[Marxism] The Political Economy of Islamist Social Movements

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 30 07:31:32 MDT 2009

Political Islam and the New Global Economy:
The Political Economy of Islamist Social Movements
in Egypt and Turkey

by Joel Beinin


> In Egypt and Turkey the adoption of neo-liberal economic policies was
> accompanied by an alliance between state elites and Islamists against challenges from the
> secular left. In both cases the Islamists soon turned against those who had invited them
> into the political arena – an expression of the instability of the rentier coalitions based on
> petroleum revenues that came to dominate political life in many Middle Eastern states
> and their failure to establish stable social structures of capital accumulation or a new
> political vision. Declining state budgets and cutbacks in social spending dictated by the
> international financial institutions following neo-liberal orthodoxy increasingly restricted
> state efficacy to urban upper middle class and elite areas. Income distributions polarized.
> States became unable to provide previously established levels of services or to insure
> adequate supplies of commodities to all sectors of their territory and population,
> undermining the terms of the social compact established in the era of authoritarian
> populism and state-led import-substitution industrialization under the banner of Arab
> nationalism and Arab socialism. The 1980 IMF intervention in Turkey and the economic
> policies adopted by the military regime after the coup of September 12, 1980 and the
> subsequent governments led by Turgut Özal had similar effects.
> By undermining state capacities, the economic stabilization and structural
> adjustment programs of the IMF and World Bank provided a windfall to Islamist
> movements, enabling them to speak in the name of resistance to foreign domination and
> exploitation of “the people.” Those movements established a popular base by offering
> social services that states could no longer afford to provide. Populist elements in the
> Islamist discourse linked the corruption and autocracy of state elites with their inability to
> provide social services, jobs with a living wage, and an attractive future.

full: http://stanford.edu/dept/france-stanford/Conferences/Islam/Beinin.pdf

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