Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

There’s No Place Like CounterPunch

There's no place like CounterPunch, it's just that simple. And as the radical space within the "alternative media"(whatever that means) landscape continues to shrink, sanctuaries such as CounterPunch become all the more crucial for our political, intellectual, and moral survival. Add to that the fact that CounterPunch won't inundate you with ads and corporate propaganda. So it should be clear why CounterPunch needs your support: so it can keep doing what it's been doing for nearly 25 years. As CP Editor, Jeffrey St. Clair, succinctly explained, "We lure you in, and then punch you in the kidneys." Pleasant and true though that may be, the hard-working CP staff is more than just a few grunts greasing the gears of the status quo.

So come on, be a pal, make a tax deductible donation to CounterPunch today to support our annual fund drive, if you have already donated we thank you! If you haven't, do it because you want to. Do it because you know what CounterPunch is worth. Do it because CounterPunch needs you. Every dollar is tax-deductible. (PayPal accepted)

Thank you,
Eric Draitser

Why Egypt’s Revolution is So Different



Entering the third year of the revolt in Egypt, no amount of repression seems able to contain the swelling pressure exploding throughout the country the last several weeks. In fact, protests against the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohammed Morsi seem to be gaining support.

The truth is, the revolution in Egypt is deeper and more profound than any of the other valiant examples of the Arab Spring.

“We are not always coming together in protests,” 28-year old unemployed accountant, Saber, told me as he arrived for a demonstration in Tahrir Square last week. “Most workers have families which they must feed, so they go to work. Other youth, like myself, have nothing to lose. Our future is past.”

As Saber explains, political sympathy among the population cannot always be measured in the size of the recurring protests. But for sure, the rebellion remains alive.

When Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship fell on Feb. 11, 2011, the decayed state structures collapsed along with him. Social and political institutions running Mubarak’s regime were in complete shatters. His regime was exposed as a very thin layer of corrupt officials and family friends.

His political party was outlawed, his parliament dissolved, his cabinet disbanded, local municipal councils in disarray and his secret police dispersed. Significantly, Mubarak’s national labor federation, already thoroughly discredited, had its national leadership temporarily dismissed as well.

All these steps occurred under pressure of the mass revolt.

This sweeping disintegration was unique to Egypt and it had revolutionary consequences because the political and social void was filled by an energized people raising demands unrestrained by residual conservative institutions and parties.

The authentic voice of the Egyptian people was heard without filters and this form of direct action politics put unprecedented pressure on authorities to enact meaningful reforms.

The 500,000-strong army was the only Mubarak institution left standing. It was also quite unscathed because it had historically avoided conflicts with the population, leaving that abhorrent chore to the despised Ministry of Interior security force.

It was left to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), therefore, to fill the empty political space. There was no credible alternative representing the old order.

But, as it turned out, the prestige enjoyed by the army did not last out the year. Protests against military violence and arbitrary military trials grew increasingly larger until the Muslim Brotherhood government finally took over in 2012.

Now this government, after only six months in power, faces the same stiff resistance to its rule as did the military.

Direct Action Prevails over Parliamentary Debates

Yet, the struggle continues at a high level in Egypt because, as I argue, the unfiltered voice of the people is being heard through the organization of street protests.

By contrast, in Tunisia, a massive trade union confederation helped lead the revolt. It became a huge factor in initially stabilizing and giving credibility to the new post-revolutionary regime and Parliament. Currently, however, this government is undergoing severe criticism for failing to lead the country out of economic stagnation and for including many remnants from the regime of ousted dictator Ben Ali.

Nonetheless, despite its current problems, there was definitely a period of stabilization and broad acceptance of the initial transition in Tunisia that simply never emerged in Egypt.

In fact, the new Egyptian Parliamentary elections in 2011 were immediately met with controversial charges of Muslim Brotherhood manipulation. The reputation of the newly elected parliament was further eroded after legislators failed to enact even one meaningful reform.

Even an increase in the minimum wage was enacted in 2011 by a court, not by parliament. And there are credible charges that the government has since actually obstructed its implementation.

As a result, millions have no confidence in the governing institutions reconstructed since Mubarak.

Unsolved Economic Tasks of the Revolution

Democratic and justice concerns of Egyptians are compounded by growing concerns for the third demand of the Jan. 25, 2011 revolt – bread!

The economy has actually worsened since Mubarak fell. The Egyptian pound suffered seven percent inflation since December, tourism is down some 20 percent, petrol subsidies have been reduced and President Morsi very cautiously floated in December possible sales tax hikes, food and commodity subsidy reductions and cuts in the number of state employees as a result of International Monetary Fund loan stipulations.

Furthermore, according to Stanford University historian Prof. Joel Beinin, “the Muslim Brothers embrace the same neoliberal policies favored by the Mubarak regime and, if anything, envision an even more expansive program of privatization of public assets.”

When I cited World Bank statistics claiming 40 percent of Egyptians live on two dollars a day, Mohammed, a thirty-two old Cairo physical therapist with two children, immediately interrupted me to say that it is “below two dollars a day now! Doctors working in a hospital like me, we must work three jobs with four or five extra shifts and even then I have to postpone paying all my bills to the last minute.”

His friend, Mahmoud, is also a doctor and agreed. “It is worse now. The rich are still rich but the poor are more poor. And, when John Kerry came to Egypt, he met with Morsi and other top leaders. He did not meet with poor people like us. The U.S. likes to support those in charge.”

Asked if people are getting tired from all the protests, Mohammed matter of factly responded that “we will not get tired because nothing has changed.”

Saber, the unemployed accountant, explained further: “We chose Morsi. We thought his religion would make him more compassionate and he would listen to us. But now after six months, it is worse. So we come back to Tahrir to make another revolution.” And he very consciously added in response to my questions about the government, the military and the parliament that “we must do this ourselves.”

Thus, the voices heard in Tahrir and in protests throughout the country demanding genuine democracy, real social justice and significant economic improvements hold more credibility among the majority of Egyptians than any of the institutions of power and it is this reality that keeps the rebellion growing.

But history also teaches us the hard lesson that state institutions representing old elite powers, no matter how unresponsive, can recover by disguising their goals and by making compromises with sections of their opposition whose economic interests are not so very different from their own.

Of course, this would mean once again that the majority of Egyptians would be left out in the cold.

As an alternative, a new Egypt can arise when the youth, unemployed, women and working class, sharing similar economic objectives, unite nationally in a new, mass political force that combines electoral and direct action mobilizations challenging the power of the elite to finally establish a democratic, just and economically prosperous society benefiting the majority.

The future of this great country will be determined by which social force, the bottom or the top, actually succeeds in filling the political void that so far has made Egypt’s revolution so unique and so powerful.

Carl Finamore is Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He just returned from his third visit to Egypt. He can be reached at


Carl Finamore is Machinist Lodge 1781 delegate, San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO. He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians