The War Against Subjectivity
You cannot find sympathetic texts about Foucault and the Iranian Revolution on the internet from within the United States….
“Foucault’s rejection of structuralism and Marxism can be explained as a consequence of his own approach which posits a radical ontology whereby the conception of the totality or whole is reconfigured as an always open, relatively borderless system of infinite interconnections, possibilities and developments. His rejection of Hegelianism, as well as of other enlightenment philosophies, can be understood at one level as a direct response to his rejection of the mechanical atomist, and organicist epistemological world views, based upon a Newtonian conception of a closed universe operating upon the basis of a small number of invariable and universal laws, by which all could be predicted and explained. The idea of a fully determined, closed universe is replaced; and in a way parallel to complexity theories, Foucault’s own approach emphasises notions such as self-organisation and dissipative structures; time as an irreversible, existential dimension; a world of finite resources but with infinite possibilities for articulation, or re-investment; and characterized by the principles of openness, indeterminism, unpredictability, and uncertainty.”
Mark Olsen – Foucault as Complexity Theorist: Overcoming the problems of classical philosophical analysis
“Multiculturalism has made UK a ‘soft touch’ for jihadists.” – A top British defense think tank.
“We are seeing the first, the very first, early signs of a police state in this country. It does not have to go that way if people stand up to it. But the torture scandal cannot be dealt with separately from the impending emergence of a police state. The distortions of the corporate-media cannot be analyzed separately from that emergence.”
– Lila Rajiva; The Language of Empire,An Interview with Lila Rajiva by Seth Sandronsky
Cultural pluralism, multiculturalism – forms of social subjectivity – have been a major target of the new US intelligence programs developed post 9/11. We have to admit this reality: a plethora of pro-universalism anti-postmodern theory written by people you have never heard of has flooded the internet, arriving from total oblivion.
Philosopher Michel Foucault played a pivotal role in the dismantling of universalism in the 1960s and 1970s as a key influence to the world’s increased acceptance of the presumed margins of society. His role in the Iranian Revolution of 1979 was one of the most important steps towards constructing a pluralistic concept of the world.
You cannot find sympathetic texts about Foucault and the Iranian Revolution on the internet from within the United States. You can only find an obscure book written in 2005 called “Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism”. Despite the fact that this book contains those keywords in its title, an internet search should produce a random body of results. 99 percent of links in a search for Foucault and the Iranian Revolution lead to this ultra right wing book. A book by unheard of authors strangely dominates the US internet.
This book that seems to block the sky, a systematic pastiche of old critiques of Foucault, promotes several blatant confusions. One blatant distortion, the foundation in the criticism of Foucault and his support of the Iranian revolution, draws a line of responsibility between present day Iran and the hopeful Iran of 1979. There is no connection between the current state in Iran and the revolution of 1979. The revolution was a localized coupe to dispose the western backed leader at the time. Foucault saw this as a gesture of ultimate universal colonial power beaten by the oppressed minority. The west did not lose its desire to install a leader in Iran. Ruhollah Khomeini was waiting in exile. After the revolution the west inserted him into power. The stategy of the United States centered on the projection that Khomeini’s ideology – citizens need a universal, singular, religious moral order imposed upon them – would be a good way to keep peace in the region. Khomeini’s ideology was completely contrary to the revolution and its ideals supported by Foucault. In the early 1980s the west began funding Khomeini’s Iran with weapons, a corruption marking the final destruction of the ideals of the revolution. The revolution had failed, but for a moment it freed Iran from a western coupe. What should have been a lesson for the west became another example of blind intervention.
Another confusion over Foucault’s ideas surrounding the Iranian Revolution can be traced to two totally opposite meanings of the word “multiculturalism”. For a government policy the word implies the opposite of the “multicultural” ideas that flow from Foucault’s thought. The definition of multiculturalism altered by western governments creates mono-culture, but the philosophical meaning of the word is simply acceptance of difference and rejection of a mono-culture. This split was an early adoption by conservative policy makers who adopted the dialogue of postmodern thought without adopting its actual world view. This adoption appears in the late 1970s when postmodern theory was at its height and was radically altering the colonial mechanics of western thought. This mis-identification leads to the dissolution of agreement among those who object to the present day dream of a Neo-con empire.
Neo-con theorist Paul Wolfowitz was himself a proponent of a sort of Kennedy-esque universalism as a new approach to U.S. foreign policy that is often mis-identified as synonymous with philosophical multiculturalism. Many of Wolfowitz’s ideas are contained in his text for the Bush Doctrine and he understood, the Bush administration understood, the importance of weakening postmodern theory or theory’s advocating a pluralistic world.
An overhaul of the internet, a primary source of research, seems to have re-written every aspect of postmodern theory by eliminating most positive references to pluralism or multiculturalism or the base importance of personal subjectivity itself.
We could propose this eradication was a conspiracy of conservative philosophy publishers, I guess; or the act of a sort of subversive underground fascist group; but an internet search for Foucault and his views on the Iranian Revolution produces such a suspiciously clean result it suggests a higher authority with the dominating ability more realistically ascribed to one of the U.S. government’s new 2,000 intelligence agencies run by private corporations with specific political agendas steeped in Neo-con ideology and capitalist expansion.
The point of our social breakdown, which became an adult on September 11th 2001, is a dramatic lack of recognition of western civilization’s inability to address its own oppression of cultures across the world (it’s love affair with universalism). Even open minded political hearts now seem willing to allow violations of human rights to ‘protect’ western colonialism, willing to stand by while Europe seeks fascist purity against Islamic influence and willing to abandon progressive thought for fear of the label “extremist”.
By the time postmodern theory had pin-pointed the ills of modernist universalism, in effect renaming it ‘colonialism’, this colonialism had already become so ingrained in our concept of ‘liberal’ or ‘open minded’ that postmodern theory could do little to stop this ideology of oppression.
In the end, if the end is the present tense, colonialism itself has been reduced to a ‘corporate ethos’, far from thought, floating. Western civilization is now nothing more than the aggressive expansion of Starbucks.