Published on Pambazuka News, by Ajamu Baraka, July 31, 2013.
With the collusion of some radicals and liberals, the term ‘revolution’ in the context of Egypt has been de-radicalised. There has been no revolutionary process in Egypt, in the sense of a transfer of power away from the class forces that dominated Egyptian society … //
… A REVOLUTION IN NAME ONLY: … //
… A REVOLUTION IN NAME ONLY: … //
… A NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION: ONE STEP FORWARD, THREE STEPS BACK:
This analysis, however, should not be read to suggest that the people were just bit-players in a drama directed by powers they had no control over. The mass rebellion in Egypt created a crisis of governance for the corrupt elite that were in power and their US. patron. The demand for the end of the dictatorship was an awesome demonstration of people-power that created the potential for revolutionary change. The problem was that the dictatorship had severely undermined the ability of alternative popular forces to develop and acquire the political experience and institutional foundations that would have positioned them to better push for progressive change and curtail the power of the military. Unfortunately for Egypt, the force that had the longest experience in political opposition and organizational development was the Muslim Brotherhood.
The call by a sector of the ‘people’ for the Morsi government to step down was a legitimate demand that expressed the position of a portion of the population that was dissatisfied with the policies and direction of the country. Yet, when the Egyptian military — a military that has not demonstrated any propensity for supporting democratic reforms — intimated that it would step in, the mass position should have been ‘no to military intervention, change only by democratic means’ — a position that a more mature and authentically independent movement might have assumed if it was not being
manipulated by powerful elite forces internally and externally.
It was wishful thinking that bordered on the psychotic for liberal and radical forces in the country and their allies outside to believe that a democratic process could be developed that reflected the interests of the broad sectors of Egyptian society while disenfranchising the Muslim Brotherhood, a social force that many conservatively suggest still commands the support of at least a third of the Egyptian population, and is the largest political organization in the country. Liberals and some radicals that supported the coup did not understand that the construction of the ‘people’ is a social/historical process that requires both struggle and engagement. Not understanding this basic principle has resulted in the killing of the national democratic revolution in its infancy.
The powerful national elites that bankrolled the anti-Morsi campaign and their external allies, including Saudi Arabia and the US, have successfully set in motion a counter-revolutionary process that will fragment the opposition and marginalize any radical elements. The Egyptian elite understood much more clearly than the Tamarod or the National Salvation Front that a revolutionary process would entail the development of a political program that has as its objectives the subordination of the military to the people, the public appropriation of state capitalist sector and the rejection of neoliberal capitalist development. Because of that understanding, they moved with textbook precision over the last year and a half to protect their interests.
Sadly, the liberal and radical collusion with the anti-democratic forces of the Egyptian military and economic elite has provided legitimacy for the same retrograde forces that dominated Egyptian society under Mubarak to continue that domination, but this time in the name of revolution.
(Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist and veteran of the Black Liberation Movement. He is currently a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. Baraka can be reached at Ajamubaraka.com).
An important victory of the Egyptian people, on Pambazuka News, by Samir Amin, July 10, 2013: Sixteen million Egyptians demonstrated against the government of President Morsi that led to his downfall. Western powers, Israel and the Gulf countries hate the perspective of a democratic, socially progressive, independent Egypt …;
Will Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood survive? on CNN, by Isobel Coleman, July 5, 2013.