[OPE] Brief Thoughts on the Egyptian Revolution

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Mon Feb 14 2011 - 03:42:15 EST


I'm not pessimistic about the prospects for social progress in Egypt. I am
thrilled about all the new ideas and forms of association people are
creating over there. BTW the uprising has been overwhelmingly working class,
although that fact is squelched by the bourgeois media; the core of the
revolt is about people who feel shortchanged for their productive
contribution to society and up till now hardly able to express their
frustrations politically.

But I am not so optimistic either. I am more realistic, so then you are
talking about a process of change that could take a long time, like ten
years. The upheavals of recent weeks were about people finding their
political voice and shaking off their fears, refusing to be intimidated any
longer. But if you have say 30 million people in your country who live on 2
dollars per day, then if you wanted to raise their standard of living to say
26 dollars per day, bringing them up to a world average as it were, well you
just couldn't do that instantly. Just realizing food security is already a
big fight. Rooting out corruption is going to take time also, since it is so
ingrained in ordinary life.

Actually the gini coefficient for the USA is worse than Egypt's, but that is
because the US rich are super-rich. What you can learn from Egypt is that
modern capitalism is very parasitic: everybody will try to grab as much
money, time and resources off you as they can, and use you, to enrich
themselves - whether they call themselves "public servants", "businessmen",
"priests", "soldiers", "bankers" or whatever - and if you don't like it, you
have to hit back very hard. And you have to keep hitting back very hard,
because they keep trying to grab off you whatever they can use for
themselves. They smile very nicely, and they have all kinds of wonderful
stories... while they pick your pockets. At the same time though, there is a
lot of social solidarity possible, when people see that they are all in the
same position, and that they can force through changes if they stick

I realize the Althusserian Marxists are Islamophobics, but nevertheless you
can read interesting things on political economy on Islamic sites, for



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