Thursday, July 4, 2013

What's happening in Egypt?

Let’s get one thing straight! This massive public opposition is what brought the Morsi regime down. According to the Egyptian military monitoring protests by helicopter & video, there were 14 million Egyptians in the streets on Sunday & a million that remained in Tahrir Square demanding Morsi leave. The military could collaborate with Morsi & the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but not with a massive uprising it could not control. So it pulled a fast one to preempt the uprising & head it off at the pass in order to regain control of a volatile situation.

Why has this contradictory dynamic confounded so many people? Conservative commentators are denouncing the popular uprising as an impeachment of the electoral process & argue Egyptians should have patiently waited till the next elections. They of course ignore that the elections last year were exposed as fraudulent & in violation of Egyptian electoral law. Egyptians are suffering the full whip of neoliberal economics-- going without electricity & fuel & food & you want them to wait three years!? Why the hell should they honor fraud & formalities with their long-suffering!?

Other commentators are chiding Egyptian working people for taking matters into their own hands. They refer to them as rioters & a mob; some have the temerity to blame protestors for the military takeover of power & they do so with the most strident epithets & taunts. Like figuring out what to do & making a revolution is all that easy! These wiseacres would benefit from studying history & some political activism where you see the complexities of social struggle.

The most credulous commentators herald the role of the military in threatening & removing Morsi as emancipatory, as a sign the military has been won over to the revolution. The first thing the military did was turn against its former collaborators & scapegoat them. Within hours they closed down MB news stations along with al Jazeera & Reuters operations; they moved tanks & squat teams to MB gatherings, they issued arrest warrants for MB members & began dragging them into jail. These are not the actions of born-again democrats but of martial law.

The big debate is whether or not the military pulled off a coup yesterday. When has the military not been in control in Egypt? They prefer to rule behind a front office apparatus that appears democratically elected. Morsi & his MB colleagues served that role & made sure military rule & independence were enshrined in the constitution they rammed through in December. The new flunky they put up is not civilian rule. He’s a part of the Mubarak/Morsi/military complex. Have they pulled off a coup or are they just openly calling the shots again? Are the distinctions worth a hill of beans?

There is a crisis of power in Egypt because the military & its US allies are running out of options to deceive. They can’t keep the electoral scam going forever---with a parade of phony democrats controlled by them--because neoliberal predation is so massive & unforgiving. Millions of Egyptians are being schooled in the cauldron of revolution about the problems of social transformation, the character of the military, the nature of neoliberalism, the purpose of elections, who to trust & who not to. This is not the time for jeremiads & eulogies for the Egyptian revolution. This is a time for the most active solidarity because if there’s one thing the Egyptian people have shown in their millions, it is their intransigence & determination to change the status quo. They are leading; we are still learning.

No US aid to Egypt! No US aid to Israel! Solidarity with Egyptian working people!

(Photo by Andre Pain/EPA)

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