My New Book: The Religious Right and the Talibanization of America

TalibanizationI just wanted to take a few moments to share the news about my forthcoming book, The Religious Right and the Talibanization of America (Palgrave, 2016).

This is a really short monograph written both for academic and popular audiences. I thought of writing the this book when, a few years ago, as I started noticing certain similarities between the rhetorics employed by the Taliban and the ultra-Christians in the United States. This line of inquiry encouraged me to look into the ideological scaffoldings of both these groups and to see as to what kind of world would we be in if either of these two groups succeeds in implementing their vision. To my surprise, I learned that in either case the world that they would create would be similar in its exclusionary practices and in its destructive nature for all those not associated with the in-group.

The book is organized in three simple chapters: Chapter one discusses the Taliban; chapter two explains the Ultra-Christian and the libertarian right. In chapter three I discuss the kind of world both these groups would end up creating if they win the chance of implementing their vision.

I believe this book could be useful to students, scholars,a nd policymakers. So, if you like the general idea, please help me promote this book and share the news about the books with your friends and colleagues.

Back Cover Description of the book:

This highly original book suggests that the practices of Taliban and the American far right, two very significant and poorly understood groups, share common features. This commonality can be found in the philosophical basis of their ideological beliefs, in their comparative worldviews, and in their political practices.  As Raja argues, the Taliban are much less the product of an irrational fundamentalism, and the radical right in America is much more the result of such a mindset, than Americans recognize.  After providing a detailed explanation of his theoretical concepts and specialized vocabulary, the author develops a discussion of the subject in this brief but penetrating book.  This is a book that should attract a wide readership among both academics and the general public.

The books will be available to purchase on march 25th and can be preordered on Amazon.


The Underground Economy of Talibanization in Pakistan

talibanFor quite some time now, I have been writing about the rise of Taliban within the larger context of globalization{{1}} [[1]]”Neoliberal Dispositif and the Rise of Fundamentalism: The Case of Pakistan.Journal of International and Global Studies, Vol. 3 (1) 2011: 21-31[[1]]. I, however, never meant it to be an apology for the actions of Taliban: In my opinion what Taliban do to the children and women and soldiers of Pakistan is absolutely unforgivable and that is why I always condemn them in strongest possible terms. But I have always insisted that the rise of Taliban is ultimately connected, in the last instance, to the conditions unleashed by neoliberal capital.

During my conversations with my friends, some of them former commanders who served in FATA, I have now learned that my philosophical suspicions were true. I have also always insisted that the Taliban are not outside of the gambit of neoliberal capital, but, rather, a product of it. It is now evident to me that Taliban are also a commodity: a commodity for purchase as private militias to safeguard the interests of the powers that be.

For instance, the Americans “own” their own Taliban fighters to protect the long line of communication from Karachi to Khyber pass. Similarly, the Chines hire their own Taliban militias to protect their contractual projects in Pakistan. the list goes on: there are Indian, Iranian, and, of course, Pakistani Taliban. sometimes, I learned, it is hard to guess which group belongs to whom as the Taliban, in the true entrepreneurial spirit of mercenaries, often switch sides to work for the highest bidder{{2}}[[2]]In a way this practice is no different from the hiring of private militias by western corporations in South America as well as Africa[[2]].

So to posit Talibanization of Pakistan simply in religious terms is no longer sustainable: Taliban are intricately connected to the privatization of violence in Pakistan. They are part of the logic of neoliberal capital, and the very powers that cry foul about every Pakistani action are deeply implicated in the process of creating more and more Taliban. In fact, according to some of my former colleagues, anyone can work for a particular Taliban group just as long as they grow a beard and let their hair grow.

So, it is sad to say that the creation of Taliban is also determined, in the last instance, by the economics. There is some food for thought here and, of course, we must also read our Marx more carefully.