Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Egyptian Blogger Jailed For Three Years By Military Court

The New York Times, and other foreign news outlets, have reported that Egyptian blogger and activist, Maikel Nabil, has been sentenced to three years in jail by a Military Court, on Monday.
His crime? He criticised the Military! That is the same military that stood behind Mubarak for the last 30 years, and that stood behind the previous Bonapartist dictators in Egypt before him, Sadat, and Nasser. It is the same Military that has recently been detaining an increasing number of democracy activists, and which has opened fire with live ammunition on recent protests. It is the same military that is given $1 billion a year by the US. Oddly, whilst the US and its allies are bombing Libya with depleted Uranium munitions, they seem terribly quiet about the increasing repression being meted out by their allies in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and elsewhere.

In my previous blogs I pointed out that the lessons of previous Democratic Revolutions are clear. In 1848, the Prussian Aristocracy absorbed the democratic movement's advance, and as soon as the Democratic forces relaxed and weakened, they began to turn it back.
Needing to rely on the numbers of the working class, and peasantry, once the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie began to fear the advance of the workers, within that movement, they turned on them, attempting to make an alliance with the Aristocracy. The end result was that the Democracy movement was defeated entirely, and a period of repression and bloodletting introduced. Ruling classes are past masters at using scape goats, and sacrifices. The whole process of bourgeois democracy is built upon it, allowing electors to periodically blame one set of bourgeois politicians, and replace them with another set of bourgeois politicians whose policies vary only superfically from those who have been replaced.

As I wrote a few weeks ago. Mubarak's demise was not really a victory of the revolution. In the weeks preceding it, the military and Mubarak had played the usual management game using the Grand Old Duke of York tactic, leading people up the hill of expectation, and then sending them back down again when those expectations are dashed.
Its aim to split away the weaker elements and to cause demoralisation and weariness. Mubarak's removal was just the latest manouevre within that tactic. The Military by organising a Coup against him held out, yet again, the possibility of some meaningful change. Now, many weeks after he has gone, nothing has changed. In fact, it is worse in some ways. During the initial protests, the Military at least stood by whilst the other State goons attacked. Now the Military is beating up, detaining and shooting at the protesters itself. Of course, some of the more moderate elements within the Movement, those tied to groups who think they might get crumbs off the table, in any arrangement worked out with the Military, will likely moderate their opposition. The Military has been holding talks with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is reportedly under pressure, as some of its youth are being won over by socialist organisations, to introduce restrictions on who can vote. Other manouvres are being organised to enable the old regime to still control the Parliament.

The good news is that sizeable numbers of people are still coming out to protest, and the military itself is starting to fracture, with some Army Officers themselves breaking ranks, and coming out to support the protesters in Tahrir Square in recent days.
The working class also appears to be continuing to strengthen its organisations. But, as I have said in previous blogs, either the Military, possibly under pressure from the US, will move towards some kind of bourgeois democracy, that satisfies the protesters, or else it will continue to resist. Bonapartist regimes are powerful and stubborn things as the experience in Libya, and elsewhere demonstrates. The economic power, the privileges, and the military and state power they can weild, via their control, makes them appear, in some instances, as though they were a Ruling Class. And, for the same reasons they have a powerful incentive to hold on to power, even when challenged by an actual ruling class.

Indeed, that is so much so, that if a powerful Bonapartist regime, such as that in Egypt, decides to fight to hold on to its power, then the only means by which it can be dislodged is if the ruling class, the bourgeoisie, enlists the support of the workers and peasants to bring it about.
But, the lessons of 1848, and the Theory of Permanent Revolution, developed by Trotsky, illustrates where that will lead. In all eventualities, the important thing for Marxists is to argue the need for the working class to focus on its own interests, to develop its own organisations, its own property, its own democracy, and its own organs of state power, such as Defence Squads, and a Militia.
March separately strike together. The workers should go so far along the road, in the fight for democratic reforms, with their class enemies - the Bourgoisie - but must not subordinate their own interests to that struggle, or be fooled by the nature of Bourgeois Democracy, which is as Lenin describes it, "The best political shell for Capitalism", its most effective means of implementing the Dictatorship of Capital, and of oppressing and exploiting the workers.
Our fight is for Socialism not Bourgeois Democracy, some of the elements of which, such as freedom of speech, freedom to organise etc. are merely means of facilitating the workers struggle for its real goal.

Politically, therefore, our attitude towards the bourgeoisie, even as we ally with them in action for those limited goals must continue to be "Extreme Revolutionary Opposition".

1 comment:

joe higgs said...

very good piece, thanks