Egypt: What’s the answer to today’s bloodbath?
Egypt: What’s the answer to today’s bloodbath?
19 August 2013. A World to Win News Service. By Samuel Albert. The Egyptian armed forces are slaughtering people on a mass scale, and they are doing it with the backing of the U.S. This is the time not only to oppose this terrorism, but expose the American hand behind them.
If some regime the U.S. perceived as standing in its way were doing what the Egyptian military is doing – massacring unarmed demonstrators and even prisoners, like for instance Assad in Syria, the U.S. and its allies would not be “reviewing” aid, sending diplomats, making phone calls and cancelling joint military manoeuvres that the Egyptian army is too busy to bother with right now. They would be howling at the UN, screaming about “red lines” and threatening air strikes or other armed intervention. The imperialist politicians expressing second thoughts about the green light Washington gave this coup are not just hypocrites. They are also rightly concerned that it might not work out in favour of American interests.
The armed forces could not have stepped in so easily if they had not received the mass support organized by the liberals and “leftists”, including the youth organisations who mobilized demonstrations in Tahrir and other squares to beckon the generals to save them from Islamist rule and then gave the coup legitimacy. Just a few weeks ago, some of those now trying trying to disassociate themselves from the army’s crimes were chanting “The people and the army are one hand.”
This slogan, which arose in January 2011 when the army deserted Mubarak, all but faded out later that year when the army shot down Christians, youth and others demonstrating against it. At the time the Islamists courted the army instead of opposing that violent repression. The military later gave them their consent to form a government, although it never gave up the key ministries and other positions and its veto power. Now that chant represents more than an illusion. In the face of today’s difficult and frightening disorder, it is a programme for restoring the old order and worse.
But it is not true that any of those who now dominate the political stage, the military, leading liberal politicians or Islamists, have suddenly “betrayed the revolution”. These events show that there has been no revolution, and that they are all reactionaries who never changed their nature and goals as they manoeuvred amid complex and changing situations. Any genuine revolutionary movement should not only understand these things itself but do its best to bring that understanding to as many people as possible. Instead of exposing both the liberals and Islamists, too many people who call themselves revolutionaries have sought refuge under the wing of one or another of these powerful enemies and tailed the pro-Western and religious illusions that both sides have propagated and the masses of people have suffered from all along.
The situation now is different than when the spontaneous revolt against Mubarak seemed to unite the people, or at least the most active people. Now the people are divided, pulled and sometimes going back and forth between two reactionary gangs under the warring banners of political Islam and worship of Western-sponsored illusions.
On one side stand the liberal proponents of the Western values marketed as “freedom,” especially the “free market” that has crushed the vast majority of people in every country, and the corresponding belief in Western-style capitalist democracy and its system of elections that have never brought basic change anywhere. They have nothing but contempt and repression to offer the impoverished urban masses and most of the half of the population that lives in rural areas.
When these imperialists’ chosen local representatives saw their chance, the liberals dropped their rhetoric about majority rule, political rights and the rule of law and reached out to the “the nation’s armed forces” that have never been the armed forces of the people and the nation as many so-called Marxists in Egypt claim. The military has always belonged to the imperialist-dependent Egyptian ruling exploiter classes, and spoon-fed and led by the nose by the U.S. for the last four decades.
On the other side stand the Islamists, who claim to represent “freedom” from Western domination, hypocrisy and humiliation while institutionalizing the backward economic and social relations and thinking that have helped keep Egypt weak and vulnerable to the domination of foreign capital. Their project is to combine exploitation, oppression and inequality with the false solace of religion, the hypocritical charity of the mosque and the suffocating solidarity of “the community of the faithful” that abolishes critical thinking.
They do not seek to liberate the nation, let alone make possible the flourishing of the people’s creativity and the positive aspects of national culture as a liberated part of the whole of humanity, able to draw on all human achievements. Their most central principle – “Islam is the solution” – precludes uniting the vast majority of people. Instead they want to rally those willing to submit to them out of a particular religious belief and force acceptance on the rest. This excludes Christians, followers of other varieties of Islam (such as Sufis), practising Sunni Muslims who reject theocracy, agnostics and atheists, or in other words, a large percentage of the population. Their solution to Western-induced ”disorder” is state enforcement of religious authority and the relations between people dictated by patriarchy, which is the keystone of their sought-for social and moral order. No wonder so many people are terrified by the prospect of their rule.
Both sides are representatives of a reactionary order and enemies of the best aspirations people fought and died for chanting “Dignity” and “Bread, freedom and social justice”, and neither has a programme for an Egypt that is not subordinated to the world imperialist system. While the Islamists have scared many people into the arms of the generals, the army’s murderous rampage is likely to strengthen the appeal of political Islam.
Many people are trying to stop this vicious spiral. What’s needed is a game changer, a core of men and women united around and struggling – in the streets and in the minds of the people – for real revolutionary goals, a real alternative to the world as it is, the political, economic and social transformation of Egypt to become a base area for a world free of all forms of oppression and exploitation.
This scientifically-based vision could start to become a material force, mobilising growing numbers of people – the downtrodden excluded from political life and others throughout society – to oppose the generals and the non-solutions represented by the liberals and Islamists and build toward the goal of revolutionary political power. This is the only way that the people can begin to throw off their mental shackles, overcome the divisions among them as they unite for the emancipation of humanity from all forms of exploitation and oppression.
As hard as that certainly is, any other solution is an illusion. That’s the solution to today’s bloodbath that revolutionary-minded people everywhere need to work for and support.
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