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
"If socioeconomic factors are at the very heart of the Arab uprising, it follows that there are still radical changes to come, which may well bring in their wake new episodes of revolution and counter-revolution."click | email | tweet
Latest EntriesView All Entries »
- Boom: A Photo Essay
- Hany Rashed: Toys
- Watching the Occupation at a Close Distance
- "A Slaughter of Innocents": Democracy Now! Interview with American Jewish Leader Henry Siegman
- A Teenager Contemplates Life and War in the Gaza Strip
- The Other Israelis
- Seam Zones, Security Zones, Death Zones, and Walls
- The Economic Challenges of the Gaza War: Relief and Reconstruction but No Palestinian Development
- Zionism, BDS, and American Muslim Leadership
- Iranian Intellectuals, Artists and Social Activists' Statement on the Recent Conflict in Palestine
- Racism is the Foundation of Israel's Operation Protective Edge
- Arab Studies Journal Call for Papers: "Wayn al-Dawleh?" In Search of the Lebanese State
- CNN Discusses the Palestinian Perspective with Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani
- New Texts Out Now: Muriam Haleh Davis, The Afterlives of the Algerian Revolution
- Once Again on Caesarism: Continuing the Debate with Joel Beinin
- Malak Helmy: Lost Referents of Some Attraction
- The FBI’s War on Fake Terrorism
- فصل من رواية نوكيا
- A City-Sized Prison-House
- Turkey Media Roundup (July 29)
Jad NavigationView Full Map, Topics, and Countries »
RT @ToughNiece: Israel to Media: "We don't need facts. We have America." (and ooooh those slaps on the wrist. they turn us on) #Daddyyyyyy
15 hours ago
Boom: A Photo Essay http://t.co/quaQ4Sc7i4
17 hours ago
Watching the Occupation at a Close Distance http://t.co/VN4Z4VJHKy
19 hours ago
Watching the Occupation at a Close Distance http://t.co/gNDiAku5F6
20 hours ago
Seam Zones, Security Zones, Death Zones, and Walls http://t.co/G2OZ4LhlWH
20 hours ago