Re: [OPE] Brief Thoughts on the Egyptian Revolution

Date: Sun Feb 13 2011 - 09:07:48 EST

> 1) This isn't yet a revolution, whether a social revolution or a political
> revolution, though it could become one. The infotainment marketing
> of the non-social media in the West suggest this is an:
> "easy everything democratic revolution 2.1"
> where after the leader has been ousted, the protestors clean up after
> themselves and go home or back to work.>
> But all there is so far, is a military coup d'etat, within what amounts to a
> military dictatorship; some reform proposals; and a change in social
> mentality brought about by mass demonstrations. The military top brass in
> Egypt has strong ties with the US, and one-third of Egypt's military budget
> is directly financed by the US. The US and EU govts aim to "harness",
> "manage" and "contain" the enthusiasm of the masses, to install a new client
> regime, and media messages not compatible with that objective are simply
> edited out of the "free press". Egypt has to become "more like America".
Hi Jurriaan:
Well, I certainly don't reject out-of-hand this account. There's much in your
narrative which is the true but some points are missing, imo. It's true that the
US once described the general in charge of the government as a "poodle"
of Mubarak, but let's not forget that the military's hand was tied in this
matter. Yes, there's evidence that the US tried to (eventually) bring about
this outcome (telling Mubarak he had to go and forming a transitional government)
but it's also the case that it was the sustained pressure from the masses which
was decisive in bringing this about. It's also true that the decades old
state of emergency law hasn't been lifted yet and that the military government
hasn't even yet affirmed Mubarak's commitment to an election in September.
So - in my view - there are a lot of crucial questions which haven't been
determined yet, not the least of which is whether the masses will be de-mobilized
or increasingly mobilized and radicalized and whether this will really become
the social revolution that it promised to be. I obviously see more encouraging
signs in these developments than you. The cause of this 'cautious optimism'
(as Dave Z put it) is the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses. Now that
they have the sweet taste of a limited victory in their mouths after decades
of repression and now that they have gone through the experience of seeing
how their mass mobilization can topple a government, this will likely
encourage them to struggle onwards. Certainly - as I pointed out before -
there are forces both in Egypt (especially the capitalist class and the military
high command) who will want to de-rail this process, but - to mix metaphors -
they will likely find that it will prove much harder than they think to put
the genie back in the bottle (i.e. to harness and strip the revolutionary
enthusiasm of the masses).
In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Sun Feb 13 09:08:39 2011

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