A Critical Time For Revolution In Egypt
News organizations are reporting hundreds of deaths in the latest turmoil in Egypt. The military has gone on full offensive against Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters and unlike in prior stages of the revolution is showing no restraint. The clashes between the two sides are more violent than ever since the revolution began two years ago.
Regardless of what one may think of Muslim Brotherhood and despite the fact that some of their supporters have attacked Christian churches and some have fought the security forces with arms, provoking violent reaction from them, the military is cleverly and opportunistically taking advantage of the division among people as well as the widespread dissatisfaction caused by the sectarian and corrupt Morsi government to not only go after the Brotherhood, but to try and defeat and ultimately undo the revolution. This is not to say that Muslim Brotherhood represents or symbolizes the revolution, in any way – far from it. In fact, Morsi’s actions were contrary to the goals of democracy and social justice for which people rose up in the first place. Rather, the MB, with their unpopular policies, provided the excuse the military was looking for to regain control, own the streets, disempower an empowered people and bring back the repressive security forces.
People came out in the millions against the US backed and financed Mubarak dictatorship, toppling his government and forcing the military and their bosses in Washington to allow free elections which resulted in the electoral victory for Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, instead of using this historic victory to deepen and broaden democracy and work towards achieving social justice which people had revolted and toppled Mubarak for, he moved opportunistically to empower himself and his party at the expense of others, limited freedoms and remained oblivious towards people’s needs and hardships. This led to widespread dissatisfaction which culminated in largest demonstrations in recent history. That’s when the military found the opportunity it had been looking for to intervene, supposedly on the side of the opposition, but with the goal of reversing the gains of the revolution, in the name of aiding it.
While the widespread opposition to Morsi was justified, the coup and the subsequent crackdown by the military was not. While Morsi made the mistake of not using his electoral mandate and opportunity to right the wrongs of the previous regime and left the military, the security apparatus, and the unjust economic system intact, the opposition to Morsi made the mistake of foolishly siding with the military and police which, encouraged by that support, has been viciously attacking MB supporters, reportedly killing hundreds.
Using the resistance of MB supporters to the coup as the pretext and taking advantage of the support of the opposition for the crackdown, the military has now imposed martial law and will crack down on activists and revolutionaries of all kinds and push back against and disempower people. The division among people only helps the military to take back the gains of the revolution.
The support for the military by the secular opposition and against their MB countrymen is foolish and dangerous and can only thwart the revolution from achieving its long term objectives, just as the actions and policies of the MB government were counter to the goals of the revolution. The only answer is reconciliation between the secular opposition and supporters of Muslim Brotherhood towards forming a united front against imperialism and their wealthy domestic allies to move the revolution forward, rather than ceding control and power back to the military which has the intention of crushing the revolution and the revolutionaries of all kinds – religious and secular – in order to maintain the status quo and imperialist domination. What unfortunately is getting forgotten here is that the military is not people’s friend but their sworn enemy, paid and trained by imperialism to maintain their rule. There is clearly the need for a democratic and anti-imperialist coalition to lead the revolution forward rather than cede power and control to the military and police and give in to divisions and sectarian violence.