Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Class Struggles in South Yemen

Written by Frederik Ohsten
Tuesday, 12 January 2010

These days, there are a lot of reports on Yemen in the mainstream media in the West. Most of these reports really don’t say anything about the desperate situation inside Yemen. Furthermore, they say nothing about the class struggle and the revolutionary traditions in Yemen.

Read the rest here



SecondComingOfBast said...

Revolutionary traditions? What revolutionary traditions? They still grind their own sesame oil inside their own homes-with their own camels. Their independent and strong, yeah, but revolutionary-hardly.

Anonymous said...

Do you accept the definition of Stalinism in this article?

Have you ever read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer?

Anonymous said...

When the Berlin Wall fell, and all old International Socialist sources of revolutionary funding dried up, all the "too cool for school" Marxists immediately flipped over to the Jihadi cause supported by the extreme Saudi and Yemeni Wahhabi dime... except for a few Shi'a, that is. They looked to Qom and the "Revolutionary Guard" to keep revolutionary output rolling.

We can largely thank the Yemeni's for supplying revolutions and jihadi revolutionaries in causes from Eritrea, Darfur, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan to Kenya.

If one wished to address the "root causes" of terrrorism, he would be wise to start with the "Marxist" revolutions turned jihadi in these countries.

Craig Bardo said...

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you reflexively FJ but there's something inherent in Arab culture that exploits the flaws in the theology of Islam. Insofar as the appropriate way to "interpret" the Qu'ran, Bin Laden and jihadists are correct. Based on the hadiths and especially the abrogation approach of the the tasfir, Surah 9, At-Tawba, is the last word on how to deal with Jews and Christians who don't revert. It is also the way, according to the Qu'ran to deal with Muslims who object to enslaving or killing infidels.

These folks have been attacking us since the establishment of the republic. Congress initially bribed the "Barbary Coast Pirates." Until Jefferson sent the Marines to the shores of Tripoli.

SecondComingOfBast said...

If socialism is the answer for all of Yemen, I'd like to know how it is going to address the question of how the country is going to deal with zero oil revenue by 2017. Obviously they are going to have to plan for something else. Wouldn't it be a better idea to start the revolution in a different part of the Arab peninsula and then work towards inclusion of Yemen within the framework, than the other way around?

Wouldn't it be better to start in Iran, or Iraq, or Syria, or Jordan-almost anyplace but Yemen, which the article affirms is one of the poorest nations in the world?

Isn't establishing a socialist state in Yemen (assuming that's even remotely possible under the current set of circumstances, which I don't) and wanting to work from there pretty much the same kind of mistake as establishing one in Russia and then hoping Germany hops on board?

Why would any of these countries go along with that? I can see it now-The Socialist Democratic People's Republic of Arabia. Why do I see a problem with this idea ever being taken seriously by anybody over there that actually gets out of their parents house?

Did the article writer actually interview anybody over there to get their perspective on this subject? If so, I would like to know how many women the interview subject is responsible for watching over until their husband comes home.

Frank Partisan said...

Tragedy 101: Yes and yes. Hoffer makes less sense everyday that passes. Mass movements come from conditions. People join and quit.

Pagan: Obviously Yemen isn't where to start. You know I consider Egypt and Iran, as the important countries in the Middle East.

Read the post. It talks about revolutionary struggle in Yemen.

What's with the women business? It's a backward country.

FJ: You've got it all turned around. The source of $$ and weapons to jihadists, are linked to Afghanistani fundamentalists, with the help of the CIA, Pakistan, and the Saudis. Political Islam goes back to John Foster Dulles, supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

In Afghanistan much of the resistance to the US is secular, who supported the Soviets.

CB: I think the history of Islam is more complicated. Most governments follow the philosophy of pragmatism. Al-Qaeda is overall a small movement.

I think you're right about what is in the Koran. I don't think it's important.

SecondComingOfBast said...


"I think you're right about what is in the Koran. I don't think it's important."

Oh, it's important all right. You know that saying about "winning hearts and minds", right?

Well, the Koran rules their hearts, and through the Koran the imams and mullahs rule their minds.

If you win the support of secular rulers, you can only accomplish so much, because a secular ruler can only command a limited amount of loyalty.

In many cases, you are left with a containment strategy that involves corruption and repression, which is always counter-productive, albeit at times unavoidable.

If you win the support of the imams, you by extension have the support of the people, for the most part.

So you say you want the Arabian peninsula to become socialist? Same scenario. Win over the support of the imams, and you will have it. If you don't win their support, it's never going to happen. Just that simple.

Good luck with that.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: Islam is prevalent in many different countries. Within those countries are different classes. Within the same classes, there are political differences.

I was at a political meeting. There was a person talking about the local Somali community. This person's perspective couldn't understand, why one part is picketing the other?

Think about how silly it's to think of it as a monolith?

SecondComingOfBast said...

It is a monolith in the Middle East. What else would you call it? You might attract some adherents among the Islamic communities in Europe and America. Just maybe.

Translating that into any kind of growth in places like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, or anywhere else is going to be a different story. It's not going to happen, because the people by and large are too emotionally invested in their faith.

They don't have to be suicide bombers, plane hijackers, or members of any form of militant Islam. In fact, they can be dead set against those things, as most of them probably are, but that's still beside the point.

You're not going to win them over to your side. The imams-and by the imams I don't mean just the radicals, I mean every single one of them-are not going to put up with it.

But hey, if you insist on promoting this losing, useless cause, be my guest.

Anonymous said...


but there's something inherent in Arab culture that exploits the flaws in the theology of Islam.

Those aren't flaws in Islam that they're exploiting, CB. It's "our" western cultural and religious Christian "weaknesses" that are being exploited.

For as you so aptly stated, the Islamic fundamentalists have always remained true to their faith. Even if that meant cloaking it in for a time in "revoltionary" rhetoric.

And you can't say that which is true for the 'Arab' culture is untrue for the 'Persian' derivative, which was originally a composite of the luxurious Medean (Iraq) with Spartan Persia (Iran).

troutsky said...

I agree the lack of economic development makes it an unlikely candidate for socialist revolution.

On the other hand, it doesn't necessarily equate to interminable religious extremism either. Secular movements arise throughout history.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: South Yemen had a secular government at one time. It was a deformed Stalinist government. The US propped up Islamists, to overthrow that government. Political Islam was invented by the US. Nothing is permanent.

FJ: I have the same answer to you as Pagan. Islam is not a monolith. people are from different countries, of different classes, of differences within their own classes, different generations etc. People are trying different things all the time. The US went through the school of Bush, and now the school of Obama.

Troutsky: South Yemen had a Stainist government once. It went under, because of top down planning.

SecondComingOfBast said...


I know Yemen had a secular government. So have a lot of other Islamic countries. South Yemen wasn't the first, it already wasn't the last. They are all irrelevant to my point. How many South Yemenis were loyal Stalinists. How many would have been loyal socialists of "the right kind" if it had been as you would have wanted it to be.

How many Muslims would embrace secular socialism if it were ever instituted? How many Imams would you win over? How would you win them over? Would the Imams be permitted to keep the same degree of power and influence over the people they do now, or would socialist secular rulers draw a line in the sand and say, "don't cross over this line"?

What do you think the reaction to that would be? Do you think the people would support the socialist secular rulers, or would they support their Imams? If you think they would choose against the Imams (or if you think the Imams would accede to secular dictates), on what do you base this position?


It's not just religious extremism, it's Islam in general. The Imams would not support it, in my opinion. If the Imams do not support it, the people will not. That's just the long and the short of it.

Anonymous said...

I have the same answer to you as Pagan. Islam is not a monolith. people are from different countries, of different classes, of differences within their own classes, different generations etc. People are trying different things all the time.

All attempting to emulate what Mohammed did, unite the ummah and restore the caliphate.

Call it pan-Arabism, call it wahabbi fundamentalism, or call it the "return of the Mahdi, the end goal remains the same.

And it's NOT the same as "International Socialism," no matter how much the Left desires such to be the case.

Anonymous said...

Let's all just face the facts. The Islamicists are nothing but another group of imperialists, pure and simple. They have NO shared interests or solidarity with "workers" of the West other than, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

And the "Persian" Shi'a Islamicist are fighting the Sunni "Arab" Islamicists for supremacy in control of the restored caliphate, pure and simple. And they've been fighting for internal control since the Fifth of the Twelve original Imams following Mo.

Ducky's here said...

Insofar as the appropriate way to "interpret" the Qu'ran, Bin Laden and jihadists are correct.


CB, how is it that Americans became Islamic scholars in such a very short time?

Do you feel you (or most any other American) has sufficient standing to state how the Koran "should" be interpreted?

I'm sorry but it's risible reading the gyrations of you folk who suddenly think you understand Islam. You understand that something threatened you bourgeois comfort but attempts to translate that into an understanding of the complexities of Islam are failures.

SecondComingOfBast said...


It's as easy to interpret the Quran as it is to interpret the Bible. Anybody can do it. There's one simple key to understanding the Quran, and the Bible, and that is-get ready for it-

They both mean exactly what they say.

There isn't any great, heavy, mystical, symbolic language or "hidden meaning" that you have to pour over and study, or meditate and pray over until some divine force suddenly decides to grace you with the proper interpretation, nor do you have to have anyone explain it to you as to what it is "really saying". Ancient peoples just didn't think like that.

If there is any such writings, such as in the Book of Revelations or Daniel, in the case of the Bible, then it is clearly understood as such. Sections of the Bible like that were probably not intended for mass consumption, originally, as much as they were coded messages for Christian leaders meant to keep enemies from understanding certain things if they happened to get hold of their communications with each other.

Otherwise, the Bible means what it says and says what it means, and the same is true of the Quran.

When the Quran says to kill the infidels wherever you find them, it means exactly what it says-it's not some secret symbolic code that really means "kill the infidels wickedness and unfaithfulness by showing ye kindness and love unto them". It means, "kill the motheruckers!"

When it says "ye shall be allowed up to seven wives", that's not a symbolic code meaning "love ye one women every day of the week as though each day she is a different women whom ye have never slept with before".

It means if a Muslim male wants seven different wives he can damn well have them.

The Quran wasn't composed as a book of secret occult knowledge for the edification and inspiration of a small group of highly educated individuals who wanted to understand the mysteries of the universe. If that were the case, then you hidden meaning people might have a point. But that's simply not the case.

The Quran was composed for a mass audience of seventh century Arabian men who honestly believed God threw lightning bolts because somebody really pissed him off. It was meant to be read as such.

When young boys spend hours on end day after day, year after year, bowing and reciting the Quran until they know it by heart, and it becomes etched into the deepest recesses of their conscious and subconscious beings, do you think possibly they are looking for "hidden meanings" or do you think they are taking it to mean precisely what it says?

Anonymous said...

CB, how is it that Americans became Islamic scholars in such a very short time?

Nine years is a "short time"? Oh, that's right, the Left STILL refuses to take Islam seriously, so for YOU and the "forces of the proletariate", it REALLY HAS been a "short time"... in fact... it's been "NO time.

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: I've never posted on what is imperialism. Most people use it wrong. Colonialism is something else. One can be a regional imperialist as Brazil and Argentina.

There is no material basis, for people to want to return to feudalism. There is what Trotsky calls combined and uneven development. Think of a barefoot boy, walking down an unpaved road with a cellphone. People don't want caliphates. They want Facebook, cool homes and nightclubs.

There may be sects that want to turn back the clock. That is not all of Islam.

Pagan: You answered Ducky wrong. You should have said, most haven't studied religion as much as I did.

Ducky: There is no Islamic world. It is highly divided.

SecondComingOfBast said...


I think you might not get what the Caliphate entails. I don't see it as something that is against technological or material advances. Many of it's proponents might have a problem with nightclubs and things of that nature, involving alcohol, and even that might be debatable.

All the Caliphate really is is an aim to unite the Arab world under one banner. It would eliminate borders and nations, and it would be just one large Islamic nation. Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, etc., would become regions, not nations, and travel back and forth from one to the other would be free and generally uninhibited.

It has nothing to do with no Facebook or turning back the clock in technological terms.

tony said...

Whenever a country gets noticed by mainstream media & our Glorious "Leaders"........It's never good news.

Anonymous said...

There may be sects that want to turn back the clock. That is not all of Islam.

Cui bono?

The moderates don't fight them. They seldom denounce them. And when the extremist sects hide and shelter themselves amongst the "peaceful" of the Ummah, the moderates give them "aid and comfort."

Once the extremist Taliban do take down a country like Afghanistan, or Somalia, who do newly established Shari'a Islamic Courts and government offices serve? Not the cellphoned ones with the cool homes and nightclubs. After all, the extremists are out to "purify" the Ummah as well, stone the heretics, eliminate the heresy's, and turn back the clocks.

The moderates benefit socially and materially from the tension between the extremists and the West... but only to the extent that the extremists never completely "win". The jihadi's serve as the Ummah's "revolutionary vanguard."

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: I think Arab unity isn't possible. To many contradictions, as class differences, national differences and even religious differences. Nasser tried to accomplish that.

FJ: Isn't Karzai the mayor of Kabul?

If Somalia had something resembling a government, I think the fundamentalists could be defeated.

As for the Taliban, they are the monster the US created to fight a secular government. I think a socialist Iran, would have big ramifications for Iran.

The US is paying Taliban, for right to passage of equiptment. They have the Pakistan ISI in their pocket.

The connection you're talking about between moderates and extremists, sounds like a conspiracy theory. The Taliban is authentically hated.

Tony: The IMF is asking for money to be returned for loans to Haiti.

SecondComingOfBast said...


It might not be a willing conspiracy between moderates and fundamentalists, but it might as well be. The effect is almost always the same. Moderates probably would favor a secular government, but it seems to take outside influence or direct intervention to establish secular government, maybe with the exception of Turkey, which is a rarity. Moderates will not fight the religious extremists, is the point.

What you are saying about the Taliban is also not accurate. The Mujahadeen first promoted by the US against the Soviets were fighting the Taliban (led by Massoud) up until practically the last minute of the first stages of the US invasion.

If anything, the emergence of the Taliban kind of proves my point. Once the Soviets left, the US influence waned as well. The Mujahadeen then broke into factions.

Out of those factions, which one came out clearly on top?

Answer-That very same Taliban the moderates hate so much.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Arab unity probably is impossible at this stage, I was just saying that's the idea behind the Caliphate. There were differences within the Ottoman Empire as well, and that thing went on for four centuries. That's basically what the fundamentalists want to restore, though probably not centered in Istanbul, and more religious.

The religious differences are minimal when you consider Shi'ites make up not much more than ten percent of the overall population, and in addition, they are more or less concentrated in specific areas.

They probably for the most part are not as attached to their national identities as you think.

They seem to care about class distinctions even less.

Nasser is and was irrelevant to this discussion. He was a tool of the Soviets, and had no chance (or true intentions) of establishing any kind of far-reaching and comprehensive Pan-Arab unity. There was no possible chance for that in the Cold War atmosphere of the day.

Somalia seems to me a perfect example of what you would have under a socialist system that managed to not be diverted to Stalinism. Which is probably why they all tend to eventually become Stalinist pretty quickly.

Maybe I am wrong about Somalia, but one thing I know I'm right about it, you will never convince the Immams to go along with your socialist plans, which means that they will never-repeat, NEVER-come to pass.

Anonymous said...

FJ: Isn't Karzai the mayor of Kabul?

Exactly. The moderates are toast whenever the extremists reach a "critical mass" in the suburbs. Because when you live in the suburbs, the police station isn't "just around the corner". It's thirty miles down a dirt road away, and someone who wants to kill you is likely to do it and be long gone before they get there.

Anonymous said...

Islam is a tribally based structure that favors the mujahadeen in sealing defensive alliances though "marrying cousins" (1st wife) and/or taking opposition chief daughters hostage (2nd-nth wife). Only sometimes, this policy can backfire (if the US Army has 140,000 troops in the province)

On the Anbar Uprising:

Islam, of course, is a key identity marker when dealing with non-Muslim outsiders, but when all involved are Muslim, kinship trumps religion. And in fact, most tribal Iraqis I have spoken with consider AQ’s brand of “Islam” utterly foreign to their traditional and syncretic version of the faith. One key difference is marriage custom, the tribes only giving their women within the tribe or (on rare occasions to cement a bond or resolve a grievance, as part of a process known as sulha) to other tribes or clans in their confederation (qabila). Marrying women to strangers, let alone foreigners, is just not done. AQ, with their hyper-reductionist version of “Islam” stripped of cultural content, discounted the tribes’ view as ignorant, stupid and sinful.

This led to violence, as these things do: AQI killed a sheikh over his refusal to give daughters of his tribe to them in marriage, which created a revenge obligation (tha’r) on his people, who attacked AQI. The terrorists retaliated with immense brutality, killing the children of a prominent sheikh in a particularly gruesome manner, witnesses told us. This was the last straw, they said, and the tribes rose up. Neighboring clans joined the fight, which escalated as AQI (who had generally worn out their welcome through high-handedness) tried to crush the revolt through more atrocities. Soon the uprising took off, spreading along kinship lines through Anbar and into neighboring provinces.

Other tribesmen told me women weren’t the only issue. The tribes run smuggling, import/export and construction businesses which AQI shut down, took over, or disrupted through violent disturbances that were “bad for business”.

Anonymous said...

The problem in Afghanistan is that Osama bin Laden has intermarried with many Taliban tribes.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: Somalia is barely a country, let alone socialist. You sometimes get worked up, and get into magical thinking. I have no idea what you're saying.

Nasser came as close as possible to Arab unity, in modern times. He was held back by the Soviets. He wanted to go farther with nationalizations.

FJ: The hope for Afghanistan, is revolution in Pakistan and Iran.

Anonymous said...

Revolution in Pakistan will result in the Taliban taking control of the government and its' nuclear weapons. Revolution in Iran will help America's interests in many regions of the ME, but it won't help significantly in Pakistan/ Afghanistan.

SecondComingOfBast said...

I did not say Somalia was socialist. I said Somalia is what kind of result you could have, in some cases (maybe in most or all cases) if you tried to implement socialism without Stalinism, or without some other kind of top down centralized planning and enforcement.

Anonymous said...

Pagan: Didn't you read the Article?

That is not their definition of Stalinism.

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: Somalia has nothing. Not even clear borders. Socialism is based on abundance.

Tragedy: Probably agree.

FJ: The Taliban is weak and hated in Pakistan.

The Islamists are the counterrevolution. See Pakistan 1969-71.

SecondComingOfBast said...

"Pagan: Somalia has nothing. Not even clear borders. Socialism is based on abundance."

Yeah, I know, ideally, that it is based on abundance to start out with. I'm not talking about beginnings though, I'm talking about aftermaths.

You're talking about beginnings. I'm talking about endings and in-betweens.

Anonymous said...

The Taliban is weak and hated in Pakistan.

LOL! That's why they control all the non Baluchi autonomous states... and the "Mayor of Pakistan" stays in Islamibad.

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