FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Fall of Morsi and the Neocolonial Project

by DAN GLAZEBROOK

London.

The revolutionary momentum currently making waves in Egypt once again is not primarily a revolt against one man or even one state, but an uprising against conditions which are fast becoming universal features of the current crisis-ridden world economic order: permanent mass unemployment, rampant inflation in the price of basic goods (food and fuel in particular) and merciless attacks on welfare for the poor. Egyptians are through with governments that are prepared to impose such conditions and sacrifice all notions of sovereignty and social justice whilst feathering their own nests in the process. President Morsi has overseen a year in office in which food prices have doubled, and has – at the behest of the IMF – committed himself to ending the fuel subsidies on which millions of the poorest Egyptians depend. He has signed up to a Free Trade Agreement with the EU that will exacerbate unemployment and rural impoverishment and has shown his commitment to imperial interests by flooding the Gaza tunnels with sewage and calling for a ‘no-fly zone’ (code for NATO bombardment) in Syria. In so doing, he has attempted to ensure that the Mubarak strategy of subservience to American, British and Israeli interests is not only maintained, but deepened – at the cost of basic living standards and at a time when the neo-colonial world order is clearly breaking down under the double hammer blows of economic crisis and third world resurgence. This is not a strategy which most Egyptians are any longer willing to tolerate. The millions-strong mobilisations of the past week have shown that they will no longer back leaders who leave economic policy in the hands of Europe and the international banking elite, security in the hands of a savage and torturing police force, and foreign policy in the hands of the US, Britain and Israel.

The revolutionary upsurge that has just forced Morsi from power, however, did not just emerge last week, last year or even in January 2011. It began in 2007 when the biggest strike wave to have hit the African continent for 50 years broke out in the Misr spinning and complex in Mahalla, quickly spreading to most other major industries in the country. This coincided with an unprecedented wave of agrarian unrest against neoliberal policies which were – and still are – devastating the rural population who still constitute the majority of Egyptian society. So taken aback were the Egyptian authorities, that they were forced to put the brakes on the ‘economic reforms’ – code for the decimation of national control and regulation – being pushed by the IMF and the EU, in an attempt to quell the emerging unrest. It did not work, and the growing movement demonstrated its strength by putting 15million onto the streets in January 2011, forcing Mubarak’s removal. The military council that replaced him backtracked on neoliberal diktat even more, reversing some of the liberalisation measures that had been implemented previously, much to the fury of the EU.

President Morsi was supposed to put a lid on this unrest. By adding a veneer of Islamism to the same neo-colonial policies of his predecessor, he was supposed to succeed where others had failed, tapping into the cultural traditions of Egyptian society in order to win ‘legitimacy’ (his favourite word, used 56 times in his last speech) for fundamentally unpopular policies. It didn’t work. The events of this week mark the defeat of neocolonialism’s ‘plan B’ for Egypt.

What plan C will look like is not yet clear. The problem for the Egyptian army council is that to win genuine legitimacy, any future Egyptian government will have to end its collaboration with the blockade of Gaza, stop privileging extortionate interest payments to international bankers on Mubarak-era loans over social spending, and reject the IMF loan conditionalities and EU trade deals that threaten to plunge millions into ever deeper poverty. Indeed, it is precisely these types of demands that were at the forefront of the Tamarod campaign of opposition to Morsi, whose petition garnered a reported 22 million signatures. These moves would be the minimum necessary to win the support of the people, but are precisely what would make the Egyptian government illegitimate in the eyes of its international backers in London and Washington.

The dividing lines, then, are clear. Much as the imperial powers would love to see Egypt implode into a sectarian disaster along the lines pioneered in Iraq and now being spread to Libya and Syria, the dividing line is NOT between Sunni and Shia, or between Islamist and secularist. It is between those who support genuine independence (the prerequisite for any meaningful moves towards social justice or democracy), and those who support continued collaboration with the imperial project to plunder and cripple the region. Long live the Egyptian revolution!

Dan Glazebrook is a political writer and journalist. He writes regularly on international relations and the use of state violence in British domestic and foreign policy.

 

 

Dan Glazebrook is a political journalist and author of Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis

Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
Louisa Willcox
Park Service Finally Stands Up for Grizzlies and Us
Farzana Versey
Of Beyoncé, Trudeau and Culture Predators
Pete Dolack
Fanaticism and Fantasy Drive Purported TPP ‘Benefits’
Murray Dobbin
Canada and the TPP
Steve Horn
Army of Lobbyists Push LNG Exports, Methane Hydrates, Coal in Senate Energy Bill
Colin Todhunter
“Lies, Lies and More Lies” – GMOs, Poisoned Agriculture and Toxic Rants
Franklin Lamb
ISIS Erasing Our Cultural Heritage in Syria
David Mihalyfy
#realacademicbios Deserve Real Reform
Graham Peebles
Unjust and Dysfunctional: Asylum in the UK
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Yves Engler
On Unions and Class Struggle
Alfredo Lopez
The ‘Bern’ and the Internet
Missy Comley Beattie
Super Propaganda
Ed Rampell
Great Caesar’s Ghost!: A Specter Haunts Hollywood in the Coen’s Anti-Anti-Commie Goofball Comedy
Cesar Chelala
The Public Health Impact of Domestic Violence
Ron Jacobs
Cold Weather Comforts of a Certain Sort
Charles Komanoff
On the Passing of the Jefferson Airplane
Charles R. Larson
Can One Survive the Holocaust?
David Yearsley
Reading Room Blues
February 04, 2016
Scott McLarty
Political Revolution and the Third-Party Imperative
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail