The question whether Political Islam has failed or not due to theinternal structure of the Islamic political movement, in either Algeria or anyother country in the Islamic World, is an important question for the analysis ofthe politicized Islamic phenomena. Olivier Roy sees the movement as a failure,not only in Algeria but also in the whole area from Casablanca to Tashkent, themovement has resulted in failure due to many reasons that are seen as commonamong all the divisions of the movement regardless of their different socio-economic and political background that are more or less responsible of thegeneration of such movements. The Algerian case is the best case one can see asa direct application of Roy’s theoretical analysis of the Failure of politicalIslam.Order now
The Islamic movement started in Algeria by the end of the 1980’s, aftera long era of the corrupt regime and it’s economic in efficiency that led thecountry to live under extremely harsh standards of living for the averageindividual. While most of the Algerian citizens are under 30, namely 75%, whichmeans a huge number of people in need for a high rate of creation of jobs,especially with the growth rate of population that is up to 3%, thirty percentof the Gross National Product used to go to service the payment of the nationaldebt . This, of course, resulted in the decline of the growth rate of the GNP. What made it even worse is the fall of natural gas revenues during the 1980’s. In the days after the dual fall of the price of oil and the value of the dollar,the demographic expansion had pushed the GNP’s growth curve below the horizontalfor the first time in years. Such economic conditions were very much responsible for the instabilityand the weakening of the legitimacy of the FLN government.
The plummeting ofoil prices in the 1980’s combined with the mismanagement of Algeria’s highlycentralized economy brought about the nation’s most serious economic and socialsince the early days of independence. Housing conditions were extremely badand it was normal for the average citizen to live in one room with six otherpeople. The economic frustration was a general of the Algerian citizen andstill is. This economic frustration led to street riots that were notcharacterized by an Islamic attitude but rather a normal frustration that anypopulation would feel towards an inefficient corrupt regime that seems to bedirectly responsible for such economic status. The masses that took thestreets of Algerian cities, in October 1988, were not only Islamists but workers,students, secularists, leftists, feminists and Berberists, all demonstratingtheir disillusionment with the FLN (National Liberation Front). The FLNgovernment responded by the Army intervention and the arbitrary arresting of theprotesters.
They used torture against people which ultimately created a highmeasure of resentment and destruction of the government legitimacy. Moreover,the government doctrine to reform the Algerian economy was so much supportive tothose who had money already, which gave no benefit to the crushed masses thatwere striving under poor standards of life, which is the case in most countriesthat undergo transitional periods of economic reform where the desperate needfor investment forces the government to grant the investors more rights and lessduties to assure an attractive business environment. However, the corruptregime seemed to do that for its own benefit since most of the rich Algerianswere practically either government officials or having strong connections withthe authority. Thus, the economic reform fired back on the FLN. Meanwhile, there was another severe problem that affected the countriesdomestic politics; the problem of identity.
As a French colony under the Frenchauthority, prior independence, Algeria suffered what Arab writers andjournalists call farnasah which means Frenchization of Algeria. This is whatis noticeably seen in most if not all French colonies. Spencer mentions that Largely -but not exclusively- because of the colonial legacy of France, languagehas been politicized since independence and continues to present problems fornational unity. The French suppressed any attempt to apply Arabization ofeducation and thus succeeded in creating an elite of French speakers. Afterindependence, Arabization of education in Algeria started to grow which gave therise to a frustrated Arabic speaking population that suffered from the lack ofjob opportunities for them which was a sort of discrimination against those whocannot speak or write French in a country that is a