Anarchy across the world:

The Curious Cases of Iran, Honduras,and Somalia.

Anarchy, according to Hobbes, is a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of a formal government authority. Anarchy, however, may also occur where there is law but with the enforcer absent or weak enough to execute such rules and regulations, or there is an overwhelming response to the oppression by those in power.

The following countries are very interesting cases, as they have found anarchism to be the answer to the conflicts within their states, their challenge to exploitation, and their avenue for defiance. Anarchism becomes a social movement that would promote mutual aid and solidarity among themselves. Here are the experiences of Iran, Honduras and Somalia.

Post-Election Riot in Iran

On July 13, 2009, supporters of Mir Hussein Moussavi, a former Prime Minister of Iran and a candidate in the 2009 elections, flooded the streets of Tehran in protest against the announcement of the election results. Incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won 63 percent of the 40 million ballots, despite his unpopular image to the Iranians and the international community. The Council of Guardians, however, backed the results, and in retaliation to the increasing number of demonstrations, the Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, turned loose the police and the religious militia upon the protesters. At least seventeen were killed and hundreds of protesters and journalists were taken into custody with violent methods. The use of cell phone, text messaging and internet had been severely limited and monitored.

The protests soon dwindled and soon after, Ahmadinejad was sworn into office last August 6.

Such is the power of the clerics of Iran who have been in power since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which abolished the existing absolute monarchy. They play a direct political role and the real power lies in the hands of the Council of Guardians, in spite of the existence of a directly elected president and assembly. They enforce strict, traditional Islamic codes and employ the military and threat of force as their form of control, evident with its response to the post-election results.

The Ayatollahs continue to remain in power even after the liberal reforms attempted to advocate a moderate Islamic democracy in 1997. Its young population, however, is finding ways to evade the limits imposed on its freedom of expression through the internet.

2009 Honduras Constitutional Crisis

At the dawn of the 28th of June 2009, about a hundred soldiers stormed the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa and forced incumbent civilian President Manuel Zelaya into exile in his bedclothes under the charge of forming a National Convention to amend the Constitution which would allow his reelection. Several of his cabinet members have been arrested and detained.

Under the support of the Congress and the Supreme Court, the military handed power to a de facto government, led by Roberto Michletti.

This has been the first military coup in Central America since the end of the Cold War, and much of it has earned a negative response from the international community, refusing to acknowledge the interim government. Many Latin American nations had withdrawn their ambassadors from the state and Venezuela, under its president Hugo Chavez, had imposed sanctions on its oil imports to the country.

But much more than that, the clash between the Zelaya’s supporters and his opponents has been taken to the streets. The riots have left many wounded and more than 100 people arrested. Human rights violation and extrajudicial executions had been charged to the Michletti government, including the killing of a 19-year-old in the airport where Zelaya’s airplane was trying to land in. A media block-out had been imposed with government and private television and radio stations suspended and international cable cut off.

Many organizations and political parties and movements recognize the new government as a dictatorship using threat of force to address civil disobedience. But even so, there are still disputes as to how to respond to the Honduras crisis: whether to negotiate a deal that would let Zelaya return to power but with limited powers, or to support the contentions of the leaders of the de-facto regime.

Somalia’s Civil War

For the last two years, thousands have already died in the war raging on in Somalia, a war that first involved Ethiopia and the transitional government of Somalia against the Islamic Court Union for the control of the country. But even after Ethiopia backed out of the country last January, the civil war still continues as what is now called as a jihad by the radical Shabab militants.

The conflict had successfully turned into an international issue as both parties are asking aid from international communities – the former from the United Nations and western countries who see the transitional government as their best and last bulwark against Islamic extremist in the region, and the latter from other radical Islamic communities.

Like many other states in Africa, Somalia has been torn by its ethnic and religious rivalries for more than several decades. And the colonization worsened the conflict even more by drawing borders around their spheres of influence and forcing several ethnic rivals together in one state. Even after its granting of independence, there had been threats of secession from different factions and attempts to mend the divides between them had been so far ineffectual.

With such factionalism, the end of Somalia’s civil war has yet to be seen. The transitional government itself is weak and has had difficulty organizing its various militia. And none of the other factions – the militants, the clan militias and the clerics – are organized or popular enough to overpower the other contentions. Add the growing support for both sides that continues to fuel the war with more money and weapons.


In the cases of Somalia and Honduras, these are states noted for their new democracies still in process of consolidation. Their institutions have not been mature enough so as not to be vulnerable to social elites or the military with political and economic interests.

Iran, however, has long been under an authoritarian regime. First was its absolute monarchy which was abolished in 1979 which was then followed by a theocracy, characterized by its strict and totalitarian Islamic tradition. Both of them has had used the military to constrain civil liberties and impose sanctions.

Anarchism in these countries have been cemented to their societal foundations. But this poses a bigger problem that now each country faces: a divided society with no means to unify its members in a peaceful manner.

Article by: Patricia Danica Calauagan