Jacobinian Islamism: when the subject becomes annoying

Translated by Michael Theodosiadis
The article in Greek here

This article raises concerns about some, hitherto, unshakable certainties of the left, which are stubbornly negated by reality. Sadly, we have reached the point where such a debate cannot be done without avoiding biased approaches from anyone who discusses this topic; and this means that the right of free speech has already suffered irreparable damages.

In critical thinking the blackmail of the expected response always hangs like the sword of Damocles over our heads. As if to realise that walking on the wrong path should automatically mean one always has another path to propose. It is not so! Some paths should never have been followed whilst somewhere else perspectives have to be formed based in paths that do not carry the burden of previous choices. Obviously democracy and its reinforcement in its structures and content is another uncharted path that we should ourselves open, eliminating certainties (such as «sheltering» freedom from enemies) that, hitherto, have led to dead ends. We must appeal to broadening democracy itself without fearing whether it is not liberal enough for our standards (to invest in its growth rather in its ‘protection’). But the latter is primarily an issue of political action to undertake, and secondarily of political thought to be discussed.

From the suburbs to Nazism

Perhaps few noticed the under-story of the murderous attack in Paris; «the two perpetrators of Charlie Hebdo were born and grew up in France from Algerian parents». The «Islamic terrorists» who extended the western Islamic war-front a few hundred kilometres west of Kobane were French-born citizens, nourished in the bowels of the French Republique. The Algerian state, home of Camus and Zidane is not an Iraq or an underdeveloped Afghanistan cut off and isolated from Western values ​​(the markets), that fell into the obscurantism of fundamentalism, but a genuine child of French colonialism.

Even fewer are those who might combine the fact that the people we denounce as obscurantist terrorists or «Nazi fascists» nowadays, are the same people who during the «uprisings of the Banlieue» of the Parisian suburbs were viewed as the revolutionary subject. We have to admit – no matter how inconvenient it is – that the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi are typical representatives of this youth whose wrath (la Haine) was so sang and praised by the left. Both were born in the east suburbs of Paris from Algerian parents who died when the two brothers were still children. They grew up in an orphanage in the city of Rennes. They held «precariat»jobs, like Pizza delivery etc., they followed the fashion of Rap and have always had problems with the police for minor crimes. However, Umberto Eco, expressing a general feeling, did not hesitate to classify them as neo-Nazis, apparently judging them by the actions, rather than by their class or their ideological beliefs.

It is common to classify as «Nazist» anything unpleasant for the liberal Western culture, and not necessarily as heinous as mass murder. Yet, perhaps for the wrong reasons, Eco rightly reflects a kind of truth, as indeed «the apocalyptic desire of ISIS to conquer the world» – as the most expressed form of politicized Islam in the world – is a kind of inverted Enlightenment, or to stress it differently, it is part of modernity; a modernist reaction to modernity rather than a pre-modern revival of barbarization. In essence, the ISIS has more to do with the cultural revolution of Mao than with some historical continuity of caliphates of the past. In this sense it is more post-modernist rather than a conservative revolution, and is diametrically opposed to the religious mosaics and genuine multiculturalism upon which the caliphates of pre-modernist world were structured.

This hypocritical contradiction of the ISIS as the most advanced stage of political Islam in the 21st century, shows that the objectives of politicized Islamists are not a guarantee of their religion or even a form of cultural autonomy (as in the case of the Zapatistas and other indigenous groups) but rather the creation of a nation-state, i.e. the epitome of modernist culture, and even a clearly colonial-imperialist nation-state («Islam should prevail over all») which is similar not only with the totalitarian deviations but also with the colonial domination of market liberal culture in the whole world. In a perverse way the commitments of the Islamic Jihadists to the ultimate goal are quite similar to that of the Jacobins and the Narodniks, and this historic comparison, especially for anyone who falls into their hands, should not be considered a farce.

The privileges of the really poor

It is much more convenient for liberal Europe that demonstrates these days in grief for the victims, to ignore the causes and the past, pretending that the Kouachi brothers is a postmodern «moment» fell from the sky, an incomprehensible product of distortion of Islam, or a mission of terrorists from the «mountain of the Assassins» instead of accepting that they are Parisians just as their victims.

But there is something more that the Kouachi brothers and Stéphane Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut and Bernard Verlhac shared equally. They are all victims of the modernist world; the victims as exponents of the ‘right to freedom of expression’, whilst the perpetrators of the» right to cultural identity». And here is one of the innumerable conflicts the modernist world produces, where one right negates the other but together constitute the same world under the undisputed roof of the market. It is very difficult for leftists to understand another reason beyond blind fanaticism (whose right to cultural identity was so much supported by Charlie Hebdo) which pushed Kouachi brothers to render them bullets instead of gratitude. And it is much easier to believe that anyone who lacks undeniable rights should automatically be sensitive to the rights of others. According to this pourtousissisme to struggle for the right to cultural identity and religious faith is equally progressive with fighting for the right of expression to mock this faith in their face. In the psychic world of a European leftist, the rebellious hatred of the Kouachi brothers towards this progressivism is understood only as a product of a ruthless ingratitude.

How is it possible for the «rebellious proletarians‘ of the suburbs to become transformed into «Nazi-jihadists»? For a bleeding-heart leftist such a reduction is unthinkable. The oppressed identity that rebels, throwing stones at police officers and setting its neighborhood on fire seems to be a legitimate uprising against capitalist exploitation that has turned the contemporary youth into metropolitan pariahs, especially if the pariahs are not European indigenous. Therefore denying European chauvinism is positive in itself, even worse (why not?) if such pariahs constitute «the damned of the earth», the new messianic subject that came to replace the proletariat in its historic role. But when the subject acquires a face and a name, when it becomes Cherif and Said, and turns his wrath on the whole system that gave birth to the «capitalist exploitation» including all the values of the Enlightenment, ​​then this subject that we used to approach with instrumental sympathy automatically becomes a «Nazi jihadist».

But why do all these ideological and class interpretations matter, since the «subjects» change constantly? All the above do not significantly differ from the way the left viewed the indigenous European proletariat in the early 20th century when the working class immediately and hurriedly ran to embrace the fascist call. So today a minority that embraces anti-modernism is itself an incomprehensible development, such as when the factory worker registers himself in the fascist party of his neighbourhood. The usual reason that explaining the phenomenon in both cases is still the same and is attributed to a lack of understanding on the part of the oppressed of the root causes of their oppression. On why the subjects do not follow the revolutionary call, the usual answer is more and thorough study of the texts of Marx[1]

And, indeed, why not? If the angry minority person expresses a critique of the hypocrisy of the Enlightenment, as Adorno and Horkheimer set the theoretical foundations of this interpretation[2]. Moreover, the above observation means that the ideal of an international Enlightenment (a global western socialism pourtousissisme [for all]) constituted from its birth a chimeric monster[3]. We Westerners should be the last to preach at those «murderers», «fascists» and «totalitarians» since we ourselves have taught them the charm of political assassination, and terror that rises from the punishment of collective responsibility and the ideal of totalitarianism. Even more, it is us who sanctified their predicament. For the left, it is enough to be oppressed to be classified as a rebel in order to express your righteous anger.

The young lumpen of the Parisian suburbs have received an unspoken education of the new-left of post-colonial studies and have learned from it constantly to blame the West for their dire position in the class pyramid, but ultimately they themselves do nothing in order to organize and fight against this situation. Instead they persist only in victimizing themselves aiming to claim some extra benefits. The only time we see a massive «response» is through political Islam. With the announcements of multiculturalism along with the urban divisions of the metropolitan planning, every suburb managed to establish itself in «autonimised» micro-communities that do not interact with each other. The result is every minority living in a «bowl» ignoring par excellence the other communities and, of course, the Republique tout court.

The liberal Janus

The inability of the left for non-abstract thought has made all liberals to think in a «lame» fashion, and to perceive only half of reality, or to put it clearly, to perceive only the dimension that follows their imaginary ideology. In exactly the same manner (but perhaps with the other leg) the right’s thinking is also «lame». For both the «other» is absolutely good or absolutely bad; from this lame thinking derives the trend of the era regarding ‘islamophobia’ either in its right-wing version as a racist jam or in leftist as ‘antiracism’.

For leftists the issue is fixed. If something is haunted by the right then the left has a contracted responsibility to defend it. This position consolidated since the Dreyfus affair has so much infused the essence of being a leftist, that defense is now provided to «anything» uncritically and unconditionally as long as «it» is prosecuted by the right. The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo up to their tragic death «always remained irreconcilable enemies of racism» and «all of them convinced atheists»[1]. The only difference is that never before did all this match together, because if we think in terms of combining together the above, that is of an «anti-racist atheism», then something is wrong with similar campaigns against Islamophobia, and this «something» is our thinking.

For the right-wing the issue is simpler. The best problem is the ‘no problem’. So it would have been better to have no Muslims in Europe or any other person if possible. Historically the right likes to ask the impossible, secretly wishing for a new final solution for Muslims. Therefore, they one more time wish the self-destruction of Europe and of themselves. But the desire of the left is no less childish. The enlightened Muslim, namely the Muslim without Islamism, can only find its counterpart in the Christian hypocrite who acts contrary to his beliefs. The solidarity embrace of the European liberals to the Muslims is the entry ticket to a Europe which, in contrast to the left, has a clear condition: the only Islam acceptable in Europe is the «liberal Islam»; this is simply impossible!

In order to become European citizens Muslims should first become like us, people without a serious faith, without values ​​apart from an unlimited commitment to individual rights… everyone lives his dream in a world that digests everything. We invite immigrants and Muslims in Europe to lose anything good or bad that defines their existence, to get a job like all of us, a house like all of us, a color TV like all of us, and the right to go shopping like us all without the being asked for their documents by the police, and we call this multicultural society?

What remains after all this? The most certain is what already exists. Liberalism will continue to fight for the rights and freedoms of all of us, annihilating us at the same time as human beings. And most likely it will eventually digest Islamism as it did with Christianity. The standard of the «good European Islamist» has already been formed and this is carried out everywhere by European antiracist groups. Personally I find it hard to see in this any distinction between left and right. There are countless ways to uproot a man from himself. The right use fear, the left adopt hypocrisy. Let each of us prefer what hurts the least.

If we understand the above, however bitter they may sound, we may realize in the end what is the charm that we are no longer able to offer ourselves, which they young Algerians from Paris have found in the Jacobin Islamism.

1. See. Charlie, from what God died? George Mitralias
2. See Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment.
3. See John Gray, Black Mass. Apocalyptic religion and the death of utopia.

Turkey and Syria: enemies or allies?

Via: A-Infos

The development of a relationship between Syria and Turkey had its foundations before the accession of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) party to power in Turkey, but it was certainly deepened under the AKP with the chief foreign policy agent of the new regime inviting President Assad to Turkey in 2004. This was followed by a free trade agreement which led to a deepening of the arrangement with a visa-free travel set-up between the two states and an unprecedented joint military exercise. Turkey, in its moves to increase its power in the region, announced the setting up of an economic council to create a free-trade zone between itself, Syria and Lebanon. Turkey wishes to increase its economic interests in the regions, with increased military cooperation as a corollary. Turkey saw Syria as a valuable market for its products.

As a result Turkish exports to Syria shot from $266 million in 2002 to $1.6 billion in 2010. The relaxing of border restrictions led to an increasing number of Syrians crossing the border, especially to shop for Turkish goods, with an increase of Syrians visiting Turkey going from 122,000 in 2002 to just under 900,000 in 2011.

Alongside this is the need for Turkey to compete with the other major local power Iran and to wrest influence away from it in Syria. They told their skeptical American allies that an alliance with Assad would weaken Iranian influence in the region. The Turkish state is now deeply concerned about the situation in Syria. It cannot completely cut itself off from the Assad regime, as Iran would then fill the gap. It also fears another regional rival, Saudi Arabia, which would like to see the end of the Alawi Assad regime and its replacement by a Sunni administration favourable to and heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia. Certainly an old nostalgia for
the whole region as an historic area of influence for the Ottoman Empire influences the policies of the AKP.

The Turkish state is worried that it will lose Syria as a profitable market and as a transition belt to other parts of the Middle East. As equally important are the Turkish state’s concerns about the Kurdish “problem”. Any unrest among the Kurds of Syria would have a knock-on effect on the Kurds within the Turkish state, with an unstable Syria providing a useful base for activity of Kurdish independentists organised in the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

The Turkish state would prefer that a rapid collapse of the Assad regime did not happen. It feels that such a collapse might lead to the development of a Kurdish autonomous zone right beside the Turkish border, similar to developments in northern Iraq. As a result it has combined the massing of its forces on Syria’s borders with diplomacy to persuade the Assad regime to push through a number of reforms.

However, diplomatic pressure has proved futile and this explains Turkey’s increasingly bellicose attitudes, coupled with threats of sanctions to increase pressure. As the situation develops in Syria, the Turkish state risks being robbed of an important ally and an important market and having to stand helplessly by. Equally none of this rules out the possibility of Turkish intervention in the “dangerous” border area populated by Kurds.

Turkey: Islamists Attack Evolution

Turkey is now governed by the AKP which professes a ‘moderate’ Islam. However, this ‘moderation’ can be demonstrated in the attacks on the ideas of Charles Darwin which began in November 2011. The Turkish Council of the Communication and Information Technologies, a governmental agency, pushed through measures governing the use of computers in the country. All computers equipped with a parental filter, used usually to block pornographic and paedophile sites if a minor is using a computer linked to the Internet, must now include blocking to sites that favour the ideas of evolution, including sites concerned with Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins.This would include key words like «evolution” “Darwin” etc. In addition key words like “gay” faced a similar ban in line with the reactionary assimilation of homosexuality to paedophilia. Sites related to Kurdish autonomy and independence were also blocked. Creationist sites which posit the view that the universe and humanity have been created by the conscious actions of a God are perfectly accessible.

Fortunately a wave of indignation against these measures forced the Council to back down. However this demonstrates the offensive led by the AKP government to criminalise evolutionism and legitimise creationism. In 2009, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the chief editor of a magazine of popular science, rather like the New Scientist, Bilim ve Teknik, since 2008 under government control, was sacked because she wanted to publish atribute to Charles Darwin in the form of a section of fifteen pages.

The attack against the theories of evolution has been led by Harun Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar, a Sunni Muslim conspiracy theorist) who attempts to assimilate the ideas of Darwinism and materialism to Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot, and to colonialism and racism. This is in tandem by the campaign led in the United States by fundamentalist Protestants. Indeed in a study carried out in 2006 with regards to the percentages of those who accepted the theories of evolution, Turkey came in 34th place, just after the USA, with fewer than 25% of the population.

Creation AND evolution have been jointly taught in schools in Turkey since 1985. In 1998 fundamentalists in Turkey increased their attacks on the ideas of evolution, organising several conferences with the help of fundamentalist speakers from the USA. These moves to attack evolutionism go against all the institutions of secularism in Turkey existing since the early twentieth century.

Harun Yahya wishes to unite all reactionary Jews, Christians and Muslims against the ideas of evolution and Darwin, which he held responsible for fascism and the Holocaust!! Yahya is the leader of a cult that mobilises against evolutionism and, in 2008, successfully used the courts to ban a Richard Dawkins site and the site of the Union of Education and Scientific Workers and the site of the third largest newspaper in Turkey, Vatan. As an ally of the AKP Yahya seems to be setting the agenda. The attacks on secularism and secularists begun in 2002 when the AKP came to power are increasing, with secular schools increasingly suspending lessons for Friday prayer. Increasingly the AKP is supporting private media outlets that promote Islamism. The institution set up by the founder of the modern state, Kemal Ataturk, to stop the politicisation of Islam, the Diyanet, the Directory of Religious Affairs, is now being used by the AKP to issue edicts advising women not to use perfume in public, not to be alone with a male who is not a relative and other attacks on gender equality.

In 2007 millions of people mobilised in Ankara and other cites chanting “no sharia, no coup”. These were in the main people who upheld the concepts of secularism and opposed the attempt by the AKP to soften the divide between religion and public life, whilst at the same time rejecting the plan from some of those in the military to carry out a coup against the AKP. Ironically perhaps, the AKP has embraced many of the values of the Kemalists, the party of Ataturk, in nationalist rhetoric and fulmination against the different ethnic groups in Turkey, whilst of course rejecting the formal State secularism of the Kemalists. It is from these large groups that opposition to both the AKP and the Kemalists could emerge and should link to the need for the working class in the state of Turkey to reject the whole bunch of political gangsters.


Last year’s Arab Spring appeared to have finally pushed up buds in Syria in the last part of 2011with thousands mobilising against the Assad regime and the resulting murderous counter-offensive involving the bombardment of populous neighbourhoods and summary mass executions. The horror of Homs, the deaths of thousands and the fleeing of at least seventy thousand over Syria’s borders show the depth of the Syrian crisis.

The brutal Assad regime has been in power for many years, supported by the local regional power of Iran and the Russian and Chinese power blocs. The Baathist Party rules there, just as a similar Baathist party ruled in Iraq. It was at least tolerated by the West because it kept Islamic fundamentalism at bay, and so was supported just like the Gaddafi and Saddam regimes had been in the past. However, unlike Iraq and Libya, Syria does not have large oil resources, and so there is no pressing compulsion for the West to intervene. Syria has diminished as a regional threat to the West in recent years with its withdrawal from Lebanon and its search for a better relationship with the West. Up until recently the Assad regime showed that it could maintain stability. As the then US secretary of State Henry Kissinger said after the Assad regime came to power, Syria was identifiable as a “factor of stability”.

When the Muslim Brotherhood organised an uprising in 1982 in the town of Hama Basharm, Assad’s father Hafiz, then ruler of Syria, launched an offensive that killed at least 20,000 people, on which the West remained silent. Bashar is quite prepared to carry out the same strategy and of course the West will not be prepared to intervene as they did in Libya. Syria has a strong conventional army, which would exact a heavy toll on any invaders. In addition Russia and China are prepared to support their local ally, indicating the increasing tensions between the big powers.

Another factor is the role of Islamic fundamentalism in the conflict. The West has been concerned by its rise in Egypt and Libya after the events of last year. In addition the West has found it difficult to use the democracy card, knowing the role of its local allies in the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, hardly themselves committed to bourgeois democracy.

Whilst Syria may be able to rely on the support of Iran, Russia and China, circumstances at home are cutting the ground from under Bashar al Assad’s feet. Lack of dissension was secured whilst the regime could promise economic and political stability. However the economic crisis has hit Syria in the last year with Gross Domestic Product going from 6% growth in 2009 to -6% this year with inflation shooting up to double figures this year. This coupled with the genuine popular revulsion against the barbarities carried out by the regime may well weaken it.

But just who are the opponents of the regime embodied in the likes of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)? The regime has traditionally relied on the support of the Alawite religious minority and Alawites are a group privileged by the regime. Pitted against the regime are an assembly of different forces which include Sunni jihadists ready to install a fundamentalist regime, supporters of a bourgeois liberal democracy and nationalists. Some of these forces are loosely organised by the Syrian National Council and by the Syrian National Coordination Committee.

Neither of these groups, at loggerheads with each other, has anything to offer the workers of the towns and countryside, who appear not to be developing a movement of their own. The Free Syrian Army is itself prepared to use the threat of bombardments against the population of Damascus, demonstrating that it is another murderous gang prepared to crush any attempt at workers’ self-organisation if it arises. The FSA has the tacit support of another local power, Turkey, intent on undermining the Assad regime and massing its forces on Syria’s northern borders. Whilst Iranian and Russian military may well be on the ground supporting the regime, equally forces sent in by the allies of the West in the region are also operating within Syria.

Five droughts in succession, massive youth unemployment and a huge hike in the price of wheat have aggravated social conditions. Whilst the Arab street might well be mobilising in parts of Syria, it is being manipulated by different political gangs, either those allied to the West, or those of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, with generous donations from the sheikhs in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

None of these gangs should be supported by revolutionaries and neither should the masses in Syria give any allegiance to them. It remains to be seen whether the working class in Syria can develop its own independence and self-organisation under extremely difficult circumstances.

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The Egyptian masses rise up again to complete their revolution!

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian people are fighting all over Egypt, against the repressive apparatus of the military junta. This is a genuine rebellion of the bulk of the oppressed, and not a clash between the Islamists and the army, as portrayed by some mainstream media. managed to talk to an anarchist-communist from Egypt, Yasser Abdullah, member of the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement, who gave us his testimony of the complex struggle ahead, and the potential for a complete revolution of the masses.

Since the fall of Mubarak in February, Egypt has been run by a military junta – the SCAF – which has left the basic structures of the dictatorship untouched. Protests and strikes have been met with extraordinary violence, unions have faced draconian laws to make any action impossible, torture has been widely practised, and there has been selective repression against revolutionary militants in the social movements. 12,000 people have faced military courts during this counter-revolutionary crackdown against the living forces and demands that mobilised the Egyptian people on the 25th January unfinished revolution. All of this is happening while they have been stimulating sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims, in order to divert attention from the real problems of the Egyptian people. On Friday, the masses took over Tahrir again, demanding that the SCAF step down, in the middle of exceptional measures being decreed to reinforce its powers. The whole political spectrum, but significantly the Muslim Brothers (who have been very quiet since they have a number of secret agreements with the SCAF), came out that day because elections are programmed for November 28th, and they fear that whatever the result, the real power will be hijacked by «Field Marshal» Tantawi, head of the SCAF. The SCAF, indeed, has passed a decree, giving the military a veto over the Constitution, to be drafted by the new parliament due to be elected in a week.

This Friday’s protest got all the international media talking about clashes between the Muslim Brothers and the SCAF. But the actual clashes started on Saturday, when a group of 200 diehard Tahrir revolutionaries were brutally attacked by the police. That was the spark that ignited these protests that have seen hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people, take over the streets again. These current clashes have nothing to do with political Islam, which again – as on 25th January – has not been a main actor in the protest. This is a protest led by the same people that led the January revolution, who now realize the real counter-revolutionary nature of the army, poorly disguised in a «nationalist» aura.

At this very minute, there is street fighting in all of the major cities of Egypt, particularly in Cairo, Port Said, Alexandria, and Suez. In Southern Egypt there are numerous demonstrations, and clashes with the repressive apparatus of the SCAF have also been reported. Police stations have been attacked, and barricades have been built on most important roads and streets. The repression has been fierce: at least 6 people have died so far, and over 1,000 have been seriously injured by the military and the hated Central Security Forces, the backbone of Mubarak’s repressive forces. Protesters at Tahrir were evicted some hours ago with gruesome force, with the use of armoured vehicles, suffocating gas (kindly provided to the SCAF by Obama), and rounds of rubber bullets and live ammunition – in scenes reminiscent of the Maspero Street massacre in October (link). At this minute (11.30 pm), the protesters have managed to recover Tahrir once again for the people and for the revolution. The rallying cry of the people is «down with the SCAF, down with Tantawi».

At 12pm we had the chance to talk with comrade Yasser Abdullah from the Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement, who explained to us what is happening in Cairo. His first-hand testimony of the events in Cairo is living proof that the revolutionary spirit is alive and well, and that the coming days will be crucial for the Arab revolts. All forms of solidarity are needed for our libertarian comrades moving forward with the Egyptian people towards liberation.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D. (20th November 2011)

1. What has been happening in Tahrir Square over the last couple of days? Who is protesting and what is the cause of the struggle?

A few days before Friday (18th November), a number of relatives of victims and martyrs of the Revolution, started a sit-in in Tahrir demanding their rights. For ten months now, since Mubarak stepped down, none of those accused of killing and shooting people during the uprising have been sent to jail. Also, last July, the SCAF (ie., the military junta) created a fund of 200 million Egyptian Pounds (about €25 million), called «the Fund for the Revolution’s Casualties and Martyrs» in order to compensate them and their families, but this was nothing but propaganda: the SCAF and Sharaf’s Government gave some of the victims jobs as garbage collectors, literally speaking, so the victims felt humiliated, that insult had been added to injury, so they started a sit-in for a respectable solution. On Friday, a «Million People» march was also planned, calling for an end to military rule and the interim civil authority before April 2012. After the march, the sit-in continued, and another march broke, called by the Islamist parties – who are against the sit-in and are trying to do their best in order to win the next elections, scheduled for November 28th.

So the sit-in was left alone with just a few dozen people; on Saturday 19th, at 11.00 am the Central Security Forces (CS, civil police) started an attack on the sit-in. There were around 200 protesters, who fought back against the CS. After that, the CS started to use tear gas and drove their armoured car into the protestors, running some over. Then some other protesters joined them to defend Tahrir square, and that’s how it all began. The CS attacked Tahrir, we fought them back, they took Tahrir for only half an hour, then we reclaimed it back and are occupying it – now, November 20th at 12.00 pm, there are ongoing clashes between protesters against both CS forces and Military police disguised as civil police.

2. The Muslim Brothers until recently had been allied with the transition authorities… Why are they now clashing with the police as reported by the international media?

After the referendum for the Constitutional Amendment on March 19th, the Muslim Brotherhood and all other Islamist forces, mainly the Salafis, allied themselves with the SCAF. On March 20th, a Salafi sheikh stated that the ballot box said «yes to Islam»… They did not see the referendum as being merely about amendments, but actually about Islam, whose spirit they saw reflected in people’s opinions as they voted. They claimed that most voters were for them because they represented Islam, and acted as if it were a referendum on them. From March onwards, the Islamists stood against any direct action against the SCAF, as they thought they would get into power at the next elections, so they had to compromise with the military junta… But now they feel that the SCAF has bluffed them, using their influence only to consolidate their own power. Actually, the junta and the Islamists are quarrelling brothers, they can shout in each other’s faces but they will not really fight. The ongoing clashes have nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist party, or even any other party whatever its denomination. The majority of parties now are aiming at parliament not at revolution. Only one leftist coalition has announced they’re thinking of boycotting the next elections – all the other parties are putting all of their main attention on the next elections and they have not joined the Tahrir occupation. Only the main revolutionary forces and the unorganised youth who are ready to fight back for their rights are in Tahrir now, in defence of the revolution. The political parties are all looking for compromise with the junta, trying to win the next elections, to take power by an agreement with the SCAF… So to say that the ongoing clashes are by the Muslim Brotherhood or any other organised political force is nothing more than a big lie circulated by the mainstream media.

3. Is there any potential for the popular movement in these protests? Do you think the military will consolidate its power or that there will be a renewed revolutionary wave?

The potential for the popular movement now is very high… On November 19th I felt as if we had been taken back to January 25th. The main chants now are «Down with military rule» and «People demand the removal of the regime». There have also been clashes in Alexandria and Suez. The casualties up to now (12 pm) are 1 dead in Cairo and 2 dead in Alexandria… Today there are plans for a day of action against the SCAF all over Egypt. This action is not being planned by any of the political parties, a positive thing, for after ten months of revolution the people now realize that their power lies in a leaderless, collective movement. They’re realising now that all the political parties are traitors, trying only to gain seats in parliament. I don’t think the junta can consolidate its power… They’re now in big trouble. On the one hand, their allies are demanding that they transfer their authority after the elections, and on the other hand, the protesters are in revolt on the streets, seeking to continue the revolution. I think the next few days will be a witness to all forms of action against the SCAF.


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