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Unrest Is not Revolution

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Maybe it's just plain ignorance. Maybe it's deliberately calculated to hoodwink the uninformed and gullible. When the oppressed people of Tunisia and Egypt staged a series of mass uprisings calling for change and more democracy the Western Media said that these were revolutions. And the constant use of a word that hitherto sparked derision and scorn, especially from the Right Wing of the political spectrum, has been sanitized, dusted off and cleaned up, to give it a new-look, 21st century packaging.

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Unchallenged and unchecked even people who should know better -- progressives and members of the liberal intelligencia -- have all embraced this description of the Egyptian uprising tripping over themselves in arguing that what happened in Cairo and to a lesser extent other cities in Egypt was in fact a Revolution.

 

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Suddenly, every demonstration, mass protest or public unrest is deemed a revolution and the new buzz word is "the Arab Revolution." But such broad and infantile characterizations are simplistic, designed to confuse people and have no bearing in the science behind a revolution. True, the Arab Middle East is in a simmering and boiling political crisis driven by a people fed up over years of oppression by the ruling elites and an Arab bourgeoisie taking their orders from power centers in Washington, London and Europe.

 

However, what is taking place in these countries is mass unrest on the ground and in the case of Libya a fledgling armed insurrection. What is happening in the Arab Middle East is no revolution. Let me deal with Egypt for starters.

 

First, the unrest was sparked by people simply fed up with the dictatorial rule of Hosni Mubarak and his cronies. From day one the demand was the removal of a hated political leader and not a radical, deep-going change of Egyptian society as required by a genuine revolution. Today, the Egyptian people have simply changed their oppressor. The Egyptian army is as much a creation of Mubarak as is the dreaded secret police apparatus. The army understood that by ringing the square and containing and controlling the movement of the people it could direct the course of events.

 

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In this context the army, foolishly believed to be the ally of the masses, did not have to fire on the crowds or choose sides. By taking power the army is going to make sure that it governs Egypt with the Mubarak playbook with some adjustments, a tinker here and there, a compromise now and then, and whenever expedient serve up a sacrificial lamb to placate and appease the people. The army has the guns, tanks and warplanes. The Egyptian masses have their loud voices, angry rhetoric and no understanding of what revolution and democracy are. The army's political tactics are designed to retard a genuine working class uprising BEFORE it turns into a genuine people's revolution. Egypt is a revolution deferred.

 

There is also another critical dimension in the political requirement for revolution to succeed that is missing in ALL of the crisis centers in the Arab world -- the absence of a truly mass vanguard political party that is able to articulate the demands of the people and is trusted by the mass of people. The sporadic unplanned nature of all of the unrest is events that are simply the reaction and gut feelings of people on the street. Ideologically, this mix of poor, unemployed people, out of work white collar workers, youths and students bring varying and dissimilar class positions to the struggle and are motivated by very different political and social stimuli.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)
 

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