Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vijay Prashad: Multiculturism vs. Polyculturism.

An very interesting interview with a writer with a unique perspective:

Interview with Vijay Prashad

A few passages of interest from a Micronational Anarchist point of view:

Seminary Co-op: Does the concept of polyculturalism dilute appeals to "authenticity?" What are some of the dangers for the quest towards culturalauthenticity?

Vijay Prashad: Polyculturalism, taken seriously, obliterates authenticity. The pose of authenticity offers the ruling elites of a "race" to attain demographic power vis-à-vis other "races," to argue that they represent a group of people and because of "race" can speak for them. Authenticity allows race to top all other social fractures, and thereby give entrenched elites of color the power to be representative when all they are is compradors. Fanon's diatribe on the "pitfalls of national consciousness" is an early smash at the idea of authenticity. By the way, the argument about the authentic (whose content is often colonial ethnology) allows white supremacy to adjudge who is a real native, to say that the rebellious Asian, for example, is doing a disservice to Asian culture.

Seminary Co-op: Can polyculturalism resist the seemingly very popular appeals to [state] nationalism?

Vijay Prashad: We'll have to see, won't we? This is one tough fight, but my own sense is that there are too many folk who are fed up with bourgeois nationalism and want to assert a different kind of sovereignty, one that is against the depredations of multinational capitalism but not then tied to national cultural cruelty.

Prashad also talks about popular movements for economic trade and exchange between Africa and Asia which bypass the multinational corporate system-- the basis of a genuine global free market.

Some of the text is tiny, so you may have to use a magnifier utility.

1 comment:

TGGP said...

I was just browsing the linked interview, and he seems to have a caricatured vision of the "clash of civilizations". I discussed some mistaken views of Huntington's book here. On Naomi Klein's "No Logo", there is an old/establishment left critique called "The Rebel Sell" whose analysis I find sensible even if I don't embrace its top-down prescriptions.