[Debate] Joshua Stacher, "How Egypt's Army Won"
critical.montages at gmail.com
Tue Jul 3 16:52:14 BST 2012
The MB-SCAF pact will be profitable for both, and both will prosper at
the expense of secular democrat intellectuals, workers, and peasants
over the medium term.
In the short term, the SCAF will have the upper hand, but in the
medium term, over the next several decades, the MB will be able to
execute their passive revolution much the way the AKP and the Gulen
movement have done in Turkey.
Socially and economically, however, Egypt's will be much more of
lumpen development than Turkey's. As Samir Amin noted early in the
Jan25 process, it will be more like the Pakistani model than the
Turkish model in this respect:
Secular democrat intellectuals in Egypt seem to have no idea how to
resist either the MB or the SCAF, let alone both. Few of them have
ideological resources beyond liberalism. They don't cohere either.
On Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM, peter waterman
<peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com> wrote:
> If the Muslim Brotherhood is thus discredited, might this not itself of
> value to democratic secular forces?
> We are all of us attracted to the 'In one mighty leap Tarzan was free'
> notion of revolution. This, historically, is not the case, either in France,
> Russia, China, Cuba or South Africa.
> The SWP (UK) slogan, 'One Solution, Revolution!' fails to recognise that the
> revolution is more of a problem than a solution.
> This does not, clearly, imply that 'the more things change, the more they
> remain the same'. I would have thought that we must think of uprisings as
> providing new learning experiences from which radical-democratic movements
> must learn. Next time, in Egypt, I doubt whether anyone is going to chant
> slogans of praise to the armed forces.
> On Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 5:08 PM, Yoshie Furuhashi
> <critical.montages at gmail.com> wrote:
>> June 29, 2012
>> How Egypt’s Army Won
>> By JOSHUA STACHER
>> JUBILANT chants echoed far beyond Tahrir Square when the Muslim
>> Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi, was confirmed as Egypt’s first
>> civilian president last week. Mr. Morsi’s election was lauded across
>> the globe, and many are hailing today’s “transfer” of power as a
>> triumph for democracy.
>> But there is little reason for celebration. In this latest grand
>> spectacle manufactured by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the
>> generals symbolically respected the people’s choice while using the
>> election to further entrench their unaccountable political autonomy.
>> In February 2011, most analysts assumed that Mr. Mubarak’s government
>> had collapsed. They were wrong. The regime never changed. It was
>> reconfigured. The underlying centralized structures of the system that
>> the military council inherited from Mr. Mubarak persist, and the
>> generals have sought to preserve them. The recent election was just
>> the latest attempt to formalize the generals’ executive authority
>> while winning public legitimacy.
>> The military council exemplifies the highly adaptive quality of
>> Egypt’s governing elite. Egypt’s senior generals have remade the
>> ruling coalition by using centralized authority to neutralize newly
>> included political forces and divide the increasingly marginalized
>> protesters. In the process, the military has effectively prevented all
>> groups from resisting its encroachment as a fourth estate.
>> This was possible because the state’s apparatus, while disrupted, held
>> after Mr. Mubarak’s departure. The hierarchy within the vast and
>> largely cohesive state bureaucracy resumed functioning as the effect
>> of the protests subsided. The state media began accusing protesters of
>> causing chaos, scaring tourists and being agents of foreign elements.
>> The demands of workers, women and Coptic Christians were dismissed as
>> special interests of secondary importance.
>> The security services were re-branded, and successive courtroom
>> acquittals gave them a guarantee that their repression of fellow
>> Egyptians would have no legal ramifications. As time passed, the
>> post-Mubarak regime began to look and act like its predecessor.
>> Buttressed by the machinery of the state, the military then sought
>> allies to contain the power of future protests. High electoral drama
>> has produced what political scientists call a “pact making” exercise.
>> Egyptians have gone to the polls five times since March 2011. Rather
>> than elections’ producing real choices, though, the military has used
>> them to create an environment in which it can negotiate a pact with
>> the winners. And the Muslim Brotherhood, which is trying to gain a
>> lasting foothold in the system, has willingly participated. Yet it
>> remains a comparatively weak actor, forced to compete on the
>> military’s uneven playing field.
>> The Brotherhood has long been skeptical of popular mobilization,
>> making it a useful accomplice to the military’s efforts to consolidate
>> power. Despite some Brotherhood members’ condemnation of the
>> military’s recent maneuvers as a “coup,” protest politics has become
>> more complicated now that one of their own occupies the presidency.
>> The Muslim Brothers will have a hard time persuading others that they
>> are still an opposition force. Indeed, any Brotherhood members who
>> flock to Tahrir Square are now tacitly resisting their president.
>> In a sign of continuity, Mr. Morsi has met with the interior minister
>> and pledged not to purge that despised ministry or seek revenge
>> against it. Consequently, the Muslim Brothers have become invested in
>> a centralized state that blocks the clamor for change from below.
>> Given this political structure, Mr. Morsi isn’t likely to be able to
>> resist the generals’ ultimatums in the short-term.
>> Mr. Morsi’s control of any of the national security portfolios is
>> unlikely. It remains unclear whether the disbanded parliament will be
>> reinstated or when a new one might be elected. The military has laid
>> mines in the constitution-drafting process, threatening to exercise
>> its veto at every turn. This traps the Brotherhood between street
>> protesters and the generals, with few good options.
>> The protesters can’t seriously pressure the army into transferring
>> actual political power without cooperating with the Brotherhood. And
>> although the protesters won’t disappear, the Brotherhood is unlikely
>> to cooperate closely with them. Mr. Morsi is more likely to attend to
>> Egypt’s ailing economy and save political battles with the generals
>> for another day. In the process, the unaccountable military will be
>> able to better ingrain itself politically while the democratically
>> elected Mr. Morsi becomes the object of popular blame for the
>> country’s economic ills and political gridlock.
>> The military checkmated Mr. Morsi before he was crowned. Egypt’s
>> leading generals had a long-game strategy to capture control and they
>> have emerged as the election’s actual victors because they are poised
>> to remain in charge of the country for the foreseeable future.
>> Joshua Stacher, an assistant professor of political science at Kent
>> State, is the author of “Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt
>> and Syria.”
>> Yoshie Furuhashi
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