November 28, 2014

The Socialist Roots Of The Egyptian Protests

Posted on January 29, 2011 by in Articles

Police-Day-Mubarak-Egypt-25Jan2011-C_0Having been involved in the genesis of a well-known protest, I know how everyone, including the media, gets the facts wrong when they try to ascertain the reason such events occur. The media won’t ever pay the real movers and shakers of protests any notice because they don’t know who any of them are. They need comfy, famous names and faces to do part of their job for them. It’s been almost 2 years after the Tea Party Movement started and our own media still doesn’t know who started it, and in most cases, they still don’t know why!

On the morning of January 28th, 2011, 3 days after the first day of the Egyptian protests, I was reading through the #Jan25 hashtag stream on Twitter, and I noticed that most of the foreign tweets were in Arabic. No big deal… my browser has a “translate this page” feature, just click and voilà, the entire page is translated. The problem is, I started noticing that many of the Arabic #Jan25 tweets were using phrases that sounded like Karl Marx fanboys passing socialist love notes back and forth to one another in class. Since we at The Graph focus on combating the worldview of neo-Marxists, it’s easy for us to spot Marxist propaganda. So, I put on my grassroots protester hat and started digging in the social web streams, because that’s where grassroots protesters work their magic.

In America, people are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood are involved in the origination of these protests. In many tweets from Egyptians/Arabs in the #Jan25 stream people were very adamant about the Muslim Brotherhood not being the group responsible for the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood sounds like the Tea Party Express of the Egyptian protests – the western mainstream media is incorrectly attributing them for something they didn’t create.

I found no tweets in the #Jan25 hashtag stream espousing Islamic extremism. However, most Egyptians still link Sharia with justice.

These Egyptian grassroots political activists, most of them socialist/Marxist/unionist, used the momentum of the recent “revolution” in Tunisia to kick-off their January 25th protests. But who was behind the protests in Tunisia? Were the same people responsible there? If you look at the people who were appointed to the new Tunisian government, that should be obvious. Socialists. In the first post-Ben Ali government, the following new people were initially selected to serve as part of a 17 member cabinet. The other members were pre-existing members from the old regime:

  • Mustapha Ben Jafar from the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties – This party is an advisory member of the Socialist International and is a coalition member with the Communist Party of Tunisian Workers
  • Ahmed Ibrahim of the Movement Ettajdid – A socialist party originally known as the Tunisian Communist Party
  • Ahmed Najib Chebbi of the Progressive Democratic Party – This party was formerly known as the Progressive Socialist Rally
  • And 3 members of the Tunisian General Labour Union – This group is part of the communist-created and global socialist organization, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). Seems the head of the AFL (now the AFL-CIO) was in a pissing match with the Soviets at the time, otherwise they’d all be part of the WFTU.

Are you seeing a pattern?

gigi ibrahim

Gigi Ibrahim

Once it was decided by the activists in Egypt that protests were a “go”, they presented idea that they should use the January 25th holiday of “Police Day” (ironic, eh?) to launch their protests in Egypt. The activists’ thinking, based on blogs and tweets, was that the police wouldn’t be very motivated to mobilize against their protests on their holiday. Many of the activists have said that they were taken by the momentum of this particular protest, because they’ve organized many in the past that were quick to fizzle out.

Some of the activists were interviewed on Al Jazeera saying that there was no official party or group control of the protest, but their affiliations were quickly evident when searching them online. Al Jazeera didn’t bother pointing out that these two activists, among those who have been placed front and center by the protesters, are self-described socialists too.

  • Gigi Ibrahim (pictured above left) – socialist activist, Egypt. She lists quotes from Marx among her favorite quotes on Facebook. She has also lived in Anaheim, CA.
  • Wael Khalil – socialist activist/blogger, Egypt

The BBC World Service also interviewed Ms. Ibrahim, but the BBC didn’t bother pointing out Gigi’s socialism either. If you listen to any of these activists speak, they’re all crying for “democracy”, which, in their case, is apparently synonymous with socialism. Sure, they all despise Hosni Mubarak, but they would’ve protested anyone who wasn’t a socialist in the aftermath of the Tunisian protesters’ success.

kamals

Kamal Khalil, director of the Center for Socialist Studies with Ghazl el-Mahalla labor activist Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi, during Socialist Days 2007. (Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy)

Here are some of the more well-known socialists groups involved in kicking off the January 25th protests (this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive as I’ve been trying to get up to speed on all this during the last 24 hours):

  • Kafya/Kefaya  – “The Egyptian Movement for Change” – Translated to English it means “enough”. It’s made up of socialists, Marxists, (seems ‘Change’ means the same to them as it did to Barack) secularists and Islamists. Some see this group as Mubarak’s primary opposition group.
  • Tagammu – “National Progressive Unionist Party” – a socialist political party in Egypt that rejects religious extremism.
  • Mahalla/April 6th – a large group of unionists/socialists and their youth supporters. They launched a massive strike on April 6th, 2008, in Mahalla, Egypt, now known as the April 6th Youth Movement. Two of the recognized leaders of this movement Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi and Tarek Amin are well-known socialists in Egypt. In between the April 6th, 2008 strike and the January 25th, 2011 protests, Kamal participated in Socialist Days 2009 in Cairo, Egypt as a speaker. Socialist Days 2009 is also where Chris Harman, a well-known socialist author, and Marxist propagandist, from the UK, died while lecturing.
  • The Center for Socialist Studies – an Egyptian group in Giza committed to bringing about “revolutionary socialism”. Led by director Kamal Khalil. The picture to the right is of Kamal Khalil and Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi (the leader of April 6th, mentioned above) at Socialist Days 2007. You can see the Center’s Twitter stream here.
  • Nasserites –  mainly Arab nationalism combined with socialism and secularism. Named after former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar. These supporters tended to be older in age and were in much smaller numbers at the protests, but their worldview is mostly consistent with their younger counterparts.

Another socialist activist, who was heavily involved in getting out the word via blogs and Twitter, said of this Kayfa ( one of the organizations mentioned above) member photographed below, “The best shot I took today.” The Kayfa sticker he’s holding probably says more about his leftist politics than Jihadi mayhem.

kafya.member

What do the protesters want? Well, originally, they wanted these demands met:

  • To raise the minimum wage limit to LE 1200 and to get an unemployment aid.
  • To cancel the emergency status in the country , to dismiss Habib El-Adly and to release all detainees without court orders. (this is in response to the alleged murder of Khaled Said)
  • Disbanding the current parliament , to have a new free election and to amend the constitution in order to have two presidential limits only.

Although, now that the violence has escalated, curfews have been implemented, and an Internet blackout was forced by the government, many protesters are calling for a complete and total regime change. Mubarak firing his existing cabinet is not enough for some.

Some of you might say, “But you’re the guy who started The Graph. You guys are anti-Marxist.” That’s true, but you don’t have to take my word for all the above. Take the word of socialist organizations from around the world (just a few of the many articles out there):

My takeaway from all this is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not been instrumental in this movement to date. The socialists involved in the January 25th uprising do not trust the Muslim Brotherhood politically because they see that group as beholden to Egyptian capitalism. However, the Brotherhood has money, powerful people who don’t mind engaging in murder, and years of organization on their side. If they want to co-opt this movement, they’ll be a force that the Egyptian neo-Marxists have to deal with.

Based on the people involved in the Tunisian movement, the April 6th Youth Movement/Mahalla Strike, and those involved in the creation of the January 25th protests, it’s clear that the current “revolution” in Africa has more to do with socialism than it does about Islamic fundamentalism, although the latter is playing a strong secondary role within some of the factions. Socialism has very deep roots in the Egypt and the Middle East going back to the era of Salama Moussa who wrote the first Arabic book on socialism in 1912 titled, “Al-Ishtirākiyya (The Socialism)”. Moussa also helped form Egypt’s Socialist Party (later to be renamed the Communist Party in 1923) in 1921 alongside the likes of foreigner Joseph Rosenthal.

It seems as if there’s no real alternative to dictators or socialist organizations in Egypt and many other countries in the Middle East. The better question to ask is, “Who isn’t a socialist in Egypt?” If you remove a dictator there, you’re bound to end up with some flavor of socialism as a result. Capitalism is evil to Islamic socialists because it’s of the Western non-believer. Socialism is allowed to flourish to a degree, but under dictators it’s mostly just a bone to throw to the masses as appeasement. Arab socialism is different in some ways to the old Soviet communism because of the Islamic influence rejecting the Soviet tenets that were incompatible with the worldview of Muslims. As evidenced by the poll earlier in this post, many of the secular leftists in this region accept Sharia as being generally beneficial.

Where does George Soros fit into all this? Or does he? I engaged one of the Egyptian socialist activists on Twitter to learn more about the origin of the protests. When I asked who was originally behind the movement, he linked me to GlobalVoices. You can see the tweet here. Who funds GlobalVoices? Soros’ Open Society Institute, of course. It’s interesting that Soros-funded GlobalVoices’ January 25 protest timeline starts with a post on the 23rd asking if the January 25th protests were going to be Egypt’s Intifada.

Intifada was the word given to the uprising, or shaking off, in the 1987 Gaza/West Bank clash between Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis. During this First Intifada, Zachary Lockman wrote, “Israeli forces killed an estimated 1,100 Palestinians and Palestinians killed 164 Israelis, Palestinians killed an estimated 1,000 other Palestinians as alleged collaborators, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities”. How nice of a Soros-funded GlobalVoices to suggest Intifada. I think it’s worth investigating to see if Soros did have a hand in the protests in Tunisia and Egypt.

Leave it to the mainstream media to get yet another modern historical protest wrong. The Tea Party protests and the January 25 protests have almost nothing in common, save for the fact that the media doesn’t seem too interested in either protests’ precise origin. On behalf of the lamestream media, I nominate the Tea Party Express and the Muslim Brotherhood for the “irrelevant fire-starter” award.

As I’ve been writing this post, protests have begun in Saudi Arabia (doubt their protesters get too far), Yemen, Albania, and Jordan. Any takers on what ideology is behind the rest these protests? There are already reports of the Socialist Party speaking out in Albania against the current government there.

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  • Pingback: Tweets that mention The Socialist Roots Of The Egyptian Protests | The Graph -- Topsy.com()

  • http://twitter.com/victoria_29 victoria_29

    Socialist or Dicatorship-still boils down to not goint to be a democracy-like Americans keep dreaming of. Sharia law in effect-will be end result, & on Israel border, another Iran in the making.

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      yes, it’s clear that either way this goes down that sharia will still be front and center. the gallup poll linked in the article is very telling. there’s a huge segment of muslims who consider socialism/marxism to be compatible with islam. kinda like catholics in the northeastern united states who feel that christianity is compatible with socialism – only because they don’t know what socialism is.

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  • Sugaree60

    Socialism means making society work for society not just “high society.”

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      i’ll take the word of these ppl -> MARX: democracy is the road to socialism LENIN: the goal of socialism is communism FRANKLIN: a republic, if you can keep it

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  • Anonymous

    I have lived and worked in Egypt, and Brooks Bane hit the nail on the head.
    If folks would study history a little instead of running their mouths off about Jihad this and Jihad that, they would know that Jihadis don’t fare too well in Egypt, it is a fairly religiously tolerant society. Sure there are some nut jobs there that kill Christians and burn churches, the extremists do that everywhere you can find them, including here in the US.
    The Copts have been the targets of recent bad actors, but if you sit back and look at it, Mubarak is a Copt, hence the Copts get to be victims of the VERY obvious dislike the populace has for Mubarak and his regime.
    The Large socialist tendencies in Egypt can be traced back to when the British bugged out, and Egypt became a sponsor state of USSR, The Russians supplied the Egyptian governments with arms, technology, social assistance and money for years afterword, until Mubarak took over after the assassination of Sadat. They built the Aswan damn for them, among many other key infrastructure like power plants electrical and phone and water/sewage distribution, etc.
    The home I lived in in Cairo had an electrical system which was all Russian in origin.
    There has also always been a large tendency towards trade guilds that originated during Medieval times.

    The US is obligated under the Camp David Accords to supply aid to Egypt in the form of military assistance and material, if memory serves me right it’s about $3billion a year, the same applies to US aid to Israel. This was done to level the playing field to keep the two from taking any unfair advantage of the other. The US is also obligated under the accords to intervene militarily should either country start any crap with the other. This was done in exchange for the Egyptians booting the Russian military presence and equipment as well as their influence out of Egypt.

    Fears of a Sharia theocracy being propagated in Egypt, that are being spread by rumor and innuendo are ridiculous at best and dangerous at worse. The Egyptians like their freedoms too much to put up with that crap. Even under a democratic dictatorship they have freedoms that most middle eastern countries only dream of, they can drink, the women drive and work, and are very educated for the most part, the women don’t have to wear Muslim garb unless they want to. And an important fact that many forget, they can own firearms if they can afford them and feel the need to have one.
    The Egyptians have always cherry picked Sharia and strict Islam for the parts they like and disregard the parts they don’t, example: the banking system there is a mishmash of western and Sharia regulations. This cherry picking has always been a bone of contention with more strict countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      thank you for providing the perspective of someone who’s lived in egypt.

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  • http://twitter.com/esmitsky Eddie Smith

    Best results for egyptian tweet coverage is here http://topsy.com/s?q=egypt

  • George Soros

    OH NO THE SOCIALISM SOROS BOOGEYMAN IS EVERYWHERE

    I think they have drugs that can help with intense paranoia, socialism works just fine in most places, you should be thankful that socialism gave you the internet so you can post your kooky theories on it.

    PS. I hear if you say socialism 3 times in the mirror, Marx pops out and redistributes all your income.

  • Chris

    The Muslim Brotherhood may not be responsible for the start but like the Tea Party Express (but more dangerous) they will take credit and try to take control. Any civil unrest there is the perfect time for the jihadists to exert control. Also there are many Christians being severely persecuted in aegypt right now, a very scary situation for them and they have been there longer than the Muslims. Whenever you pin socialism to ethnic cleansing and religious extremism you get something far more dangerous than either (see Hitler). I agree with your post entirely Brooks but unfortunately it may become a mute point. And yes, Soros is at the head, some people just want to see it burn and he is one of them. As for the thank socialism for the internet line posted by GS below… Just wow, seriously? So much of what liberals know just isnt so.

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      i removed “george soros'” comment. just a troll with a canadian ip address. figures. lol

      i even had “conservatives” calling me kooky for posting this piece. look, i don’t see soros behind every rock, but i do know that socialism is huge in the middle east and has been for decades. i found it interesting that our media, and even al jazeera, and the bbc, thought it wasn’t pertinent to fill in the political affiliations of the folks who gained power in tunisia, and the ppl who were behind organizing the protests in egypt.

      as of today, the french are sending a delegation of their socialist party to tunisia. yesterday the head of the socialist international is calling for mubarak to step down. most people don’t know mubarak’s party was part of the socialist international.

      it’s foolish for people to ignore what’s going on. if someone wants to disagree with some of the finer points, or even some of the conclusions, that’s fine, but you can’t discount the heavy involvement of local and international socialists in this “uprising”.

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  • Polenta_boy

    What’s sad is that most people (even muslims) do not know the true meaning of Jihad. In most parts of the Qur’an, Jihad is referred to as an internal struggle to maintain faith. This is simply an internal struggle against sin. It is not meant to be an external war again other faiths (or as considered by muslims, infidels). This is a common misconception because most men struggle with fear, so rather than combat this inner fear by true Jihad, they wage war against other men in order to further their own independent agenda by calling it Jihad. It’s a farce and a common misconception.

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      the roots of the protests didn’t weren’t steeped in jihad bil saif. jihad bil saif, or jihad by the sword/war, is one of 3 forms of jihad, and it’s the form of jihad that was behind 9/11. to say that all jihad is peaceful is completely disingenuous.

    • http://westforwestwing2012.com/ West to the West Wing 2012

      You either don’t know or are deliberately leaving out one of the most basic principles in Islam: that of abrogation. The suras (chapters) in the Quran are not in chronological order, instead, they’re arranged in order of length, from longest to shortest. The hermeneutic that Islamic scholars use in interpretation, where passages conflict with each other, is that the LATER passages abrogate, or overrule, the earlier passages. But the earliest passages were written down when Muhammad was still in Mecca, living peacefully because he was forced to by his small number of followers and hence, weak position. But after he made the “hijra” to Medina, and gathered his forces for war, the tone of the “revelations” changed — and it was war and slaughter from there on out. In the Muslim worldview, Allah is so arbitrary that he is able to change his mind — and it is the LATEST things he told Muhammad that must be obeyed.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Barbara-Lewis/626004575 Barbara Lewis

    This was so interesting. What a perfect take on what is really going on in Egypt. Thank you for taking the time to put in links and research. Good stuff with which I have shared!!

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      thanks for taking the time to read it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WZTNPWMOTTKUFLMOOTK7NZVP64 David

    Well, even Dianne Feinstein agrees, according to this AP article (http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/world/us-intelligence-on-arab-unrest-draws-criticism)

    “These events should not have come upon us with the surprise that they did,” the committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in an interview. “There should have been much more warning” of the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, she said, in part because demonstrators were using the Internet and social media to organize.

    “Was someone looking at what was going on the Internet?” she asked.

    Good work, there, Brooks.

    • http://brooksbayne.com brooksbayne

      thanks, for the heads-up on the feinstein article. it just proves that her committee, the lamestream media, and so-called middle east policy experts didn’t have a clue, and most of them still don’t.

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  • http://twitter.com/fuegote fuegote

    With seeing how quickly this domino fell as well as Tunisa, is there any doubt what is going to happen throughout the rest of the middle east?

    Thanks for putting this together has it has been difficult trying to explain to the mrs. all that is going on and why this is a very bad bad revolution.

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  • Yenhe2002

    I’m going to try not to start an argument. I feel that ANY economic theory (Socialism included) can be taken to ridiculous extremes that just don’t work for nations (read USSR). However, its almost a truism that when the wealth of a nation gets concentrated in a small population, the rest of the folks get angry.

    Maybe the Socialists got the ball rolling, but people showed up and stayed there because their living conditions sucked. You don’t get a protest like that based on an economic theory very often.

    Capitalism has many strong points, one of primary in my mind being the freedom to make your own wealth. This should be encouraged. BUT, if you let an undying belief in capitalism lead you to separate the wealth (like it has continued to do in the U.S.), you risk these kinds of protests. I’m assuming that the rich folks figure they can just run when it happens, but why can’t we balance a freedom to individually develop capital with a reasonable level of state-sponsored programs designed to protect the vulnerable? We may have the wrong balance now, but that doesn’t mean a balance doesn’t exist.

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