Frederick Douglass

"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them..." Frederick Douglass

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Egypt's July 8 Protests

One of the issues is whether elections should take place before the writing of a constitution.

Calls for mass rally to bring Egypt revolt 'back to basics'

CAIRO — Egyptian activists are calling for a massive rally on July 8 to "save the revolution" that toppled Hosni Mubarak, urging politicians to drop debates on the timing of elections and focus on restoring basic freedoms.

On a Facebook page entitled "The 2nd revolution of anger", activists say the fundamental demands of the uprising -- to protect rights and freedoms -- have not been met, and have instead become clouded by arguments on whether elections or a constitution should come first.

"To all rival political forces debating which should come first, constitution or elections, save your revolution first, save Egypt first. Our revolution is collapsing," the activists said on their Facebook page, which by Friday had garnered over 55,000 members.

Indeed it is. The Mubarak-Regime-Sans-Mubarak (MRSM) has pretty much succeeded in stymying the revolution.
Protesters who first took to the streets to demand the overthrow of Mubarak, began shifting their anger towards the ruling military council, accusing it of using Mubarak-era tactics to stifle dissent.

"When (a) protest is dispersed with the use of thugs and when the army performs virginity tests on women, and when protesters are tortured, then something is definitely wrong," the activists said in a YouTube video. It can be seen on (
The army, which has been accused of rights abuse since taking over in February, has come under intense fire from local and international rights watchdogs for allegedly performing virginity tests on female protesters they detained during a March 9 demonstration in Cairo.

"When journalists and judges are referred to military prosecution for mentioning the military council and there is no freedom, then everything is wrong," they said.
{Note: The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has confirmed that they have and continue to conduct virginity tests.)

Hundreds of civil servants in Alexandria will continue to protest against corruption in local councils

The workers who organized a protest today outside the headquarters of the West Alexandria local council on Sunday say that the reasoning behind both this protest and their planned participation on Friday is that "the revolution did not reach the local councils yet and the councils are still occupied by corruption."

Hundreds of local council members who protested in Alexandria against the ministry of local development say the ministry is reassigning those who belonged to the National Democratic Party in key positions. The protestors demanded elections for both the heads of local councils and governors.

Hundreds of thousands descended on Tahrir Square and elsewhere around the country in the biggest show of people power in months

Angered that no change is yet visible since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, hundreds of thousands have gathered again at Tahrir square and in cities around the country, insisting that the basic demands of the revolution be met. Demonstrators came from across Egypt’s provinces to assemble at Cairo’s downtown square, now a symbol of Egypt’s revolution.

Several stages had been set hours before the break of day, one by the Revolution Youth Coalition, one by a coalition of liberal parties and movements, one by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), one belonging to the Wafd party and another to leftist parties. The Muslim Brotherhood’s stage was the highest and biggest, provoking many of the protestors who complained that the MB is trying to steal all the attention of the public. The MB has already angered many with their stand against the sit-in many political groups are calling for to pressure the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) into meeting the revolution’s demands.
The MB, which decided to join the protests only two days ago, has stated that they will not be supporting the sit-in, planned to go on until demands are met, and announced instead they would be leaving at 5pm. They began to pack up and leave the square shortly after 5.

In Tahrir many demonstrators carried banners reading “I will be joining the sit-in”. Tens of tents have been set up since Thursday night.

One of the ploys the ruling class is using to stop the revolution is to compress attention onto the presidential race thus diverting attention from parliamentary elections. It will be that body which crafts the new constitution.

When seeing Egyptian daily TV shows, you rarely see a parliament candidate. The debate is all about the coming presidential campaign, but they are ignoring an important fact which is the Constitution now will be in the wrong hands, in the hands of people who exerted no effort at all to win my vote and yours. If the past scenario of persuading voters to give out their votes for the candidates for a bag of rice and other nutritional commodities repeats again, then we have certainly to worry about any piece of legislation that comes out from the “honorable” Parliament. People who are in need of food and basic daily needs would trade off their votes. And we will all pay out the price then.

And the MRSM is trying, as all criminal regimes do, to control the flow of information:

A New minister of information again !?

It seems that Osama Heikal is being nominated to become the minister of information in Egypt !!
According to statement published in Al Masry Al Youm Heikal is going to restructure the Egyptian media "do not ask me how or what !? The cabinet or rather SCAF decided to restore this position in order to fight these negative aspects appeared in the media !!!+Mail

And the regime is stacking the electoral deck with loyalists.

Egypt approves Sawiris political party

CAIRO: The political party of Egypt’s wealthiest man, Naguib Sawiris, was approved by the government on Wednesday, the state run MENA news agency reported.


A shocking development, brace yourselves: The government against which this new round of protests is launched is urging everyone to protest peacefully.

Egypt Cabinet calls for peaceful protests Friday

Which brings us to the touchiest of all political topics--revolutionary violence. Only a savage or Sadist enjoys violence, but when is is justifiable and/or necessary. As long as the protesters obey and refrain from aggression against the state, as long as they just shout slogans and wave signs and then go home, then the hegemony of the gangsters, domestic and international, who own Egypt will remain unthreatened. Their position as ruling elite will be preserved, and the protesters will have achieved nothing other than a scant fifteen minutes of revolutionary fame. Hence the Cabinet's injunction.

Few would argue that if attacked by police that the protesters would have a right to defend themselves, and to hold their ground, but do they have a right to initiate violence, to attack the state, and to overthrow it?

For Americans, whose nation came into existence by the violent, bloody overthrow of the colonial rule, our answer could only be yes, unless we were prepared to return the country to Great Britain. But even among our ranks one would find those who would denounce an organized, violent attack by any citizenry against its government preferring instead non-violent resistance.

Most if not all bloody revolutions began as passive protests and petitioning, and developed into armed conflicts because of the reluctance of the ruling class to grant concessions. In a few glorious cases, that intransigence turned out to be fatal and resulted in their ouster. It takes a great deal to make people take to the streets, even more to make them turn violent. Most men need to be driven near mad before the will rebel. Or as JFK put it: "Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable."

Do the Egyptian people have a right, lacking an alternative, to resort to violence to depose the government which has done everything it could to quash the revolution; which continues to repress free speech; which has outlawed mass protests and workers' strikes; which arbitrarily detains its critics and sometimes tortures them; which subjects women to forced, insertive virginity tests; which refuses to bring former regime criminals to justice: which continues to allow a tiny elite to garner great wealth from Egypt's bounty while nearly half its citizens live on less than two USD a day; which at every turn has inveigled to avert a real transfer of power from the ancient regime to the people?

To answer no to this question, that's the real violence.[1]

The international press is doing what it can to derail the Egyptian revolution.

The New York Crimes is trying to convince its readership that the revolution ended when Mubarak fled.

Egypt News — Revolution and Aftermath

Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, erupted in mass protests in January 2011, as the revolution in Tunisia inflamed decades worth of smoldering grievances against the heavy-handed rule of President Hosni Mubarak. After 18 days of angry protests and after losing of the support of the military and the United States, Mr. Mubarak resigned on Feb. 11, ending 30 years of autocratic rule. ...
Tell the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrating in the streets that autocratic rule has ended.

In an election year pander, and trying to capitalize on the IMF's universal unpopularity, the Egyptian government has very publicly refused to accept loans from the fund. This is a shameless deception as they have already accepted money from the West, and are now doing so again.

OPIC to loan to Egypt, Jordan businesses

In an effort to help bolster small businesses in Egypt and Jordan, an independent US government agency Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has secured some $500 million in loans.

OPIC agreed to guarantee loans by local banks to small and medium-sized enterprises, microfinance institutions, non-banking financial institutions and other approved borrowers for up to $250 million each for Egypt and Jordan, it said in a statement on its website.

They have already accepted money from USAID, now here from the "independent US government agency."

Unfortunately, even some on the left have fallen for this nonsense.

Egypt vs IMF: Time to Default?

The financial flip-flop of Egypt’s revolutionary government, first requesting and then declining a $3 billion dollar IMF loan, highlights Egypt’s hard choices at this point in the revolution, but is a good sign.

Again, tell the people in Tahrir Square that their government is revolutionary.

Perspective comes from Egyptian blogger Zeinobia, on her Egyptian Chronicles she writes:

Why we need to return to the square for real

Tahrir square and all other squares in Egypt made it when we forgot all our differences and fights over power. Our power is in our unity and honestly when I look to it now after 5 months and how we did not achieve all what we want in this time , I blame no one except our spilt. We had an opportunity to stop this split after the referendum yet foolishly we continued to widen it with useless dialogues about the civil state and constitution first vs. elections first … etc. All political powers truly love Egypt “except the NDP” and want the best for the country according to their ideologies. It is natural that all these powers whether right or left or liberal or nationalist seek the rule in a way or another. But this race over power I am afraid it is too early to speak about when the regime is still fooling around. Remember we are speaking about 60 years old regime not just Mubarak’s regime.!+Mail

Good luck Egypt, all people of goodwill throughout the world are with you.

[1] For a frank discussion of this topic: