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A global public sphere?


Commentary

A global public sphere?

Susan Buck-Morss

When the multitude ceases to fear, it becomes fearful.

Benedict Spinoza* This is the text of a talk to the Radical Philosophy Conference, Look No Hands! Political Forms of Global Modernity, Birkbeck College, London, 27 October 2001.

September 11 has ruptured irrevocably the context in which we as intellectuals speak. The acts of terror on that day were no invasion from the outside by a barbaric evil ʻotherʼ but, rather, produced fully within a coeval and common world. We are witnessing the mutation of a new global body politic, and if we are to have any potency as part of its thinking organ, it will be in discourses that refuse to separate academic life from political life, and that inform not just national opinion but a global public debate.

To think and write for a global public sphere is not an easy task. I do not have great confidence that this talk* will succeed. I have no political choice but to try, nonetheless, as the commitment to a diverse, multi-centred human society is what my work, and what much of our work, has been about for the past several decades, in universities that are now becoming decisively, and quite hopefully, global communities of scholars. The global public sphere in a broader sense, however, is not yet a ʻcommunityʼ, or even a coherently navigable discursive terrain. To address it is thus a performative act. It aims to bring about that which it presumes.

The notion of the ʻglobalʼ itself circulates globally today, describing and generating discourses of social change. Many, including myself, have questioned its newness, pointing to the five hundred years of European expansion that produced a world economy and world political domination. But the global terrain that is emerging out of September 11 and its aftermath is, arguably, of a different order.

Historical rupture is a jagged process. There has not been a clean break with the past; there never is. The end of the Cold War, the restructuring of transnational capital, the electronic media revolution – these markers of transition have been with us for decades. We have charted their development with concepts like post-modern, post-colonial, post-socialist, post-Marxist. But September 11 brings the realization that in using these terms our ʻglobal communityʼ has not gone far enough. The hegemonic signifiers of Western capitalism, Enlightenment modernity and national sovereignty were kept in place. Radical criticism attacked their Eurocentricity without denying it.

It appears now that events have outrun us, captured in a videotaped image of destructive fury that left us speechless. What disappeared on September 11 was the apparent invulnerability, not only of US territory, but of US and, indeed, Western hegemony. A new, global struggle for hegemony has begun. But let us not be content just to describe this process, as if the only actors who counted were military men, terrorists and counter-terrorist forces. In fact, their use of force indicates their lack of hegemony, not its guarantee. It is, ultimately, the global public that will determine hegemonic power – a public newly forming, for whom the old economic and political narratives – even critical ones – are inadequate interpretive tools.

The staging of violence as a global spectacle separates September 11 from previous acts of terror. The dialectic of power, its inherent vulnerability, was itself the message.

This distinguishes it decisively from radical social movements that aim to accomplish specific social and political goals. The Chiapas resistance movement, which was violent but minimally so, used global channels in order to garner wide support from a public inside and outside of Mexico, in order to bring pressure to bear on the Mexican state to change specific policies. It was and continues to be a radical, cosmopolitan articulation that translates indigenous cultural experience into hegemonic discourses of criticism as the precondition for the intelligibility of its demands. The goal has been to communicate within the existing codes of oppositional struggle. A poet, Commandante Marcos, speaks in its name in inclusive, human terms against diverse manifestations of oppression; solidarity for this local struggle is imagined in global terms.

In contrast, the destruction of September 11 was a mute act. The attackers perished without making demands. They left no note behind, only the moving, deadly image, which the cameras of those who were attacked themselves supplied, as they did the fuel-loaded, civilian planes that mutated suddenly into self-annihilating weapons.

This mute act was played and replayed before a global audience – a message, sent by satellite to the multitude – a diversity of peoples who, witnessing the same cinematic time-image, the same movement-image, exploded into enemy camps.

Or did they? Let us not move too quickly to the polarized world in which we, weeks later, find ourselves. Was not the immediate response far more unanimous, and at the same time more complicated? Did the new global public sphere not overwhelmingly express sadness and solidarity with the victims? Were not the first responses from US citizens precisely to oppose counterattacks that would only increase human suffering?

Is not the adequate word for the global reception rather ʻimplosionʼ, as a global terrain means by definition that there is no outside, at the same time that there is, tragically, no cohesion among the multitude who inhabit it. All the forces of global society, however radically incompatible, are immanent within this overdetermined, indivisible terrain. [1]

Communicative acts demand a code, we are told. But only one? The force of these images was that they entered simultaneously multiple fields of communication within the global public sphere, with highly varied meanings, from terror to triumph. It was not only, or even primarily, to Americans that the act was addressed. Indeed, to Americans the aim was less to communicate than to explode understanding, a weapon of sabotage with devastating effects because, like an email virus, to receive the communication had the consequence of destroying the code. For Americans to open ourselves to this message as meaningful necessitated conscious acceptance of realities – 5 per cent of the Iraqi population destroyed by US attacks and the ongoing embargo; persistent US opportunism in its Middle East foreign policy; double standards of political, economic and human rights; support to Israel despite its colonialist oppression of Palestine – realities that have been in front of our eyes and ears for decades, but that the code of American self-understanding with its master signifier of innocence had effectively blocked out as meaningless. The repeated question after September 11, ʻWhy do they hate us?ʼ did not want an answer. More than a rhetorical question, it was a ritual act: to insist on its unanswerability was a magical attempt to ward off this lethal attack against an American ʻinnocenceʼ that never did exist.

September 11 ripped a hole in the American psyche. But it was possible, even in the desolation, to see an opening to a different collective sense of self, the hope of leaving the counterfeit innocence of America behind. New York City is on American soil, but it belongs to the world, not (only) as a node in a network of global cities, but as a place to work and live. An extreme diversity of national, ethnic and religious communities calls it home. Imperfect, conflicted, a place of struggle, New York is a really existing, global public sphere in the most concrete and, currently, most optimistic sense. And when the rescue effort immediately began, these urban dwellers acted first together without thinking separate agendas, performing heroically in the name of the diverse multitude of New Yorkers. They give me courage to write.

Complex meaning, double vision

On September 11 the stabilizing structures of the global society that for better or worse keep the global order going proved themselves vulnerable in the highest degree. The attack exposed the fact that global capitalism is inadequately imagined as deterritorialized. Just as ʻthe stateʼ would reveal itself during the anthrax incident to consist of postal workers walking their delivery routes, so ʻcapitalʼ showed itself after September 11 as working people facing job lay-offs without a union for support. The World Trade Center towers were a symbol; but they were also a human and material reality, and the photographically mediated experience of the attack was of both the symbol and the real, antagonistically superimposed.

ʻPhotography is a theological technologyʼ, Peter Osborne tells us, because it is indexical, a trace marking the intelligibility of the material world. [2] This trace is the surplus that escapes even multiple meanings of the intentional message, in this case sent by the terrorists. It is ʻtheologicalʼ precisely not in the fundamentalist sense. The latter appeals to the text, whether Bible or Qurʼan, to interpret the world as fateful intention.

To do so is to exclude photographyʼs material trace, the meaning of which surpasses the predetermination of the word. The traumatic intensity of the images of destruction existed precisely here: as cinematic as they appeared, they were intentionlessly actual, irrefutably material and real. And the reality muddied the symbolic message.

If we are to read the act symbolically as an attack on global capital, then how do we square this with the fact that it was the secretaries, janitors, food servers, clerical workers, security guards, and firemen who were killed? If it was an attack on ʻAmericaʼ, then why were there so many other citizen nationals and so many different ethnic names among the victims? If this was the hub of the global economy, then why was it small business people and laid-off workers who suffered? If New York was symbolic of Western cultural decadence and sexual libertinism, then why were so many ordinary friends, families and children left behind?

To see a photograph as purely symbolic, rather than as a trace of the real, is a reductive visual practice – shall we call it visual fundamentalism? Of course, this practice precisely describes the American reception of photographs of the Gulf War a decade ago: ʻsmartʼ bombs that exploded human vehicles, houses and bridges like computergame targets; retreating Iraqi troops massacred as they fled; Iraqi women sobbing in grief for family members lost in the brutal US bomb raid on Amiriya bunker in Baghdad. On September 11, these images surged back into memory, and with them a ghost-like presence, the home-grown, mid-Western terrorist, the Gulf War veteran, the ʻperfect soldierʼ who, with reference to the US-caused death of Iraqi children, spoke with bitter irony of the Oklahoma City children he killed as ʻcollateral damageʼ, and who when interrogated by police answered according to US military instructions for captured prisoners of war. [3] No one in the US dares to mention this ghost, Timothy McVeigh, who was executed less than a year ago. But surely the nihilism of his act paralleled that of September 11, as does its unpardonable violence. To relate them is to acknowledge a global world as opposed to national difference. At the moment, this blurring of boundaries is too threatening to be allowed.

When hegemony is under siege, it does not tolerate complexity of meaning. But complexity is just what the diverse multitude in a global public sphere demands. Striking is the speed with which every image taken of the New York City disaster was reduced within a week to one image, the American flag, and under it one caption, ʻthe nation under attackʼ. With brutal simplification, President George W. Bush declared: ʻYou are with us or against us.ʼ Hundreds of thousands demonstrating for peace around the globe were simply ignored. Millions of critics of US foreign policy at home and abroad were placed under suspicion.

George Bush, well advised after his alarming, initial slip of calling for a ʻcrusadeʼ against ʻcowardsʼ, spoke eloquently of the need to make a clear distinction between two Islams: one, a great and honourable religion that has been a humanizing force over the centuries and is practised in multiple ways by more than a billion people; the other, a subterfuge for criminal acts of terror. Bush has said it: a small group of men (and the actors on both sides in this disaster have been overwhelmingly men) must not be allowed to ʻhijackʼ the multitude. And who are we, if not this multitude, forced by both sides to acquiesce to the killing of innocent civilians? But to express a cosmopolitan consciousness at this moment is seen as a threat to exclusionary loyalties. We are made to feel afraid.

Terror produces terror, as observers have long noted. Bin Laden and his supporters indeed pose a threat, but that threat doubles when it is countered in kind. A ʻfundamental paradoxʼ of the paranoid style in American politics, wrote Richard Hofstadter in 1952, the era of the Cold War, ʻis the imitation of the enemyʼ. [4] Now, as on that occasion, the acts of enemies reflect each other. The engagements of war cannot exist without this mirroring, which ensures an overlapping of the military terrain. In this terrain, we, the hijacked multitude, the vast majority, are subjected to the common paranoid vision of violence and counter-violence, and prohibited from engaging each other in a common public sphere. The ʻweʼ who are Americans, under attack by the terrorists, are given an ultimatum by our protectors to mute our dissent, rely unquestioningly on our all-too-human leaders, and trust their secretly arrived-at determination of our interest. To other nations the United States gives leeway according to the pragmatics of diplomatic policy, but one mandate for all is non-negotiable: to be against terrorism means to accept the legitimacy of the US to deploy its military power globally to fight terrorists as it alone, secretly, defines them. For Muslims, it is not their right to practise their religion that is at stake. Rather, it is their right to challenge collectively, in Islamʼs name, the terrorist actions of states: Israeli state terror against the Palestinians or US state terror against Iraqi civilians. But even secular criticism now appears contentious. Samuel Huntington, no radical, has observed that in the Islamic world ʻimages of the West as arrogant, materialistic, repressive, brutal, and decadent are held not only by fundamentalist imams but also by those whom many in the West would consider their natural allies and supporters.ʼ [5] It now becomes dangerous for them to say so.Can I continue to use the term United States here? US policy? US violence? Since September 11, now more than ever, we must maintain a double vision if we are to see clearly. There are two United States of America, and any political analysis – whether from the Left or the Right – that aims at accuracy rather than myth-making must make that distinction. The one United States, of which I am a voting citizen, is institutionally a democratic republic. It is committed by its constitution to a balance of powers – between local and federal elected officials on the one hand, and among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches on the other. (This balance has been in jeopardy from the moment of George W. Bushʼs election.) It is a nation founded on principles of freedom: not the shallow freedoms of mass-culture mediocrity and consumer choice, but the deeply human – I will say it – universal political freedoms of belief, speech, assembly, due process, and equality before the law; equality that has evolved over two hundred years of citizen struggle to mean blindness to sexual and class difference, sexual preference, racial heritage and ethnic origin, with the goal of affirming and protecting difference in all the individual and collective human senses. I am fiercely loyal to the United States of American that espouses these ideals – ideals in no way the exclusive product of our history, but struggled for widely within the global public sphere. I will give my life to defend both them and the multiplicity and diverse human beings that as fellow citizens and honoured guests inhabit my beautiful land – and I will defend them particularly against attempts to drape the persecution of difference with the American flag. But there is another United States over which I have no control, because it is by definition not a democracy, not a republic. I am referring to the national security state that is called into existence with the sovereign pronouncement of a ʻstate of emergencyʼ and that generates a wild zone of power, barbaric and violent, operating without democratic oversight, in order to combat an ʻenemyʼ that threatens the existence not merely and not mainly of its citizens, but of its sovereignty. The paradox is that this undemocratic state claims absolute power over the citizens of a free and democratic nation.

My own coming to age politically was the consequence of another September 11 in 1973, when the US government committed criminal acts, including murder, in support of the military coup in Chile of General Pinochet that prevented the coming to power of Salvador Allende, the legally elected, Marxist president of Chile. (To think these two September 11 events simultaneously – to think Kissinger and Pinochet together as criminals against humanity, to think the US School of the Americas together with the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan as terrorist training grounds – is precisely what a global public must be capable of doing.) Under the logic of the national security state that has existed formally in the United States since at least 1947, the ʻnational interestʼ was conflated with that of the ʻfree worldʼ; freedom-loving regimes were by definition pro-American; freedom-fighters were any indigenous groups, no matter how anti-democratic, who with US backing attempted to destroy leftist social movements throughout the world.

A strong, secular Left existed in every Middle Eastern nation in the 1970s. It supported the Palestinian struggle, in Edward Saidʼs words, as ʻa liberation ideal, not a provincial movement for municipal self-rule under foreign tutelage. We saw it as an integral unit within the liberation movements of the Third World – secular, democratic, revolutionary.ʼ [6] This secular Arab Left pressed for social and economic justice in terms antithetical to US military and economic interests, and it was in this atmosphere that the US national security state nurtured figures like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein (who in 1988, with the knowledge of the Western powers, killed 5,000 people in a poison-gas attack on Halabja), [7] and the leaders of the Taliban, all of whom would learn well the lessons of the wild zone of power.

Global capital, global immanence

The US national security state is a war machine. It must have an enemy for its powers to appear legitimate; its biggest threat is that the enemy disappears. [8] But given a war, even a Cold War, and now given an ill-defined yet total ʻwar on terrorismʼ, the declared ʻstate of emergencyʼ is justification for suspending the rights and freedoms of citizens.

It justifies arresting and holding individuals without due process. It justifies killing and bombing without oversight or accountability. It justifies secrecy, censorship and a monopoly over the accumulation and dissemination of information. All of these state practices are totalitarian, of course.

In 1927, Stalin took advantage of an almost hysterical fear in the Soviet Union that the Western powers would invade, declaring: ʻWe have internal enemies. We have external enemies. This, comrades, must not be forgotten for a single moment.ʼ [9] The perception of a total threat legitimated the implementation of total, extralegal power both domestically and abroad. The word ʻterrorʼ is used to describe the execution or imprisonment in the USSR of thousands of purged party members in the 1930s, and we are accustomed to equating this terror with Stalinʼs name, as if one evil individual were responsible, rather than the logic intrinsic to the whole idea of ʻterrorʼ. But Stalin justified his actions because the citizenry felt threatened, a state of mind that is fertile ground for abuses of power. According to one participant, ʻIn the thirties we felt we were at war, at war with the entire world, and we believed that in war you should act like there is a war on.ʼ [10] The consequence was that popular support existed for Stalinʼs regime, precisely because he was not squeamish about rooting out the evil source.

Today the language, the thinking, begins to sound unpleasantly familiar.

As I have argued elsewhere, the unlimited, unmonitored wild zone of power is a potential of every state that claims sovereign power, and with it a monopoly of the legitimate use of violence. [11] Two consequences follow. The first is that no matter how democratic the constitution of a state regime, as a sovereign state it is always more than a democracy, and consequently a good deal less. The second is that human rights, human freedom and human justice cannot be exclusive possessions of one nation or one civilization. They must be global rights, or they will not be rights at all.

The problem is not that the West imposes its democratic values on the rest of the world, but that it does so selectively. It is intolerable that rights be applied with a double standard; it is inexcusable to justify this flagrant opportunism of US or any state policy in terms of respect for cultural diversity. Huntington describes US duplicity: ʻDemocracy is promoted but not if it brings Islamic fundamentalists to power; nonproliferation is preached for Iran and Iraq but not for Israel; free trade is the elixir of economic growth but not for [US] agriculture; human rights are an issue with China but not with Saudi Arabia; aggression against oil-owning Kuwaitis is massively repulsed but not against non-oil-owning Bosnians.ʼ [12] We can now add to this list: the killing of innocent civilians in New York City is a terrorist act, but Afghani innocents killed and starving are merely unfortunate; the Talibanʼs violation of womenʼs rights makes them deserving of destruction, while the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan are not even being mentioned as a necessary component of an anti-Taliban regime. As participants in a global public, we cannot allow ourselves, cynically, to accept such double standards. Humanity is the subject of the global public sphere, not the United States. No individual nation, no partial alliance, can wage war in humanityʼs name. We, the diverse multitude of humanity, must insist on this as non-negotiable – that on this point, ʻyou are with us or against usʼ.

The United States was left dangling as the sole superpower after the fall of the Soviet Union, an absurdity, arguably, once the enemy was gone, but – it is what having hegemony means – that did not end its superpower status. If indeed the emperor had no clothes, no one in the empire was letting on. The United States still had smart bombs and nuclear stockpiles, Wall Street and Hollywood, and that seemed, for all intents and purposes, to matter.

Until now, the US has been able, openly, to shift from the moral high ground to raw self-interest and still prevail.

Until now. We in the vestige democracy that still calls itself proudly the United States of America have the opportunity, now, to free ourselves from decades of being held hostage by the US national security state that has sullied our reputation and stolen our name. We must ask ourselves:

How will we citizens, both civilians and soldiers, benefit from this ʻunlimitedʼ war on terror, when its continuation is precisely what places our lives and our futures in danger?

If the American way of life is going to have to change, let it be for the better. Let us not die for a system that exploits the globeʼs resources disproportionately, and disproportionately reaps its wealth; that treats others with superpower arrogance and uses economic bribes to cripple the potency of the newly emerging, global body politic. If the war is brought to the homeland, let us be the ones who wage it – not with terrorist violence whereby the ends justify the means, but with divine violence as Walter Benjamin, a Jew and a Marxist, conceived it: collective political action that is lethal not to human beings, but to the mythic power that reigns over them.

George W. Bush insists that this is not the Cold War but a new war; that the goal is not to defend the free world but, rather, freedom itself (ʻenduring freedomʼ, as vaguely defined as the war). Yet the military action that George W. Bush calls the ʻfirst war of the twenty-first centuryʼ looks remarkably similar to US military actions in the past.

World wars, the particular insanity of the twentieth century, were struggles for territory. Sovereignty was a geopolitical concept. The enemy was situated within a spatial terrain. In this context, ʻdefending the free worldʼ meant, physically, pushing the enemy out, setting up lines of defence, deportation of sympathizers, pursuits into enemy territory, geographic embargoes – in short, spatial attack and isolation. The overthrow –ʻdestabilizationʼ – of nation-state regimes from within was a clandestine action, best done by indigenous forces, so as not to challenge the terms of legitimation of the sovereign-state system in which wars took place.

In global war, conflict cannot be discretely spatialized, a fact that has enormous implications in terms of the imaginary landscape. Because the ʻenemyʼ does not inhabit a clear territorial space, there is nothing geopolitical to attack. The fact that the United States is now nonetheless attacking the geopolitical territory of Afghanistan is indicative of its self-contradictory situation. Its superpower strength is still defined in traditional military terms. But the new global immanence means that there is no outside, a fact that the terrorists operating on September 11 exploited with brilliant brutality. In contrast, the United States is manifesting distinctly dinosaur-like symptoms by compulsively repeating its old tactics of massive military response.

Global immanence has changed the role of the media as well. In world wars, news reporting was directed to distinct audiences. Radio and movie newsreels reported the war as ʻpropagandaʼ, editing and interpreting events to rally the home front and demoralize the enemy. But when a global audience makes it impossible to separate home and enemy populations, when the vast majority of human beings who are tuned in can be defined as neither ʻusʼ nor ʻthemʼ, when audiences do not sit in spatially isolated bleachers, there is no way of controlling the propaganda effect. The media, rather than reporting the war, is inextricably entangled within it. It is a deterritorialized weapon among diverse populations, which it can both harm and protect. Again, symptomatic of the vulnerability of the United States in these changed conditions is that when global media cannot help but expose as false the stark opposition of good and evil that the government proclaims, its response is to muzzle the media. Under conditions of global immanence, this policy backfires. When Al-Jazeera television reaches 35 million viewers, including a growing American domestic audience, the good/evil narrative is challenged and complicated. The dilemma, of course, is that an open media is just what legitimates US violence in the global defence of freedom, so that policy rationale is continuously in danger of undermining itself.

Are we witnessing a US national security state bid to transform itself from an obsolete superpower into a global sovereign power? Such sovereignty would challenge the nation-state system by claiming the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence, launching ʻpolice actionsʼ against ʻcriminalsʼ throughout the globe. [13] What, crucially, would be its relation to global capital? In the twentieth century, given the traditional American formula of economic presence and political absence (as opposed to the European formula of direct political imperialism), the Cold War was vital for the legitimacy of US foreign interventions that protected transnational business under the hegemonic banner of protecting the ʻfree worldʼ from communism, capitalismʼs binary other. In the new situation of global immanence, this strategy no longer makes sense:

Bin Laden is as imbricated in global capitalism as is Bush. At the same time, the hope that some felicitously reconstituted, ʻpost-modernʼ sovereignty will come about as a new paradigm of power, as suggested by Hardt and Negri in Empire, now seems overly optimistic. [14]

Would a US-based global sovereignty be capable of becoming the violent arm of global capital? Surely, in the present ʻstate of emergencyʼ, the fledgling protest movements against global capital are already feeling the heavy hand of the new security and surveillance. But there is a contradiction that may hinder a US bid for global power, at least in the short run. Global capital cannot exist without the freedom of movement that a global war against terrorism necessarily circumscribes. What does seem likely, and not undesirable, is that global capital will begin to separate itself from the protective shield that American dominance has provided. Not undesirable, because the equation of global capital with Americanization has obfuscated the political situation.

Global capitalism needs to be analysed with the same double vision (if for different reasons) that we have applied to the US state regime. On the one hand, it is the very foundation of the whole possibility of a global public sphere. On the other, it continues to be an indefensible system of brutal exploitation of human labour and natureʼs labour. [15] The true nightmare is that, under the terror produced by a total and unlimited war on terror, a US-led alliance of powers (rather than a potentially more democratic and egalitarian United Nations) will develop in a way that protects the global mobility of capital and its interests, but not that of the multitude and the interests of its public sphere.Global sovereignty that would attempt to monopolize violence in global capitalʼs defence is a case of reactionary cosmopolitanism, because it lacks a radical sense of social justice. Al-Qaeda and the exclusivity of its fundamentalist struggle is a case of reactionary radicalism, because it lacks a cosmopolitan sense of the public sphere. But when radicalism and cosmopolitanism converge in a global public sphere, when the multitude ceases to be hijacked by either side, when Western hegemony is provincialized within a larger humanity, then terror and counter-terror will have lost its hold.

Whether that happens will depend on us.

Notes

1. ^ For these two important notions, the newness of the global defined by its immanence, and the diversity of global society understood as a ʻmultitudeʼ, I am in dialogue with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negriʼs, Empire (Harvard University Press, London, 2000). While we both make use of Spinozaʼs writing for the concept of immanence, my appropriation of Spinozaʼs ʻmultitudeʼ to designate a diverse and decentred global public is not identical to the meaning given the ʻmultitudeʼ by Hardt and Negri.

2. ^ Peter Osborne, Philosophy in Cultural Theory, Routledge, London, 2000, p. 35.

3. ^ Joseba Zulaika and William A. Douglass, Terror and Taboo: The Follies, Fables, and Faces of Terrorism, Routledge, London, 1996, p. 138.

4. ^ Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics and Other Essays, Alfred A. Knopf,

New York, 1965, p. 32.

5. ^ Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996, p. 214.

6. ^ Edward Said, Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process, preface by Christopher Hitchens, Vintage Books, New York, 1996, p. 79.

7. ^ Akbar S. Ahmed, Postmodernism and Islam: Predicament and Promise, Routledge, London, 1992, p. 135.

8. ^ I make this argument in Chapter 1 of my book, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West, MIT Press, Cambridge MA and London, 2000.

9. ^ Cited in ibid., p. 7.

10. ^ Cited in ibid.

11. ^ Ibid., Chapter 1.

12. ^ Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations, p. 184. Huntington, the realist, concludes with a non-argued platitude: ʻDouble standards in practice are the unavoidable price of universal standards of principle.ʼ He gives up on the idea of a global public sphere from the start.

13. ^ US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OʼConnor has observed that the whole question of criminal rights becomes murky in this situation (New York Times, 29 September 2001). It is not democratic to the globe to have the global sovereign elected by the US people; it is not democratic to the US people to have its elected president be a global sovereign.

14. ^ Hardt and Negri, Empire, p. 139. Hardt and Negri do not face squarely the problem of the legitimate use of violence, which is central to the question of sovereignty.

15. ^ See Teresa Brennan, Exhausting Modernity: Grounds for a New Economy, Routledge, London, 2000.

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