A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
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16-05-2013, 02:11 PM
A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
Sup, erbody?

I have a theory that I'd like to share. Let me know your thoughts.

There have been a number of countries that have become Islamic theocracies in the last few decades. Most recently Egypt and further back, Iran (please let me know if there were more prior to the 70s).

Nothing exists in a vacuum, so there must be an explanation for why this is occurring.

This is my attempt at an explanation.

Many, if not all, of these countries lived either under a dictatorship (the Shah in Iran, Mubarak in Egypt), or under enemy occupation (the Soviets in Afghanistan).

In both of these cases, there was a high degree of repression: the removal of rights and freedoms, starvation, privation, imprisonment, torture, the full gamut of terrible things.

In such cases, as the pressure placed on the people mounts, they are forced more and more to come together just to survive. A sort of solidarity emerges among the people, either unspoken (like the Bolivian revolt against the privatisation of water), spoken (like the Solidarity movement in Poland) or vicariously (the phenomenon know as the bandit hero - The Algerian rebels or Robin Hood type - someone that the people revolt vicariously through).

These solidarity movements revolve around some banner: nationalism, the poor, an ethnic group, a religion, an ideology. It is that banner that unites the people in common struggle and that gives them strength: whether it's Indians in Gandhi's era, the Mohawks in the 90s, or the communists in Mexico.

The banner is not chosen. It is the thing that is most heavily repressed and marginalised: race rights in the US, women's rights in the UK, communism in economically enslaved countries.

In the now Islamic countries, that banner was Islam.

What George Orwell illustrated so magnificently in his novel Animal Farm, is that revolutions are anything but popular. A special interest group runs the country, benefiting its membership and increasingly marginalising everyone else, until a tipping point is reached and either a limited rebellion or an open revolt occurs. The revolutionaries are, as well, a special interest group: be they communists, an ethnic group or a religious group. When they win their rebellion, all that's actually occurred is that a new special interest group has taken power and will then, like the animals in Animal Farm, proceed to consolidate and expand their power by marginalising everyone not of their ilk. This is the revolution cycle represented so brilliantly in the Matrix trilogy and the reason revolution is called revolution; it describes a circle - you wind up exactly where you started.

So what has happened in these now Islamic countries is that non-Islamic occupations or dictatorships repressed the people for years, they united under the banner of Islam, revolted, won, and have now, not surprisingly, taken over.

This is very standard stuff, except in the case of the rise of Islamic theocracies, there is an important difference.

A pan-Arab caliphate has been actively blocked by the West for decades. They have promoted political instability, invaded, or propped up dictators to keep the area unstable and ripe for resource exploitation (the link between the Shah in Iran, the US, the UK and BP is common knowledge, as is the installation, support and arming of Saddam Hussein by the US; including the sale of mustard gas used against Kurdish civilians). The banner that has united the people across the Arab world is Islam. Now that occupying armies are withdrawing and dictators are falling, Islam is enjoying an expression not seen in decades and it is enjoying that expression across the Arab world. These individual rebellions are now fueling each other (Arab spring being a perfect example).

All of this is to say that we haven't seen isolated Islamic rebellions, we have seen simultaneous and linked rebellions that go beyond national borders and are now focused on the entire Middle East and beyond. This is why Chechens fight in Afghanistan and Afghani's fight in Iraq. The ultimate tyranny they are attempting to buck is that which has blocked pan-Arabism.

And they're nowhere near done yet.

So it will only escalate as they fight harder and we fight harder to secure their oil and maintain our foreign military footprint and economic control.

That the brand of Islam fueling this rebellion is extremist is secondary and not at all surprising. Hyper versions of religion, nationalism and ideology are to be expected in revolution, whether it's the extremist communism of the Khmer Rouge, the extremist nationalism of the IRA or the extremist Islam of the Taliban. It is the extremist nature of these banners that aid in banding the people together. I've referred to the mechanism that governs the rise of extremism elsewhere as the Zed Effect - that perceived threats to a human system (religion, ethnic group, language group, state, nation) cause moderates to migrate out to the extremes. Post-rebellion, it is the legacy of the extremism at the core of the rebellion that Orwell warns of in Animal Farm.

The great caveat to this rule is Gandhi's rebellion in India. While it was very much an extremist form of nationalism, it was non-violent in nature. But that quickly fell apart as the extremist Islamic and Hindu elements of the country tore it apart and gave birth to Pakistan.

In summary, extremism is to be expected in revolution, when they win, they act as a new special interest group and start the cycle of repression again, the new Islamic theocracies are evidence of this, the exception in this case is that the revolition isn't a national one, it's a pan-Arab/pan-Islamic one

The bad news is that it is unlikely that this rebellion will be put down, the harder we try, the more extremist it will become and we're pretty much guaranteed a pan-Arab Islamic theocratic Caliphate. The good news, of which there isn't much, is that there will be a follow up rebellion.

All dictatorships rely on the ISA, or ideological state aparatus, to keep order. When that is in force, the populace polices itself. But when the repression becomes too great, the populace is less likely to do so (after first passing through the apex of self-policing) and the dictatorship must rely on the RSA, or repressive state aparatus; draconian law, brutal repression, imprisonment, torture.

It seems to me that as rabidly ideological as the new Islamic theocracies are, they already rely HEAVILY on the RSA. This means that the populace will become marginalised much more quickly and that a new rebellion, necessarily either non-Islamic or moderate Islamic, will begin in short order and result in the elimination of the Islamic theocracies.

All of this being said, I have to believe that this is a necessary step and one, it should be noted, that has ALREADY occurred in the Christian world. It was a painful birth for us and will continue to be a painful birth for our brothers and sisters in the Islamic world, but it is a step that I don't think can be skipped.

Having worked my way through this, somewhat disturbingly, I think I've come to the realisation that the best thing we can do is allow the Islamic extremists to take over and hang themselves with their own rope. When the new popular rebellions arise, we support them and help usher the Muslims of the world now locked in an extremist theocratic nightmare into a new future of openness and free living.

This, of course, will NEVER happen. The West stands to lose far too much by allowing their military and economic influence in these areas to fall into the hands of people that don't like them very much. So I'm sure we'll continue to do our best to undermine Islamic revolutions, prop up dictators friendly to our interests and, when we have to, invade and occupy under the guise of spreading democracy.

Such is my theory.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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16-05-2013, 03:30 PM
RE: A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
(16-05-2013 02:11 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Sup, erbody?

I have a theory that I'd like to share. Let me know your thoughts.

There have been a number of countries that have become Islamic theocracies in the last few decades. Most recently Egypt and further back, Iran (please let me know if there were more prior to the 70s).

Nothing exists in a vacuum, so there must be an explanation for why this is occurring.

This is my attempt at an explanation.

Many, if not all, of these countries lived either under a dictatorship (the Shah in Iran, Mubarak in Egypt), or under enemy occupation (the Soviets in Afghanistan).

In both of these cases, there was a high degree of repression: the removal of rights and freedoms, starvation, privation, imprisonment, torture, the full gamut of terrible things.

In such cases, as the pressure placed on the people mounts, they are forced more and more to come together just to survive. A sort of solidarity emerges among the people, either unspoken (like the Bolivian revolt against the privatisation of water), spoken (like the Solidarity movement in Poland) or vicariously (the phenomenon know as the bandit hero - The Algerian rebels or Robin Hood type - someone that the people revolt vicariously through).

These solidarity movements revolve around some banner: nationalism, the poor, an ethnic group, a religion, an ideology. It is that banner that unites the people in common struggle and that gives them strength: whether it's Indians in Gandhi's era, the Mohawks in the 90s, or the communists in Mexico.

The banner is not chosen. It is the thing that is most heavily repressed and marginalised: race rights in the US, women's rights in the UK, communism in economically enslaved countries.

In the now Islamic countries, that banner was Islam.

What George Orwell illustrated so magnificently in his novel Animal Farm, is that revolutions are anything but popular. A special interest group runs the country, benefiting its membership and increasingly marginalising everyone else, until a tipping point is reached and either a limited rebellion or an open revolt occurs. The revolutionaries are, as well, a special interest group: be they communists, an ethnic group or a religious group. When they win their rebellion, all that's actually occurred is that a new special interest group has taken power and will then, like the animals in Animal Farm, proceed to consolidate and expand their power by marginalising everyone not of their ilk. This is the revolution cycle represented so brilliantly in the Matrix trilogy and the reason revolution is called revolution; it describes a circle - you wind up exactly where you started.

So what has happened in these now Islamic countries is that non-Islamic occupations or dictatorships repressed the people for years, they united under the banner of Islam, revolted, won, and have now, not surprisingly, taken over.

This is very standard stuff, except in the case of the rise of Islamic theocracies, there is an important difference.

A pan-Arab caliphate has been actively blocked by the West for decades. They have promoted political instability, invaded, or propped up dictators to keep the area unstable and ripe for resource exploitation (the link between the Shah in Iran, the US, the UK and BP is common knowledge, as is the installation, support and arming of Saddam Hussein by the US; including the sale of mustard gas used against Kurdish civilians). The banner that has united the people across the Arab world is Islam. Now that occupying armies are withdrawing and dictators are falling, Islam is enjoying an expression not seen in decades and it is enjoying that expression across the Arab world. These individual rebellions are now fueling each other (Arab spring being a perfect example).

All of this is to say that we haven't seen isolated Islamic rebellions, we have seen simultaneous and linked rebellions that go beyond national borders and are now focused on the entire Middle East and beyond. This is why Chechens fight in Afghanistan and Afghani's fight in Iraq. The ultimate tyranny they are attempting to buck is that which has blocked pan-Arabism.

And they're nowhere near done yet.

So it will only escalate as they fight harder and we fight harder to secure their oil and maintain our foreign military footprint and economic control.

That the brand of Islam fueling this rebellion is extremist is secondary and not at all surprising. Hyper versions of religion, nationalism and ideology are to be expected in revolution, whether it's the extremist communism of the Khmer Rouge, the extremist nationalism of the IRA or the extremist Islam of the Taliban. It is the extremist nature of these banners that aid in banding the people together. I've referred to the mechanism that governs the rise of extremism elsewhere as the Zed Effect - that perceived threats to a human system (religion, ethnic group, language group, state, nation) cause moderates to migrate out to the extremes. Post-rebellion, it is the legacy of the extremism at the core of the rebellion that Orwell warns of in Animal Farm.

The great caveat to this rule is Gandhi's rebellion in India. While it was very much an extremist form of nationalism, it was non-violent in nature. But that quickly fell apart as the extremist Islamic and Hindu elements of the country tore it apart and gave birth to Pakistan.

In summary, extremism is to be expected in revolution, when they win, they act as a new special interest group and start the cycle of repression again, the new Islamic theocracies are evidence of this, the exception in this case is that the revolition isn't a national one, it's a pan-Arab/pan-Islamic one

The bad news is that it is unlikely that this rebellion will be put down, the harder we try, the more extremist it will become and we're pretty much guaranteed a pan-Arab Islamic theocratic Caliphate. The good news, of which there isn't much, is that there will be a follow up rebellion.

All dictatorships rely on the ISA, or ideological state aparatus, to keep order. When that is in force, the populace polices itself. But when the repression becomes too great, the populace is less likely to do so (after first passing through the apex of self-policing) and the dictatorship must rely on the RSA, or repressive state aparatus; draconian law, brutal repression, imprisonment, torture.

It seems to me that as rabidly ideological as the new Islamic theocracies are, they already rely HEAVILY on the RSA. This means that the populace will become marginalised much more quickly and that a new rebellion, necessarily either non-Islamic or moderate Islamic, will begin in short order and result in the elimination of the Islamic theocracies.

All of this being said, I have to believe that this is a necessary step and one, it should be noted, that has ALREADY occurred in the Christian world. It was a painful birth for us and will continue to be a painful birth for our brothers and sisters in the Islamic world, but it is a step that I don't think can be skipped.

Having worked my way through this, somewhat disturbingly, I think I've come to the realisation that the best thing we can do is allow the Islamic extremists to take over and hang themselves with their own rope. When the new popular rebellions arise, we support them and help usher the Muslims of the world now locked in an extremist theocratic nightmare into a new future of openness and free living.

This, of course, will NEVER happen. The West stands to lose far too much by allowing their military and economic influence in these areas to fall into the hands of people that don't like them very much. So I'm sure we'll continue to do our best to undermine Islamic revolutions, prop up dictators friendly to our interests and, when we have to, invade and occupy under the guise of spreading democracy.

Such is my theory.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I also would like to add something here....

Islam was a uniting factor. It was seen as a tool against colonialism, a sense of rebellion against western exploitation.

However the people probably all saw Islam as a good thing, the same way Christians in the States think the bible is amazing. They overlook that their own moderate view, will not be the law of the land.

Once you start adding religious texts to the law, a real problem shows up. Who's view or interpretation gets to be made into law?

In this way it becomes very easy to go from a moderate, tolerable society, to one that is extremely repressive.

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17-05-2013, 10:32 AM
RE: A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
A compelling case, Ghost. However, there are two significant factors I'd like to pose.

First, at the time the modern Islamic theocracies were getting established (with the possible exception of Afghanistan), Islam was NOT the most-suppressed element of society. The world was polarized between Russian communism and American capitalism/democracy, and whichever one a state was aligned with, the other would be the most-suppressed element. (Granted, the communists did like to suppress religion where they were in power.)

Second, it was spread across borders in a very "evangelical" manner from Saudi Arabia in particular. See Wahhabism.

I'd like to propose a slightly different model. As oppression becomes intolerable, resistance will coalesce around some sort of banner (possibly multiple sorts of banner). This banner will NOT be the most oppressed element of society, as such an element would be in no position to revolt. Rather, it will have the following traits in common: Opposition to the current establishment (possibly because it's somewhat, but not thoroughly, oppressed); a thesis (correct or incorrect) over the nature of the conflict; a strong ideological or moral claim (be it accurate or inaccurate); a proffered sense of identity to separate the rallying rebels from their opponents; and a strategy for how to approach the conflict and/or what should replace the current model.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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17-05-2013, 11:10 AM
RE: A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
Hey, Reltzik.

I must disagree with your post. I think the primary reason is because your approach differs from mine and is not entirely compatible; thus, there is some confusion.

Your capitalism/communism dichotomy doesn't really apply in this case. It's an apples to oranges issue.

Perhaps, the word "element" was misleading.

The special interest group in charge marginalises non-aligned groups. There are ALWAYS marginalised groups and always MULTIPLE marginalised groups. The two factors are, the degree to which they are marginalised and the size of the population being marginalised. The tipping point is reached when a critical mass of repression level x population size is reached. That population, typically, is a single group; the largest. Often, the case is that groups come together more and more as the pressure mounts and reach the required population size as a coalition (which may or may not fall apart after a victory). During the student protests in Quebec last year, they were joined by labour groups and others as an example.

Revolutions can be ideological, for example, the example of the Khmer Rouge I gave previously.

When you look at the populations of the countries that have become Islamic theocracies, the through line that links the populace is Islam. There are other causes, certainly (the Syrian revolution comes to mind), but in the cases that have already played out, Islam was the thing. The repression was very generalised (in Soviet occupied Afghanistan and Mubarak's Egypt, it sucked to be anyone). But the "lowest common denominator", as it were, that won out, was Islam.

I hope that's clearer.

Second, I don't understand the relevance of your cross-state evangelical spread argument.

Quote:...as such an element would be in no position to revolt.

I'm pretty sure what you mean, but the opposite is the case.

Women fought for women's rights.
Blacks fought for civil rights.
Indians fought for Indian sovereignty.
Irish fought for Irish independence.
Muslims fight for Islamic freedom.

Anyhoo, I think I understand most of your arguments, but there's a mismatch occurring here.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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17-05-2013, 01:33 PM
RE: A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
Bang goes my hypothesis that Reltzik and Ghost are the same person.

Dodgy

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17-05-2013, 01:53 PM
RE: A Theory - The Rise of Islamic Theocracies
Lol.

That's funny.

Everyone knows that I'm DLJ.

WHAT?!?!

Mind = blown!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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