From the Editors
Serious concerns are expressed currently in Tunisia and Egypt about the sabotage of the defeated elites. Many in the revolutionary and pro-democracy circles speak of a creeping counter-revolution. This is not surprising. If revolutions are about intense struggle for a profound change, then any revolution should expect a counterrevolution of subtle or blatant forms. The French, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and Nicaraguan revolutions all faced protracted civil or international wars. The question is not if the threat of counter-revolution is to be expected; the question rather is if the ‘revolutions’ are revolutionary enough to offset the perils of restoration. It seems that the Arab revolutions remain particularly vulnerable precisely because of their distinct peculiarity—their structural anomaly expressed in the paradoxical trajectory of political change.
Historically, three types of bottom-up regime/political change stand out. The first is the ‘reformist change’. Here, social and political movements mobilize in a usually sustained campaign to exert concerted pressure on the incumbent regimes to undertake reforms through the institutions of the existing states. Resting on their social power—the mobilization of the grassroots— the opposition movements compel the political elites to reform themselves, their laws and institutions often through some of kind of social pacts. So, change happens within the framework of the existing political arrangements. The transition to democracy in countries like Mexico and Brazil in the 1980s was of this nature. The leadership of Iran’s Green movement currently pursues similar reformist trajectory. In this trajectory, the depth and extend of reforms vary. Change may remain superficial; but it can also be profound if it materialized cumulatively by legal, institutional and politico-cultural reforms.
This article is now featured in Jadaliyya's edited volume entitled Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). The volume documents the first six months of the Arab uprisings, explaining the backgrounds and trajectories of these popular movements. It also archives the range of responses that emanated from activists, scholars, and analysts as they sought to make sense of the rapidly unfolding events. Click here to access the full article by ordering your copy of Dawn of the Arab Uprisings from Amazon, or use the link below to purchase from the publisher.
6 comments for "Paradoxes of Arab Refo-lutions"
If you prefer, email your comments to email@example.com.
Hot on Facebook
Jadalicious / جدلشس
"There are forms of outrage that do not lead to any sort of mobilisation, and there are ways of “registering the facts” that do not lead to outrage... awareness alone does not suffice, and neither does outrage."click | email | tweet
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- When Your Name is on the Blacklist
- عندما يكون اسمك على "القائمة السوداء"
- Statement by Scholar Ann Laura Stoler Endorsing BDS against Israel
- Turkey’s New Migration Policy: Control Through Bureaucratization
- Last Week on Jadaliyya (September 22-28)
- El Rass
- Excavating the Sky
- Egypt Media Roundup (September 29)
- Propaganda, Politics, and Profiteering: Islamic Law in the Contemporary United States
- Turkey after Gezi: An Interview with Simten Cosar
- Tadween Spotlight: Gaza
- Evden Emlaga Fikirtepe: Rant ve Spekulasyon Ekseninde Kentsel Donusum
- ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (August-September 2014)
- Syria Media Roundup (September 26)
- Emergency Humanitarian Appeals and Gaza’s On-going Destruction: The Case of Failed Accountability and Sustainability
- Maghreb Media Roundup (September 25)
- Ghassan Salhab: Making of 'The Valley'
- O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 September)
- New Texts Out Now: Laurie A. Brand, Official Stories: Politics and National Narratives in Egypt and Algeria
- The Growing Phenomenon of Pro-Israeli Advocacy in Chinese Academia
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
When your Name is on the Blacklist http://t.co/hiIIn74mxM
14 hours ago
أمجد ناصر: عندما يكون اسمك على "القائمة السوداء" http://t.co/7hvNhLA9WB
yesterday at 11:48 PM
Statement by Scholar Ann Laura Stoler Endorsing BDS against Israel http://t.co/yWgpqqdOT8
yesterday at 11:52 AM
Call For Papers: Knowledge-Based Development in the Gulf (Kuwait, March 2015) http://t.co/HXjCx621Lv
yesterday at 8:42 AM
Egypt Media Roundup (September 29) http://t.co/EBvdjInkm8
yesterday at 8:10 AM