giant agenda of collectivist persuasion – to turn men into sheep and to herd them into giant collectives and to pin them against one another – the age old ‘divide and conquer’.

Meanwhile all the moderates, the spiritualists, the self-reliant, the skilled, the humble, the abundant…whose currencies are neither government nor business…but rather…God and nature…these are the messengers whose messages are as warnings to a world of ignorance; a world that was never free but in which free men are constantly struggling to preserve their dignity and purpose.

It is us who recognize the fallacies of man, who have read history and understand the imperfections of our entire race, it is us who struggle.

I have no currency. I have no religion. I have no ideology. I am but a man of Nature and the one and only Supreme Being.

Those men who wish for more than nature wish for power and vanity. They wish to be worshipped and to worship that which is not our God. Beware especially of the fanatics.

These men are slaves of the systems of ownership of other men that human beings have created in this world. Capitalism owns men by convincing them they can achieve higher social status and greater acceptance if they conform to a set of a capitalist set of values that ultimately enslaves you to that methodology of thinking, thereby preserving power in the hands of that very same capitalist elite. Communism does the same by making you think that you are more powerful and socially reputable if you propagate/advertise yourself as an ascetic intellectual who does not require the basic needs of man. Ultimately both of these philosophies have a non-genuine intent: social status and power.

Anarchists are another great tool for power-mongers as they promote jealousy by pinning the only source of potential stability – government – as the enemy.

Remember, government is not necessarily the problem, but rather, the ideas that are used to enslave our governments to groups of men: cults.

Democracy and socialism have been hi-jacked by power-hungry capitalists, communists, anarchists and such.

More ideas and isms will spring forth in the future to destabilize countries, usurp resources, and maintain power.

Therefore, power is the ultimate goal and nation-states are their tools. Private and public security forces that inhibit the spread of genuine democracy and socialism are the controllers of this world. The ideologues. These are the kingpins. The money, the resources, the militias: these are their tools.

Now that I have no fear I am free again because I see the ignorance of this world and that my God is perfect. Fatalism has always been true.

Men are at fault for their intentions. There are consequences.

The true men of this world have sought truth and education; they have equally sought to spread it.

Most men are busy worrying about the power and vanities of this world, when they could merely focus on their gifts and blessings.

P.S.

Do not allow your ambitions to distort the truest definition and origin of a word or concept.

There is a huge difference between classical liberalism and libertarianism, and conservatism. I align classical liberalism with my God of Islamic monotheism, and get socialist nationalism. The gods of other ideologies are either other men, preachers, clerics, power-wielders or themselves.

(The genius of capitalism is that it allows for one man or one small group to use money to hire and own employees and their skills so as to make it seem as though human beings are individually capable of perfection when in fact the capitalist must enslave workers upon workers to curate perfection).

ADL


I think liberalism is often understood as a progressive ideology, but the roots of this word are rooted in classical liberalism and the philosophical pessimism of Thomas Hobbes as much as it is in the idealism of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

While I do believe that progressivism and liberalism have some objectives in common, I do believe that competition, free markets, and realism are important elements missing from the former.

I do agree in redistribution of monetary funds to rebalance the market, but I also support individual rights and have a respect for labor, and the american virtue of self-reliance and individualism.

However, fundamentalism creeps its way into every philosophy, and liberalism has been twisted into two groups: you are either a libertarian anarchist or an environmentalist scientific materialist.

The problem is that we have a society of capitalists who seek to make money off the work of others, instead of a society where individuals prosper off their own self-determined economic routes.

On one corner is the religious dogmatists, and in the other, the irreligious fanatics. All who suffer live in the middle; representing a minority of moderate, secular-spiritual persuasion.

Usury and anarch-capitalism will be defeated. All fundamentalism, be it zionist, christian, islamist, ideological – will be defeated.

ZIONISM


ZIONISM

For so long Israeli politicians and media magnates, as well as their cohort lobbyists in the West, have succeeded in deeming anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic – but that time is over. I am a Semite. The Arab people are Semites. We too, like the Jews claim, descend from Abraham through Ishmael. Our cries against your crimes are for social justice – meanwhile, Israelis and zionists spread their dogmatic message to justify the onslaught of Palestinians and Israeli expansionism. Enough is enough damnit. As individuals global struggle to secure their human rights, we mustn’t forget our brothers in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Brazil, in Turkey, in Chechnya, in Kashmir, in South Africa, Nigera, Vietnam, and such. The era of self righteousness is being confronted by a new, truer voice. Be it heard or not I am not naive. I don’t believe in a two state solution. I do not recognize a Jewish state because like every American I believe in the separation of church and state. I disapprove of the existence of Israel regardless of the reality of the holocaust because two wrongs don’t make a right. I am a Semite. I am a Jew. I am a Muslim. I am a believer. I am a child of God as all of you are and I refuse to sit passively. Palestine will be heard damnit. Syria will be saved. Fundamentalism will be squashed, from the Rush Limbaughs to the Netanyahus, dogma will be done.

ZIONISM


For so long Israeli politicians and media magnates, as well as their cohort lobbyists in the West, have succeeded in deeming anti-Zionism as anti-Semitic – but that time is over. I am a Semite. The Arab people are Semites. We too, like the Jews claim, descend from Abraham through Ishmael. Our cries against your crimes are for social justice – meanwhile, Israelis and zionists spread their dogmatic message to justify the onslaught of Palestinians and Israeli expansionism. Enough is enough damnit. As individuals global struggle to secure their human rights, we mustn’t forget our brothers in Palestine, in Afghanistan, in Brazil, in Turkey, in Chechnya, in Kashmir, in South Africa, Nigera, Vietnam, and such. The era of self righteousness is being confronted by a new, truer voice. Be it heard or not I am not naive. I don’t believe in a two state solution. I do not recognize a Jewish state because like every American I believe in the separation of church and state. I disapprove of the existence of Israel regardless of the reality of the holocaust because two wrongs don’t make a right. I am a Semite. I am a Jew. I am a Muslim. I am a believer. I am a child of God as all of you are and I refuse to sit passively. Palestine will be heard damnit. Syria will be saved. Fundamentalism will be squashed, from the Rush Limbaughs to the Netanyahus, dogma will be done.