>För den svenska definitionen av Kulturell rasism klicka här: Att definiera Kulturrasism
Put it generally, those who hate the Arabs or the African immigrants do not hate them much for the religion they profess or the colour of their skin, but rather because they are believed to represent the most poor segments of society. Because they live in the unfashionable “gethos” they are assigned by the force of their poverty. Because they represent a social misery we are ashame of, that rather would prefer to ignore, or has been repressed at consciousness.
.Refugees returning to Warland. Detail. De Noli 2004
Society, as well as the individuals that compose it, also has a consciousness. And this social consciousness is the ideological constellation of prevalent culture, prevalent moral, prevalent religious beliefs and prevalent ideology in the juridical system. In each of them we will find the spirit and profit of the rich but the absence of the oppressed and the poor.
Behind pseudo argumentations of foreign-status versus “the real meaning in being Swedish” and different cultural related issues (as “manners”, dress-code and others of the like) there are real determinant at stake which have not been yet clearly identified, possibly not even by the so called “ethnic-racists” or the “cultural-racists” their selves.
With this said, I do not dispute that the followers of the different emerging agrupations within the Swedish far-right know and have clear what changes they would like society to implement on behalf of their ideology. They also have their argumentation, lousy or not, on why they want those changes. What I say is that is not clear why they want those changes. Again, I am not referring to the reasons or arguments given for the proposed changes. My query refers instead partly to the motivational and ideological issues at individual level, and partly to the social-psychological factors underneath the apparently growing cultural racism in Sweden.
In other words one relevant issue in this debate it would be to inquire into the psychological mechanisms moving these individuals, and moving “the silent majority” following them inside and outside the established political system, parties, etc, to adopt these clearly irrational or logical-incongruent positions. They might have been presented in the media as naiv, armed with unopular or ridiculous propositions and looking foolish. But they are for that part “convinced fools” and in the path of convincing others.
One main contention in my theses about this kind of cross-cultural conflict, now represented in the political agenda due to the re-emergency in Sweden of the racist far-right, is that one of the social-psychological mechanisms may be that one of Alienation. Alienation in the psychological level of men leads to alienated social behaviour and then to ideological conceptions that would intellectualy legitimate it. In its turn, what is it alienated is in the first place are the ideological premises prevalent in the society, ruling in a given society in a given period.
Yet, there may be other psychosocial mechanisms behind processes considered as political. This is the case of the conceptions around “trends”, “popular”, or “fashion” in political views. This aspect was also demonstrated in the illustration presented in mi precedent post (which actually happened in reality precisely as related). This happens when “common people” in a given society by first attributing superior economic values to another society they perceive as “stronger” (the model), ends by copycat or imitate social behaviours and cultural behaviours they identify as characteristics of the model society.
In fact the above is also a “cultural” process subjected to manipulation. They, the commons, at the end consume the culture and the values decided by the establishment according to their own strategies of international alliances in benefit of their political (and economic) interest. This would entail the cooperation in economic, military, geopolitical, and other levels. In concrete, the “ideologization” task is implemented by the machinery appointed by establishment in the cultural power. That is why they are there for.
One clear illustration is given by the current attitudes of “the public” against immigrants of Arab origin and Muslims. We cover this as a religious, or cultural, or political or whatever matter, inclusive “a matter of taste”. In fact those who regard them as undesirable do so because they have been culturally educated in the last twenty years or so (in fact, since the first oil-motivated USA invasion in Irk, early nineties) to associate these people with terrorism, jihad, “anti Western” militant behaviour, or whatever undesirable attribute. The political points that nowadays the emergent far-right is scoring in Sweden are a consequence of this psychosocial manipulation with the public at large resulted of the political and military alliances between the Swedish establishment and NATO.
Is in this same context of NATO’s foes and allies where the allegations of “anti sionist” behaviours in Sweden – in the aftermath of an anti Israel demonstration in Malmo – it should be analysed. The debate has been prompted by the pro Israel lobby in Sweden and has been commented in the Swedish bloggosphere.
It can sound farfetched that issues of “pure culture” or our “own ideas” can be traced to such mechanical issues of economic and political interests of elites of power at macro level, at international level. Yet it is the truth, the covered truth.
Further, what is fashionable, what is prevalent popular, even what is art, etc, has cultural anthropology already explained in terms of socioeconomic determinants related to our conceptions or ideations (ideations as in föreställlningar, not the same than ideology) about power, supremacy, social leadership, etc.
This can very well explain the non-critical support among the population and its representatives to strategically political initiatives – from the current and past government – as the one to dissemble Sweden’s traditional foreign policy (neutrality and self determination) to assist NATO and “big power” in wars of occupation abroad. ..
Cultural racism, immigrants as social class, and class society
A third aspect I intend to introduce in this debate is the consideration anew of the criteria of social class, moral and social values related to the class society, as paramount in explaining the phenomenon under debate: the emergent cultural racism in the Swedish society.
Pseudo notions as ethnicity being the main explanation for this are as I said, not tenable. I mean, plainly, those who hate the Arabs or Africans do not hate them much for they religion or their skin, but because they are believed to represent the poor segments of society. They represent the reality which we would rather repress at conscious level. Society, as well as the individuals that compose it, also has a conscious. It is the ideological constellation of prevalent culture, prevalent moral, prevalent religious believers and prevalent ideology in the juridical system.
And it is easy hypothesize associations – and score populistic points on that base – between poverty and criminality, as it is stated they share the same habitat, the same commune, or the same school.
Sweden IS a class society. Economically, socially, and culturally. No doubt about this. Immigrants are defined in one of that class system. The poor, the working class in the heaviest segments of labour, the miserable. In a class society – exactly like in the cast system of the old Brahmanism India times – no one would regard as desirable, or even permissible in many sectors, to elevate these miserable, “uncultivated”, the plebe in another words, to the category of full adequate citizens. No matter how good they would behave. The door remains closed. Period.
To be continued
Marcello Ferrada-Noli, 11/3 2009