Inequality in Contemporary Egypt and Suggestions How to Solve the Problem Based on the Works of Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon
Violence, disorders, and revolution in Egypt are provoked by fundamental social inequality. This aspect of social relations has long existed and has been deeply rooted in the historical and cultural development of Egypt. The inequality has several origins: religious, economic and social. Christians are still under the threat of aggressive Muslim organizations. Social inequality stems from different religious convictions and it also concerns various minority groups, which cannot get sufficient education or a decent job. People are subdivided into three major classes: lower, middle and higher ones. In addition, gender segregation and age inequality are deeply ingrained in the history and culture of Egypt. Political investigations of Frantz Fanon and Karl Marx propose different ideas concerning the issue of inequality giving essential explanations and ways of combatting the problem. Karl Marx and Frantz Fanon regard the problem of inequality from different perspectives because their conceptions concern different aspects of social relations. Therefore, the given paper is going to study the problem of inequality in Egypt and possible solutions to this problem presented in the works of Karl Marx and the book by Frantz Fanon et al. The Wretched of the Earth.
Karl Marx developed a unique socioeconomic theory, which can explain the tendencies of inequality from the perspective of communism. According to Marxism, inequality is a separation of power in the state into two classes: bourgeoisie – the ruling class and proletariat – the working class (Zarembka and Desai 260). It is a technical division of people, which proposes a job to anyone who needs it for survival, making people be on equal terms from an economic standpoint. In the capitalistic state, the ruling class possesses the means of production, when the working class has only working power. Their unequal relations develop premises for revolution and violence. From the perspective of the problems in Egypt, this theory does not properly explain the situation, as Egypt does not have such acute differentiation in economic relations. Marx’s conception is appropriate for Western European countries. Unlike Karl Marx, Frantz Fanon was born in the circumstances of social stratification, which are quite similar to the Egyptian social and economic order.
The inequality in this country can be properly explained with the help of Frantz Fanon’s theory. Fanon provides a deep insight into the history and development of African countries. Thus, due to his research, it is possible to admit that inequality in Egypt is deeply rooted in the long history of colonialism and religious oppression. He develops some ideas that concern psychoanalyses of the consciousness formed in the circumstances of colonialism. Colonialism is a way to suppress one nation by another with the help of military, social, economic and moral issues. Certainly, violence is a tool of colonialism leading to inequality. Thus, due to Fanon’s theory inequality in Egypt is based on colonial domination. Fanon considers that when colonialists observe resistance of the society, they understand that they cannot hold total control over the country and regard dominion over the culture, values, and traditions (Fanon et al. 44). Particularly, Egypt adopted first Christianity and then Islam. However, Arab colonialists bring a new religion and a new order respectively. Marx and Fanon have similar socialistic conceptions, but they both have their strengths and weakness.
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The strongest aspect of Marx’s theory is a general system of true equality based on communism. It is a beneficial addition to the society in general; it does not propose any advantages for separate classes or groups. The equality according to Marxism demands equal rights, and standardization of the working processes, though these ideas seem quite impossible. The famous thinker proposes the creation of some unions, which can control and predict the cases of exploitation. In general, these positive sides can be the basement for changes in Egypt, however, this doctrine has many disadvantages as well, which do not coincide with the Egyptian traditions. Religion has always possessed an essential meaning for Egypt and its people. However, Marx rejects religion, as he considers that faith is an additional way to control a human. Marxism significantly neglects the educational system, through education which can help to attain certain economic development in the future. Marx’s theory of general equality is quite exaggerated because it can provoke the development of communism and the impossibility to possess some property. It is impossible to establish such rules because any business would collapse in such an environment. All economic issues should serve the government. The government would control the state. Thus, the theory is controversial by nature.
Frantz Fanon lived in the African country and saw that problem from inside being involved in the issues of social inequality. Fanon’s strongest idea is about the cultural and religious aspects of life. Colonization leads to stratification in society through decollateralization and dehumanization. This conception concerns Egyptian internal affairs directly. The native population of Egypt lost its native peculiarities but managed to accept a new religion and traditions. However, the weakness of his theory is a way to combat inequality – by means of violence. The violent revolution can be the only method to overcome colonial traditions and rules. Frantz Fanon states that violence is a cleansing force, which frees people from their interior problems of inequality and makes them fearless (Lawrence and Karim 74). However, it is hard to conclude that this aspect of his theory is weak because the only revolution is the nation’s fundamental driving force, which leads to deep sufficient changes in society. Inequality in Egypt is rooted much deeper than in economic relations and some psychological changes are needed since it is a background for the formation of new equal civilization. Thus, Fanon and Marx propose quite similar ideas concerning the issues of inequality, though both of them have their positive and negative sides. Considering Egypt’s history and postcolonial heritage, the doctrine of Fanon is more appropriate for overcoming the problem of social stratification.
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The famous European and African thinkers regard the following ways to combat the problem of inequality. Fanon proposes two stages: physical, which concerns some active physical interference, and psychological, which demands to free the consciousness. Certainly, people who live in some social segregation and face class inequalities, are used to living in such a way that they cannot accept and imagine a different position in life. Fanon proposes to overcome segregation challenges. Segregation in Egypt concerns only religious and female issues. Certainly, the ideas about revolutionary changes for Egypt cannot be accepted, because women and Christians would be the main participants of revolution. However, Egypt has some economic problems, such as a lack of working places. Marx proposes to integrate the working unions’ organizations. This idea has many positive aspects, but the root of these working issues is connected with religious and historical issues. Thus, it is possible to combat the problem of inequality in Egypt, synthesizing the positive sides of each theory.
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To conclude, the inequality in Egypt involves the following aspects: social, economic, and religious. The problem is connected with the colonial heritage of Egypt as a result of the nation’s conquest by Arab countries. Therefore, the native population had to accept alien traditions and a new order. According to Marx’s theory, the source of inequality in the state is associated with economic relations. It is based on the unequal rights of two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, which subordinate the class possessing the working power. However, from the historical perspective, Marxists’ ideas cannot appropriately explain and offer suitable solutions to the problem of inequality in Egypt. On the other hand, Frantz Fanon identifies the inequality problem more closely to the African reality, taking into consideration religious and psychological issues. Moreover, due to Marxism, the union’s conceptions are possible in the circumstances of the religion-free community. It is not appropriate for Egypt. Fanon’s ideas are much closer to the tendencies of Egyptian history and development.