The next step: Arab socialism?

With horrific events occuring in Libya, the General Election in Ireland has been somewhat overlooked. The Irish went to the polls on Friday and the governing Fianna Fail party, which has been the dominant political force for 80 years, suffered a crushing defeat.

Ireland is a democratic state with a parliamentary system of government; which begs the question: what sort of political systems will result from the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East? In many instances these political systems will have to be built from scratch (as will be the case with Libya); the first new nations of the 21st century.

Many folks in the West want these new nations “to be like us”. They will be like the West, but only in respect to freedom and democracy (it’s what the protesters have risked their lives for). That General Election in Ireland was called because the Irish economy has collapsed. This of course was caused by the world economic meltdown, which in turn was caused by the greed and selfishness and outright criminality of the banks and economic institutions…

Rolling Stone Magazine: Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

A continuous cycle of busts following booms, with a small elite raking it in while the vast majority suffer. Why on earth would anyone want to build a society like that..? particularly when you consider that for decades the Arabs have suffered under greed and corruption. It seems more likely that the new politics in North Africa and the Middle East will veer towards socialism (the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions were both born out of – what were then banned – trade union movements).

But this won’t be the old socialism of the Ba’thists and Nasserites, which came out of the colonial era of the 20th century. This is now the 21st century. The West has been surprised by these uprisings. The West might be even more surprised by the new politics that emerges.

It will be interesting to watch.

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