“Early 2011 was a dramatic period in modern Egyptian history. The
mainstream mediaa**s narrative on the Arab Spring portrayed popular
uprisings as the driving force that swept away the regime of Hosni Mubarak
and opened the door to democracy. But a closer examination indicates that
the rules of the past still apply. Concentration of power, physical
isolation from the outside world, and dependence upon outside forces for
economic security remain the trifecta that drives Egyptian society and
To understand the Arab Spring one must first understand the factors that
led to it. This is a discussion that must begin, not with the aspirations
of those that protested in Tahrir square, but with the strategic
imperatives of the military, the true vanguard of the Egyptian state.
Nassera**s plan to elevate the military as the vanguard of society worked,
but in years after Nassera**s death the military itself shifted position.
Rather than partnering with the Soviets to create a regional sphere of
influence, the military evolved its vanguard position in Egyptian society
into a system of ossified control. The state still owned nearly everything
of worth, but it was managed by and for the benefit of the military brass.
Everything from banks to import/export to agriculture — already heavily
influenced by the military under the vanguard system — was consolidated
into a series of military oligarchies. Rather than working to elevate
Egypt economically, the military oligarchs mostly divvied up the local
spoils and lived large.
This was a stable system from the late-1970s until the mid-2000s.
Egypta**s shielded geography limited the ability of any international
economic interest to challenge the military staffsa** personal fiefdoms.
Egypta**s partnership with the Americans mitigated international pressure
of all sorts, and in many ways even Egypta**s ostracism from the Arab
world due to its treaty with Israel allowed Egypta**s generals to rule
Egypt however they saw fit.
As (now deposed) President Mubarak aged, however, an internal challenge
arose to the military oligarchy in the form of the former presidenta**s
son, Gamal Mubarak, who wanted to transform Egypt from a military
oligarchy into a more traditional Egyptian dynasty. Doing this required
the breaking of the militarya**s hold on the economy. Gamal and his allies
— often with the express assistance of international institutions like
the World Bank — worked to a**privatizea** Egyptian state assets to
themselves. This process was a direct threat to the militarya**s political
and economic position at the top of Egyptian society. The military also
viewed Gamal, who never completed his military service, as a political
neophyte, incapable of understanding and managing the countrya**s security
The result was the a**Arab Springa**. In the months leading up to the
January demonstrations, Egypta**s top generals were delivering very stern
ultimatums to the president to abandon any hope of passing the reins to
Gamal while looking at their options to unseat Mubarak via more
unconventional means. The military strategically positioned itself early
on in the demonstration as the honest broker and guardian of the
protesters, taking care to avoid a violent crackdown on the demonstrators
while Mubaraka**s internal security forces were vilified on the streets.
Such a light hand was not due to lack of capacity, but due to lack of
need. The demonstrations provided the generals with the means to dismantle
the Mubarak legacy, the biggest liability to their own livelihood, while
maintaining the paramount role of the military.
But perhaps the most central indication that the a**revolutiona** was
misconstrued comes from the participation levels. On the day that Mubarak
ultimately stepped down the protests reached their peak. By the most
aggressive estimate only 750,000 people — less than 1 percent of the
population of densely populated Egypt a** took to the streets. In true
revolutions such as that which overthrew Communism in Central Europe or
the shah in Iran, the proportion regularly breached 10 percent and on
occasions even touched 50 percent. In short, Egypta**s Arab Spring was a
palace coup, not a revolution.”
Left/Right is defined typically in the terms best explained by Norbeto Bobbio
Left historically shows support for the ideas that social and political institutions are socially constructed with the power of human reason, and using workable schemes through reason equality can be achieved. Right historically have been more reluctant to reduce existing inequalities because they are part of the Natural Order. They are skeptical of the power of Reason to change, and they affirm the traditional and custom based derived natural order of power.
The Particularist-Protectionist Right
The economic nationalism of Pat Buchanan and Lou Dobbs and Pat Robertson and Ross Perot, embraces populism. Populism is defined as a political ideology that articulates anti-elitist positions involving some kind of exaltation of “the people” mixed with appeals to people’s “common sense” and “moral decency” Right wing populists such as Buchanan demonize transnational corporate elites while at the same time launching xenophobic attacks (a drawback of populism). Populism is often fueled by peoples legitimate grievances that dominate everyday life but links and deflect popular discontent away from positive social change by targeting only small sections of the elite or groups falsely identified with the elite”
Reform party emerged in the mid 1990s brainchild of Ross Perot, winning 19 percent of the national vote in 1992. Most famously Texan Billionare Perot opposed NAFTA convinced that is carried ‘the virus of globalization’. Buchanan inherited the remains of the Reform Party in the summer of 2000, suceeding ross perot as spokesperson of the anti-globalist right.
“Darwinian world of borderless economy, where sentiment is folly and the fittest alone survive. In the eyes of this rootless transnational elite, men and women are not family, friends, neighbors, fellow citizens, but ‘consumers’ and ‘factors of production'” – Patrick Buchanan
“greedy global mandarins who have severed the sacred ties of national allegiance head the council of foreign relations and the business roundtable. ‘their elitist conspiracy has eroded the power of the nation-state and replaeced it with a neoliberal new world order” – patrick buchanan
Although buchanan recieved only 1 percent national vote in the 2002 presidential election, variations of his message continue to resontate in a country where 78 percent of the population have not travelled to another country in the last 5 years, and 26 percent follow foreign news closely.
— this view has been moderately ill-represented in the anti-islamist movement even though it initially dealt with the influx of immigration and open borders
Gerhard Frey’s German Right-Wing Extremism
The DVU (deutsce volksunion) German People’s Union was founded in bovaria in 1971 as a right-wing umbrella group by Dr. Grehard Frey, a neofascist millionare publisher who has been providing most of the party’s funding.
“We adamantly oppose any cuts in social spending, and strongly resist the neoliberal agenda to turn Germany into a low-wage class society like Britain and the USA. An increasing number of people in these countries have to cope with “Third World”-style living conditions while a small minority of billionaires and multimillionaries are earning mre money than they could possibly spend. German Chancellor Schroder wants to introduce this perverse culture to Germany too. There is no way we will ever tolerate this” – DVU document
The document goes on to note that Germany, by itself, would not be powerful enough to stop the spread and influence of transnational corporate elites and bankers, and that a regional agency of “ordinary europeans” would have to be developed to co-operatively tackle the NEOLIBERAL UN IMF take over, but this european co-operative would look nothing operationally like the UN or EU.
United in their opposition to a neoliberal internationalism, sovereign european nations would voluntarily appeal to form an anti-imperialist blog against the further spread of American-style globalization. Moreover they would “actively support popular movements in many other countries of the world against so-called ‘globalization’ which is in fact an Americanization of the world” Similarly explicit antiglobalization statements are routinely inserted in NPD (national democratic party) promises to “build a new Germany out of the rubble of liberal capitalism”
Hugo Chave’z Bolivarian National Populism
After spending 20 fears fighting ultra-leftist guerillas, teaching sports and history at the military academy in Caracas Chavez ultimately came to the conclusion that the tradional Venezuelan party system was too corrupt to be reformed. Taking advantage of his new assignment as the commanding officer of a parachute regime Chavez attempted to overthrow the democratically elected President Carlos Andrez Perez. His attempt failed instantly, but when he appealed on television he made a strong enough support among his countrymen to be pardoned 2 years later by President Caldera.
Chavez still believed the electoral aspect of Venezuelan politics was too corrupt to run for president (with whats happened to Buchanan, Paul, Nader, and Perot its easy to see the electoral failings) but, when it became clear in 1998 that large segments of the population supported his national populism, he changed his mind. Assuming the leadership of Patriotic Pole, he embarked on a rigious electtion campaign. In 1998 he was elected with 56 percent of the vote and immediately issued a decree for a national referendum on the elections for a national constitutent assembly that would be gven the task of drafting a new constitution. This passed with 80 percent of the vote, and in july 30 2000 Chavez was elected a six year term as “Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela”
By the 1980’s Venezuela’s foreign debt had skyrocketed, giving the IMF the opportunity to link further loans to the implementation of a comprehensive economic program that included strong dregulation measures and drastic austerity budgets. The implementation of this neoliberal agenda led to significant price increases for basic goods and services, ultimately sparking large uban riots in 1989 and 1996, during which police forces and state troops killed thousands of protestors.
Throughout the 1990’s neoliberal globalization filled the coffers of Venezuela’s tiny wealthy elite, whereas the vast majority of citizens experienced a noticeable drop in their living standards, by the time Chavez campaigned for president nearly 80 percent of Venezuelans lived in poverty, unemployment held steady at almost 20 percent (with 50 pecent of workers languishing in the “informal economy”), and the violent crime rate had exploded to fifty murders per weekend in the capital city of Caracas.
Chavez’s political message took aim at two targets: Venezuela’s elitist and corrupted political system perpetuated by the established parties, and the “savage neoliberalism unleashed on the South by Northern globalist forces.”
Chavez believed that Latin America’s best bet was to form military and political alliances with nations in the Middle East and Asia in order to counterbalance the power of teh globalism most evident in teh U.S. Based “Jewish financial mafia”” ‘the only way to fight neoliberalism is to unite”. Chavez admitted his aim is nothing more than to realize the old dream of nineteenth century Bolivar, Gran Colombia. It would be an important foundation to challenge the etsbalishments of the united states and the european union.
Ralph Nader + Dennis kucinich
Ralph Nader from back in 1994
“Q: There must be firms or forces in society that you have decided now are more malignant than you thought 25 years ago, and companies on the other hand that actually have improved and are behaving better. There must have been some changes.
A: With the collapse of communism and with the absence of any alternative way of ordering private property and using public assets, we’re entering into a generation of global power of the multi-national corporations. There’s no society that’s able to withstand commercial western culture. Perhaps fundamentalism and Islam is trying to do it…. But that’s going to be the challenge now, whether democracy is going to be up to it. Whether these giant corporations are going to be able to respect instead of erode and control democratic processes and these new trade agreements like GATT and the World Trade Organization are not encouraging. ”
Dennis kucinich interview:
“Okay. Last question, you got, you really got me started thinking about globalization and you have opposed, I believe, globalization treaties as they stand. And I’ve grown to really feel that globalization is bad for America and bad for Third World countries. Where do you stand on globalization now?
Kucinich: Well, first of all, let’s take a broader perspective. I see human immunity as being an imperative. I see the world as being interconnected and interdependent. And then all of us are one. That we are one organic whole as people worldwide that transcends the nation-states, religion, culture.
There really is a spiritual unity and an organic unity much the same as Einstein promoted a unified field theory of the physical universe. There is the same kind of unity in the social universe. Now, the fact that trade organizations have developed are not necessarily a bad thing.
However, when the organizations were developed the intention of being able to lower wages, lower standards on human rights and worker’s rights, lower environmental- quality principles; that’s a problem. So the North American Free Trade Agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank all work together somewhat synchronously to lower standards of living, to increase corporate control over nations, to strip the wealth of nations and into the, towards massive privatization programs, to impose upon the people of the world the structural readjustments of lower wages, and lower benefits, and lower expectations, to bring about a measure of control of nation-states, which end up being antithetical to the organizing principles of those nations.
So do these international structures have to be that way? No. But they ended up that way because they’re leading the cause of international finance and international capitalism, which is essentially amoral and about maximizing profits at the expense of human values. ”
Intercontinental Network of Resistance
The inter-continental meeting in 1996 in the chiapas mountains featured over 5,000 attendants and was called upon by Subcommandte Marcos, the closing remarks speak for themselves
“But what next?
A new number in the useless enumeration of the numerous international orders?
A new scheme that calms and alleviates the anguish of having no solution?
A global program for world revolution?
A utopian theory so that it can maintain a prudent distance from the reality that anguishes us?
A scheme that assures each of us a position, a task, a title, and no work?
The echo goes, a reflected image of the possible and forgotten: the possibility and necessity of speaking and listening; not an echo that fades away, or a force that decreases after reaching its apogee . Let it be an echo that breaks barriers and re-echoes. Let it be an echo of our own smallness, of the local and particular, which reverberates in an echo of our own greatness, the intercontinental and galactic. An echo that recognises the existence of the other and does not overpower or attempt to silence it. An echo of this rebel voice transforming itself and renewing itself in other voices.
An echo that turns itself into many voices, into a network of voices that, before Power’s deafness, opts to speak to itself, knowing itself to be one and many. Let it be a network of voices that resist the war that the Power wages on them. A network of voices that not only speak, but also struggle and resist for humanity and against neoliberalism .
The world, with the many worlds that the world needs, continues. Humanity, recognising itself to be plural, different, inclusive, tolerant of itself, full of hope, continues. The human and rebel voice, consulted on the five continents in order to become a network of voices and of resistances, continues.”
“Both ’empire’ and ‘imperialism’ derive from ‘imperium’ a latin noun reffering to ‘power’ and ‘command’. After the long reign of Caesar August that marked the final demise of the Roman Republic in the early first century CE, imperium signified the Emperor’s ‘legal power to enforce the law’ a function he would routinely delegate to his chief military leaders and civil magistrates. Operating within a Hellenic cultural framework, the Roman inherited the Stoic conception that an empire was universal, in the sense of partaking of universal reason, and, therefore, valid for all societies. Hence, the concept of imperium implied a universal humanitarian mission of “Spreading civilization” to the rest of the World. Romans were convinced that only the complete conquest and civilization of all “barbarians” residing beyond the borders of the empire would ultimately lead to a harmonious union of the world’s peoples under Roman leadership, thus establishing peace, order, and justice on earth.”
“With the modern spread of liberal capitalist democracy and its professed ideals of freedom, equality, and national self-determination, ’empire’ aquired the rather undesirable connotation of political oppression and coercion–a charge most vehemently rejected by those powers that seem to deserve it the most. With the end of the colonial era after World War II, the world’s powers claimed to seek benign influence rather than domination. American and Soviet leaders eagler attempted to substantiate their assertion that their respective nations were not involved in an “imperialist” enterprise by pointing to the lack of what had always been seen as the hallmark of empire: direct or indirect political rule over formally annexed or incorporate external terrorities”
– Manfred Steger