Friday, August 16, 2013

Protest or Vote

The recent coup by the army and the ensuing massacres show that Egyptians are still struggling with the same challenges of injustice and inequality that pushed people to overthrow Mr. Mubarak.

The defining chant of the 2011 protests – bread, freedom, and social justice – showed that what Egyptians wanted wasn't just free elections, but a government that would address the entrenched issues that were pushing the country down. The rulers who came after Mubarak never solved those problems and cannot.

They never attempted to reform police and create security forces that could protect people without the rampant abuse and torture that exists now. They ignored the civil strife that is deepening in dangerous ways, failing to protect Egypt's minorities. They didn't address the inequality and growing economic crisis leaving millions of Egyptians without jobs and options.

The mass street protests duels represent a battle over how to define democratic legitimacy in the new Egypt. Some insist that the fundamental basis of democracy, or power by the people, is the street. But others see such protests as having overthrown the ballot box as much as Sisi’s military have.

June 30th protests brought millions of Egyptians to the street to protest Morsi’s excesses of power, his failure to engage other political factions in a meaningful way, and his inability to make headway on the considerable problems he inherited when he took office a year earlier with 51 percent of the vote. A coup is a coup regardless of its level of popularity. After the coup, Muslim Brotherhood supporters went to the streets to insist that Morsi be reinstated as the legitimately elected leader of the country. “They took our voting rights away” was the claim.

We may be viewed as cynics but the slaughter of the Muslim Brotherhood followers may be seen as the bloody dress rehearsal for the future liquidation of  workers struggling for democracy by the army.

See the Socialist Standard here 

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