'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Egypt: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised? 

I hate to be stealing so much material for lenin over at Lenin's Tomb, but this is really important, and, as implied by the title of this post, virtually ignored by US media:

I say Egypt could be the next Venezuela - it would be more accurate to say that it would be far, far more significant than what is happening in Venezuela, much as one admires the popular movements and the political leadership shown thus far in that country. The reasons are obvious: the overthrow of a pro-imperialist dictator subsidised by $2bn dollar donations from the Washington treasury each year, on the back of a massive wave of labour strikes and uprisings, would lay the grounds for a revolutionary transformation of the Middle East that no neoconservative would appreciate. Every single pro-American dictatorship would be under threat, and every opposition group in the region would acquire a bastion of support - especially the Palestinians, the self-righteousness of whose oppressors is limitless. Perhaps you imagine I'm writing my April Fool piece, but if that breathless enthusiasm does seem a little overdone to you, perhaps it is because you haven't seen a fraction of what is happening in Egypt on your television screens, in contrast with the regular bulletins on Iran.

Hossam el-Hamalawy's blog contains regular updates on the strikes sweeping across Egypt, and the state's crack-downs. Plenty will you read of bloggers and dissidents taken away and tortured in Mubarak's cells, and you can even watch footage of the ballot-stuffing carried out by state officials in the recent referendum on constitutional amendments designed to crack down on opposition groups, but much also about the victories of the workers' movement. These strikes are illegal, frequently wild cat actions, and the state has not been slow to send in the goons where it has had the confidence to do so. But from time to time, they have been outnumbered. And, of course, a report from this remarkable Cairo Conference, the fifth since they began. (Last year, we had a report and some pictures from our own Guy Taylor, so I hope he's been again this year). This year, Rose Gentle of Military Families Against the War spoke alongside Alex Callinicos and John Rees in front of socialists and resistance groups from across the Middle East, as well as Muslim Brothers, Hizbollah and Hamas representatives, and anticapitalist activists from South Korea. The conference's anti-torture forum featured bloggers who had been detained and tortured by Mubarak's secret police, and also a chap named Abu Omar who had been kidnapped by the CIA in Italy and packed off to Mubarak to be electrocuted. Others were put through sexual abuse alongside the other forms of torture. That is how the empire, and its client despots, keep order: this repression, this tyranny, is paid for with a share of the profits of the American capitalist class, the very same who we are supposed to believe are concerned for democracy and human rights in Venezuela.

Of course, there's more, much more, including links to primary Egyptian sources over at Lenin's Tomb. Curiously, lenin seems to have adopted an attitude about the geopolitical significance of Egypt, from the opposite side of the spectrum, of course, as the former LaRouchite, neoconservative fantasist Laurent Murawiec. At least, lenin's perspective is based upon some objective reporting of facts on the ground.

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