After celebrating the Egyptian revolution, now the Left is having second thoughts. They could have just read the Tundra Tabloids and saved themselves the embarrassment of suddenly being surprised that the revolution was not the work of “students” and face book, seeing that only (about) 10% of the population is hooked up to the internet.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist elements were the driving force in getting people into the streets, which is quite the opposite to what was being reported and depicted in the streets of Cairo. This Swedish leftist, Andreas Malm, is just now seeing the light. Better late than never, but one has to ask, why are these journalists so inept in their profession?
NOTE: Folks, you know that the situation is bad when the greatest hope for the country is the Marxist Left.
Andreas Malm in revolutionary Egypt: Now there is growing fear of Islamists
Aftonbladet: CAIRO, EGYPT. A hundred days have passed since the start of the Egyptian revolution, when tens of thousands in Cairo for the first time tore themselves away from the police state and rushed into Tahrir. And the square is filled again.
But the nation that were cast together in Tahrir is crossed now by a hemorrhaging border. The Coptic minority has been lodged against their Islamist foes. Consequently, the demonstration this Friday announced that “the National Unity Day, ” in a desperate attempt to paper over the limit to state and that “we are all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims”. It abounds with home-made placards with Cross and Crescent in harmony.
The unity is fragile: only a few steps away, in front of state television building, rises now a competing Tahrir square. During a waving forest of wooden crosses and icon images, thousands of Copts have pitched a tent city, complete with volunteers kroppsvisiterar, provide care, distribute food to the visitors. They burn with anger over the attack on two churches in the slum Imbaba on May 7.
After having spread the rumor that a Coptic woman converted to Islam and been imprisoned in Mar Mina Church to remain in the Christian faith, marched a group of Salafists forward to “liberate her sister. ” They were met with live ammunition and responded by throwing himself into a street battle that ended in 15 off lives, two churches burned down and its worst ever crisis of the revolution.
Now there is growing fear that Egypt will fall into Islamist hands.
Salafism is an outgrowth of the Saudi Wahhabism, the most reactionary form of Sunni Islam, the trees that spread their toxic spores from Pakistan to Morocco and beyond. In the January revolution for weeks their sheikhs preached that people should go home.
After Mubarak’s case, however salafists took advantage of the new political freedom – and security vacuum – to take the offensive, taking over mosques, form parties, attack the Sufi shrines, churches and cafes.
Mubarak’s regime kept them on a tight leash, though it granted television channels to salafist preachers to draw attention from its own misdeeds to private moral issues, like whether it is haram to buy a watermelon cut up so that the bare pink flesh exposed.
It was salafists who led the attacks on churches on May 7, but according to the unanimous witness accounts were also Baltagiyya, the Mubaraktrogna thugs who became world famous when they attacked the Tahrir Square on the camel’s back. More and more people see the outline of a counter-revolutionary alliance. Salafist groupings, some forces within the army, the remains of hundreds of thousands of demobilized officers, agents and paid minions from the old regime are trying to turn back the clock: half a year, twenty years, or 1300 years.
But the greatest danger lies undoubtedly in the alliance’s expansion to an even more powerful player: the Muslim Brotherhood. Unlike Salafists that joined the Brotherhood in the revolution in January, once up and running, they played a crucial role in Tahrir Square – not least in the defense against Baltagiyya – and still affirm their allegiance to the ideals.
But after Mubarak’s departure, the Brotherhood’s leaders opposed any new revolutionary initiative. They support the criminalization of strikes. They oppose any confrontation with the military junta that continues to rule the country. The outbreak of the Revolutionary Front, by advocating the Appendixes to the Constitution in the referendum on 19 March – ‘no’ side demanded a new constitution – and instead made common cause with salafists and remnants of the NDP.
Since then, the Brotherhood and salafists entered into an intimate alliance; May 10 they declared in a joint statement that “the Islamist groups are now united, for we feel that Islam is threatened. ” They demanded an Islamic state as fully implementing Sharia. They promised to work together in the autumn elections.
A few blocks away from Tahrir square Egypt’s cadre of Marxist activists hold its annual “socialist conferences”. They are still dizzy from victory, but a fear is trembling in their rhetoric. Kamal Khalil, the charismatic leader of the newly formed Democratic Labor Party, does not mince words:
“We are just at the beginning of the fight. The Brotherhood and Salafists now want to create a religious state, but it is racist and counter-revolutionary. We want a civil civic state, a state for all, which does not differentiate between people based on religion. It was predicted the Brotherhood aspired to such a state, but now we see that they have lied all the time. We are facing a new battle. If necessary, we will take up arms to defend our democracy. “
Short-term outlook is fatalistic: The Brotherhood and Salafists wins the autumn elections. They have had years and decades in which to build their base, especially in slum areas, and enjoys the good will of the army, the election has been placed immediately after Ramadan, when people go to the mosque the most . Over the next five years, says worried activists, Egypt will thus be driven in an Islamist direction, with more attacks on the Copts, women and other undesirable elements.
Few believe that the victors of the revolution in January will be repealed entirely, with a return to full-scale dictatorship. Rather than making the left ready for a prolonged build-up of the class power that triggered the revolution.
The Islamists are not the only ones to take the offensive. A veritable flood of union organizing is sweeping across Egypt. New independent trade unions proclaimed every week – for furniture makers, fishermen, farmers, journalists, oil workers – while the train is stationary, the hospital is closed and factories are blocked in a myriad of direct actions.
This is the primal force of the Labour Party they say they want to channel. The party takes sharp farewell to their former brothers in the fight against Mubarak, and is launching itself as the only long-term alternative to the Brotherhood – only class solidarity puts religious loyalties out of play, explaining an activist – and plan for a patient organization of the country’s tens of millions of workers.
Revolution fragmented and made permanent, turns inwards and outwards. It has only just begun.