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By Aqil Abu Dharr Imperialism has been envisioning and working toward a Middle East under their control and domination for a long time. The State of Israel is a bulwark for imperialist domination. It was imperialism that imposed Israel upon the people of Palestine without their approval and it is imperialism which maintains this Zionist […]

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Like clockwork, another ‘mass’ movement of ‘progressive’ First World political activism has sprung up. This time it is FEMEN, the latest in a series of media spectacles and fad movements which justify and support further First World attacks against Third World peoples.  Despite its English-language messaging, FEMEN claims to represent ‘Arab Women against Islam’ and encourages women […]

Given the recent track record in Libya and Egypt, women in Syria are increasingly aware of what is at stake in the struggle against imperialist-backed Islamists. Rather than submit to the dual oppression of imperialist-enforced patriarchy, these women are fighting back.

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The recent intervention in Mali and Algeria by the French imperialists is linked to the recent NATO  destruction of Libya, past actions that led to the creation of AFRICOM and the weakening of the African Union, and current efforts by Western powers to increase their military, political and economic presence in Africa as a whole.  […]

Tens of thousands of people in dozens of cities and slums across Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and parts of Europe and Australia have demonstrated in recent days in response to a film made in the United $tates attacking the Prophet Muhammad. Protests primarily targeted U.$. embassies and other symbols of imperialism including an […]

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Following the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings which toppled long-time ruler Hosni Mubarek, various forces of Egyptian society have emerged in an ongoing contest over social and political power. Of these forces, one of the most prominent has been that of organized Islam, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. How did Islam come to Egypt and how has it manifested itself in modern organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood? What has been its role in Egypt since independence, and what role will political Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood likely play in the future?

Islam’s roots and early significance lie in the changing conditions of 7th and 8th century Arabia. Not united by a single ethnic-religious formation prior to its development, through its pronouncements on religion, social and legal philosophy, early Islam sought and succeeded in creating a trans-tribal authority and source of identity through which later Arab and Middle Eastern empires could be built. Early Islam’s significance is that it was the guiding philosophy under which a series of large, precedent tributary socio-political orders were organized.

Samir Amin, an Egyptian-born Marxist associated with world-systems, dependency and unequal exchange theories, has described pre-modern history as the transition from communal societies to tributary ones, the latter of which have “witnessed the crystallization of social power in a statist-ideological-metaphysical form.” Under a tributary system, taxes and other fees collected by agents of a central power and the dominance of the social-religious-state power over economic affairs distinguishes it from later system of capitalism, which was defined in regards to the ascendancy of economic actors over metaphysical political power. (Amin 14) In the Arabian peninsula and outward, Islam provided the ideological basis under which power was assigned within such a tributary society.

The Qu’ran, the sacred text of Islam and its most important document, provides both a history of the region and lays down social and legal mores for future, ‘righteous’ rule. Unlike philosophical doctrines such as Confucianism, which grew out of a China’s Warring States period and resulted from the practice of previous large-scale tributary societies, Islam rose out of a period in which many religious-social doctrines and groups existed yet absent one doctrine’s hegemony. In this manner, Islam was part of an effort to fuse the loose patchwork of existing ethnic, religious, economic and tribal groups into a single Muslim identity and allegiance, incorporating all into a single tributary society. Continue reading