On New Revolutions

With the post-revolution turn of events in Tunisia and Egypt (elections and so on), it is has become clear that the next political chapter in North Africa and the Middle East will be dominated by Islamist rule. In the Syrian case, there are signs of an even darker phase of Islamist rule to come. However, contrary to the anxieties of some liberals in the West, these Islamist governments will not in any way threaten Western interests in the Middle East and North Africa.

In fact, once in power, Islamists seem to be fast and pragmatic learners in terms of satisfying the conditions for inclusion in global capitalism. Hence, what we are already starting to witness in the region is liberalism with an Islamist face, for which Turkey has been the model and inspiration for many  self-styled moderate Arab Islamists. Western powers have already shown signs of full support for such regimes, provided they accept the ground rules of the capitalist world, such as implementing a so-called free market, allowing the unlimited exploitation of natural resources, and blindly respecting the political borders of states drawn by European colonial powers in the first half of the 20th century.

What next, then? The Arab revolutions have already failed miserably. Now the conflict over state control is between secular parties lacking any vision for social justice, and thus without significant platforms aimed at appealing to the social movements of dissent that originally began the revolutions of the short Arab Spring, and Islamists (both fundamentalist and so-called moderate wings). However, the Islamist paradigm is so determining that even most of the secular parties in countries where there are significant numbers of Sunnis and Shias are divided along sectarian lines. Adding further complications, the current American strategy is to support Sunni movements against Shias led by Iran. This is the case everywhere but in Iraq, where Americans desperately support the Shia government in the hope of reducing the influence of Iran on the country whose political reformation they supposedly take responsibility for.

As for the ongoing and emerging movements of dissent against despotism and inequality, it seems the next revolutionary goal must be toppling the state in all its forms. If the 20th century and the first decade of this century have proved one political fact, it is that the state is inherently oppressive and totalitarian. Social inequalities and systematic oppression have been created and perpetuated mainly by modern states, which continue to be the most faithful and powerful guardians of the interests of dominant groups. New revolutionary movements, and especially those that remain frustrated by the turnout of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 2009-2012 Arab revolutions, should therefore waste no more time re-empowering any state.


About Saladdin Ahmed

Saladdin Ahmed is a post-nihilist philosopher who has declared full independence.
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