Single-Party States of the Middle East

I had not written anything in the Oriental for over a week. I had managed to not go insane one more time at a stronghold of the Turkish Cathedral; a Turkish university, to be more precise. Lectures had begun at my university.

I had an argument in one of my classes. I quarreled with one of the other students. He argued that the single party states are a bunch of anomalies and the Single-party states of the Middle East are exceptions. He added that the Middle East needs more democracy. A shit full of Modernist and Demotist awfulness, great. I already want to write about the single-party state thing.

My answers were like these:

  • The Single-party states are not exceptional things in the Middle East.
  • The idea of a single party is a result of modernization, and all single-party states are modernist and demotist states. This also means the demotist thought has infected into the all sides of politics.

Let’s extend my all answers one by one:

The Single-party states are not exceptional things in the Middle East.

If someone really argues that in a discussion about our world, I would have serious doubts about that person and his (I normally prefer masculine gender when I write in English, except some cases it is necessary to use feminine one, it is not a problem when I write in Turkish, since Turkish language is a gender neutral language and does not distinguish between his, her, or its) education on politics, especially on the Middle Eastern politics.

First of all, we should look at the histories of the single-party regimes in the Middle East, I will write all single-party regimes in the Middle East one by one:

Let’s begin with my country, Turkey.

Turkey: Single-party state between 1923 and 1946 (de jure), or 1950 (de facto). military interventions in 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997, military tried to intervene in 1944, 1950, 1957, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1971, 2005 and 2007, not a stable, great democracy like Swedenistan, eh?

Iraq: Single-party state between 1964 and 2003, the regime at Iraq had collapsed with the Coalition forces, without the War of Gulf, Saddam would survive until the so-called the Arab spring, a civil war would have occurred in Iraq after that, just like in Syria.

Iran: Iran was an interesting case. Iran had a monarch , but at the same time, it was a single-party state between 1975 and 1978. After the so-called Islamic revolution, this trend had not changed, it was again a single-party state between 1981 and 1987.

Syria: Single-party state between 1953-1954 and 1963-2012, it had become a multi-party state because of the Syrian civil war. Sometimes, a civil war can bring more democracy, huh?

Yemen: Both of Yemens (North Yemen and South Yemen) were single-party states. North Yemen was a single-party state between 1982 and 1988, South Yemen was a single-party state between 1978 and 1990.

Can someone really say that the single-party regimes are exceptions in the Middle East?

The idea of a single party is a result of modernization, and all single-party states are modernist and demotist states.

This seems contradictory at first, but actually quite understandable. All single-party regimes are the results of demotist and modernist thought.

First, why they need a political party to rule if they are not going to compete with the others for the political control? Why they don’t call themselves as “The State”, “The Ruling Elite” or “The Government”?

Maybe some can say that in some single-party regimes (such as Fascist Italy, and Kemalist Turkey in 1937), the party equates himself with the State?

I will answer that claim with this:

If they really equate themselves with their states, why they had not shut down their parties (such as the National Fascist Party at Italy and the Republican People’s Party in Turkey), why they had not left from their parties?

Second, all ruling parties in the single-party regimes has cliques and/or factions. The three factions of the Arab Socialist Union of Egypt is a good example for that. A single party regime is not different that a multi party regime in terms of political conflicts. The only difference is that in a multi-party state, the political conflicts occur before the eyes of public, while in a single-party state, the political conflicts occur before the eyes of party members.

Third, all single-parties would eventually evolve to dominant-party regimes. Look at Egypt, Turkey, Syria. All became democracies. The single-party idea is not against the democracy, it only postpones the emergence a democracy. Maybe Hayek was right in a certain sense, an authoritarian regime can be used as transitional phase.

Now, we should look at the single-party states of the Middle East. What will we see that?:

ALL MIDDLE EASTERN SINGLE-PARTY STATES ARE MODERNIZERS!

Look at their parties and their ideologies:

  • Arab Socialist Union (Egypt): Nasserism
  • Republican People’s Party (Turkey): Kemalism
  • Arab Socialist Baath Party – Iraq Region (Iraq): Baathism
  • Arab Socialist Baath Party – Syria Region (Syria): Baathism (Iraqi and Syrian Baathism has some differences)
  • Yemeni Socialist Party (South Yemen): Marxism

All those ideologies are aiming to modernize and they are the direct result of modernist and demotist thought. Also, those ideologies and their parties were institutional for the creation and the consolidation of the Cathedral at their countries.

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