On the uprising in Egypt

MEMRI: Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei Calls Upon Egyptian Army to Join Masses in Ousting Hosni Mubarak

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12 comments on “On the uprising in Egypt

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  1. One similarity between ’79 Iran and Egypt now is the role of contemporary communication technolgy in dissemenating information among the protestors. Cassette tape then and Twitter now played a role in shaping events.

  2. @ George Jochnowitz:
    You sure the “masses” are interested in Iran? The Iranian Green Movement, like most of the current crop of movements, tend to be top-heavy with professionals, students, intellectuals, and so on. Haven’t heard enough about the labor activity in Egypt to form an opinion on its significance, though any sign at all of the revolt spreading to new sectors has got to alarm the regime.

    I thought Khamenei’s analysis was pretty good from the perspective of an Islamist revolutionary, though with demerits for elements of possible wishful thinking regarding the Islamic and, as above, truly popular character of the Egyptian and Tunisian events. It seems that Shi’a and classic Western leftwing revolutionism have more in common than a superficial convergence of interests. With a few minor adjustments, the same speech could have been given by a Marxist-Leninist.

  3. George Jochnowitz wrote:

    Egypt isn’t Shi’a.
    A confluence is an alliance.

    As I said, there may have been wishful aspects to Ali the K’s analysis. Perhaps because Egypt isn’t Shi’a, perhaps even in a bow to reality, K emphasized a revolutionary anti-imperialist line rather than a strictly religious one, though even that required him to do some fudging.

    Not all leftists are Marxists, not all Marxists are M-L’s. Likewise, not all Islamists are Shi’a Revolutionaries. Shi’a Islam in contrast to Sunni is often considered a movement of the poor, or one that emphasizes heavy identification with the poor. That identification also persists in M-Lism. M-Lism was also all about democratic centralism under the leadership of the revolutionary vanguard. Iranian revolutionary Islam has a revolutionary vanguard as well, with the politicized clergy in the approximate role of party ideologues.

    So, it’s not an alliance of Islam or even of Shi’a Islam with Marxism. It does speak to areas of significant ideological and theoretical overlap. Revolutionary, especially peasant-based movements of the poor that are neither Islamic nor Marxist have also thought and operated in parallel ways.

  4. Actually Colin, Marxism isn’t about that at all. Orwell’s sentiments in ‘1984’ are closer to the truth in practice. I don’t think Khamenei will get much bang for his buck for this, but one recalls in Reds as Zinoviev
    translated Reed’s script into Islamist revolutionary propaganda, against
    the British supported government. Now Egypt labored under Soviet influence, for about a decade, just short of the Warsaw Pact with
    Pyramids, and some of those cobwebs haven’t been wringed out of the structure.

  5. What happened in ’78-79, is not unlike what happened in 1956-60, or
    1917-on, Fidel and Lenin, coopted a broadbased popular movement.
    Recall that the earliest and more tenacious rivals to Fidel, were members of the Escambray movement, like Matos and Bosch, Savinkov
    had been in opposition to the Czar for a generation. The People’s Mujahadeen (MEK) had been conducting ‘direct action’ against the Shah, long before Khomeini really started in earnest from Paris,

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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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