Thursday, October 28, 2010

Egypt: the revolutionary scenario

Protest against Mubarak dynastic succession
There is a nice article at IDOM on the ongoing troubles in Egypt around senile Mubarak's succession. It is written by Hamid Alizadeh and Frederik Ohsten and titled: Egypt: The gathering storm.

The authors argue, as far as I can see, that:

1. Gamal Mubarak does not have the backing of the Army or in general the old guard of the regime, who feel themselves displaced from the profits gathered by the new guard around the presumptive heir. 

2. The main tolerated "opposition" party, the Muslim Brotherhood, is not really an opposition but a second line of defense of the regime, what became particularly apparent when they dismissed the textile workers strikes. However they are being divided along class lines, with a reformist sector being more sensible to the demands of the working class. 

3. Oddly enough such a liberal reformist figure as Mohammed El Baradei has become the rally point of the workers' movement. This they argue is not rare in Third World countries (cf. Iran, Honduras, Thailand...). 

4. Reforms cannot alone fix the fundamental problems, such as the cost of bread, that the Egyptian society faces, so they contend that they will be only a step towards a more radical stage. 

5. There is a growing class struggle going on, whose most emblematic action was the textile workers struggle in 2006. The strike extended well into 2007, including more and more sectors of the working class.

While the prospects are still diffuse, what is clear is that Egypt is, in spite of all the US and Saudi financial support, at the verge of collapse. It is also very apparent that whatever happens in Egypt will send seismic waves across the whole region, as Egypt is by far the largest Arab country, controls the Suez Canal and has already in the past lead Arab resistance to Zionist colonialism. 

Nowadays, without the Egyptian active collaboration the blockade of Gaza and in general the blank check Israel gets for its atrocities would not be possible. But the main drive for change in Egypt comes from its own failure towards its own people: you cannot sell out the whole country and not pay for it  at some point. Egyptians are most unhappy and some sort of change is unavoidable. 

What exactly? It's not up to us but to the Egyptian people to decide in a show of participative democracy, of revolution.

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