Following his analysis of the Tunisian situation Roy Ratcliffe sends this insightful, challenging and timely assessment of the fragile condition of the amazing, popular and pluralist uprising in Egypt. last night as I watched Mubarak’s speech I feared the orchestrated and violent backlash we are witnessing.
The spectacle of Mubarak on television, telling the Egyptians and his patrons, Israel and the USA, that he would continue in office, and prepare an orderly transition to democracy, shows the extent to which he (and his patrons) have failed to understand, the real dynamics of what is unfolding in the middle-east and elsewhere. They are so habituated to the subterranean world of politics and diplomacy, that they only recognise and value ‘democracy’ when it operates through their own preferred and corrupted systems. Over two millions on the street in orderly peaceful protest asking for what they want is not seen by the Egyptian political elite as an expression of democracy in action, whilst their rigged and ‘paid for’ elections results are. That other political regime, which buys election results with million pound television adds and campaigns of confusion and illusion in North America, slowly lumbered into gear. It first suggested to Mubarak, that he consider urgent democratic reforms. When it was pointed out to them that this had been the advice offered to him by his own people, and others, for many years, they changed their suggestion to him as ‘overseeing an orderly transition’ to democracy. From this lethargic and self-serving US response, we can gather that peaceful ‘regime change’ by the people in Egypt, is seen by the US elite as a disorderly transition, while violent ‘regime changes’ in Iraq and Afghanistan, by a US-led armed invasion are seen as orderly ones. However, after a week-long diplomatic consultation and international covert communication, Mubarak finally ‘on message’, duly obliged and broadcast his intention to stay in control, on Tuesday 1st February.
Later here he suggests:
Mubarak, by his refusal to step down, has ensured there cannot now be an orderly transition. This decision means that the citizens uprising must face two opposed alternatives or muddle an alternative between them. First, they can simply trust these decades-old Mubarak promises, give up their demands for immediate change and return home to the general circumstances, which fuelled the uprising in the first place. However, if they do so there will be two additional problems. First, he may simply change his mind again. Second, a decision to give up and disband in this way will invite a reactionary retaliation, in which all the oppressive state and thug forces, now partially dormant and waiting in the wings, will be reactivated, to ensure, whatever political system follows, will not be influenced by the mass of citizens on the street. With or without his actual presence, a pro-Mubarak, re-invigorated police force, supported by fascistic irregulars will move increasingly into action. See below. If successful they will arrest, beat and torture uprising ring-leaders and anyone disliked will be picked off, slowly or quickly as conditions allow, until the population is once more cowed into submission. In such circumstances, many people will be forced to fight back in self-defence and so the situation, will be far from peaceful.
Read the whole piece Millions Mobilise as Murbarak Manoeuvres.