Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Bohemian Revolution: A view from afar



The ‘British Perspective’

The British government has viewed the Egyptian uprising in typical fashion. In an Interview William Hague gave today in Tunisia, he, as all politicians do, took the position that officials and established Egyptians should be consolidating their powers to ensure; firstly, economic prosperity (his priority), and secondly political stability, not too distant from current and past governments collaboration with regimes like Egypt in the past -nothing awry there then. (seehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/video/2011/feb/08/williamhague-tunisia for Video of Hague)

My problem, which I may have for some time, is that officials of the state have an inability to advocate and consolidate the actions of protesters in Tahrir Square and across Egypt to debate on their terms a revolutionary government. Now I know this is, diplomatically impossible for a neo-liberal government to do, but wouldn’t an absolute avocation from the British government be a better slogan than, short this mess out, get your economy back in shape, and don’t let the Muslim Brotherhood get in power. A British government which would profess a Universalist message in solidarity with the Egyptians is one I would rather see. But who’s asking.           

The rise of the Far Right

Aside from the fact that dictators exists throughout the region as a result of colonialism and Imperial devastation, resulting in the Saudi and Iranian regimes  – alongside the catastrophic failures in the Israel/Palestine conflict in the region, when the West criticises the Egyptian uprising they have little ground to stand on!

The rise of the far right across Europe, such as Denmark, Sweden, the most advanced Liberal democracies in Europe, should be the major concern for Europe. We, here in the UK, are seeing an increase in the far right seen by the EDL. 


The UK government does little to oppose this political constellation so much for ‘liberal’ democracy. There was a recent review on BBC Radio 4, (for Radio program, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00yj88m). When we are seeing a shift to the right within the democratic process alongside the biggest capitalist economic failures since the 1930s, we are witnessing a Europe not too dissimilar to the politico-economic constellations of the 1930s, with Rhetoric of isolationist policies circulating the global community, parallels between now and the 1930s are becoming ever more constellated within the International community (see Paul Mason http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/11/g20_why_to_avoid_a_re-run_of_t.html). So the West should be seeking to tackle this shift rather than thinking that anything is wrong with liberation revolutions in the Middle East North Africa.
                                                                                                                                     
The Spark that lit the Flame

The people of Egypt saw the events in Tunisia and realised that retrenchment from political protests would stagnate or destroy the political ambitions of the revolution. It is for this reason that I believe Egypt to be a symbolic beacon which will hopefully light the way for the rest of the Middle East and North Africa to follow suit.  

The ‘chaos’ we are witnessing in Egypt is anything but such hyperbole.  I’m trying to give a perspective which reads through the lines...what I am seeing and reading is... the revolution of an Arab state which has lived under oppression for three decades... inspired by the literal spark of a student who set himself alight which began the Tunisian revolution... when dominoes are stacked tightly together they topple fast .

There is no specific way to enact revolution or written agenda of how to overthrow a regime.. All scenarios are case specific one method in the Middle East will be different from the way future European revolutions occur or even individual States revolutions (although I believe no revolution can be successful in isolation)... comrades are rejoicing with caution and jubilation, no-longer are they forbidden to protest no longer are they forbidden from criticising their corrupt regime. Tahrir square is what liberation in Egypt looks like after, the so far, marginally, dismantling of a tyrannical dictatorship.

The Bohemian Revolution
(By bohemian revolution I am trying to suggest the freedom of expression being felt and acted upon by Egyptians who have been suppressed for three decades)

Egyptians don’t seem to care of the immediate economic consequences of their actions, supported through their valiant reluctance to return to work, a dynamic which the Western media and Western governments are finding hard to comprehend or cope with. As long as Egyptians have; liberty, freedom, and all the Universalist tendencies – the left are the only ones who advocate and profess the Universalist position - not multi-culturalism, not cultural relativism but; universality, the emancipation of our global struggles - then the Egyptian revolution will not have been in vain.  The Bohemian character we see in Tahrir square was completely suppressed   under tyrannical dictatorship! Why should the economy matter in the immediate term when the need for revolution should be and is the main purpose of the Egyptians?

Tahrir square is populated by music, poetry, dancing, and most importantly above all else political discussion.


The protesters  were also willing to put away the “festival atmosphere” and defend themselves with force when the pro-Mubarak thugs came marching – proving their strength and belief a their principles. These cultural dynamics was suppressed under Mubarak, and in Tahir square we are witnessing an example of the explosions of long awaited and Universalist freedoms.

Long Live Revolution!

Tahrir square is more than just a mixed rabble accumulated out of a spontaneous bubble they are using this opportunity to come together organise and debate the path and the outcome of the revolution as each minute goes by! The populous, today, came up with the initiative to convict Mubarak for crimes against the state – this charge is Mubarak’s vast wealth, which completely misrepresents the economic position of population of the Egyptians.

According to Al Jazeera, Live news, today workers are meeting in their work place after two weeks of confusion, realising the bohemian and revolutionary activities in  the square and Alexandra Park and for the first time, are starting to join the protests. Revolutionaries in the square are calling for the civil service to join the protesters.

The revolutionary spirit will surely charm them to the square to further expose the illegitimacy of, and weaken the Mubarak regime, which has been recollecting its power after he felt the protest was calming. 

The only supporters of Mubarak are the wealthy and the corrupt. The wealthy are calling for ‘stability’, which means in plain English; the oppression of the workers and the general population - so that the circumstances are ripe once again for oppression and exploitation. If you call this stability then fuck stability.

Freedom is effective only through surmounting bourgeois formal freedom, which is mealy a form of slavery; the ‘state’ is the means by which the ruling class guarantees the conditions of its rule; market exchange cannot be ‘just and equitable’ because the very form of equivalent exchange between labour and capital implies exploitation; ‘war is inherent to class society as such; only socialist revolution can bring about lasting peace (Zizek, The Sublime object of Ideology, 1989 (2008.ed.), pp113).  Hopefully the Egyptians will succeed.



1 comment: