Egypt: What exactly are you supporting?

Submitted by eating poultices on February 2, 2011

We can go back in time and look at people cheerleading the Iranian revolution or the Zimbabwean anti-colonial struggle or the ANC in South Africa or the Sandinistas or whatever political fight. In all cases there is an understandable urge to side with the underdog. But what was the outcome? Why are radicals so quick to patriotically cheer on the latest thing, when we should be saying: “Brothers and sisters in Yemen and Egypt and Algeria and Tunisia, watch out for the states in waiting, watch out for the ‘popular resistance hero’. Remember Mugabe. Remember Khomeini. The difference between a dictator and a democrat is only at the ballot box – the factory and the slum will not change. The ‘imprisoned opposition leaders’ of today will be the jailers of tomorrow. Stay strong. You will need miracles, and G-d is not watching. All the proposed solutions are lies!”

Perhaps it is too soon to say this (Mubarak may hold on), but the real enemy of those revolting in Northern Africa is the political opposition that is preparing to take power. And when I say ‘take power’, I mean that in the most general way.

If/when a revolt appears where ‘we’ are, ‘we’ cannot fall prey to the indecency of waving flags and banners in support of whatever is happening. Our task is to pee on the parade. To say “No! Push further! The old world is not behind you yet!” To point out the policeman with red and black flags. To maintain our principles and avoid urgency, even when the situation appears to be moving quickly.

Remember every international revolt you’ve been excited about in your life. Look at what happened after each of them. What happened May, 1969? What happened to your enthusiasm? All of the doors that appeared to be open lead nowhere or were, in retrospect, closed. The freedom fighters joined or became the government. The political situation was turned upside down, the old leaders jailed, the elections became free (at least for one election!), and yet… wage labor, value production, the unending circulation of commodities and money, the reproduction of classes, all of this carried on without pause. Why?

Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism? If you do, do you think this revolt could lead to communism (or ‘anarchy’ or whatever you want to say)? If you say no to either question, what exactly are you supporting?

redsdisease

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why are radicals so quick to patriotically cheer on the latest thing, when we should be saying

Where have you been seeing people doing this on these forums? Personally, I've seen a lot of critical engagement with the proceedings of the revolt. Most of the excitement I've seen from people has been about the aspects that people see as genuinely anti-capitalist and revolutionary.

Our task is to pee on the parade

Really? I thought our task was to critically interact with events that we view as having potential and try to move them in a more radical direction.

Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism?

Of course not, does this mean that we're not allowed to be excited about anything that will not lead immediatly to the total downfall of capitalism? You must be very depressed and cynical, indeed.

However, the revolts that have been happening have been pretty diverse. Certainly a lot of the protestors have been advocating reformist, political goals (ousting dictators, rewriting the constitution, establishing liberal democracies), but both Tunisia and Egypt have seen great amounts of working class people self-organizing for their own economic interests. So yeah, when I see people taking over production in their factories, organizing to expropriate food and developing neighborhood commitees to run things and clamoring for a general strike I see those aspects as a revolt against capitalism.

It's also really difficult to determine the full extent of the working class nature of these protests. Most of the stories have been molded to fit the typical media narrative for these sorts of events. I remember some of the first mass media stories that I heard about the Tunisian revolts, which were started mostly by the unemployed as protests against unemployment and the high cost of living, were all about how the protests were apparently started by middle-class Tunisian facebook users who wanted greater freedoms.

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

eating poultices

What happened May, 1969? What happened to your enthusiasm?

As a grade school kid, my family got stranded in Florence, Italy for a whole week during a general strike on the railroads in May 1969. But things didn't pick up till the end of the summer there, as we all know so well. I left Italy at the beginning of the autumn as things really got hot. But there had been strikes and radical demos everywhere, every day from the spring all through the summer.

I don't get your question, eating poultices. In Italy, the strikes of 1968 carried over into 1969, but really sparked off again with wildcat strikes at the FIAT Mirafiori factory in May 1969, were rekindled with the strikes in response to the lock-out of 35,000 FIAT workers in the summer, and continued through the "Hot Autumn" of that year. This wave of rebellion continued to shake the entire country, with various levels of intensity, for the following 10 years. The Hot Autumn in 1969 ranks as one of the most intensive collective mobilizations in the history of class struggle. In 1969 over 303,000,000 "man-hours" of work time were lost due to strikes in Italy (compare to all-time record for the U.S., which lost 116,000,000 man-hours in 1946) -- which might be the most ever for any country.

Some Mouvement Communiste comrades who participated in Worker Action Committee in 1968 point out that the May-June events in France were "the biggest general strike (at its height, 9 million strikers for ten days) in history and also that in which the workers participated the least. This is the paradox of May-June 1968." But it was the lessons learned in that wave of strikes that played themselves out in the much more militant strikes in the early 1970s. And the collective memory of those struggles influence working class self-activity in France to this day. Which is not unlike the working class in the cycles of economic and political strikes in Poland and Russia in the 1896-1905 period that was so eloquently documented by Rosa Luxemburg in The Mass Strike. And the living memory and lessons from those struggles carried over to 1917.

The waves of strikes in Egypt, particularly in textiles, over the last several decades (Hossam el-Hamalawy called the early 2007 strike wave a "Winter of Discontent") set the tone for these actions on the streets of Egypt today.

Throwing this back at you, eating poultices, what do you think happened in 1969? Where my home was at the time, in southern California, many factories were hit by strikes and most of them were wildcats. Just down the road was a Ford aerospace plant that had a continuous stream of work stoppages. That global strike wave lasted in some places into the mid-1970s.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

redsdisease

So yeah, when I see people taking over production in their factories, organizing to expropriate food and developing neighborhood commitees to run things and clamoring for a general strike I see those aspects as a revolt against capitalism.

Precisely. To measure all social movements against the absolute of timeless communism is a mistake. The point is not to hope there is something grand on the other side of the door, as Eating Poultices implies, it is to knock it open. Therein is the grassroots radicalism and yes even the "anarchy" you could argue, no matter how short lived. Libertarian Barcelona or Aragon or Kronstadt did not last very long, but it would be insane to claim they never existed because ultimately "the political situation was turned upside down."
Does it sound starry-eyed to pin your hopes up on a fleeting moment of emancipation? Perhaps, but I think it's better than "peeing on parades" and playing the melodramatic cynic.
Freedom is not an end to history that will set in once all the right conditions are met, it is that fleeting moment, and, I'm afraid nothing but (although a visceral idealism won't let me totally disown the dream of a "world revolution"). Take it or leave it.

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it's important to point to some historical examples of what might happen. When the workers in Hungary in 1956 rose up and within 48 hours workers' councils were maintaining much of the country's production, the Western powers orchestrated the Suez Crisis to destabilize Egypt. Which was geopolitical maneuvering as the U.S., Britain and Israel attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal while at the same time Soviet tanks were crushing the Hungarian Revolution.

There might be some media-ready flare-up elsewhere to create a spectacle to divert attention from the rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps not. I guess I wanted to throw out that example out because my all-time favorite working class novel is Clancy Sigal's Going Away, which is kinda like a hybrid of Kerouac's On the Road and Brecher's Strike! and Henry Miller's The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. In the novel's account of a cross-country roadtrip, the protagonist revisits the sites of the some of the fiercest class war battles in U.S. history, while obsessively listening on his car's radio to news accounts of the '56 Hungarian Uprising, at the same time as having erotic encounters along the way.

I feel the same obsession as I've been glued to the internet to read Twitter accounts and blogs and to watch live video feeds from Al Jazeera. If the Egyptian workers can pull off a general strike, this really could inspire lots of struggles elsewhere. I can't remember where I read it, but the Chinese government has been censoring news accounts of protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and the occupied Palestinian Territories. After last summer's strike wave there, the Chinese ruling class doesn't want more social unrest given their precarious ability to contain volatile class antagonisms.

ajjohnstone

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just a quibble

Which was geopolitical maneuvering as the U.S., Britain and Israel attacked Egypt over the Suez Canal

-Hieronymous

Neither Britain nor France informed the Eisenhower administration of their military actions. On the evening the news of the attack was broadcast, United States UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. attempted to meet with the British UN ambassador but was rebuffed. The United States put financial pressure on Great Britain to end the invasion. Also Saudi Arabia started an oil embargo and the U.S. refused to fill the gap until Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal. Nasser requested diplomatic assistance from the U.S., he was at first skeptical of the efficacy of US diplomatic efforts at the UN, but later gave full credit to Eisenhower's role in stopping the war.
Can't blame America all the time!

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ajjohnstone, I stand corrected; the U.S. wasn't part of the attack. But with the spectacle of the affair attention was diverted from the tanks crushing the Hungarian working class. For the first decade of the Cold War the U.S. had been bleating on and on about democracy on the other side of the Iron Curtain, but once they seemed to be getting what they wanted -- and then some -- they had to change the subject (since the Hungarian workers had obviously gone too far). The Suez Crisis did that. Literally.

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism? If you do, do you think this revolt could lead to communism (or ‘anarchy’ or whatever you want to say)? If you say no to either question, what exactly are you supporting?

I'm happy to see people revolting and I think it's highly unlikely this revolt will lead in the straight line to communism. But I haven't expected revolts to move in such a straight line for a while.

It seems like it comes down to how one imagines revolutions are going happen.

I happen to think the process of revolt itself is excellent teacher regardless of where you begin. We can see both neighborhood committees and a call for a general strike in the revolt in Egypt but that doesn't mean or "prove" any specifically anti-capitalist intentions; workers revolting don't necessarily guarantee that they will come to a communist position. But these activities can begin a process of both learning and organization.

Just as much, we should keep in mind that communism is not something that we have monopoly on. A good portion of the form of any communist revolution will be shaped by those revolting rather by their following a blue-print we offer. Only by acting will people discover their power. So being open to those processes which come out of revolts seems like a crucial approach for revolutionaries.

The various dictatorships in the mid-East seem to have guaranteed they'd end this way by destroying all "political discourse" (whether this is for good or ill we can debate about but we won't change configuration).

Further, this revolt has been fairly directly touched-off by current economic crisis - by the speculative rise in food prices in particular. Thus it seems reasonable to expect that revolts will continue in waves for a while as the crisis continues (and I'm sadly confident that it will continue).

The Iranian revolution indeed was a transition from one kind of capitalist dictatorship to another. It also had fairly powerful anti-capitalist elements that came out. It would be nice to hope that avoiding Islamism is high on people's agenda. But there really aren't guarantees here. History doesn't happen on the terrain that we chose.

Support/non-support is also kind of a mute question. No in Egypt needs our votes to do anything. The main question is what kind of analysis can we offer. It might indeed to useful to write a summary/critique discussing food price dynamics, capitalist democracy and nationalism.

osobo

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

pure postdupontist awesomeness

The communist should not attend, never mind organise, public protest demonstrations. Nor should he participate in spontaneous popular decision making structures such as soviets or assemblies. Any and all such involvements will inevitably lead to the loss of the ideas which he must develop in isolation from events. The communist must relinquish bringing his ideas to the world because it is against the purest ideals of communism that popular revolt must measure itself. Pragmatism is the death of communist theory. Pro-communists must always stand apart from revolt and maintain their critical distance from enthusiasm. (...) In the midst of social upheaval, the communist should stay at home, drink tea, watch birds in the garden.

- the other half

Valeriano Orob…

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Or Miguel De Molinos' Quietism:

"Quietism states that man's highest perfection consists of a self-annihilation, and subsequent absorption, of the soul into the Divine, even during the present life. In this way, the mind is withdrawn from worldly interests to passively and constantly contemplate God. Quietists would say that the Bible describes the man of God as a man of the tent and the altar only, having no part or interest in the multitudinous affairs, pursuits, and pleasures of the world system.

Quietists were so called from a kind of absolute rest and inaction, which they supposed the soul to be in when arrived at that state of perfection which they called the unitive life; in which state, they imagined the soul wholly employed in contemplating its God, to Whose influence it was entirely submissive, so that He could turn and drive it where and how He would. In this state, the soul no longer needs prayers, hymns, etc. being laid, as it were, in the bosom, and between the arms of God, in Whom it is in a manner swallowed up."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quietism_%28Christian_philosophy%29

osobo

In the midst of social upheaval, the communist should stay at home, drink tea, watch birds in the garden.

Or perhaps go online and speculate in day-trading on food commodity futures. Make a killing and bury one's head in the sand and live in comfort. Nice.

Hieronymous

osobo

In the midst of social upheaval, the communist should stay at home, drink tea, watch birds in the garden.

Or perhaps go online and speculate in day-trading on food commodity futures. Make a killing and bury one's head in the sand and live in comfort. Nice.

Your uncritical enthusiasm is quite unbecoming, comrade. Go watch some birds.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

However, the revolts that have been happening have been pretty diverse. Certainly a lot of the protestors have been advocating reformist, political goals (ousting dictators, rewriting the constitution, establishing liberal democracies), but both Tunisia and Egypt have seen great amounts of working class people self-organizing for their own economic interests. So yeah, when I see people taking over production in their factories, organizing to expropriate food and developing neighborhood commitees to run things and clamoring for a general strike I see those aspects as a revolt against capitalism.

well, are there really "great amounts"? and a political general strike is hardly a revolt against capitalism? and what do we really know about these factory takeovers anyway? and what things exactly are run by the neighborhood committees?

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism? If you do, do you think this revolt could lead to communism (or ‘anarchy’ or whatever you want to say)? If you say no to either question, what exactly are you supporting?

No. It' revolt against one elite which is on power.
It will lead to liberal democracy or some kind of "limited" democracy.
Same shit happened in Eastern Europe as I wrote in few similar topics on this subject.

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think anyone should get out of bed in the morning, afternoon, evening or night until there's a full-blown perfect revolution just outside their front door with the whole of the working class, having read and understood Marx, Bakunin, Malatesta, Korsch, Debord and the whole history of the Workers Councils beforehand, seizing and transforming the means of production and distribution whilst suppressing all its commiodity form and content...As for watching birds - that might be fairly safe as long as you look at them out of the window from bed, but drinking tea - too risky - the boiling water could scold you, the cup may be cracked, tea leaves might tickle your throat....

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

oh no, admin: flaming removed

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

PS
Another quibble, Hieronymous - it was the Russians invading Hungary to crush the movement there whilst the world was distracted by the Suez crisis, not the other way round. UK and French bombing of Egypt started on 31st October, the Russians invaded 4th November.

(little aside: I was 6 at the time, and I clearly remember my dad getting furious about both the Russians and Sir Anthony Eden bombing Egypt. I somehow got the events of Suez and Hungary mixed up and wondered how long it'd be before Hungary started retaliating by bombing London).

Kontrrazvedka

Does anyone believe the situation in North Africa is a revolt against capitalism? If you do, do you think this revolt could lead to communism (or ‘anarchy’ or whatever you want to say)? If you say no to either question, what exactly are you supporting?

No. It' revolt against one elite which is on power.
It will lead to liberal democracy or some kind of "limited" democracy.
Same shit happened in Eastern Europe as I wrote in few similar topics on this subject.

Of course, no one knows at this time what the revolt will lead to, and it is inadvisable to make claims such as these. The situation in Egypt today is not the same as it was in Eastern Europe 20 years ago. At most, if one feels strongly about what it will result in, one should be sure to qualify as what one believes it "will most likely lead to", i.e. to make a prediction based on probabilities. But how can any of us make such predictions when we don't know all of the (possible) factors involved?

I think the approach to a revolt or uprising such as this one in Egypt that Red Hughs has expressed here is (more or less) the one that communists should take.

Red Marriott

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT & Kontrrazvedka - we understand your viewpoint, but if you don't have anything else to say, stop repeating yourselves by trolling the same old bullshit on various threads.

redsdisease

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I just now got that this from Letters Journal. I can't believe I was baited into responding.

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We can go back in time and look at people cheerleading the Iranian revolution or the Zimbabwean anti-colonial struggle or the ANC in South Africa or the Sandinistas

Apart from the obvious fact that no-one on this site has supported the aspects of the movement in Egypt moving towards bourgeois democracy, it should be made clear that the South African revolution was far more than merely "the ANC": see this. Even the Iranian revolution, despite its far more obviously reactionary aspects, had its shoras.
These chronicly abstract mentalities coming from various people who aren't at all interested in details or in learning from the mistakes of the past, but assume some 'inevitable' outcome, are even more useless than saying we're all going to die. At least there's definitely an inevitability in that. Get off your cloud.

Red Marriott

MT & Kontrrazvedka - we understand your viewpoint, but if you don't have anything else to say, stop repeating yourselves by trolling the same old bullshit on various threads.

this is another topic so if something is said again it makes sense as it is said to someone else. i wonder how you dare to say it is "same old bullshit". it lacks decency even more that the question asked above about the nature of the revolt remains unanswered. so next time rather argue than say real bullshit like you did...

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

and this is not bullshit trolling, right?

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

if you like strawman, then you are certainly right. otherwise, you'll need to quote me to back up this: "And your bullshit is the same old bullshit bosses, cops, politicians, the bourgeois media, and all defenders of the status quo tell us everyday. If you really believe your own defeatist dogma..."

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Moved to lib community

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i explained myself several. i have asked questions which remain unanswered. you just call me a dick and saying bullshit without reading what i say and trying to understand it. you are just makeing up things and stances I never held. but yeah, fuck decency...

EDIT, oh, cool, now you ask me to answer questions I asked about current situation. unbelievable.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

omg, you have to be kidding me. asking questions is rhetorical trick? how can i answer them or even have an idea when i miss the facts? shit, i can't believe what i read here...

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Moved to lib community

Jason Cortez

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

eating poulitices Frankly the OP is spam. the reposting of stuff, just because you like to see your text everywhere on the net. In future if you must ask everybody to 'look at me' a simple one line intro along the lines, I have written this about... what do you folks think? and a link will be more than sufficent.

Jason Cortez

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT and Hieronymous, leave it out. Just ignore each other. Or take it to LibCommunity.

Jason Cortez

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

thanks Hieronymous

Red Marriott

MT & Kontrrazvedka - we understand your viewpoint, but if you don't have anything else to say, stop repeating yourselves by trolling the same old bullshit on various threads.

Hm, then everyone should stop to "trolling the same old bullshit" which means that we should stop reading your hippie "riot porn" reviews and hopes :)

One of you said that we didn't gave any relevant examples? Well I gave a lot and if you want you can use Google tranlator for Croatian to read this: http://masa-hr.org/content/%C5%A1-mo%C5%BEemo-o%C4%8Dekivati-od-revolucija%E2%80%9C-u-arapskim-zemljama

Jason Cortez

eating poulitices Frankly the OP is spam. the reposting of stuff, just because you like to see your text everywhere on the net. In future if you must ask everybody to 'look at me' a simple one line intro along the lines, I have written this about... what do you folks think? and a link will be more than sufficent.

I don't think the OP is spam. A link to the website with no other explanation would have been spam.

Arbeiten

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't support change, something unpredictable might happen....

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think the OP is spam. A link to the website with no other explanation would have been spam.

I agree. Just because some people use their heads and don't follow mass hysteria about every uprisinig and "window smashing" that doesn’t mean that they spam. If you have some arguments you shouldn't be afraid to discuss them with people who have opposite views.

Here's interesting article on Tunis and Egypt by Russian KRAS: http://aitrus.info/node/1304 (use Google translate).

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

uprisinig and "window smashing"

This is a very condescending way of describing what's happening in Egypt atm.
Whatever the initial goal of the protests, self-organized working people have been fighting off state police and the bosses' pinkertons for two days now. If that means nothing to you, I think your definition of "class struggle" is indeed very esoteric.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i think, K. meant not only this, he only wanted to make a point. anyway, is the class perspective to you rich poor fighting the rich? cos it sounds so. saying the people is a class or using nice words like pinkertons and bosses changes nothing on the fact that it is poor against the elite and its supporters.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by Boris Badenov

@mateofthebloke

This part you quoted is not directed towards Egypt, but towards anarchists and other leftists who tend to support every movement or action of masses which are based on "window smashing" just because there's some kind of riot or uprising and they don’t think that it’s important to take care of politics on which this movement is based upon. I think that we need to pay little more attention and analyse stuff which are happening. Of course, insurrectionist types will just say “fuck you and your books” (even nobody’s talking here about “book experiences”, but what we experienced in our lives or what did our parents experienced), but this type of ignorant politics will keep anarchist movement on margins of society forever.

MT

i think, K. meant not only this, he only wanted to make a point. anyway, is the class perspective to you rich poor fighting the rich? cos it sounds so. saying the people is a class or using nice words like pinkertons and bosses changes nothing on the fact that it is poor against the elite and its supporters.

I didn't say anything about "the people". Most of those involved in the battle for Tahrir square are by nearly all accounts, young, working people.
Pinkertons wasn't meant as a rhetorical flourish. Several journalists (such as Anderson Cooper of CNN) have reported that some on "pro-Mubarak" side were paid and bused in to attack anti-government protesters, while other have been unmasked as coppers.
Who are "the poor" and "the rich" anyway? Is this the class analysis that you would have instead of "mass hysteria"?

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the point is that ANYONE can use communist tactics and they will not be communist tactics. and also - proletariat is no GOD. I feel like many people here have some proletarian "religion" and anything working men (and even better if women as well...) do is so so class related. well, to me it is not and i see no communist tendencies in such things without wider context. basically people here with emotional ties to egypt or any revolt have difficulty to answer what are the libertarian elements to the uprising. we have read about committees doing things people naturally do when outside services are not provided to them by usual means, including safety and defence of private property. what is so revolutionary or libertarian about that? where is the revolutionary goal in it? the new egypt/tunisia/whatever? egypt without mubarak or whoever? egypt with new ruling elite? or something else? the poor are not god, the proletariat is not god. we need to see not only methods but also goals. or we end up like some lifestylist anarchists admiring freedom and selfemancipation and other principles which are empty without wider context connected with goals the methods are used for.

Ed

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Meh, I dunno, I've got to agree with Samotnaf and people on this.. the situation in Egypt is far more interesting than you give it credit for. I mean, can you give me any example of any uprising in history that didn't either start off with dodgy politics or never would have led to libertarian communism? I can only think of Russia 1917..

As for this, well, I think the formation of that new independent union federation and the talk of a general strike are signs that workers are thinking of their interests as workers (critique of unions aside).. equally, I think the massive strikes of 2007-8 add a very working class element to this.

But it does make me think: what are your opinions on what happened in Argentina in 2001? Obviously not exactly the same (what is?) but it also could never have achieved libertarian communism. It was also only against some facets of capitalism (i.e. free trade's effects on the global south) and in many cases led to the creation of petit-bourgeois workers' co-ops. But was it also not massively inspirational?

You're right, this Egypt stuff won't lead to libertarian communism. There are also nationalist and liberal ideas flying around the movement. But the memory of the struggle won't just die off once there's liberal democracy or free trade unions.. the communist movement is inherent in these struggles and any 'victories' which fall short of the final victory are lessons for future struggles, no?

I'm also feel that maybe the comparison between Eastern Europe and the Middle East now is not so accurate due to how much Communism (big 'C') was what was being fought, but I'm not sure.. do you think that could make any difference for those who were/are involved?

Anyway, I'm putting off getting a haircut but I should probably go now.. looking a bit shaggy..

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But was it also not massively inspirational?

to me? partly, not massively. but isn't this class debate over and over again about me and one or two other folks asking the same questions? where are the communist elements which could be progressive forces after the media hype ends? and what are the answers? none, expect people go on and on in saying we are not seeing things in the whole and are shallow and abstract and so on. pathetic indeed...

i want to stress one thing as some evidently didn't get it - me, or some others, NEVER said anything about libertarian communism! ever! it is ridiculous that some people started to operate with this in an attempt to ridicule our ideas. sick! i think we made our point very clear on the first page of this thread: http://libcom.org/forums/organise/egypt-solidarity-protests-washington-dc-29012011

Ed

I mean, can you give me any example of any uprising in history that didn't either start off with dodgy politics or never would have led to libertarian communism? I can only think of Russia 1917..

What about Spain, Ukraine and Kronstadt for example? They started as rational class struggle rooted within the working class people (factory workers, landless peasants or sailors who cares) they had movement behind them, or in the case of Kronstadt they had an ideology and revolutionary inheritance which manage them to create their own organisation quickly. They weren’t just about taking government down, they had a revolutionary agenda.

Of course, I don’t wanna be boring asshole who talks about some ancient stuff, but still anarchists should learn from their history (even though Kronstadt has nothing to do with it). We should analyse all failed revolutions and uprisings and not to repeat same stuff over and over again.

I see very big connection between collapse of Eastern European regimes and this case. It’s not the ideology of government what is important here it is the opposition and the idea of government itself. As I’m a realistic person who won’t shout “revolution” or “our time will come” (this sounds like an Iron Maiden song :)) when I see bunch of people on television who throw Molotov cocktails all over the place, I believe that without strong socialist movement people can’t achieve next step. This is the argument I’m repeating all over the time here.

Movement can not be created over the night but trough class struggle of working class. That’s why I’m member of an anarcho-syndicalist organisation and because of the fact that I see how spontaneous movements fail all the time I really can’t share enthusiasm of anyone here. Do you really believe that state, as organisation, is so week that it can not protects itself from an unorganised mob without greater political agenda?

Ed

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT

where are the communist elements which could be progressive forces after the media hype ends? and what are the answers? none, expect people go on and on in saying we are not seeing things in the whole and are shallow and abstract and so on. pathetic indeed...

Bruv, you're just not seeing things in the whole and you're being a bit shallow and abstract.. ;) seriously though, I think you're seeing things too much in terms of which organisations are here or there. Yeah, there's no anarcho-syndicalist union in Egypt, but there isn't one in the UK either (or in most countries, tbh).. does that nullify the recent student protests? In fact, the language used in recent protests in the UK is extremely wooly and liberal (corporations should pay their taxes, everyone should have an equal chance to get a graduate job), but there are tactics being used which could potentially push beyond that. Movements, and their significance, are more than the sum of the language they use.

Kontrrazvedka

What about Spain, Ukraine and Kronstadt for example?

To be honest, this is a moot point as you guys have said you didn't say 'libertarian communism or nothing' so it's useless pursuing this line of argument.

Kontrrazvedka

We should analyse all failed revolutions and uprisings and not to repeat same stuff over and over again.

Of course, no one is saying "God, look at Egypt, doesn't it remind you of Kronstadt?".. of course, we have to analyse uprisings and whatever to learn from them. But that doesn't mean ignoring any positive class content.

I think you guys are being too dismissive with the whole "we're from the Eastern Bloc, we've seen this shit before, you bitches weren't there" attitude.. we don't know where this will end up. Like I said before, recent years (since 2007) have seen probably the biggest wave of labour unrest in Middle Eastern history. There is a new union federation independent of the state unions and talk of a general strike (say what you want about April 6th, there was a de facto general strike going on in Egypt throughout 2007-2008). So there is a class content to these protests. Different groups will want different things from all these protests, but the working class is there and it remains to be seen how far they will push their interests.

As a quick question, given that libertarian communism is not on the cards, where do you think that a movement like the Egyptian one could go that would rouse some excitement from you?

Kontrrazvedka

Movement can not be created over the night but trough class struggle of working class. That’s why I’m member of an anarcho-syndicalist organisation and because of the fact that I see how spontaneous movements fail all the time I really can’t share enthusiasm of anyone here. Do you really believe that state, as organisation, is so week that it can not protects itself from an unorganised mob without greater political agenda?

Meh, of course not. I'm in the IWA as well after all.. but my excitement (or lack thereof) about events in the class struggle doesn't hang on whether there exists an IWA section in the country..

Of course, no one is saying "God, look at Egypt, doesn't it remind you of Kronstadt?".. of course, we have to analyse uprisings and whatever to learn from them. But that doesn't mean ignoring any positive class content.

A lot of people here are ignoring history and pass experiences, which is wrong. It wasn’t directed to you.

I'm not ignoring "any positive class content". Also, I don't think that this is a case with MT. As you could read from my article I posted here, I wrote about “positive class content”.

I think you guys are being too dismissive with the whole "we're from the Eastern Bloc, we've seen this shit before, you bitches weren't there" attitude.. we don't know where this will end up. Like I said before, recent years (since 2007) have seen probably the biggest wave of labour unrest in Middle Eastern history. There is a new union federation independent of the state unions and talk of a general strike (say what you want about April 6th, there was a de facto general strike going on in Egypt throughout 2007-2008). So there is a class content to these protests. Different groups will want different things from all these protests, but the working class is there and it remains to be seen how far they will push their interests.

First of all, I don’t have "we're from the Eastern Bloc, we've seen this shit before, you bitches weren't there" attitude. The fact that I used Eastern Bloc as an example of what is the only realistic outcome (of course with possible variations) has nothing to do with such attitude. I didn’t see any valid argument against my claims and I still have a feeling that most of anarchists who are supporting these struggles are supporting them just because there’s big spontaneous riot.

As I was watching the News (on Croatian television – HRT1) right now I heard information that opposition parties/elites along with West are calling for new government. This is really similar to Eastern Europe. I don’t get it how can’t you see that.

As a quick question, given that libertarian communism is not on the cards, where do you think that a movement like the Egyptian one could go that would rouse some excitement from you?

I’m “excited” watching what’s happening now. Especially, with these self-menadgnemt bodies, even though there is not a lot of information about them. Still, as I don’t see strong movement there I know that nothing will happen but liberal democracy. The strongest movements we ever had failed... Spontaneous riots can’t achieve much.

Meh, of course not. I'm in the IWA as well after all.. but my excitement (or lack thereof) about events in the class struggle doesn't hang on whether there exists an IWA section in the country.

I'm not in the IWA and I would never base my judgment on "existance" of IWA section in some country.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think you guys are being too dismissive with the whole "we're from the Eastern Bloc, we've seen this shit before, you bitches weren't there" attitude.. we don't know where this will end up. Like I said before, recent years (since 2007) have seen probably the biggest wave of labour unrest in Middle Eastern history. There is a new union federation independent of the state unions and talk of a general strike (say what you want about April 6th, there was a de facto general strike going on in Egypt throughout 2007-2008). So there is a class content to these protests. Different groups will want different things from all these protests, but the working class is there and it remains to be seen how far they will push their interests.

for the xth time, no this is not naturally a class content. to prove that you would have to make the links between the past and the present and clearly say what are those links. as for the federation, yes it is an independent reformist union calling for political general strike. so this is what you say is the class content? is this what interests libertarian communists when analyzing the events? is this the core for the future libertarian communists to potentially form their own organs? so that means we should start making contacts with this federation? I am just asking, cos I am getting really confused what are you really trying to say.

or perhaps we are using wrong terms? yes there is a union with specific interests and we will see how far they will push them, but so far they were very clear what they aim for and I see no specific reason to hope for something else they their reformist program. or do we know about some critical attitudes from within this federation? if so, come on, don't keep it for yourselves repeating we are abstract and shallow?

Kontrrazvedka

First of all, I don’t have "we're from the Eastern Bloc, we've seen this shit before, you bitches weren't there" attitude. The fact that I used Eastern Bloc as an example of what is the only realistic outcome (of course with possible variations) has nothing to do with such attitude. I didn’t see any valid argument against my claims and I still have a feeling that most of anarchists who are supporting these struggles are supporting them just because there’s big spontaneous riot.

I'm neither an anarchist nor am I watching this for the riot porn. I see it as the result of the culmination of a cycle of class struggle (the mantra I repeat ad nauseam is Rosa's dialectic in The Mass Strike).

Rather than Eastern Bloc examples, don't you think East Asian ones are more accurate?:

Hieronymous

1987 nationwide protests in South Korea against the Chun Doo Hwan military dictatorship on university campuses resulted in the police killing of Lee Han Yeol, a Yonsei University student, the resulting protest of which involved 1,600,000 people surrounding Seoul City Hall for his funeral. Soon after there were 3,475 strikes from June to September, completely paralyzing the South Korean economy. Most of these workplace struggles took on the appearance of an insurrection.

The cycle of strikes, economic and political, along with mass mobilizations of the working class, reached it's 2nd stage at the end of 1988 with the 128-day strike (the longest in S. Korea history) at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan. As the strike carried on into 1989, sympathy strikes of other Ulsan workers turned the Hyundai company town into a war zone; workers joined the strike from Hyundai Engine, Hyundai Motors, Hyundai Mipo Shipyards, and workers from other Hyundai subsidiaries and subcontractors in the Ulsan area fought pitched battles with the Korean Pinkertons, the kusadae.

The 3rd stage and peak of the struggle began with the occupation of the Goliat crane at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan in January 1990. It eventually spread, based on strike-support networks created by rank-and-file initiative and drew in the solidarity of large segments of the South Korean working class, it became a week-long general strike of workers at 146 enterprises across the country. The struggle ended in May 1990, but created a tradition of solidarity and class struggle from below that exists to this day -- and could be seen in the militant strike/77-day factory occupation at Ssangyong Motors in Pyeongtaek in the summer of 2009.

This seems incredibly similar to the strikes and riots in the textile town of Mahalla el-Kubra, beginning in 2007, that led to waves of strikes and even general strikes across Egypt for the last several years.

Another example that seems parallel with the events in Egypt today, but with vastly different results from those in South Korea was this:

Hieronymous

1989 Tienanmen Square protests began with a student occupation and led to mass strikes and the bloodbath of workers who replaced the students occupying Tienanmen Square. See the excellent accounts in A Moment of Truth: Workers’ Participation in China’s 1989 Democracy Movement and the Emergence of Independent Unions, published in 1990 by the Asian Monitor Resource Center in Hong Kong.

There were mass work stoppages in the Beijing and Tianjin areas, in addition to mass strikes that were beginning in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other industrial centers. And by the time of the massacre on June 3, most of the students had gone home and it was "workers [who] were at the forefront of initial attempts to form armed defence committees to defend the movement... [and] were to bear the full brunt of the repression (Aufheben #16)." The brutal repression was mostly because workers had begun to self-organize into the Workers' Autonomous Federation and that's why they incurred so much of the ruling party's wrath.

These East Asian scenarios seem so much more plausible than Eastern Bloc ones? No?

MT

... to potentially form their own organs

Unless you mean as forms of struggle that organically arise from the content of the current fight (again, like the strike coordinating organizations Rosa details in The Mass Strike), this fetish for organization is no different from orthodox Trotskyite boilerplate; you know, the organization and its leadership are everything and they bring consciousness to the stupid workers (or other lame rehashings -- even anarcho-syndicalist ones -- of Lenin's 1902 dogma in What Is To Be Done?).

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ Hieronymous

But still, isn't South Korea some kind of liberal democracy? What is exactly your point?

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

These East Asian scenarios seem so much more plausible than Eastern Bloc ones? No?

No.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

What about Spain, Ukraine and Kronstadt for example? They started as rational class struggle rooted within the working class people (factory workers, landless peasants or sailors who cares) they had movement behind them, or in the case of Kronstadt they had an ideology and revolutionary inheritance which manage them to create their own organisation quickly. They weren’t just about taking government down, they had a revolutionary agenda.
....
A lot of people here are ignoring history

Maybe you should follow your own advice and pay closer attention to history. Spain, Ukraine and Kronstadt most certainly did not start out as fully-defined revolutionary projects. Yes, the working class component (at least in Spain) was more self-consciously informed by revolutionary theory, but this was neither here nor there, as the CNT only became a great social force after the republic was declared, i.e. after the "bourgeois revolution" (which most certainly had a working-class component, as was visible in early republican efforts to suppress strikes and workers' organizations). The communization that existed in Barcelona or Aragon was not as a result of wiseguy ideologues telling the workers what "genuine communism" was about, it was simply the best and most efficient way for the working class to appropriate the wealth it had created. Yes, there were ideological debates that were informed by anarcho-syndicalist ideas, no they did not dictate the course of the revolution. Indeed the failure of the Spanish revolution speaks exactly to this reality. If the CNT leadership had followed the "most perfect doctrine of libertarian communism", it wouldn't have subsided into collaborationist popular front politics. But "men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please", as old Charlie would say.
Similarly the majority of Kronstadt sailors, were not political in an ideological sense on the dawn of the February revolution (the only ones who were strongly ideological were the Bolsheviks). Yet between February and the spring of 1917, Kronstadt had a direct workers' democracy. Again, there were intense ideological debates, informed by socialist thinking, but it would be ridiculous to say that all workers who took part in soviets were committed anarchists, and even the ones who were socialists defined their socialism in very broad and open-ended terms (this is why the majority of radical workers and peasants wanted an alliance of all socialists, because unlike the purist Bolsheviks, they did not see socialism as a party doctrine, but a practice).
The libertarian elements in all revolutions have emerged in practice first, and then in theory (and usually the theory only comes after the practice is defeated).
There are radical elements amongst the Egyptian workers now in revolt, and more are undoubtedly coming to see things differently as a result of all this (the experience of being up against an authoritarian state, liberal blabbermouths, and islamist opportunists is certainly an enlightening one). It is entirely presumptuous and even contemptuous to claim that their struggle does not count because it's not being carried through federated anarcho-syndicalist unions or anarchist militias.
Your friend MT claims that he is unjustly being accused of indulging in fluffy abstractions, but what do you call it when you measure reality against your ideas rather than vice-versa?

MT

These East Asian scenarios seem so much more plausible than Eastern Bloc ones? No?

No.

I really mean no disrespect, but are you capable of supporting your conclusions?

If so, how is Egypt in 2011 so similar to Slovakia in 1989? Please explain.

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the point is that ANYONE can use communist tactics and they will not be communist tactics. and also - proletariat is no GOD. I feel like many people here have some proletarian "religion" and anything working men (and even better if women as well...) do is so so class related. well, to me it is not and i see no communist tendencies in such things without wider context. basically people here with emotional ties to egypt or any revolt have difficulty to answer what are the libertarian elements to the uprising. we have read about committees doing things people naturally do when outside services are not provided to them by usual means, including safety and defence of private property. what is so revolutionary or libertarian about that? where is the revolutionary goal in it? the new egypt/tunisia/whatever? egypt without mubarak or whoever? egypt with new ruling elite? or something else? the poor are not god, the proletariat is not god. we need to see not only methods but also goals. or we end up like some lifestylist anarchists admiring freedom and selfemancipation and other principles which are empty without wider context connected with goals the methods are used for.

I think this argument is important even if I disagree with it. It is important not to uncritically support all mass action.

The question I'd ask is, "does every uprising have to begin with libertarian intentions?"

What prevents the process of the rising being what generates those intentions and tendencies?

And here, I'll toss "wider context" back at you. The wider context has in the past been a factor in determining how much scope the proletariat has for both self-organization and the independent development of ideas. The wider context of world-wide economic collapse is important here since any simple organization of the capitalist order will still face the brutal austerity now inflicted on all poor nations (ie, massive food price rises driven by speculation and financial imbalance).

Just as a note on how things are far from clear, the new "Independent Trade Union Federation" are essentially the previously state-controlled unions reorganizing themselves (or at least a fraction of them). Thus I would be a little dubious about them moving towards communism (but I can't claim expertise here so correct me if I'm wrong)

I am cheering for the masses evolving communist conceptions. That's far from a given but I believe it's possible.

Kontrrazvedka

@ Hieronymous

But still, isn't South Korea some kind of liberal democracy? What is exactly your point?

If you ask the workers there, it's a class-divided society. They hate whatever form that takes; don't you?

But my point being that the militants who gained class consciousness in the shopfloor battles and in the street fights in the 1987-1990 strike wave were some of the first to coordinate strike committees across South Korea in the 1996-1997 General Strike. You don't overthrow class society in fell swoop, you fight, you learn and you come back the next time better informed and with more class conscious comrades who've got some experience. It's a kinda like class war pedagogy. Human beings make revolution, but never at the time and place of their choice. These skirmishes are like practice exercises so that we're ready for the next opening (unless you're some kind of Lenin-style volunteerist who thinks your mere determination will allow you to leap over objective conditions).

Just as a point of contrast, are there class divisions where you live?

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There are radical elements amongst the Egyptian workers now in revolt

name them please.

and more are undoubtedly coming to see things differently as a result of all this

sounds like religion

It is entirely presumptuous and even contemptuous to claim that their struggle does not count because it's not being carried through federated anarcho-syndicalist unions or anarchist militias.

noone said so and i hope noone thinks so...

Hieronymous

MT

These East Asian scenarios seem so much more plausible than Eastern Bloc ones? No?

No.

I really mean no disrespect, but are you capable of supporting your conclusions?

If so, how is Egypt in 2011 so similar to Slovakia in 1989? Please explain.

All I say is that I see no reason to claim what you claim. I do not compare what is more suitable or plausible cos I miss the facts to build such conclusions upon. I never said there is EE scenario (except we will see a new ruling elite and so far we have no reason to think that we will not see also new mass which will be into electoral politics). And I don't think the problem with understanding it is in my bad English...

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The question I'd ask is, "does every uprising have to begin with libertarian intentions?"

What prevents the process of the rising being what generates those intentions and tendencies?

no, nothing has to begin with libertarian intentions. the question in fact is - can we find such intentions there? what elements of the movement are the proponents of such intentions? how can we get in touch, discuss, cooperate, help each other?

i think the intentions are generated by the dilemmas of the struggle and can be diverse and so far we know totally too little about them. and even those things which we know are very problematic (from the committees in tunisia to the general strike in egypt or the company selfmanagement which we know basically one sentence about)

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The "1989 revolutions" in Eastern Europe are markedly different from what's happening in Egypt right now.
Many, if not all, were informed by explicitly reactionary religious nationalism (Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia), not benign "liberal democracy". Many were also quickly resolved through political coups (some peaceful as in Russia and Hungary, some bloody like in Romania, some extremely bloody like in Yugoslavia). There was certainly no case in which hundreds of thousands of people were locked in pitched battle with state militias (something similar although on a much smaller scale occurred in Romania, but really there is no comparison).
The Egyptian protest movement, seems to me - and I accept that my knowledge is incomplete coming from second-hand sources, but I don't believe all journalists are wrong on this - self-consciously secular (a rare feature in the E. European context) and bent on not accepting compromise with the regime and its croneys (this was also rare in 1989 E. Europe, when most post-Communist governments were nothing but crypto-stalinist supporters of the old order in "modern" garb).
Of course it is entirely possible that Egypt will end up with a "stability" liberal government, but if it does, it's not thanks to a 1989-like context. The context is significantly different.

MT

All I say is that I see no reason to claim what you claim.

Please refer to where I claimed anything.

MT

I do not compare what is more suitable or plausible cos I miss the facts to build such conclusions upon. I never said there is EE scenario (except we will see a new ruling elite and so far we have no reason to think that we will not see also new mass which will be into electoral politics). And I don't think the problem with understanding it is in my bad English...

I also agree that it has nothing to do with your language competency. It's your ideology that I disagree with. You seem to be imposing your political views over events, rather than seeing them dialectically, with a nuanced interpretation of what's been happening with class relations in Egypt during the most recent cycle of struggles (the strikes, mostly in textiles, since 2007).

As for a "new ruling elite," does this even need being said? We live in class society and as classes recompose, we see new factions of the ruling class rise to power.

MT

There are radical elements amongst the Egyptian workers now in revolt

name them please.

In terms of individuals, there are several participants who have been reporting on the situation around them from a left-socialist perspective; if you're looking for specific names, have a look at the "Egypt updates" thread; there are links to several Egyptian blogs, twitter accounts and so on. Obviously it's hard to tell what those who are not internet-literate or who don't have access to the internet, are thinking, but it's ultimately a moot point. There is no way of proving or disproving that substantial numbers of Egyptian workers now in revolt are informed or at least open to radical ideas. I certainly, despite your smears of "religiosity" and "irrational hope", don't assume most are socialists, but neither do I stroke my chin and mumble something about how "it's all doomed; they don't have the right ideas," as you seem to be doing. Rather, I'm interested to find out, as information gradually becomes available (although the fate of journalists there seems to be under a big fuck off question mark atm), what actually happens, and then form a definite opinion.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"it's all doomed; they don't have the right ideas," as you seem to be doing

quote this stupid shit or stop repeating it all the time, it is lame.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I also agree that it has nothing to do with your language competency. It's your ideology that I disagree with. You seem to be imposing your political views over events

I SEEEM TO... well, you seem to be acting like not reading what I write. so what now?

, rather than seeing them dialectically, with a nuanced interpretation of what's been happening with class relations in Egypt during the most recent cycle of struggles (the strikes, mostly in textiles, since 2007).

so where exactly is this class battlefield NOW? on a square throwing rocks?

MT

"it's all doomed; they don't have the right ideas," as you seem to be doing

quote this stupid shit or stop repeating it all the time, it is lame.

Come on, MT. Please be honest; this is exactly the message in every single one of your posts about Tunisia or Egypt.

Hieronymous

MT

"it's all doomed; they don't have the right ideas," as you seem to be doing

quote this stupid shit or stop repeating it all the time, it is lame.

Come on, MT. Please be honest; this is exactly the message in every single one of your posts about Tunisia or Egypt.

don't please me, use facts and argue, not your emotions...

MT

Hieronymous

MT

"it's all doomed; they don't have the right ideas," as you seem to be doing

quote this stupid shit or stop repeating it all the time, it is lame.

Come on, MT. Please be honest; this is exactly the message in every single one of your posts about Tunisia or Egypt.

don't please me, use facts and argue, not your emotions...

What several of us (strangely NOT the ones from Eastern Europe) keep saying this that you're being disingenuous. You aren't making an argument, but simply snipe at what we're saying. And offer no substantiating details.

You also reduce the Egyptian working class to what's happening to the tens of thousands of protesters at Tahrir Square. Egypt has a population of just under 80,000,000; Cairo has just under 7,000,000. That means there are tens of millions of workers in the industrial zones, many of whom are veterans of wave after wave of strikes. What are they doing? If you don't know, what do you think they're doing? Working? Throwing stones at the Pinkertons?

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The road to blinkered ignorance is paved with "communist" intentions.

Judgement of oneself and of others, of movements on the basis of intentions is for those who live in their heads, those who want to ignore the tedious social effect of their activity and who reduce the social effect of movements of contestation to only their most probable outcome and their most easily observed contradictions, flattening out loads of different social movements and their nuances into some indistinguishable "incorrectness". Such useless impotence learns nothing new because it is incapable of making progress, even the slightest amelioration in their own miserable conditions, and projects such incapacity onto any analysis of any aspect of social contestation. It simply expresses an arrogant smug will to separation, a desire to contemptuously dismiss any current risks in the will to master one's own life. One might just as well endlessly repeat, "It'll all end in tears".

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What are they doing? If you don't know, what do you think they're doing? Working? Throwing stones at the Pinkertons?

tell me, i am eager to know since my first post on the events here. this is exactly what interests me. and as I do not know and others SEEM TO know (judging from the posts claiming there are radical elements) I feel that they are the ones to answer, not me. and if they don't know, it is sufficient to say that.

MT

What are they doing? If you don't know, what do you think they're doing? Working? Throwing stones at the Pinkertons?

tell me, i am eager to know since my first post on the events here. this is exactly what interests me. and as I do not know and others SEEM TO know (judging from the posts claiming there are radical elements) I feel that they are the ones to answer, not me. and if they don't know, it is sufficient to say that.

Try this advice from above:

mateofthebloke

"Egypt updates" thread; there are links to several Egyptian blogs, twitter accounts and so on.

I would be cool if you could take a look and give us a synopsis of what you find out.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It looks like I’m writing Chinese instead of English, so I’ll have to get that Oxford English certificate, so that you can better understand what I’m talking about. I’m really starting to doubt that this discussion have any sense, because I had really simple thesis which I backed up with the some argumentation and from what I’m reading here most of you didn’t even understand what I was saying. So, I’ll write it again – for the last time. Also, I’m really impressed with the amount of hostility towards MT and me here, just because we share same opinion that Egypt and Tunis scenarios have been already seen.

Ok, first replays then some kind of conclusion.

@ mateofthebloke

I hope that your intention is not to turn this discussion into Spain, Kronstadt and Ukraine “history competition”. I know quite a lot about all of this revolt/revolutions and I even wrote few articles on these subjects. The reason I used these 3 examples is to answer to Ed on this:

I mean, can you give me any example of any uprising in history that didn't either start off with dodgy politics or never would have led to libertarian communism?

Regarding stuff you wrote you completely missed the point, at least you missed the point I made… So, my main thesis when I wrote about future developments in Egypt, Tunis etc. were that without some kind of revolutionary organisation you can not turn spontaneous revolt into revolution. All 3 of these history examples prove my thesis. In Spain there was CNT-FAI, in Ukraine there were various groups of anarcho-communists and in Kronstadt there were ex-Bolsheviks. Organisation has goal, ideology and it can mobilise people. You see, I doubt that some peasants in Spain in 1936 would organise and collectivised land if there was no CNT who taught them about importance of collectivisation in the past or during the revolution.

I wasn’t talking about theory and big theoretical debates which should determine when we will make revolution. Did I ever mention it? I the past all revolutions grew out of spontaneous revolts, but those who had some kind of significance had some kind of revolutionary organisation.

Also, I never rejected Egypt or Tunis because they haven’t been “carried through federated anarcho-syndicalist unions or anarchist militias”. I simply asked why libertarian communists should (Marxists or what so ever) support this when we can’t see any affiliations to our politics. In Serbia people marched on the streets, police forces joined them and they destroyed regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Situation was similar to Egypt and there were even gun fires. But what happened in the end? Old elites from Milosevic’s regime and new pro-EU elites formed some kind of government and later people new president. Milosevic regime wasn’t communist. Our point was, also that without revolutionary movement elites will make a deal and people will wake up in liberal democracy.

As I was writing this I saw that you made few comments on Eastern Bloc stuff. I would really want to know with what exactly you are backing up this “analysis”. As I can see your “analysis” is based on classic liberal stuff. For example there was nothing peaceful about Russia. Ok, this is kind of off topic (even though tanks and secret service don’t sound peaceful to me).

Again, you missed a point we made when we were comparing Egypt to Eastern Europe. First off all we weren’t talking about ideological aspect of these movements but the end results (liberal or limited democracies) and massive mobilisation. Also we were talking about the fact that even there were movements, whatever radical or not (which depended on country), the final word was not the one of the masses but the new and old elites.

In my article (the one on the Croatian) I posted here I wrote about analysis of Eastern Europe system changes made by 3 American political scientists: Rod Hague, Martin Harrop and Shaun Breslin. You probably despise liberal political scientists but they manage to do something you can’t – to make good comparative analysis. I advise you to get their book: Comparative government and politics.

Secularity of the movement is not important. We never talked about such things.

Also, you admit that you don’t have first hand information... personally - I do.

Uf, I’m tired.

@ Hieronymous

Croatia is of course liberal democracy and there are class differences as in any place in the World, but this is not important. My question was about your comparisment with South Korea and what was your point behind it?

You see, when I compared Egypt with something from East Europe I meant on this:

Let’s say it all started with the sponatious mob and massive movement demanding the end of tyranny. In some cases there was violent confrontation with the regime in other cases there was no confrontation and in the end it all ended up with the agreement between old and new elites who decided about future political system of the country.

Your South Korea example is not a contra-argument on my thesis, because I never said that people of Egypt or Tunis won’t use this experience in other struggles that are yet to come. I simply claimed that end result of all of this can only be liberal democracy. We all know that it’s easier to organise radical movement in liberal democracy then in dictatorship, so I see no problem with the fact that Egyptian or Tunisian people learn from this struggle and from some kind of organisation to take their demands on next level.

I’m no Leninist. I’m Libertarian Marxist, but my arguments were never on ideological basis (as I don’t want to have these ‘you are wrong and I’m right’ ideological discussion bullshits) but on reality of what is happening there and that is not a new social revolution.

That is it from me.

Kontrrazvedka

It looks like I’m writing Chinese instead of English, so I’ll have to get that Oxford English certificate, so that you can better understand what I’m talking about.

Would you prefer Chinese? I'll just write in the traditional form (never learned simplified).

我是一個共產主義者從美國 我工作作為老師。

Hieronymous

MT

What are they doing? If you don't know, what do you think they're doing? Working? Throwing stones at the Pinkertons?

tell me, i am eager to know since my first post on the events here. this is exactly what interests me. and as I do not know and others SEEM TO know (judging from the posts claiming there are radical elements) I feel that they are the ones to answer, not me. and if they don't know, it is sufficient to say that.

Try this advice from above:

mateofthebloke

"Egypt updates" thread; there are links to several Egyptian blogs, twitter accounts and so on.

I would be cool if you could take a look and give us a synopsis of what you find out.

it would be cool from you to do the same. I have already acknowledged the radical elements in my posts. Which only proves you are ignorant to ask for them again. and I see you have a habit of not answering questions which are right to the point of the whole discussion - how do we view the events from class perspective and what libertarian elements can be seen there (not by form but by content)? and i really am frustrated of repeating the same thing again and being ignored and bashed for things I never claimed. people, think for a second how you behave to people who disagree with you, cos what i see that this debate is not with sane people but some fanatics and i would like to see that the stupid attacks stop cos me and K. hardly attacked anyone and we could for the bullshit we are getting...

Hieronymous

Kontrrazvedka

It looks like I’m writing Chinese instead of English, so I’ll have to get that Oxford English certificate, so that you can better understand what I’m talking about.

Would you prefer Chinese? I'll just write in the traditional form (never learned simplified).

我是一個共產主義者從美國 我工作作為老師。

are you showing your ego here? or you think you are a joker?

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can write to you on Serbian:
много сереш

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

Also, you admit that you don’t have first hand information... personally - I do.

Of Egypt? (Because obviously that's what I meant, as I was referring to the Egyptian situation.)
My analysis is not at all "classic liberal stuff" (yes maybe I under-emphasized the violence of the Russian situation, but you know that the rest is essentially correct). You're not the only one who's lived through those events, and while I believe that you are trying to make a point about the Egyptian conflicts not about Eastern Europe, it does very much seem as if you're touting your "personal experience" way too much.
The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt. And yes the secularism of the current movement does matter. In any case, my point was that no easy comparison can be drawn between Eastern Europe 20 years ago and Egypt today.
As for Spain, Kronstadt etc., fair enough, I won't derail this thread into a discussion of their particularities (and good for you for publishing articles).

MT

mateofthebloke

"Egypt updates" thread; there are links to several Egyptian blogs, twitter accounts and so on.

I would be cool if you could take a look and give us a synopsis of what you find out.

Haven't you read any of the other threads on libcom -- or elsewhere? I've posted a few things about what I've discovered. Have you seen them?

Why should we play into your immature rhetorical game about "answering questions" and listen to you whine when we don't go along? Dude, that's what lib community is for. Take it there.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's an actually compelling argument for why the "Egyptian revolution" could already be lost.

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.
.............
Read the rest here: http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/02/02/game_over_the_chance_for_democracy_in_egypt_is_lost?sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4d4aaadb8df55857%2C0

Kontrrazvedka

I can write to you on Serbian:
много сереш

How about Korean:

저는 미국의 공산주의자였습니다. 나는 선생님이었습니다.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt.

you are simply wrong here. EE is not Russia and you overlooked (not only) antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

MT

The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt.

you are simply wrong here. EE is not Russia and you overlooked (not only) antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

Please explain why you think "anti-Israeli elements" are a prominent and defining feature of these developments, in the same way that (religious) ultra-nationalism was in Europe.

mateofthebloke

My analysis is not at all "classic liberal stuff" (yes maybe I under-emphasized the violence of the Russian situation), but you know that the rest is essentially correct. You're not the only who's lived through those events, and while I believe that you are trying to make a point about the Egyptian conflicts not about Eastern Europe, it does very much seem as if you're touting your "personal experience" way too much.

I'm not "touting" about my personal experience because I'm too young to have such. And yes I'm trying to make a point on Egypt and to say what could happen there.

The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt. And yes the secularism of the current movement does matter. In any case, my point was that no easy comparison can be drawn between Eastern Europe 20 years ago and Egypt today.

Nationalism is our reality. I don't think that you have to remind me of it, because I survived the war and you didnt ;) I saw it in the front of my face and you saw it on television. You can't compare Eastern Europe and Egypt on nationalist question because there's no national minorty which is endangered with this revolts in Egypt.

Secularism matters, of course, but it dosen't matter in what I was writing because I wasn't refering to it. New government will be agreemant between politicians not between religious leaders. Even though, there's strong islamist faction in Egypt but they are not strong enought to make an Egypt "muslim country".

Hieronymous

Kontrrazvedka

I can write to you on Serbian:
много сереш

How about Korean:

저는 미국의 공산주의자였습니다. 나는 선생님이었습니다.

How about Albanian?
Enver Hoxha jetoi. Vdekja e në perëndim!

(I don't really know Alabanian. Just this phrase :D)

Kontrrazvedka

I'm not "touting" about my personal experience

Nationalism is our reality. I don't think that you have to remind me of it, because I survived the war and you didnt ;) I saw it in the front of my face and you saw it on television.

As a matter of fact I did not just "saw it on television," although I accept that in Yugoslavia the effects of ultra-nationalism were immensely more destructive than in the surrounding regions (which is why I said so in my false "liberal analysis").

You can't compare Eastern Europe and Egypt on nationalist question because there's no national minorty which is endangered with this revolts in Egypt.

And that is just one aspect on which they are not comparable, the point being, again, that they are not very comparable at all.

New government will be agreemant between politicians

Or it could be a military junta, as the article I linked to above argues. You are again generalizing based on very spurious "evidence." For all your calls to rationalism, that doesn't seem very rational to me.

mateofthebloke

MT

The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt.

you are simply wrong here. EE is not Russia and you overlooked (not only) antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

Please explain why you think "anti-Israeli elements" are a prominent and defining feature of these developments, in the same way that (religious) ultra-nationalism was in Europe.

sorry, but you speak about some prominent and defining features now and not previously. i cannot answer something you make up just now and try to say i referred to it when I didn't. all I said was that vicious ethnic and nationalist rivarlies did not exist in EE as such. and that when you try to operate with them then you should also look into such elements in Egyptian events.

MT

mateofthebloke

MT

The vicious ethnic and nationalist rivalries that existed, and exist, in Eastern Europe are not really there in Egypt.

you are simply wrong here. EE is not Russia and you overlooked (not only) antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

Please explain why you think "anti-Israeli elements" are a prominent and defining feature of these developments, in the same way that (religious) ultra-nationalism was in Europe.

sorry, but you speak about some prominent and defining features now and not previously. i cannot answer something you make up just now and try to say i referred to it when I didn't. all I said was that vicious ethnic and nationalist rivarlies did not exist in EE as such. and that when you try to operate with them then you should also look into such elements in Egyptian events.

Ok, then at least explain who the "anti-Israeli" elements involved in the events are in your opinion, besides the Muslim Brotherhood, which everyone agrees is not in any position to "take over" the current revolt.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

As I was watching the News (on Croatian television – HRT1) right now I heard information that opposition parties/elites along with West are calling for new government. This is really similar to Eastern Europe. I don’t get it how can’t you see that.

I've seen similar reports elsewhere, on al Jazeera recently that the PM wants to hold talks with protest representatives, which probably means El Baradei. Might even include the Muslim Brotherhood.

For what it's worth Kontrrazvedka, I actually think that you're correct in believing that the most likely outcome of this is a liberal capitalist democratic government that will more or less continue the economic policies of the current regime. However, that there are signs of self-organization in factories and communities means that the uprising could be moved in a way towards social revolution. Unlikely, but with a general strike who knows.

MT, you keep asking for communist elements. I don't really care about the label, but there are plenty of local workers' groups that arose out of the wave of strikes and factory occupations that has swept all of Egypt since 2006. These are the so-called "communist" elements because they are the most militant sections of the working class. There are plenty of small socialist and communist groups (such as the Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Organization), but in the grand scheme of things they are not as important as people realizing that they can organize without the state and bosses. I don't understand why this is so hard to understand. And I do agree with Hieronymous that you are not adding anything at all to the disussion other than snide comments. At least Kontrrazvedka argues his point (and he has more of a point than you MT).

By the way Hieronymous, Cairo has roughly 25 million inhabitants not 8 million. Though no-one really knows the exact figure. Still that leaves 55 million more. It is significant that those instances of workers ejecting their CEOs from workplaces is outside of Cairo. Perhaps a political struggle in Cairo and an "economic" one taking place other places?

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ mateofthebloke
Do you really believe that EU will allow military junta to exist?

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT

antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

Fucking hell. Probably every Arab is against Israel and pro-Palestinianm but it's not an "element" to the protests. These are not folks that want to drive the jews into the sea but folks that are fed up with the Egyptian govt's complicity in the occupation of Gaza. And where the fuck do you think all of this started? Protests were allowed briefly right after the start of the second Intifada and during those protests people started shouting anti-Mubarak slogans. Seriously, MT you are getting fucking annoying as you seem to be continually talking out of your arse and don't bother to actually read up on anything.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

However, that there are signs of self-organization in factories and communities means that the uprising could be moved in a way towards social revolution. Unlikely, but with a general strike who knows.

Do you have more information on this? Like links about this self-organisation in factories etc? I would really like to know more about such stuff.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga I am speaking about what these elements do when I ask who they are. I know what after waves of strikes people just don't disappear, but I try to see the events from the perspective what what these people do now. very simple example - it is fine to know that there is so group of radicals in this or that revolt or radical event but what do they do with their radical perspectives in a specific event? cos without this i see only riot porn with one example of selfmanaged company about which we know basically nothing, plus questionable committees in Tunisia. and i repeat myself again and again and it still is not clear?!?!

Khawaga

MT

antiizraeli elements of the events in Egypt

Fucking hell. Probably every Arab is against Israel and pro-Palestinianm but it's not an "element" to the protests. These are not folks that want to drive the jews into the sea but folks that are fed up with the Egyptian govt's complicity in the occupation of Gaza. And where the fuck do you think all of this started? Protests were allowed briefly right after the start of the second Intifada and during those protests people started shouting anti-Mubarak slogans. Seriously, MT you are getting fucking annoying as you seem to be continually talking out of your arse and don't bother to actually read up on anything.

i read what you said about the izraeli stuff. and all i say is that there is this sentiment and I know where it comes from but IT IS THERE. or have i said something else. prove that or stop attacking me.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

I heard information that opposition parties/elites along with West are calling for new government. This is really similar to Eastern Europe.

This is hardly a relevant similarity. The US would call for a new government if this was happening in any European country (with the possible exception of Russia), or Mexico, or Israel, or Japan; basically any subordinate state that is useful to the interests of the American government.
Khawaga

For what it's worth Kontrrazvedka, I actually think that you're correct in believing that the most likely outcome of this is a liberal capitalist democratic government

And I am increasingly inclined to agree on that specific point actually. Where I differ from K. is on the point that this struggle (in which vast segments of the Egyptian working class are involved) is not really relevant (I am paraphrasing, but please K., don't get pedantic and tell me that's not what you really meant) for communists because the workers are not self-consciously communist. Egypt is not a deja-vu of Eastern Europe, or any other failed revolution. It stands on its own terms, and the outcome, as grim as it looks right now, is not oh, so predictable as to render the struggle itself irrelevant. Radical politics can and do develop as a consequence of struggle; they do not absolutely require to be imported by communist activists.

Khawaga

By the way Hieronymous, Cairo has roughly 25 million inhabitants not 8 million. Though no-one really knows the exact figure. Still that leaves 55 million more. It is significant that those instances of workers ejecting their CEOs from workplaces is outside of Cairo. Perhaps a political struggle in Cairo and an "economic" one taking place other places?

I stand corrected. I just took the official municipal population of 6,758,581 from the Cairo wikipedia entry. It said that the metropolitan area has 19,439,541.

But on the pattern of many counties, more than a third of the Egyptian population lives in the capital metro area. It seems like most of the industrial estates are north of there in the delta. True? And the Suez Canal seems like one of the most important chokepoints in the flow of commodities on earth. Any comments on the dynamics of the Suez area?

And Kontrrazvedka, thanks for the detailed response. As for you, MT, I'll see you in lib community -- or not.

Kontrrazvedka

@ mateofthebloke
Do you really believe that EU will allow military junta to exist?

I was talking about Egypt! WTF. Read the article I linked to if you want to know why a military-supported government could be a likely outcome.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's more than just the one company, I read about several. Some of them are in the long thread about Egypt. The groups in Mahallah, Kafr-el Dawwar, the satellite cities around Cairo etc. Sorry, I don't have time to dig them up for you. Whether these groups are active right now remains to be seen; we simply do not know much about what goes on outside the major urban centers (Cairo and Alexandria, to a lesser degree Suez and Ismailia) because there are no one there reporting and they are less likely to use social media or speak English.

MT

it is fine to know that there is so group of radicals in this or that revolt or radical event but what do they do with their radical perspectives in a specific event?

I take your point on this. Now it is unclear what they do. Maybe they don't know what to do now; this is, after all, a situation that no one but the people that lived before 1952/56 would have any experience of (52/56 because that's when the labour movement was relatively strong and militant, but the most militant folks were hung by Nasser). Maybe their priority now might be to protect themselves from state security and police. I certainly believe that what needs to be done now is to start a wave of occupations and strikes in order to continue the uprising because you can only protest for that long.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ mateofthebloke

Do you have some kind of problems? I’m tired of this clusterfucking... Read fucking posts!

When I said “it similar to the Eastern Europe” similarity was the fact that political opposition, not the people on the streets but ELITES, have support of the EU to form new government.

I never claimed that Egyptian working class don’t take part in the protests (I’m not basket case) and I never said that their struggle is not significant – to quote myself:

Usprkos svemu, događaji u arapskim zemljama od velikog su značenja za nas sve. Oni predstavljaju nastavak borbe i revolta prouzrokovan krizom kapitalizma, ali i represijom države i marionetskih vlada koje djeluju kao sluge stranog kapitala. Ova borba svakog dana sve više jača i u našem dvorištu. Sjetimo se samo studentskih, seljačkih i radničkih borbi diljem Hrvatske, studentskih prosvjeda u Velikoj Britaniji i Italiji, ustanka u Grčkoj itd (use Google translate from Croatian).

Link: http://masa-hr.org/content/%C5%A1-mo%C5%BEemo-o%C4%8Dekivati-od-revolucija%E2%80%9C-u-arapskim-zemljama

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's more than just the one company, I read about several.

i read only about one here on libcom, so if anyone has more info, please post it.

mateofthebloke

Kontrrazvedka

@ mateofthebloke
Do you really believe that EU will allow military junta to exist?

I was talking about Egypt! WTF. Read the article I linked to if you want to know why a military-supported government could be a likely outcome.

I'm also talking about Egypt and EU wouldn't allow military junta in Egypt.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by Iskra

Kontrrazvedka

mateofthebloke

Kontrrazvedka

@ mateofthebloke
Do you really believe that EU will allow military junta to exist?

I was talking about Egypt! WTF. Read the article I linked to if you want to know why a military-supported government could be a likely outcome.

I'm also talking about Egypt and EU wouldn't allow military junta in Egypt.

Explain.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

@ mateofthebloke

Political elites of EU are keeping their eye on Egypt. Their ideological goal is liberal democracy and free market everywhere so if they do not interfere their countries would lose their weight in global politics. In the eye of European public military junta in Egypt would be condemned and EU elites would have to justify why they didn’t act. Why do you think that they care so much about war criminals from Yugoslav wars?

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i read only about one here on libcom, so if anyone has more info, please post it.

Dude, I've got more a bit more crap to worry about than digging through thousands of tweets, blog posts, personal correspondence, chat logs (which I don't keep) etc. for you. I spend most of my time making sure that my friends and comrades are safe. The information I glean about interesting class based politics is based on my trying to figure out whether my friends are ok. That's why I am more obsessed with this than other posters. I've got friends who are putting their lives on the line.

Kontrrazvedka

When I said “it similar to the Eastern Europe” similarity was the fact that political opposition, not the people on the streets but ELITES, have support of the EU to form new government.

I am really not trying to be patronizing, but I'm not sure I understand what you're saying above. The fact that a major world power is trying to push for the formation of a new government in a country on the brink of social chaos that it has a vested interest in is an absolutely banal truism. I don't see how it is relevant for understanding what's happening in Egypt.

I never claimed that Egyptian working class don’t take part in the protests

I know you didn't. It's patently obvious that most of those involved in these events are workers, and I didn't say you thought otherwise. What I did say was that you downplayed their struggle because of the apparent lack of explicitly communist politics.

(I’m not basket case) and I never said that their struggle is not significant

You did say:
"I simply asked why libertarian communists should (Marxists or what so ever) support this when we can’t see any affiliations to our politics."
This sounds more like a statement than a question to me, and what you're saying is that a struggle against state aggression in which workers are overwhelmingly participating is not to be "supported" (whatever that means; to me it means, at the very least, "treated as relevant") on account of it not being informed by explicitly communist ideology. In other words, you are saying that their struggle is not relevant, at least not for libertarian communists (which is most people here).

Usprkos svemu, događaji u arapskim zemljama od velikog su značenja za nas sve. Oni predstavljaju nastavak borbe i revolta prouzrokovan krizom kapitalizma, ali i represijom države i marionetskih vlada koje djeluju kao sluge stranog kapitala. Ova borba svakog dana sve više jača i u našem dvorištu. Sjetimo se samo studentskih, seljačkih i radničkih borbi diljem Hrvatske, studentskih prosvjeda u Velikoj Britaniji i Italiji, ustanka u Grčkoj itd (use Google translate from Croatian).

Link: http://masa-hr.org/content/%C5%A1-mo%C5%BEemo-o%C4%8Dekivati-od-revolucija%E2%80%9C-u-arapskim-zemljama

[/quote]

Given the awkwardness of automatic translations, I think I'm going to pass on that until you post an actual English translation. In any case, this argument has to do with your posts in this thread not necessarily with what you've written elsewhere.

Khawaga

i read only about one here on libcom, so if anyone has more info, please post it.

Dude, I've got more a bit more crap to worry about than digging through thousands of tweets, blog posts, personal correspondence, chat logs (which I don't keep) etc. for you. I spend most of my time making sure that my friends and comrades are safe. The information I glean about interesting class based politics is based on my trying to figure out whether my friends are ok. That's why I am more obsessed with this than other posters. I've got friends who are putting their lives on the line.

is your name "anyone"?!

Kontrrazvedka

@ mateofthebloke

Political elites of EU are keeping their eye on Egypt. Their ideological goal is liberal democracy and free market everywhere so if they do not interfere their countries would lose their weight in global politics. In the eye of European public military junta in Egypt would be condemned and EU elites would have to justify why they didn’t act. Why do you think that they care so much about war criminals from Yugoslav wars?

The EU does not control how capital and the market work (indeed the current crisis is a painful reminder of that), and it most certainly does not control how most non-European regimes develop. Does the EU like the Chinese government, or the Burmese government, or the Iranian government, or the Libyian government? No, but it can't do anything to change these essentially militaristic and authoritarian regimes. Not even the US can do that.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

is your name "anyone"?!

considering that I am about the only one bothering to engage with you, yes I guess. And please fuck off if you're just going to be fucking snide. I really don't understand why I bothered to actually respond to you know.

Iskra

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am really not trying to be patronizing, but I'm not sure I understand what you're saying above. The fact that a major world power is trying to push for the formation of a new government in a country on the brink of social chaos that it has a vested interest in is an absolutely banal truism. I don't see how it is relevant for understanding what's happening in Egypt.

Because this political opposition will in the end form the government. If that is not relevant I don't know what is.

I know you didn't. It's patently obvious that most of those involved in these events are workers, and I didn't say you thought otherwise. What I did say was that you downplayed their struggle because of the apparent lack of explicitly communist politics.

I'm not "downplaying" anyting, I'm just saying that this can't be anything more - like a some kind of social revolution.

You did say:
"I simply asked why libertarian communists should (Marxists or what so ever) support this when we can’t see any affiliations to our politics."
This sounds more like a statement than a question to me, and what you're saying is that a struggle against state aggression in which workers are overwhelmingly participating is not to be "supported" (whatever that means; to me it means, at the very least, "treated as relevant") on account of it not being informed by explicitly communist ideology. In other words, you are saying that their struggle is not relevant, at least not for libertarian communists (which is most people here).

First it was mostly about anarchist organisations... why should they support it. But also it was about individuals. I don't think that asking questions is wrong. I don't support Egyptian people, but Egyptian working class. I support these (almost invisible) comitties and self-manadgment. I'm saying that their struggle is not revolution and that it won't lead to it.

Given the awkwardness of automatic translations, I think I'm going to pass on that until you post an actual English translation. In any case, this argument has to do with your posts in this thread not necessarily with what you've written elsewhere.

Automatic translation is ok. My article is just a sum of my ideas you read here, so it's the same thing.

mateofthebloke

The EU does not control how capital and the market work (indeed the current crisis is a painful reminder of that), and it most certainly does not control how most non-European regimes develop. Does the EU like the Chinese government, or the Burmese government, or the Iranian government, or the Libyian government? No, but it can't do anything to change these essentially militaristic and authoritarian regimes. Not even the US can do that.

Those regimes are stable, this one will not be and it will depend on foreign help etc.

Khawaga

is your name "anyone"?!

considering that I am about the only one bothering to engage with you, yes I guess. And please fuck off if you're just going to be fucking snide. I really don't understand why I bothered to actually respond to you know.

you are just giving too much importance to yourself and misinterpret.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka

Because this political opposition will in the end form the government. If that is not relevant I don't know what is.

Not necessarily; the political opposition is pretty weak, if not puny, right now. I doubt a successful "liberal" government could be formed right now, if Mubarak was to all of a sudden just leave. The threat posed by the upper echelons of the military seems like a genuine and increasingly menacing force.

I don't support Egyptian people, but Egyptian working class. I support these (almost invisible) comitties and self-manadgment. I'm saying that their struggle is not revolution and that it won't lead to it.

This is pretty much the first time in this thread you're saying that, and I wonder what took you so long. Clearly I wasn't arguing against you because I support the "Egyptian people" but it really did seem from your previous posts that your attitude towards these events was exceedingly dismissive and grandstanding. Much time would've been saved if you had posted the above on the first page instead of playing the contrarian.
Fair enough on not seeing this as a revolution per se.

Automatic translation is ok. My article is just a sum of my ideas you read here, so it's the same thing.

Ok, if you say so; I'll have a look.

Kontrrazvedka

mateofthebloke

The EU does not control how capital and the market work (indeed the current crisis is a painful reminder of that), and it most certainly does not control how most non-European regimes develop. Does the EU like the Chinese government, or the Burmese government, or the Iranian government, or the Libyian government? No, but it can't do anything to change these essentially militaristic and authoritarian regimes. Not even the US can do that.

Those regimes are stable, this one will not be and it will depend on foreign help etc.

They are clearly not stable (remember Iran 2 years ago?) and only China and Libya (out of those few examples I mentioned; the list is obviously much longer) are really efficient at suppressing all dissent, although one wonders about Libya right now.

RedHughs

Just as a note on how things are far from clear, the new "Independent Trade Union Federation" are essentially the previously state-controlled unions reorganizing themselves (or at least a fraction of them). Thus I would be a little dubious about them moving towards communism (but I can't claim expertise here so correct me if I'm wrong)

Red - just to pick up on this, I don't see anything in the article you link to about 'previously state-controlled unions'. It does talk about 'existing independent unions'.

The new trade union centre, which brings together existing independent unions of health sector employees and tax inspectors as well as worker representatives from the country’s key manufacturing locations, public employees and other sectors, announced its formation at a meeting on Sunday at Tahrir Square in Cairo and immediately issued the general-strike call. It also announced the formation of committees in workplaces across the country to protect workplace infrastructure.

That said I know very little about the new union federation or the background of unions in Egypt.

Edited to add link from CGT North Africa:

Avanza el sindicalismo autónomo en Egipto

En reunión celebrada el domingo día 30 de enero, el sindicato de los cobradores de contribuciones por bienes raíces (REDA), ( que participa en la red sindical euro mediterránea, junto a la CGT), el sindicato de los técnicos de la salud, el sindicato de jubilados, el sindicato independiente de maestros, más distintos grupos independientes de trabajadores, representantes de distintas empresas y con participación de la CTUWS, han dado un paso importante para la construcción de una confederación autónoma de sindicatos egipcios.

I think that's the tax inspectors who are involved in the Euro-Mediterranean union network with the CGT (along with the CNT-F, some of the Algerian and Moroccan autonomous unions and the CGTT from Tunisia)

Maybe some of the other unions mentioned are formerly state controlled.

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There was another link I can't find now which gave me that impression more strongly.

But all of my information is all fairly vague so I won't speculate further.

Samotnaf

The road to blinkered ignorance is paved with "communist" intentions.

Judgement of oneself and of others, of movements on the basis of intentions is for those who live in their heads, those who want to ignore the tedious social effect of their activity and who reduce the social effect of movements of contestation to only their most probable outcome and their most easily observed contradictions, flattening out loads of different social movements and their nuances into some indistinguishable "incorrectness". Such useless impotence learns nothing new because it is incapable of making progress, even the slightest amelioration in their own miserable conditions, and projects such incapacity onto any analysis of any aspect of social contestation. It simply expresses an arrogant smug will to separation, a desire to contemptuously dismiss any current risks in the will to master one's own life. One might just as well endlessly repeat, "It'll all end in tears".

FUCKING SPOT ON!

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wholeheartedly agree with Valeriano Orobó's appraisal of Samotnaf's post.

The article Why Mubarak is Out is one of the best accounts I've read yet of the different factions of the Egyptian state and its rival security forces and state-sanctioned baltagiya gangs. It tells why protesters so warmly greeted soldiers and the arrival of the military.

Here's an excerpt:

Paul Amar

The Armed Forces of the Arab Republic of Egypt are quite unrelated to the Markazi or police and see themselves as a distinct kind of state altogether. One could say that Egypt is still a “military dictatorship” (if one must use that term) since this is still the same regime that the Free Officers’ Revolution installed in the 1950s. But the military has been marginalized since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords with Israel and the United States. Since 1977, the military has not been allowed to fight anyone. Instead, the generals have been given huge aid payoffs by the US. They have been granted concessions to run shopping malls in Egypt, develop gated cities in the desert and beach resorts on the coasts. And they are encouraged to sit around in cheap social clubs.

These buy-offs have shaped them into an incredibly organized interest group of nationalist businessmen. They are attracted to foreign investment; but their loyalties are economically and symbolically embedded in national territory. As we can see when examining any other case in the region (Pakistan, Iraq, the Gulf), US military-aid money does not buy loyalty to America; it just buys resentment. In recent years, the Egyptian military has felt collectively a growing sense of national duty, and has developed a sense of embittered shame for what it considers its “neutered masculinity:” its sense that it was not standing up for the nation’s people. The nationalistic Armed Forces want to restore their honor and they are disgusted by police corruption and baltagiya brutality. And it seems that the military, now as “national capitalists,” have seen themselves as the blood rivals of the neoliberal “crony capitalists” associated with Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal who have privatized anything they can get their hands on and sold the country’s assets off to China, the US, and Persian Gulf capital.

Thus we can see why in the first stage of this revolution, on Friday 28 January, we saw a very quick “coup” of the military against the police and Central Security, and disappearance of Gamal Mubarak (the son) and of the detested Interior Minister Habib el-Adly. However the military is also split by some internal contradictions. Within the Armed Forces there are two elite sub-branches, the Presidential Guard and the Air Force. These remained closer to Mubarak while the broader military turned against him. This explains why you can had the contradictory display of the General Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammad Tantawi, wading in among the protesters to show support on 30 January, while at the same time the chief of the Air Force was named Mubarak’s new Prime Minister and sent planes to strafe the same protesters. This also explains why the Presidential Guard protected the Radio/Television Building and fought against protesters on 28 January rather than siding with them.

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

it seems that the military, now as “national capitalists,” have seen themselves as the blood rivals of the neoliberal “crony capitalists” associated with Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal who have privatized anything they can get their hands on and sold the country’s assets off to China, the US, and Persian Gulf capital.

I wonder what are the chances that, assuming that this section of the army wins out, a future government re-nationalises these assets - and what kind of international crisis that might provoke. Just a thought - we're a long way off from that.

Paul Amar

Since 1977, the military has not been allowed to fight anyone.

Not entirely true. Egypt took part in the 91 Gulf War although only with one or two divisions for the four days of land warfare IIRC.

Steven.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kontrrazvedka, thanks for your detailed explanation of your position above.

It was very helpful. Having explained it like that, I think most people here would agree with you on your main points.

Looking at your argument with mate of the bloke, it looks like you were arguing at crossed purposes for much of the time. (By the way, regarding some of your comments directed at mate of the bloke, you should probably know that he is from Eastern Europe as well).

I think that you may have mistaken idea of people on here "supporting" uncritically this movement as a whole, which is patently not the case.

You seem quite frustrated with some of the debate that has happened, but unfortunately it was difficult to see what you were actually trying to say. And regarding hostility you received, I didn't see much directed at you, but the comments of MT right from the start were extremely rude, which didn't help the tone of discussion at all.

MT has continued to be quite rude throughout the discussion, and I don't quite understand where the vitriol is coming from. Perhaps some of it is due to language issues on one level? I don't know, but if people were rude to you in return I think it is probably because you were grouped with MT as you seemed to be arguing the same point.

We do value your contributions here a great deal, and look forward to seeing a proper English translation of your article at some point.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

you are just giving too much importance to yourself and misinterpret.

Ok,… as I said I actually tried to engage with you. Why … would anyone else bother doing anything for you considering you've been…, don't bother to back up anything you say and just continue with spewing snide one to two liners.

admin: flaming removed. Let's try to be polite everyone, including MT

Red Marriott

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To those it applies to;
most mass revolts and unrest - unless unusually geographically isolated - generally have various classes involved whose alliances and antagonisms shift with events. In this case it's hardly surprising that after 30 yrs of dictatorship an initial revolt would have populist characteristics, considering the broad range of opposition and dissatisfaction with the regime. To recognise this historical reality is not to support it as a tactic, nor to dismiss a particular conjunction of a moment in history as fatally undermining all present and future class struggle.

But to judge the whole 'movement' only as one homogenous entity is, ironically, to uncritically accept the cross-class nationalist formation you claim to criticise; the society this revolt emerges from is not homogenous but a class society, manifested geographically and class-wise in different neighbourhoods, productively in different workplaces, socially in different networks etc. What is occurring in different locations will therefore have different meanings and consequences for different classes; what one organises for and how. Shopkeepers/petit bourgeois organising to protect their capital or bosses to protect their factory are very different priorities to those of working class areas. We don't know the extent of differentiation nor how it will develop. We do know much of the inspiration and confidence for this revolt was encouraged by wildcat strikes of recent years. We also know that the workers movement is undefeated and can assume it will be active in some form, we know millions of proletarians are on the streets. If this revolt 'only' delivers a new regime it is not the end of class struggle, but class struggle will be partly determined by the outcome - and will partly determine the outcome by its strengths and limits. It will also learn something from its experiences (unlike those who dismiss events for being less than perfect or for not conforming to narrow ideologies). That is what, in my understanding, is the interest in events people express here, looking at what is happening in the process of unfolding events and their class relations.

You cling to your ideology as if it must be seen to be able to reassuringly account for everything that will happen. But it doesn't, nor does your personal history - as Hieronymous & MOTB show, outcomes are variable and cherry-picking history to reinforce your predictions is pointless. History is not inevitably repeating itself along a laid out track. It's ridiculous to imply (even if not openly state) that because there are no official 'libertarian communist' groups nothing radical can happen or that class struggle won't push itself forward.

I get the impression that if what we've heard about working class neighbourhood committees, wildcat strikes, occupations etc were reported as being acts of self-identified 'libertarian communists' - rather than 'ordinary' workers - then the dismissive attitude would be quite the opposite. This is an upside down concept of 'class consciousness'. The absence of your preferred models of organisation drawn from the workers movements of 80 or so years ago is unlikely to be a problem! Appropriate organisation can emerge from the needs of the struggle (as it apparently has already), it will have to if those struggles are to advance; organisation is the organisation of struggle and its development, if it's anything; the existence of struggle is a form of organisation. The emergence and experience of self-organisation in these events is already a partial victory worthy of study and analysis - rather than the shallow dismissals (that one expects from conservatives) we've tolerated here. For you, the absence of your cadre and your precious ideology is a predetermined fatal weakness - but, if judged by your arrogant reactionary performance on these threads, it's a definite bonus for class struggle.

Boris Badenov

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red Marriott

The absence of your preferred models of organisation drawn from the workers movements of 80 or so years ago is unlikely to be a problem! Appropriate organisation can emerge from the needs of the struggle (as it apparently has already), it will have to if those struggles are to advance; organisation is the organisation of struggle and its development, if it's anything; the existence of struggle is a form of organisation. The emergence and experience of self-organisation in these events is already a partial victory worthy of study and analysis

Well put; points in bold especially worth remembering.

MT

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

admin: flaming removed. Let's try to be polite everyone, including MT

don't worry, i am totally disgusted from this debate and won't participate anymore. i was not impolite to anyone, perhaps with very few exceptions when I defended myself against the attacks. if some of you don't like one sentence reactions (basically questions asking people to broaden their argument) and think that every person is able to respond immediately in foreign language in long posts, then something is very wrong with you guys... anyway, this topic isn't about me, but about egypt, so no need to make this post any longer.

oh, if someone is able to respond the core question - if there is more than one selfmanaged company (or how is it doing now) and some committees - I would be glad (I have read I believe 90% of all the posts on every egypt, tunisia or other related thread and found only this two examples which I find very interesting).

Steven.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT you seem to have the mistaken impression that everyone here is supporting these protests uncritically in their entirety, when this is not the case

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I want to agree with Steven. and say that it was MT who was being unprincipled and antagonistic, based on nothing more that saying we weren't answering his lame questions. Unless he explains further, MT's "provocation" was pushing his own Leninist organizational orthodoxy; so it's good for this thread that he's leaving. While I didn't always agree with his positions, I do thank Kontrrazvedka for taking the time to elaborate them; after doing so, I ended up agreeing with many of his points.

__________________________________________________

A council communist in Cairo is interviewed by a member of the Kurdish Anarchist Forum in Germany.

KAF: Please tell me your name and what movement you are from.

NT: I'm Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag, a small group of anarcho-communists in Egypt.

KAF: The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However information on the ground has been difficult to find. Can you tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it look like from your perspective?

NT: The situation in Egypt is so critical right now. It began with an invitation to the "day of rage" against Mubarak regime on January 25th. No one expected an invitation to a day of rage from a loose group via a Facebook page, not really organized, called "We are All Khalid Said".

Khalid Said was an Egyptian youth who was killed by Mubarak's police in Alexandria last summer. It was that Tuesday which started everything, it was the spark for the whole fire. On Tuesday big demonstrations were in the streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday began the massacre. It began with trying to stop the sit-in in Tahrir square on Tuesday late night, and continued in the following days, especially in Suez. Suez has a special resonance in every Egyptian heart. It was the centre of resistance against Zionists in 1956 and 1967. In the same district that fought Sharon's troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak's police carried out a massacre - at least four people killed, 100 injured, gas bombs, rubber bullets, live gunfire, a strange yellow substance thrown over the crowd (maybe mustard gas). Friday was called the Jumu'ah of Rage. Jumu'ah is Arabic for Friday; it's the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries also; it's the holy day in Islam, because there are the big prayers on this day, called Jumu'ah prayer. It was planned for demonstrators to go on a march after Friday prayers, at noon. The police tried to prevent the marchers, with all of their power and violence. There were many clashes in Cairo (downtown, in Mattareyah [east of Cairo]), and all over Egypt, especially in Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla (in the delta, one of the centres of the working class). From noon to sunset people marched in Cairo downtown, to begin a sit-in in Tahrir until the Mubarak regime is removed, chanting one slogan, "The people demand the removal of the regime".

At sunset, 5:00 p.m. CLT, Mubarak declared a curfew and brought the army into Egyptian towns. This curfew was followed by a planned manoeuvre by the police, letting out the criminals and thugs called baltagayyah. The police planned a great escape of criminals from many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt. With no police, the army troops couldn't control the streets. It scared people, and it was followed by a news blackout on Egyptian TV channels, radio and newspapers, talk of Luddites in many towns, of thieves firing at people. Local residents organized "people's committees" to secure every street. It was welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in the country, but it was at the same time a point from which we could start to build workers' councils.

KAF: As of Wednesday, there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak people. Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the "Mubarak supporters"? How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average working class Egyptians?

NT: It's absolutely wrong to call them clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak. The pro-Mubarak demonstration consisted of many baltagayyah and secret police to attack the protesters in Tahrir Square. It only began after Mubarak's speech yesterday, after Obama's speech too. Personally I think Mubarak feels like a slaughtered ox that tries to throw its blood over the slaughterers; he feels like Nero, who wants to burn Egypt before his removal, trying to make people believe he's a synonym for stability, safety and security. In this way he has really made some progress. A holy national alliance has now been formed against Tahrirites (the Tahrir protesters) and the Commune de Tahrir.

Many people are saying, especially middle class people, that the demonstrations must end because Egypt has been burned, famine has begun, but it's not true at all. It's an exaggeration. Every revolution has its difficulties, and Mubarak is using fear and terror to stay longer. Personally I'm saying that even if the protesters were responsible for this situation, even if this is so, Mubarak must leave, he must be gone.

KAF: What do you see happening in the next week? How much is the position taken by the US government affecting the situation there?

NT: Nobody can figure out what will happen tomorrow or next week. Mubarak is a stubborn idiot, and the Egyptian media is mounting the biggest campaign in its history to contain the protests on Friday, February 4th. There are calls for another million march to Tahrir Square, called "Jumu'ah of salvation"; the position taken by the US government is affecting us more than the demonstration. Mubarak is such a monster that he could kill the whole population, but he can't say no to his masters.

KAF: What has the participation of class struggle anarchists been? Who are their allies? (Obviously keep security in mind)

NT: Anarchism in Egypt is not a big trend. You can find some anarchists, but it's not a big trend yet. Anarchists in Egypt joined both protests and popular committees to defend the streets from thugs. Anarchists in Egypt have put some hope in these councils. The allies of anarchists in Egypt are....the Marxists! We are not now in a moment of ideological debate. The whole of the left is calling for unity and will argue the rest later. Anarchists in Egypt are a part of the Egyptian left.

KAF: What forms of solidarity can be built between revolutionaries in Egypt and revolutionaries in the "West"? What can be done immediately and what should we do in the long term?

NT: The most difficult obstacle Egyptian revolutionaries are confronted with is the cutting-off of communications. Western revolutionaries must put pressure on their governments to prevent the Egyptian regime from doing this. That's for now, but no one can say what will happen in the long term. If the revolution wins, then western revolutionaries must build solidarity with their Egyptian comrades against expected aggression from USA and Israel. If the revolution is defeated, then there will be a massacre of all Egyptian revolutionaries.

KAF: What will the main tasks be once Mubarak leaves? Has there been much planning about this on the street level? What have anti-capitalist revolutionaries proposed?

NT: The main task now - speaking about street demands - is a new constitution and a provisional government, and then new elections. There's much planning about these issues within many political tendencies here, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Anti-capitalist revolutionaries are not very big in Cairo - the communists, the democratic left and Trotskyites are making the same demands, for a constitution and new elections. But for us, as anarchists, we are anti-capital and anti-state too - we will try to strengthen the committees that have been formed to protect and secure the streets, and try to turn them into real councils.

KAF: What do you want to say to revolutionaries abroad?

NT: Dear comrades, all over the world, we need your solidarity, a big solidarity campaign and the Egyptian revolution will win.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Great post Red Marriott.

fort-da game

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Congratulations to K and MT for their tenacity in keeping the problem unresolved – without their intervention there would have been no discussion only further consumption of news items. What a fantastic job they have done in creating the space for others to express themselves.

It seems that Samotnaf proposes, and Valeriano Orobó agrees, that ‘we’ have failed morally, that we have achieved nothing because we are not out on the streets lynching mannikins. The normative masculinist motifs of ‘risk-taking’ correspond to the conception of communism in terms of making war... even though war over this or that cause has defined capitalist stability for more than 2 centuries.

It is true that I/we do not conform to type, and we do not see why we should cede the ideal of communism to those who conceive of it as equivalent to bungee jumping, an event to relieve their boredom and confirm their masculinity. As to the notion of risk, we have risked thinking differently, thinking against type and against our leftist inheritance. We acknowledge that this is the same order of risk as someone building a cathedral out of matchsticks, or a domino cascade. But that’s the kind of people we are, we are not street fighters, we hum Dean Martin’s ‘gentle on my mind’, we wear cordurouy slacks and v neck jumpers. We are not radical subjects and we don’t want to be, we like baked potatoes and allotments and homemade marmalade.

As for the allegations of spamming/self-advertising. You may take my word as a gentleman that the opening post of this thread is not contibuted by its author (and I am not familiar with the person who posted it as being part of our ‘group’/’network’/’project’/’circle’/racket/gang/sect). In fact most of us have deliberately scrambled their passwords so as not to be able to return to Libcom.

I welcome ‘eating poultices’ interest in our work and his/her distribution of it, but we would have preferred a further comment and a re-presentation (hopefully pushing the logic of what we are saying even further into clownish extremity). Even so, and behold, our ‘risk’ of thinking otherwise, has contributed to a discussion of current events (running to 118 posts and 4 pages). We are interested in pursuing our own life-project very quietly, like little mouses, but if others seek us out we are also happy to explain to hem what our project involves.

I would just like to note here that there have been a number of positive comments on ‘self-organisation’... I think this is an extremely unhelpful and problematic ‘ideal’ as no society could possibly function in a ‘self-organised’ manner given the recursive nature of human culture. It is like proposing an invented language. Every institution is linked horizontally and vertically to every other insitution (in the Castoriadis/lacanian sense), interest constantly leaks and therefore self-management/organisation becomes another form of arbitrary demarcation/ownership. But perhaps someone would like to start another thread on this.

I have made a further theoretical elaboration of birdwatching versus radical news consumption at the Letters journal blog website.

no1

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would just like to note here that there have been a number of positive comments on ‘self-organisation’... I think this is an extremely unhelpful and problematic ‘ideal’ as no society could possibly function in a ‘self-organised’ manner given the recursive nature of human culture. It is like proposing an invented language.

What a fine statement of Dupontism.

It seems as if the disagreement I have with Dupontists is that I believe that a process of 'self-organization' indeed has the potential to 'invent a new language' - not automatically or instantly but still fairly quickly when the need and circumstances arise (and that isn't saying we're even at that point with Egypt). Of course, the point isn't that I expect things to keep on an apparently-structureless path indefinitely. Rather, the process of self-organization can be a midwife of a new order (though said said order naturally would composed of elements of the old order, rearranged with additions and subtraction). This also isn't saying communists shouldn't put forward our ideas - we should but naturally, we must also be part of a collective creation of a new order rather than the blue-print writers/readers.

Also, do the Dupontists defend the converse to this statement? Do they claim that unless people have their language worked out beforehand, no action can succeed?

Samotnaf

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fort-da-game:

You're very obviously pleased with yourself . Well, someone has to do it.

You clearly think your contrived contortions are very clever, but such mental acrobatics just come over as being a pretentious pratt. For example:

The normative masculinist motifs of ‘risk-taking’ correspond to the conception of communism in terms of making war... even though war over this or that cause has defined capitalist stability for more than 2 centuries.

You really can't see that conflating capitalist war with class war indicates nothing other than a complete lack of integrity on your part, a total loss of any sense of practical reality worthy of some post-modernist philosopher's labyrinthine sophistry. Words have lost all meaning to you.

In response to the end of the nationwide movement in France this last autumn, which originally came from your assessment of the movement in France in 2005, you said:

The state knows exactly how long demonstrations and rioting last... it has its stopclock running on your marks, get set, go: first there is the cause, then there is the outbreak, followed by the wildfire, then there is the street fighting, then there is the consolidation and the mass mobilization, then there is the defiance and movement for continuation, then there is the full-stop mass demonstration, then the melting away to other matters. In all, the fever takes about two weeks to pass.

This aloof attitude , which is frightened of being surprised, could equally be your view of the Egyptian movement. For you, nothing happens between the "beginning" of a movement and the "end" of it (ie "beginning and end" in the fictional forms of dominant discourse, which abstract a short period of time from the advances and retreats of struggles and history over epochs) that could inform the next wave of struggle. Continue in this narrow tautological delusion and you will certainly make no possible contribution to the future waves of class war that are bound to take place in this epoch other than as just another stifling blasé blockhead talking for the sake of talking.

One of the products and producers of ideology (and of character, in Reich's sense) is a refusal to be influenced and consequently an inability to influence. You're clearly happy to remain isolated, retreating futher and further into abstraction, separated both from any possible social movements and from any chance of being moved. You probably think that it'd be beneath your dignity to admit that this is what you're doing, so you dig your heels in.

By all means, continue pleasuring yourself, but do we all have to watch?

Rob Ray

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ouch!

Ed

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fantastic post, Sam..

fort-da game

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert that God spake to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.
Isaiah answer'd. 'I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover'd the infinite in every thing, and as I was then perswaded, & remain confirm'd, that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.'
Then I asked: 'does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?'
He replied: 'All poets believe that it does, & in ages of imagination this firm perswasion removed mountains; but many are not capable of a firm perswasion of any thing.'

I saw a man from Egypt on the television news. He said his mother said he had to fight because she wanted him a hero. The interviewer did not ask why his mother wasn’t at the square and why he had not stayed at home to scrub the step.

In a 30 second snapshot we are reintroduced to Marx’s unfinished examination of the problem known historically as the ‘Russian road to socialism’. The objective historical role of capital has been to disconnect populations from their culture and introduce representative abstractions (cyphers for Value) in their place. The dis-attachment of populations from their specific history becomes an objective condition for their pliant reorientation towards different, perhaps, communist values.

The question of the ‘Russian Road’ asks whether a society may reach a communist consciousness without their pre-modern cultural practices having first been deconstructed by the process of capitalist re-valuation. Clearly, Marx did not get to the bottom of this question and the subsequent efforts of anti-imperialism and national liberation have been signally unsuccessful in everything but the further mystification of the capitalist productive relation. There are no proletarian states.

In the case of the days of rage in Egypt of January/february 2011, we see a ‘modern’ social revolution defined entirely by its unreconstructed bourgeois aspirations. There are mass prayers. There are national flags. There is a hated personified oppressor. There is an externalised enemy. There are calls for democracy and constitutional government. There is ‘self-organisation’ around the defence of property. There is the continuation of traditional roles between men and women.

In a situation such as Egypt where the question of communism is raised as a possible outcome, communism itself must take on the role of a corrective consciousness and do the work which otherwise would have been undertaken on the unconscious of the population by capital. It occurs to me, that Freud’s structural model is appropriate here... in this scenario, communist consciousness becomes the nagging superego, perpetually illuminating the shortcomings of the proletarian/popular ego as it attempts to realise objects from the tensions within the specificity/objectivity of its unconscious.

Where communism does not take this corrective role, (and who could suppose it could ever have a positive outcome except in conditions of complete economic breakdown?), bourgeois categories of national liberation will continue to be generated, and even within the pro-revolutionary milieu:

Suez has a special value in every Egyptian heart. It was the centre for resistance against the Zionists in 1956 and 1967, in the same district. It fought Sharon's troops back in the Egyptian-Israeli wars.
Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag, a small group of Anarcho-Communists in Egypt

Up to the point of writing this, communists have not dared to revile the fetish-object of the hero’s spilt blood from which the romance of bourgeois revolution is generated. They have defined themselves in terms of involvement in rather than separation from received historico-cultural conventions. But a communist revolution is defined precisely by its generation of new terms, of new roles; by a great flourishing of gestures and extended innovatory logics, the transformation of the entirety of conditions and lives. A revolution cannot be reduced back to the atavistic romance of red guards against white guards.

We are presented then, in the absence of such a flourishing, with the task of manifesting negative thought... of separating ourselves from enthusiasm and irrationality, from received and barbaric practices. Intelligence is defined by critically diagnosing conditions and identifying what is absent, it is not an accident that Marx talked of communism in terms of ‘criticism after dinner’. The communist role is essentially therapeutic, it coolly observes and quietly questions ongoing processes which it can neither initiate nor halt. People involved in struggle (i.e. the entirety of the human race) must process the vast accumulation of their inheritances, they must revalue their preconceptions and they must work through their history in order that they might escape from it. The communist is society’s therapist, he supplies, in the objective absence of spontaneous new forms and new relations, continued opportunities for transference in terms of provocations, doubts, telling criticisms.

The forms of struggle developed by the proletariat (e.g. its self-organisation) must be criticised not supported and must be criticised until it criticises them itself, until it abolishes its forms itself. Up to this point in the Egyptian events, pro-revolutionaries have been beholden to twitter feeds and 24 hour news coverage. Their thirst for contingent facts has completely obscured their critical faculties. The absence of innovatory thought, the failure in the character of their response, which has not yet got beyond a sluggish affirmational sentimentality and the mystification of solidarity, is the substantial proof that there is no prospect of communist revolution. Until communists are prepared to think for, and before, the Other... until they are able to think critically against their own prescriptions, and find a therapeutic path, they will not be able to escape their own dogmas.

I like the daily mail crossword. I like suduko. I do jigsaw puzzles. My shirts come from Marks and Spencer, my socks are cotton rich. My tie is made of acrylic-ah.

I also asked Isaiah what made him go naked and barefoot three years? he answer'd, 'the same that made our friend Diogenes the Grecian.'
I then asked Ezekiel why he eat dung, & lay so long on his right & left side? he answer'd, 'the desire of raising other men into a perception of the infinite; this the North American tribes practise, & is he honest who resists his genius or conscience, only for the sake of present ease or gratification?'

Mark.

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fort-da game

Up to this point in the Egyptian events, pro-revolutionaries have been beholden to twitter feeds and 24 hour news coverage. Their thirst for contingent facts has completely obscured their critical faculties.

Why on earth should reporting or following what's happening be incompatible with people using their 'critical faculties'?

Samotnaf

This aloof attitude , which is frightened of being surprised, could equally be your view of the Egyptian movement. For you, nothing happens between the "beginning" of a movement and the "end" of it (ie "beginning and end" in the fictional forms of dominant discourse, which abstract a short period of time from the advances and retreats of struggles and history over epochs) that could inform the next wave of struggle. Continue in this narrow tautological delusion and you will certainly make no possible contribution to the future waves of class war that are bound to take place in this epoch other than as just another stifling blasé blockhead talking for the sake of talking.

One of the products and producers of ideology (and of character, in Reich's sense) is a refusal to be influenced and consequently an inability to influence. You're clearly happy to remain isolated, retreating futher and further into abstraction, separated both from any possible social movements and from any chance of being moved. You probably think that it'd be beneath your dignity to admit that this is what you're doing, so you dig your heels in.

By all means, continue pleasuring yourself, but do we all have to watch?

It's a good point but one that I have factored in from the beginning and one that I like to reflect upon. Intellectualisation is one of the defences. Which of the revolutionaries 'change' in changing circumstances is an interesting question. I fully admit that I perform a role but it is interesting to me to see where that goes. I did not raise this subject here, I did not seek out discussion with you. Your moral condemnation is a continued avoidance of the fact that until the article was pasted here there was no theoretical discussion of the events on this site. Your personal attacks, and avoidance of the discussion are also psychologically driven.

I should also like to point out that I do understand that class struggle and imperialist war are both violent expressions of the contradiction inherent in the productive relation... class war is nothing to celebrate. It is the mechanism of this society, that which we seek to escape. If you revel in the image of it, then you have a problem.

Why does news preclude thought? It is the nature of mass media. The pertinent fact is the absence of theoretical discussion and a correlative plethora of news links. I understood that links without discussion was considered spam on this site.

Valeriano Orob…

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

as no society could possibly function in a ‘self-organised’ manner given the recursive nature of human culture. It is like proposing an invented language. Every institution is linked horizontally and vertically to every other insitution (in the Castoriadis/lacanian sense), interest constantly leaks and therefore self-management/organisation becomes another form of arbitrary demarcation/ownership.

Nihilism is an accusatory finger hanging in the air that neither goes forward nor backwards that, like an amused lazy hegelian, shouts at everything that moves: “appearance, appearance!!”

That revolution usually fails is so blatantly obvious that i find it superfluous to constantly state it. "Homo homini lupus", "man is sinner, he's failed therefore he needs god", "laws of commerce are the laws of nature and therefore the laws of god"...All the assertions always made by conservative thinkers about the lacking nature of human condition it seems that some way have penetrated pomo thinking, i'd say through structuralism and althusser. Try a healthy dose of EP Thompson.

I don't care if my aim is Sisyphus one, what i do know is that i'm not happy living in our (yes, yours too) filthy sewer passively. Equally i'm no prophet to predict which will be the results of any upheaval. The limitations are quite obvious in egypt as in the uk or spain and we were wondering about them in the whole thread.

The problem with the assumption that any protest feeds capital and only helps it to manage dissent better in the future is that it doesn't offer any alternative other than a peaceful zen or sufist attitude towards external world, as if both realities (inner and outward) were cleanly separated. I don’t miss clarity or security anymore. I know they won’t come back that’s supposing they some time existed which i very much doubt. I as you am working tentatively here, in a dark forest and you cannot claim any other thing. The difference is that i try to trace my map WITH others instead of pointing at them a supposedly right road that I don’t know just like you. I don’t know why do you bother considering the great fun you find in your ivory tower. And as for your ridiculous psychological statements about “masculinity”, try something less cheap than ad hominem attacks.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fdg

Your moral condemnation is a continued avoidance of the fact that until the article was pasted here there was no theoretical discussion of the events on this site.

this is patently untrue, though no need to let facts get in the way of your assertions.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FGD broke the thread. MT actually said more in his snide one liners than FDG does with 1000s.

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FdlG's point that it is important for communists to criticize rather than merely cheer is good.

What I'd add is that it is also crucial for us to learn from movements.

The communist perspective is indeed simply a small corrective on the vast, overall process of transforming human existence that history has thrust upon all of humanity. It is an observation concerning certainly structural tendencies of society ("a few notes on where various kind of social relations tend lead us").

The question is whether that correctively should be rigorously separated from the rest of this transformation or whether it should "wade-in" and engage with those in the process of change.

I would view a dialogue as authentic when both parties learn something. Regardless of the many weaknesses which one can see in recent revolts, these revolts have naturally involved a process of mass dialogue.

I would claim that the communist position needs to both be rigorous and engage in authentic dialogue - meaning be prepared to learn something.

The parts of the communist position that are "purely objective" are so simple anyone could repeat them. The difficult task to build a bridge between these "facts" and everyday experience. I would claim that such a bridge requires authentic dialogue as well as logical rigor.

One point is that I would interpret Forte's posts as well as his general delivery as involving an intention not to engage in dialog with individual posters here but to harangue "libcom" in his "interventions". I think that is a mistake considering that the hostile harangue has become the dominant quality of discourse in this era. I'm personally aiming to engage in respectful discussion as much as is practical currently given both the importance of dialogue and its rarity.

I will admit that I've taken a bit of Situationist's style of dismissiveness at times as being a reasonable approach. It is worth noting that the SI's approach was aiming at authentic dialogue as well and their dismissals aimed at cutting away the ideologues who were incapable of such dialogue. Those were different times. Today, ideology permeates the social fabric and I don't believe a process of "cutting away" can succeed. Instead, teaching by example seems in order. Given the present era, it seems worthwhile to act oppositely to the standard of the flame war, to discuss question respectful and sincerely regardless of the noise going on around one and to avoid blaming individuals for that noise.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree on all points RedHughs. Certainly, I would give FDG's points a fairer hearing if they weren't always presented as if they were the only ones with a ('true') pro-communist perspective and if there was some noticeable effort to engage in a remotely honest manner. Acting as if prior to this "intervention" we were all blood-thirsty, unite behind any resistance, let's go! rah-rah! leftists is very typical of what we've seen many times from FDG's and co.

Valeriano Orobón Fernández

Try a healthy dose of EP Thompson.

My words exactly! I was about to post the same recommendation myself. Especially the way Thompson elaborated how class is not a static category but instead is a “process” and a “relationship” and that “class is something that happens in human relationships.”

E. P. Thompson

And class happens when some men [and women], as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared), feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves, and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs. The class experience is largely determined by the productive relations into which men [and women] are born--or enter voluntarily. Class-consciousness is the way in which these experiences are handled in cultural terms: embodied in traditions, value-systems, ideas, and institutional forms. If the experience appears as determined, class-consciousness does not. We can see a logic in the responses of similar experiences, but we cannot predicate any law. Consciousness of class arises in the same way in different times and places, but never in just the same way.

[...]

The question, of course, is how the individual got to be in this “social role,” and how the particular social organization (with its property-rights and structure of authority) got to be there. And these are historical questions. If we stop history at a given point, then there are no classes but simply a multitude of individuals with a multitude of experiences. But if we watch these men [and women] over an adequate period of social change, we observe patterns in their relationships, their ideas, and their institutions. Class is defined by men [and women] as they live their own history, and, in the end, this is its only definition.

...we cannot understand class unless we see it as a social and cultural formation, arising from processes which can only be studied as they work themselves out over a considerable historical period (The Making of the English Working Class, pp. 9-11)

Correction: a case of mistaken identity. My apologies to the person I wrongfully referred to.

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I had to take the above from articles I've written, but at one time I scanned the entire preface; I can't seem to find it. If I do, I'll post it up.

The whole preface to The Making of the English Working Class is available on google books though. It's well worth reading and is the best definition of class consciousness I've ever read.

Hieronymous

I had to take the above from articles I've written, but at one time I scanned the entire preface; I can't seem to find it. If I do, I'll post it up.

The whole preface to The Making of the English Working Class is available on google books though. It's well worth reading and is the best definition of class consciousness I've ever read.

the preface is extraordinary (as almost anything Thompson wrote) but i was thinking more in Poverty Of Theory, where he elaborates more on the class formation notion against althusser's approach. Experience is another key concept too.

Valeriano Orobón Fernández

Experience is another key concept too.

Exactly! And the dialectic between working class agency and consciousness. Or as Marty Glaberman used to put it: consciousness as activity.

Here's something fitting to what the insurgents on the ground in Egypt have been saying about the euphoria bred by their youthful revolt:

Wordsworth

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,

Hieronymous

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The post that began this thread asked: "Egypt: What exactly are you supporting?"

Many of us answered "class struggle." Many of us don't disparage the fight of other members of our class because of their skin color or ethnicity. As internationalists, we are in solidarity with all expressions of the self-activity of our class.

I know that this has to be seen through the distorted lens of the New York Times, yet it still makes our case (but the Egyptian workers haven't made a "turn" to strikes, since there's been a strike wave since the winter of 2006):

Protest in Egypt Takes a Turn as Workers Go on Strike

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
Published: February 9, 2011

CAIRO — Protesters demanding the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak appeared on Wednesday to have recaptured the initiative in their battle with his government, demonstrating a new ability to mobilize thousands to take over Cairo’s streets beyond Tahrir Square and to spark labor unrest.

As reports filtered in of strikes and unrest spreading to other parts of the city and the country, the government seemed to dig in deeper. Mr. Mubarak’s handpicked successor, Vice President Omar Suleiman, warned Tuesday that the only alternative to constitutional talks was a “coup” and added: “We don’t want to deal with Egyptian society with police tools.”

But the pressure on Mr. Mubarak’s government was intensifying, a day after the largest crowd of protesters in two weeks flooded Cairo’s streets and the United States delivered its most specific demands yet, urging swift steps toward democracy. Some of the protesters drew new inspiration from the emotional interview on Egypt’s most popular talk show with Wael Ghonim, the online political organizer who was detained for two weeks.

At dawn on Wednesday, the 16th day of the uprising, hundreds of pro-democracy demonstrators remained camped out at Parliament, where they had marched for the first time on Tuesday. There were reports of thousands demonstrating in several other cities around the country while protesters began to gather again in Tahrir Square, a few blocks from Parliament.

By midday, hundreds of workers from the Health Ministry, adjacent to Parliament and a few hundred yards from Tahrir Square, also took to the streets in a protest whose exact focus was not immediately clear, Interior Ministry officials said.

Violent clashes between opponents and supporters of Mr. Mubarak led to more than 70 injuries in recent days, according to a report by Al Ahram — the flagship government newspaper and a cornerstone of the Egyptian establishment — while government officials said the protests had spread to the previously quiet southern region of Upper Egypt.

In Port Said, a city of 600,000 at the mouth of the Suez Canal, protesters set fire to a government building and occupied the city’s central square. There were unconfirmed reports that police fired live rounds on protesters on Tuesday in El Kharga, 375 miles south of Cairo, resulting in several deaths. Protesters responded by burning police stations and other government buildings on Wednesday, according to wire reports.

On Tuesday, the officials said, thousands protested in the province of Wadi El Jedid. One person died and 61 were injured, including seven from gunfire by the authorities, the officials said. Television images also showed crowds gathering in Alexandria, Egypt’s second-largest city.

Before the reports of those clashes, Human Rights Watch reported that more than 300 people have been killed since Jan. 25.

Increasingly, the political clamor for Mr. Mubarak’s ouster seemed to be complemented by strikes in Cairo and elsewhere.

In the most potentially significant action, about 6,000 workers at five service companies owned by the Suez Canal Authority — a major component of the Egyptian economy — began a sit-in on Tuesday night. There was no immediate suggestion of disruptions to shipping in the canal, a vital international waterway leading from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. But Egyptian officials said that total traffic declined by 1.6 percent in January, though it was up significantly from last year.

More than 2,000 textile workers and others in Suez demonstrated as well, Al Ahram reported, while in Luxor thousands hurt by the collapse of the tourist industry marched to demand government benefits. There was no immediate independent corroboration of the reports.

At one factory in the textile town of Mahalla, more than striking 1,500 workers blocked roads, continuing a long-running dispute with the owner. And more than 2,000 workers from the Sigma pharmaceutical company in the city of Quesna went on strike while some 5,000 unemployed youth stormed a government building in Aswan, demanding the dismissal of the governor.

For many foreign visitors to Egypt, Aswan is known as a starting point or destination for luxury cruises to and from Luxor on the Nile River. The government’s Ministry of Civil Aviation reported on Wednesday that flights to Egypt had dropped by 70 percent since the protests began.

In Cairo, sanitation workers demonstrated around their headquarters in Dokki.

While state television has focused its coverage on episodes of violence that could spread fear among the wider Egyptian public and prompt calls for the restoration, Al Ahram’s coverage was a departure from its usual practice of avoiding reporting that might embarrass the government.

In the lobby of the newspaper, journalists on Wednesday were in open revolt against the newspaper’s management and editorial policies.

Some called their protest a microcosm of the Egyptian uprising, with young journalists leading demands for better working conditions and less biased coverage. “We want a voice,” said Sara Ramadan, 23, a sports reporter.

The turmoil at the newspaper has already changed editorial content, with the English-language online edition openly criticizing what it called “the warped and falsified coverage by state media” of the protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere.

The paper described how “more than 500 media figures” issued a statement declaring “their rejection of official media coverage of the January 25 uprising and demanded that Minister of Information Anas El-Fikki step down.”

Members of the Journalists Syndicate moved toward a no-confidence vote against their leader, Makram Mohamed Ahmed, a former Mubarak speech writer, the daily Al Masry Al Youm reported on its English-language Web site.

Several of the dozens of protesters occupying the lobby on Wednesday said the editor of the English-language division heads to the square to join the protests every night, joined by many of the staff.

The scattered protests and labor unrest seemed symptomatic of an emerging trend for some Egyptians to air an array of grievances, some related to the protests and some of an older origin.

The government’s bid to project its willingness to make concessions has had limited success. On Tuesday, Vice President Suleiman announced the creation of a committee of judges and legal scholars to propose constitutional amendments.

But all the members are considered Mubarak loyalists.

The Obama administration was continuing its efforts to influence a transition. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. called Mr. Suleiman on Tuesday to ask him to lift the 30-year emergency law that the government has used to suppress and imprison opposition leaders, to stop imprisoning protesters and journalists, and to invite demonstrators to help develop a specific timetable for opening up the political process. He also asked Mr. Suleiman to open talks on Egypt’s political future to a wider range of opposition members.

Mr. Suleiman has said only that Egypt will remove the emergency law when the situation justifies its repeal, and the harassment and arrest of journalists and human rights activists has continued even in the last few days.

And while he raised the prospect of a coup, he also said, “we want to avoid that — meaning uncalculated and hasty steps that produce more irrationality.”

“There will be no ending of the regime, nor a coup, because that means chaos,” Mr. Suleiman said. And he warned the protesters not to attempt more civil disobedience, calling it “extremely dangerous.” He added, “We absolutely do not tolerate it.”

On Tuesday , young organizers guiding the movement from a tent city inside Tahrir Square, or Liberation Square, showed the discipline and stamina that they say will help them outlast Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Suleiman, even if their revolt devolves into a war of attrition.

Many in the crowd, for example, said they had turned out because organizers had spread the word over loudspeakers and online media for demonstrators to concentrate their efforts on just Tuesdays and Fridays, enabling their supporters to rest in between. And while Mr. Mubarak remains in office, they say, there is no turning back.

Many in the crowd said discussed the inspiration they drew from the interview with the freed organizer, Mr. Ghonim. A Google executive, he had been the anonymous administrator of a Facebook group that enlisted tens of thousands to oppose the Mubarak government by publicizing a young Egyptian’s beating death at the hands of its reviled police force.

In the tearful conversation on Egypt’s Dream TV, Mr. Ghonim told the story of his “kidnapping,” secret imprisonment in blindfolded isolation for 12 days and determination to overturn Egypt’s authoritarian government. Both Mr. Ghonim and his interviewer, Mona el-Shazly, appeared in Tahrir Square Tuesday to cheer on the revolt.

Some protesters said they saw the broadcast as a potential turning point in a propaganda war that has so far gone badly against them, with the state-run television network and newspapers portraying the crowds in Tahrir Square as a dwindling band of obstructionists doing the bidding of foreign interests.

Organizers had hinted in recent days that they intended to expand out of the square to keep the pressure on the government. Then, around 3 p.m., a bearded man with a bullhorn led a procession around the tanks guarding the square and down several blocks to the Parliament. Many of the protesters still wore bandages on their heads from a 12-hour war of rocks and stones against Mubarak loyalists a few days before.

“Parliament is a great pressure point,” said Ahmed el-Droubi, a biologist. “What we need to do is unite this protest and Tahrir, and that is just the first step. Then we will expand further until Mr. Mubarak gets the point.”

Back in Tahrir Square, more members of the Egyptian elite continued to turn up in support of the protestors, including the pop star Shireen Abdel Wahab and the soccer goalkeeper Nader al-Sayed. Brigades of university employees and telephone company employees joined the protests, as did a column of legal scholars in formal black robes.

Many at the protests buttonholed Americans to express deep disappointment with President Obama, shaking their heads at his ambiguous messages about an orderly transition. They warned that the country risked incurring a resentment from the Egyptian people that could last long after Mr. Mubarak is gone.

fort-da game

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is true that we dispute political representations of solidarity and internationalism, and see them as a confusion of categories, the sentimental alibis and misdirections of political rackets. I do not see this critical approach as particularly racist. It seems unlikely to us that categories of race and ethnicity play a major role in our attempts to interpose a degree of critical separation between events and theory but as nobody has disputed the acceptability of this claim, perhaps it is widely thought. Perhaps you think we are capable of anything, even racism...

I have quoted a number of some of our earlier statements below as an attempt to explain the basics of our perspective on the events in Egypt. I hope the administrators of the site will find this permissable and not delete it.

The dictatorship of the proletariat
We would re-emphasize that we do not see the working class take over of the factories as a revolution as such but simply the downfall of capital, we see the revolution (and communist consciousness) arising after this period of crisis when a a new material base of reality is coming into existence: we see revolution as being in two stages and it is in the second stage, the becoming human stage, that the vast mass of human beings participate (via consciousness by which we mean organization/common values, etc, which is determined by the new material conditions). The occupations of the factories are only a means and not an end, therefore we are not 'ultra-councilist' as those who would marginalize us would have it; we do not propose workers' councils at all, we do not presume to call for any specific political institution, we leave that to the participants at the time. We say only that, for capitalist process to be suspended, the ownership of production must directly pass to the workers, without any mediation by political institutions or bodies.
2003

....

We welcome the passage of social disputes into a phase of industrial crisis as we see the breakdown of the class structure of capitalist society as the precondition for social transformation. The passage of economic crisis into industrial dispute is an indication that its disputes are getting closer to the heart of things, the question of how society is produced and to what end. However, whilst we recognise a temporary identity between proletarian revolt and a potentially realisable humanity in the struggles against the hold of dead labour over lived life, we see the entirety of the struggle (including the proletarian elements) as being expressive of the capitalist crisis rather than of its overcoming. Strikes, occupations, demonstrations, riots signify the presence of crisis in the existing productive relation and are not the building blocks of a new society. We do not foresee communism being established by any of capitalism’s components - these must all be removed from the world before communism becomes possible. Communism is not a revolution-event, nor a movement within capitalism, but an unprecedented social relation that emerges after the final crisis of capital. We therefore reject all theoretical approaches that do not seek to problematise events by situating them as ambivalent expressions of existing conditions.
2011

....

4. Thus a radical transformation of the protest dynamic would depend upon (i) the participation of other sectors of society (most importantly industrial workers); (ii) the distribution of protest from out of its Haussmanised geography; (iii) the extension of protest's temporality beyond the two week/month fever. Most importantly however the uprising must cross the cultural boundary and leave behind it the terrain of political campaign issues and enter instead the intimate and troubling matter of being able to directly articulate alienation and thus formulate demands to address this. In short, protest will be escalated when it engages the participation of capitalist society's 'cynical subject'.
2007

...

It is not for anarchists to celebrate when 'the people' take over. Anarchists ought not to be so amazed at examples of natural ingenuity and resilience, that is after all what they base all their principles on. Unfortunately their proper political task is less appealing and more controversial, it is to poke their fingers into the wounds of revolution, to doubt and to look for ways in which the Zapatistas, FLN, ANC or any other bunch of leftwing heroes will sell out, because they always do. The questions we must ask of civil emergency and economic breakdown, which are the occasions where various social and pro-revolutionary movements appear is how exactly does capital re-establish itself again and again despite the apparent revolutionary intent of the general populace. Anarchists must say what only anarchists can say, it is important to remain true to their theoretical positions and not get too caught up in apparent resurgences of popular dissent.
2003

I have decided this is my final post on Libcom, as I think we will all agree that 5 years of mutual incomprehension is more than sufficient.

ocelot

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dementors

The Dementors are soulless creatures considered to be among the foulest beings on Earth. They are soul-sucking fiends who, as their name suggests, dement people who encounter them for too long. ... they grow like fungi in the darkest, dankest places, creating a dense, chilly fog. They appear to possess a few traits of magic, such as unlocking doors and notably, their ability to glide unsupported in either world...

Being blind, Dementors hunt their prey by sensing emotions. They feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings, forcing them to relive their worst memories. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of Dementors present. Despite their attachment to human emotion, Dementors seem to have difficulty distinguishing one human from another...

Besides feeding on positive emotions, Dementors can perform the Dementor's Kiss, where the Dementor latches its mouth onto a victim's lips and sucks out the person's soul. After such a Kiss from deadly creatures, the victim is left as an empty shell, incapable of thought and with no possibility of recovery. It is believed that existence after a Dementor's Kiss is worse than death.

Because they are immortal, very few methods exist to repel a Dementor; one way to shield oneself from Dementors is to use the Patronus Charm to drive them away. Chocolate is an effective first aid against the effects of mild cases of contact, which may suggest a non-magical, physiological effect on a person's endorphin level. Dementors are invisible to Muggles, but affect them in the same way.

...it is [said] that dementors create excessive amounts of fog, noticeable to wizards and Muggles alike.

chocolates all round

ocelot

Dementors

The Dementors are soulless creatures considered to be among the foulest beings on Earth. They are soul-sucking fiends who, as their name suggests, dement people who encounter them for too long. ... they grow like fungi in the darkest, dankest places, creating a dense, chilly fog. They appear to possess a few traits of magic, such as unlocking doors and notably, their ability to glide unsupported in either world...

Being blind, Dementors hunt their prey by sensing emotions. They feed on the positive emotions, happiness and good memories of human beings, forcing them to relive their worst memories. The very presence of a Dementor makes the surrounding atmosphere grow cold and dark, and the effects are cumulative with the number of Dementors present. Despite their attachment to human emotion, Dementors seem to have difficulty distinguishing one human from another...

Besides feeding on positive emotions, Dementors can perform the Dementor's Kiss, where the Dementor latches its mouth onto a victim's lips and sucks out the person's soul. After such a Kiss from deadly creatures, the victim is left as an empty shell, incapable of thought and with no possibility of recovery. It is believed that existence after a Dementor's Kiss is worse than death.

Because they are immortal, very few methods exist to repel a Dementor; one way to shield oneself from Dementors is to use the Patronus Charm to drive them away. Chocolate is an effective first aid against the effects of mild cases of contact, which may suggest a non-magical, physiological effect on a person's endorphin level. Dementors are invisible to Muggles, but affect them in the same way.

...it is [said] that dementors create excessive amounts of fog, noticeable to wizards and Muggles alike.

chocolates all round

This is a depressing reaction; if FDG was just an obstructionist wingnut, he wouldn't suck any of your soul out with his remarks. These taunts are in lieu of refutation; the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic which, to my mind, only reinforces FDG's basic point.

RedHughs

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FDG says a fair amount of intelligent things.

He says a fair amount of disingenuous things.

I could dig up the thread where he expresses the need to deal with "libcom" via the "broad brush" - ie, to impute whatever one person "here" said to anyone else who posts here as well. Why this "technique of 'the amalgam'" should not be applied to him also as "member" here, he naturally never said.

I could say much more (I did write much more). It's rather pointless. Given Forte's amalgam system, there much I've written that he's failed to respond to.

These taunts are in lieu of refutation; the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic which, to my mind, only reinforces FDG's basic point.

Solidarity means plenty of different things to different people. Giving simple visibility to the Egyptian revolt provides some small but useful level of resources. Are you actually against this?

From there, some might given unquestioning allegiance, other might simply view the situation as promising or merely ambiguous. For example, I would agree that taking over workplaces is more significant as a tactic against the present order than as a step in building the new order. At the same time, I think it is reasonable for those in revolt to determine their own tactics.

Anyway, trying to shoehorn all these reactions into some single position is kind of ridiculous.

RedHughs

At the same time, I think it is reasonable for those in revolt to determine their own tactics.

And based on their own class relations and experience of struggle. Transhistorical formulas are no better than dogma.

Historically, the errors committed by a truly class conscious movement are infinitely more fruitful than the infallibility of the cleverest duPontilist.

Fort-da game, for all your academic erudition you seem completely ignorant of history (or perhaps it's your stance, à la Henry Ford's "History is bunk").

It seems reminiscent of the inter-war right-wing anti-capitalists, the conservative thinkers whose willful ignorance of the lived experience of the working class became a cornerstone of PostModernism. As Valeriano pointed out, your posts here are more rooted in Structuralism and Althusser than the lived experience of Egyptian workers, slum dwellers or youth -- or of their class consciousness, experience of class agency or history of struggle. He also had the perfect antidote for the weakness of your theorizing:

Valeriano

Try a healthy dose of EP Thompson

I'd suggest "Eighteenth-Century English Society: Class Struggle without Class?" in Social History, Vol. 3, No. 2, May 1978.

I can guarantee that it would be infinitely more helpful to shaping your worldview than playing crossword, suduko, and jigsaw puzzles, or shopping for shirts, socks, or acrylic neckties (and anyway, isn't all this "over-sharing" more appropriate for your facebook or wikipedia entry?).

bzfgt

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Solidarity means plenty of different things to different people. Giving simple visibility to the Egyptian revolt provides some small but useful level of resources. Are you actually against this?

I made a comment about the arguments for solidarity being made here, not about the merits or meaning of 'solidarity.' The Egyptian revolt is plenty visible with or without Libcom, but the question is of course interpretation not visibility, or at most perhaps visibility of certain aspects of the revolt...anyway I'm not 'anti-solidarity', I was merely a bit chagrined at Ocelot's reaction. On the merits I think FDG has made more substantive points than many other posters on this thread, because even if we reject his position it is helpful to temper enthusiasm with critique, whereas often calls for 'solidarity' have little content.

Khawaga

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Who specifically are you referring to bzfgt? Posters here have been very critical of the protests and so far I've seen no empty calls for solidarity. From what I gather people are mostly interested in just trying to figure out what the heck is going on and hopeful that working class actions might develop into something bigger. Kontra made much more interesting points than FdG, who, in his usual style, comes in with a pre-produced straw-man to knock down.

bzfgt

11 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well clearly I'm not talking about every argument on here and I don't want to go back and read the whole thread again, I was thinking about a few things like the post that was an embedded video of a weeping and eloquent Egyptian in London, comments like this

I don't think anyone should get out of bed in the morning, afternoon, evening or night until there's a full-blown perfect revolution just outside their front door with the whole of the working class, having read and understood Marx, Bakunin, Malatesta, Korsch, Debord and the whole history of the Workers Councils beforehand, seizing and transforming the means of production and distribution whilst suppressing all its commiodity form and content...As for watching birds - that might be fairly safe as long as you look at them out of the window from bed, but drinking tea - too risky - the boiling water could scold you, the cup may be cracked, tea leaves might tickle your throat....

and above all this

Many of us don't disparage the fight of other members of our class because of their skin color or ethnicity. As internationalists, we are in solidarity with all expressions of the self-activity of our class.

bzfgt

and above all this

Many of us don't disparage the fight of other members of our class because of their skin color or ethnicity. As internationalists, we are in solidarity with all expressions of the self-activity of our class.

Which was a response to this:

eating poultices

We can go back in time and look at people cheerleading the Iranian revolution or the Zimbabwean anti-colonial struggle or the ANC in South Africa or the Sandinistas or whatever political fight.

[/quote]

Who ever mentioned any of these? The answer: no one. It's a straw man.

Or this:

fort-da game

the Zapatistas, FLN, ANC or any other bunch of leftwing heroes

Another straw man. More than disingenuous, fort-da game is coming here in bad faith.

Perhaps it's all well and good that fort-da game is willing to simply agree-to-disagree and take his show on the road.

Or maybe the better metaphor would be that he go shopping elsewhere; he might find the ideological equivalent of Marks & Spencer.

RedHughs

I could dig up the thread where he expresses the need to deal with "libcom" via the "broad brush" - ie, to impute whatever one person "here" said to anyone else who posts here as well. Why this "technique of 'the amalgam'" should not be applied to him also as "member" here, he naturally never said.

yes, and i think i made that point too during that thread, but now he won't have to hear it again.

it's amazing re-reading this that as late as p. 5 someone could say:

the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic

petey

it's amazing re-reading this that as late as p. 5 someone could say:

the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic

Sounds like boilerplate PostModernism.

Hieronymous

petey

it's amazing re-reading this that as late as p. 5 someone could say:

the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic

Sounds like boilerplate PostModernism.

What does it have to do with Post-Modernism?

petey

RedHughs

I could dig up the thread where he expresses the need to deal with "libcom" via the "broad brush" - ie, to impute whatever one person "here" said to anyone else who posts here as well. Why this "technique of 'the amalgam'" should not be applied to him also as "member" here, he naturally never said.

yes, and i think i made that point too during that thread, but now he won't have to hear it again.

it's amazing re-reading this that as late as p. 5 someone could say:

the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic

Why is it amazing? It may have been too much of a generalization, but the 'racist' nonsense was quite recent.

Hieronymous

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey

it's amazing re-reading this that as late as p. 5 someone could say:

the arguments in favor of 'solidarity' have been increasingly axiological and moralistic

Sounds like boilerplate PostModernism.

bzfgt

calls for 'solidarity' have little content.

Frankly, all these imperatives about "going slow," "tempering your enthusiasm," or "watching birds," "drinking tea" and going shopping instead of being moved by the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Morocco, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, the occupied Palestinian territories, Algeria, Libya, and now even Wisconsin are fucking bullshit! As a recent publication of the ICC put it:

Whatever flags the demonstrators carry, all these protests have their root in the world wide crisis of capitalism and its direct consequences: unemployment, rising prices, austerity, and the repression and corruption of the governments who preside over these brutal attacks on living standards. In short, they have the same origins as the revolt of Greek youth against police repression in 2008, the struggle against pension ‘reforms’ in France, the student rebellions in Italy and Britain, and workers’ strikes from Bangladesh to China and from Spain to the USA.

I'd add to that list the food riots in 2008 that swept the globe. With terrible harvests this past season, food prices are already spiking upwards again. Large parts of crops froze in the last few weeks in North America, so there will be even more shortages and rising prices.

I work in a program at a public library where the part-timers (like myself) are all non-union, but the rest of the staff are full-timers in a public sector union -- as is everyone else working at the library. My boss furloughed 40% of the hours of us part-timers for 2011 (the full-timers only were furloughed a couple days for the year). I find common class interests with those working class insurgents in all the above places. This is class war and those of us doing wage labor are on the losing end of it -- unless we take the example of the mass strikes in places like Egypt and start fighting back.

It seems like nearly half my friends have relatives or partners who are laid off, if they're not out of work themselves. If they're still employed, many have had drastic wage cuts and in some cases have had most benefits -- like health care -- eliminated. I know more than a few, even those with kids, who've moved back in with parents -- putting three and sometimes four generations under one roof. Many working class people haven't been so lucky and a layoff leads to eviction -- or foreclosure -- and then the only alternative becomes living in a tent city as a collective survival strategy. Welcome to Planet of Slums, First World Style.

If I have to endure another dilettante giving us the inventory of her closet and a list of his consumption habits and hobbies, while at the same time telling us that what we're "enthusiastic" about "isn't communism," I'll have to call bullshit on the "commie-emperor's new clothes." And paraphrase Raymond, the idiot-savant in the film Rainman, and say Marks & Spencer "sucks!" (as much as K-Mart), as do all palaces of conspicuous consumption.

bzfgt

the 'racist' nonsense was quite recent.

Don't bullshit us about this either.

There's a disgustingly strong tinge of anti-German-German anti-Arab "nonsense" going on here. At least that was the message from some of the Eastern Europeans and this on other threads. Lots of bullshit about how the Egyptian insurgents were anti-Semitic.

Amongst the classless angel nihilist "communists," it was more overt; without knowing the slightest details about the class dynamic in Egypt, it was a facile dismissal of the struggle with a single anti-intellectual brushstroke.

bzfgt

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good Lord. SInce I have no inclination to slog back through this thread or check other threads, I won't try to argue about the details of what the EEs were saying, and frankly I don't really remember. But if, in the claim that "it" was more overt with the CAs, the "it" refers to racism, as it seems to, you are making an extremely tenuous, ill-considered, and, frankly, bullying claim. If the CAs had little information about what they were talking about (which hasn't been established either way) that is hardly the same thing as racism. Of course it is possible that they were, consciously or not, motivated by racism, but you have not provided the shadow of an argument that this is the case. If you're going to impute things like this you should have your shit together a little more rather than shooting from the hip and hoping your righteous indignation will carry the day. Your initial post was ill-considered but forgivable, but the fact that you aren't backing down from this is despicable.

Hieronymous

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What are CAs?

And you were the first one to specifically mention "race," so slog back through the thread or not, only you can answer why you chose that word.

bzfgt

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

CAs='classless angels'. You mentioned that we support working class revolt regardless of the color of skin. FDG took this as an imputation of racism. Now you are saying that was not your intent? Your last post gave the impression you were owning and even elaborating that imputation. Now I am confused.

magidd

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wood like to make few notes:

1. Here is the text of egyptian anarcho-communist.
Audio Interview: http://electricrnb.podomatic.com/entry/2011-02-03T00_56_54-08_00?x
Interview edited by Anarkismo.net

He said:
"Anti-capitalist revolutionaries are not very numerous in Cairo - the communists, democratic left and Trotskyites are calling for the same demands about the constitution and new elections, but for us as anarchists - anti-capital, anti-State too - we will try to ensure that the committees that have been formed protect and secure the streets, make them stronger and try to turn them into real councils"

2. If we look at the russian revolution of 1917-1921 we will see few stages

a) Mass uprising against dictatoship at the february of 1917. That was spontanious mothement wich united different classes like workers and some parts of burgua who did not support dictatiship of Zar.

b) Class strugle grow workers were getting into strikes more and more. They are united in counciles and factory committees and struggling more o less against burgua govenment.

c) October revolution of counciles in 1917. Than it was transformed by bolshevic party and state bureaucracy into new burgua (state capitalist) dictatoship.

d) Workers and peasants strugle against Lenin's state capitalism for free counciles : strikes in Petersburg, vest-sibirian and Kronshtadt uprisings.

Summary:

Proletariat need long-time experience of struggle after the begining of revolution. Proletariat needs time for reconstruction of his self-consciousness during the struggle. Way from february 1917 to march of 1921 (Kronstadt uprising) is long way.
May be Egypet naw is in february... But we allredy can see tsunami of strikes. There is split between byrgua and proletarian classes.
Of course i am not saing that situation in Egyt 2011 is the same as in Russian 1921.

bzfgt

Good Lord

Huh? No wonder you said you're confused here. Anyway, you should've said "Allāhu Akbar (الله أكبر)," which despite being an atheist myself I would have preferred.

bzfgt

SInce I have no inclination to slog back through this thread or check other threads

So put another way bzfgt, you're like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie [or thread] and wants to know*... but won't bother to find out.

The classless angels bleated on and on about how the events in Egypt were bereft of class content, until the strike wave that's been going on since at least 2006 became too apparent to continue to deny.

Part of the classless angel criticism from Croatia, Slovakia, Britain, and elsewhere was based on our purported reliance on "news," rather than critique. This was at the same time some of us were discussing the implications of the escalating actions of tens of thousands of strikers, starting with textile workers in El-Mahalla El-Kubra, as well as:

-Thousands of railworkers who took strike action, blockading railway lines in the process.

-6,000 workers at the Suez Canal Authority who walked off the job, staging sit-ins at Suez and two other cities.

-1,500 workers at Abul Sebae Textiles in Mahalla who struck and blockaded the highway.

-Hundreds of nurses at Kafr al-Zayyat hospital who staged a sit-in and were joined by hundreds of other hospital employees.

And other strike actions:

–Bus workers in Cairo

-Employees at Telecom Egypt

-Journalists at several newspapers

-Workers at pharmaceutical plants

-Workers at steel mills

(much strike action has happened since, but these were the ones in progress when the classless angels were preaching that "the people" in Egypt wanted nothing more than liberal democracy)

We found inspiration in this working class self-activity and were encouraged by the militancy of fellow members of our class. We referred to our sources, which were often the first-hand accounts of Egyptian radicals -- like the twitter and blog posts of Hossam el-Hamalawy, as well as articles and interviews he's given from on the ground in Cairo. His credibility was dismissed because one of the classless angels quoted him as saying something about Netanyahu being a Zionist puppet of Yankee imperialism -- or some other jargon -- and hence he was obviously an anti-Semite and his accounts were dubious.

The nick-picking and trying to impose the cookiecutter of one's own ideology over events is disingenuous and an act of bad faith regardless of how many times one self identifies as a "pro-revolutionary" and a "communist."

*And no less despicable than Theodore Donald "Donny" Kerabatsos

MT

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

H., it's funny how one can distort reality in just two weeks and misinterpret thigs that were said. or i would rather say you never understood the point as you misread or didn't read the original debate on the class perspective in a previous topic which is now lost somewhere in this portal now. anyway, all i want to say is that generalizations you write here are outrageous and you are simple turning into a manipulator.

Hieronymous

11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MT, your comments are only appropriate in lib community.

lettersjournal

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hello comrades,

I rejoined this board briefly as 'whatisinevidence' to express my disgust at the defense of Aufheben (if you missed it, I trust you can search for it - especially my 'Stalinist farce' line). Red Hughs suggested it was disingenuous for me to do so without saying who I was. I felt my points stood on their own, but maybe he was right.

Leaving behind the disingenuous moniker, I have returned in earnest to see if those who attacked those critical of the Egyptian uprising have changed their minds. I think one of the ways 'communist' support for bourgeois revolutions maintains itself is by constantly moving forward to the next big event without reflecting on what happened with the last one.

As an opponent to such support, I propose a return to this discussion in light of the events of the last several months. Or even better, a return to the discussions with Lazy Riser about Palestine. There seem to be plenty of threads on this board and no need for new ones. It would do us all good to stop reading the news, anyhow.

I will contribute this to the discussion in the most direct, crude political way:

1) The Egyptian uprising, like all political uprisings, has nothing to do with communism or even the struggles of workers for better conditions or wages.
1a) It follows from this that Frere Dupont's suggestion that communists are better off watching birds than going to the demo is sound.
1aa) If a communist must 'do' something or 'study' something, investigations into the billions who are not protesting/striking/etc tend to be more compelling or are less likely to involve compromising principles.

2) There were/are certainly workers in Egypt striking for better wages or whatever, and the political demonstrations against Mubarak or the military junta or Israel or Islam are at best distractions from those strikes.

3) The trouble is that there does not seem to be any connection between working class strikes for better wages/conditions and communism. The former is a part of capitalist reproduction (and certainly is important for developing a '1st world' economy). Probably communists are better off bird watching here as well, unless they happen to find themselves in the thick of it at work. But then, the sorts of ideas on this website don't seem to be of much help either: a website administrator was worried about how to explain striking to her students. To put it very very crudely, the workers best at striking for better wages are not communists (why not? seems as good a question as any to investigate for those trying to spread communist ideas or build communist organizations).

4) Then again, the Libcom support for the Egyptian revolution might simply be a case of basic class solidarity (ie. a political project of the third estate identifying with the activities of the third estate in a far-away place).
4a) Ah, but now I see that it's impossible to talk about Egypt without also returning to the argument here about 'academics'/the middle class.

ps. While Hieronymous was wrong to think I was a part of this discussion the first time around (as I told him on the phone), he is correct about something: I am an anti-Egyptian communist. Feel free to cross out Egyptian and fill in the blank with the name of any other nation, current or future. I would think being anti-Egyptian would be the first thing any communist in Egypt would be, though I can imagine why someone in Tahrir square would want to keep their anti-nationalism quiet.

(This might be laying it on a bit thick, but I'm curious if any communists in Egypt publicly raised the proposition of solidarity with Israeli tent protesters.)

lettersjournal

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It must also be said that the position 'against' bourgeois revolution in the Middle East poses an ethical dilemma in light of the torture and violence carried out against would-be bourgeois revolutionaries (eg. doctors in Bahrain). At the same time, it is ethically impossible to argue 'for' bourgeois revolution.

To plagiarize: It is impossible to connect abstraction to reference to actual suffering human beings who only want what they want (this, already an abstraction too far).

For this reason, it is impossible to argue categorically against any war because of the sufferings of all soldiers, and the good cause that they are fighting for (their wage mostly, and the escape from where they come from). And also impossible to argue in favour of any war.

That is ethically. That is politically. And, that is positionally.

Khawaga

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't know where that is all coming from Letters; most people "supportive" of the uprising/intifada (few here referred to it as a revolution because it simply wasn't) did so out of solidarity and a hope that it would translate into actions in the workplaces (which it did the week Mubarak had to step down, likely why SCAF told him to step down). And what's happening in Egypt is in any case not "finished"; what we saw in November will happen again and again and again. Most likely another food riot because of the insane inflation.

(This might be laying it on a bit thick, but I'm curious if any communists in Egypt publicly raised the proposition of solidarity with Israeli tent protesters.)

They most likely didn't. If anything communists in Egypt would tell them to fuck off and eat shit, which indeed did happen. Nationalism is extremely strong in Egypt, and anti-Israeli sentiment likely stronger after 60 years of being the ideal scapegoat for all of Egypt and the Arab world's ills. I've talked to plenty of Egyptian radicals who are very sensible people, but as soon as Israel is mentioned all reason disappears.

lettersjournal

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't know where that is all coming from Letters; most people "supportive" of the uprising/intifada (few here referred to it as a revolution because it simply wasn't) did so out of solidarity and a hope that it would translate into actions in the workplaces (which it did the week Mubarak had to step down, likely why SCAF told him to step down). And what's happening in Egypt is in any case not "finished"; what we saw in November will happen again and again and again. Most likely another food riot because of the insane inflation.

Why put "supportive" in quotation marks? There were threads hundreds of posts long that were almost entirely links to news articles, and people who dared to criticize the uprising as bourgeois/democratic were denounced as racist and other things (in addition to libcommunity threads mocking them). The critical voices were in a small minority. I can link to posts if you'd like.

They most likely didn't. If anything communists in Egypt would tell them to fuck off and eat shit, which indeed did happen. Nationalism is extremely strong in Egypt, and anti-Israeli sentiment likely stronger after 60 years of being the ideal scapegoat for all of Egypt and the Arab world's ills. I've talked to plenty of Egyptian radicals who are very sensible people, but as soon as Israel is mentioned all reason disappears.

If this is true, then you are saying that the Egyptian people/blogs/etc praised on here were in fact anti-Semitic (eg. there was one blog linked to a lot, a Trotskyist whose Trotskyism was ignored because he posted exciting news bulletins)? Are you willing to excuse anti-semitism or nationalism by Egyptian 'communists' just because they are Egyptian? I would hold them to the same standard as anyone else: no quarter to racism, nationalism, or anti-semitism, especially not as communists.

Fall Back

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Communism is for us not the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. We call communism a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. The conditions of this movement do not result from the premises now in existence.

Khawaga

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If this is true, then you are saying that the Egyptian people/blogs/etc praised on here were in fact anti-Semitic (eg. there was one blog linked to a lot, a Trotskyist whose Trotskyism was ignored because he posted exciting news bulletins)? Are you willing to excuse anti-semitism or nationalism by Egyptian 'communists' just because they are Egyptian? I would hold them to the same standard as anyone else: no quarter to racism, nationalism, or anti-semitism, especially not as communists.

Oh, believe me, I've called them out on this several times to their faces (I used to live in Egypt). And they're not anti-semitic, it's just a weird form of anti-imperialism (though the line between anti-zionism and anti-semitism is extremely thin). Blanket condemnation of Arabs' anti-Israel stance (like yours) is too simplistic as well though. You have to bear in mind that Israel has been the bogey man in Egypt since the 1960s; it's an official ideology that the state has used time and over again to divert attention from domestic affairs. Even during the Egyptian intifada that bogey man was used time and over again. It's not like that crap will disappear over night.

There were threads hundreds of posts long that were almost entirely links to news articles, and people who dared to criticize the uprising as bourgeois/democratic were denounced as racist and other things (in addition to libcommunity threads mocking them). The critical voices were in a small minority. I can link to posts if you'd like.

Well that's your interpretation and a rather one sided one as well. There were certainly bourgeois elements to the uprising, as there was working class and islamist. I think the general "libcom" line on the uprising was being cautiously optimistic, but recognizing that it would most likely lead to a change of the regime, not in social relations.

posi

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal's post is an excellent example of the very worst tendency of ultra-left ideology: obsessed, above all else, with not supporting (or "supporting") things which are less than totally clean. It's a view in which the world is full of dangerous bourgeois traps, and the very essence of communist practice is staying clean by staying as far away from them as possible. Even at the expense of total dissociation from real class movements.

The Egyptian uprising, like all political uprisings, has nothing to do with communism or even the struggles of workers for better conditions or wages.

Sorry, that is total nonsense.

ocelot

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal

[...]
I will contribute this to the discussion in the most direct, crude political way:

1) The Egyptian uprising, like all political uprisings, has nothing to do with communism or even the struggles of workers for better conditions or wages.

Wrong. Political uprisings that include a substantial working class component inevitably are influenced by the material needs of the working class - as such they always contain, as one element amongst many, communist potential. It is the job of reactionary forces to dissipate, detourner or destroy that potential. It is the job of communists to oppose the strategy of the reactionaries by accentuating the positive (tendencies towards autonomy, self-organisation and auto-valorisation of direct needs) and criticising the negative (decompositional fault-lines, such as religious sectarianism, racism/xenophobia, etc). It is not the task of communists to side with the reactionaries by attacking the movement in toto for the "crime" of failing to match up to some abstract list of "revolutionary principles" which transcend and overrule working class desire and delegitimate them - this is another alienation, another altar on which the "actually existing" working class is to be sacrificed.

lettersjournal

1a) It follows from this that Frere Dupont's suggestion that communists are better off watching birds than going to the demo is sound.

The "Twitcher Tendency" perhaps? Twitcherism is the non plus ultra of reactionary ultraleftism.

lettersjournal

1aa) If a communist must 'do' something or 'study' something, investigations into the billions who are not protesting/striking/etc tend to be more compelling or are less likely to involve compromising principles.

"less likely to involve compromising principles." - the altar on which the working class is to be sacrificed. Whatever you do, do nothing. Because, Marx forbid, that in doing something you compromise the eternal sacred and transcendant principles of "communism", before which the working class must prostrate themselves as mere worthless dogs and worms who crawl in the dirt.

lettersjournal

2) There were/are certainly workers in Egypt striking for better wages or whatever, and the political demonstrations against Mubarak or the military junta or Israel or Islam are at best distractions from those strikes.

The idea that political demonstrations against the regime that bans strikes and send in cops, army and baltagiyyah goons to break up picket lines, has no connection with strikes and industrial struggles, is not held by the social actors in Egypt. I find their viewpoint more compelling than yours in this instance.

lettersjournal

3) The trouble is that there does not seem to be any connection between working class strikes for better wages/conditions and communism. The former is a part of capitalist reproduction (and certainly is important for developing a '1st world' economy). Probably communists are better off bird watching here as well, unless they happen to find themselves in the thick of it at work. But then, the sorts of ideas on this website don't seem to be of much help either: a website administrator was worried about how to explain striking to her students. To put it very very crudely, the workers best at striking for better wages are not communists (why not? seems as good a question as any to investigate for those trying to spread communist ideas or build communist organizations).

Sure, as Fall Back has already sarcastically pointed out - what have working class economic struggles, antagonistic self-organisation, auto-valorisation of direct material needs, etc, got to do with "the real movement that abolishes the current state of things". Frankly, if your idea of communism spits on the needs of workers, then I spit on your idea of communism.

lettersjournal

That is ethically. That is politically. And, that is positionally.

That is bollocks. Or to use the Marxist terminology - New True Socialism (yet again... :roll: )

lettersjournal

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure, as Fall Back has already sarcastically pointed out - what have working class economic struggles, antagonistic self-organisation, auto-valorisation of direct material needs, etc, got to do with "the real movement that abolishes the current state of things".

Yes, it is a good question. Centuries of working class economic struggles and bourgeois revolutions have not resulted in communism (or posed the possibility of communism). Why is that?

ocelot

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal

Sure, as Fall Back has already sarcastically pointed out - what have working class economic struggles, antagonistic self-organisation, auto-valorisation of direct material needs, etc, got to do with "the real movement that abolishes the current state of things".

Yes, it is a good question. Centuries of working class economic struggles and bourgeois revolutions have not resulted in communism (or posed the possibility of communism). Why is that?

One things for sure, it's not due to any lack of armchair revolutionaries with curates egg arguments about why social actors should never act for fear of violating "principles". Because the movement has had a rake of them, like, for ever...

Hieronymous

10 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I removed this post because I believe that yoshomon/lettersjournal/whatisinevidence revived this thread in an act of bad faith.

ocelot

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

edit: original posts this was in response to removed.

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah guys, just remind yourselves that the OP is a self-styled "nihilist" who believes his mission is to undermine the radical movement.

In short, don't feed the troll.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

lettersjournal

Sure, as Fall Back has already sarcastically pointed out - what have working class economic struggles, antagonistic self-organisation, auto-valorisation of direct material needs, etc, got to do with "the real movement that abolishes the current state of things".

Yes, it is a good question. Centuries of working class economic struggles and bourgeois revolutions have not resulted in communism (or posed the possibility of communism). Why is that?

One things for sure, it's not due to any lack of armchair revolutionaries with curates egg arguments about why social actors should never act for fear of violating "principles". Because the movement has had a rake of them, like, for ever...

You are right. Lack of 'armchair revolutionaries' (which is a good description of all of us here, as we sit down to type our responses) or abundance of 'armchair revolutionaries' does not seem to matter much for working class economic struggles or the possibility of communism. But my question remains.

In my original post, I argued that communists should not participate in bourgeois/nationalist/democratic uprisings, that it is better to watch birds than participate in them. I have been attacked for saying this, but rather than attacking me I think it would be more interesting if those who disagree create an argument about why communist participation in these uprisings is a good idea. We have a lot of historical examples of this sort of participation. Same with civil wars.

As far as sacrificing and altars, surely the altar of bourgeois revolution is more crowded with skulls than the altar of principles of obscure communists. Nobody in Egypt is aware of my existence or ideas, but the handful of Egyptian 'radical' groups mentioned here (like the anarchist group interviewed) have been promoting the state ideology of anti-semitism (er, anti-Zionism). Silence is preferable to that.

Arbeiten

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal

As far as sacrificing and altars, surely the altar of bourgeois revolution is more crowded with skulls than the altar of principles of obscure communists. Nobody in Egypt is aware of my existence or ideas, but the handful of Egyptian 'radical' groups mentioned here (like the anarchist group interviewed) have been promoting the state ideology of anti-semitism (er, anti-Zionism). Silence is preferable to that.

Didn't Khwaga discuss this? Selective reading, it'll getcha when your not looking [sic] ! ;)

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's curious. Earlier (post #90), Khawaga replied very angrily when someone suggested the Egyptian protests had an anti-Israeli aspect to them (he cursed at the person and said a lot of insults). Later, he admits that irrational anti-Israel attitudes are hegemonic even amongst communists. The riot in front of the Israeli embassy makes the attitude in post #90 impossible, I suppose.

Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag:

Anarchism in Egypt is not a big trend. You can find some anarchists, but it's not a big trend yet. Anarchists in Egypt joined both protests and popular committees to defend the streets from thugs. Anarchists in Egypt have put some hope in these councils. The allies of anarchists in Egypt are....the Marxists! We are not now in a moment of ideological debate. The whole of the left is calling for unity and will argue the rest later. Anarchists in Egypt are a part of the Egyptian left.

This is the response of the Egyptian anarcho-communist to the question of their participation. There is nothing about the working class in the answer. Nothing about factory struggles. It is all about the struggle in the streets, ie. the democratic/bourgeois uprising. It even defends a united front of the Left...

Nidal also used the phrase 'Egyptian revolution' and proposed the possibility of it 'winning'. I imagine s/he did not mean that the victory of the 'Egyptian revolution' would be communism in Egypt, so it begs the question what would it mean if the 'Egyptian revolution' won? I say bourgeois democracy is not worth fighting for. Nidal disagrees.

As communists we have to be clear about our ideas. The Left is not just the left wing of capital in the US or Britain. The Left is the left wing of capital in Egypt and everywhere else. Leftists do not become good guys when they happen to be fighting the police or 'in the thick of things'. If there is ever an uprising or civil war in the US or Britain (unlikely as that seems), the Leftists who today sell newspapers or act as protest police may very well become fighters. I contend that communists should not fight alongside them. I say - no popular fronts, no common cause. If that means obscurity and bird watching (and it does!), so be it.

Hieronymous

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Caiman del Barrio

Yeah guys, just remind yourselves that the OP is a self-styled "nihilist" who believes his mission is to undermine the radical movement.

In short, don't feed the troll.

I concur with Caiman: don't feed the troll!

Khawaga

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

letters

It's curious. Earlier (post #90), Khawaga replied very angrily when someone suggested the Egyptian protests had an anti-Israeli aspect to them (he cursed at the person and said a lot of insults). Later, he admits that irrational anti-Israel attitudes are hegemonic even amongst communists. The riot in front of the Israeli embassy makes the attitude in post #90 impossible, I suppose.

First of all, in that post I said that almost every Arab is anti-Israel, though not the genocidal kind. And at that point in time, the overt anti-Israeli aspect had yet to be manifested. If you had bothered to follow events closely when it was happening, the crowd started its anti-Israeli stuff after the government accused them of being "foreign" agents. It was a great diversion by the Egyptian state. The riot against the Israeli embassy happened way after I wrote that post.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is what you wrote:

Fucking hell. Probably every Arab is against Israel and pro-Palestinianm but it's not an "element" to the protests. These are not folks that want to drive the jews into the sea but folks that are fed up with the Egyptian govt's complicity in the occupation of Gaza. And where the fuck do you think all of this started? Protests were allowed briefly right after the start of the second Intifada and during those protests people started shouting anti-Mubarak slogans. Seriously, MT you are getting fucking annoying as you seem to be continually talking out of your arse and don't bother to actually read up on anything.

I am confused. On the one hand you say that the protests began/started during demonstrations in support of the second intifada (with anti-Mubarak slogans), that is anti-Israel demonstrations. Now you say the crowd didn't start the anti-Israeli stuff until after the government accused them of being foreigners (heaven forbid foreigners be involved!).

In any case, you ought to apologize for your invectives against MT, who was posing pretty basic questions about the nature of the revolt, since you end up admitting he was right.

...

Another problem that was not seriously posed in these discussions is the role of women in the protests and the gender question in general. The gang rape of the American journalist woman (an incident horrifically repeated at Glasgow Occupy) posed the question in stark terms.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This discussion can be applied to the current events in Russia as well.

Should communists participate in nationalist demonstrations like those in Tahrir Square or in Moscow? I say - never, except to burn flags (but this would probably result in being beaten up, not advisable). I am waiting for someone to argue forcefully the opposite answer.

Hieronymous

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yoshomon/lettersjournal/whatisinevidence is trolling in bad faith. Why are you engaging?

libcom

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal/whatisinevidence/Yoshomon: there's been numerous posts of yours reported and what looks like trolling across several threads (including this one). You also appear to be using multiple accounts to bump threads you've already participated in under another name. This is sock-puppeting and is not allowed. Please familiarise yourself with the posting guidelines, as continued breaches are likely to result in moderation.

Edit: lettersjournal has indicated by PM they wish their other accounts to be blocked.

jonglier

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hadn't read several previous posts when I posted that, but may I ask: what is the evidence that lettersjournal is in bad faith? His position strikes me as coherent and I cannot see any evidence for his bad faith. His position also is coherent with all that the duponts have generally argued over the years. If he is using multiple accounts that is a fair criticism, but he has already asked that the yoshomon account be blocked as he no longer uses it.

jonglier

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, sorry, my post was ad hominem as I admitted, but as I also wrote this was only so because it struck me that Caiman was being ad hominem himself. Caiman: may I note that I honestly meant no personal disrespect, but wrote what I did because I felt that what you argued was misplaced and I wanted to demonstrate that your approach of arguing ad hominem could equally well be turned back onto yourself.

May I repeat the question: why is he accused of trolling and being of bad faith? Even if you all disagree with him do you find his position incoherent, or is it impossible to believe that someone would argue such things in good faith?

It really isn't clear to me, and at this stage it strikes me that simply labelling him a "troll" is far more of a trollish action than the reasoned responses he has spent time constructing.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

May I remind readers that Caiman is a self-styled anarchist militant agitator who has invested much time and energy into various forms of protest, militancy, and perceived resistance to capitalism, and therefore prefers not to discuss these matters, in order that his chosen lifestyle is not brought into question and can be pursued enjoyably at his leisure.

Respectfully, jonglier, I am not concerned with the lifestyle of Caiman or others. There were several anarchist militants from Eastern Europe earlier in the thread who argued against support for the Egyptian uprising, so I do not think this is an issue of militants vs. critics of militancy.

Libcom admin:

You're right, this Egypt stuff won't lead to libertarian communism. There are also nationalist and liberal ideas flying around the movement. But the memory of the struggle won't just die off once there's liberal democracy or free trade unions.. the communist movement is inherent in these struggles and any 'victories' which fall short of the final victory are lessons for future struggles, no?

This is what I am interested in discussing. Is the communist movement inherent in bourgeois/democratic revolution? Was it inherent in the bourgeois/democratic revolutions in Eastern Europe? I am skeptical of the idea of a historical movement towards communism per se, but even if I accept that such a thing exists, I do not understand how it exists within bourgeois/democratic revolutions.

If it does not, should communists participate in (risk their lives etc) revolutions which do not pose the possibility of communism? This idea of 'not quite communist but worth supporting because of the memories' could be used to defend almost anything... what would it mean when applied to the Russian (counter)revolution, for example?

Or to put it another way - if the struggle is not for communism (or even for better wages), what good is the memory of it?

jonglier

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Respectfully, jonglier, I am not concerned with the lifestyle of Caiman or others. There were several anarchist militants from Eastern Europe earlier in the thread who argued against support for the Egyptian uprising, so I do not think this is an issue of militants vs. critics of militancy.

Ok, but is it not possible that the logic of your critique might also be validly applied to various actions that those Eastern European anarchists engage in? Simply because they are militants, and they agree with you on Egypt, does not imply that the logic of your position is entirely compatible with all aspects of militancy. Is that incorrect?

You are arguing that anarchists should not concern themselves with struggles such as the one in Egypt. Therefore, that if anarchists are in some ways militant, this militancy should not be concerned with the struggle in Egypt. If militancy is part of their lifestyle, ergo, you are concerned with their lifestyles. Please indicate the flaw in this thinking.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, I am critical of political militancy and undoubtedly disagree with MT and the other Eastern European anarchists on this thread about a lot of things. I have no idea what actions they engage in, but I think it is good that they acted as communists (ie. they made unpopular arguments against political revolt before it was 'safe' to do so [by this I mean that it will be okay to reject the Egyptian uprising in a few years, once it's no longer exciting]).

Perhaps you are right about my concern with their lifestyles, but I'm actually more concerned with those with this militant lifestyle giving an honest account of themselves. I have a naive belief in the power of mirrors.

On the other hand, one of the Duponts formulated the following:

Maybe it is time we attempted a redefinition of the term militant and the concept militancy?

Those who would call themselves 'clear as glass and hard as steel' never are, except in the imperative to retain the organisation. By organization I mean, The Organisation. It is here that the surging forward of possibility is closed down by the road block of a patriotism to things that are more dead than alive.

We always said that the militants never did what they said they would on the tin of their packaging. Tin men: their branding and their armour. They called for freedom and free thinking but never allowed it. They called for change but always discouraged it. They lied about their personal circumstances. They lied to themselves. If it was too hard to think about and no answer could be arrived at, then the problem was discarded, along with those who raised the problem. They were never about questions, they were always about answers. It is the question that matters. Answers are the province of charlatans, merchants and quacks.

The entirety of the anti-political communist project that must be put into practice without delay: attune senses; register the world; respond to difference; materially record subjective states; reset perceptual faculties; endure. This is the new militancy.

I agree with this roughly (but would probably say honor or virtue rather than militancy). I think it's funny that it decries answers and then offers an answer. Charlatans, merchants, and quacks sounds about right for us.

But okay, enough stalling. jonglier, thank you for drawing me out. The call for bird watching in Egypt is really about bird watching everywhere. Every discussion is the same discussion. None of us can do anything except say what it is our fate to say. It is my fate to be the anti-militant, anti-organizational mentalist. The situation in Egypt - and more importantly the initial euphoria expressed by pro-revolutionaries in response to it - is a good topic to do the old debate once again. This came up again in the discussions about the Occupy protest. Or in a different way, about the unionist political demonstrations on N30. What ought communists to do with politics? What ought communists to do with democracy? For a long time I did not have these discussions because I was tired or angry about them. Now, I am not tired or angry, so let's talk about it.

Khawaga

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

letters

I am confused. On the one hand you say that the protests began/started during demonstrations in support of the second intifada (with anti-Mubarak slogans), that is anti-Israel demonstrations. Now you say the crowd didn't start the anti-Israeli stuff until after the government accused them of being foreigners (heaven forbid foreigners be involved!).

Again you are not aware of the sequence of events. The first relates to protests that started in 2001. They were in support of the al-Aqsa intifada, but right away transformed into anti-Mubarak/regime protests. The issue of Palestine/israel, was almost an excuse for protesters to critique the regime (and gave birth to the Kifaye movement). The regime were reluctant to crack down hard on these protesters because they did not want to be seen as being pro-Israel. Fast forward 10 years for my other point. What started out as anti-regime, transformed in part into anti-Israel protests. Really, it's not a very difficult to place these events considering they are a decade apart.

Do you know anything about the development of social dissent in Egypt at all? It seems like you have an extremely superficial view only taking the present into account. Do you need a refresher in the Egyptian strike wave from roughly 2004-2008 (or 2002-2010 to get the start and end proper)? That the strikes took over as the main source of protests after Kifaye petered out, and how the February intifada is the outcome of both economic and political struggles? Nothing, ffs, happens in a vacuum, but it seems like you believe that that can be the case.

Btw, I don't think anyone really believed that all Egyptians were fighting for communism. But then again, very few people are anywhere. So should we just sit on our arses and wait for the ideologically pure communist movement, or should we try to create it? We might fail, but surely that is much better than trolling websites and writing gibberish on your blog.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Admin: discussion split to here.

libcom

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal

Every discussion is the same discussion. None of us can do anything except say what it is our fate to say. It is my fate to be the anti-militant, anti-organizational mentalist. The situation in Egypt - and more importantly the initial euphoria expressed by pro-revolutionaries in response to it - is a good topic to do the old debate once again. This came up again in the discussions about the Occupy protest. Or in a different way, about the unionist political demonstrations on N30. What ought communists to do with politics? What ought communists to do with democracy? For a long time I did not have these discussions because I was tired or angry about them. Now, I am not tired or angry, so let's talk about it.

Turning every discussion into the same discussion is called derailing. The meta-discussion has been split here and further derails will be removed.

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga, the point I was making was that it was rude to heap insults on someone for posing the question of the anti-Israeli content of the protests.

..

I was thinking about this discussion tonight, and I realized that there is a very simple and cogent argument against my ideas that has not been presented. At the risk of being ridiculous, I'm going to 'argue the other side' as best I can. Okay, so the rest of this post is my attempt at developing a programme for communist militants in a place where a bourgeois/democratic revolution is taking place.

1) In communications directed at and distributed to workers, argue against democratic demands ("the dictator must go","legalize strikes", "legalize unions") and for the widening of struggles at the point of production. Affirm wage demands and strikes. The struggle is never for democracy or new leaders or freedoms, the struggle is always for immediate interests. Attack the unions.

2) Mention the unmentionables. In Egypt this would mean making declarations about anti-semitism, gender, Islam, and nationalism. Stay away from Tahrir Square unless going there to burn the Egyptian flag and the Qu'ran.

3) Refuse common cause or unity with the Left or religious organizations, even when they claim to be fraternal. If/when any of those groups take power, they will throw you in jail and break the strikes. Above all else, this principle must be maintained.

4) Proclaim again and again - 'Remember Iran, Remember Krondstadt', etc.

5) Point out that the democratic regimes imprison, torture, break strikes, etc just as much as dictatorial regimes. The amount of democracy is irrelevant. Democracy is not worth fighting for.

6) Against military conflict with the state. (An important thing to say now in Greece.)

To do this would put those doing it at great risk and make them very unpopular, but to put forward unpopular, critical ideas (to pee on parades) is the role of the communist.

..

What I just wrote is a powerful response to my exhortation to bird watching. My bird watching response is: why did this sort of thing not emerge here or from the anarcho-communists in Egypt? Why do critical ideas and principles melt away in the euphoria of action (even if this action is only read about on the internet)?

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

May I remind readers that Caiman is a self-styled anarchist militant agitator who has invested much time and energy into various forms of protest, militancy, and perceived resistance to capitalism, and therefore prefers not to discuss these matters, in order that his chosen lifestyle is not brought into question and can be pursued enjoyably at his leisure.

LOL if only!

Caiman del Barrio

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My opinion of Yoshomon is informed by his longterm presence here and a 'fanzine' he published online which had exactly that as its stated aim.

Arbeiten

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

All tat list is pretty reasonable letters (if not a bit un-original for such a self styled mentioner of the unmentionable [sic] ;)). The one I have big qualms with is avoiding Tahrir Square. I don't think it is the case that everyone just gathered there with pre-conceived ideas that they then actualized in unison. It was also a space of discussion, debate and spontaneity right? Without sounding like a leftist paper seller, wouldn't that be a great place to disseminate your ideas (and maybe have some of your own challenged? ;)).

Khawaga

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apart from 2 and 3, I know that commies in Egypt (and I have raised almost all of the points with the Egyptians I know) has raised exactly those issues though with a local variant (e.g. they won't mention Krohnstadt, might mention Iran, but will most certainly mention the Free Offiers' action in Kafr el-Dawwar). With 2, gender has certainly been raised and so has nationalism and anti-semitism. Good luck on finding an atheist communist organization (and how very Eurocentric of you I might add. Do you suffer from the commie equivalent of white man's burden?).

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can you post links to communist groups who are raising the questions of anti-semitism and nationalism? Earlier you wrote that all the radicals you know there are anti-semites (or as you called them, anti-Zionists who lose all reason when discussing Israel).

I don't think it's Eurocentric to insist on communist groups/individuals everywhere in the world to refuse common cause with Leftist or religious organizations. I am not an atheist and do not affirm atheism. That's a different question altogether.

Do you suffer from the commie equivalent of white man's burden?

I'm not sure what you mean. Should I patronize to communists in Egypt and say 'well, I'm opposed to this everywhere else, but it's okay if you do it because you're Egyptian'? I don't think non-Europeans are stupid or irrational, so it would be ridiculous for me to treat them as if they are.

Finding common cause with nationalists and religionists is intolerable in the US or Ireland or Egypt or Cambodia. Do you disagree?

lettersjournal

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Remember, the Egyptian anarchist-communist interviewed and celebrated here made explicitly nationalist comments:

Suez has a special resonance in every Egyptian heart. It was the centre of resistance against Zionists in 1956 and 1967. In the same district that fought Sharon's troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak's police carried out a massacre - at least four people killed, 100 injured, gas bombs, rubber bullets, live gunfire, a strange yellow substance thrown over the crowd (maybe mustard gas).

This is a celebration of war! It would be patronizing not to be critical of it. Imagine the response if a Russian "communist" made a similar comment about the city that was called Stalingrad.

Khawaga

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't post links because not everyone I know bother to write blogs and some people do it in a personal capacity. As you might've noticed, I said commies, not communist groups. I know of individuals who have done this (and not all radicals I know are braindead on Israel, though certainly the far far majority); they could probably do it because they don't have to parrot a party line.

And btw, they're not anti-Semites. Nowhere have I said that, that's your words. What I said was that there is a fine line between anti-zionism and anti-semitism. Sometimes people cross the line, sometimes they don't. In any case, when I've had the opportunity I've always tried to expose the shallowness of their arguments.

I don't think it's Eurocentric to insist on communist groups/individuals everywhere in the world to refuse common cause with Leftist or religious organizations.

No it's not, but then again that's not what I was referring to as eurocentrism.

Devrim

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Good luck on finding an atheist communist organization (and how very Eurocentric of you I might add. Do you suffer from the commie equivalent of white man's burden?).

lettersjournal

I don't think it's Eurocentric to insist on communist groups/individuals everywhere in the world to refuse common cause with Leftist or religious organizations. I am not an atheist and do not affirm atheism. That's a different question altogether.

I am an athiest, and I think that a communist organisation is by definition. You can't have a materialist view of the world which accepts the possibility of divine intervention. I also don't think that to say this is the !the commie equivalent of white man's burden', and ı think that plenty of communists in the ıslamic world would agree with it.

Devrim

Devrim

10 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lettersjournal

2) There were/are certainly workers in Egypt striking for better wages or whatever, and the political demonstrations against Mubarak or the military junta or Israel or Islam are at best distractions from those strikes.

Khawaga

Don't know where that is all coming from Letters; most people "supportive" of the uprising/intifada (few here referred to it as a revolution because it simply wasn't) did so out of solidarity and a hope that it would translate into actions in the workplaces (which it did the week Mubarak had to step down, likely why SCAF told him to step down). And what's happening in Egypt is in any case not "finished"; what we saw in November will happen again and again and again. Most likely another food riot because of the insane inflation.

That is one way to look at it. Another would be that the working class took advantage of the situation to press its own economic demands. Certainly the movement around Tahir square was not a working class movement, and at best was a cross class one. People I know who went there said that the working class was conspicuous by it absence.

lettersjournal

Why put "supportive" in quotation marks? There were threads hundreds of posts long that were almost entirely links to news articles, and people who dared to criticize the uprising as bourgeois/democratic were denounced as racist and other things (in addition to libcommunity threads mocking them). The critical voices were in a small minority. I can link to posts if you'd like.

This is certainly true. There were some on here who lost any sense of political perspective at the time, some even going as far as to support the movement in Libya in its early days.

posi

lettersjournal's post is an excellent example of the very worst tendency of ultra-left ideology: obsessed, above all else, with not supporting (or "supporting") things which are less than totally clean. It's a view in which the world is full of dangerous bourgeois traps, and the very essence of communist practice is staying clean by staying as far away from them as possible. Even at the expense of total dissociation from real class movements.

I don't think it is about' not supporting' something, nor is it about supporting it. Surely though we should try to understand what is going on.

posi

The Egyptian uprising, like all political uprisings, has nothing to do with communism or even the struggles of workers for better conditions or wages.

Sorry, that is total nonsense.

Why?

Arbeiten

All tat list is pretty reasonable letters (if not a bit un-original for such a self styled mentioner of the unmentionable [sic] ;)). The one I have big qualms with is avoiding Tahrir Square. I don't think it is the case that everyone just gathered there with pre-conceived ideas that they then actualized in unison. It was also a space of discussion, debate and spontaneity right? Without sounding like a leftist paper seller, wouldn't that be a great place to disseminate your ideas (and maybe have some of your own challenged? ;)).

I am not sure about Tahir square. From what I understand of the situation, I would have said yes, send a few people down there to sell the paper, but I would think it would have been the main priority for a communist organisation.

I think the question that was raised by LJ is relevant though:

lettersjournal

Should communists participate in nationalist demonstrations like those in Tahrir Square or in Moscow? I say - never, except to burn flags (but this would probably result in being beaten up, not advisable). I am waiting for someone to argue forcefully the opposite answer.

I think that it depends on the demonstration. Is it a nationalist demonstration as such, or a demonstration which is expressing nationalist sentiments? About five years ago it Turkey we decided that the massive 'secular' demonstrations were of a nationalist character, and communists couldn't participate. I certainly would have advised burning a flag there. It would have got you killed. This isn't an exaggeration. People have been killed for burning flags. I am not sure that the Tahir Square demonstrations had the same nationalist character.

Devrim