Issue 44-45 Capitalism State and Social Classes in Middle East

Editors: Ferda Uzunyayla, Fuat Özdinç, M. Gürsan Şenalp, Hülya Kendir, Selime Güzelsarı 

In This Issue
A Critique of Political Economy of the Neo-Ottomanism: The Rise and Demise of A Transnational Hegemonic Project
Mehmet Gürsan Şenalp

This paper focuses on the political economy of the foreign relations of the “New Turkey”. The first part of the paper critically engages with some of the mainstream analyses of international relations from a political economy perspective. A short theoretical discussion in the second part relies on the analysis of “Amsterdam School” and its critical Marxist approach to international (or global) political economy (IPE). Here, by following Van der Pijl’s analysis, I understand the NeoOttomanism as a class project emerged as a transnational comprehensive concept of control
(hegemonic project) to be integrated into systemic neoliberalism on certain terms. The faith of the quest made by Erdogan and Davutoglu for a regional concept of control was determined by the dialectics of the systemic and transnational struggles. Such struggles have been taking place simultaneously at the national, regional and international levels and within the context of many states and regions; between the classes and capital fractions standing for or against the global leadership of money-dealing capital fraction that is leading world to a catastrophe.

Keywords: Neo-Ottomanism, Hegemonic Project, Foreign Policy, Amsterdam School, Middle East.
From the Debates on Caliphate to the Jihad Calls: Islamic
Political Thought in the Interwar Period (1918-1939)
Ateş Uslu

The present article aims at presenting the development of Islamic political thought in the Interwar era from a chronological perspective. The first chapter consists of a panorama of the debates on Ottoman caliphate of the immediate post-World War I era. The second part includes an analysis of the perspectives that were developed in the latter half of the 1920s on jihad (holy war) and Islamic organizations. The third part deals with the development of Islamist political thought in the 1930s. An overall analysis of the Interwar era shows that the content of the period’s political debates was determined by the growing level of political socialization in the Islamic societies. Even though the caliphate was a widely debated issue in the 1920s, attempts at a caliphal restoration after the abolition of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924 were uncapable of gaining a wide popular support. Theories on an Islamic state spread out during the same period, and authors such as Maududi and Hasal al-Banna, prominent ideologists of Islamism, published their early works during the same period.

Keywords: Islamism, Islamic Political Thought, Rashid Rida, Abul Ala Maududi, Hasan al-Banna.
Analysis of Transnational Class Formation and Capital Fractions and Its Contribution to the Critique of Global Political Economy Örsan Şenalp

This article aims to serve as an introductory text about the following piece in this volume entitled as “Transnational Classes, Fractions, and the Crisis” and written by the Dutch political economist Kees Van der Pijl, as one of the most productive and influential members of the Amsterdam School (or Project). It is my conviction that the analyses of transnational class formation and fractions of capital developed by the collaborators of the Amsterdam School since the 1970s, have been one of the most important contributions to the Marxian critique of global political economy of capitalism. Accordingly, along with a discussion on the reasons why I think in this way, I also hope to inform the reader about the theoretical and historical background underlying the analyses developed by Amsterdam research group.

Keywords: Marxism, Capitalism, Crisis, Transnational Classes, Fractions of Capital.
Transnational Classes, Fractions, and Crisis
Kees Van der Pijl

One of the key concepts in Marxist theory is the notion of class formation and the role of fractions in the process. Because this notion was presented in two different types of analysis, one the historic, “journalistic” accounts such as the Class Struggles in France, about the revolution of 1848 and how it was defeated; the other, Capital, volume II, the unfinished part of the planned treatise, the notion has remained incompletely assimilated in the Marxist tradition. In addition, there has been a persistent “national” bias in class analysis. In this contribution I look at how these two legacies of Marx’s analysis of fractions, may be combined and linked to the notion of transnational class formation.

Keywords: Transnational Classes, Fractions, Crisis, Concepts of Control, Neoliberalism.
Reflections of Neoliberalism on the Middle East and
North Africa Region
Berna Uymaz

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, transformations in the active role of government were implemented by the 1980s, especially through international agreements and reforms as consequences of financial relations with international organizations. The first examples of such neoliberal policies in the MENA region were seen through privatizations, but the region’s own economic and political structures and social opposition made it difficult to implement privatization practices.
Nowadays, although it seems contradictory in the framework of mainstream economics, in the MENA region as an alternative to privatizations, besides fiscal regulations also state interventions actively are used in order to support capital accumulation. The paper will discuss the state-market relationship in the MENA in the context of broad-based policies which fall within the scope of fiscal economics, in particular state owned enterprises (SOEs), public-private partnerships (PPPs) and sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) will be analysed.

Keywords: Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA), Neoliberal Policies, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs).
Absent Regions: Spaces of Financialisation in the Arab World
Adam Hanieh

This paper examines processes of financialisation in the Arab world, a region that has been almost completely absent from the wider financial literature. The paper shows that financialisation is much more than simply the expansion of financial markets within neatly bounded sets of social relations operating at the national scale. In the Arab world, financialisation has been marked by the growing weight of regional finance capital —most specifically, those capital groups based in the Gulf Cooperation Council—in circuits of capital operating at all scales. This has important implications for processes of class and state formation. Approaching financialisation in this manner—moving away from methodologically nationalist assumptions and the literature’s largely singular focus on the advanced capitalist core—brings into focus the significance of cross-scalar accumulation patterns, their spatial hierarchies, and geographic unevenness. The paper thus reaffirms the need for a more spatially sensitive approach to financialisation.

Keywords: Financialisation, Middle East, Gulf Cooperation Council, Space, Scale.
A Methodological Discussion on Right-Populism and Fascism: Global Patterns and National Specificities
Cenk Saraçoğlu

This article aims to construct a conceptual and methodological framework of understanding the nature and dynamics of the right-wing authoritarian movements and political forces that has been influential in an unprecedented manner and extent in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis. In this vein the article starts its endevour with an elaboration of the concept of right-populism and discusses the extent to which it could be a plausible analytical instrument of unravelling certain patterns observed in these movements and political practices. Based on this discussion the article asserts that the concept of populism would not suffice to bring to the light some significant national-level specificities that these movements possess. For this reason a comprehensive analysis of the contemporary right-wing reactionary movements entails the incorporation of the concept of fascism into analysis. The concept of fascism would make it possible to enlarge one’s analytical horizon through which to develop meaningful comparisons between different manifestations of the reactionary politics and to unravel their contextual and historical specificities. Projecting this theoretical and conceptual discussion onto Turkey this paper also aims to contribute to the recent discussions pertaining to the conceptualization of the recent state of Turkish politics and society.

Keywords: Populism, Right-populism, Fascism, Crisis, Ideology, Class.
The Long Death of Import Substitute Industrialization
Melih Yeşilbağ

In this paper, I develop a comparative framework to understand the variegated manifestations of the Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI) crisis and the reform attempts aiming to overcome this crisis in Mexico, Brazil, Turkey and India. Specifically, I seek to understand why decision makers in these countries, despite the obvious signals of bottleneck and bankruptcy by early 1970’s, did not or could not successfully reform the existing development regime and insisted on the existing set of policies and ended up with dramatic debt crises or stagnation a decade later. The existing literature on this question has been dominated by two rival camps, i.e. the neoclassical approach and the institutionalist approach. The former has regarded bureaucratic inertia and excessive state intervention that undermined the dynamism of market forces as the main reason behind the failure, whereas the latter has emphasized low state capacity due to the absence of institutional infrastructures and meritocratic bureaucracies to foster long-term development. Diverging from these approaches, I argue for the necessity of class analysis as the central tool to explain the variegations in developmental performance, state capacity, the intensity of the ISI crisis and the reform attempts in these countries. I further argue that ISI-based accumulation regimes generated certain class formation patterns that strengthened the hand of local capitalists vis-à-vis state managers’ developmental interventions, which in turn allowed them to resist possible reform attempts. Despite this common factor that invariably led to the failure of reform attempts, however, there were significant variations, mainly due to the diverging balance of class power, with respect to the strength of the reform initiative that emerged in these countries. My findings indicate that Mexico had the strongest reform initiative and Brazil had the weakest, whereas India and Turkey fell in between.

Keywords: Import Substitution, Development, Capitalist Class, Regime of Accumulation.
Interns and Infidels: The Transformation of Work and Citizenship in Turkey and the United States under Neo-liberalism
Kaan Ağartan – Cefric De Leon

How do the dispossessed remain governable under economic insecurity? What explains the persistence of work as a prerequisite to social rights in a time when fewer formal jobs exist? Drawing on a comparison of Turkey and the United States since 1980, we demonstrate that the neoliberal state deploys different versions of the “work-citizenship nexus” to manage both the shrinking minority who enjoy the benefits of full citizenship and the rest who struggle to attain the rights and privileges of the formally employed. We find that neo-liberal state practices comprise a dual movement. On the one hand, the state in both countries reorients itself toward the market in welfare provision and the regulation of labour relations, capitalising on precarious work structures to bring their populations into the fold of neo-liberal governance. On the other hand, the state directly intervenes in disparate ways to manage those who cannot make it in the market. While the American state uses tactics of mass incarceration and deportation, the Turkish state opts for a blend of social conservatism and authoritarianism. This dual movement of reorientation and direct intervention results in what we call “tiered citizenship regimes” that facilitate the management of the population in each case.

Keywords: Neo-liberalism, Work, Social Citizenship, Governmentality, Turkey, United States.

Book Review

Bir Kürt Müzisyeni Nasıl Oluşur?
Şen, B. (2016), Devlet Piyasa Parti, Nizamettin Ariç ve Kürt Müziği, İstanbul: Avesta.
Aslı Kayhan