Revolution That Never Was?

Certainly I didn’t think that Mubarak and Co. would just take it and go away, but it seems that some sober assessments of the situation in Egypt are coming out, slowly but surely:

While much of American media has termed the events unfolding in Egypt today as “clashes between pro-government and opposition groups,” this is not in fact what’s happening on the street. The so-called “pro-government” forces are actually Mubarak’s cleverly orchestrated goon squads dressed up as pro-Mubarak demonstrators to attack the protesters in Midan Tahrir, with the Army appearing to be a neutral force. The opposition, largely cognizant of the dirty game being played against it, nevertheless has had little choice but to call for protection against the regime’s thugs by the regime itself, i.e., the military. And so Mubarak begins to show us just how clever and experienced he truly is. The game is, thus, more or less over.

The threat to the military’s control of the Egyptian political system is passing. Millions of demonstrators in the street have not broken the chain of command over which President Mubarak presides. Paradoxically the popular uprising has even ensured that the presidential succession will not only be engineered by the military, but that an officer will succeed Mubarak. The only possible civilian candidate, Gamal Mubarak, has been chased into exile, thereby clearing the path for the new vice president, Gen. Omar Suleiman. The military high command, which under no circumstances would submit to rule by civilians rooted in a representative system, can now breathe much more easily than a few days ago. It can neutralize any further political pressure from below by organizing Hosni Mubarak’s exile, but that may well be unnecessary.

More at Foreign Policy. I wonder if this is Egypt’s 1905 Revolution or if this is Egypt’s Iran “Green Revolution”? If we go with “preparatory revolution” scenario, this will form new alliances and raise new revolutionary consciousness. If we go with Iranian experience, it will be just a waste of popular rage – without strong ideological message, revolution is impossible. And yes, armed insurrection would help as well, of course. Cue-in Lenin.



6 thoughts on “Revolution That Never Was?

  1. Without strong ideological message, revolution is impossible.

    Isn’t the possibility to elect and abandon ones own political leadership sufficient? The ideological key-term here is “self-determination”.

    I understand that we are disillusioned about democratic rituals and the implications of professionalized politics but we also lack imagination on how a self-managed “peoples democracy” can cope better with anything and find proper compromises instead of simulating them as our official politics does.

    • Isn’t the possibility to elect and abandon ones own political leadership sufficient?

      I thought the article’s point was that it’s precisely what they won’t have – the army is in charge, it’s not an obvious military dictatorship, but dictatorship it is – elections are not free, opposition is non-existent, generals are “elected” as leaders. Suleiman will most likely be the next in line.

      • I just replied to your call for a “strong ideology” but anyway …

        I would like to make a bet against the pessimist expectations of the analysts and expect a high pay off because what they say is very convincing. They look through the strategy of the Egyptian government/military and publish their insights, but what if all of this becomes very clear to anyone very soon, not only to the few readers of “foreign affairs”? What is a strategy worth, which is public? It is not about the hype around Facebook and Twitter but I wouldn’t underestimate the dynamics of an information society. The enlightened revolution leader you demand ( Lenin ) is obsolete because there is hardly an information gap and a counter strategy which can’t be kept secret is worthless as well. There is only a mascot missing, but that’s not a severe loss. Mousavi in Iran didn’t cut it.

        So it might be true that the dynamic of the protests slows down because ordinary life must somehow go on, the situation stabilizes and the party is over, but after the party is before the next party.

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