Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Department of Political Sciences ,Kermanshah Branch, Islamic Azad University, Kermanshah, Iran.


Changes in the international system, along with crises in the Middle East and the emergence of inefficient states coexisting with religious and racial groups in the region, make one wonder about the nature of the state in today’s
systematic world, in general, and the nature of the state in the Middle East, in particular. The present study provides a theoretical framework based on quantum mechanics, known as New Global Governance or the pattern of proliferative order (in contrast to the distributive order pattern) in an attempt to examine changes in the concept of the state in developed and developing/underdeveloped (the Middle East) countries. It focuses on class structure in the context of global governance and the way in which it is related to the state in order to examine the nature of the state in the future.
The study argues that in the new systemic order in developed worlds, states drive class struggles from the economic realm into the political realm and sustain themselves as an institution. However, in the Middle East, states are mythic; they lack social bonding forces and are highly influenced by class structure, dominant political and economic structures, their meta-class nature, and the emergence of multi-group movements challenging states, making them vulnerable to continuous breakdown. In such a situation, new myths of governance as governance institutes, such as partisan-urban governance in the Kurdistan region, the Islamic emirate of al-Qaeda, the Isis Islamic Caliphate, the Rojava Cantons and the Democratic confederalism of P.K.K. will replace the state and the collapsed states will never regain their power.


Main Subjects


The global system has gone through dramatic changes, the most important of which is the formation of states and the related transformations. In fact, as the nodal point of this system, the state is an integral institute whose nature, performance and transformations tend to define the nature of its internal system. If international politics is the exclusive realm for states interactions and formation of political systems in the global system, international relations will be the realm of states interactions and non-government agents, within which they will partake in governance and perform state roles. In such cases, states would delegate their authority to these agents and retrieve it when they choose (Barentt & Davall, 2005, p. 40-44). Yet, in the 1990s, a new interaction realm, different from the other two opened.  Non-government agents seized authority and proliferated as the result of changes in the capitalist system and related normative-material revolutions to act independent of governments and, in some cases, even influence the state. (Fazal, 2004, p. 315-317) This is what we call the new global governance or the pattern of proliferative order where well-intentioned and bad-intentioned non-government agents share with the state the administrative authority; these agents act independently, they cannot be eliminated by states, and they create a new systemic order.

To clarify our perspective on global governance and differentiate it from the existing perspectives, a brief review of the related literature will be provided. There are three distinct theories on global governance. Here, we only focus on those that assert global governance. The first perspective views global governance as a new phenomenon for administrating global problems. Here, governance is a self-conscious activity of organizations, which covers a larger scope of new issues in the field of global governance. It is subdivided into three views. O’Brien et al., see that as the activities of international organizations such as the UN or the international financial institutes. Others, such as Harris and Yunker analyze global governance in line with global state. Finally, Keohane and others look at it as a plan for managing globalization.

The second perspective defines global governance as a project to develop the liberal order. Universalists and advocates of international policy such as Boli and Thomas, etc. support this perspective. However, opponents of the new world order, such as Mittleman and Morphy see global governance as a system that prolongs to the unfair political and economic order. The third perspective is somewhat different. It views global governance as an ideology with a new analytic approach that changes our perceptions of international relations and policies. Proponents of this perspective believe that global governance is an analytical and interpretive means to realize the fact that the world has changed and is changing. They also hold that more agents are involved in global affairs. Thus, the management of international affairs focuses on the processes of negotiation and interaction between multiple agents rather than a cross-state process). This perspective was theorized by Rosenau, Czempiel, Sinclair, Hawson, etc.[1] (Bahrami, 2015, p. 41-43)

Despite their differences, the above perspectives all focus on theories and agents from the West, and mostly marginalized agents from the developing world. Moreover, they define governance as a type of communal management to solve problems and achieve common goals. However, in their definition, they mostly focus on agents and neglect those who are affected by decisions made by these agents, and are primarily concerned with first-world countries. Most important of all, they define global governance not as a new system, but a mechanism, and at most limit it to a specific location. However, the present study adopts a different approach that will be explained in the following sections. (Bahrami, 2015, p. 43)

 Regarding changes in the contemporary world, explaining and examining the role of states and their future nature in developed and underdeveloped/developing worlds has become an important issue in international relations discipline. The Middle East crisis, the collapsed states, and their future position in the region are of dire importance in this regard. Three approaches have been offered to tackle the emerging crises in the Middle East. The first is a conservative approach that tends to sustain the existing situation and the political regimes in the region. The second approach is more radical and seeks to invalidate the Sykes-Picot agreement, change borders and establish new states/nations in the region. The third approach adopts an in-between position and, while advocating the existing states/nations, defends regimentation and changing the ruling regimes. (Gause et al., 2007, p. 19-20)  There are other marginal approaches that may be accommodated into the radical approach with some modifications. These approaches have normative dimensions and offer ways to recover from the crisis and, despite their differences, put more emphasis on reviving the myth of the state in the Middle East as the only effective and efficient institute to block the emerging crises. Nevertheless, the  present study evaluates the status of state in the context of new global governance system and attempts to predict its future, without an intention of proposing a prescriptive formula.

The main question of the present study is, what is the future nature of states in general, and Middle East states in particular in the new global governance system? It is assumed in the study that, in the new systemic condition, states in developed counties with full-scale class structure will drive class conflict from economics into politics to sustain their classic and centralized identity. On the contrary, because of the marginal class system of the Middle East, the myth of the state collapses and gives way to alternative religious/racial systems such as partisan-urban governance in Kurdistan, Iraq, Islamic emirate of al-Qaeda, Isis Islamic Caliphate, Rojava Cantons and Democratic confederalism of P.K.K. The present paper, in an analytical and explanatory way, attempts to first explain the concept of new governance in the Middle East. In this framework, five new governance models will be introduced to present different norms in the institution of state. To investigate and explain the reasons for the emergence of these new rulings, the present paper will present a new theoretical model, the New Global Governance or a pattern of proliferation order. The pattern of proliferation order as the reality of the present world itself is influenced by the quantum mechanics paradigm, the transformations of the capitalist system, and the structure-agent relationships, which will be further elaborated and whose effects on the state institution will be examined. In the end, the emergence of these new rulings as the effects of the order of proliferation on the state will be explained and discussed.

1-      The Emergence of a New Myth of Governance in the Middle East

In this section, we will briefly introduce the five models of emerging new governance in the Middle East, models that exhibit different norms from the state institution. In the following sections, the author will explain the reasons for the emergence of this kind of governance by explaining an explanatory theoretical model.

As institutions, states have a number of basic functions. Their first function is the control of violence; other  functions include the exclusive right to define identity (Linklater, 1990, P. 149) and the exclusive right to control the legitimate displacement of people. (Torpey, 1998) After the 1990s, in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and after the Arab world crisis in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Libya, etc., these functions are essentially out of states’ hands, and new actors have taken a large part of these powers. The dominance of ethnic and religious identities on these societies has caused new non-state actors to turn into violent conflicts with states by defining themselves by these identity frameworks, and create new alternatives in the Middle East in opposition to the state or alongside it. These new actors have been present in the past and are not new in terms of being; however new structural requirements have created new goals and functions and have thus given them a different nature. Unlike in the past, these new actors have set targets beyond the prevailing norms. Al Qaeda, the Turkish Kurds, the Syrian Kurds, the Iraqi Kurds and, ultimately, the ISIS in the Middle East have defined the foundations of a new governance that is neither a state in itself, nor under the control of an existing state.

Al-Qaeda is known with the concepts of the Islamic Emirate and the hujirat. In the context of the concept of the Islamic Emirate, the land and institutions of governance are not important. What matters is the intentions of the activists to declare the Islamic Emirate and the practical intention of individuals to hujirat and create an emirate. These emirates do not have any clear boundaries and do not speak of traditional sovereignty, and there is no sense in demographic support. They can be fragile or highly developed without regard to the formal boundaries. Emirate is not formed on the basis of the land, but is formed on the basis of the presence of Muslims and the election of an emir. It has caused these groups to not  depend on a particular land; the importance of  a specific place and land among them is therefore eliminated. These emirs, wherever disbelievers dominate Muslims, will come together and perform their religious duties, even if this domination has been created in the lands of Dar al-Kofar. This process makes Salafi groups all mobile and moving. In fact, one of their specific features is the removal of the land in their ideology. (Mansoure Azam & baghali, 1391, p. 20) The central concept of the Islamic Emirate is the implementation of Islamic rules wherever and whenever possible. Hujirat takes place regardless of borders, sovereignty and authority of states, and citizenship is merely a matter of faith, regardless of legal or political dimensions. The capture of the hearts is prior to the capture of the territories, and the Takfir and continuous struggle with the far enemy, regardless of the official borders, is the main objective of the Emirate. These emirs believe that Muslims should migrate from the place where they feel threatened and go to a safe place. Feeling of danger is not the only reason for hujirat, but it is obligatory for Muslims to abandon it if it lives in Dar al-Kofar and does not have the power to correct it. They will never be forced to stay in a particular place and are constantly moving from one place to another. Since they consider themselves as savage people of a small number, they are not dependent on a particular place and are therefore ready for hujirat at any moment. (Mansoure Azam & baghali, 1391, p. 20) Examples of the Islamic Emirate include the Ansar al-Sharia emirate in Yemen, the Shabab group in Sudan, the group of Abbas Ab Abdul Wadud in Algeria and the Al-Nassra Front in Syria.

Turkish Kurds speak of democratic Confederalism as another alternative. Ocalan is influenced by Bookchin and his socialist-anarchist-ecological approaches seeking to get out of state and create new governance that operate independently in political, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions. (Bahrami, 1392) Democratic Confedralism consists of a number of separate and different associations. The possibility of the existence and survival of such societies is guaranteed by local democratic institutions. In the process of consolidation of the new system, the abolished state-nation and its power are divided between institutions, citizens and democratic institutions, national, linguistic and cultural groups. (Danesh Pooyan, 1392) Along with this radical approach, the Syrian Kurds in a modified framework, under the influence of democratic Confedralism, created a special kind of governance. They used the term Rojava Cantons: Institutions that are territorially separate, each with its own executive branch, parliament and military force. These institutions have political, economic, military, security, and foreign functions distinct from the Syrian government and other forces, while at the same time they speak of equal gender, religious, political and sectarian rights. In practice, the implementation of this model in the north and east of Syria represents an objective model of the new nongovernmental governance in the Middle East, which includes a council of people with one hundred representatives of the cooperatives, committees and assemblies of the three Rojava cantons. (Tayf, 1392)

The ISIS as a modern wave of radical jihadies, has marked differences with al-Qaeda as a traditional wave of radical jihadies. By focusing on the concept of a centralized caliphate, the ISIS puts aside the institutions of the state and the emirate. This group, relying on independent economic resources, the priority of land grabbing, the creation of a classic army alongside the terrorist struggle, the creation of Islamic regimes, widespread bureaucracy, the priority of the struggle against close enemies (the whole Muslim opposition), etc., has created new approaches to terrorism and governance in the Middle East. Unlike former terrorists before al-Qaeda, it does not seek to reproduce the order in state-building, but relies on the concept of caliphate. This group has a strong desire to conquer and seize new territories without any limits, and their struggle can be pursued wherever there are Muslims. The ISIS, although it has in fact strengthened the Arab identity, has not, in the theoretical sense, a particular nationalist look, and holds out a kind of empire beyond any geographical and demographic boundaries. After the violent seizure and control of new lands, the ISIS is trying to create, along with the implementation of Islamic rules, a positive and service-oriented governance, and invites its followers to do so elsewhere. In sum, the ISIS believes in a non-governmental but concentrated and hierarchical system that is largely different from the decentralized emirate of al-Qaeda (Bahrami, 1396, p. 316-335)

Nevertheless, along with these governance models, there is a more distinct, more objective, and more advanced, model of governance, which has survived for twenty-eight years. Iraq’s Kurdistan is an example that introduces itself as an alternative to the partisan-urban governance of the state. Iraqi Kurdistan sought chances to establish itself as an autonomous region during the 1990s and the conditions offered by global governance paved the way for it. It provided for an opportunity to use proliferation of authority and challenge the central government, the outcome being an Iraqi government as an agent with no inherent power and submissiveness to other states.

However, global governance system made it hard for Kurdish factions to establish a centralized governing system and a civil war started between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the mid-1990s. Although the two sides reached an agreement in 1998 and following American intervention in 2003 established a cooperative parliament, they are still two distinct governing forces in the region (Natali, 2010, p.103-126). Later, they reached a strategic agreement following Iraq’s Constitution in order to establish a common government, but this outcome was not successful, since they experienced different governing systems and reigning powers in their territory and ignored the central government. This lack of a strong governing system was reflected in their military, economic, security, administrative bureaucracy, and foreign affairs agenda (Berry et al., 2014, p. 5-10).  The Peshmerga forces were independent from the government. These two factions differed in their financial approach, one being supported by Turkey and the other by Iran. In urban areas, partisans of each faction controlled everything and the rival forces were not welcomed. Nevertheless, they both shared a common disobedience from Baghdad until 2010, though each claimed to be the only representative of true Kurdish nationalism. Pressures from the system finally led to inner conflicts in the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in 2009 when the Gorran Party split from the Union  under the leadership of Nawshirwan Mustafa. The Gorran Party sharply criticized the other two factions and occupied certain political and official positions in the parliament and administration of Soleymaieyh. (Ottaway & Ottaway, 2014, p. 139-145) Other Islamist movements in Halabja, such as the Islamic Union and the Jamaat-e-Islami are other examples that challenged the power of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in the city. These movements have tribal or ethnic identities but foster nationalism. However, none of these parties accepts the rival position towards Kurdish nationalism, autonomy or government and each follows a certain line of ideological commitment.

The crisis over the region president in 2012, followed by crisis in the parliament and the referendum, and the subsequent economic crisis proved that these movements share certain values but the context of the new global governance makes it hard for their coexistence. As forces such as the October 16th, Shaswar Abdulwahid's New Generation Movement and coalition for democracy and justice have also emerged in this situation, it is rather possible that their poor performance lead to the emergence of new forces. This implies that establishing a classic state government with a central and integrated sovereignty in the region, whose legitimacy is confirmed by others, is a far-fetched idea. Centralized power in the Iraqi Kurdistan is inconceivable because the systemic condition will not allow for that. Partisan-urban governance, where different parties temporarily establish their own tribal, ideological, and dialectical territories, is more likely to sustain although they give rise to new agents and undergo inner-party changes. Systemic conditions of the New global governance reproduce this pluralism while saving these microscopic agents. Other Kurdish models, including P.K.K., (Gürbüz, 2016, p. 31-36) Cantons of the Syrian Democratic Union Party, (O’hanlon, 2017, p. 332-334) and autocracy or federalism of Iranian Kurdish parties that represent this type of pluralism among Kurdish parties, which claim to establish the same state and nation, are excluded from our analysis. It demands a partisan-urban nationalism and new myths in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Iraqi Kurds need to accept that their incomplete class fundamentals will not allow for establishing a unified nation and state, as it is the case for the other Middle-East countries. Today, there are new myths, no matter how temporary and non-institutional they may be, that seek to replace the state.

The Iraqi Kurds are one example among others in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Yemen. Once these institutes organize, adjust, combine, and balance their demands in the region, they may expect a better future. On the other hand, they have to realign themselves with other institutes and patterns of regional and international order if they are to survive external threats. Habermas’ paradigm of communication and communication action explains borders within which these new agents exert power. Habermas’ paradigm lays the emphasis on language and communication as a means by which humans negotiate principles of coexistence, which is essential for the stability and consolidation of new governances and for identifying their social borders. (Habermas, 1990) Communication action is significant for new administrations to sustain actual social relationships and conjure a better social order. Ideal speech and undistorted communication in Habermas’ theory determine these institutes’ level of success and influences their productive paradigm to instigate changes in class structure. (Linklater, 1998) This, of course, is beyond the scope of the present study. The main question that arises is, under the influence of what conditions have these new governance formed, and why has the state broken in its classical form in the Middle East. In the following section, we will outline a new theoretical model,  the New global Governance or the pattern of proliferation order, the emergence of new governance, and the collapse of the state institution in the Middle East.

2. From Quantum Mechanics to New Global Governance

The two concepts of Quantum Mechanics and New Global Governance are strongly bound to one another. When a new paradigm is discovered in natural sciences, it proves to be highly influential in humanities in terms of methodology, epistemology and ontology. Einstein’s quantum theory is no exception. Here, quantum mechanics is used as a basis for a theory in international relations. Maxwell, Planck and Newton emphasized on explaining movement and transformation of macroscopic materials in absolute time and place, having as their object of study anything that was observable and whose position, status and velocity were explainable. However, microscopic particles could not be explained in this classic approach because they were not absolute and functioned on a relative basis. Quantum mechanics offered a more comprehensive approach to study these materials. (Levine, 2000, p. 1-18)

International relations is influenced by Classical mechanics and its Metatheoretical model on government-centeredness, structuralism and group-centeredness puts stress on materialism and attracts a significant amount of critical interest. However, new social changes revealed the inefficiency of these theories in interpreting the social order. In the social world, unlike the material world, cognitive subjects do not exist, but are created. Therefore, interpretive and explanatory theories in this discipline develop by existing beings and are historical-social. (Adler, 2005, p. 65-67) On the other hand, changes in capitalism have introduced new ontological concepts in international relations, which are not explained by the existing theories. Thus, international relations relies on the philosophy of science to establish a theoretical basis that is consistent with ongoing changes. Quantum mechanics is the ideal Metatheoretical basis that contributes to a better understanding of the present world. In fact, international relations moves from the analysis of big, objective and absolute entities into the analysis of small, normative and relative ones.[2] Simply put, it moves away international politics as an umbrella word for the analysis of state, structure and system towards global relations for the analysis of organizations, individuals, values and identities. Surely, new theories emerge from this evolutionary approach, such as global governance, which seeks to offer a modern interpretation of new subjects, environments, ontological and epistemological pluralism, with an emphasis on relativism and uncertainty of truth. Global relations is a new concept in international relations where everything seems to be epistemologically dependent, yet contradictory, and a dialectical unity replaces political, intuitive and deliberative unity. Global governance seeks to give insight into this world.


a. New Global Governance

Qualitative transformations in capitalism, such as hegemonic and Kondratieff cycle, as well as quantitative transformations in terms of material achievements and thoughts were influenced by the cumulative and utilitarian aspect of capitalism in the late 90s, and gave rise to various other issues (Wallerstein, 2013, p. 11-15) that drove international relations towards examining microscopic, relative and identity-based subjects. Later, new entities and issues with greater levels of authority appeared and contributed to running state affairs. This new status was called the global governance.[3] Various, and mostly Western-based, theories confirmed or rejected this status, focusing on the equilibrium of capitalism in defining it. The present study rejects these approaches to global governance from both theoretical and Metatheoretical dimensions and offers a new approach that is more compatible with our quantumized world. These approaches suffer from serious ontological shortcomings in the Metatheoretical dimension because they have certain limitations on the relationship between the system and its agents; the results therefore cannot be generalized. These approaches are agent-based, have limited actors and mostly focus on cooperative processes. Moreover, the most enthusiastic approaches see this concept as a null status and suffer from agent-based reductionism. Nevertheless, the present study outlines global governance as a defining, coherent, and generalizable system featuring an evolutionary relationship between the system and agents. Moreover, it claims that actors in such a system share a larger domain and New global governance is not restrained to cooperative processes (Bahrami, 2015, p. 40-55). This makes the quantumized international relations more prominent. We will rely on the five principles of Ba and Hoffman to expand the proposed approach. (Ba & Hoffman, 2005, p. 249-255)

First, the system and the agents are considered. Most Western radical approaches assume a multiple structure of rules and norms whereas conservative approaches prominently voice a unified structure. The present study sticks to the tenets of radicalism but empathizes on a unified structure of rules. The basic rule that forms the unified and coherent system is proliferation of authority in the world. It is the major cause of transformations in the system that controls the games, relationships, social structures, beliefs, and norms. In other words, proliferation of authority assumes the position of the dominant actor in Barnet’s meta-power structure (Hall, 1997, p. 394-397). It is a productive (Barentt & Duvall, 2005, p. 25) meta-structure that seizes the system and has unpredictable and out-of-control consequences, and causes diverse, distinct, temporary, and non-institutional social trends. It produces a meta-power that provides the infrastructure for a more coherent system where power is consistently proliferated and an uncontrollable world order is formulated.

A set of processes influence the issue: those which form such a system and those which are affected by this unified and coherent system. For the first set, we need to take essential global transformations into account. Class transformations as a result of capitalism in developed countries, along with eight essential divergent resources defined by Rosena, have inflicted big material and normative changes in the contemporary world, and the resulting outcome is the rule of proliferation of authority (Qavam & Bahrami, 2013, p. 24-25).

The second processes cannot be solely considered in their causal relationship with the system. They are not all new; certain processes  belong to the first processes that contributed to the construction of the system that tend to develop and expand themselves. These processes are multifarious, disordered and plural, such that many theorists misinterpret them for multiple structures. However, they all stem from a single system with multiple and separated processes that form in response to a structural principle based on a context-oriented approach and lead to the emergence of intersecting, overlapping and parallel processes. (Qavam & Bahrami, 2013, p. 29) These governance processes, in turn, contribute to developing and strengthening the proliferation system. Thus, an evolutionary relationship forms between governance processes and the system.

The new world order is characterized by global governance and proliferation of authority within which authority is not ordered or stable and is not exclusive to any institution. This means that, in global governance, all agents are potentially active depending on their social and economic context although they differ in terms of governance and quality. In developed countries, agents from different social classes appear on stage and governance is cooperative, linear and progressive, while in developing countries’ agents mostly have religious or minority identities and governance is temporary, violent, conflicting and critical. (Qavam & Bahrami, 2013, p. 32) For instance, activities of non-governmental organizations concerning human rights, the environment, and education are examples of cooperative governance while terrorist activities by ethnic and religious sects in the Middle East are examples of non-cooperative governance.

The second important element in our analysis is the world foundation, which has undergone dramatic changes both at material and normative levels. Mere material changes cannot drive the world to such an extreme, but the idea behind these material changes determines the direction and magnitude of such changes. Without normative and material changes in place, the constructive processes discussed above would remain futile. The idea of proliferation of authority in the world as a meta-narrative is as important as material changes, but it is this idea that drives and nurtures changes. The proposed approach holds that our world has changed both at material and theoretical levels and more unpredictable and uncontrollable changes lie ahead. (Qavam & Bahrami, p. 2013:33)

The third aspect of our approach discusses agents and their capacity to overthrow structural limitations. We believe that agents have new opportunities and a capacity to form a new world order. In fact, the meta-structural feature of the structural principle imposes no limitations on agents and, rather, expands their domain and helps to create new agents. In global governance, agents move from margins to the center and take up new transformative roles and gain an evolutionary relationship with the system. They all share the proliferative authority and benefit from it based on their nature. (Qavam & Bahrami, p. 2013:34)

The fourth aspect of the approach goes beyond dominant theories. The present study argues that we need to change our perception of world politics through an epistemological revolution. If we believe that material and normative changes have happened in the world, we have to accept that these changes require new theories to be explained. Traditional theories cater for part of the reality and fail to see the reality as a whole, since they are restricted to conceptual, historical, and analytical considerations. However, concepts such as governance, state, authority, security, agents, etc., have gone through serious changes, gaining contradictory meanings from what they perceived to be in the past. Thus, governance goes beyond a phenomenon or new changes and turns into  a comprehensive theory with an established status in the present study. (Qavam & Bahrami, p. 2013:34)

The final aspect of the proposed approach is the value of global governance. The study contends no value-based perspective towards global governance as it is the reality of the contemporary world, which arises from evolutionary changes and the world has to accept it as it is. We certainly cannot discuss the negative or positive effects of global governance; yet we can, at least, define processes that formed in response to the structural principle in each region. Governance is either good or bad, and processes that arise in response to the structural principle determine if the local governance is good or bad. In many cases, global governance can be a solution while turning out to be the source of crisis or tension in other cases. Thus, we may talk about the value of global governance processes but not the value of its structure, because a neutral and inclusive reality is before us and we can just find the value of its consequences. Context defines the outcome. (Qavam & Bahrami, p. 2013:35)

Overall, the present study analyzes global governance theory at four different levels: meta-structure, structure, community type, and governance processes. This theory can be used to analyze different issues of concern. In the next section, the evolutionary relationship between class structures and global governance will be closely examined. It shows how Middle East states change from macroscopic to microscopic institutes.

3. Global Governance, Class and State in the Contemporary World

Class plays an essential role in the constitution of states in the age of global governance. All communities are equally founded on different classes and the relationships between them, as microscopic entities that use authority, determine state type and social identity. Social classes differ in developed and developing countries and make up the macroscopic entity of state, which in turn, is inspired by the global governance system, and forms different microscopic entities with different identities.

a. Analysis of Social Classes

Houston argues that Marx’s class division to primary and secondary classes is based on his conception of value added and productive work. (Houston, 1989, p. 176) The primary class, workers and capitalists, owns value added and the secondary class, which is the outcome of the primary class, receives the distributed share of the value added. (Houston, 1989, p. 177)  The secondary class performs certain social functions and provides economic and non-economic conditions for the reproduction of the primary class. There are dialectic and structural relationships between the classes that contribute to reproducing each other. (Houston, 1989:180) Nevertheless, for Marx, this economic system is exploitative. (Marx, 1977, p. 28) Mutual reliance of classes on each other in an exploitative economy makes them respect each other’s rights and be flexible. (Roemer, 1982, p. 166-170) Certain rights and institutions founded on economic mechanisms give significance to class identity in exploitative economics where different economic classes have dialectic and evolutionary relations with each other and the system as a whole. (Roemer, 1982, p. 190)

Erik Wright identified four major social classes: capitalists, petty bourgeoisie, managers, and workers, each with its own subdivisions. (Wright, 2000, p. 22-24) Inspired by Marx’s theory, we can say that modern capitalists and private workers are the major classes and the other two are minor. In developed countries, modern capitalists, private workers, private managers, and modern petty bourgeoisie make up the class structure. However, in developing countries the dominant class structure includes traditional capitalists, traditional private petty bourgeoisie, public managers and workers with very few skills. (Wright, 1989, p. 256-260) In other words, major classes rarely exist in these communities and, consequently, minor classes do not form in production cycle. Thus, the evolutionary relationship and class identity that ground institutes and class rules never appear. These marginal classes, then, rely on religious or ethnic identities to define themselves.

b. the State and Classes

Workers need capitalist and the minor classes to reproduce themselves; however, unlike other classes, they do not have to work within the capitalist framework and have the capacity to rebel against it. It is the state as a political entity in developed countries that busts this rebellion. (Wright, 1985, p. 73-77) Since the state is part of the superstructure in Marxism, an analysis of the relationship between the infrastructure and the superstructure and Marx’s conception of state instrumentalism and relative independence may prove helpful in understanding the relationship between the state and classes.

Proponents of Marxism argue that even if the state has relative independence from the ruling class, it is in the service of capitalism and contributes to the accumulation of capital. Structural Marxists lay great emphasis on the relationship between the state and social classes and seek to show that a capitalist state supports capitalism and that capitalists still hold the political power in the West. Their efforts help us in performing a better analysis of developed countries and their reaction to proliferation of authority in the age of global governance.

Marxists have different attitudes towards the relationship between infrastructure and superstructure: certain hold that the former determines the latter (Unilateral determination); certain believe in a dialectic allegory (Bilateral determination), while others contend that a comprehensive relationship exists between the two (Comprehensive determination). (Marx, 1971, p. 20-24) Structural Marxists belong mostly to the third strand, holding that infrastructure and superstructure determine each other and though the former is more significant, it will not exist without the latter. (Plamenatz, 1963, p. 269-280)  Goudelier argues that in different production systems, different entities serve infrastructural functions, or new infrastructural and superstructural entities may appear in the same system due to time requirements. For example, in Oriental despotism, the state is an infrastructural and determining entity. (Goudelier, 1978) Is the organic theory of structuralism a moderate conception in this regard? This helps us find the origin, quality and quantity of social classes and  states, as well as their relationship in the Middle East.

Althusser articulates three hierarchical structures including capitalism, mode of production, and economic, political and ideological structures within the mode of production. These structures have an organic and evolutionary relationship with each other. Capitalist mode of production is a macro-structure consisting of many countries, each of which has its own economic, political and ideological micro-structure. However, they work together in the service of social formation. The present structure focuses on two aspects of Althusserian structures: mode of production and economic, political and ideological structures in developed/developing countries because they have different roles in producing the system. (Althusser & Balibar, 1975, p. 170-188)

In Althusser’s theory, there is an evolutionary and internal relationship between economic, political and ideological structures, which is necessary for social formation. However, Althusser differentiates between domination and determination. For him, each of these structures may be a dominant factor in social formation but it is the economic factor that makes the economic, political and ideological structures dominant. (Althusser, 1977, p. 100-113) The question is: what is the nature of economic and political structures in Rentier Middle East countries, where there is no added-value of productive work for ownership? Is economics both dominant and determining? Or, like feudalism, the political structure dominates the distribution process? In fact, these countries indulge in the system and use an economic structure in reproducing the overall structure where politics is dominant and economics is determining. However, Althusser believes that economics is both dominant and determining in capitalism. This needs to be applied on Middle East countries with more care. A Middle Eastern state works within a capitalist regime to reproduce the dominant class and accumulate more capital, but has an independent and cross-class identity, which is little affected by its social classes. These states work within the framework of capitalism and are sterile against any classes that exert power on them, although economic factors contribute to preventing class formation. Unlike developed countries with a dominant and determining economic structure, in the Middle East, the political structure is dominant and the economic structure is determining.

c. Social Classes and New Global Governance

The failure of welfare state in the 1980s, which resulted from its contradictory functions in solving the crises of accumulation and legitimacy, prompted Marxist sociology to formulate a comprehensive theory on relationship between states and social classes. Three distinct strands arose: Claus Offe and Allan Woolf emphasized on independence, Joachim Hersh and James O’Connor emphasized on derivation, and Wright and others voiced class struggle. (Carony, 1984, p. 250-259) Here, we rely on  Poulantzas and Wright’s explanations of the relationship between class and global governance after 1990s.

Nicos Poulantzas argues in his seminal work that any mode of production or economic structure yields a specific state that remains independent from social classes and struggles. (Poulantzas, 1974, p. 115-117) He notes that class struggles of the dominated classes influence the economic structure of the state, but never penetrate into its political structure. (Poulantzas, 1974, p. 124-137)  However, in his book State, Power, Socialism, he focuses on the effects of class struggle on state formation. He notes that the state is not a structure; rather, it is a set of relations affected by class struggles that sip into the state. Thus, his theory seems to lay greater emphasis on state as a domain of class struggles rather than a position of class dominance. (Poulantzas, 1980, p. 30-44) This point of view has been adopted in the present study. According to Poulantzas, states take advantage of ideological hegemony to intervene in civil struggles to represent the benefits of the ruling class and to prevent other classes from gaining access to the means of production. However, in doing so, they draw class struggles into the state. When class struggle penetrates into state structure, the reproduction of the ruling classes is disturbed and the state may have to eventually modify production relations. From this perspective, the state is the domain and the product of class struggles. (Poulantzas, 1975, p. 14-27) Wright argues that such struggles may help the dominated class gain control of the political structure and seize power, but will remain agents of dominant economic class until they overtake the economic structure. (Wright, 1978) Certain scholars believe that it is a tactic to transfer struggles from economic to political structure and to make the dominated class exploit certain political advantages in order to keep the economic structure untouched by class struggles. However, what makes the ruling class feel urged to give away such advantages in the political realm?

According to Clasue Offe, states have to account for three major rational-bureaucratic functions to satisfy the benefits of certain classes: commitment to the principles of democracy, welfare and legitimacy, and securing the process of accumulation. However, states will fail to perform all these functions and class struggles will initiate in the state and will lead to class crisis where no class is able to remove others. In such a situation, according to Offe, we can expect three possible outcomes: state collapses, capitalism collapses, or the formation of a coalition government of high and low classes, which paves the way for global governance. (Offe, 1972, p. 479-488) In fact, conflicts in state structure, which arise from conflicts in capitalism, along with material changes in capitalism and hegemonic and Kondratieff cycle, contribute to global governance in a way in which power and authority proliferate from the state and various classes take part in it, stealing from the state its quality. Therefore, new actors come to the stage, who later influence the international structure.

The above theories can be used in a hierarchical way to explain global governance in the 1990s. In fact, state as the domain of class domination was the real and objective trend until the 80s; however,  in the early 90s, states became unstable because the idea of welfare state failed, advances occurred in technology, organization and information, capitalism underwent serious crisis, and state functions conflicted. People became class conscious and new trends acted as catalysts and gave dominated classes the courage to encounter the ruling class. In other words, global governance started when class structures found their way into the state or political structure and different social classes partook in authority. Extensive participation of classes in political struggles led to the proliferation of centralized authority and made states share their power with these classes. The resulting proliferation of authority is a byproduct of capitalism and acts within it. Nevertheless, global governance is not a project to improve or modify capitalism, but a situation created by material and information-based changes in capitalism and its inner conflicts. Capitalism induced significant changes in the world; it was introduced by Rosenau as eight phenomena, (Rosenau & Fagen, 1997, p. 655-665) and experienced inner conflicts that ended up in proliferation of authority, which in turn led to the emergence of new states that suffer from class struggles. This phenomenon does not mean, however, that dominated class replaced the ruling one. That is because, in such a system, no class is removed from the scene and if a class seizes the power, it cannot impose any changes in class structure until it gets hold of economic structure. Therefore, capitalism or the idea of state in developed countries never collapses because they are dependent. The most likely outcome is the formation of a coalition government of different classes. Here, global governance can explain the new situation characterized with an ordered pattern of proliferation of authority in a community with class identity where the state absorbs class agents and reaches temporary stability. Meanwhile, when new agents partake in a larger class identity based on dialectic unity, the state shares the authority with them and embraces them in the power structure. This, then, moves from political into economic structure and challenges the existence of the state. As long as political power is shared as an institutional pattern with well-intentioned agents, cooperative and convergent governance continues in communities and the state is sustained in power. However, microscopic identities emerge in a peaceful and collective process and play their independent roles. On the other hand, mental, material, institutional, and information changes in capitalism rapidly proliferate in the whole system and extend from developed to developing countries. What is interesting in our analysis is the reaction of developing countries to such new order and changes.

4. Global Governance, the State and Class in the Middle East

 The above-mentioned discussions mainly concern developed countries with a dominant class identity. Surely, the response to a common and unified governing system will be different in developing countries. As discussed earlier in regards to Althusser’s theory, in a structure based on major and marginal classes associated with production, the economic factor is both dominant and determining. However, this is not true for Middle East countries working within the capitalist mode of production because they produce no value-added to be owned. Moreover, there is no productive work in such countries such that modern capitalists own the means of production and workers create the value-added.[4] In simple words, three economic structures are likely to develop in such a context.

-           A structure where productive work and essential work are interrelated, i.e., productive work is essential for creating value-added. Here, the economic structure is both dominant and determining and social classes coexist, and the state is the domain of class struggles, which finally leads to a coalition and convergent government.

-           An economic structure where productive work and essential work are incompatible. Here, there is relative interdependence between the classes and a class identity is formed, but upper and lower classes face a political structure that does not allow classes to establish their own institutes and defend their rights. (Cachedi, 1989) An example of such structure is Venezuela, which will be discuss in subsequent research, as it is outside the scope of the present study.

-           A structure with no productive work that considers no need for accumulation. In the absence of productive work and value-added, primary classes and class identity never form in these systems and dialectic unity is never established between the classes. In fact, the political system prevails and the government functions as a financially-independent meta-class power block. Minor or secondary classes make up the social entity, but they are different from classes in the first structure. However, the possibility of a class movement (Movement of multi-class) always threatens the political power. The multi-class movement is a movement where unconscious social classes discard class differences and unite with each other against the dominant political power. Once the political power is overthrown and class differences resurface, these movements collapse with the same ease with which they were established. In such communities, the government turns to a submissive and defensive institute and contributes to reproducing the process of accumulation in the capitalist structure. In fact, this type of government is deprived of its active and independent activity and only serves the dominant system. Therefore, such structures fail to play an effective role in establishing global governance and are rather influenced by it, fostering microscopic entities that will be discussed below.

The third type of structure mentioned above explains the lack of class identity in the Middle East, which is analogous to Wright’s system (Non-Exploitative Economic System) where the government does not need to hold the value-added created in the society (Wright, 2003, p. 371-378) because its major revenue comes from rent-seeking activities. As a result, productive work ruins and a large part of national capital gradually leaks out, giving way to Casino capitalism and dealership of government affiliated entities. This finally leads to the corruption of productive capital, national bourgeoisie and the related productive working class. Consequently, secondary classes affiliated with productive work are replaced with secondary classes related to distribution process, and the government becomes the major distributor. This distributive system bears marginal classes that have no affair with the primary or secondary classes related to productive economy. In a distributive economy, there is no mutual interdependence between the government and social classes and the classes do not rely on dialectic unity for their reproduction. Here, two gaps are likely to open between them. The first is a gap between the government and social classes. The classes are detached from the government and are deprived of minimal social or political rights, and if they have such rights, the government can overtake them any time it desires. In a rentier, distributive economic system, the government looks at people as social parasites, ideological subjects or passive participants.

The second gap is between social classes over distributed revenue by the government. These classes ae plunged into a state of inhumanity and hostility towards each other. Each class seeks to remove the competing classes to be closer to the government and gain more distributive revenue. Accordingly, cooperation fades away and ever-increasing individualism replaces the culture of community-based individual identity and the dominant economic system does not support individual interests. Religious and ethnic identities grow stronger in a particular political situation and global governance fosters such a situation. Cultural identity in global governance manifests itself as religious and ethnic identity. In an atmosphere of pre-existing conflict and hostility, civil institutions and parties are doomed to be inefficient, anti-democratic, nominal and utilitarian.

5.  New Global Governance and the End of the Myth of the State in the Middle East

Cassirer argues that real human culture becomes visible when myth wanes. (Cassirer, 1946:290-293) He maintains that myth is born to abnormality; crisis in which a strong excitement, an urgent need or a significant danger is felt and justify a myth. A new myth represents forces that are stronger than those that threaten the society. For Cassirer, myth is created when bonding forces of social life (rational, ethical and artistic forces) fail to hold together and the society is likely to fall apart. Myths manipulate language, ritualize activities and reveal the border between good and evil, and reinterpret time and history in order to institutionalize themselves. (Krois, 1987, p. 187-189) 

Cassirer’s theory of the myth can be applied to the states in the Middle East. The concept of modern state mattered after the collapse of the Ottoman power, when bonding social forces in the region were no longer legitimate. The concept of modern state emerged as a savior notion in Turkey, Iran and Egypt and then expanded to other countries. The modern states used special techniques of mythifying themselves and, unlike their predecessors in the civilized world that relied on bonding social and economic forces in a historical context, did not incorporate local-social forces. In fact, both the state and the nation developed through mythical techniques and were thought to be deterministic. On the contrary, in the civilized world, the state and the nation arise from a joint collective responsibility. This collective responsibility results from a chain of evolutionary historical changes (feudalism, objective criteria of the nation, liberalism, nationalism and subjective criteria of the nation) in the West, which set the ground for establishing and reinforcing the institution of the state and the nation, and from lack of which the Middle East has always suffered. State, nation, and nationalism have been adopted in the Middle East in creating incomplete class systems, ethnic states and ethnic nationalists that supported the state and added to the problem instead of solving it. The state turned into a sacred entity that defined good and evil and provided a fake interpretation of language and history to justify its existence and to make people confirm its truthfulness. The state and the nation rejected any individual reasoning and responsibility and encouraged people to work impersonally to achieve a common social sense. In such a system, individual responsibility is destroyed and a sort of determinism is established in which state occupies a mythical position. However, the myth of state shatters in the global governance system as it disintegrates politics and fosters individual responsibility as opposed to responsibility towards the state in the Middle East.

Pressure from global governance on the Middle East is strong to the point that it frustrates any attempts at making balance in the region and threatens states. Despite their differences, Middle East states (pervasive, monopolistic, telecommunicative, oil-dependent kingdoms, or civic myth-based kingdoms) (Kamrava, 1998, p. 63-65) have certain common class structures and will have to yield to global governance. Proliferation of authority as meta-power in global governance is driven by the pervasive properties of capitalism; it penetrates into this region and causes crisis. Meta-class states that establish security are no longer able to perform their responsibilities and are likely to collapse. Any cultural, economic or political crisis in the global governance may lead to a multi-class movements that solidly stand against and overturn the dominant authority. There has been similar movements in the past that led to the emergence of a new state with the same meta-class property. However, the context of global governance is different in the following ways:  global governance facilitates the formation and perpetuation of movements through modern communicative setting. State authority and governance are seized by classes; several religious and ethnic classes with authoritative power, yet different identities, and lack of dialectic unity appear on stage. These ethnic classes do not agree on establishing a new state; no single class is powerful enough to remove other competing classes to seize the power; a deteriorating conflict therefore persists between religious and ethnic classes. These difference are attributed to the proliferation of authority and the global governance system. In fact, inherent to this system is the emergence of agents with contradictory, violent, incongruent religious and ethnic identities that agree to disagree and have enough power to sustain themselves and reclaim their authority after they are beaten. This is an end to the myth of the state in the Middle East. Once a state undergoes crisis and imbalance, it may never regain its position, as global governance will not allow for the reproduction of such states. This does not mean that Middle East countries will historically develop, but surely entails that no modern state will be rejuvenated. Changing or enriching global governance in order to explain recent revolutions in the Arab world, as it was the cause of rapid changes and the inhibitor of state revival as governance system in these countries, was never an option. Although global governance had different results in the West, it led to the emergence of violent, incongruent, and contradictory processes arising from particular class structure in the Middle East that removed states.

Influenced by a quantumized conception of the world, proliferation of authority and global governance, Middle East politics moves towards the disintegration of processes and the rise of microscopic agents, as experienced in Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya, which can be used as a model to predict the future of the Middle East. No classic and authoritative state followed the revolution in these countries and no class dominated the others. Violence was no longer a monopolized and exploitative tool in the hand of the state. Instead, a range of religious and ethnic groups with certain rights and claims, military forces and a flag rise; once they rise, they no longer intend to abandon the acquired authority, and if they are suppressed, they reappear with a new identity. Is such a situation the common fate of all these states? Other states that are not in this medieval atmosphere face the reality of this crisis in or outside their borders and are likely to experience an internal movement. Considering their systematic settings, it is not far from reality. Can we talk about states or the emergence of new states in the Middle East, or should we announce the death of state as an institute of security and development?

This is an objective account of the Middle East in the form of a normative proposal. State as a permanent institute is a phenomenon of the past, for it is not allowed in the global governance. The question is: what is the future trend like, and what governing system replaces the state (failing state and failed state)? Undoubtedly, in the absence of bonding social forces and ongoing crisis of states breakdown in the Middle East, the rise of new myths is not far-fetched. However, no single myth is conceivable as it may not be able to drive the competing myths who claim to share power. Such myths are Islamic caliphate, Islamic emirate, (Felbab-Brown, et al, 2018, p. 57-66) democratic confederalism, independent cantons, local authorities, and autonomous cities, to name a few. In the global governance system, there is a pluralism of governing myths, which are temporary, transient and non-institutionalized because alternative powers challenge their existence and legitimacy. Due to a defective class structure in the Middle East, with limited bonding social-rational forces, it is not easy to remove myths and establish institutes that supply for linear progress in the region; mythic institutes will therefore continue to sustain as long as the current class structure continues. Nonetheless, certain institutes with intellectual elites have taken considerable steps towards class reshuffling. Nations, along with their states, will face pluralism and proliferation. Even those with the same language or history may seek new, separate ways such that a distinctive mythic approach to governance develops in each region and leading forces adopt a perspective of their own differences from others, as is the case of  regional Kurd parties such as P.K.K, Democratic Union Party, PJAK, and Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran.


State as the key governing agent has always been in clash with social and political forces in the Middle East, but used to sustain under a certain system of capitalism, which is now exhausted. Changes in capitalism and class actions in Metropolitan countries, along with technical and information revolutions, gave birth to a new international structure called new global governance of pattern of proliferative order, which has destabilized the Middle East. In the capitalist structure of such countries, the state was a myth, which was disturbed by the patter of proliferative order. New Global governance as a comprehensive structure arose from changes in the relationship between the state and classes in developed countries, occurring within a context of technological, technical, informational, and normative setting, which was motivated by capitalist requirements to initiate a new structure. Owing to their class structures, advanced states survived this transformation and turned from internationalism in political structure to nationalism. In fact, they founded global governance to readjust themselves with the new order and adopted a delay strategy to adjust the class struggle in economics through the political engagement of agents in the state structure. They hoped to extend this political engagement into economics in order to react to other possible crises in capitalism. Extended class cooperation in political and economic structures in developed countries led class struggle to its final objectivity and changed its mode of production. In the meantime, state is no longer a myth and moves towards rationality. This way, relying on a delay approach, state and its sustenance is guaranteed in developed countries, although neo-nationalism in the west can be analyzed in this framework.

In developing countries in general, and Middle East countries in particular, the problem is more serious. Here, state stands as a mythic body and has no social and economic bonds with the community. On the other hand, marginal class structure, dominant political structure, determining economic structure, meta-class state structure, and multi-class movements disturb any optimal strategy for maintaining the state under the pattern of proliferation order. Thereby, any forces that emerge by proliferation of structural authority tend to remove the existing state but fail to reestablish a new state. In fact, an intervening and plural governing system is developed, which replaces the state as a new myth and has an ethnic, religious, and non-class basis. This system is prone to proliferation and religious or ethnic split-ups. Although they claim to be state-oriented and cannot reestablish the state and replace it with a new myth constantly challenged by other alternative myths and lead to more violent, nonconforming, and non-cooperative processes in the Middle East. New myths such as the P.K.K, the Cantons of Rojava, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, partisan-urban governances will appear in the absence of state governance and change the history of the Middle East. This does not mean that no state in its classic sense remains in the region; rather, it entails that a different context is spreading that agitates the concept of the state and disarms the state from its ability to reproduce its mythic property. Newer myths will arise in such contexts and will continue until social forces move towards rationality and pave the way for a non-mythic governance.

New mythic governance as an alternative to the state is neither good nor bad. It is an integrated governance, the nature of communication action, ideology, elite unanimity, relations with neighboring states in the region and the developed world, and geopolitical status that determine the positive or negative future for states. However, the future in the Middle East is negative as other existing states may collapse and add to the crisis. Mutual economic, security and political dependence in today’s world will surely draw the developed world into a crisis, as it may affect their secure world. In the global governance, politics is microscopic, particularly in the Middle East, and strategies such as maintaining the current status, and making a new regime or state are infertile, as they rely on a past-held power that is impossible to return. Therefore, any efforts to solve the problem should focus on new governances that are specific to each region and are adaptive and administrative.

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