Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920


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Consider the issues of homosexuality and abortion. Political propagandists like to point out that large majorities of Muslims in nearly all countries think that both practices are immoral, an observation that is supposed to demonstrate the undemocratic, regressive nature of Islam. They fail to point out that most Christians agree with Muslims on these points.

Education, however, is a significant variable in both Islamic and Christian countries, insofar as it encourages egalitarian attitudes. The reality, however, is far different from what American newspapers would lead you to think. And despite the legal 60 Ibid. The punishments for partying, dating, having premarital sex and adopting Western fashion are usually not very severe, ranging from one or two nights in jail to a whipping. More encouragingly, the government now requires young couples to attend classes on family planning, where they are supposed to learn about disease transmission, contraception, mental health, even female sexual pleasure.


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Frustrated men and women turn to their own sex for satisfaction. This leads to some confusion about their religious identity, but not as much as one would think, for the Koran is surprisingly reticent on the subject of homosexuality. It considers sodomy a sin but neither devotes much space to the subject nor prescribes punishments. Gay Muslims often rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that God is merciful. Presumably, then, God would also forgive other transgressions: Private misbehavior is fine, as long as public decorum is observed.

Cinemas are forbidden, but people watch pirated DVDs.

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Drinking is illegal, but alcohol flows at parties. Women wrap their bodies and faces in layers of black, but pornography flourishes. The answer should be evident from the foregoing, but it is instructive anyway to look at polls. The topic was the role of the United Nations. Some people reject liberal values; many embrace them wholeheartedly. Many women wear the veil; many dress like ordinary American women, in shorts or tight jeans.

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Let us note, first of all, that a generation ago the average woman in the Middle East and North Africa MENA raised more than six children, while today she can expect to raise half as many. The number is even smaller for women in their early twenties. The growth rate was a high 5. Bodman, Nayereh Tohidi, eds.

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For women, the increase was more dramatic: from 0. By the year , they accounted for more than 50 percent… [University] enrollment rates rose from around 9 percent in to almost 14 percent in … And by , women outnumbered men entering local colleges and universities in many MENA countries, including Lebanon, Oman, and Qatar.

As a middle class is born and pressures toward political reform mount, a nascent civil society is developing in the Middle East.

In countries like Syria and Iran it is not yet much to speak of, but dissident groups, both liberal and conservative, are gaining support everywhere. Women are agitating for rights, students are rejecting the ways of their parents—a generation-gap is noticeable all over the region. Change is accelerating. What are we to conclude from this brief discussion?

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Each region has had to respond somehow to the massive destruction of traditional social relations, be they tribal, feudal, familial, and so on, as well as the poverty, famine, class inequality, and ethnic tensions that have directly or indirectly followed the supplanting of pre-modern social relations by exploitative capitalist ones.

In retrospect, this process of reaction and adjustment was bound to be agonizing and agonizingly protracted. One hundred and fifty years after the abolition of serfdom, Russia is still developing a coherent and stable institutional framework for capitalism; years after the Taiping Rebellion, China is finally achieving the same goal; African and Latin American nations have had their own horrific legacy of colonization to overcome.


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Democratization will gradually, if painfully, spread. One wonders why liberal democracy follows capitalism in this way. In the short term, of course, it does not: centuries of struggle were necessary for stable democracy to be established in the West, and in the meantime we had fascism, Nazism, and other unsavory forms of government.

Be that as it may, it is obvious that capitalism, especially in its early stages, need not correlate with democracy. Is this connection merely a historical accident, or does democracy somehow grow out of the positive tendencies of capitalism? Unfortunately I cannot consider this question in detail here. This was true, at least, with respect to the original struggles for democracy in the West.

In brief, the most important factor was probably the creation of a working class that had a vested interest in extending the franchise to all people, in achieving social equality as far as it was able: Legal emancipation of labour and the creation of a free labour market, industrialization, concentration of capital are all intrinsic tendencies [of capitalism] which simultaneously lay the basis for a working-class movement of a strength and stability inachievable by the exploited classes of pre-capitalist modes of production. Evo Morales was elected president of Bolivia in after popular protests and 80 See Hunter and Malik, op.

He was himself once a poor farmer; the poor farmers brought him to power; after elected, he led an effort to revise the Bolivian constitution so that it would be friendly to the indigenous poor. Venezuela too has made notable moves toward democracy in recent years, again on the basis of mass demonstrations and sustained activism by the indigenous poor in support of Hugo Chavez.

Such examples of the continued importance of working-class activism to democratization could be multiplied. New elements, however, have been added in this age of globalization. New pressures toward democracy and liberalism. Television, the internet, radio, movies, and popular culture in general broadcast seductive images of a vibrant society—and raise political issues of equality and liberty—to people all over the world, who become progressively discontented and finally demand egalitarian reforms.

Their governments can resist for a while, but not forever. The former is reactionary and without hope; the latter is the future, as it has been for centuries. To that end, I have argued against the idea of a clash of civilizations, except insofar as the spread of capitalism has indeed been undermining pre-modern social structures in the West, too ever since its inception. Virtually any ideology can be manipulated in this way, for example Christianity.

Like the Islamic variant, it is basically a doomed attempt to dam the flood of global integration and stop the erosion of traditional social structures. I have also argued that Muslim terrorism, which according to polls is as hated in Muslim societies as in the West, is not the apocalyptic threat it is sometimes thought to be. It is disorganized, amateurish, fragmented, reliant on a few charismatic personalities because it lacks a coherent set of institutions.

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Its history is a record of blunders, accidents, miscalculations, and the occasional fortuitous success. Furthermore, I have argued that, under the pressure of globalization, the Islamic world is starting to experience a wave of democratization and liberalization. As we will see, these predictions are overstated.

First of all, what exactly is the problem under consideration? It has been stated a thousand times in the mainstream media and the scholarly literature: Muslim communities in Europe are not integrating themselves into the dominant secular, liberal-democratic order, a fact that is both cause and effect of social tensions. That is, Muslims increasingly identify not with Europe or their country of residence but with Islam—a phenomenon that is especially pronounced in the younger generation.

Among Muslims, in fact, the findings were striking: in France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain, Muslims were more positive than the general public about the way things were going in their countries.

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According to the U. Or, alternatively, there could be, for instance, increasingly widespread and destructive riots in response to discrimination, which might lead to the election of far-right governments that would only exacerbate the problem. National Intelligence Council, however, projects that it will double by Why do many Muslim communities segregate themselves from the larger population to an even greater extent than other immigrant communities do?

Why do they cling to traditional Islamic values? Why has terrorism increased? The facts speak for themselves: in Britain, for instance, Muslim communities are concentrated in the most deprived urban areas.

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One-third of British Muslim children live in households where none of the adults is employed, households where depressive attitudes prevail, where the social circles are narrow and conservative. Like Mexican communities in the United States, they began in poverty and have not yet, after two or three generations, transcended their poverty.

clublavoute.ca/wuvut-jayena-dating.php The problem of poverty is reinforced by the problem of discrimination.

Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920 Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920
Social democracy and society - Working-class radicalism in Dusseldorf, 1890-1920

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