Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt: One Down, Two to Go

One down: the people of Egypt have overthrown the hated dictator Mubarak. Wild cheers for this!

Two to go:

  1. 1. Overthrow the dictatorship of Suleiman and his fellow generals.
  2. 2. Overthrow the power and privileges of the entire parasitic class of the very wealthy, the class on behalf of which Mubarak and Suleiman rule, a class that is responsible for imposing extreme inequality on Egyptian society, a class that sees nothing wrong with millions of Egyptians living in poverty while Mubarak accumulates a $50 Billion fortune. Create a new kind of society, based on equality and mutual aid, not inequality and people being pitted against each other.

Obama lies.

Obama announced yesterday that, “It was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism and mindless killing, that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” Wrong! What made Mubarak step down was the fact that he and the generals advising him saw that the people in Tahrir Square and elsewhere fought back against the police goons Mubarak sent to attack them. They fought back with all the violence they could muster, using the only weapons they had, such as stones. The people did not follow the philosophy of nonviolence. Had they followed this wrong philosophy, they would have gone limp and invited arrest in order to “demonstrate the sincerity of their convictions” in the erroneous expectation that “moral suasion” can make oppressors stop oppressing. The people did not, fortunately, buy into a philosophy that says people who use violent force in self-defense are morally inferior to those who don’t.

The generals advised Mubarak to step down because they knew that if he did not, push would come to shove. The rank and file soldiers would have to be ordered to fire on the Egyptian people. The generals feared that when so ordered, the soldiers would refuse. The risk was enormous. If this happened, then the people, with help from friendly soldiers and weapons they could acquire, would have more force—violent force—at their disposal than the upper class.

Obama refers to the “moral force of nonviolence,” but it was the moral force of violence that “bent history.” It was Mubarak’s fear of the possibility that his rank and file soldiers, armed and trained to kill, would share the decency and morality of the Egyptian people and aim their weapons at the rulers instead of the people. The oppressors do not fear nonviolence; they fear being on the losing side in a contest of violent force.

Obama contrasts nonviolence, which he—the commander in chief of the most violent mass-murdering military force ever to exist on the planet—claims to love, to “terrorism and mindless violence.” His point? That violence against oppression is morally wrong. Obama would be revealed as a defender of oppression if he came right out and said what he means, so he “violence baits” people who seriously threaten to overthrow oppressors, hoping to strengthen the forces among them who try to persuade the people to “go limp.”

Obama said, “Egyptians have made it clear that nothing less than genuine democracy will carry the day.” What does he mean by “genuine democracy?” He means “genuine democracy like what we have in the United States.” But we have fake democracy in the United States. A plutocracy controls all the key decisions: our government wages unjust wars that the public opposes, it refuses to even consider single-payer health care even though the public wants it, and it makes sure the rich get richer and the poor poorer. This is what Obama actually wants for Egypt when he praises “genuine democracy.” For the wealthy elites of the world and the politicians and dictators who rule on their behalf, “democracy” means using elections (that they control) as a fig leaf to cover the truth that Big Money rules, not the people.

The revolution has only begun. Two to go.


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