|Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V.I.Lenin
Economic and Philosophic Science Review
Subscriptions (£12 p.a.) and circulation P&P Bulletin Publications. PO Box 50, London SW17 9NL [Post Office Registered.] Phone 0771 2639934 www.epsr.org.uk
No 1429 10th July 2013 25p fortnightly
Fake-“left” of all shades feed the “democracy” illusions that have helped the West backed counter-revolutionary coup in Egypt, their petty bourgeois instincts lining them up with Blair, Obama-ism and the reactionary generals. Muslim Brotherhood may not be the solution either but the “mass movement” in Tahrir Square is no progressive second wave of the Arab Spring, comprising military reactionaries and petty bourgeois hostile above all to the anti-imperialist component in the Brotherhood’s progress. Western press figures of “seventeen million” are a ludicrous over-statement anyway but the key lesson is that the masses will be led round by the nose until they build a far better understanding and grasp of the real class forces at work on the planet – namely Leninist scientific revolutionary leadership. But the driving world crisis is teaching valuable lessons all the same
The counter-revolutionary massacres and slaughter of the poor and deprived in Egypt has caught in a sharp green laser light the cowardice and bankrupt confusion of the fake-“lefts” of all shades from “no leadership” anarchists, shallow anti-communist Trotskyists and pathetic wooden social-pacifist Stalinists.
Their gung-ho unthinking support for the “mass movement”, either outright as from the petty bourgeois shallowness of the Trotskyist SWP’s gushing declarations of a “second wave of revolution” (even as the reactionary Mubarak army was re-seizing control), or tacitly from slightly more cautious elements giving effective credence to the revolt by damning the Mohamed Morsi presidency, has played right into the hands of the ruling class, desperate to recover the ground lost in the Middle East to rising anti-imperialist discontent and rebellion.
Nowhere has that been expressed more sharply and critically than in the giant Egyptian nation.
These fake-”lefts” across the board are now hung out to dry, exposed for the capitulationists they are by the unfolding events in Egypt’s bloody military coup, effectively cheering-on the unprovoked mass street killings of the ordinary people supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and their arrests into the torture prisons of the police and army.
Meanwhile they find themselves lined up politically with reactionary Obama-ism’s twists and turns, the slick war-crime “democracy” sophistry of Tony Blair, the opportunism and reactionariness of the stooge bourgeois politicians in Cairo and, in the background, the sinister lurking presence of the Zionists just across the border, determined to remove all potential threats to their colonialist land theft domination, and especially any support for the heroically rebellious Palestinian struggle.
The rapid unfolding of events has shown the reactionary nature of events and underlined sharply the vital need for revolutionary theory and understanding to guide the masses through the growing turmoil in the world as the monopoly capitalist crisis lurches and slides ever deeper into total catastrophic breakdown and war.
Not everything is what it seems on the surface, least of all “popular rebellion” and it is only with the broadest deepest and long running perspectives of the entire historical period now unfolding, and careful concrete assessment of the class forces arraigned in every situation that it can at all be possible to work out what the elements are in any situation and where they stand.
Get it wrong and the masses are led into counter-revolutionary danger and slaughter.
The capitalist support for the “uprising” should have given a few clues as well as the absence of Western “outrage” at “governments shooting down their own people”??
So where is the concern in the great “Mother of Parliament” at the Egyptian army’s “dictatorial repression and the tearing up of democracy”??
“Righteous” anger at the slaughter of unarmed demonstrators gunned down in the streets as pumped out over Libya or Syria?
Where are the heartrending Western media reports of the agony of the relatives, the zoomed in close-ups of tearful mothers and the approvingly toned voice-overs of the hapless protestors struggling against “obvious injustice” and the trampling of their rights???
Where is the equally inflammatory language of the politicians, building up a frenzied atmosphere to denounce the “generals”???
The inflamed demagogy about potential massacres, the unsubstantiated stories of even worse atrocities not yet seen, or still “unverifiable”?
Where is Vietnam veteran ultra-reactionary US senator John McCain, to call for the arming of the deposed “freedom and democracy strugglers” when you need him, as he does over Libya and Syria??
Where are the preparations for a NATO-nazi blitzkrieg to fulfil the humbug nonsense that the West must “intervene to preserve freedom” still being pumped out against the Assad government next door at the same time?
Nowhere at all of course, when it comes to preserving capitalism’s interests.
To evade its intractable and catastrophic crisis Western imperialism has escalated its warmongering distractions for nearly two decades, and has blitzed, bombed and barbarically destroyed four, count them, four entire countries (as well as Yugoslavia before) in the alleged pursuit of “democracy” and the “right to demonstrate on the streets”, blasting apart or shooting tens of thousands of people, torturing, maiming tens of thousands more and ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands, or in fact millions, wrecking not just houses and streets and infrastructure across swathes of urban districts in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan but taking out and destroying entire cities like Falluja, or Allepo in Syria.
It has gone on for years.
Thriving economies and vibrant living communities have been torn to shreds and pulverised while a legacy of deadly landmines, poison and destructive residues has been left behind (see excellent John Pilger* story on Iraq depleted uranium*) spreading cancer, injury and fear for whole populations.
All this done in the name of “freedom and democracy”.
All this done ostensibly for “regime change” (when the earlier “weapons of mass destruction” fabrications or the horse dung about “hunting down the perpetrators of terror” had fallen through) – to remove and depose “dictators and totalitarianism” and to “rebuild society along democratic lines”.
Huge “sacrifices” have been declared necessary including hundreds of British soldiers’ lives, thousands of Americans, and uncounted multitudes of Afghani, Iraqi, Arab, Syrian, Libyan and others, desperately defending themselves, or simply bystanding civilians (casually written-off as “collateral damage” along with their neighbourhoods and lives).
Tens of $billions have been squandered.
So what is happening to a great “success story” for bourgeois “democracy”, the first-time-in-60-years “proper election” established just 12 months ago in Egypt with Western oversight, approval and funding as the alleged way forwards for future prosperity and harmony and a supposed triumph of history??
Is this not what Western humbug is supposed to achieve?
Torn up of course and the new dictator bosses now slickly and weasly “defended” by the likes of the pompous little Napoleon, William Hague (to grossly insult Napoleon), the drone-killing death-squad Obama presidency and warmonger Tony Blair, author of the foul Goebbels big lie fabrications that set the Iraq war in train, and now imperialist weasel-in-chief Middle Eastern “envoy”.
But the latest bloody military coup in Egypt so glibly supported, and slickly explained away (and in all probability even organised, or advised by Washington via its Cairo stooge pro-imperialist military establishment,) is no real success for imperialism and underlines how desperately fearful the unravelling crisis of its monopoly capitalist system has made the ruling class.
Abandoning so obviously all the pretences about “freedom and democracy”, the “rule of law” and the “inviolability of the will of the people” comes at a huge cost, teaching powerful lessons to the world masses about what total gobshyte it all is and has always been.
The fraud of “democracy” underpins all the non-stop bullshit about totalitarianism which has been pumped out into people’s brains for decades, initially and primarily for anti-communist purposes and in the recent times as the basis for its every escalation of warmongering to escape the catastrophic and unstoppable meltdown crisis of its entire system, all supposedly to do with “standing firm against tyranny and dictators everywhere”.
The impact of this will reverberate not just around Egypt and the Middle East beyond it, but across the whole planet.
It undermines every last humbug vestige of the West’s legal and philosophical posturing about legitimacy and will recruit tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands to the struggle against imperialist domination.
It also exposes the entire rank of the fake-“left”, their capitulation to the Western bullshit about a “war on terror” and their lining up with imperialism against the growing Third World revolt and anti-imperialist struggle, via the anti-Muslim “crusade” and the “condemning of terror”.
Each and every one of them has variously declared either outright support for the alleged “mass struggle” and thereby for the generals or has gone along with the weasel justifications that the Muslim Brotherhood “deserved it”.
The outright hostility of the Trotskyists for the workers states, and therefore real communism, the philistine contempt for theory and organisation for working class of the anarchists, and the dead-brained refusal of the revisionists to re-examine the long pattern of mistakes and retreats from revolutionary understanding by Moscow, woodenly sticking to social-pacifist protest and long standing illusions about “democracy” and “steady progress” (originating from “peaceful roadism”) means that not one of them has been able to even to grasp the significance of all the broad historical factors at work, or even recognise their existence, let alone draw the connections and set the context of the developments within the great unfolding world catastrophe of the entire capitalist order.
Instead they are guided by the shallowest impressionism, easily taken in (and mostly willingly so) by the “democracy” pretences of capitalism.
Understanding of these events has to begin with the crisis of the entire capitalist system, barely mentioned by the fake-”lefts” and certainly not put at the heart of their understanding and analyses.
The disastrous failure of the entire world monopoly capitalist order – an epochal collapse of an 800 years old class domination – is the overriding factor in all the world’s events now, and the driving motor of the turmoil, warmongering and chaos erupting everywhere.
It is the critical element in the Middle East and Egypt.
The full bursting open of the profit system’s relentlessly developing crisis in the 2008 “credit crunch” of bank failures and currency collapses proved for all time the Marxist understanding of the impossibility for capitalism to continue its exploitative and domineering rule, and the reality that it will always implode into a strangling mass of overproduction contradictions.
It is “solvable” only by worldwide destruction and devastation to wipe out the stifling “surplus” – if capitalism continues.
It is solvable, more rationally, only by overturning and ending capitalism and establishing socialism.
The crisis is not limited to 2008 (as shallow petty bourgeois thinking sees it – a one-off collapse the world is “getting over”) but continues unstoppably into Depression and war, for all the pretences of the ruling class about “recovery”.
All the carefully presented lies about “getting to the upturn” are dissembling garbage.
The world capitalist system is completely bankrupt and continues only by imposing the most savage international currency and trade war, which intensifies daily, by wiping out of entire nations economically, and on the imposition of workhouse levels of deprivation and speed-up for the working class everywhere including the “richest” countries of Europe and the US.
Even the “stabilisation” of the last five years is a lying fraud, achieved only by the non-stop printing of ridiculous fantasy money under Quantitative Easing, the swamping of the world in utterly valueless Mickey Mouse paper dollars to try and keep things going.
Nothing has been solved.
Bigger collapses still are on their way.
And world war conflict in some form, between major capitalist powers or the steady piecemeal degeneration of the US empire.
Meanwhile the underlying contradictions have produced a gigantic escalation of the growing discontent and ferment of the tyrannically exploited Third World, already maturing through decades of steadily increasing sophistication among the world’s masses, who understand only too well the monstrous injustice of the lives they are forced to live, in penury and near-slavery sweatshop labour, and of the giant possibilities that could exist for everyone.
The hatred and hostility for the system which oppresses them has intensified greatly because of the “war on terror” blitzing and intimidation which the US Empire has been imposing to try and “shock and awe” the world into continuing submission to its rapacious exploitation of everyone else, even though it is now beyond bankruptcy.
Egypt’s (and Tunisia’s) 2011 eruption was a massive expression of world discontent as crisis rips through everything.
It was a qualitatively new level of revolt in an enormous mass rebellion way beyond the already snowballing insurgencies, “terrorism” and suicide bombings elsewhere.
It was a social explosion triggered by the bank crash and failures which have shattered the confidence and power of imperialism (already reeling from its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan).
Washington, and the rest of imperialism, already in panic over the world crisis, were caught completely on the hop (even though Marxism has been predicting for years that the unbearable conditions of exploitation would eventually prove devastating in the Arab world).
The ruling class has been desperately manoeuvring to contain the damage ever since, terrified that the revolt’s impact would roll out across the entire Middle East, merging into the dogged and ever deeper struggle of the Palestinian nation against the Zionist occupation’s endless genocidal barbarity, into the hostility and national-liberation insurgencies of Iraq and Lebanon, and the further afield into Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and more.
Egypt is by far the most significant population in the region, one of the worlds biggest nations, over 80 million strong, and with a long history of anti-imperialist nationalism, particularly in the Nasserite overthrow of the colonialist stooge monarchy in the post-war period and it is an intellectual and political leader of 250 million Arabs.
The strategy to contain this overwhelming danger for imperialist control in the resources rich and strategically crucial Middle East has been twofold.
First, externally, artificial revolts were provoked in the neighbouring countries of Libya and Syria, activating long prepared sleeper forces, to head off any danger of support for Egypt from these (sporadically) anti-imperialist regimes, to distract attention from the huge revolutionary wave in Egypt itself, and to contain and intimidate the 2011 Cairo revolution.
The obvious reactionary nature of the ludicrous and fragmentary “rebel” movements in Libya and Syria was clear from the beginning.
Both alleged upheavals were aimed at the regimes in the region most hated by imperialism for their past anti-Zionism and refusal to comply with imperialist diktat, quite unlike the stooge gangsterism of heavily bribed Hosni Mubarak or the French dinner-party dictator in Tunisia, or the primitive and backward pre-feudal tribal monarchies in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.
The clever trick was to confuse the world by pretending this was all one “Arab Spring” instead of the complete opposite.
Their half-hearted and thinly supported nature, was pumped up with a deluge of Western media lies, carefully cropped photography and distortions about alleged “atrocities” (campaigns which were notably not carried out over Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc despite some reporting).
Both “revolts” were violent from the start (contrary to the media humbug about “peaceful demonstrations”) and quickly revealed their counter-revolutionary character in various ways, from monarchist flag waving in Libya and overt wishes for stooge collusion with Western corporations, to the non-stop calls for Western intervention, in arms and money and by military blitzing – a signal that on its own would tell any genuine Marxist that the movement was entirely counter-revolutionary.
That did not stop the Trotskyists jumping in to declare Libya a “people’s revolution” of course, just as they have capitulated to a hundred other Western organised or provoked populist stunts and bribed trickery.
The false Libyan revolt, by a moribund bunch of fascist-minded petty bourgeois had no inherent class energy and would have petered out quickly without heavy Western aid, including secret troop interventions and eventually the NATO onslaught.
It has since shown itself to be the foulest mess of squabbling warlordism, greed, racism, crude fascism and reaction (now little reported).
So too has the deliberate destruction by civil war of Syria, also heralded by the degenerate and opportunist Trotskyists as a “people’s revolt” despite the “rebels” calls for Western help from the beginning and the massive arming and funding by the reactionary Gulf states; slyly and opportunistically the fake-“lefts” have backed away from the overt support for the CIA branded “Free Syrian Army” etc as the degeneracy and foul atrocities of the sabotaging “revolt” have increasingly emerged (without any explanation about how they could get it so wrong – which is down to their petty bourgeois class nature and capitulation to imperialist propaganda and intimidation.)
Second prong to contain the Egyptian revolt was internal, using all the confusion and ideological bankruptcy of the post-war revisionist influenced years to head off all possibility of any conscious revolutionary understanding taking root, feeding as much as possible the philistine notions of “no leadership” and “flat leadership” pumped out by anarchist shallowness for all the “Occupy” and protest movements everywhere, and pumping up pro-democracy petty bourgeois ideology with promises of “elections”.
Unsurprisingly these were heavily manipulated, (with obvious Langley advice) the greater (and most radical) part of the candidates for the presidency ruled out on specious “constitutional” grounds, leaving just a Mubarak establishment candidate and in case that was too hard for the masses to swallow, the most compliant of the candidates from the Muslim Brotherhood, also hamstrung with illusions in “democracy” (now being rudely shattered).
The US empire went along with the Morsi candidature in desperation, as the least bad of the options it faced, and a stopgap to fill the sudden vacuum which might otherwise generate who knows what revolutionary notions and ferment.
This is not the positive stoogery claimed by some of the fake-“lefts” as a good reason to support the “demonstrators”. To the contrary, the anger of the Tahrir Square crowd at the seeming American vacillation and support for Morsi initially was because they wanted the American support – yet another damning mark against them, since what revolutionary movement of any worth would turn to the main imperialist enemy for backing?
As in Iran decades ago, the Muslim mullahs were merely considered a less bad prospect than all-out potential for national-liberation and even communist influences which might take hold in the rebellious swirling of the Cairo streets in 2011; Morsi in particular proved willing to cooperate with, or not challenge, the International Monetary Fund conditions for austerity impositions, to keep the treaty in place with Zionism, and various other measures maintaining imperialist interests in the region.
A bonus has been entrapping the Brotherhood in the sectarian conflicts being stirred up to destroy Syrian anti-Zionism – the Sunni Morsi-ites and their Palestinian offshoot in Hamas pointlessly battling against Assad’s Shia in Syria, instead of uniting to defeat the common imperialist enemy which has stirred the whole turmoil up in the beginning.
But Washington (undoubtedly prodded by Tel Aviv) has been edgy and nervous about this “solution” not least because for all these illusions and flaws the Muslim Brotherhood has a long record of anti-imperialist militancy and deep connections with the poorer and proletarian elements in Egypt; bitter experience has made clear that the world crisis pressures and deep down anti-Western hatreds of the masses and the Arab Street can force even the most compliant stoogery to turn and bite the hand; from Noriega in Panama to the gangster thug Saddam Hussein, from the parachuted in Mullahs in Iran to the once usefully anti-Soviet Taliban, imperialism has been stung over and over again.
Getting some more direct stoogery in place, more like Mubarak before, has been on the agenda ever since.
Almost certainly a tipping point was reached with the recent appointment of one of the more radical of the Brotherhood to a city mayorship, a decision oddly highlighted in the Blairite spin and hype “justifications” for the coup reported in the Observer:
A few weeks back, I met the tourism minister, who I thought was excellent, with a sensible plan to revive Egypt’s tourist sector. A few days ago, he resigned, when the president took the mind-boggling step of appointing as governor of Luxor (a key tourist destination) someone who was affiliated to the group responsible for Egypt’s worst-ever terror attack, in Luxor, which killed more than 60 tourists in 1997.
It looks more and more like panic by imperialism.
Put that together with a long imperialist record of riding on, or even deliberately stirring up and provoking, alleged “mass movements” and “street demonstrations for democracy” via the CIA and other intelligence agencies, (sometimes succeeding in overturning and toppling anti-imperialist regimes), including multiple anti-workers state rebellions in Europe (Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, and Poland’s reactionary pro-Pilsudski (fascist) Solidarnosc, Latin America (notably the foul torture and slaughter by the Augustus Pinochet military coup in Chile), the constant “colour-coordinated” revolutions so obviously stunted up in the former workers states around Russia, and the Tian an Men reactionary “Stature of Liberty democracy” upheaval in China in 1989), and what have you got?
If not a deliberately set up movement, then one that is sufficiently confused and naïve to manipulate.
To even the most inadequate and limited Marxist, the latest “uprising” has been suspect from the beginning, with a need for the greatest circumspection about its character and aims, just as the “mass revolts” in Turkey and Brazil need the most careful assessment of all the concrete aspects, their individualist, reformist and petty bourgeois demands a long way from calls for anti-imperialism and socialism.
Both those need deeper analysis, and the turmoil being stirred up is clearly related to the world crisis (now hitting the supposedly rising capitalist powers as much as the rest of the capitalist world) but there is no evidence to say these or the “second wave” in Egypt constitute revolutionary progress.
Just the opposite.
Whatever the shortcomings of the Muslim Brotherhood – which are many in its bizarre religiosity, its own illusions in “democracy”, willingness to compromise with imperialism over the Zionist peace treaty, IMF funding demands for austerity - the alternative is not necessarily any better at all.
Given the long record of anti-imperialist sentiment in the Muslim Brotherhood, it is almost certainly a lot worse.
By all means let there be opposition to backward Sharia law and restrictions to secularism but unless these are allied with a strong move towards much sharper and more conscious national liberation anti-imperialism at the very minimum and signs of a least some development of socialist anti-capitalist leadership, then any movement is both easily misled or wilfully going in the wrong direction.
A strongly communist or national liberation component to the “revolt” would be a strong signal that it could go past the stop-gap regime of the Brotherhood.
But without it the remedy is worse than the malady, heading things back towards the greater imperialist stoogery of the past, exactly as is already becoming clear is the case.
There has not been any indication that the “mass” movement is even going in the right direction, with its middle-class objections to austerity; what else is to be expected for as long as capitalism continues, hurtling into the greatest collapse and failure ever?
The class make-up of the movement in Tahrir Square is also highly suspect. Listen to this interesting account from the bourgeois press:
Any analysis of Egypt’s crisis won’t make sense before dissecting the anti-Morsi camp. To simplify, the camp is composed of four main players: the army, the police force, the felol (the term used for remnants of Mubarak’s status quo) and what we might call “non-Islamist revolutionary forces”.
The most powerful actor in this camp is the army, followed by the police. And indeed their intervention tilted the balance of power towards the anti-presidential forces. The felol come in third, with their tremendous wealth and resources, media outlets, connections in state institutions (which in many ways they are still part of) and powerful regional and international allies. At the bottom of the food chain lie the non-Islamist revolutionary forces; relatively limited in terms of resources, wealth and arms but not in terms of enthusiasm and energy.
Let’s go back a bit. In September 2011, I was among a group of these people, the majority of whom are liberals. The common dirty phrase then was “military rule” and the common red line was a state dominated by generals. The aim was to push the arms out of Egypt’s politics, and the strategy was to gather seven presidential candidates with one message to the army: hand over power to an elected civilian.
The initiative included moral and procedural demands: no politician would resort to arms or armed institutions to oust another politician and presidential elections should be held no later than February 2012. When the initiative was sent to the ruling generals, they ignored it and never replied.
I am telling this story for two reasons. The first is to show how belittling the army commanders were/are towards civilian politicians. Back then, candidates together had more than 90% of the votes. Despite that, they were ignored by the generals, regardless of their ideological backgrounds. The second is to show how far the situation deteriorated; from revolutionary red lines such as “no to military rule” and “no constitution under military rule” to cheering for a junta.
Why the change of heart? Three main reasons: incompetence, unmet expectations and powerful allies. As the west knows all too well, democracy does not usually bring forth the most competent or the most charismatic. Egypt’s economic, security and political problems will need more than a year to resolve, regardless of who is leading. But certainly the behaviour, rhetoric and multiple blunders of President Morsi added oil to the fire.
Unmet expectations of political inclusion in key government positions, enforcing transitional justice and reforming the security sector fuelled the anger. The president was not only unable to prosecute the police officers who killed and tortured many of the liberal activists, but also granted the army almost all what it wanted. That included a veto in high politics (national security and sensitive foreign policy issues); an independence of the military-commercial empire with its land-confiscation rights, preferential customs and exchange rates, no taxation and an army of almost free labourers (conscripted soldiers), as well as an immunity from prosecution.
The powerful felol and police force were quite happy to capitalise on the legitimate anger of the non-Islamist forces as well as on the general street anger at President Morsi, for various social and economic reasons. What happened next was simply an annulment of 12 nationwide, free and fair democratic electoral rounds and two national referendums on a constitutional declaration (March 2011) and a constitution (December 2012). All of those elections had consistent winners; some of them are in jail now. They also had consistent losers; some of whom gave speeches about “democracy” and “justice” during the declaration of the coup – from behind General al-Seesi.
So what happens next? Well, political scientists are familiar with a pattern: when elected institutions with some support on the ground are removed by force, the outcome is almost never friendly to democracy. Outright military dictatorship, military domination of politics, civil war or a mix of all are all possibilities.
The worst scenarios for Egypt in 2013 are a repeat of Algeria of 1992 or a Spain of 1936. In both cases, around 250,000 were killed in dirty civil wars, sparked by a group of generals staging a coup against a democratic process. Both coups had civilian politicians, religious leaders and significant crowds on their side (mainly from the losers in the democratic process).
Shallow petty bourgeois demands for “more democracy because Morsi is behaving like a dictator” do not come close to the kind of revolutionary developments required in Egypt and everywhere else.
Worse still they are the most monstrous hypocrisy if the “democracy” demands are to mean anything.
Blair’s sinister and deliberately sly spin trickery tries to push this line that despite his entirely proper and internationally recognised election (by capitalism’s own rules at least) somehow Morsi-ism “deserved” the coup:
The events that led to the Egyptian army’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi confronted the military with a simple choice: intervention or chaos. Seventeen million people on the street is not the same as an election. But it is an awesome manifestation of people power. The equivalent turnout in Britain would be around 13 million people. Just think about it for a moment. The army wouldn’t intervene here, it is true. But the government wouldn’t survive either.
The Muslim Brotherhood was unable to shift from being an opposition movement to being a government. Of course governments govern badly or well or averagely. But this is different. The economy is tanking. Ordinary law and order has virtually disappeared. Services aren’t functioning properly. Individual ministers did their best. A few weeks back, I met the tourism minister, who I thought was excellent, with a sensible plan to revive Egypt’s tourist sector. A few days ago, he resigned, when the president took the mind-boggling step of appointing as governor of Luxor (a key tourist destination) someone who was affiliated to the group responsible for Egypt’s worst-ever terror attack, in Luxor, which killed more than 60 tourists in 1997.
Nw the army is faced with the delicate and arduous task of steering the country back on to a path towards elections and a rapid return to democratic rule. We must hope that they can do this without further bloodshed. Meanwhile, however, someone is going to have to run things and govern. This will mean taking some very tough, even uopopular decisions. It is not going to be easy.
What is happening in Egypt is the latest example of the interplay, visible the world over, between democracy, protest and government efficacy. Democracy is a way of deciding the decision-makers, but it is not a substitute for making the decision. I remember an early conversation with some young Egyptians shortly after President Mubarak’s downfall. They believed that, with democracy, problems would be solved. When I probed on the right economic policy for Egypt, they simply said that it would all be fine because now they had democracy; and, in so far as they had an economic idea, it was well to the old left of anything that had a chance of working.
I am a strong supporter of democracy. But democratic government doesn’t on its own mean effective government. Today, efficacy is the challenge. When governments don’t deliver, people protest. They don’t want to wait for an election. In fact, as Turkey and Brazil show, they can protest even when, on any objective basis, countries have made huge progress. But as countries move from low to middle income status, the people’s expectations rise. They want quality services, better housing, good infrastructure, especially transport. And they will fight against any sense that a clique at the top is barring their way.
This is a sort of free democratic spirit that operates outside the convention of democracy that elections decide the government.
What extraordinary self-contradictory, lying, festering dissembling and sophistry.
Blair’s role is Goebbels-in-chief for imperialism in the Middle East.
So democracy is not really democracy and although Tony “strongly supports” democracy it is also alright to tear it up completely if you don’t like the government after just one year in office?
So does that apply in Britain, - the US - everywhere?
If the economy is a disaster and massive austerity is being imposed so that what is done does not “meet expectations” it is OK then simply to “remove” the government (and despite the hype from Blair) by violence as in the burning down of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters?
If it is revealed that you live in a total surveillance police state is it OK?
It is utter specious gobshyte from whichever way it is examined, except and until this lying hoodwinking cover for bourgeois dictatorship is removed by the masses, imposing the dictatorship of the proletariat, the genuine mass revolutionary movement and the only way genuine democracy will be achieved – by drawing the masses more and more into the running of society, possible only when there is common ownership of the means of production and socialist planning and rational development.
From the capitalist juridical perspective however all this is completely nonsensical.
Either the rules set up for “democracy” are supposed to mean something or they are a laughable pretence.
The White House, Blair, now chosen to be the forward “justifier” for capitalism, and all the other ruling class spokesmen know the answer is glaringly clear, which is why they make their token throwaways about the “importance of restoring democracy” even as it is being torpedoed by a violent overthrow.
If they really wanted to “get back to democracy” as soon as possible then the obvious answer would be to restore the Morsi administration which was elected with over 50% of the vote, far more than most Western imperialist politicians ever achieve, and only twelve months ago at that.
The truth is that this exposes the plumbless depths of capitalist cynicism as the EPSR has constantly warned:
The capitalist bourgeoisie’s utter cynicism about ‘democracy’ cannot be stressed energetically enough. Everything is always in place in every ‘free world’ country to impose the most brutal of counter-revolutions such as the West engineered in Greece 1946, Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1965, Grenada 1982, Nicaragua 1986, Panama 1989, etc, etc, including Guyana, Congo-Kinshasa, Chad, Uganda, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and countless attempts against Cuba and against East Europe when workers states were being built there, and so on.
The Gladio plans to make sure there were never any socialist revolutions in West Europe were even more extensively plotted for and funded. And the place where the CIA has laid down the greatest number of long-term counter-revolutionary ‘sleeping’ agents?
In Britain itself, and probably by now in Germany too, plus Japan, - on the grounds that a communist revolution in, say, faraway Ghana or Egypt would be one thing to get alarmed about because of the bad propaganda effect it would have on the rest of the ‘free world’, especially the Third World in those cases. But imagine the probably irreparable damage to the reputation of capitalist democracy’s virtues if the working masses of Britain, for example, should organise a successful socialist takeover. It would shatter free-market credibility worldwide for all time. [EPSR No852 07-05-96]
One of the most glaring examples, mentioned elsewhere in that paper, was of course the barbaric coup against Salvador Allende’s “democratic communist” government in Chile in 1973, prepared with two years of CIA economic disruption and fostering of “strikes” and “popular discontent” by lorry drivers etc and instigated by a military called in to “preserve stability” by Allende himself, one of the great lessons in the stupid treachery of the faith in the “democratic path” inspired by Stalinist revisionism.
Ah, “explains” Blair, of course we are for democracy but there was such a mass movement on the streets that the country would have been ungovernable if the army had not “bent to the will of the majority”.
Firstly of course that has never stopped capitalism shooting down uprisings in the past, including massacring tens of thousands at a time in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and so forth.
Nor does any serious “democratic state” give way to the “mob” so simply and easily and most of all when it values its new election achieved for the first time ever.
Did Blair give way to the democratic will of the two million on the street in London (and millions more backing them) against the Iraq war?
The assertion that the “mass movement” was uncontrollable is total gibberish.
Not the remotest effort was made to disperse the crowds or break it up.
Just the opposite, the army and establishment was encouraging it from the beginning, standing back and watching the violent attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters for example, as was the sympathetic and gushing reporting in the international press which has so taken in the shallow “lefts” everywhere.
Anyway what “mass movement”?
Seventeen million on the street? Really?
Who was counting and who was keeping a tally of their opinions? There might have been two or three hundred thousand in Tahrir Square – to be generous it could hold half a million, and there might have been as many again in other cities, but even allowing for treble the number, it comes nowhere near 18 million. And 22 million signed a petition? On the Internet it is presumed, subject to all sorts of computer trickery. Who checked those numbers?
And anyway Egypt has got 82 million people so the most exaggerated figure is still not a “majority”.
This is beyond specious and suspicion, it is totally manipulated “facts” that have all the hallmarks of deliberate media stampeding exercise.
Meanwhile the fake-“lefts” play along with this demented garbage, swallowing hook line and sinker the “mass movement” crap or piling up the hatred and hostility against the Muslim Brotherhood and the Third World struggle, declaring them (and all Islam) to be “more reactionary” than the West itself and thereby effectively justifying the coup, even where they take a formal position against it (as the former revisionist and crypto-Trotskyist Weekly Worker has done eg to cover its back).
They give away completely their petty bourgeois class instinct by lining up on the wrong side which has led the Trotskyites particularly into cheering on reactionary stunts and counter-revolutions for the entire post-war period.
The Stalinist are little better, trapped in wooden undialectical defencism over Syria where they are still sloganising for a “Victory for Assad”.
But Assad has just condemned the Muslim Brotherhood because its Sunni origins has led it to support the civil war sectarian attacks in Syria currently tearing the country apart.
By implication the Lalkarites also “condemn” the Morsi-ites, playing into the hands of imperialism.
Certainly in its latest Lalkar paper the Brarite CPGB-ML condemns Turkey’s Erdogan, implying that his movement - also Sunni - deserved the middle-class rebellion there and painting a one-sided picture of hostility to his government.
But Erdogan is also, like the Muslim Brotherhood, a thorn in the side for imperialism which would prefer to restore full direct bourgeois rule in Turkey via the “secular generals”, just as in Egypt.
Nothing illustrates better the disastrous tangle that bone-brained Stalinism gets into since the point in all this is not to support any of the particular nationalist, or bourgeois anti-imperialists at all but to identify the main enemy.
Imperialism has set the destruction of Syria going, deliberately stoking up the demented and backward Wahabi sectarianism emanating from feudal Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and imperialism is the problem, with the DEFEAT of imperialism the crucial call for Leninist leadership.
But defeat does not imply support for the forces that might achieve that defeat.
Without this dialectical understanding it is possible to end up like Lalkar, supporting Hamas one minute (and therefore naturally its brothers in Egypt) and condemning them the next.
The religious ideology of all the forces in these battles is confusing enough, leading the Palestinian supporting Egyptian Brotherhood into open conflict with the brilliant Lebanese Hezbollah, one of the few coordinated movements which has defeated the “invincible” Zionist army.
That is daft and counter-productive, and comes about because in the end, despite huge heroism, militancy and fighting spirit and sacrifice by some of the best and most determined anti-Zionist fighters, daft religious ideology is insufficient for the great battles facing the working class which requires clearly developed and constantly evolving scientific Marxist -Leninist clarity.
Taking sides supporting these ideologies, like Lalkar/Proletarian, does nothing to bring about such clarity and confuses everyone including its own members.
But to admit their mistakes and try to untangle this disastrous position would mean removing the Stalin-worshipping blinkers that these revisionist opportunist pacifists wear all the time to avoid polemic and scientific debate.
It has not happened yet.
But the great contradictions of the ever deepening imperialist crisis will teach its own lessons.
Encouragingly the Iranian regime, despite its Shia traditions, has come out in support of the Muslim Brotherhood; it may be a sign that ultimately the real fight, to end imperialism, will override the sectarian considerations that have helped imperialism split the struggle against it.
But building Leninist science would be an even better way forwards.
Leaflet for the June People’s Assembly meeting of the Coalition of Resistance [ see also EPSR last issue]