Egypt and Tunisia: People make history
Al-Manshour (February 2011)
Less than two months ago the dominant language in the Lebanese street, and the Arab world in general, was frustration. The street was characterised by indifference. If we thought to say the word “revolution,” we would be automatically classified within seconds into dreamers and idealists.
Frustration and indifference were the common and dominant emotions. But after the revolutions of the Tunisian and Egyptian, talk about the revolution has become a daily occurrence. The whole question is how we can make the revolution spread to Lebanon! The situation of the coup against this dominant culture, which was ignited by Tunisia and Egypt, has pushed millions around the Arab world, and the world as a whole, to a different political and social awareness, although it is still in its early stages of development, but we see how this social, cultural and political situation takes on a large political space between people.
Peoples make history
The importance of the revolutions goes beyond the end of 23 years of Ben Ali’s rule in Tunisia and more than 30 years of Mubarak’s rule in Egypt, but they were able to refute all the arguments and analyses that the intellectuals of the right, regimes and intellectuals of “moderation” Decades, which used to say that the Arab peoples are incapable and not ready for change, and that the era of revolutions is over.
Valotopia and revolutionary idealism, which has long been acclaimed by everyone who speaks of the revolution, is no longer only present in some books and articles, but has become a reality that moves from one country to another. The slogan “revolution of revolution to victory” has become a popular slogan for millions. The language of revolution, and the language of appeasement and reform became the “wooden language”, the language of empty promises, the language of order and business, the language of corruption, lies and hypocrisy.
The people wanted to topple the regime and topple it. Today, the revolution of building another regime is taking place, a new system whose features are determined through daily struggle and struggle. What has happened in Tunisia and Egypt has made the entire world vibrate, pushing it to a new reality, into a different era. Today no-one can say that intellectuals, intellectuals and technocrats make history. On the contrary, that history actually begins when people move.
The revolution of Egypt and Tunisia proved unquestionably that the peoples are the ones who make their destiny and history. There is no luck strike, or “national hero” or divine power produced by them. It is only the political, social, economic and organizational capacity of the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples in their attempt to overthrow the regime. Drop it!
Here we recall a saying that was dropped by most of the reformist and traditional lefts from its literature and from its political discourse: “The peoples are those who make their history, but do not manufacture it as they wish. They do not manufacture it in circumstances that they chose, but under conditions that existed before. The dead generations throw their weight as a nightmare on the thoughts and minds of the living people. “Karl Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, 1852.
Perhaps this is the most accurate account of what is taking place today in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries that are being swept by the SPLM day after day. In the era of Facebook and the Internet, and what Fukuyama calls “the end of history” and in the “postmodern” era and the intellectual delusions of newspapers and television channels, we see how Marx’s statement is blatantly reflected in the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Iran, Bahrain and other countries.
That people are challenging the legacy of the past and dead generations (existing systems and their security and intelligence agencies). This struggle was clearly manifested in the battle of Tahrir Square rebels against the thugs and the security forces, in order to put an end to the change they hope for, which has spread to itself in most areas of Egypt. It becomes a glimpse of the future that the people want to build and the legacy of the past. The future and stifle the movement of change and prevent it from progress.
This contrast between the will of the people and the interests of the regime in control is not limited to direct battles between the rebels and the mercenaries of the regime, but also the difference between the political, social and humanitarian movement pursued by the rebellious peoples and the regime’s attempt to spread chaos, panic, terrorism and discrimination. The metal of the rebellious peoples and who knows who is actually behind the discrimination of sex, age, social, ethnic and sectarian.
We found that the problem is not in the people, but in the system, then stammered the tongues of the intellectuals of the regime and advocates of defeat and surrender, and stopped mouths who was always angry and blame people being sectarian and backward and unable to change, and occupied the slogans of millions shouting “ Civil, civilian, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil, civil and civil.
Spontaneous masses, organisation and working class
Many people have spoken about the spontaneity of the masses in the production of the revolution of Tunisia and Egypt, and this spontaneity has often been used to say that something new is different from the previous revolutions in the world. For example, Tunisia and Egypt are embracing the idea of organizing, In bringing about change.
The basic problem in this thesis is that it summarizes the revolution and the revolutionary movement in its entirety in its spark, namely in its embryonic “spontaneous” and forgetting that the extension of the revolution and its success in the overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak would not have occurred without the movement of the masses from spontaneity to self-organization and the crystallization of political and social positions Clear. Spontaneity was the catalyst for the revolution, while the masses organized themselves in new revolutionary frameworks, and threatened the whole system when it produced a regulatory power to counter the power of the system, showing its ability to organize society in a radically different and contrast with the logic of the central organization of the bourgeois state.
The popular committees formed in Tunisia and Egypt played a central role in defending the revolution and defending the movement as a whole. This organizational capacity is not marginal. It was at the heart of the movement from its spontaneity as a popular uprising to its organization on the basis of a popular revolution.
Spontaneity is the act of bursting the embryonic consciousness of the masses, but to move this consciousness from embryonic position to a revolutionary political consciousness that needs the movement of the whole movement from its spontaneous state to its revolutionary state, turning the feeling of anger to a will in the comprehensive change to a will to overthrow the regime.
The survival of the movement in its spontaneous sphere threatens its continuity. This is what is meant by an organization that depends not only on the ability to establish popular committees, but also on the issue of producing revolutionary political demands for the movement. This ability is what enables the revolution to continue.
In both Egypt and Tunisia, we saw that the moment of decisiveness — the moment that threatened the regime as a whole – was that the working class joined the revolution through mass public strikes. In Tunisia, the pace and persistence of protests determined the call of workers for public, local and national strikes. Strikes were the direct coordination of the mass movement.
The continuation of the strike means the continuation of the movements; in Egypt, the general public strikes that swept through Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla al-Kubra and other governorates and cities were the force that led the revolution to threaten the entire Egyptian regime, forcing Mubarak to step down.
“All classes participated in the Egyptian revolution. During his rule, Mubarak managed to antagonize large sections of the social classes in the Tahrir Square and found the sons and daughters of the Egyptian elites standing side by side with the workers, middle class citizens and the urban poor. But we must remember and not forget that the regime actually began to collapse when public strikes began on Wednesday, and then the army was forced to pressure Mubarak to resign, fearing the entire regime would collapse.
“Some may be surprised by the sight of striking workers. This is naive. Workers are the longest and most continuous strike in the history of Egypt since 1946, which began with textile workers in Mahalla. It is not the workers’ fault that the world pays no attention to their strikes. In the past three years, there has not been a single strike in a factory in Egypt, whether in Cairo or in other cities. These strikes were both economic and political.” (Hossam al-Hamalawi, Demonstrations in Egypt complete in factories, British Guardian, February 14, 2011).
From here we see the fundamental role of the working class in the development of the movement and give it a more radical space. After the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, we saw how “middle class activists began to look to the Egyptians to stop the demonstrations and strikes and return to work under the slogan of patriotism and to build a new Egypt and seek the most ridiculous chants” to work harder than we did before – and for those who do not know, The most hard-working people in their work in the world. “(Hossam al-Hamalawi,” Workers, the middle class, the army and the permanent revolution “, 12 February 2011 -http://www.arabawy.org/2011/02/12/permanent-revolution/ ).
The issue of class struggle, the role of the working class and revolutionary consciousness is not new, and most importantly, it is not a side role. The working class is the only class in society that can threaten the structure and structure of power and the existing society. In their political and economic sphere they threaten the existing capitalist exploitation pattern, Around the world, especially in the Arab region, tightly controlled trade union organizations and clamped down on the workers movement. We saw how the basic demand of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt, after Mubarak stepped down, was to stop strikes and workers movements. Continuation of the labor movement will increase the radicalization of the revolution in Egypt to take more space collided with a built system as a whole, that is: it will threaten the stability of the existing caste system.
Revolutionary consciousness and the congruence of economic and political demands
One of the most important observations that we have seen in both the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions is how the street, which has long been characterized by backwardness and backwardness, has shown a radically different face than what the Arab ruling classes, the democrats, and the liberals of Western countries have tried to stigmatize the Arab street because sectarianism and racial and racial discrimination are rooted in it. , Tahrir Square in Cairo and the squares of Tunisia were the safest and most liberated places in the world.
The men and women, the workers and the workers, the Muslims and the Christians stood together, united in the struggle and united on the basis of equality, N their access, and ended sexual harassment, stop worker / artist of his / her lawyer and his / her side-by-side in order to defend the revolution, stood against the thugs and the police and stood in order to build their future. Then we saw the greatest manifestations of freedom and progress, and this time did not come from the funded programs and not from the mouth of UN experts, but came from the people themselves.
Only then did we see that we could dream, we saw that the revolution was indeed possible, but necessary, we saw that what we wanted to achieve was possible through our common struggle and through our solidarity and solidarity and the firmness of our resistance against the regime.
But this awareness can not be born of the moment or fate, it is the product of political movement and economic demand, which did not stop at all was the result of thousands of movements and bold strikes pursued by the Tunisian and Egyptian streets during the past years. This readiness for the revolutionary transformation of the collective consciousness of the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples came through repeated calls for change, revolution and unity in the struggle and never stopped and met with the objective conditions that produced the Intifada.
To say that revolutionary consciousness is automatically produced by the act of pretence is wrong and superficial. We can only look at the day of anger that swept through Tripoli on the day the Hariri government fell. Let’s say that spontaneity and demonstration alone do not produce revolutionary awareness. We need a revolutionary speech. Of sectarianism, sexism and class exploitation, that is to say, the production of a culture against the culture of the capitalist sectarian system, and then when the spontaneity of the masses explodes, it can become a revolutionary consciousness.
The issue here is to produce a revolutionary political hegemony over the street movement, that is to say that the policy of the street is a revolutionary progressive policy, and that we do not leave the dominant sectarian class forces to exploit and impoverish the people to convert them to their own account and to defend the existing regime or to transform the universal demands into reactionary sectarian demands.
Hence we see the need for economic demands and political demands to be combined, and that they can not be separated. Each of them feeds the other. The uprising in Tunisia started from the unemployed university graduates, moving to the political demands of the university. The slogan was: “Work, freedom and national dignity.” In Egypt we saw the many chants that combined injustice, economic exploitation and political repression. Freedom and democracy and the abolition of the security system with demands to end the rule of businessmen and the people and end the cost of living.
The correlation here between the political and economic demands gives another dimension to the revolution, after seeing some that it has reached a dead end. Many supporters of the regimes and the existing media systems want to portray them now as a crisis of government and lack of leadership, but what these people do not know and what they want to forget is that these The movement moved the street to another dimension in the process of revolutionary development.
We saw how this revolutionary gathering brought down a large part of the legitimacy of the existing regime and the legitimacy of official and non-official political opposition movements. Before And in Tunisia, we saw how Rashid Ghannouchi, the leading figure in the Islamic movement in Tunisia, says upon his arrival in exile: “There is no law in Tunisia.” The revolutionary movement itself revealed the inability of these reformist political movements to meet the demands of the people.
In light of these huge changes, we see that the groups that keep pace with the revolutionary movement and follow it along the same lines and see themselves as an extension of the movement of the masses are regaining their ability to grow. We mean here in particular the leftist revolutionary groups that we see produce a more organic link with the revolutionary movement. During the simple comparison of parties and groups data, we see the large reformist parties retreat from their statements and positions, while the positions of the revolutionary groups escalate day after day to be more consistent with the street movement.
In these periods the parties are built, because in these periods the political and class blocs are formed on a different approach than the period before. The difference between what is reform and revolutionary and between those who try to maintain order and those who want to change it seems clearer and that the lines of the future conflict are clear one day after day. Hence the necessity of revolutionary organization, because the defeat of the revolution means returning to thugs and barbarism and its success is what enables it to continue to achieve all demands and to prevent any forces loyal to the regime and its poles from circumventing them and revive the old regime and new faces.
In Tunisia, the so-called Front of January 14, which was formed of the leaders of the revolutionary left in the country, was established. In Egypt, work began to form a left-wing revolutionary party outside the framework of the Tagammu party. In the two countries, the revolutionary left believes that there is no way to preserve and keep the gains of the revolution without a revolutionary organization that seeks to push the revolutionary movement forward. Once it exists, this organization can form a core nucleus to produce revolutionary hegemony against the regime’s attempts to overthrow the revolution. It proves that the only legitimacy today is revolutionary legitimacy and defends it against the regime’s attempts to attack it in an alliance with the opportunistic forces that are trying to ride the wave of revolution only in order to gain power without harming the structure of the regime.
Here, another stage of the revolution begins, and perhaps the biggest battle will be. The events that have taken place so far are to bring down the political face of the ruling bourgeois class, which paves the way for the crystallization of the class struggle in its most direct forms. After the overthrow of Mubarak and Ben Ali, Ruling in its entirety.
The network of regional relations and American imperialism
This battle is not confined to the local arena, but extends beyond it to become part of a battle within a network of regional and global relations and interests. Tunisia and Egypt were the basic systems in support of imperialist policies and the protection of the Zionist authority. Both revolutions were a severe blow to US imperialist interests in the region. They also caused a political crisis. The Mubarak regime was one of the “moderate” regimes that the United States and other Arab countries called for. The Mubarak regime was the second largest recipient of US financial support after Israel, with financial grants exceeding $ 1.5 billion annually. Both the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes were the main allies of the neoliberal economic system. An international trade organization with enthusiasm over the past decades.
Thus, the American administration hesitated a lot before taking a stand on the Egyptian revolution and limited its statements to regret and warning and caressing while in the days of the Cedar Revolution, the American and Western media as a whole was a mobilizer to support that revolution. Remember, the United States did nothing when Egyptian security forces and thugs attacked and killed demonstrators only when an American journalist was hurt. We see the hypocrisy when Hillary Clinton says: “There is a clear responsibility for the Egyptian government, and the Egyptian army must protect those who are threatened and hold those responsible accountable. The Egyptian government must demonstrate its readiness to ensure journalists’ ability to cover events” ( http: //www.america.gov/st/texttrans-english/2011/February/20110203174000 … ). That statement came when it became clear to everyone that the person responsible for these attacks was the authority itself.
The Syrian and Iranian regimes considered the revolution in Egypt a victory over the occupation and American policies, exploiting the revolution to record the points of the bourgeois rivalry in maintaining their regime and in establishing greater dominance in the Middle East, so that neither Of the Syrian and Iranian regimes were close to the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions because it was only an uprising against the United States of America. This revolution would only spring in the allied countries of the American regime, and even the Iranian regime began brazenly to say that the Egyptian revolution was an extension of the revolution of Islam In Iran, forgetting that the Islamic Revolution was actually a coup against the Iranian revolution led by the students and workers against the Shah. The regime does not end here. Ahmadinejad says: “The last step has begun … We are in the midst of a global revolution Dear Imam Mahdi. A major awakening is emerging .http: //www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8180966-ahmadinejad-egypt-revo … ).
But what both the United States and its allies, on the one hand, and the Syrian and Iranian regimes know on the other, that these revolutions are not partial revolutions demanding a change of some policies and a broader “space” of democracy and freedom — and that these two revolutions want to overthrow the regime, They reject and fight against dictatorship and demand democracy. They also demand social justice and the right to work, and to the same extent they demand human and national dignity.
The opposite of the regional equation of “moderate” and “oppressive” countries are repressive dictatorships suffering from severe economic crises and concentration of most of the wealth in the hands of a small handful of capitalists and royal families. Hence, the illusions of the regimes of resistance are being revealed day after day as the demands and popular uprisings spread to the cities and capitals of these countries. We see how the Syrian regime began to allocate aid to poor families and began a series of arrests of political activists and repeatedly prevented movements supporting the Egyptian revolution. The rise of the protest movements in Iran in 2009 and today we see them growing again after the momentum given to them by Tunisia and Egypt, and also in the Iranian arena changes in the situation and transformations that occur on the ground. For example, Facebook pages calling for moves in Iran, which we see today as more open to the Arab street, demand its support compared to the closure on the Arab street in 2009.
In an interview with the student activist Ali at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Ali answers his expectations from the groups in Tunisia and Egypt: “We want them to publish statements supporting our movement. Imagine the impact that might be issued if the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement supporting our movement or if the Egyptian youth issued a supportive statement to us. This would be a great moral support. “People do not consider themselves supporters of Mousavi or Karroubi. They say they are part of a movement, The green movement is not owned by Mousavi but belongs to the people. “Here we see a shift in awareness and a sense of the people’s ability to change without being committed to the political leadership of the movement.
This transformation, even if it is still in its infancy, is accompanied by a shift in the class nature of the political movement in Iran. In 2009, the Green Movement lost the political battle when it could not attract the poor and the workers. The level of democratic demands today shows a shift in the structure of the movement. “We’ve seen NASA from all walks of life,” Ali says. Many students are but a lot older. We have seen NASA with an Islamic dress and a beard in our ranks. There were people who appeared poor. We did not expect them to come. But I think they came because of the economic pressures. Things have gotten worse because of recent economic reforms. “
The revolution in Egypt and Tunisia gave a new dimension to the protest movements – the tide and the revolutionary horizon – and we saw how the cheers in Iran called for the fall of Khamenei, not just the dictator Ahmadinejad.
Towards building a revolutionary left in Lebanon
The revolutionary issue is no longer a matter of intellectual and theoretical future, but it is a word echoed by everyone every day. Hence, the victory of the revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Syria, Bahrain, Algeria and others depends on building a popular solidarity movement that is not limited to the Arab street. The whole region, the reality of Iran and Pakistan and others is not different from the reality of the Arab countries, for example, «the current popular among Pakistani university students is« coup (revolution) of Egypt »(Riaz Ahmad, Pakistan).
The attempts of both the eighth and the 14th of March to say that the revolution in Egypt is an extension of the cedar revolution or a victory for the forces of resistance, this is nothing but a heretical political heresy that is intended only to employ the revolutions of the Egyptian and Tunisian people in narrow sectarian interests and in their regional and international relations. March will stand for example with the revolution in Saudi Arabia (except on the basis of opportunistic) and the March 8 team will stand by the revolution in Iran or Syria – because both teams end up in the borders of the system and regional bourgeois balances. These revolutions were not funded by foreign embassies and were not a review of sectarianism and sectarianism. They were at the core of the ruling class, against the official opposition, and it was a revolution of a people whose people made speeches and came from the throats of fighters and fighters, not from the expensive sound systems, Hotels and palaces, they even came from the streets, came from the people.
Support for the revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere coincides with the issue of revolutionary building in Lebanon. Today, the equation becomes clearer. There are people who seek freedom, social justice, freedom from the regimes of oppression and occupation. There are regimes of greedy capitalist dictatorship, which move between a microscopic ally and a timid ally of American imperialism. These revolutions will push these regimes to the bloc to confront the revolutionary wave that is sweeping its streets to unite and solidarity in order to confront and overthrow these regimes.
The success of the revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Syria and others paves the way for the development of a revolution in Lebanon that will rise up against the existing bourgeois class sectarian system. So, as we are keen on change in Lebanon, we are keen to rally support for revolutions that are expanding day by day and moving from country to country.
On the left as a whole, join today and not tomorrow to the revolutionary path of the people and cut with the logic of Esperance and ask for mercy from the rulers, the language of the masses and the street, which the traditional left always wanted to isolate from the political language and his speech returned today to the forefront of the political arena. So, he has to choose: either with the street and the people or with the regime and the ruling gangs! No place anymore for frequency and moderation.
As Gaddafi’s brutal regime collapses … don’t let West hijack the Arab Spring
The intervention of the Western powers is a real threat to the Arab revolutions. It allows the dictators to pose as defenders of national independence. In fact it is the dictators, who have relied on the West’s support for decades, who ensure the grip of imperialism.
There will be some who argue we need Western support to win. But the West is not interested in winning revolutions. It is pursuing specific economic and strategic interests. Neither Nato nor its planes can bring liberation. The only way to win real freedom and democracy is by our own hand – solidarity within the Arab revolutions.
Anti-imperialism is in the fabric of the Arab political movements. We cannot separate the fight for democratic freedoms from the struggle to defeat imperialism. What the imperialists want, and there are forces among the Libyan rebels who agree, is to sustain the system with a different face. But it’s important to see that the fall of Gaddafi might also radicalise other revolutionary struggles. It will have an impact in the Gulf states.
In Libya it’s too early to judge if all the people will welcome NATO with open arms. At the start of revolutions people unite in wide coalitions, but once the dictators fall contradictions will come to the surface. But the decisive factor is the process in Egypt. It is the most powerful movement in the region and what happens there shapes all the struggles across the region. We are still just at the beginning of the revolutionary process, and these are just the first small steps.
The Egyptian revolution, its continuity and its effects on the Arab street January 2012
A year before the start of the Arab revolutions, a year ago and this intifada has not subsided yet, rising and falling, expanding and receding, but it continues. This continuity confirms to us the fundamental thing that the revolution is not a point in time that begins and ends after the fall of a dictator or the fulfilment of some demands, but it is a process, a revolutionary process that leads to contradictions to the surface of political, social and economic reality, and this process sparks different kinds of conflicts. There is also a process of social transformations at the level of awareness, political fabric and the level of balance of power.
It is on this basis that we must understand this revolutionary transformation and its different paths, and the question of its spread and its impact on the Arab region and the world as well. When the Egyptian masses began their struggle with the regime, these masses not only changed their local reality, but also launched a transformation valve at the Arab, regional and even global level.
For at least a year, the stereotype of the Arab world has been that these Arab peoples hate democracy, are backward, populated by reaction and terrorism, and need to be saved because they do not want to save themselves. This is the basic argument by which they justified. This is the argument used by the Zionist authority in order to convince the world public opinion of its crimes, murder and destruction against the Palestinian people in particular and the Arab peoples in general. In this sense, Zionism adopts itself as the only arena for democracy and freedom in the Middle East.
But as the Arab masses went out into the vast arena of political and social conflict, all these arguments seemed to be falling. It was clear that world public opinion was beginning to look beyond what its rulers were saying about the Arab peoples, so we heard from Wisconsin the demonstrators chanting slogans launched by the Arab revolution, and in Britain from the slums we heard how young people say: “They did it in Syria and in Egypt, why do not we do it.”
Hence, our view of the issue of Arab revolutions can not be limited to some of the political equations imposed by the existing dictatorships such as between March 14 and March 8 in Lebanon or between the regimes of “resistance” and moderate at the level of the region, the fundamental issue posed by these revolutions that the equation changed, today It is not a matter of choosing which repressive regime we want; it is a choice between the alignment of the masses or regimes and nowhere between them.
This is the most visible effect on the Arab arena, of course there are opportunists, and there are forces that want to undermine this revolutionary process and course, and this is normal in any revolutionary reality, but we are revolutionary Kisaris. We have to ask ourselves the question: Who put our trust in the momentum of the masses? Or some reactionary forces that want to ride the train of revolution? Or the regimes and their lies and hypocrisy?
Therefore, the victory of an Arab people for its regime and its completion in its march for the success of the revolution is actually an act that ensures the continuation and development of the revolutionary movement in other parts of the Arab region, and the solidarity of these peoples among them is what saves them from attacks from existing regimes.
Foreign intervention, and constitute the basis on which to base it to counter the counter-revolutions that build itself today through the legitimacy of money and international relations, and organizational capacity, and here also raises another question, what is the legitimacy? Is it the legitimacy of the mass movement and its revolutionary efforts, or is it the legitimacy of the ability of some parties, organizationally, financially and systematically, to control the election results?
Analysis: Syria’s rebels organise despite brutal repression
Recent defections from Bashar al-Assad’s government show that it is crumbling. It can only hang on by brutally crushing the popular uprising. Sections of the mass movement have been forced to take up arms in response to the regime’s relentless attacks. The real issue is the survival of the movement itself. The revolution is very open — it does not have a centralised leadership. In many ways this is a strength as it makes it harder for the regime to target.
Those opposing Assad on the ground in Syria are not acting under the mandate of outside forces. International powers have been trying to intervene but the revolution has not been hijacked. We have to stand with the revolution against the regime and at same time stand against international intervention.
The revolt is developing from below. Local Coordinating Committees continue to organise despite facing shelling and the threat of regime spies. Mass demonstrations still happen. Often they are symbolic, keeping political activity going in neighbourhoods won to revolution. Here there is a level of self-organisation of daily life creating a sense of an alternative. Leadership is emerging organically out of struggle. In some villages women have been organising solidarity sit-ins for those who have been detained by the regime. People make neighbourhoods secure, doctors organise in hospitals, committees develop to look after food, to care for refugees and so on.
It looks different to the revolution in Egypt, where some important political breakthroughs took place before the revolution started. The working class had already gained some experience and the roots of organisation. But in Syria there has been an absence of politics for 40 years in reality. Now many workers are part of this uprising, but not on the demonstrations in organised blocks.
The fight is not easy but new political forces are coming through. There is a strong sense of solidarity across borders, people feel connected by these historic struggles against their rulers.
The West’s war will weaken Syria’s revolution September 2013
Since news broke of a possible US strike on Syria the overwhelming mood in the region has been an escalation of fear. Thousands of Syrians fled towards the Lebanese border, while in Lebanon people were preparing for the worst.  The vision of a US strike on Syria as a liberators breath probably only occurred to a tiny minority of people. It could only appeal to people who can easily escape the repercussions or who are so desperate that they welcome any change.
First an attack will be disastrous for the people of Syria. It undermines the development of the revolution that offers real hope. There is no such thing as a “surgical strike”. The US administration’s claim that it will punish the regime without also hurting millions of people in Syria and across the region is a fiction. In reality a US strike is most likely to strengthen Assad. Alternatively, if the West is determined to bring him down, it will have to destroy most of Syria.
In the first scenario, Assad would be able to continue his murderous actions against the Syrian population while posing as an anti-imperialist hero. This would further isolate the Syrian Revolution. Already some people who supported the revolution are turning back to the regime under the pretext that it must be defended from the US.
We have seen what it means when the US decides to “depose a dictator” in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Libya. Even if the Americans succeed, they will also have destroyed all the structures and the networks built by the Syrian revolutionaries during their struggle against the regime. All the experience of self-organisation, all the democratic processes put in place by the active masses, all the political developments within them — all of these will be destroyed.
That will leave an empty space for opportunist forces, the proxies of al-Qaeda and the regressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to take on the leading role. In both scenarios, the US attack will first and foremost damage the Syrian Revolution. Moreover it will be a pretext for the regime’s allies in the region to rescue it by widening the circle of war.
Lebanon’s leaders could submerge it in yet another war to escape the rising popular resentment against Hezbollah sending fighters to bolster Assad in Syria. It would silence local support for the Syrian Revolution under the slogan of “national discipline” against imperialism. Already the violence is spreading. Just last week Lebanon witnessed car bombs in densely populated neighbourhoods of both Beirut and Tripoli. The idea that revolutions are won by some swift action that disposes of a regime and builds another is a fiction.
Regimes are not simply structures balanced somewhere in some capital, that can be simply got rid of or taken over: they are a complex web of relations of interests among those on the top of society. They continuously adapt their roles and the agencies of economy and thought and politics to benefit changing situations. And they have the money and the knowledge to do so.
That is why revolutions are not about simply deposing a dictator or a military council or a corrupt president, however integral and necessary those actions may be. They are also about sparking a process of mass transformation and of self-education and confidence within the masses. This develops through their continuous movement and struggle for change. It emerges from the factory of ideas set up by the revolutionary process, as alternative structures and agencies of resistance and of self-organisation are erected.
In time this process forms the dual power that can truly defy the existing order. That is when the system can be brought down to open the space for a true mass transformation of society towards a better future. These processes must take place, even with dangerous setbacks. As has happened in Egypt such setbacks can be an important space to polarise people to a revolutionary position. They can filter out those elements who are willing to compromise with the ruling order at the first opportunity.
Moreover, observers often exaggerate the depth of these setbacks. The roots of the revolutions we are seeing are not simply a result of political conflict. At their base are contradictions between the immense socio-economic developments happening at the base of Arab society and the existing superstructure and the political order.
These contradictions are far from disappearing. In Egypt, Syria, Bahrain or wherever, revolutionaries remind people of these contradictions and the necessity to push the revolutionary process forward. They argue for the importance of giving time for these agencies and structures of resistance to develop and to support them. They can never, never fall to despair and call for foreign intervention or to side with one side of the ruling class against the other.
The first and foremost task is to support the masses as they develop their own potential to achieve change through their own collective action. This can never be achieved by substituting for their movement with some surgical actions, whether a coup or a swift strike.
The Mechanistic Left and Revolution July 2014
There is a huge difference between movement from the area of “mass action” and their actual movement in demonstrations, strikes and sit-ins — as happened in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain and elsewhere — which by their very nature are a political space for political action. If not a highly organized, armed, move in a purely military and repressive path, and push its daily movement of mass action to the margin, but shrink it and constrain its ability to organize and political action.
This is what the mechanistic left does not understand. Even if both movements exist in one revolutionary historical process, as we do today, this does not mean that they both express the same “revolution”; they may even be the opposite of those existing in the area of the historical conflict. “Revolution” and “counterrevolution”!
Class and class contradictions are objective, not “political” in the historical course, ie, these conditions exist materially and effectively, while the political movement is a “subjective expression” of a class position of existing contradictions, namely the movement of groups, individuals, parties and masses trying to “express “About the same reality. The fact that material reality is the same, does not mean that every political movement in society is expressed by the revolution, or even express it directly or correctly!
Therefore, the revolution is not the physical reality in which the revolution and the counter revolution take place; rather, the social and class contradictions are the material reality. The revolution is one of the movements that exist in that reality, but it is not the only one. There are also anti-revolutionary movements, in addition to the regime and the ruling bourgeoisie. Therefore, not every movement of the counterrevolution implies a broader movement of revolutionary movement. Sometimes, the counterrevolution is unique in expression and the revolution retreats for a variety of reasons.
Is it a hallucination of any act hostile to the regime, regardless of the policy of this act? Or the distribution of revolutionary legitimacy to every movement against the regime regardless of its class, intellectual and ideological position? Of course not, in this sense, both Nazism and the German revolutionary knows movement in the early part of the last century become two parts of a single revolution! Or that Sisi is from the same revolutionary fabric of the revolutionary mass movement in Egypt! Or as the mechanic left today tries to promote it, that a preacher has benefited from the contradictions and anger that exist in the path of authoritarian, extremist and sectarian, and this implies that there is a revolution to bear!
This is the current trend of the Shabawi, which historically contributed to the destruction of the revolutionary movement, such as turning the eyes of the German left on the rise of Nazism, which led to Hitler’s rule, and the eye and the humiliation of the Stalinist left of the Sisi in Egypt led to his rise to power and the beginning of his fascist struggle against the forces of the actual revolution , Or what the Lebanese Stalinist left in the civil war and handing over the leadership of the movement to the “national” sectarian bourgeoisie, Coled Jumblatt, Nabih Berri and others, which undermined the labor and leftist movement and the wider consolidation of bourgeois ideology and order.
The most important task today is to move away from populist chatter and to work on building the revolutionary organization and equip it politically, intellectually and practically to confront the reality we are living and prepare for the existing confrontations, not to transform the working class into masses of reactionaries and the petty bourgeoisie,
The Arab revolutions mix despair and hope June 2014
Only in the most mechanical understanding of history do relations of oppression and exploitation automatically translate into revolution. Having said that, it is important for socialists to look objectively at the current twists and turns of the revolutionary process. This is not just to feed intellectual curiosity, but more importantly to understand how revolutionary politics can adapt and push forward in such difficult times.
So it is important to understand recent events in the Middle East — especially Iraq — in a wider context. In Tunisia, where the Arab revolutions began, we have seen the introduction of a new constitution. This guarantees important democratic rights, but it hasn’t radically changed the nature of the state. In Egypt, president Mohamed Mursi was deposed following mass protests, but this movement was hijacked with a coup d’état by the military council. The shift was confirmed in the recent election of military leader Abdel Fatah el-Sisi as president. In Syria, Bashar al-Assad’s regime has built on support from Iran and Russia, and the heavy deployment of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon. This has stabilised it enough to solidify its power in the recent rigged elections.
Iraq witnessed mass protests in 2012 and 2013 in several Sunni-dominated regions. They were supported by various Shia figures including Moqtada al-Sadr — against the sectarian politics of Nouri al-Maliki. They faced heavy repression, which halted the popular movement. Heavy repression that was directed against protesters in Bahrain has considerably limited the movement’s momentum. These events signal a rise in the counter-revolutionary wave sweeping across the region. Admitting such facts does not negate the revolutionary process. Quite the contrary, it takes it away from the realm of fantasy towards the domain of reality.
In this light, the recent events in Iraq are not, as many wish them to be, an upsurge in revolutionary politics. They sadly mark a deviation towards more regressive and sectarian politics. And it is important to state that overwhelming dissatisfaction does not by its mere existence translate into a revolution, or an uprising. It can also become a breeding ground for sectarian and counter-revolutionary politics. This is most true in the absence of a unified popular movement, and more importantly, of an organised revolutionary party.
That is why the most important task right now for socialists and revolutionaries across the Arab region is to get organised. We have to work tirelessly in winning sections of the working class away from defeatist, opportunist and sectarian ideas. If these are left uncontested, they could lead to the disillusionment of workers into regressive and sectarian politics.
The revolutionary conditions and contradictions within Arab societies that led to the first waves of revolutionary upsurges from 2011 are far from being resolved. But history does not progress in a straight line. Admitting the existence of the current downturn will allow us to be prepared and organised for coming struggles in the future. And that is why it is crucial to avoid two traps. We must not negate the revolutionary processes, as many on the Stalinist and nationalist left have done by surrendering their souls to the ruling classes. On the other hand, we cannot afford to be taken up by a euphoric fantasy of wishful thinking and dreadful populism. Either fault will foster the political conditions that favour counter-revolutionary despair.
We have a long and difficult task ahead. It is not enough to only produce the correct politics. We need to be able to build a true revolutionary party that can transmit hope among the working masses. We need the capacity and ability to fight the ruling order, and at the same time to fend off the regressive currents within society. We need a revolutionary party that can win the confidence of the people, and be ready to conduct the struggle to the end.