١. Brief Introduction to the Essay
Social fiction tackles significant issues using a diverse assortment of entertainment media. From a social scientific perspective, the value of social fiction should not be underestimated. The subjects addressed, sometimes cloaked in metaphor, can frequently be serious and consequential. Among these fictional genres is online gaming. Like visual and performance art, such gaming may frequently bring to the fore topics and content which are rarely discussed and examined in other lifeworlds. Methodologically, the agency or instrumentality of forming and governing fictional nations will be explored ethnographically—by means of participant observation—and through Heartfulness Inquiry™, a mode of phenomenological analysis (MP3).
This narrative, while largely a fictional piece, is grounded in a personal interpretation of historical and social facts. The reflections mirror only the provisional thoughts of the author. He occupies, heavens forbid, no station more exalted than the dust of the Earth, while his plane of knowledge lies beneath the lowly ant. The writer’s musings are an applied exercise in concrete utopianism, a concept originally delineated by the German Marxist philosopher Ernst Bloch (MP3), 1985–1977, and subsequently adapted by the British Marxist philosopher and libertarian communist Roy Bhaskar (MP3), 1944–2014. However, my delineations express neither official religious statements nor authoritative expositions of philosophies and theories.
The perspectives which are diagramed in the libertarian communist pentad (Arabic, خُمَاسِيَّة الشُيُوعِيَّة اللِيبِرْتَارِيَّة [MP3], ẖumāsiyyaẗ ʾal–šuyūʿiyyaẗ ʾal–lībir°tāriyyaẗ) intertwine Islamic studies (Arabic/ʿArabiyyaẗ, دِّرَاسات الإسْلاميّة [MP3], Ddirāsāt ʾal–⫰Is°lāmiyyaẗ) with a preternatural praxis through a well–disciplined, multifaceted engagement with the integrated fivefold perspectives of Marxism–Luxemburgism (MP3), Autonomist Antifa (MP3), a socialism from below from neo–Trotskyist and other sources, Roy Bhaskar’s critical realism, and Kimberlé Crenshaw’s intersectionality:
Luxemburgism is a libertarian communist tendency which, unlike some other left–libertarian currents, acknowledges the importance of direct as well as indirect democracy. Autonomist Antifa is a libertarian communist commitment to fighting fascism and its evil cousins. Third–camp socialist Hal Draper’s (1914–1990) socialism from below, later adopted by those within diverse currents, is a left–libertarian disavowal of the socialism from above which wreaked havoc upon the 20ᵗʰ century. Bhaskarian critical realism is a metatheory and a method for actualizing libertarian communism. Intersectionality, with roots in Black feminism, explains oppression by situating individuals and cohorts at intersections of a metaphorical roadmap.
٢. Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS)
Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ (Arabic, طَرِيقَة البَاهُوِيَّة [MP3]), the namesake of Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (Arabo–Persian/Fārisiyyaẗ–ʿArabiyyaẗ, حَضْرَت سُلْطَان بَاهُو [MP3]), ʿalay°hi ʾal–ssalām (Arabic, عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام [MP3], “upon Him be peace” or “AS”), was established as a parabolic Western branch of Bāhū’s (AS) Punjabi (Persian/Fār°sí, پِنْجَابِی [MP3], Pun°ǧābí; Urdu/ʾUr°dū, پُنْجَابِی [MP3], Pun°ǧābí; Shahmukhi Punjabi/Šāh Muḱ°hí Pun°ǧābí, پَنْجَابِی [MP3], Pan°ǧābí; and Guramukhi Punjabi/Guramukhī Pajābī, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ [MP3] order. Although it is an imaginative and a fictitious, not a genuine, spiritual path, its rudiments, excluding the statements concerning this servant’s position of leadership, have been gathered from historical source materials.
Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective (MP3)—as a puppet nation attached to Ṣạdiyqiym hạ–Dāṯ hạ–Bāhāʾiyṯ of Democratic Communist Federation (Spartakusland)—belongs, on NationStates, to The Confederation of Traditional Socialist Nations, which is a signatory to The Vanguard Treaty. Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ, Path of Bāhūism, governs The Multiversal Communist Collective through a radical proletarian democracy. Using the traditional Arabic numbering system, here is that order’s name in a few languages:
Therefore, Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ, as a communist internationalist coördinating body, now enters the sil°silaẗ (Arabic, سِلْسِلَة [MP3]), “chain”) of Qād°riyyaẗ (Arabic, قَدْرِيَّة [MP3], “capability” or “competence”). The following listing contains numerous other linguistic renderings of Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ:
According to tradition, ʿAb°d ʾal–Qad°r ʾal–Ǧīlāniyy (Arabic, عَبد القَادْر الجِيلَانِيّ [MP3]), the Ṣūfiyy (Arabic, صُوفِيّ, Ṣūfiyy [MP3], wearing “woolen” garments) forebear of Bāhū’s (AS) own ṭarīqaẗ, was the founder (Arabic, الإِمَام [MP3] ʾal–⫰imām, “the pathfinder”) of Qād°riyyaẗ. He is commonly referred to as pír–i pírān (Persian, پِیرِ پِیرَان [MP3], “elder of elders.”) Etymologically:
Bāhū (AS) was born in the Punjabi village of Angah (Urdu, انْگَہ [MP3], ʾAn°gāh), Soon Valley (Urdu, وَادْیِ سُون [MP3], Wād°ý–i Sūn), K̲h̲ushab District (Urdu, ضِلَع خُوشَابَ [MP3], Ḍilaʿ H̱ūšāba), which is located in today’s Pakistan (Urdu and Shahmukhi Punjabi, پَاكِسْتَانَ [MP3], Pākis°tāna, “land of the pure”). Indeed, He spent His entire life, circa 1628–1691, in present–day Pakistan’s portion of a not–yet–divided Punjab (originally Persian, پُنْجَاب [MP3], Pun°ǧāb; Urdu, پُنْجَابَ [MP3], Pun°ǧāba; Shahmukhi Punjabi, پَنْجَابَ [MP3], Pan°ǧāba; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਪੰਜਾਬ [MP3], Pajāba; or Arabic, Ban°ǧāb, بَنْجَاب [MP3]), the “five–water” land).
These five waters—rivers or waterways—which flow through the Punjab are themselves tributaries of the Indus River (Urdu, دَرِیَائَِے سِنْدْھَ [MP3], Dariýā⫯ýē Sin°d°ha; Shahmukhi Punjabi, سِنْدْھَ دَرِیَا [MP3], Sin°d°ha Dariýā; or Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸਿੰਧ ਦਰਿਆ [MP3], Sidha Dariꞌā). The tributaries are:
Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS) was, truly, among the leading Exemplars of the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy (bhakti as originally Sanskrit/Saṃskrtam, भक्ति [MP3], bhakti; or Urdu, بْھَکْتِی [MP3], b°haḱ°tí, “involvement” with the beloved) movement. Bāhū (AS), “with ʾAllꞌah” (SWT), was a clever portmanteau by His mother, Bíbí Rās°tí (Persian, بِیبِی رَاسْتِی; MP3, “Grande Dame; MP3, Truth”), ssalām ʾAllꞌah ʿalay°hā (Arabic, سَّلَام الله عَلَيْهَا; MP3, “peace of ʾAllꞌah be upon her” or “SAA”). In her rank as the virtuous, sanctified, and loving mother of Bāhū (SA), she abides, without question, in the company of the most blessed women to have inhabited the Earth.
Linguistically, Bāhū (AS), was formulated by Bíbí Rās°tí (SAA) from the Indo–European “bā” (Persian, بَا; MP3, “with”) and the Semitic “Hū” (Arabic, هُو; MP3, “He,” i.e., ʾAllꞌah (SWT), ﷲ). Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS) wrote principally in Persian. Some samples of his writing have been incorporated into this essay:
With one dot, Bā Hū [Perso–Arabic, بَا هُو; MP3, “With He”) becomes Yā Hū [Arabic, يَا هُو; MP3), “O He”] ….
And Bāhū is always steeped in the remembrance of Yā Hū.
〜 Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū. Source unknown. Undated.
I humbly regard that hallowed Soul of the Perfect Man, Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS), viewed within the specific context of Sufism (Arabic, تَصَوُّف [MP3], Taṣawwuf, or صُوفِيَّة [MP3], Ṣūfiyyaẗ; Persian, تَصَوُّف [MP3], Taṣavvuf; or Urdu, تَصَوُّف [MP3], Taṣawwuf) as well as the broader scope of Islam, to be a Lesser Apostle―a Muǧaddad (Arabic, مُجَدَّد [MP3], “Reformer or Renewer”) or a Ġaw°ṯ ʾal–Zamān (Arabic, غَوْث الزَمَان [MP3], “Intercessor, Aid, or Succor of the Time”). He was a pure and receptive Crescent to the resplendent Star of the Prophet Muḥammad (Arabic, النَبِيّ مُحَمَّد [MP3]), ʾal–Nabiyy Muḥammad ), ṣallaỳ ʾAllꞌah ʿalay°hi wa–ssalām (Arabic, صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَّلَام [MP3], “blessings of ʾAllꞌah be upon Him and peace” or “SAAW”).
Lesser Apostles or Prophets, ʿalay°him ʾal-ssalām (Arabic, عَلَيْهِم السَّلَام [MP3], “upon Them be peace” or “AS”), may appear under the authority of each major Prophet. Subject to the sovereign Will of ʾAllꞌah (SWT), this sacred pattern repeats again and again. Some lesser Prophets (AS), or all of Them in the present age, might not be divinely authorized to broadcast their Stations. Yet, Paul (Latin/Lingua Latīna, Paulus [MP3]; or Hellēnistikḗ Koinḗ/Common Greek, Παῦλος [MP3], Paûlos), AS, clearly stated His bona fides. Though not among the twelve apostles, after witnessing a vision of Jesus Christ (Common Greek, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός [MP3], ’Iēsoûs Christós), AS, during a journey, Paul proclaimed Himself an Apostle or a Messenger.
٣. ⫯Uway°siyy transmissions
An ⫯Uway°siyy (Arabic, أُوَيْسِيّ [MP3]) transmission is an inward, spiritual communication from Muḥammad (Arabic, مُحَمَّد [MP3], “Praised One”), SAAW, or other divine beings, to a true believer. Unlike other supernal conveyances of grace or sanctity, neither the bestower of the blessing nor its direct recipient are in immediate physical proximity. This heavenly act of consecration occurs in the sublime stations of concealment, not in the lowly realms of exposition. ⫯Uway°siyy transmissions may thus be considered, in a certain sense, to be miraculous. However, the mechanisms operating in the celestial, empyrean Kingdom vis–à–vis the mundane, prosaic dimensions should be correlated only with the greatest vigilance and reservation.
By “⫯Uway°siyyūna” (Arabic, أُوَيْسِيُّونَ [MP3], “⫯Uway°siyys”), permission or authorization (Arabic, إِجَازَة [MP3], ⫰iǧāzaẗ) is conveyed, in occultation (Arabic, غَيْبَة [MP3], ġaybaẗ), from an outwardly unrelated entity (living, deceased, or mythological), including Muḥammad (SAAW), the legendary or semilegendary ʾal–H̱iḍ°r (الخِضْر [MP3], “the Green One),” departed šuyūẖ (شُيُوخ [MP3], “elders” or “s̲h̲ayk̲h̲s”), and founders of orders (Arabic, أَئِمَّة [MP3], ⫯a⫯yimmaẗ, “pathfinders” or “imams”). Via such otherworldly states as inspired dreams (Arabic, مَنَامَات [MP3], manāmāt) or luminous visions (Arabic, رُؤًى [MP3], ru⫯waṇỳ), vows of loyalty, like the oaths of fealty once owed by knights to European feudal lords, are pledged one to another.
The term ⫯Uway°siyy is named in honor of the great saint, ⫯Uway°s ʾib°n ⫯Amīr ʾib°n Har°b ʾal–Qar°niyy (Arabic, أُوَيس اِبْن أَمِير اِبْن هَرب القَرْنِيّ [MP3]). He was the first individual known to have experienced such a celestial encounter. Although ⫯Uway°s ʾal–Qar°niyy lived as Muḥammad’s (SAAW) contemporary, the two of them never had the opportunity to meet face to face. Yet, tradition has it, this venerated Yemenite (Arabic, يَمَنِيّ [MP3], Yamaniyy) was the recipient, within the world of spirits (Arabic, العَالَم الأَرْوَاح [MP3], ʾal–ʿālam ʾal–arwāḥ), of a sacred transmission from the beloved Muḥammad (SAAW). Linguistically, ⫯Uway°s (Arabic, أُوَيس) translates as “wolf cub,” while ʾal–Qar°niyy (Arabic, القَرْنِيّ) is “the centenary.”
The ⫯Uway°siyy transmission of Muḥammad (SAAW) to Bāhū (AS) can be compared, mythopœically, to Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl (Hebrew/ʿIḇəriyṯ and Yiddish/Yiyḏiyš, מֹשֶׁה אַהֲרֹן בֶּן הֶערְשֶׁעל [MP3]). After engaging in a spiritually blessed ⫯Uway°siyy communion with Bāhū (AS), bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl fictively converted from Judaism (Hebrew, הָיַהֲדוּת [MP3], Yạhăḏōṯ]) to Islam becoming the founding píra ū mur°šida or pir–o–murs̲h̲id (Urduized Persian and Arabic/ʿArabiyyaẗ–⫯Ur°diyyaẗ–Fārisiyyaẗ, پِیرَ و مُرْشِدَ [MP3], “elder and” guide possessing “integrity, maturity, and sensibility”) of Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ). The Hindi versions are pīra aura murśida (Hindi, पीर और मुर्शिद [MP3]) and pīra–o–murśida (Hindi, पीर-ओ-मुर्शिद [MP3]).
Customarily, bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl is addressed as píra ū mur°šida. This Urdu honorific is a compound phrase from Persian, Urdu, and Arabic. Pír (Persian, پِیر [MP3]) may be translated as either “elder” or “elderly man.” Ū (و [MP3]), like ʾaw°ra (Urdu, اوْرَ [MP3]), is an Urdu term for “and.” Mur°šid (مُرْشِد [MP3]), lastly, remains an Arabic designation for a guide possessing “integrity, maturity, and sensibility.” That being said, bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl is a simple and modest man. Unconcerned with the frivolities of temporal salutations, he regards himself, above all, as a servant of ʾAllꞌah (SWT) and all humanity (Arabic, عَبْد الله وَالبَشَرِيَّة الجَمْعَاء [MP3], ʿab°d ʾAllꞌah wa–ʾal–bašariyyaẗ ʾal–ǧam°ʿāˁ). There is, to him, no more blessed honor.
Another example of an alleged ⫯Uway°siyy transmission from Bāhū (AS) is Hazrat Syedna Riaz Ahmed Sarkar Gohar Shahi (Urdū, حَضْرَةَ سِیُدْنَا رِیَاضَ احْمَد سَرْکَارَ گُوھَرَ شَاہهِی, Ḥaḍ°rata Siýýid°nā Riýāḍa ʾAḥ°mada Sar°ḱāra Guhara Šāhí [MP3], his holy “presence, our master,” gardens of “paradise, highly prized, overseer, jewel, imperial”). Intriguingly, before I was consciously aware of beloved Bāhū, I sought out and received personal instruction in my suburban Kansas City home (Olathe, Kansas) from an initiator authorized by Guhar Šāhí (commonly, Gohar Shahi). This amiable disciple, whose name I unfortunately cannot recall, represented the American Sufi Institute (P.O. Box 462, Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, U.S. 58301).
The American Sufi Institute has since been renamed as ʾal–Mar°ḱāza-i Rūḥāní Qād°rí (Urdu, المَرْکَازَِ رُوحَانِی قَادْرِی [MP3], the Spiritual Center of Qād°rí) (Qādirīyyaẗ Sufism). This group, which is presently located in the Jamshoro District (Urdū, ذِلَاِ جَامْشُورُو [MP3], Ḏilā-i Ǧām°šūrū) of Sindh (Sindhi, سِنْڌ [MP3], Sin°dʱ; or Urdu سنْدْھ [MP3], Sin°d°h), Pakistan, regards Guhar Šāhí as a Sunni Muslim (Arabic, مُسْلِم السُنِّيّ [MP3], Mus°lim ʾal–Sunniyy)—not as a mih°dí (Urdu, مِہْدِی [MP3]), mih°dí (Persian, مِهْدِی [MP3]), or mah°diyy (the original Arabic, مَهْدِيّ [MP3], rightly “guided one”) or as a messiah (Hebrew, מָשִׁיחַ [MP3], māšiyḥạ, “anointed one”) —who welcomed people from all religions.
Guhar Šāhí taught various meditative practices, including a type of taṣavvur-i ism-i ḏāt. As I discovered much later, Šāhí, after claiming to have an inward, mystical experience with Bāhū (AS), founded a similarly ⫯Uway°siyy branch of Ṭaríqat–i Qād°riýah–i Sār°vāriýah, ʾal–Qād°riyyaẗ ʾal–Mun°tahiyyaẗ [Arabic, القَادرِيَّة المُنْتَهِيَّة [MP3], the Qādirīyyaẗ of the Uttermost], and he developed a comprehensive set of teachings and methods called the Religion of God (Persian, دِينِ اِلَهِی [MP3], Dín-i ʾIlāhí; or Urdu, دِينِ اِلَہِی [MP3], Dín–i ʾIlāhí). Šāhí was, I feel, my personal gateway to Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS).
Born in 1941, and now controversially deceased (2001 or 2003), Šāhí is, I believe, my fellow traveller under Bāhū’s watchful eye:
When … Guhar Šāhí was at about the age of thirty four, at one night Ḥaḍ°rat Barí ʾImām [Urdu, حَضْرَت بَرِی اِمَام; MP3] (tomb is in Islamabad [Urdu, اِسْلَام آبَاد; MP3, ʾIs°lām ʾÂbād, “city of Islam”]) appeared before him and said: “My son your time has come, you must go to the shrine of Sulṭān Bāhū [AS] to receive the Spiritual Knowledge.” … Guhar Šāhí then left every thing and went to shrine of Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū [AS]. Sulṭān Bāhū [AS] appeared before him and advised to read and act upon his book Nūr ʾal–Hudaỳ ([Arabic, نُور الهُدَى; MP3] Light of Guidance) and go to Saý°h°wan Šaríf [Urdū, سَیْہْوَن شَرِيف; MP3], … Dadu [Urdu, دَادُو, Dādū [MP3], Pakistan.… Guhar Šāhí read the book Nūr ʾal–Hudaỳ and went … for self-purification and peace of heart ….
… [Guhar Šāhí] then left his work, family and parents and went to Šūr°ḱuṭ [Shahmukhi Punjabi, شُورْکُوٹ; MP3], where under the blessful supervision of … Sulṭān Bāhū [AS] … [Guhar Šāhí] made the book Nūr ʾal–Hudaỳ (a book written by … Bāhū [AS] …), his journey’s companion. He then went to Sayhwan Šarīf for self-mortification and peace of heart and spent a period of three years in the mountains of Sayhwan Šarīf and the [southern Indian] forest of Lālbāg [Kannada/Kannaḍa, ಲಾಲ್ಬಾಗ್; MP3, “Red Garden”] in self-Purification. Thereafter pursuant to a revelation … [Guhar Šāhí] went to Ǧām°šūrū where he spent six months in a hut behind the Textbook Board Building, henceforth, with Almighty ʾAllꞌah’s will, His Holiness … [Guhar Šāhí] started to shower Almighty ʾAllꞌah’s creation with his benevolence.
〜 Guhar Šāhí. 2009. Retrieved on September 8, 2013. Some words have been transliterated differently and spellings corrected.
I have never claimed to be Mih°dí. The false claimant [Younus AlGohar?, Urdu, یُونُس الگُوھَر [MP3], Ýūnus ʾal–Gūhar, Joseph the Jewel] is misled and ill–fated. However, I have elaborated the signs of True Mih°dí. As Holy Prophet Muḩammad (peace be upon him) has a seal of prophet at his back. Likewise on the back of Mih°dí there will be a seal of Mih°dí which will be embossed by veins and whosoever will posses this sign we will accept him as … Mih°dí.
〜 Guhar Šāhí, A Great Spiritual Personality. October, 1999. Retrieved on September 8ᵗʰ, 2013. Some words have been transliterated differently and spellings corrected.
With profound humility, Bāhū (AS), in His lovingkindness or compassion (Pāli, मेत्ता [MP3], mettā; Sanskrit, Hindi, and Marāṭhī, मैत्री [MP3], maitrī; Nepali, मैत्री [MP3], mitratā; Gujarātī, મિત્રતા [MP3], mitratā; Sinhalese, මිත්රත්වය [MP3], mitratvaya; Thai/P̣hās̄ʹā Thịy, มิตรภาพ [MP3], mitrp̣hāph; or Khmer, មេត្តា [MP3], mettea), remains, until the end that has no end, the collective center of our obeisance. Although I only recognized the eminent Bāhū’s (AS) personal agency back in 2011, he may have been with me, guiding me, during my entire life. For some inexplicable reason of the heart, I was drawn, above all else, to beloved Bāhū (AS) while studying Sufism.
Mā šāʾa ʾAllꞌah! or Mashallah (Arabic, مَا شَاءَ الله! [MP3], “ʾAllꞌah has willed it!”) Later, on September 8ᵗʰ, 2013, during a reflection, I realized that Bāhū (AS) reached out, though Guhar Šāhí, and connected more deeply with me. Šāhí was, at the time, still, unarguably, in this world:
Click on the Image to Enlarge
٤. Joining Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ
Bis°mi ʾAllꞌah or Bismillah (Arabic, بِسْمِ الله [MP3], “In the Name of ʾAllꞌah”): In the Name of ʾAllꞌah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful! (Arabic, ﷽! [MP3], bismi ʾAllꞌah ʾal–Rrḥman ʾal–Rraḥīmi!). Should one yearn to drink from the life–giving waters or, more literally, wellspring of life (عَيْن الحَيَاة,ʿay°n ʾal–ḥayāẗ [MP3]), one may obtain membership in Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective. The hand of ʾAllꞌah (SWT) remains outstretched to all sincere souls. None are ever refused. Bārak ʾAllꞌah fīka! (Arabic, بَارَك الله فِيكَ! [MP3]), “May ʾAllꞌah bless you!” ʾal–Ssalāmu ʿalay°kum wa–rraḥ°maẗ ʾAllꞌah wa–barakāt°h! (Arabic, السَّلامُ عَلَيْكُم وَرَّحْمَة الله وَبَرَكَاتْه! [MP3]), “Peace be upon you and ʾAllꞌah’s mercy and blessings!”
ʾal–Ḥam°du li–llꞌahi! or Alhamdulillah! (Arabic, الْحَمْدُ للهِ! [MP3], “Praise be to ʾAllꞌah!”) Only an aspirant (Arabic, طَمَّاح [MP3], ṭammāḥ; طُمُوح [MP3], ṭumūḥ; or طَامِح [MP3], ṭāmiḥ; Hebrew, שׁוֹאֵף [MP3], šōʾēp̄; Persian, آرْزُومَنْد [MP3], ʾâr°zūman°d; Urdu, آرْزُومَنْدَ [MP3], ʾâr°zūman°da; Shahmukhi Punjabi, بَینَتِیکَرَ [MP3], bēnatíḱara; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਬੇਨਤੀਕਰ [MP3], bēnatīkara; or Hindi, आकांक्षी [MP3], ākāṃkṣī) truly committed to the following reverential activities attains, in both spirit and form (Arabic, رُوح وَقَالِب [MP3], rūḥ wa–qālib), to the station (Arabic, المَحَطَّة [MP3], ʾal–maḥaṭṭaẗ), indeed the exalted station (Arabic, مَكَانَاً العَلِيَّاً [MP3], makānāṇ ʾal–ʿaliyyāṇ), of ʾal–murīd (Arabic, المُرِيد [MP3], “the aspirant”):
Heartburn doth afflict me with one as with the other.
The moment I cast them aside, my pathway was arid no longer. I found myself immersed in the ocean of divine Unity.
Many souls, poorly prepared for that which awaited them, dived into the ocean and drowned. Few swam successfully to the journey’s end.
Only those who held steadfastly to the Master’s hand reached the heavenly shore in safety.
〜 Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū, Kalām–i Bāhū (Perso–Arabic, کَلَامِ بَاهُو [MP3], Discourse of Bāhū). Translation significantly modified by Mark A. Foster (Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹl).
Furthermore, Bāhū (AS) has made these promises to His beloveds:
O seeker! Thou hast requested permission [Arabic, إِجَازَة, ⫰iǧāzaẗ] for mystical knowledge [Arabic, مَعْرِفَة; MP3, maʿ°rifaẗ] from me ….
I will show thee ʾAllꞌah as nearer to thee than thy jugular [or life] vein [Persian, šāh°rag شَاهْرَگ; MP3], king vein].
〜 Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū, Kalām–i Bāhū. Translation significantly modified by Mark A. Foster (Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹl).
Whoso shalt study this book, by day and by night, with sincerity, certitude, and conviction will become cognizant of the divine [Arabic, إِلهِيّ; MP3, ⫰ilhiyy] secrets. He hath no need of instruction [Arabic, تَلْقِين; MP3, tal°qīn] and teaching [Arabic, تَعْلِيم; MP3, taʿ°līm] from a living guide [Arabic, مُرْشِد; MP3], mur°šid].
〜 Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū, Kalām–i Bāhū. Translation significantly modified by Mark A. Foster (Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹl).
Morality is emancipatory. In a theology of liberation, the Apostles were revolutionaries, not reactionaries. Sadly, some social conservatives have have duped the U.S. public. Presumably to win elections, they equate morality with traditionalism, while the opposite is true. Was Jesus (Hebrew, יֵשׁוּעַ [MP3], Yēšūʿạ), AS, in challenging polytheism, a conservative? Muḥammad’s (SAAW) followers, clearly not pacifists in the face of injustice, engaged in a revolutionary defense of their community. When Moses (Hebrew, מֹשֶׁה [MP3], Mōšẹh; AS) and His disciples were persecuted in Egypt, they trusted in ʾAllꞌah (SWT) and traversed the wildernesss. Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS), for His part, challenged both major branches of Islam.
٥. Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy Studies and More
This fanciful collective and its mythical ṭarīqaẗ lovingly commemorate the glorious Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement (Arabic, حَرَكَة البْهَاكْتِيَّة ـ الصُوفِيَّة [MP3], ḥarakaẗ ʾal–b°hāk°tiyyaẗ–ʾal–Ṣūfiyyaẗ), circa 800–1700 A.D. Furthermore, my personal prototype, or ideal type, for devotion is that same Bhakti or Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement. The adorational center, or flowering, of the Golden Age of Islam (Arabic, إسْلَام [MP3], ⫰Is°lām, peaceful surrender) might be found in this heart–focused movement. It arose chiefly from within the subaltern (MP3), or marginalized, peasant populations of diverse faiths in South Asia, including the Indus Valley (Urdū, وَادْیِ سنْدْھَ [MP3], Wād°ý–i Sin°d°ha).
To put it another way, Sufism developed principally in South Asia. The extended association between devotional Hindus [Sanskrit, हिंदुओं (MP3) Hiṃduoṃ, “rivers” or “oceans”] and Muslims (Arabic, مُسْلِمُونَ [MP3], Mus°limūna, “peacefully surrendering ones”) was largely responsible for this wonderfully transcendent phenomenon. Although aspects of the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement have been carried forward in some contemporary spiritual organizations, the final and unfortunate breakup of India into two, and then three, countries in the 20ᵗʰ century signaled the end of the movement’s prominence as a compelling social force in South Asia. I have produced two relevant podcasts (MP3) for The Dr. Mark Foster Show.
Listen to this delightful Hindu (Sanskrit, हिंदू [MP3], Hiṃdū, “river” or “ocean”) bhakti song (MP3). The ecstasy of infatuation, rather than the tragedy of legalism, galvanized this enlightened era of interfaith amity. Indeed, given the syncretism of the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement, terms from Urdu, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Hindi, and so forth are scattered throughout the manuscript. The parent order of Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ, the Ṭaríqat–i Qād°riýah–i Sār°vāriýah, was, moreover, integral to both the potency and continuity of that movement.
Yet, the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement’s regional and even Western influence has endured, albeit with considerably diminished influence, to the present. Here is some background information concerning its illustrious history, including Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS):
The Bhakti–Sufi movement was … [a] major pan–Indian articulation … of subaltern dissent.
The spokesmen/women of the movement mostly came from the subaltern or marginalised sections of society and were workers, women or Muslims …. Sultan Bahu … and other Sufi poets were Muslims by birth.
〜 K. Satchidanandan, “Between Saints and Secularists.” Belonging. Volume II. Issue 3. Undated. No pagination.
An important landmark in the cultural history of medieval India [Hindi, इंडिया; MP3, Iṃḍiyā, “river” or “ocean”] was the silent revolution in society brought about by a galaxy of socio-religious reformers, a revolution known as the Bhakti Movement. This movement was responsible for many rites and rituals associated with the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs [Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸਿੱਖਾਂ; MP3, Sikhāṁ] of [the] Indian subcontinent. For example, Kirtan [Sanskrit, कीर्तन; MP3, kīrtana, “telling”] at a Hindu Temple, Qawaali [Urdu, قَوُّالِی; MP3, qawwālí, “utterance”] at a Dargah [Persian, دَرْگَه; MP3, dar°gah, “threshold” or, by implication, shrine] (by Muslims), and singing of Gurbani [Guramukhi Punjabi, ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ; MP3, gurabāṇī, “wise speech”] at a Gurdwara [Guramukhi Punjabi, ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਾ; MP3, guraduꞌārā, “door to the guru”], are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India (800–1700) ….
Sufism represents the inward or esoteric side of Islam or the mystical dimension of Muslim [Arabic, مُسْلِم, Mus°lim, “peacefully surrendering one”] religion. However, the Sufi saints transcending all religious and communal distinctions, worked for promoting the interest of humanity at large. The Sufis [Arabic, صُوفِيُّونَ; MP3, Ṣūfiyyūna] were a class of philosophers remarkable for their religious catholicity …. It [Sufism] rebelled against all forms of religious formalism, orthodoxy, falsehood and hypocrisy and endeavoured to create a new world order in which spiritual bliss was the only and the ultimate goal ….
… Sultan Bahu (ca 1628–1691) was a Muslim Sufi and saint who founded the Sarwari Qadiri Sufi order. Sultan Bahu was born in Anga, Soon Valley, in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. Like many other Sufi saints of South Asia Sultan Bahu was a prolific writer. More than forty books on Sufism are attributed to him, mostly in Persian.
〜 Arun Joshi, “Bhakti Movement in India and Punjab.” The Times of India. Undated. No pagination.
India saw a remarkable fusion of Islamic [Arabic, إِسْلَامِيَّة; MP3, ⫰Is°lāmiyyaẗ] and indigenous Hindu traditions, giving rise to a rich composite culture.… One of the best representatives of this confluence of traditions is the Bhakti-Sufi movement, a form of personal piety that challenged the hegemony of the religious orthodoxy and crusaded against caste and community divisions and meaningless ritualism.
A wealth of literature abounds with the teachings and writings of these Hindu and Sufi mystics ….
〜 Laxmi G. Tewari, “Common Grounds between Bhajan and Qawwali.‧ Conference on Music in the World of Islam. Assilah. August 8ᵗʰ–13ᵗʰ, 2007. Assilah, Morocco. Page 1–3. Retrieved on August 17ᵗʰ, 2013.
There have been further expressions of the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement, and its subsequent offshoots, to which I was drawn at various points of my life. For instance, at 12 years old (1968), I nearly joined Sikhism, a progeny of that movement, which was founded by Gurū Nānaka (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ [MP3]), 1469–1539. Sikhism’s strong monotheism coupled with its doctrine of reincarnation were particularly attractive to me. However, through snail mail correspondence, that same year, with the Sikh Temple in Stockton, California, I was, sadly at the time, convincingly dissuaded by the five Ks (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਪੰਜ ਕਕਾਰ [MP3], paja kakāra), which has been illustrated in the image below, for baptised Sikhs.
Reluctantly, I acknowledged that Sikhism, however much I loved it, was rooted in an earlier time and a far different locale. The religion’s mode of dress and hair style was never intended for the student locker room of a 1960s American gymnasium. Attiring myself with such unconventional accoutrements, displayed in the two pictures below left, made no more sense than wearing the medieval European apparel of a traditional Hasidic Jew (Hebrew/ʿIḇəriyṯ, יְהוּדִי הַחָסִיד [MP3], Yəhūḏiy hạ–Ḥāsiyḏ), as portrayed below right. Being thus adorned, with the trappings of one faith or the other, would have placed a target on my back. I cannot imagine the reception by my seventh–grade classmates, especially the school’s bullies.
Nevertheless, my interest in Sikhism was undeterred. That affinity has, in fact, continued even to the present day. I established an association with the neo–Sikh Sant Nirankari Mission (Hindi, संत निरंकारी मिशन, Saṃta Niraṃkārī Miśana [MP3]; or Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸੰਤ ਨਿਰੰਕਾਰੀ ਮਿਸ਼ਨ, Sata Nirakārī Miśana [MP3], “Mission of the Truth–Teller of the Formless One”) on April 6ᵗʰ, 2018. It is currently under the direction of Satguru Mata Savinder Hardev Ji (Hindi, सतगुरु माता सविंदर हरदेव जी [MP3], Sataguru Mātā Saviṃdara Haradeva Jī; or Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਮਾਤਾ ਸਾਵਿਤਰੀ ਹਰਦੇਵ ਜੀ [MP3], Satigurū Mātā Sāvitarī Haradēva Jī), born in 1957.
The organization was started, in 1980, by Baba Buta Singh (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਬਾਬਾ ਬੂਟਾ ਸਿੰਘ [MP3], Bābā Būṭā Sigha; or Hindi, बाबा बंटा सिंह [MP3], Bābā Baṃṭā Siṃha), 1954–2016 (perished in an automobile accident):
The simran (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸਿਮਰਨ [MP3], simarana; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਸਿਮਰਨਾ [MP3], simaranā; Hindi, सिमरण [MP3], simaraṇa; Hindi, सिमरन [MP3], simarana; or Urdu and Shahmukhi Punjabi, سِمَرَنَ, simarana [MP3], “remembrance”), an originally Guramukhi Punjabi word (from the Sanskrit, स्मरण [MP3], smaraṇa, “remembrance”), of Sant Nirankari Mission is Eka tū hī niraṃkāra, maiṃ terī śaraṇa, menū bakṣa lo (Hindi, एक तू ही निरंकार, मैं तेरी शरण, मेनू बक्ष लो [MP3] or chanted [MP3], “O Thou Formless One, I surrender to Thee. Please forgive me.”).
Decades earlier, while unaware of the historical connection with Sikhism, I was, in approximately 1970, attracted to the religion of Eckankar (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਇੱਕ ਓਅੰਕਾਰ [MP3], Ika Ōꞌakāra; Shahmukhi Punjabi, اِکَ اوأَنْکَارَ [MP3], ʾIḱa ʾAw⫯ān°ḱāra; Hindi, एक ओंकार [MP3], Eka Oṃkāra; or Urdu, اَیْکَ اَوْنْکَار [MP3], ʾAy°ḱa ʾAwn°ḱāra, “One Oṃ–Maker” or One God, symbolized as ੴ)―a thoroughly Americanized branch of a heterodox, extrasensory outgrowth from Sikhism and, hence, the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement. Eckankar, the organization, was founded, in 1965, by John “Paul” Twitchell (1909–1971).
Twitchell brazenly lied when denying prior involvement with his parent tradition, Radha Soami Satsang (Hindi, राधा स्वामी सत्संग [MP3], Rādhā Svāmī Satsaṃga, “true association” by “the possessor of prosperity”), and its clairvoyant and clairaudient meditation, Surat Shabd Yoga (Hindi, सूरत शब्द योग [MP3], Sūrata Śabda Yōga, “union through attention to the word”). He became an adept of Kirpal Singh (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਕਿਰਪਾਲ ਸਿੰਘ [MP3], Kirapāla Sigha), 1894–1974, and his Ruhani Satsang (Hindi, रूहानी सत्संग [MP3], Rūhānī Satsaṃga, “spiritual true association”) in 1955. The latter, in fact, was a schism of yet another schism, Radha Soami Satsang Beas (Hindi, राधा स्वामी सत्संग ब्यास [MP3], Rādhā Svāmī Satsaṃga Byāsa).
Eventually, a photograph featuring Twitchell with Singh torpedoed the scam. A considerable number of Eckists, as they are called, dolefully abandoned the organization. Heartbroken, many felt, legitimately it seems to me, as though Twitchell had duped, even swindled, them. In my own case, I recall that only a minor postal miscommunication between me, at around thirteen-years old, and the movement’s Las Vegas headquarters (subsequently in Menlo Park, California, and presently in Chanhassen, Minnesota) prevented me from membership. Their returned letter could have dampened my enthusiasm, but I had already lost interest. Yet, my attraction to Surat Shabd Yoga resumed in earnest several years later.
Kirpal Singh (middle) and Paul Twitchell (far right)
I was, therefore, ultimately initiated, following my ethnographic or participant–observational interests as a sociologist, into three other factions of the contemplative Surat Shabd Yoga:
Due to the primarily inner transmissions of successorship, the neo–Sikh Surat Shabd Yoga movement has repeatedly divided. It began, however, with Agrah (Hindi, आग्रह [MP3], Āgraha), India’s Shri Shiv Dayal Singh Sahab (Hindi, श्री शिव दयाल सिंह साहब [MP3], Śrī Śiva Dayāla Siṃha Sāhaba), 1818–1878. He was, occupationally, a banker. Among his followers, he was known by the reverential title of Soamiji Maharaj (Hindi, स्वामी जी महाराज [MP3], Svāmī Jī Mahārāja, “respectful and sovereign master”).
The mantras recited by devotees vary, sometimes considerably, between the multiple traditions of Radha Soami Satsang. Nevertheless, in Radha Soami Satsang Beas and in many of its branches, the Surat Shabd Yoga tradition with which I am most familiar, five names (Sanskrit, पङ्च नमः [MP3], paṅca namaḥ; Persian, پَنْج نَامَ [MP3], panǧ nāma; Urdu, پانچ ناموں [MP3], panča nāmūṉ; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਪੰਜ ਨਾਮ [MP3], paja nāma; or Bengali, পাঁচ নাম্বার [MP3], pām̐ca nāmbāra) are conventionally used. Eckankar is one well–known exception. In that organization, adherents are instructed to chant Hu (MP3), a word which may be related to Huwa (Arabic, هُوَ [MP3], “He”), frequently a reference to ʾAllꞌah (SWT).
Surat Shabd Yoga consists of two distinct parts. First, the ears are plugged, and the sound current, supposedly intensifying in frequency as one progresses, is listened to from the right side. Second, the eyes are shut, while utilizing the prescribed regimen of mantras, permitting the meditator to allegedly witness visions of progressively higher planes and the beings residing within them (including, ultimately, one’s spiritual master). Before providing the paṅca namaḥ, here are three preliminary points:
With those qualifications now out of the way, the following simran constitutes the most widely taught five–part mantra as presented verbally by the initiator and then silently or inwardly repeated by disciples within the Radha Soami Satsang Beas tradition:
He [a yogī] preached yoga [Sanskrit, योग, MP3, yoga, “union or yoking”] practice but with a few words of praises to God namely: Jot Niranjan, Onkar, Rarankar, Sohang, Satnam. He believed that that the utterance of these words in the initial stage of smadhi [Sanskrit, समाधि, MP3, samādhi, “contemplation”] will help the yogi [Hindi, योगी, MP3, yogī, “practitioner of union”] to attain higher concentration and there after the yogi has to follow his mind where ever it treads. He met a Sikh, Shiv Dyal of Agra and converted him to yogimat [Hindi, योगी मत, MP3, yogī mata, “doctrine of practitioner of union”]. Swami Shiv Dyal preached this concept on a large and organised scale.
〜 Anonymous, “Dialogue with Yogis: The Sidh Goshat of Guru Nanak.” Punjab Monitor. April, 2015. Retrieved on March 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
By contrast, initiates of certain other Surat Shabd Yoga traditions simply recite “Radhasoami” (Hindi, राधास्वामी [MP3], Rādhāsvāmī, “possessor of prosperity”). In Shabd Pratap Ashram (Sanskrit, शब्द प्रताप आश्रम [MP3], Śabda Pratāpa Āśrama, “Word of Power Monastery”), another Surat Shabd Yoga tradition, devotees are instructed to deliver this three–part Dhunyatmak Naam (Hindi, धनात्मक नाम [MP3], Dhanātmaka Nāma; or Urdu, دَنَاتْمَكَ نَامَ [MP3], Danātmaḱa Nāma, “Positive Name”):
Furthermore, inspired by my personally transformative experiences with Bāhū (AS), I have been engaged in further participant–observational or ethnographic studies, without becoming a member, of no less than twelve Ṣūfiyy, Ṣūfiyy–influenced, or Muslim–inspired organizations within Islamdom (Arabic, عَالَم الإِسْلَامِيّ [MP3], ʾālam ʾal– ⫰Is°lāmiyy, “the Islamic world”), including:
Significantly, four of the organizations mentioned above—Naqshbandi Order of s̲h̲eik̲h̲ Taoshobuddha, Naqshbandiyya Nazimiyya Sufi Order of America, Naqshbandi Mujaddadi Sardari Tariqah, and The Golden Sufi Center—are associated with Naq°š°ban°diyyaẗ (Arabic, نَقْشْبَنْدِيَّة [MP3]), Naq°š°ban°dí (Persian, نَقْشْبَنْدِی [MP3]), Naq°š°ban°diýýah (Urdu, نَقْشْبَنْدِیَّہ [MP3]), or Nàkèshénbāndí (Mandarin Chinese, 納克什班迪 [MP3]). The portion of the word, ban°d (Persian, بَنْد [MP3]), derives from the same Indo–European root as bond, bind, or binding to ʾAllꞌah. Naq°š°ban°diyyaẗ, an integral part of the Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement, was once the largest Ṣūfiyy order in medieval, or premodern, India.
Another, historically unrelated, Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy movement to which I have been spiritually drawn is Sri Viswa Viznana Vidya Adhyatmika Peetham (Hindi, श्री विश्व विज्ञान विद्या आध्यात्मिक पीठम् [MP3], Śrī Viśva Vijñāna Vidyā Ādhyātmika Pīṭham, “Spiritual Seat for the Radiant Understanding of Knowledge”). Although it is, historically, a branch of Qād°riyyaẗ, the organization’s members currently include both Hindus and Muslims. It was founded by Brahmarishi Sri Madeen Kabir Shah (Hindi, ब्रह्मर्षि श्री मदिन् कबीर शाह [MP3], Brahmarṣi Śrī Madin Kabīra Śāha), a saintly being born during the final decades of the Bhakti-Ṣūfiyy movement. He was a disciple of the aforementioned ʿAbd ʾal-Qādir ʾal-Ǧīlāniyy.
Sri Viswa Viznana Vidya Adhyatmika Peetham’s motto is “Service to Humanity is Service to God.” The organization refers to its devotional system of beliefs and practices as Sufi Vedanta (Hindi, सूफी वेदांत [MP3], Sūphī Vedāṃta; or Telugu, సూఫీ వేదాంత [MP3], Sūphī Vēdānta, “Ṣūfiyy End of Knowledge”) and Arsha – Sufi Dharma (Hindi, आर्ष – सूफी धर्म [MP3], Ārṣa – Sūphī Dharma; or Telugu, అర్ష్ – సూఫీ ధర్మ [MP3], Arṣ – Sūphī Dharma, “Sage – Ṣūfiyy Support”):
The ancestors of Brahmarṣi Śrī Madin Kabīra Śāha emigrated from Bag̲h̲dad (Arabic, بَغْداد [MP3], Baġdād) to the Indian metropolitan distict of Delhi (Hindi, दिल्ली [MP3], Dillī) and, ultimately, to the Indian city of Hyderabad (Hindi, हैदराबाद [MP3], Haidarābāda) in the present–day Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (Hindi, आंध्र प्रदेश [MP3], Āṃdhra Pradēśa). Upon relocating, around 1700 A.D., from Hyderbad to Pithapuram (Hindi, पितापुरम [MP3], Pitāpurama), India, Brahmarṣi Śrī Madin Kabīra Śāha founded the organization. By male primogeniture, the firstborn or eldest son has since become the peethadhipathi (Hindi, पीठाधिपति [MP3], pīṭhādhipati; or Telugu, పీఠాధిపతి [MP3], pīṭhādhipati, “chairman”).
The present, and ninth, peethadhipathi or guru of the organization is Brahmarishi Sri Dr. Umar Alisha–2 (ब्रह्मर्षि श्री डाक्टर ओमर ऐलिस २ [MP3], Brahmarṣi Śrī Ḍākṭara Ōmara Ailisa II), born in 1966:
A separate and an additional Bhakti–Ṣūfiyy attraction, to me, was founded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Sanskrit, चैतन्य महाप्रभु [MP3], Caitanya Mahāprabhu), 1486–1584, i.e., Gaudiya Vaishnavism (Sanskrit, गौड़ीय वैष्णव, [MP3], Gauṛīya Vaiṣṇava]) and its philosophy of Achintya Bheda Abheda (Sanskrit, अचिन्त्यभेदाभेद [MP3], Acintyabhedābheda, “inconceivable difference and oneness”). Duality and nonduality are harmonized. Gaudiya lies in South Asia’s Bengal (Bengali, বঙ্গ [MP3], Baṅga) region. Vaiṣṇava focuses upon Vishnu (Sanskrit, विष्णु [MP3], Viṣṇu, “All–Pervasive”) worship, but Krishna (Sanskrit, कृष्ण [MP3], Kṛṣṇa, “Dark”), whose dates of birth and death remain disputed, is often included.
Gaudiya Vaishnavism is widely, but not uniquely, linked to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). On July, 1966, this devotional organization was established, in New York City, by Abhay Charanaravinda “A. C.” Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (Bengali, অভয়চরণারবিন্দ ভক্তিবেদান্ত স্বামীপ্রভুপাদ [MP3], Abhaẏacaraṇārabinda Bhaktibēdānta Sbāmīprabhupāda; or Sanskrit, अभय चरणारविन्द भक्तिवेदान्त स्वामी प्रभुपाद [MP3], Abhaya Caraṇāravinda Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda). A native of Kolkata (Bengali, কলকাতা [MP3], Kalakātā; or Hindi, कोलकाता [MP3], Kolakātā), previously Romanized as Calcutta, India, he was born in 1896 and died in 1977.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The mantra of ISKCON, one especially conspicuous to members of my own baby–boomer generation from Western metropolises (including my hometown, New York City), is referred to by devotees within the original organization and its several splinter groups as the mahāmantra (Sanskrit, महामन्त्र [MP3] “great mantra”). That mantra is chanted as follows: Hare [Power or Potency] Krṣṇa [Black], Hare Krṣṇa, Krṣṇa Krṣṇa, Hare Hare; Hare Rāma [Dark], Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare (Sanskrit, हरे कृष्ण । हरे कृष्ण । कृष्ण कृष्ण । हरे हरे ॥ हरे राम । हरे राम । राम राम । हरे हरे [MP3], “Power to Krishna, Power to Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Power Power; Power to Rama, Power to Rama, Rama Rama, Power Power.”
The quotation directly below is a complete translation of the only known, or extant, text by Caitanya. Transliterations from the original Sanskrit were humbly modified by me. I also translated these Sanskrit terms into English:
Glory to the Śrī–Kṛṣṇā–saṅkīrtana [Sanskrit, श्री–कृष्ण–संकीर्तन; MP3, “Radiant Krishna chanting”], which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This saṅkīrtana [Sanskrit, संकीर्तन, “chanting”] movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.
O my Lord, Thy holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus Thou has hundreds and millions of names, like Kṛṣṇā and Goviṃdā [Sanskrit, गोविंदा; MP3, “protector of cows”]. In these transcendental names Thou hast invested all Thine transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness Thou does enable us to easily approach The by Thine holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Thy causeless devotional service, birth after birth.
O Son of Mahārāja Naṃdā [Sanskrit, महाराज नंदा; MP3, “Great or Exalted King of Joy,” i.e., Kṛṣṇā’s custodial or “foster” father], I am They eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at They lotus feet.
O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant They holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of They name?
O Goviṃdā! Feeling Thy separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve or more years. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling thoroughly vacant in the world in They absence.
I know no one but Kṛṣṇā as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.
Artistic Representation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu
٦. Preternatural Multiverse
Now, in the 21ˢᵗ century, a speculative narrative on many worlds theory (radio show; MP3)—among quantum physics’ theories of everything—and a Ṣūfiyy–type mysticism takes communism into the omniverse. The transformative praxis of the syncretistic, if apocryphal, Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective can be summarized as follows: the meditative cultivation of a transdimensional commune–ism with loving beings from other metaphysical universes. The figurative “vehicles” for contact and communication with a myriad of omniversal creatures—which reside within both ourselves and this world—are the phenomenological analyses (MP3) of Heartfuless Inquiry or The Echoing Practice.
Ssalāmu ʿalay°kum! (Arabic, سَّلَامُ عَلَيْكُم! [MP3], “peace be upon you!”) Before beginning this brief exposition, I feel duly inspired to offer earnest and heartfelt apologies for any possible mispronunciations, on my part, throughout the entire essay. My weaknesses, in this area and in many others others, are acutely abundant to the reader. Nevertheless, I will, as best I can, attempt to set them aside and proceed to the subject at hand. Similar views to the ones presented in the following diagram have been considered more or less cogently within The Institute for Dialectical metaRealism, The Unicentric Paradigm, and Echoes of Cosmic Unity:
٧. Perils of Left and Right Populism
Populism, whether on the left or the neofascist right, is highly dangerous. Left–wing populism, as an opponent of critical theory, is hostile toward political correctness, African American socialist intersectionality, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa (even as tactics, not strategies). Critical thinking and the long–term success of legitimate left revolutionary movements are threatened. Moreover, an anti–intellectual, pseudo–left populism thrives on categorical—either–or and good–bad—statements. All critical theorists should be aware of the cancerous growth of leftist populism in certain dark recesses of the Internet and be willing to confront it. A spurious leftism might present the most dangerous challenge to the Left since McCarthyism.
Anecdotally, I and my academic colleagues are often treated like trash by left–wing populists. I searched inside myself for any culpability in the anti–intellectualism on NationStates. Then I looked around and could find no other academics. Initially, I was kicked out of a NationStates “region” after standing up to a moderator who verbally abused me. Later, in the Left–Wing Discussion Thread III, I became the target of vicious attacks for simply self–identifying as an academic Marxist and for discussing critical social theory. I have repeatedly stated that I elevate left refoundation and left regroupment over allegiance to my own tendency. That fact notwithstanding, I was oddly accused of being a rigid Luxemburgist and an elitist.
Communists can never be too extreme about justice. Nothing excels it in importance. Yet, many left–wing populists, parotting a meme, disparage others as social justice warriors (SJWs). What is the point of being a Leftist if one does not fight social injustice? There are hosts of other activities in which one could become engaged. Hobbies are abundant. One can shop, text, surf the web, or chat on the phone. Battling particular injustices does not preclude one from struggling, more specifically, for revolution. One can enroll in courses, or read books, on time management. Ultimately, how much one chooses to engage daily in this or that activity is a private matter. One could even, heavens forbid, dedicate one’s life to battling injustice.
Bolsheviks (Russian, Большевики, Bolʹševiki [MP3]) often view capitalism in purely economic terms. To them, the fight for social justice is simply a distraction from their economic version of revolution. In my own communist or revolutionary socialist world, we would probably not even remain in the same room, or tendency, together. I, like my fellow libertarian Marxist Roy Bhaskar, view all expressions of liberation from injustice as aspects of the fight for communism. To me, SJWs should, in copresence, be embraced, not, in demireality, be rejected. At that point, they can be encouraged to become revolutionaries. Such a liberation from injustice—the true essence of left–libertarianism—is, in my view, the key to achieving communism.
Thus, I would never attack any SJWs, since I regard them, not only as allies, but as as potential candidates to become libertarian communists. Yet, even beyond the pragmatic dimension, which can only take one so far, a libertarian communist must, I also believe, become an SJW. To me, an anti–SJW libertarian communist is plainly a contradiction in terms. If the liberty in libertarianism is not universalized to the fight against all expressions of plenary injustice, one might as well, from my perspective, be a Marxist–Leninist, a syndicalist, or, for that matter, a fascist. Why squander one’s life and time with a philosophy, libertarian Marxism, which, through critical realism, emphasizes universal liberation from demireality or disunity?
As a libertarian communist, I consider myself to be an SJW. Moreover, I would argue that a non–SJW libertarian communist is an oxymoron―a contradiction in terms. What libertarian communism offers to those activists—committed to serving humanity through social justice warfare—is a sound basis for praxis (practice) strongly grounded in Marxist theory. Yet, even without Marxist theory, some practitioners of social justice warfare have accomplished considerable good. As Rosa Luxemburg taught us, reform, while limited in its productivity when contrasted with revolution, can be beneficial. However, those advantages can be accelerated by synthesizing social justice warfare with Marxism.
Social justice is not always compatible with egalitarianism. However, in all cases, social justice surpasses egalitarianism in importance. To consider an applicable issue of social reform, in the sense that Rosa distinguished it from revolution, African Americans continue to derive socioeconomic and other costs from the plantation system. On the other hand, European Americans have persisted in extracting socioeconomic and other benefits from that same plantation system. Is there an appropriate remedy? Yes, but I sadly doubt that such a solution will be implemented. Paying reparations to African Americans would certainly not be egalitarian. Yet, it would be just. Many white conservatives would wail. My response: Who the hell cares?
Regarding feminism in particular, the claim has been made, on NationStates, that after women achieved suffrage, the feminist movement should have ceased to exist. Such comments not only disqualify that person as a Leftist. They raise the question of whether the category of human being has been used too broadly. I mean, what person in her or his right mind would oppose the successes of the women’s liberation movement in guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, the protections of women against sexual harassment and assault, and the freedom of women to serve in military combat as worthy and wonderful achievements? Perhaps these sorry individuals are candidates for a psychiatrist’s couch, but they are certainly in need of pity.
Relative to revolutionary emancipation, dear Rosa Luxemburg recognized the limitation of reforms, or wars for social justice in the contemporary vernacular, yet she welcomed them. Idealism, to Rosa, must never be elevated above the immediate welfare of the worker. A pragmatism of this sort should be embraced by all communists. Of course, it is not. Far too many communists, mostly Marxist–Leninists in my experience, get so caught up in their own thoughtless mind games, that they fail to see both the forest of revolution and, however imperfect, the trees of immediate improvements. Libertarian communists cannot make that error. Revolution comes first. However, as the saying goes, one can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Progressives want to reform societies, not to supplant them with entirely different systems. Leftists, however, would rather see present-day societies completely replaced by communism or revolutionary socialism. On the other hand, Rosa was not opposed to reform. As a loving, compassionate, and true humanitarian, she favored anything which would ameliorate the lives of the proletariat. That notwithstanding, she recognized that reforms are shot-term fixes. The real solutions will only come through revolution. In other words, reforming the world cannot become a substitute for creating an entirely new one. Communists cannot allow themselves to be seduced by politicians into abandoning the revolutionary struggle for empty promises.
The difficult question must be asked: Who precisely is going to legislate reforms? The answer: It is the elected or, in some societies, the appointed legislators. They are, if we are to be brutally honest with outselves, among the very people who benefit from the status quo. An incentive for bringing about real change is lacking. Most governments are bought and paid for by corporations. Therefore, no matter how much progressives may pressure their governments to enact reforms, any supposed improvements in the capitalist world–system will never be sufficient to alleviate human suffering, to bring about individual emancipation, or to transform the entire planet through libertarian communism. Only a real revolution will be sufficient.
In Rosa’s day, a social democracy, a term she employed, was democratic communism. Still, nomenclatures change. Early in the 20ᵗʰ century, social democracy divided. Some became democratic socialists. On both sides of the pond, these democratic socialists adopted counterrevolutionary Eduard Bernstein’s evolutionary socialism. A few called themselves Marxists. Other abandoned the label. That fision among democratic socialists endures till this time. Others continued using the label social democrats. In the U.S., social democrats have supported the reforms of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal or, later, Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution. Prior to disgraced UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party widely backed social democracy.
Progressive activists may be sorely misguided. Their diligence, however, should never be disparaged. Such advocates of progressivism, with their admittedly nascent class consciousness, are sometimes excellent candidates to become revolutionaries. The theoretical praxis of constructing thought bridges from progressivism to libertarian Marxist communism can, in some situations, be a highly effective communist entry tactic. Today, a mere one–dimensional communism has become disengaged in the struggle for universal emancipation from human oppression. A counterfeit communism, indeed, betrays the Left. Genuine projects of liberation are ontologically incompatable with populist smear campaigns against feminists and SJWs.
One example of institutionalized social justice warfare, in the U.S., is Affirmative Action. Most people are unaware that, because of several decades of a relatively conservative Supreme Count, Affirmative Action currently exists in name only. Whenever I have been fortunate enough to serve on a search committee for a new assistant professor of sociology, I have been required to attend a seminar on Affirmative Action. We are simply told not to ask any personal questions regarding race, sexual identity, ethnicity, and so forth. That is Affirmative Action in the 21ˢᵗ century. White people sued claiming the fallacy of reverse discrimination. People holding power cannot discriminate against themselves, but they do want to keep their privileges.
Similarly, when a sign language interpreter shows up in one of my classes for a deaf students, that is preferential treatment. When my students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, or learning disabilities receive extra testing time, that is also preferential treatment. When blind students receive recorded or Braille–coded testbooks, they are receiving preferential treatment. The point of any preferential treatment is to adjust for existing disparities or inequities. That is why many college and university disability offices are now commonly referred to as Access Services or words to that effect. All students should, to the best of our abilities, receive the maximum amount of entrées possible to all advantages.
I feel deeply grateful that, as an autonomous being, I control my own agency. My liberty, as a libertarian communist or socialist, is mine and mine alone. No other human being, including on NationStates, can take that agency and liberty from me. Perhaps I am missing something, but what is the alternative to social justice? Social injustice? The key is not to abandon social justice projects but to ground them in Marxist theory. A NationStates signature contains the conspiratorial line, “Social justice is a bourgeois plot.” Furthermore, when asked to define progressivism, the first member of NationStates quoted below characterized it with supposedly negative characteristics, while the second poster replied affirmatively to the comment:
Anti–white racism, misandry, Islamophilia…
Liriena, “Left Wing Discussion Thread IV: Oh Hai Marx.” NationStates Forum. March 13ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on March 13ᵗʰ, 2018.
Ah I see. SJW [social justice warrior] stuff?
West Leas Oros, “Left Wing Discussion Thread IV: Oh Hai Marx.” NationStates Forum. March 13ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on March 13ᵗʰ, 2018.
On the other hand, after an apparent right–wing populist wrote me on NationStates, “Sooooo what does … [about] your being a libertarian communist? if you hate it in the U.S., why not move elsewhere? Or do you not have the means?,” I replied:
Oh, you are an advocate of America, love it or leave it. I don’t love any country. As I tell my students, what better country to be in, for a communist, than the evil American Empire. The only reason I would leave is laziness. I am not lazy.
Mark A. Foster, “Left Wing Discussion Thread V: Completing the Five Thread Plan.” NationStates Forum. May 29ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on May 29ᵗʰ, 2018.
Among many left–wing populists on NationStates, terms like SJW, regressive left, and, perhaps saddest of all, feminist have become shorthand articulations for everything I do not like—and then some. People use these designations, while rarely (if ever) defining them, and assuming that the people deciphering these postings will share the identical definitions as the original writers. Words, in and of themselves, lack significance, yet one makes up, concocts, some meaning within one’s own mind. Such jargons are convenient means to write or speak without ever saying anything. As one just recently awakened Autistic, new to the experiences of empathy and love, I adore these people and, what is more, deeply identify with them.
As this Autistic grew up, I was totally unable to experience, or even to understand, empathetically. Beginning around the year 2000, I had a series of spiritual experiences, some during meditations and others during dreams and visions, which literally awakened me out of my plenary ignorance. I feel blissfully condemned to partake, almost constantly, in a life of empathy. These days, it bothers me, often tortures me, to see feminists and others who suffer being attacked, never loved, by socialist pretenders. Here is a typical, only slightly edited, response which I made to a left–wing populist, on the NationStates forum, who participates in the unfortunate, and all–too common, right–wing mimicry of bashing feminism and feminists:
“Have you heard of socialist feminism, Marxist feminism, material feminism, and anarcha–feminism? No, I have not been asleep at the wheel, as you charged. However, I am an academic communist, not a left–wing populist. This forum has made me aware of a massive rift on the left. As a a New Leftist beginning in 1968, I was somehow previously unaware of it. NationStates has proved to be an awakening for me and, to be honest, a quite difficult, but necessary, one. No academic communists I know, and I literally know hundreds, would ever dream of attacking feminism. We view feminists as our allies or potential allies. Seeing feminists as anything less betrays every principle I have lived by since 1968. I will not change.”
The American women’s liberation movement was among the most successful social movements in U.S. history. Was it perfect? Unequivocally, no. Was it revolutionary? Of course not. However, on both counts, so what? This social justice movement, while progressive and not Leftist, resulted in tremendous social, economic, political, familial, and occupational benefits for women. Even now, many of those gains have continued to unfold. The movement also layed the groundwork for diverse and numerous Marxist, anarchist, socialist, and communist feminisms which followed. Revolution would, ultimately, clearly be preferable to reform. By the same token, the accomplishments of the latter should not be diminished or attacked.
Another bogeyman of many left–wing populists is identity politics (or the politics of identity). My views are rather straightforward: If the politics of identity is a tactic for revolutionary transformation, or the sufferings of the subaltern or workers are amelioriated, I love it. Otherwise, I could not give a damn about politicizing identity. A politics of identity may sometimes have an emancipatory function. However, it must, in that case, serve as a thought bridge to transformational class consciousness. Such an identity politics pertains solely to an oppressed minority. The politics of identity, or identitarianism, championed by certain white supremacists, fascists, neonazis, and the alt–right is fit only for the septic tank or neighborhood sewer.
A neofascist on NationStates fancies himself a left–wing populist. He is not. A rattlesnake may say, “I am a scorpion.” Both animals are venomous, but the old rattlesnake remains. I, as a libertarian communist, am one of this person’s favorite targets of opportunity. Recently, I pointed out a mere truism, namely, that some, but not all, national Bolsheviks are fascists or third positionists. It was certainly not an original statement, and most well–read people would, I assume, be aware of that fact. His response to my comment? He called me, the child of two Jews and a distant relative of people assassinated in the Holocaust, an antisemite. Critiquing someone else on NationStates for making stereotypical comments about Islamic law, I asked:
Can you, therefore, explain what Shariah (Arabic, شَرِيعَة, Šarīʿaẗ) law is? Or even what the word means? And no Wikipedia references please.
Mark A. Foster. NationStates Forum. Jul 3ʳᵈ, 2018. Retrieved on July 3ʳᵈ, 2018.
I never received a response to my question, not that I expected one, but the neofascist replied:
Lol [laughing out loud]. Trying to handwave how it’s actually practised by modern cultural conservatives by demanding that we can only discuss it through a series of closed academic questions based around dictionary definitions, textbook references and what it’s allegedly ‘meant’ to be, rather than actually existing Sharia. It’s an exact repeat of the methods used in the intersectionality debate. Strap yourselves in and put your space helmets on lads, we’re heading back to the reality-abstracted lecture hall floating at the end of the universe.
NationStates Forum. Jul 4ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
Some of the jumble in words honestly escaped me, but I think I got the gist of it. I responded:
Came back for more after accusing me, the child of two Jewish parents and relative to people killed in the Holocaust, of antisemitism? No, I am confronting Islamophobia, as I always do and always will. It is something many, or perhaps most, libertarian communists do.
So, why, pray tell, does it bother you that I am opposed to Islamophobia? Do you support it? Oppose it? or what?
Mark A. Foster. NationStates Forum. Jul 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
The neofascist continued:
Most of us are phobic of transparent attempts to shut down criticism of oppressive cultural practices by writing off reality as inadmissible and demanding that debate centers only around your multilingual thesaurus and derail emporium. We’re also phobic of nonsensical thread policing where no–one is allowed to comment unless they proceed first through your irrelevant closed questionnaire first, at which point you hope everyone’s forgotten the original topic. It’s why no–one takes you very seriously. You may have success railroading your students due to the power-dynamics around your possession of the lectern, but your intellectually dishonest little schemes will not wash here and it's well past the time for you to realise this and come to terms with the fact that you're nowhere near as good at this as you think you are.
NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
Most of us is one of those little phrases people use when they have no evidence to back up what they are saying. For example, who is the us that you are speaking of? Everyone who posts in this thread? If so, I will pass. I am happy, as a libertarian communist, not to be a part of that us. And how in the world could you possibly know that “no–one takes … [me] very seriously”? I will simply tell you that your assessment is incorrect. Should you be, as you say, “phobic,” there are some highly effective remedies for that problem.
Nevertheless, I am unclear how you can, short of telepathy, know what most of us believe. Putting all that aside, your posting consists largely of a series of logical fallacies. I can assure you that I am far from being intellectually dishonest. Indeed, I have been accused of being brutally honest on occasion. Or is that a further example of your telepathy? I certainly believe what I say and say what I believe. Perhaps you are confusing you own views with mine or yourself with me? Moreover, I am not scheming, or could it be that you are engaging in conspiracy theorizing? I most certainly do not, as you have accused me, railroad my students. I practice what I preach in my classes — libertarian communism. That means, I focus on oppression, but I listen to all voices.
Finally, you are merely looking in a mirror. If you think that my critique of Islamophobia is policing, then your unending critiques of me (and anyone else you disagree with) — but especially me — is one of the clearest examples of policing I have seen in a long time. You spend much of your time dictating to me what I can and cannot (or should and should not) say. You also keep on returning to your gripe with intersectionality, which is one of the bulwarks of contemporary Marxist theory in academia. But, oh, I forgot, you don’t much like academia, do you? Come to think of it, what is it that you like? After reading all of your postings, I know what you hate backwards and forwards (including me). I have absolutely no idea of what you like or agree with.
Mark A. Foster. NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
One more response from the narcissistic neofascist:
“Criticism of me is criticism of all academia.”
“Telling me I can’t demand everyone pass through a gauntlet of functionally irrelevant closed academic questions before they're allowed to talk about contemporary issues on a discussion thread is the real policing. Stop bulli.”
“If you don’t like my shady behaviour you must just be a hater who doesn’t contribute to discussions. Never mind those tens of thousands of other posts, it’s all about MEEEEE!!!”
“I don't think this particular article is of publishable quality.
NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
Honestly, I don’t think that this neofascist has fully processed that others, and not only myself, have been reading his postings. Here is one final comment from me:
Well, you have evaded my questions, read into my postings things I have never said, and, instead, returned with additional insults. I think we shall go back to being nonconversant.
Mark A. Foster. NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
After I made a post in which I highlighted the inseparability between libertarian communism and social justice warfare, I received a more–or–less friendly critique from yet another poster:
No, just no. why not call yourself as ‘progressivist,’ more elegant and the concept of SJW is used as derogatory term. And from my perspective, ‘SJW’s hold mainly centrists views (RADICAL CENTRISTS(tm) without the fun or wisdom). For someone who doesn’t lives in the US or Europe, the ideals of ‘SJW’ people appear somewhat strange and something that only can happend on the ‘first world.’ Also antifa is burgoise trash let it burn and found your own true commie militia asap.
NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 6ᵗʰ, 2018.
Are you a Marxist-Leninist, a syndicalist, or a left populist? Generally, it is people in those categories who object to my views. I have been a communist since 1968, which is considerably longer than most people on NationStates have been alive. I have never been a progressive and never will be. Perhaps you should read up on libertarian communism and recognize that not all communists march to the beat of the same drummer. Antifa, which you call bourgeois trash (noting your misspelling), is an example of libertarian communism. It was actually started by the Autonomist movement, which is a libertarian communist tendency. Point: You dislike libertarian and left communism. So did Lenin. He demonstrated his bigotry, replicated by the bigotry expressed by some people in this thread, when he called us an infantile disorder. Nevertheless, we are not going away.
Mark A. Foster. NationStates Forum. July 5ᵗʰ, 2018. Retrieved on July 5ᵗʰ, 2018.
I oppose no one in particular. My enemy is the capitalist world–system, as an intersectional cartology, and the filth it embodies: classism, racism, ethnicism, sexism, ableism, ageism, nationalism (fervently opposed by Rosa), audism, sizeism, Islamophobia, heterosexism, lesbophobia, mentalism, neurelitism, and so on. If fascists, nazis, white identitarians, or alt–rightists sincerely choose to abdicate their odious ideologies and join the cause of democratic libertarian communism, I would welcome them with open arms. Revolutions are not, or should not be, vendettas. They are fought for the transformation, emancipation, and efflorescence of the human lifeworld. On that course, hate is a stumbling block, not a stepping stone to progress.
If left–wing populists, fascists, or Calvinistic presuppositional apologists wish to debate with you on their terms, flatly refuse. If you consent, they will win. They know their rules much better than you do. Long after you are frustrated, they will be talking up a storm. Insist that they they dialogue with you following your own directions. Lay out a regimen, and never back down. Deftly lead them onto your turf of familiarity. Set out guidelines, and topics for discussion, which work to your advantage. In many cases, an unjustified self–confidence, sometimes even conceit, will seduce the other person into acceding to your demands. At that point, the dispute has, candidly, ended. You have now won the argument before it even got started.
Bear in mind that dictionaries are often quite unhelpful in discussing technical issues. Even the better ones have their share of biases. They can be either subtle or overt. As a case in point, former U.S. President Barack Obama has been a moderately conservative responsive communitarian since he was a law student. However, to many Republicans, he was a communist. To me, only communists or revolutionary socialists, whether Marxists or anarchists, should be referred to as Leftists. However, I have a broader definition of left–wing. Anybody who is even slightly left of center would fall under the last category. To make life interesting, I regularly have discussions with people who have vastly different definitions of terms than my own.
My point is that words are not ontological entities but epistemologies or frameworks of knowledge. Rather than being substantially real, words are merely pragmatic tools or instruments to human facilitate conversations. Those are some of the reasons why it is important and vital that we clearly understand the ways in which individuals are using words. Otherwise, people may think they are communicating with one another, and they literally are not. They may also think they agree or disagree with a certain person, while the reverse is actually true. These scenarios, unfortunately, happen all the time. Experts in interpersonal communication call such miscommunications noise. Finally, cherish the value of offending people with truth.
A clique of over–rated pundits, hybrids of left–wing populism and neoconservatism, have launched a smear campaign against alleged regressive leftists. That deplorable pejorative assails to some degree the fact that many academic communists, myself included, refuse to condone imperialist offensives of so–called liberation in predominantly Muslim countries and are Islamophiles, lovers of Islam. I publicly confess my sinfulness in this matter and ask, albeit sardonically, for absolution from these woefully misguided individuals. This wayward world, I suggest, has no place for the unscrupulous notions streaming from the collective consciousness of such persons. The cause is Western imperialism. Islamism is merely the effect.
Almost all communists, from a broad spectrum of tendencies, despise Western imperialism. Claiming to be a communist while not hating Western imperialism, as the source of global capitalism, is a contradiction in terms. I like most Westerners I know, so that is not my reason for Western scorn. Sadly, some people have read little Marxist theory. They are what I often call word–of–mouth communists. Therefore, assorted people, who purport to be communists, unwittingly argue against communism. It is not their fault, but they are not well grounded in the primary sources. By immersing themselves in classical and modern communist theory, I suspect that many would become more dedicated. Still others might repudiate communism.
Populists, whether to the left or to the right, often oppose diversity as political correctness (PC). Indeed, one finds PC both to the left (prioritizing politeness over honesty and frankness) and to the right (prayer in public schools) of center. The push for diversity is, however, merely a recognition of our common humanity. The only alternative to fully embracing human diversity is social alienation and unending warfare. In this regard, a right–wing populist anti–intellectualism is particularly menacing. Many of its naïve proponents attack minorities, immigration, evolution, humanly–caused climate change, or science in general, on the one hand, and promote a belief in conspiracy theories, especially the illuminutty illuminati, on the other.
Populism should not be confused with what the general populace necessary believes. Rather, populism is a specific belief system which focuses on anti-intellectualism, a distrust of intellectuals, and a repudiation of cultural pluralism. Consequently, populism commonly subsists even in societies where the majority of its members are not themselves populists. The metastasizing of disenchantment with the modern world, academia, and critical thinking stir the flames of populism. A moribund capitalism interfaces with an ignorance on resolving pressing social problems and a shared sense of helplessness. The ultimate solution to the pestilence of populism will be the unqualified destruction of capitalism and the end to all its contradictions.
Brazilian educator Paulo Freire (MP3), 1921–1997, founded critical pedgogy (MP3). The primary objective is conscientização (Portugese [MP3]), concienciación (Spanish [MP3]), conscientisation (French [MP3]), coscientizzazione (Italian [MP3]), or, in English, conscientization (MP3) or class consciousness. The French root, conscience (MP3), can be rendered either as “conscience” or as “consciousness.” Both English translations seem to be indicated by Freire. The broad base of today’s working class, unfortunately, has yet to encounter the emancipation of conscientization. Virtually everyone, except for the power elite of oligarchs or plutocrats, is dominated by false consciousness, not just the working class and disenfranchized.
Should the working class, as a whole, become militarized? I would say, “hardly.” Yet, much of that class—especially where I have lived in Middle America since 1993 as well as my previous seventeen–year residence in the American South—own huge stockpiles of weapons. In New York City, my hometown, such matters were either unknown to me or simply never considered, given the area’s strict gun–control laws. Anecdotally, any regional differences notwithstanding, most people I meet, wherever I have stayed in the U.S., despise communism with a passion. Such persons are certainly not ripe to become revolutionary Marxists. We require, not merely desire, democratic centralism and a democratically controlled vanguard:
The indispensable conditions for the realization of Social Democratic centralism are:
These conditions are not yet fully formed in Russia. The first – a proletarian vanguard, conscious of its class interests and capable of self-direction in political activity – is only now emerging in Russia. All efforts of socialist agitation and organization should aim to hasten the formation of such a vanguard. The second condition can be had only under a regime of political liberty.
With these conclusions, [Vladimir] Lenin [Russian, Влади́мир Ле́нин, Vladímir Lénin; MP3] disagrees violently. He is convinced that all the conditions necessary for the formation of a powerful and centralized party already exist in Russia.
Rosa Luxemburg, “Organizational Questions of the Russian Social Democracy.” Marxists Internet Archive. April 30ᵗʰ, 2013. Retrieved on June 26ᵗʰ, 2018.
The issue of gun control has always been contentious among Marxists, including libertarian communists. My own observation has been, over the years, that most people with a strong opinion on the subject simply surmise that other people who call themselves the same name will automatically agree with them on all issues. As most people assuredly know, from their experiences in other areas, that is rarely true in any matter. On one level, I would like to see all proletarians have guns. Then I think of nuts like Alex Jones—or those who make a good living posing as nuts—and his minions. My resolution, at least for now, is that the issue might be left in the hands of a proletarian vanguard, an institution supported by Rosa Luxemburg.
The proletarian vanguard will, when the time arrives, distinguish between revolutionaries, who should have guns, and renegades. The point of gun ownership, for a libertarian Marxist, is revolution, not, as in the gun culture which misinterprets the U.S. Constitution as an entitlement to guns for their own sake. Why would a communist want their counterrevolutionary enemies, especially the police, to possess guns? Sadly, whenever this issue comes up, people engage in name–calling. Someone called me authoritarian. I may be many things, including a decent person, but an authoritarian is not one of them. Some people seem incapable of discussing any number of issues without lashing out at others. That is clearly not helpful for anyone.
As a libertarian communist, not a left populist, I do not want weaponized enemies. Revolutionary communists alone should carry. I am unaware of any communist revolutionaries committing mass murder in universities. In the U.S., the National Rifle Association (NRA) has successfully promoted an absurdity, that anyone can bring guns onto college campuses. If so, I might, albeit tongue in cheek, counter the NRA’s argument. Average citizens carrying guns have abetted multiple deaths upon deaths. Police officers, for their part, routinely assassinate unarmed Black women and men. As an aside, for some reason, sexism perhaps, the female victims of police brutality are rarely, if ever, headlined by the media. Why should I trust the cops?
To put it another way, what is the point of owning a gun, in a communist revolution, unless one is a revolutionary? Struggling against the capitalist system, as I understand Marxist theory, is the entire purpose of acquiring weapons in any hypothetical communist revolution. Its founders were not adherents of thst asinine U.S. gun culture which has turned mass murder into a ritual. I suspect that they would have regarded this subculture as a form of capitalist disintegration or, perhaps, degeneracy. Nevertheless, any determinations of the sort will, I assume, be made, on the ground, by the democratic proletarian vanguard at the time. No one can possibly know the future. All I am doing, indeed all anyone can do, is to meekly speculate.
٨. Libertarian and Authoritarian Lefts
I am a libertarian communist on 8values, a libertarian socialist with Spekr, and a left–libertarian with The Political Compass (and another quiz). Those three online tests are popular on NationStates. Academically, Luxemburg, as a proto–left communist, is often called a libertarian communist or socialist. The term is variously defined. One is an absolute rejection of the state. Another is a total renunciation of authoritarian governance. Rosa supported a democratic proletarian state, but on a authoritarianism–to–libertarianism scale, she was a libertarian. Other tests have me as a far–left moderate social libertarian, a libertarian Marxist, a Luxemburgist, and an anarchist (seemingly these two tests’ only rubric for left–libertarians).
With all due respect to anarchists, and I warmly consign many of them to the company of my Leftist comrades, libertarian Marxism is not a clone of anarchism or its diverse theories. Rather, any libertarian Marxism worthy of that name must be nonauthoritarian or democratic communism and communism or revolutionary socialism from below. Contrary to the horribly misbegotten Bolshevik (Russian, Большевик [MP3], Bolʹševik) project of the 20ᵗʰ century, which wrecked so many lives, a truly libertarian Marxist communism places power in the hands of the people, the proletariat and socially marginalized in particular. Most notably, libertarian Marxism is soundly constructed upon a diversity of Marxian theories and philosophies.
Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective, of Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl, founded the Libertarian Communist Party. Its doors are open to all member nations of The Confederation of Traditional Socialist Nations. The political party, including its leadership, is based upon radical democracy. Among our party’s stated positions is that, while always empathizing with the poor, a universal basic income, as with social democracy in general, promotes false consciousness and, intentionally or not, throws breadcrumbs to the proletariat and subaltern. Revolution is forestalled. Please join the party, and move your nation to our great Confederation. It is one of the best–managed Leftist regions on NationStates.
For a libertarian communist, there is nothing worse than the devastating blight of moral relativism or situation ethics. Depriving the individual of her or his moral compass makes that person less humane … and less human. A homo sapien, by a mere technicality, lacking even a taint of humanity is no better than an untamed wild animal. Since effective moral codes must be structured around liberation from domination, education not founded upon a critical pedagogy, teaching for emancipation, is simply a waste of time and resources. Virtuousness should be recognized, with one’s eyes wide open, as the innermost substance, or the principled fabric, of the universe. Moral truth is an ontological reality, not an arbitrary social construction.
Libertarian communists tend to focus upon a panoply of dimensions which oppose true liberty in the intersectional capitalist world–system. Such factors include racism, ethnicism, sexism, ageism, ableism, nationalism, and colonialism. Some other variants of communism, by contrast, conceive of capitalism using a rather shallow economism (economic determinism or reductionism). Likewise, communism absent universal liberation becomes an unrevolutionary communism of economism. To further specify my lexicon, libertarian communism could be a species of social justice warfare based on Marxist theory but surely not non–theoretically–based social justice warfare or progressivism. These admittedly tedious distinctions are imperative.
U.S. right–libertarianism is abetted by pro–corporatists from such organizations as: the Foundation for Economic Education, the CATO Institute, The Libertarian Institute, the U.S. Libertarian Party, and a plenitude of others. This type of libertarianism is commonly associated with the retired member of the American House of Representatives Ron Paul and, to a lesser extent, with his son U.S. Senator Rand Paul. Some of these libertarians identify with anarchocapitalism (stateless capitalism) or Ayn Rand’s Objectivism (right–libertarianism mingled with atheism). A second major form of American libertarianism, civil libertarianism, is represented by the progressive legal coalition, the American Civil Liberties Union (the ACLU).
American right–libertarians, frequently perturbed when familiarized with global libertarianism, now discern that their philosophy is an anomaly. Rosa Luxemburg and Roy Bhaskar are properly called libertarian Marxists. They espoused a view of liberty broader than most Bolsheviks. To many libertarian Marxists, sexism, racism, classism, ableism, heterosexism (homophobia), Islamophobia, and other ideologies are all facets of the capitalist world–system. Communism would rid us of these odious ideologies. On the other hand, Bolsheviks tend, with several notable exceptions, to support a pseudo–leftist approach to capitalism which either entirely excludes any consideration of these ideologies or relegates them to a second–rate status.
Right–libertarianism, unlike left–libertarianism, is frequently authoritarian. Former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Ron Paul often waxes on the U.S. Constitution like he was Holy Ghost preaching about the Bible. Admittedly, I lack affection for the American Constitution. By the same token, one can endorse a given document without appealing to a virtually Christian fundamentalist literalism. I have, further, met some right–libertarians who construe the U.S. Constitution as a divinely inspired text—bestowed by the grace and bounty of God. To put it another way, despite outward differences in ideology and tone between right–libertarianism and fascism, the two positions are often much closer than one might imagine.
Libertarian communism has virtually nothing in common with libertarianism in the usual American sense, such as Ron Paul. Rather, a libertarian communist opposes authoritarianism in all its forms. That includes capitalism and its many contradictions: racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism (disablism), ethnicism, and so forth. A libertarian communist would never ever even consider attacking feminists or SJWs. Entertaining the thought of such indecent attacks disgusts me beyond all measure. In a sense, libertarian communism takes American libertarianism and turns it upside down on its head. Instead of capitalism and extreme individualism as the solution to our problems, communism and nonduality become the only answers.
Capitalism is an aggregated structure. Hence, it must be understood and addressed holistically. Islamophobia, for instance, is one of the foremost phantoms currently being utilized to justify capitalist imperialism. Piecemeal remedies for domination which focus exclusively, or nearly so, on the economic or financial dimensions of capitalism are doomed to failure. If libertarian communists genuinely care about establishing a global, human–centered civilization, one focused on the ethical principle of eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, εὐδαιμονία [MP3], eu̓daimonía, “good fortune” or, rather loosely, flourishing), they must consider, relationally, the diverse ways in which capitalism destroys human lives. Anything less is sorely insufficient.
Private property, on the one hand, and individual possessions or personal property, on the other, are entirely distinct. The former is the ownership of the means of production or the capitalists’ privatized materials or tools for producing goods and services. Cellphones, personal computers, tablets, chairs, medication, clocks, and other items of entirely personal utility are excluded. People would be completely at liberty to use and dispose of these items as they wish. Communism is freedom. With the end of privatization—and the sublation, synthesis, negation, or absenting of capitalism—comes the rise of producer, worker, and distributor coöperatives. These firms would be publicly run, owned, and managed, collectively, by the proletariat.
With the elimination of capitalism, social institutions which serve the public should be collectivized. For instance, without exception, all education, beginning with preschool and continuing on to the postgraduate level, should be completely free. Educational institutions would be transformed into coöperatives. They will be owned by the communities or regional entities they serve. In addition, there needs to be an agency, higher than the locality, which would insure that schools are not permitted to teach pure pseudoscience, like creationism, climate-change conspiracies, and, according to U.S. President’s Donald J. Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway in an interview with Chuck Todd on the U.S. network NBC, “alternative facts” (MP3).
One might ask, how can education and other public services be free? Albeit unlikely, in the short term, one taxes the wealthy at exorbitant rates. If these tycoons choose to relocate in a more profitable economic climate, laws would be enacted to prevent them from conducting business with entities in one’s country. Yet, that solution prescribes aspirin to a patient with terminal cancer. Over the long haul, the only feasible remedy is a revolution, of some sort, which would overthrow capitalism and replace it with libertarian communism or libertarian socialism. As members of society act in their highest interests, the question of compulsion becomes irrelevant. Still, given free agency, communism, unlike the revolution, can never be guaranteed.
During the first stage of communism, when remnants of the bourgeois state are still present, a strong central government may be necessary to get the house in order. My hope, however, is that as we gradually progress toward the second phase of communism, the state will give way to a federation or administrative order. At that point, centralization will be superseded by localism. That is not to say that a central government, an administration, will cease to exist. However, it will not operate as a dominating force. Instead, given the greater maturity among members of society, more power will be delegated to the grassroots. The federal government, whatever it might be called, will offer guidance and required coordination between localities.
Most certainly, communist internationalism is not inherently incompatible with localism, national, or regionalism. On the other hand, communist internationalism is certainly inconsistent with racism, ethnicism, castism, tribalism, or nativisim. The point is not to eliminate the power of diverse geographical areas. Rather, the intent is to assure that that the inhabitants of those diverse areas, particularly the proletariat and the subaltern, are united under the banner of proletarian internationalism. In other words, internationalism must take priority over loyalty to all other geographical regions. Sources of division, such as racism, must, however, be thoroughly intolerable to the inhabitants of a libertarian communist world–system.
Karl Marx (MP3) and Friedrich Engels (MP3) used class in a very specific manner. They referred to the relationship of a specified sector of the population with the means of production. That is to say, people are either owners or chattel. Under capitalism, the owners are the capitalists, while the chattel are the workers. Once capitalism is expelled, there will, by definition, be no classes. However, the term class often refers, colloquially, to levels of income. Marx and Engels did not focus on that subject. Neither poverty nor wealth can exist in a communist society. Even so, if people are receiving sufficient earnings to meet their needs, there is no reason why the general populace cannot receive only slight variations in compensation.
Obviously, to be a left– or right–wing authoritarian, one needs to be, respectively, on the Left or the Right. Examples of the latter include Adolf Hitler (MP3) in Nazi Germany and Benito Mussolini (MP3) in Fascist Italy. Although I disagree with the brutal, authoritarian tactics exhibited by Leon Trotsky (Russian, Лео́н Тро́цкий, León Tróckij [MP3]), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Russian, Лев Давидович Бронштейн [MP3], Lev Davidovič Bronštejn), he was, to me, a person of the Left. Yet, no one knows what would have become of the former Soviet Union had Trotsky, not Joseph Stalin (Georgian/Kartuli Ena, იოსებ სტალინი [MP3], Ioseb Stʼalini; or Russian, Иосиф Сталин [MP3], Iosif Stalin), ascended to power.
Stalin, perhaps defensive as a Soviet Georgian, not an ethnic Russian, became a knee–jerk Soviet nationalist. As a faux–left Third Positionist, he discovered that dark domain where Right and Left begin to disintegrate, and he embraced it. Máo-Zé-Dōng or Mao Tse–tung (Mandarin Chinese, 毛泽东 [MP3]), who said that he agreed with Stalin on most matters, was also a Third Positionist. Most of what has passed for left–wing governance, since the era of Stalin and his red fascism, has been Third Positionism. Its primary features have included: an ownership of the means of production by the state, an extreme and a fervent nationalism, a clear preference for hardcore political authoritarianism, and a seemingly boundless militarism.
Stalin made no attempts to broaden the Bolshevik revolution to other countries. In point of fact, shortly after World War II, when, of course, the Soviet Union and the U.S. were allies, Stalin proposed continued rapprochement with the U.S. For whatever political reasons, the U.S. declined his offer. Clearly, Stalin, having just expended considerable blood and treasure in destroying the Third Reich, was looking for peaceful coexistence, not a global proletarian revolution. What true communist leader would pursue an alliance with the U.S., the center of global imperialism? As the seeds of failure were planted in the Bolshevik Revolution from the start, with Stalin watering them, the demise of the U.S.S.R. should have been anticipated.
Two possible exceptions to the overarching dominance of 20ᵗʰ-century Third Positionism, albeit not libertarian, were the Titoism (Serbian/Srpski, Титоизам [MP3], Titoizam) of Maršal J̌osip Broz Tito (Serbian, Маршал Јосип Броз Тито [MP3]) in the former Yugoslavia (Serbian, Југославија [MP3], J̌ugoslaviǰa) and the Castroism (Spanish/Español, Castrismo [MP3]) of Fidel Castro (Spanish [MP3]) in Cuba (Spanish [MP3]). With the rise of the New Left in Europe and the U.S., through a resurrected libertarian communism or socialism, came the last great hope for the libertarian Left. It failed. Beginning just then, in the early 1970s, the world fell into a downward spiral. Time is clearly not on the side of the capitalist world–system.
My issues concerning Maoism (Mandarin Chinese, 毛泽东思想 [MP3], Máozédōng Sīxiǎng; or Cantonese Chinese 毛泽东思想 [MP3], Mou Zaak Dung Si Soeng) are multiple. Mao replaced the proletariat with the peasantry. Since China was, using Marxist criteria, unprepared for communism, Mao questionably rewrote Marx to make China fit. (We cannot evaluate Marx, since his communism has never been implemented.) Mao, as a tyrant, once claimed that Stalin was 70% correct. I could ask regarding the 70%, but that inquiry is needless. Examining Mao’s mode of running Mainland China provides our answer. A much more helpful, yet also perplexing, question concerns the 70%–30% ratio. Why not 100% agreement with Stalin?
The criticisms I have of Lenin follow from Rosa. She was quite friendly with Lenin who visited her at her home. Lenin especially liked Rosa’s cat Mimi. Still, Rosa was intellectually harsh on Lenin’s views. She accused him of authoritarianism. Red Rosa’s thoughtful analysis turned out to be a prophecy or an inner vision. My only response to the accusation she leveled at Lenin is that, since she was assassinated before Stalin took over from Lenin, she was spared the ultimate tragedy. Rosa also strongly argued that Lenin, like Trotsky, had developed a formulaic approach to communism. Rosa was more open-minded than Lenin and a true intellectual. She struggled for hours upon hours to resolve some of the issues with Marx’s texts.
Lenin was much more superficial than Rosa in his treatment of Marxist theory. Prior to assuming leadership of the former Soviet Union, he read Marx, much of the time, entirely at face value. Then, after becoming premier, Lenin began to throw Marx’s ideas, or what little he grasped of them, into the trashcan. By replacing Marx’s communism from below with an authoritarian state capitalism from above, Lenin preordained the demise of so–called 20ᵗʰ–century communism. From the moment that Lenin made his break with Marx’s communism from below, the destinies of Bolshevism, Maoism, and most of the rest were sealed. For Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, the obituary for alleged 20ᵗʰ–century communism was etched into the æthers.
The New Left was a amalgamation. However, we were, with a few exceptions, anti–authoritarian or, in other words, left–libertarian. After the New Left disintegrated, its proponents spun out in various directions. Some struggled, in futility, to keep the New Left alive. Others migrated to the more disgusting parts of the right (hello, David Horowitz). Still others became Maoists, Trotskyists, other Leftists, or even sell–out yuppies (young urban professional people). Attracted to collectivization, I was initially a Titoist, then a Trotskyist in two flavors: Tony Cliff’s international socialism and Max Shachtman’s left–libertarian socialism from below. Although Shachtman worked for libertarian Marxism, it was accomplished through Rosa.
Within The New Left was a left–libertarian assemblage of tendencies. Some Maoists and Trotskyists could also be found in the mix. Personally, I had no particular communist tendency at the time. I really gave such matters no thought at the time. I was both extremely fortunate and miserably cursed to be a part of the 1960s American New Left. I was perhaps fortunate because I can offer a first–hand oral history of my own little lifeworld. Yet, I was cursed because, without any excuse I can muster, we ran out of steam and failed miserably. Then the Indochina War ended. Equivocation does favors for no one. Many New Leftists simply deserted the Left, and, to be painfully honest, it is difficult to blame them following our downfall.
American Autonomism, which includes Antifa in the U.S., was one of the finest fruits of the American New Left. Sadly, Antifa is viscerally hated by many Marxist–Leninists, syndicalists, and others—not to mention, fascists and the virtually synonymous third–positionists. We, those who bore witness to the history of the American New Left, genuinely believed in the immediacy of a genuine revolution, and, further, that we were among the vanguard. How, I frequently ask myself, could we be so horribly mistaken? The opposite of everything we anticipated transpired. The revolutionary optimism of the 1960s gave way to the inward–looking of the nonsensical New Age Movement and the masturbatory psychobabble of the 1970s.
Through the American New Left, most U.S. Marxists in my field of sociology became libertarians, not Stalinists. A minority are Trotskyists. That state of affairs can be historically attributed to the so–called sociology wars of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The bulk of sociology professors, from the birth of American sociology until that time, were conservatives. The students, especially graduate students, were not. Eventually, the professors retired. The majority are long deceased. The graduate students, largely libertarian Marxists, became the newly minted professors. Sociology, which has never been the same, remains the most left–wing field in academia. In my own department, all four full–time sociology professors are Marxists.
Now, how did this situation develop? I remember those days fondly and wistfully. Modern sociology, with its roots in the New Left, was the most popular U.S. major during the 1960s. The New Left was overall a movement of libertarian Marxists and some left anarchists. Autonomist Marxism, a libertarian Marxist current originally from Italy, dominated much of the American New Left. Since contemporary U.S. sociology was born out of the matrix of the New Left, pre–New–Left sociology and post–New–Left sociology are generally incommensurable fields. Many American sociology departments continue to be dominated by left–libertarians. The same holds true for junior professors. Birds of a feather flock together, I suppose.
Outside of sociology departments, Marxists tend to represent various forms of Marxism–Leninism: Stalinism, Maoism, and Trotskyism. In other words, the virtual headquarters of libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism remains in departments of sociology. Unfortunately, although libertarian communism and socialism can be found camped outside of sociology, as in the small cells of the Antifa movement, the libertarians have never experienced the same level of expansion, however minuscule, as the diverse flavors of Marxism–Leninism. That notwithstanding, I am more than pleased to say that the legacy of the U.S. New Left has, to one degree or another, been central of this writer’s world for the majority of his life.
One nation cannot, realistically, disarm unilaterally. Following the complete and unequivocal elimination of national sovereignty, there needs to be an international politburo. Such a communism from below or libertarian socialism—formally operated through the organ of a vibrant revolutionary proletarian democracy—would enforce global offensive demilitarization and promote the collective security of the world community. An attack upon one nation must be treated as an attack upon all. Until such a time when this august body is constituted, our planet will inevitably, as if trapped in a revolving door, move unwittingly from one potential crisis to another. I do not know about others, but that is not the future I want for my progeny.
On NationStates, I have seen, first hand, why the Left has been divided asunder for so many decades. What’s more, the situation could not have been otherwise. Left regroupment has been hindered by the dialectical absence of left refoundation. Without a common metatheory to unite the Left, it will, I regrettably predict, remain embroiled in warring camps. Skirmishes will continue over issues both significant and relatively inconsequential. Yet, the primary controversy remains territoriality. Sometimes, it appears to me, the importance of the disagreement is almost irrelevant. The fight endures only for its own sake. Lacking a critical realist method for working toward libertarian communism, pointless battles become a distraction.
On June 2ⁿᵈ, 2018, I joined a region, Soviet Democracy, under one of my three nations. Initially, I was pleased regarding the positive endorsement policy. You were rewarded for how many other members you endorsed. I piled up nearly twenty, and I felt at home. People were polite. The message board and the Discord chat room were active. Still, the region’s rules adversely mentioned fascists. Today, June 3ʳᵈ, 2018, I discovered that one self–described semi–fascist and another self–described third positionist were contenders for regional president. When I expressed surprise, I was firmly told that none could be barred from holding office in the region based upon ideology. Even the Roadrunner could not have sprinted faster than me.
Concerning the war on ISIL (Arabic, دَوْلَة الإِسْلَامِيَّة فِي العِرَاق والشَام [MP3], Daw°laẗ ʾal–⫰Islāmiyyaẗ fī ʾal-ʿIrāq wa–ʾal–Šām, “The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”) or IS (Arabic, دَوْلَة الإِسْلَامِيَّة [MP3], Daw°laẗ ʾal–⫰Islāmiyyaẗ, “The Islamic State”), if I were a fool, I might propose to hire a company which demolishes buildings to build my next apartment complex. The U.S., the axis of evil, indirectly created ISIL through its imperialist policies. I cannot predict the future. Still, the U.S. is destroying our planet through unchecked capitalism. That cannot be permitted to continue unabated and unchallenged. Instead, problems like the U.S. and ISIL can only be resolved by the final authority of an international communist state or federation.
As a quick aside, the opposite of imperialism is not isolationism. Hardly. Rather, the opposite of imperialism is multilateralism, coöperation, and global governance. Sadly, the U.S. has become so accustomed to demanding that other nations play follow the leader that it has not yet internalized this lesson. I hope it is learned before the world spins out of control. With the rapid pace of global change, and nuclear proliferation, the U.S. may, regrettably, discover that time has, long ago, passed it by. One can always trust that others, in the unforeseen future, may look back upon the tragic errors committed during this period. Perhaps these societies shall benefit from the possible cataclysms produced by arrogance and ethnocentrism.
With the capitalist world–system, and the world writ large, on the brink of dialectical destruction, a libertarian unity of the Left has never been a greater social, political, and economic imperative. We literally have no more time. Unfortunately, during the period in which we are now living, such an international solidarity appears more distant than at any point in my . Even as the peoples of the world continue crying out for answers, many of them can be seen moving in a reactionary direction. Still, if the past got us to where we are presently, can it hold the answers to the future? Perhaps regressing does harbor the solutions, but I truly doubt it. Meanwhile, members of the Left contend over diverse assemblages of trivialities.
To employ a metaphor, what if you suddenly found yourself living in a Mad Max world? When you have whatever you need to survive, not asking questions is easy. However, after the rug is pulled out from under your feet, you have nothing to lose Everything is topsy–turvy. What once seemed impossible is now the stark truth. If fantasy became reality, which, given the operations of the dialectic, might be just around the corner, how would you react? Could you stave off the humans–cum–monsters? What steps will you take to protect your loved ones? You have a multitude of questions but, literally, no answers. For those who survive the coming dialectical catastrophes, many decisions will need to be made with no rulebook to follow.
I staunchly believe in the eventuality of an international communist polity. However, I do not assume that the U.S., Europe, the Antipodes, Israel, and so forth shall remain. Rather, the Earth of the future will, in my view, largely be populated by people from the now far–flung areas of the world. Many white and other peoples, persons who inhabited devastated industrial regions of the globe, may be vaporized or irradiated. Landmasses of the erstwhile Global North might, at some point, be resettled and rebuilt by surviving Black and Brown populations, but I doubt it shall be a priority for centuries―even millennia. Colossal earth changes might be just around the corner. How long it will take to turn that corner is above my pay grade.
I reserved my least gracious comments until now: Myself, I am a strong theist. The U.S. is, in my view, guided by a government—its executive, its legislature, and, arguably, its Supreme Court, too—dominated by corrupt politicians and jurists. As types of Satan (Arabic, شَيْطَان [MP3], Šayṭān) or the Devil (Arabic, الإِبْلِيسُ [MP3], ʾal–⫰Ib°līsu) and his demons (Arabic, شَيَاطِين [MP3], šayāṭīn; جِنّ [MP3], ǧinn; or عَفَارِيت [MP3], ʿafārīt), the leaders and their proponents are going to hell. Though not a Christian, Muslim, or Judaist, I wish to be read at face value. What could occur in the wake of this plight? The U.S., and much of the world with it, will soon be annihilated. Then can the centuries–long libertarian proletarian revolution be initiated.
٩. Palestine and Israel in Turmoil
Concerning nationalism, a sovereign Israel (Hebrew, יִשְׂרָאֵל [MP3], Yiśərāʾēl), like a sovereign anywhere, ought not exist. Nationalism is a social problem. All countries must consolidate as an international proletarian democracy. The majority of Jewish Zionists I have known over the years are nationalists and pro–colonialists, not Jewish supremacists. That distinction goes largely to Christian Zionists. Geopolitics, not religion, is the main factor in colonialism, and most Jews firmly reject the chosen people narrative. Practically, though not legally, American Zionists are dual nationals. Americanism—Pax Americana and the Monroe Doctrine—and Zionism are, taken together, the two most oppressive nationalisms in today’s world.
In supporting Israel, and in relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv (Hebrew, תֵּל אָבִיב [MP3], Tēl ʾĀḇiyḇ) to Jerusalem (Hebrew, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם [MP3], Yərūšālạyim), is Trump a religious supremacist? Certainly not. Indeed, if Trump has any religion at all, it is self–worship. One might contend that he has been influenced, at least to an extent, by his son–in–law Jared Kushner, who was born into an Orthodox Jewish family, and by Trump’s daughter Ivanka. She converted to Orthodox Judaism in order to become Kushner’s wife. However, Trump is primarily interested in enhancing his power and in receiving accolades. He is neither a Christian nor Christian Zionist. The man is not even functioning well in his job, but that is an unrelated issue.
Israel offers us a stark example of how failing a severe test, in this case the Holocaust, can lead to hatred without a conscience or a sense of justice. Upon reflection, evil exists, to one degree or another, in all of us. Abominations, globally, are plentiful, too vast to name. As we observe in each day’s news, the world is dominated by considerable malice. Perfect people can be found only in imaginative works of fiction. However, it can sometimes be valuable to study entities who have allowed their evil inclinations dominate their better angels. In a sense, when we do so, we are staring at a looking–glass. More accurately, we are gazing into a crooked mirror. It reveals to us what we can all become, each one of us, if caution is thrown to the wind.
Still, Jews in Israel need not return to the lands of their forebears—contradicting the very spirit of communist internationalism. People should be free to reside anywhere. Criminals and terrorists can be arrested. Immigration, passports, and visas must be tossed into the dustbin of history. They are not the causal mechanisms of unity or copresence but of disunity or demireality. Yet, remaking the world does not wipe away past misdeeds. Jews stole Palestine (Arabic, فِلَسْطِين [MP3], Filas°ṭīn) and committed acts of terrorism. For a people who survived the Holocaust, such behavior is baffling. Now, Israel unjustly keeps Palestinians (Arabic, فِلَسْطِينِيُّونَ [MP3], Filas°ṭīniyyūna) in prison cities reminiscent of the Jews held in Nazi death camps.
A doubtful solution to these problems is the two–state solution. My proviso: This two–state solution must occur in a global communist federation. Although I would prefer a one–state solution, a two–state solution will do. Conservative Israeli (Hebrew, יִשְׂרָאֵלִי [MP3], Yiśərāʾēliy) politicians play a little game anytime this formidable issue arises. As a tactic for obstructing it, they feign support. Basically, they are making a poker–face or bluffing. Although these politicians continue to oppose all policies which could restrict Israel’s perpetual hegemony in the region, they hoax as a ploy to delay. When nations and human rights groups call for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, these hypocritical politicians cry antisemitism!
١٠. Collective’s National Anthem
National anthems can integrate a broad spectrum of a population from various backgrounds, for the purpose of comradery, and provide them with a common identity. Yet, in the case of communist internationalism, national anthems must serve a much greater purpose. The point of such anthems is not to encourage a spirit of nationalism, or even a more subdued patriotism, but to facilitate a mutual commitment to firmly opposing national chauvinisms. Such anthems should strive to bring together all the peoples of the world under a common flag of communism. Therefore, Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective and its members desire to serve as a paragon for global libertarian communism.
The majestic national anthem of ʾal–Ǧamāʿiyyaẗ (Arabic, الجَمَاعِيَّة [MP3], “the Collective”) and its ṭarīqaẗ, while not our original composition, is beautifully and stirringly vocalized by Muhammad Iqbal Bahu (Urdu, مُحَمَّدَ اِقْبَالَ بَاهُو [MP3], Muḥammada ʾIq°bāla Bāhū):
Bāhuwiyyaẗ (Arabic, بَاهُوِيَّة [MP3])
١١. Collective’s Bird and Animal
The state bird of Punjab, India, a species of large hawk, is called the baaz (Hindi, बाज़ [MP3], bāza; or Urdu, بَازَ [MP3], bāza) or northern goshawk (Guramukhi Punjabi, ਉੱਤਰੀ ਗੋਸ਼ਾਕ [MP3], utarī gōśāka; or Shahmukhi Punjabi, اُتَرِی گُوشَاکَ [MP3], ʾutarí gūšāḱa). The blackbuck (Hindi, काला हिरन [MP3], kālā hirana; Shahmukhi Punjabi, کَالَا ہِرَنَا [MP3], ḱālā hiranā; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਕਾਲਾ ਹਿਰਣਾ [MP3], kālā hiraṇā; or Urdu, بْلَیْکَ بُکْسَ [MP3], b°laý°ḱa buḱ°sa) or Indian antelope (Shahmukhi Punjabi, بْھَارَتِی ایْنِیلُوپَ, b°hāratí ʾaý°nílūpa [MP3]; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਭਾਰਤੀ ਐਨੀਲੋਪ, bhāratī ainīlōpa [MP3]; Hindi, भारतीय एंटीलोप [MP3], Bhāratīya eṃṭīlopa; or Urdu, ہِنْدُوسْتَانِی بَارَه سِنْگَا [MP3], Hin°dūs°tāní bārah sin°gā) is the state animal.
Here are two photographs:
However, the provincial bird of Bāhū’s (AS) region of Punjab, in modern Pakistan, is the peacock (Urdu and Shahmukhi Punjabi, مُورَ [MP3], mūra; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਮੋਰ [MP3], mōra; and Hindi, मोर [MP3], mora). The provincial animal is the urial (Urdu, پُنْجَابِی اُڑِیَالَ [MP3], Pun°ǧābí ʾuṛiýāla; Shahmukhi Punjabi, پَنْجَابِی اُرِیئَِلَ [MP3], Pan°ǧābí ʾurī⫯yiala; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਉਰੀਅਲ [MP3], Pajābī urīꞌala; and Hindi, पंजाबी यूरीअल [MP3], Paṃjābī Yūrīala, “Punjabi urial”). This subspecies of wild sheep is also known as the arkars and the shapo. The peacock and the urial have been formally proclaimed, respectively, as the Collective’s official bird and animal:
١٢. Collective’s Currency
The rupee ([MP3] originally Persian, رُوپِیِه [MP3], rūpiýih; Urdu, رُوپِیَہ [MP3], rūpiýah; Hindi, रुपीया [MP3], rupīyā; Arabic, رُوبِيَّة [MP3], rūbiyyaẗ; Guramukhi Punjabi, ਰੁਪਏ [MP3], rupaꞌē; Shahmukhi Punjabi, رُپَأَے [MP3], rupa⫯ē; Sindhi, رُوپِيَا [MP3], rūpiyā; Pashto, رُوپۍ [MP3], rupəi; Hebrew, רוּפִּי [MP3], rūpiy; Tajik, рупия [MP3], rupija; or Amharic, ሩፒ [MP3], rupi, “silver”) is the Collective’s medium of exchange. This legal tender, which has remained the official monetary standard in India to this day, first became the regional currency for much of South Asia, including the Punjab, in the 16ᵗʰ century. These side–by–side photographs illustrate some of the first rupees coined in that century:
١٣. Collective’s Capital City
Garh Maharaja (Urdu or Shahmukhi Punjabi, گَڑْھَ مَہَارَاجَا [MP3], Gaṛ°ha Mahārāǧā; Hindi, गढ़ महाराजा [MP3], Gaṛha Mahārājā; or Guramukhi Punjabi, ਗੜ੍ਹ ਮਹਾਰਾਜਾ [MP3], Gaṛha Mahārājā, “Fort of the Great King”) is a municipality belonging to Pakistan’s Punjab. That blessed city serves as the capital of Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of The Multiversal Communist Collective. Most importantly, however, the building which houses the shrine and mausoleum of Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (AS) is located in Garh Maharaja:
١٤. Some Concluding Comments
In lieu of an ordinary conclusion, other appellations which, to varying degrees, possess similar connotations to Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl’s honorific, píra ū mur°šida, include:
Ssalāmu ʿalay°kum, Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl (Heb. 🙳 Yid., מֹשֶׁה אַהֲרֹן הַלֵוִי בֶּן הֶערְשֶׁעל), píra ū mur°šida.
Communist Social Fiction, Bhaskarian critical realism, Antifa Luxemburgism, Dialectical metaRealism,
🙵 The MarkFoster.NETwork. Ṭarīqaẗ ʾal–Bāhuwiyyaẗ of Ḥaḍ°rat Sul°ṭān Bāhū (Perso–Arabic, حَضْرَت سُلْطَان بَاهُو).
A ḏik°r (Arabic, ذِكْر, remembrance): Yā ʾAllꞌahu, wa–yā Muḥammad, wa–yā Bāhū! (Arabic, يَا اللّهُ، وَيَا مُحَمَّد، وَيَا بَاهُو!).
This site has been published through The MarkFoster.NETwork™.
Copyright © 2017– Mark A. Foster, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
Foster adores both ⫰Is°lām ⅋ Taṣawwuf, but he follows neither one.
Mōšẹh ʾẠhărōn hạ-Lēwiy bẹn Hẹʿrəšẹʿl is Foster’s communist name.