Volatility

January 31, 2011

Popular Committees in Egypt?

 

Today will be the seventh day of massive protests demanding the end of the Mubarak regime. The army continues to watch and wait, although it seems to me that having brought the troops in to sit there and mingle with the protestors all these days can only erode the generals’ ability to order them to take any harsh action. Although “elite”, specially-disciplined units are always a different story, if I had to bet I’d say the possibility of the troops firing on the crowds is a moot point. The generals would never risk it.
 
I’ve been interested in how so far most of the commentary has depicted the protestors as being united mostly in demanding political freedom, without as much expression of economic grievance. This is a common feature of the early stage of a revolution. Although the main driver that started it is always economic, in the first heady rush of democracy the people demand the enshrinement of that new democracy they just won for themselves.
 
But the economic grievances remain, if latent at first. Egypt suffers stagflation and class war. There’s no doubt at all that the “looting” being described in the MSM was started by police thugs, and it has mostly been perpetrated by them, especially all assaults on public property. But this MSM article also has some discussions about class attitudes that ring true. The parasite class exists in Egypt just as it does in the US, and that class no doubt fears that the protests may engulf their stolen privilege as well. Although Mubarak’s thugs have done all they can to stoke this fear, the fear should be real as well, as the people should indeed turn their attention to these criminals once the initial political goal is achieved. Whether or not a “revolutionary” government does so is always a metric of whether it’s carrying out the will of the people, or betraying that will.
 
I had my first council sighting this morning. The police looting and the people’s spontaneous organization of patrols and defenses is, according to the tweets of the blogger 3arabway (whose Egyptian-based site is among those blocked), providing the practical ground for the organization of “Popular Committees”. No matter what’s the proximate cause for the formation of such councils, once they exist they become the basic building block of revolutionary democracy. The people should form thousands of such Committees and confederate them. That would give them a working organizational framework for the whole movement. 
 
Meanwhile Elbaradei continues to try to position himself as focal point if not leader of the protests. He gave a speech in Tahrir Square which received a mixed reaction, with many among the crowd calling out, “Don’t Steal Our Revolution!” History proves they’re right to be vigilant.
 
Elbaradei and others are calling for a million people to turn out on Tuesday, the one week anniversary of the first Day of Wrath. I don’t know if there’s a special reason to say Tuesday, or if that’s the shortest period would-be organizers need to start taking a more assertive role in coordinating things “from above”.
 
I don’t want to sound like I disparage organization as such. This revolution will need far more of it if it’s to accomplish more than just driving out Mubarak. Such a negative goal is always far easier than the affirmative goal of building something better. In the absence of organization toward building a truly democratic new society, it’s all too likely that something just as bad or worse will ensue. In this scenario, it’s possible that the US would like to use a Suleiman regime to further rationalize neoliberal domination. Mubarak had some messy residual nationalist traits, and his new pledges of greater social democracy can only remind the globalizers of that.
 
This is a good example of how the job in Tunisia is nowhere near finished and barely begun. Driving out one figurehead but leaving the regime otherwise intact will often bring an even worse outcome, since the new leaders won’t even have the clout as entrenched puppets they’d built up over the years to ever assert themselves against direct corporate policy dictation.
 
Not that we should assume that’s a foregone conclusion in Egypt. The scenario I just described is obviously being bruited as wish fulfillment in the MSM and among think tankers. It also reeks of the conspiracy theories it seems we’ll never be done with even in moments where as human beings we should for once just simply enjoy the view and the fresh air.
 
But at the same time, history proves it’s possible, and this shock doctrine outcome is always the US intent. So the people of Egypt are right to demand the ouster of the whole regime, not just one guy.
 
Council democracy is the right answer to all this. It can subsume or work in tandem with conventional figures like Elbaradei while remaining separate from them. I don’t know enough about the Muslim Brotherhood to know whether it would be likely to help or try to hijack such councils (as a rule, the entry of parties into the councils is a bad thing; parties try to subvert them to their own ends).
 
There are so many perils here that it’s impossible to chart an exact course for even days let alone years. Everything from whether or not riot police will regroup today and try to retake the streets, to the future war to purge the country of neoliberalism (or conversely be destroyed by it completely), is up in the air.
 
The only rule is that political democracy has gotten them this far, and trying to enshrine it is the one value and action which is always spiritually and practically sound, if the people will only sustain their will to fight for it. It’s part of the reason we live in the first place. It’s at the core of what makes us human. 
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23 Comments

  1. According to this

    http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/20110130-egyptian-police-redeploying?utm_source=specialreport&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=110130&utm_content=readmore&elq=2c256b4eaa8341e4a96bdf02cbb0e0bb

    the police withdrew from the streets, took off their uniforms, and redeployed as looters, in order to put pressure on the army to either restore “order” by itself, or else fall into line with a savage repression.

    The report says an agreement on this was reached and will be put into effect today.

    I doubt it, for the reason I gave in the post. But if they really do give the rank and file troops orders to support the death squads, that’ll be the real test. It’ll decide the short-run fate of the movement.

    If the order’s given and the troops passively refuse or even actively mutiny, that would open up vast new possibilities. Which is why I think the generals won’t want to run the risk.

    Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 6:10 am

  2. Military rulers have dominated Egypt for the last 60 years, and these rulers have have kept the Muslim Brotherhood well out of power. The Muslim Brotherhood, itself, has been around for over 80 years, and has a political goal that mirrors the goal of the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson fundamentalist group here in the US–establishing a government based on religious law.

    Ultimately, it will not be Islam that unites Egypt. Any new regime will be united around the idea that Israel and the US are the enemies of Egypt.

    Comment by black swan — January 31, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    • That’ll be the right idea, and it can be done on a secular or theocratic basis. The former would be better, since theocracy has no history of economically empowering the productive people. On the contrary, it tends to ally itself with economic elites, though that may be a new cohort of elites replacing a dislodged one.

      Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 7:01 am

  3. Here’s more on the anointed Suleiman:

    http://amleft.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.html#3652723593728081758

    Shortly after 9/11, Australian citizen, Mamdouh Habib, was captured by Pakistani security forces and, under US pressure, tortured by Pakistanis. He was then rendered (with an Australian diplomats watching) by CIA operatives to Egypt, a not uncommon practice. In Egypt, Habib merited Suleiman’s personal attention. As related by Richard Neville, based on Habib’s memoir:

    Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman…. Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks.

    That treatment wasn’t enough for Suleiman, so:
    To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

    After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where he eventually was imprisoned at Guantanamo. His confession was then used as evidence in his Guantanamo trial.

    Clearly, the elevation of Suleiman, with the acceptance of the US, is not a move in the direction of democratizing the country.

    He sounds like Obama’s and Hillary’s kind of guy alright, although I also read that Obama’s getting petulant about wanting Mubarak to stay. And the Israelis seem invested in him too.

    Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

  4. I’m not sure if the looters/”thugs” are entirely security forces, Al Jazeera was reporting that the police/correctional guards had essentially left prisons untended and that thousands of convicts had escaped. Presumably many of these escaped convicts are taking advantage of the lack of policing to get what they can while the getting’s good, as well.

    I’m considerably more sanguine about the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in any revolution than the majority of Westerners that I know, who largely lump the Egyptian MB in with Deobandi extremists like the original Taliban (the commenter above equating the MB with “Jerry Falwell”-style fundamentalism is a good example), which is a flagrant misrepresentation. I’m not sure why we’re to believe that secular law (by which, of course, we mean English-descended common law, for the most part) is inherently superior to Shari’a. The Fiqh recognized by ordinary Muslims is as complete, if not moreso, than common law- particularly in North Africa, even city morphology is covered! I don’t see any compelling evidence that Shari’a legal systems are necessarily more destructive or less free than common law ones, particularly when you take into account the full sweep of history of both systems. I see the same basic ignorance and, frankly, Islamophobia among Western liberals, communists, and anarchists alike. An entirely secular legal and governmental system that is representative of the will of the people in Egypt is simply an oxymoron. To be clear- if we see a popular government without representation and respect for the MB and other Muslim groups who want to discard colonial legal systems, which have done nothing to protect the interests of ordinary people, in favour of traditional Islamic jurisprudence, chances are we’re looking at another Western puppet regime.

    Furthermore, the idea of the MB hijacking a nascent revolution bears the whiff of American “security analysts” who believe in concepts like the “Greater Middle East” where all Muslims everywhere are conspiring to implement a new, Morocco-to-Afghanistan caliphate, or some such nonsense. The MB have been ruthlessly repressed by the Egyptian government for decades and don’t have an extensive party structure to speak of. To the extent that professional cadres of the MB exist, they are surely not numerous enough to co-opt all or even most of the people’s committees which seem to be springing up, particularly if those are formed on the basis of residency in a particular area- they simply lack the organization and numbers.

    The Egyptian MB, being the home of Sayyid Qutb, also differs significantly from its sister organisations in other parts of the Middle East. Qutb’s teachings are about as close to an independent evolution of anarchist Islam as anyone’s got, and I think we should at least acknowledge that the participation of Qutb’s followers in popular committees is potentially salutary. I’m not at all convinced that this movement will not be coopted by El-Baradei and friends, who I am deeply suspicious of. El-Baradei was being pimped by the Western media as the successor to Mubarak almost immediately after the start of the protests, and it doesn’t seem coincidental that he has finally showed up in Tahrir square to make grand pronouncements. The MB, it seems to me, is likely to serve as a genuinely populist counterweight to the influence of “leaders” like El-Baradei.

    Finally, I am generally concerned about the role of the military, since it seems that they will have a decisive role in any outcome. With a billion dollar inducement from the US hanging over their heads, I wonder how likely they are to side with a legitimately popular government, which would be ferociously opposed by the Americans. The involvement of religious leaders on the side of any popular movement may convince the lower ranks to side with the people, which may, in turn, limit the options of the brass.

    As an aside, regardless of outcome, this is proving to be a highly illuminating model for successful popular revolt against an oppressive authoritarian regime. One thing that seems to be happening as the days wear on is the fraying of nerves due to a lack of consistent food and water supplies. I didn’t expect to see the breakdown of distribution systems this quickly. This leads me to believe that local food and water production will be absolutely necessary to any successful anti-state activity that lasts for more than a few days.

    Comment by paper mac — January 31, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    • “The majority of Westerners that I know, who largely lump the Egyptian MB in with Deobandi extremists like the original Taliban (the commenter above equating the MB with “Jerry Falwell”-style fundamentalism is a good example), which is a flagrant misrepresentation.”

      If you think I equate the Taliban with Falwell and Robertson, then you know little about Falwell and Robertson, and maybe even less about the Taliban.

      According to “”Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood”:

      The MB believes the Qur’an ahould be the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”

      I think it is safe to say that Falwell and Robertson were very comfortable with the idea of the Bible being the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Christian family, individual, community … and state”.

      I’ll stand by my comparison. Nowhere in my post did I state that there was any similarity between the MB and the Taliban. I don’t remember ever reading that the MB had joined forces with the mujahideen.

      Personally, I am against any religious governments, and that includes the Israeli government. Religious governments are governments of exclusion by nature. Say what you want about Saddam, at least his dictatorship was secular enough so that woman were not oppressed in the way they are in today’s Iraq or in today’s Saudi Arabia . The MB leaders, in contrast to those who run the Saudi Muslim government, are actually proponents of women’s rights.

      Comment by black swan — January 31, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

      • The MB leaders, in contrast to those who run the Saudi Muslim government, are actually proponents of women’s rights.

        I was wondering about that, but hadn’t seen anything specific on it. While I don’t prefer religious governments, I also don’t automatically reject them as such.

        The trouble is that they’re prone to oppress – women, religious minorities, gays, etc.

        And like I said above, in industrialized societies they seem likely to support economic elites against the workers.

        Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

      • “According to “”Principles of the Muslim Brotherhood”:

        The MB believes the Qur’an ahould be the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state”

        I think it is safe to say that Falwell and Robertson were very comfortable with the idea of the Bible being the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Christian family, individual, community … and state”.”

        If that’s your sole comparison then I contend it has no analytical value. The Qur’an is always and everywhere interpreted through the lens of a body of Fiqh. This is a body of precedent and law which is as culturally contingent and arbitrary as any body of secular law. There is no Christian equivalent to Fiqh. What then, is the value of comparing the “religious law” that Falwell et al. would like to see established with that of the MB?

        Fiqh is already demonstrably a functioning, often thoroughly humane and just system of law and social contract, often regulated by local communities. The MB no more intends to literally interpret the Qu’ran as law, your wikipedia quote aside, than does any other Shari’a group. The MB participates in determination of Fiqh within the Muslim world, and as you note, many of their views are significantly more human and just than those of the Saudi dictatorship. The implementation of any system of law can be just or unjust regardless of the underlying text or canon, depending on how it is interpreted. So why compare the MB view with that of the obviously malign and absurd views of Robertson and Falwell other than to impugn the MB?

        “Personally, I am against any religious governments, and that includes the Israeli government. Religious governments are governments of exclusion by nature. Say what you want about Saddam, at least his dictatorship was secular enough so that woman were not oppressed in the way they are in today’s Iraq or in today’s Saudi Arabia .”

        I share your personal sentiments. I prefer to live in a society which organises itself around secular principles. I don’t intend to jump down your throat for that. I would simply say to you that “women’s rights” has been a clarion call of Western imperialists for a generation, now, and that your association between secularism and the empowerment of women is one that is deeply informed by the experiences of Western society, rather than those of the Middle East.

        I would encourage you, to the extent that you are concerned about the rights of women in the Muslim world, to seek out the writings of Saba Mahmood. Of particular value for this subject is “Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject”, which documents the women’s movement embedded within the Islamic revival of Egypt. Mahmood has been at the forefront of documenting legitimate indigenous women’s movements, particularly in Egypt and Afghanistan, and their interactions with secular Western liberals. She is deeply critical of the Western use of what she describes as the “twin figures of the Islamic fundamentalist and his female victim” in the justification of Western imperialism and the direct Western interference with the women of the muslim world living their lives as they see fit. Indeed, she sees the use of the “Islamic fundamentalism = lack of women’s rights” trope as a deliberate obfuscation of the complex network of economic, tribal, religious, social, and imperialist causes for the oppression of women in the Muslim world.

        This is why I balk at the equation (common among secular Westerners) of Christian and Islamic “fundamentalists”. This equation has been used for some time to justify to secular liberals the ongoing colonial ventures in the Muslim world. We MUST, if we are to genuinely support popular movements in the Muslim world, put aside our (in any case highly mutable) standards of what “properly” belongs in the public and private spheres and admit that this is for the people who live there to decide. If we prefer secular governments, let’s implement them for ourselves. Let’s let other people decide how they ought to conduct their affairs.

        Comment by paper mac — January 31, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    • Thanks for those details, paper mac. I wasn’t referring specifically to the Muslim Brotherhood as it exists right now when I mentioned theocracy above; I was thinking more in terms of the radicalization movements are often driven to by the revanchist crimes of the counterrevolution (which is responsible for most of the bloodshed of e.g. the French Revolution).

      I know the MB has preached non-violence and has engaged in significant civilian aid, and that’s a major reason for their support base.

      Elbaradei, on the other hand, is a celebrity interloper so far as I can tell. I asked myself what’s his base, and based on what I read I see none. It seems there’s just wide but shallow interest in him as a famous figure who can be the face of the demand for the regime to depart.

      If the accounts I read are correct, and the demonstrators mostly regard him as a public figurehead but not an authoritative figure, that sounds about right. It might be all right to set him up as a purely nominal head of a truly provisional government while popular assemblies decide what’s really to be the new form of government.

      I hope it doesn’t seem presumptuous for an American to advise like this. It’s really more to study what the Egyptians do as training toward our own future. But it’s of course the Egyptians who will decide for themselves what to do, assuming the army doesn’t open fire in the end. (I don’t think that’ll happen.)

      The looters seem to be a combination of police thugs and prisoners either released and told to loot, or who escaped in the chaos which the police left at the prisons. Any of those is the responsibility of the regime. (Reading about vanloads of police looters invading homes made me think of a book I read about Saddam’s regime. One time in the 80s when he wanted the middle class to feel special terror for some reason, I forget why, a plainclothes secret police unit was dispatched to invade homes and murder families with axes. So while I haven’t heard of Mubarak’s home-invasion thugs murdering people in their homes, it’s still the same principle.)

      The distribution system’s breakdown sounds like a version of the breakdowns Peak Oil social theory predicts. Especially today we have such complex, unresilient, hyper-efficient (meaning highly fragile and vulnerable and therefore inefficient) systems that the slightest failure can quickly avalanche into broad system failure.

      Yet another reason for, you got it, relocalized food production and control of water.

      I agree completely on the intensive study of this example. I’m still taking it all in and feeling some of the euphoria (vicariously). But later I hope to recollect in tranquility and draw some useful conclusions.

      But for now everything’s still in furious motion, and here’s hoping it stays that way for a long, long time, because there’s a long, long way to go!

      Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

      • The only thing I would add to this is that I think ElBaradei does have a “base” outside of Egypt itself. A Western-educated man, who has thoroughly internalized the values of the Western neoliberal globalist apparatus (via the UN and IAEA) seems likely to garner significant support from Western liberals as well as wealthy Egyptian expats. I doubt that’s enough at this stage to derail this movement, but if it starts to peter out, he might have enough foreign support to be used as a way to push things down a scam representative gov’t path once again, which is why I’m wary of him.

        Comment by paper mac — January 31, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

      • Yes, I’ve assumed from the moment he arrived that if he became the “savior” and the new president, he wouldn’t make any real changes. (Would he even end torture? I don’t assume it.)

        At least he had something like a real job, unlike the Chalabi type “dissidents” carpetbagging into Tunisia.

        Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

      • Don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger. Not all agree that the Muslim Brotherhood is a non-violent organization. Here is a strange video I found online. It appears to be contrived, but it is provocative:

        http://www.investigativeproject.org/866/digging-deeper-into-the-hlf-trial

        Then there is this from “The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report”, an anti Muslim Brotherhood online publication. These people are as obsessed with the MB as “Tail-Gunner Joe” and “Citizen Cohn” were with “The communist takeover of America”:

        “Documents recently released as part of the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terrorism financing trial suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. was far more structured and organized than previously known. Prior to the release of the documents, it was clear that the various organizations and individuals comprising the U.S. Brotherhood were networking extensively with each other but the existence of leadership structures could only be the subject of speculation. Now however, three of the documents shed light on such structures, at least as they existed at the end of the 1980′s and beginning of the 1990′s. The first document, dated December 1988, is entitled “Preliminary vision for preparing future leadership” and was signed by M.A, likely Mohammed Akram who, as a report by the NEFA Foundation suggests, is probably Secretary General of the International al-Quds Foundation in Lebanon. The last page of the document is a spreadsheet with a column entitled “The Apparatuses”, a common word used by the Brotherhood for its organizations. This list of organizations comprises both public and covert U.S Brotherhood structures. The first covert structure is the “The Shura” with the first cell containing the name Al-Qadi, appearing to confirm the Chicago Tribune article identifying Ahmed Elkadi as head of the Brotherhood in the U.S. Other covert structures include “The Office”, “Security”, and the “Palestine C.” discussed in a previous post. The public structures include almost all of the known Brotherhood organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Interestingly the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) is not included although it’s affiliate, the Association of Muslim Social Science, is part of the list.

        The second document is entitled “An Explanatory Memorandum, On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America” written by Mohamed Akram and dated May 22, 1991. On page 14 of this document, which is interesting on many other levels, Akram references the many of the covert Brotherhood apparatuses discussed above as he outlines his plan for further organizational development of the U.S. Brotherhood. There is a list of organizations attached to the end of the document with the heading:

        A list of our organizations and organizations of our friends. [Imagine if they all march according one plan]”

        Here is more of what the writers of this anti-MB publication have to say:

        “The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report was created to fill a significant gap in the understanding of Islamic extremism. Most observers are familiar with the pan-Islamic organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Founded in 1928 by Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan El-Banna, the Egyptian Brotherhood’s served as the wellspring of Islamism and political Islam. Its importance as a ‘springboard’ toward radicalization for individuals such as Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been widely discussed. Far less known is the existence of a global network of individuals and organizations that developed as Muslim Brotherhood members dispersed to other countries while fleeing the periodic crackdowns on the organization in Egypt.

        Many of these Muslim Brothers (Ikhwan) settled in Europe and the United States where they went on to found what have become the some of the most prominent Islamic organizations in their new home countries. Once established, these organizations began seeking legitimacy and have worked to influence and control the development of Islamic discourse and political activity in their respective countries. Less publicly, they are almost always associated with fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and support for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and often, Hezbollah. While claiming to disavow al Qaeda linked terrorism, the Ikhwan are at best lukewarm in their condemnation of Islamist violence and commonly issue statements justifying such violence. When compared to the Egyptian organization, there has been relatively little scrutiny of the network that is referred to here as the global Muslim Brotherhood. This network has become far more important to the Islamist movement worldwide than the Egyptian organization, which is largely confined to activities inside Egypt where its members are under constant government surveillance and control.”

        Comment by black swan — January 31, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

      • The IPT is not a serious, scholarly organisation, and their pronouncements on various Muslim groups differ little from the American security establishment. Their role in the American COIN ecosystem is to drum up business for various private-sector security rackets by scaremongering. It’s difficult to take them seriously, particularly when their “sources” are 20 year old documents written by individuals identified only by their initials (not to mention the IPT proprietor’s personal financial interests in casting the MB as “Islamist” terrorists out to destroy America and Israel and all that is just and good). Relying on American sources on Islamic groups is a sure path to becoming badly misinformed.

        To be clear: the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is a federated Islamic social welfare organization. It is not a terrorist group. It is not, in any primary sense, a fundamentalist political party. Attempts to portray it as a radical Islamist party or a terrorist group are peddled by the supporters of Mubarak (the American and Israeli security establishments) and assorted Islamophobe hangers-on.

        In the interests of providing you with a much more serious discussion of what the MB does and what it’s about in the context of a number of other religious organizations (the Salvation Army, Shas, and Comunione e Liberazione, I have uploaded a .pdf of an analysis of these groups:

        http://rapidshare.com/files/445558436/Davis___Robinson_2009_Overcoming_Movement_Obstacles_by_the_Religiously_Orthodox.pdf

        It’s worth reading thoroughly before further disservicing yourself by repeating the nonsense of the American COIN establishment.

        Comment by paper mac — January 31, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

  5. For the first time, the army has explicitly announced it won’t fire on protestors.

    And the protestors are rejecting Suleiman’s “offer” to open “negotiations”.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/01/20111311965695371.html#

    Comment by Russ — January 31, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    • This probably will not make US politicians feel any better about the Muslim Brotherhood:

      By Jamal Halaby (CP) – 2 days ago

      “AMMAN, Jordan — The leader of Jordan’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood warned Saturday that unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.

      Hammam Saeed’s comments were made at a protest outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman, inspired by massive rallies in neighbouring Egypt demanding the downfall of the country’s longtime president, Hosni Mubarak.

      The Americans and (President Barack) Obama must be losing sleep over the popular revolt in Egypt,” he said. “Now, Obama must understand that the people have woken up and are ready to unseat the tyrant leaders who remained in power because of U.S. backing.”

      Saeed did not specifically name King Abdullah. But he said Jordan’s prime minister “must draw lessons from Tunisia and Egypt and must swiftly implement political reforms.”

      “We tell the Americans ‘enough is enough’,” he said.

      Comment by black swan — January 31, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

      • Sounds good to me!

        Comment by Russ — February 1, 2011 @ 5:37 am

  6. I felt overjoyed watching this video.

    If the kind of sentiment expressed by these people in Cairo is anything close to widespread, this could really be something incredible. Will we be saying “Look to Egypt”?

    Comment by paper mac — February 1, 2011 @ 1:56 am

    • That’s excellent, paper mac, thanks.

      I’m going to carry that link over to the next thread, where the post mentions similar activities in Alexandria.

      Comment by Russ — February 1, 2011 @ 5:42 am

  7. (Translation of State-Department-Speak)

    Comment by Lidia — February 1, 2011 @ 3:13 am

    • That’s great. Pitch perfect.

      (How stilted is that delivery? That’s no glib politician, is it? That’s the rich parents having to grit their teeth at their debutante daughter’s wedding to a mechanic or something.

      I especially like the part where she lectures the protestors on proper behavior. Any member of the US power structure wouldn’t have standing to lecture the Huns themselves about violence.)

      Comment by Russ — February 1, 2011 @ 5:37 am

      • Yes, strip away the small, elite, dominant TPTB layers of both American and Egyptian societies, and the vast numbers of those remaining dominated peoples may have much in common with each other (at least in spirit). As far as protests go, Kent State will always be a reminder of what happens when American protesters screw with the mafiocracy.

        If there was a massive protest in the US, similar in size and scope to the current protest in Egypt, rest assured that the Murdoch/Immelt owned press would to everything in its power to marginalize it.

        Comment by black swan — February 1, 2011 @ 6:23 am

      • They would try. It would be up to us not to let them. (I agree that’ll be hard to do.)

        Comment by Russ — February 1, 2011 @ 7:23 am

  8. […] taking on real social functions like food distribution, sanitation, keeping the peace. There were some promising signs of this during the first stage of the Egyptian Revolution. (The fact that this first stage seems to have come to a temporary end with the cosmetic […]

    Pingback by Notes on Time Banking and Democratic Councils « Volatility — March 23, 2012 @ 5:34 am


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