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RE: Egypt Protests - 2/2/2011 2:42:51 PM   
JessFranco


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'Islamism' has its roots in economics, not simply because of the relatively egalitarian message that religion tends to espouse (see also radical Catholic activism in South America), but because it offers a power bloc that the economically disenfranchised can join. It's not just down to social or religious conservatism, the people backing groups as diverse as AK, the Muslim Brotherhood and even, to a degree, the Taliban in Pakistan, are doing so, in large part, because it offers an alternative to rigid systems of plutocracy and feudalism. In the case of the latter two, it looks externally like a pretty short-sighted alternative, but it has an appeal. People aren't just joining the Taliban because Pakistan isn't religious enough for them - half of them aren't under defacto government control in the first place - it's because they're looking for something other than straight-up serfdom. The same is true of the MB in Egypt - it's a lightning rod for people who want to dismantle the ancien regime, rather than simply an expression of religious fervour.

Al-Assad and Nasser we're not 'secular leftists' in the way that Zizek is suggesting, they were autocrats backed by military power. I also think the characterisation of the Iranian revolution as, at heart, fundamentally Islamist glosses over a lot of complexities. It's true that the left was willing to line up with religious leaders in order to take down the Shah but the popular movements that led to the revolution happening - the general strikes, the protests, etc - had far more to do with economics than they did with an attempt to bring about theocracy. I don't think the striking trade unionists or left-wing agitators who were fundamental to the revolution were anticipating what was eventually to follow.

The radical left doesn't have all the answers but cutting them out of the process of shaping what comes after Ben Ali and Mubarak comes with dangers attached. The real risk, to Egypt and the wider region, would be for one set of plutocrats to be replaced by another. A few token liberal reforms seized upon by an oligarchy to entrench their position. The replacement of crony-based autocracy with crony-based capitalism. They need to avoid what happened to Ukraine, for starters. Failure to do so would send a pretty clear signal to poor Egyptians and the neighbouring countries that 'democracy' isn't the answer to their plight. Fundamentally, the new rulers of Egyppt and Tunisia have a massive responsibility to get this right. The solution isn't state communism or planned economies, it's economic justice combined with geniune social democracy. I think Zizek's picking up on the fear that a self-selecting elite deciding who they will and won't work with, irrespective of who actually carries weight with the public, won't be seen as much more legitimate than what came before, rather than simply making a call to arms for old-school communism. 

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Post #: 31
RE: Egypt Protests - 3/2/2011 1:21:04 PM   
Chief Wiggum


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Can I just ask how the soviet moves were incomparable, yet you can happily compare the motivations behind middle class islamists in Egypt (if you look at the build up you are talking about doctors, lawyers engineers) and the motivations behind those of the rural poor in a failed the state - you cannot compare the two.

And how hard is it to admit that the Radical left has as much a part of this as the radical right, none. Having a democratic revolution and getting radicals of any nature involved in the post revolutionary process is liking building a new house and inviting an arsonist over on the first night. Radicals of any nature tend toward the anti-democratic, and radicalism of one kind breeds radicalism of another nature.

What Egypt needs are moderates to bring about a true democratic change, not radicals.

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Post #: 32
RE: Egypt Protests - 3/2/2011 9:23:52 PM   
Rebenectomy


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Great picture on GOOD.is, showing Christian protesters protecting Islamic protester while they pray.



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Post #: 33
RE: Egypt Protests - 3/2/2011 10:47:42 PM   
JessFranco


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Joined: 30/9/2005
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quote:

Can I just ask how the soviet moves were incomparable, yet you can happily compare the motivations behind middle class islamists in Egypt (if you look at the build up you are talking about doctors, lawyers engineers) and the motivations behind those of the rural poor in a failed the state - you cannot compare the two.

And how hard is it to admit that the Radical left has as much a part of this as the radical right, none. Having a democratic revolution and getting radicals of any nature involved in the post revolutionary process is liking building a new house and inviting an arsonist over on the first night. Radicals of any nature tend toward the anti-democratic, and radicalism of one kind breeds radicalism of another nature.

What Egypt needs are moderates to bring about a true democratic change, not radicals.


The middle-class islamists in Turkey, Egypt and elsewhere are recruiting from the poor. As with most mass-movements, the finance and ideology comes from the bourgeoisie, the boots on the ground come from the economically disenfranchised. The context and conditions vary from country to country but the drivers are the same.

The causes of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are too complex to be be reduced to to simple narratives about liberal democracy and autocratic rulers - revolutions always are. Middle-class liberals are a huge part of it, the MB has a role and significant number are people who simply can't afford to live under the current system. It's presumptuous to suggest that they're all putting their faith in trickle-down economics. Radical leftism isn't a replacement for Mubarak or Ben Ali but it might act as a legitimate voice for those people within the context of a national unity government. Cutting leftist parties out gives rise to the perception that the changes will be cosmetic. It's counterproductive in the long run, as well, given that, if we're going to see genuine democracy, the other parties are going to have to deal with them at some point.


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Post #: 34
RE: Egypt Protests - 3/2/2011 11:38:12 PM   
Darth Marenghi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rebenectomy

Great picture on GOOD.is, showing Christian protesters protecting Islamic protester while they pray.




There's been a fair bit of Muslim/Christian solidarity in Egypt lately - Muslims were acting as human shields for their Christian neighbours going to Christmas Mass after a recent terrorist bombing of a church.

http://www.juancole.com/2011/01/egyptian-muslims-throng-in-thousands-to-protect-christians.html


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Post #: 35
RE: Egypt Protests - 4/2/2011 6:51:38 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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The discussion on this forum seems to be ignoring the fact that the US have been the primary backer of dictatorships for the past 50 years - 1 billion dollars a year to the Egyptian army to keep another bastard in their pockets.

Good article by Noam Chomsky :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/feb/04/radical-islam-united-states-independence




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Post #: 36
RE: Egypt Protests - 5/2/2011 12:17:53 AM   
CORLEONE

 

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Ahh, the Great Satan.

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Post #: 37
RE: Egypt Protests - 5/2/2011 12:08:27 PM   
KnightofZyryab


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Yeah ... because America has always had Egypt's best interests at heart, without regard for a foreign policy in the Middle East which it has thrown billions into upholding for a good half century.

Obama's position of stepping back and allowing Egyptians to determine their own government is admirable, but such a laxity is only a facade for circumspect deals with the former regime, or place men designated as acceptable caretaker figures. Apparently, don't know if the negotiations have updated recently, but the Americans were considering a transitional government with Suleiman as the temporary president - who cannot be much worse than a continuation of the Mubarak regime and has a sinister history of collaboration with the American rendition project.

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Post #: 38
RE: Egypt Protests - 5/2/2011 4:26:42 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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quote:

ORIGINAL: CORLEONE

Ahh, the Great Satan.


Where do you think the Americans lie on any moral scale? Closer to the good guys or the bad guys....

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Post #: 39
RE: Egypt Protests - 10/2/2011 9:12:00 PM   
KnightofZyryab


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And Mubarak still refuses to step down, announcing only the delegation of his powers to Suleiman. I fear a civil war now - exactly what Mubarak wants.

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Post #: 40
RE: Egypt Protests - 11/2/2011 12:36:07 AM   
Spaldron


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Its gonna kick off Old-Firm style.

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Post #: 41
RE: Egypt Protests - 11/2/2011 4:12:51 PM   
boove


Posts: 1199
Joined: 30/9/2005
Mubarak steps down

live:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12307698

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Post #: 42
RE: Egypt Protests - 11/2/2011 4:33:41 PM   
Beno


Posts: 8131
Joined: 15/2/2007
From: Sheffield
Bout time

now they need to get him in a court room for all his crimes.

Just keep the meddling two faced Yanks out of it though cos that region is in a state partly cos of there interference since the 70s.

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Post #: 43
RE: Egypt Protests - 11/2/2011 9:48:31 PM   
Deviation


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One thing scares me. What are the chances of Muslim Brotherhood to get into power?

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Post #: 44
RE: Egypt Protests - 11/2/2011 10:27:11 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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I dunno are these guys terrorists? Or are they just being used by politicians and commentators who favour control over arab countries to scare people.

The biggest problem for Egypt is what the Americans will now do to them, who they will try and get into power and what the results of that will be. I reckon there could be 'Al Qaeda' bomb attacks in Egypt soon to divide and weaken the country. There's no way real democracy can be allowed to take root in the middle east because genuine freedom means countries will gain control over their own resources. Iraqi freedom is a perfect example, a puppet government, a privatised foreign owned economy, a continuing occupation and death squads operating freely.



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Post #: 45
RE: Egypt Protests - 13/2/2011 3:59:16 PM   
Chief Wiggum


Posts: 1919
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker

I dunno are these guys terrorists? Or are they just being used by politicians and commentators who favour control over arab countries to scare people.



well it's a little more complicated than that fluke, if you look at the history of the Brotherhood they exist in a very grey area.

They were first started in the late 20s with their key Ideology using the writings of Hassan al-Banna. which If I remember rightly were mainly in response to the colonial administration of the British. Banna-ist Britherhood is fairly moderate in terms of Islamist thought, but still is very much in the authoritarian section of politics, more so than we would accept in the west.

However in the late 50s early 60's their ideology changed significantly, looking to the writing of Said al-qutb to draw on. This man was a dick of the highest nature - his awakening was brought on by an exchange trip to small town america (mid-west) where the idea of non-married couples dancing at a church gathering, and the skantily clad girls that were there (and remember we're talking small town mid-west church gathering in the 50's, so we're hardly talking micro-skirts here) were an affront to islamic morality, and he wrote Milestones soon afterwards.

during this period the brotherhood became increasingly violent, and the Egytian state cracked down on them massively, executing Qutb in 66.

Now Qutbi polictics reject the jahaliyya (a reference to the pre-islamic state of affairs in Arabia) of the west, and encourages a vanguard to overthrow this to bring about an islamic state through discourse and Jihad (however qutbi islamism decrees that a true islamic state has no rulers, elected or from the priesthood, as that would mean subservience to a man rather than to god, it is a very anarchic version of politics).

The qutbi Muslim Brotherhood did evolve into Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which then donated a fair amount of men to the leadership of Al-Qaeda (which can be translated to a number of meanings including vanguard).

Later the Egyptian MB were responsible for the assasination of Sadat, the Syrian Chapter attempted a similar attempt on Hafez al-assad which resulted in a massive crackdown, 25'000 people massacred, and the organisation is still in exile, based just outside London.Oh, and the gazan chapter evolved into Hamas.

so whilst they are not terrorists per se and their website proclaims that they are moderates at every turn - there is a tendency toward violent extremism within their history.

However even if they are as moderate as they make out, the fact that a large amount of their ideology is based in Islam questions have to be asked of their intentions.

i.e.
will all women have to wear headscarves in public; will this mean iranian style police crackdowns every year to check that enough hair is covered and modesty intact. will a womens testimony in court be worth a third of a mans?
what of the Copts - how would they fit in to an Islamist ruled state, would attacks on their churches be met with the same ferocity as an attack on a mosque?
what of homosexuality - is it a crime that is punishable by death?
what happens in the case of apostasy, is it a crime to be punished?



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Post #: 46
RE: Egypt Protests - 13/2/2011 5:20:00 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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So basically they're not people you'd want in power (speaking as an atheist who believes religion and the state should be separate) but in no way terrorists - I can't see the Egyptians happily going from a dictatorship to a strict Islamic society though.


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Post #: 47
RE: Egypt Protests - 13/2/2011 6:51:00 PM   
Chief Wiggum


Posts: 1919
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Fluke Skywalker

So basically they're not people you'd want in power (speaking as an atheist who believes religion and the state should be separate) but in no way terrorists - I can't see the Egyptians happily going from a dictatorship to a strict Islamic society though.


well it depends in the direction that they go in, I think Egypt's constitution has a unicameral system with executive power held by the president. which, if the MB get in with a majority and a sitting president would mean that it could go down that route whether the rest of the country likes it or not.

I think a lot to be said in favour of true democratic reforms is that, unlike in Iran's, case the revolution wasn't kicked off by an exciled cleric broadcasting messages reproduced in a samizdat fashion; and it does seem to have been generated by a bottom-up rejection of Mubarak.

having said that it is becoming clear that a military coup has gone on behind the scenes, and whether the generals can face giving the country back once they have had a taste of executive power, who can tell, and in 6 months time I cannot see the world media giving too much of a shit.

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Post #: 48
RE: Egypt Protests - 14/2/2011 11:52:21 AM   
shatnerhamster

 

Posts: 183
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If Egypt did turn into an Islamic fundamentalist state, it'd be a bit of a disaster for them financially, Tourism would be decimated, which would probably bring about the collapse of their economy.

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Post #: 49
RE: Egypt Protests - 15/2/2011 11:43:36 AM   
tarantinofan

 

Posts: 1194
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quote:

ORIGINAL: shatnerhamster

If Egypt did turn into an Islamic fundamentalist state, it'd be a bit of a disaster for them financially, Tourism would be decimated, which would probably bring about the collapse of their economy.


Plus the powers to be are going to think long and hard before getting rid of the American's funding. It seems like the army still retains a lot of power anyway.

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Post #: 50
RE: Egypt Protests - 16/2/2011 7:18:55 AM   
sanchia


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It is terrible what happened to Lara Logan a reporter for CBS whilst she was reporting on the events. HERE

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Post #: 51
RE: Egypt Protests - 16/2/2011 12:48:42 PM   
sharkboy


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Could Libya be the next to follow Egypt and Tunisia?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12477275

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Post #: 52
RE: Egypt Protests - 16/2/2011 1:23:03 PM   
Sinatra


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Yep, reports keep surfacing from Iran too...

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Post #: 53
RE: Egypt Protests - 16/2/2011 2:06:53 PM   
Deviation


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sharkboy

Could Libya be the next to follow Egypt and Tunisia?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12477275


I'm scared now.


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Post #: 54
RE: Egypt Protests - 18/2/2011 4:35:10 PM   
superdan


Posts: 8276
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Bahrain is going off: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/feb/18/middle-east-protests-live-updates#start-of-comments

There are tweets saying that people have been killed as the army opened fire on protesters.

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Post #: 55
RE: Egypt Protests - 21/2/2011 11:59:24 AM   
Rebenectomy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sanchia

It is terrible what happened to Lara Logan a reporter for CBS whilst she was reporting on the events. HERE


Well apparently she does have 'form' for this sorty of thing. Second story down. Urgh
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1358104/Toe-curling-Richard-Mellor-speaks-Bahrain-Radio-4.html

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Post #: 56
RE: Egypt Protests - 21/2/2011 12:29:08 PM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
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I've been following the events unfolding in the Middle East with fascination but also with a lot of fear for the protesters.  I'm currently concerned about Libya - Gaddafi, provided the military are unwavering in their loyalty to him, will absolutely do everything in his power to put down any uprising by any means possible.  The scale of potential bloodshed over the next few weeks, or longer, is worrying.  I notice a number of senior diplomats have already defected.  I hope this can be mirrored within the military otherwise I'm not convinced the power of the people will be enough to topple him.  My fingers are crossed however.

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Post #: 57
RE: Egypt Protests - 21/2/2011 1:18:45 PM   
tarantinofan

 

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I have a feeling that the bloodshed that follows in post revolutionary Libya will be far worse.

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Post #: 58
RE: Egypt Protests - 21/2/2011 3:40:09 PM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
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From: Albuquerque
quote:

ORIGINAL: tarantinofan

I have a feeling that the bloodshed that follows in post revolutionary Libya will be far worse.



By this do you mean a Libya after a successful revolution? I.e the power struggles that will ensue in Gaddafi's absence? Or following a failed revolutionary movement which indeed could have far worse consequences for the Libyans.


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Post #: 59
RE: Egypt Protests - 21/2/2011 4:03:16 PM   
tarantinofan

 

Posts: 1194
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sway

quote:

ORIGINAL: tarantinofan

I have a feeling that the bloodshed that follows in post revolutionary Libya will be far worse.



By this do you mean a Libya after a successful revolution? I.e the power struggles that will ensue in Gaddafi's absence? Or following a failed revolutionary movement which indeed could have far worse consequences for the Libyans.



I mean if the revolution is successful. In a recently televised address, Qaddafi's son warned of the threat of a civil war in the absence of a strong leader and whilst I have no doubts that he is simply fear mongering and trying to appeal to moderates in the country (the same argument applied to Saddam; a brutal dictator but one who kept stability and prevented what we are now seeing in Iraq), he does raise a valuable point. Libyans attachment to clans and tribes as opposed to a strong centralized government (see this NY Times article, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/africa/22libya.html?_r=1&hp) could see a violent power struggle in the wake of a successful revolution, or simply a country in which local, tribal laws take precedent. I'm not sure how many of these tribes adhere to strict Islamic codes though. Regardless, Libya doesn't have a template for democracy. But all this is not to say I am in favour of Qaddafi and against any revolution.

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