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Saturday, April 9, 2011

WE ARE ALL EGYPTIANS NOW



This essay is based on the keynote address of Sharif Kouddous of Democracy Now at the 2011 annual Peace Works convention of the Rachel Corrie Foundation. The event was appropriately titled Solidarity in Action.




It has been said many times that the Egyptian Revolution provides lessons for those of us struggling to restore democracy in the United States. Unfortunately. many of these lessons remain unrecognized and therefore unarticulated. Among these is the importance of international solidarity between and among various interest groups involved in the building of a national front against the totalitarian Mubarak regime.


Egyptian organizers are now organizing against the threat of foreign-influenced military repression. They are trying to prevent the rise of a new pseudo-democratic regime built in part on the remnants of Mubarak’s National “Democratic” Party. The problems they are facing are intimately related to the problem of restoring democracy in the United States because the corporate forces they are fighting are the same that are directing the assault on American workers. It is therefore important to understand why America must do what it can to support the Egyptian Revolution if it wants to succeed in its own.


Kouddous is a former senior producer for Democracy Now and now a foreign correspondent for that news organization. He is a native Egyptian who was fascinated by the sudden emergence of a democratic movement in his home country. He decided to become a correspondent when his brother, a man who had never been involved in politics, called him to tell him that he was committing himself to the revolution that had just broken out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. He told us that this would have been unthinkable just weeks before the January 26 occupation of the Square that became a symbol for the hope of democracy in a region ruled by puppets of western governments. No one outside those involved in its planning anticipated that the protests in Tunisia would  ignite a fire in the Muslim world that would lead to the overthrow of Mubarak. Those caught by surprise included the CIA, which was caught flat-footed.


The events in Cairo are a perfect illustration of how Soldiers For Peace is attempting to help organize an international front against fascism and war. The uprising was prepared with the logistical and moral support of people and organizations from many nations. It was an anarchical movement in that it had no identifiable leaders. Everyone contributed their ideas and efforts as individuals and members of organizations to the larger cause of freedom.  Advance planning was broad in scope but no one was asked to commit to a specific strategy, only to the essential principle of nonviolent resistance. Tactics were developed  by individuals and groups who had took the initiative to adapt the overall strategy  to rapidly unfolding events.Thus, the Egyptian revolutionaries are true Soldiers For Peace.


What most citizens of the US  have yet to recognize is that the totalitarian regimes propped up by the Anglo-American fascist governments and their allies were put in place as part of a larger strategy to impose a fascist New World order on the backs of the workers of the world. This is the ultimate aim of the international corporate terrorists whose imperial ambitions can only be stopped by the collective power of a world united against them.  The uprising in the Muslim world has reminded us of the power of nonviolent resistance by the Peoples of a nation. As in Egypt, unions in nations where they exist must unite to form the backbone of an international front against war and fascism.  


The western press has described the Egyptian revolution as a home-grown effort. This may stir pride in the hearts of Egyptians, but it is neither entirely accurate nor helpful to the cause of Egyptian freedom fighters to promote this image. In portraying the movement as unique among the democracy movements in the Muslim world, the corporate media reassures the anxious American citizen that it is not the beginning of a movement affecting all of Islam nor a sign that a world revolution has begun. It  is the job of every American to awaken their fellow citizens to the fact that the struggle of Egyptians is the same cause in which all must engage in order to assure the rights of all workers in the world who are under assault by corporate forces we can only defeat together.  


Until the alternative media consistently makes the case that this is the task before us, average Americans will go along their business secure in the belief that "it can’t happen here."  We must awaken them to the fact that such a revolution must occur in the US if it is ever to become a force for liberty and justice for all in there and in the world. Until most Americans realize that the revolution must also be fought in their own nation, they will continue to fight among themselves in what amounts to a civil war.  This serves only the interests of  the international corporate terrorists who control the US government. If the people of the US do not unite in the common cause of freedom, those who covet only wealth and power will continue to tighten their grip on them in its quest for world domination. Fortunately, the fascists leading the assault on American workers do not seem to realize that in doing so they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.


Americans have little in the way of the shared identity enjoyed by Egyptians, whose civilization dominated the known world millennia before the American experiment in democracy began just 236 years ago. It is this sense of shared history and destiny that has allowed these long-suffering patriots to understand that a greater Egypt can be created only by forging the new government in the fires of democratic revolution. The people of the United States must find their own common  identity by fully understanding the history of its own incomplete democratic revolution. If the people of the United States abandon the myth of American exceptionalism they become part of the Egyptian revolt against fascism and war. They must learn to view American history through the wider lens of world history. The American story since WWII is less that of its people than it is the story of the corporate powers that have seized the control of their government.


The Western press is fascinated by the use of social media to create the united front against the corrupt totalitarian rule of Mubarak. This has understandably led to the belief that it was the youth of Egypt who led the Revolution. While young Egyptians clearly played a critical role in sparking the revolution, it could not have succeeded to the point it has without unions playing a role. Kouddous argued that unions in Egypt had been carrying out a lonely struggle for the rights of workers for decades prior to the uprising in Tahrir Square.  The struggle of unions in Egypt was a necessary prerequisite to the change in the collective consciousness of Egyptians to one in which freedom seemed more than a dream. Egyptians came to understand that in union there is the strength to determine their own national destiny.  Now Americans  must join them in their struggle to ensure that they will prevail in their own.


Unlike the American revolutionaries,  Egyptians chose not to fight force with force. Realizing that in the modern era this would have allowed foreign intervention that would have undermined their cause, they are following a strategy of  nonviolent resistance. In the face of attacks by mercenaries of the regime and murderous gunfire directed against them, their unity and determination became an example for all Peoples struggling against oppression and injustice. When hundreds fell, thousand poured in to stand beside the fallen. In their common struggle, women were treated as equals by men. Coptic Christians stood guard for Muslims as they prayed prostrate to the one God both worshipped. Muslims did the same for their Christian brothers and sisters when they turned their eyes away from the guns and toward the heavens where they believed that God smiled on their fight for freedom and justice.


The Egyptian revolution will not be complete until the senior officers in the Egyptian military realize that they themselves will not be truly free as long as they oblige the Anglo-American and Zionist patrons who maintain their power and privilege. They must bow before the will of the People if Egypt is to realize its destiny.  In their hands lies the power to determine whether Egypt will  become a leader in a free Muslim world and Insha'Allah, a world free forever of the threat of fascism and war. Only by allowing a Constitution that assures the rights of people of all faiths and all political beliefs can they become the true guardians of the People that they claim to be.


In the same way, the people of the United States must realize that only through Constitutional change can their government become a true democracy. The international corporate terrorists who control the US government can only be removed from power over the people of the United States when they recognize that love of freedom is the tie that binds them. Working together, those who have allowed them to be divided by senseless ideological rhetoric must find common cause in the cause of freedom. Only through a unified demand for the abolition of corporate personhood will assure that their government becomes for the first time one truly of, by and for all of the People. While any remain under the yoke of repression, none are truly free.

In order to form a more perfect union, the labor movement in the United States has to stand up as Egyptians did to demand democracy. If they use their organizing structure to lead a campaign for a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood, we may yet see democracy in America. International union brotherhood can create the international bonds that will unite the Peoples of the world. If they seize the opportunity unions can be the key to creating a united front against fascism in the US and the seemingly endless threat of war.  The stage would them be set to end to the plans of the corporatocracy to enslave us all in a fascist New World Order.

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