The rise of Islamism 2.0

The Arab Spring played a vital role in flipping the axis of political power in the middle east. A new face to government in the middle east is now ever so obvious, where Islamic parties are at favorable odds. Whether formerly being in clear opposition to the late regimes- in the case of Tunisia, or as participators in the political process (be that indirectly in the case of the Muslim Brotherhood and more directly by the Al Wefaq in Bahrain) the Arab spring has only empowered Islamists somehow proving their resilience to revolution.

The reason behind that can be simplified when considering the range of which Islamism exerts influence in society and the masses of which it appeals. For Islamism appeals to the poor (by providing welfare through institutions that carry out zakaat) and to the upper middle class which find a refuge in Islamism for keeping the status quo intact thus safeguarding their status and welfare in society. In short, and whilst considering the Islamist model presented to date, Islamism appeals to a wide a range of differing class interests.

That said, Islamism is not expected to carry out great economic change when it takes office -that which in fact be considered socialist i.e. through institutionalizing zakaat as a form of income/corporate tax. For the current capitalist system which Islamists operate within imply that the sources of finance for the operations of such parties comes from middle class sympathizers- that would naturally be unhappy with such a change. That can be exemplified when considering the rise of the Islamic Republican Party (IRP) after the demise of the late Shah of Iran. Where arguably because the funds of the IRP generated from middle class merchants of the (Bazaar), the Islamist movement in Iran focused on rearranging the values of society in the name of anti-imperialism rather than reconstructing an economic system (which further-complied with Islamic teachings).

Thus, this leads one to wonder: is Islamism as a political ideology able to provide a plan for economic relations in society, or does it restrain itself to rearranging the values of society thus keeping the capitalists status quo intact?