The Evolution of Totalitarianism

Communism was the first form of totalitarianism to emerge in Europe and was founded as the ideology of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” in the 19th century. It was followed by Fascism such as Nazism in the first half of the 20th century and subsequently emerged third world totalitarian ideologies, i.e. Afwerkism (Eritrea), Ba’athism (Syria and Iraq), Gaddafism, (Libya), Juche (North Korea) and Slorcism (Myanmar). There is also Kahanism which first emerged in the United States and later spread to Israel as well as other Jewish advocacy of theocracy in Israel. 

Islamism first emerged as a modern movement in the 19th century and the last Caliphate was abolished in Turkey in 1924. Most Muslims were historically part of Islamic empires governed by sharia law and this has spurred many Sunni Islamists to dream of the restoration of the Caliphate and the imposition of an Islamist interpretation of sharia as state law. Islamists are neo-imperialist, they dream of reviving historical Islamic imperialism, first throughout Islamdom and subsequently worldwide. They are Muslim pan-nationalists, indeed ultra-nationalist imperialists. 

Cuba is the only Communist country which retains a full-fledged Communist system, China, Laos and Vietnam have all gone capitalist. Islamist Afghanistan, Afwerkist Eritrea, Islamist Iran, Juche North Korea and Ba’athist Syria are the other remaining totalitarian states. However, at present no other totalitarian ideology than Islamism poses a global threat and no other totalitarian ideology at present threatens to take over entire states. Kahanism and Haredi/Hardali totalitarian ideology in Israel is an emerging totalitarian threat (due to high fertility rates of advocates of totalitarian theocracy) but one which is limited to Israel.

The two main thinkers of 20th century Islamism are the Twelver Shia Ali Shariati (1933-1977) the ideological father of the Islamist revolution of Iran and the Sunni Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue behind most contemporary forms of Sunni Islamism and Sunni Jihadism, including al Qaida. Global Islamism/Jihadism through these two thinkers became significantly influenced by Nazism and Communism. 

There needs to be a global awakening about the threat posed by the one remaining dangerous totalitarian ideology with realistic imperialist ambitions and which threatens to take over entire states. This is not about Muslims versus non-Muslims as the Islamists tell the Muslims or a question of Islamophobia as they tell the non-Muslims. This is humanity united against totalitarianism. Fascism and Communism were once mass movements capable of taking over entire countries, not so anymore. Today’s totalitarian ideology with mass movements capable of taking over entire countries is Islamism. 

It is however unfortunate that there are growing movements of bigots conflating the urgent cause of fighting the totalitarian ideology of Islamism with prejudice against the diverse world religion of Islam. While there must be complete freedom of religion (including freedom from religion, freedom of apostasy and freedom of blasphemy) can there be no room for inter-religious bigotry. 

There are two urgent tasks at hand with respect to the neo-imperialist totalitarian ideology of Islamism. One is rolling back, contracting, imploding and dissolving the Khomeinist empire and the other is thoroughly discrediting Islamism and Jihadism among Muslims worldwide. This way will a united world once more prevail against the scourge of totalitarianism.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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