Forum Post: Thanks, "Comrades from Cairo"... but NO THANKS!
Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 25, 2011, 6:30 p.m. EST by TIOUAISE
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Earlier today, OWS received a "Solidarity Statement from Cairo" which was posted here :
I was the first to post a comment about it, as I found many aspects of the message disturbing, even dangerous to the future of OWS :
1 - WHO exactly are the "Comrades from Cairo"? Are they an official group? Do they even really come from Cairo? Or could this email be a brilliant form of entrapment set by a wily "AGENT PROVOCATEUR'? As can be seen in my response below, I challenged the "comrades" to identify themselves but have yet to receive a response. I don't want to prejudge this, but neither do I want to be naive.
2 - Their advice concerning the use of violence MAY be good in their particular context - although even that is open to question! - but is definitely NOT appropriate in the context of contemporary America. Violence - or even the slightest hint of condoning it - on the part of OWS would play RIGHT IN THE HANDS OF THE 1% and destroy all hope of real change. In fact, it would provide the perfect excuse for a brutal crackdown and the imposition of MARTIAL LAW. ARE WE GOING TO FALL IN SUCH A TRAP?
Here is my response to the "Comrades".
"Comrades from Cairo",
Thank you for your message of solidarity but, with respect, who are you? Are you part of an official movement? Are you in fact the true leaders of the Movement that ousted Hosni Mubarak?
Also, are you aware of the particular conditions that exist in the United States? Are you aware that ours is a rather "trigger-happy" culture? Are you aware that there are 90 guns for 100 Americans kept in people's homes? Nonviolence is not a "fetish" for us, it is a matter of SURVIVAL. We are sitting at present on a powder keg and the least bit of violence on the part of OWS would give our enemies the perfect excuse to destroy us, including in the court of public opinion.
While we admire the success of the Arab Spring, you must understand that there are many important differences between the United States and Egypt. As someone said last spring, "there are more guns in American homes than there are stones in Tahrir Square or perhaps in the whole of Cairo".
In closing, "Comrades from Cairo", let me just make clear that I am NOT speaking on behalf of OWS but only in my own name. I can only hope and pray that, having espoused gandhian and kingian nonviolence, OWS will NOT choose to take up arms, as that would only play in the hands of those elements already in place - the 1% - who would LOVE to have martial law and establish a fascist dictatorship in order to CRUSH this righteous uprising of the American people. For us, it is better to have martyrs than to fall into that trap and completely sabotage our Movement. The police cannot kill us all. And they cannot break our will as a people.
As Martin Luther King said, "We Shall Overcome".
if you start to look at what's going on here objectively, you will see there is something very wrong. In the big picture Egypt was small potatoes compared to goldman saks. but besides that, The agenda id getting clearer, and it is going to turn many away who thought this was what it first said it was.
Some people on here seem to be completely ignorant of how the Egyptian revolution has progressed and how the first glorious goal was achieved. Workers were key in bringing down Mubarak when they went on general strike before Mubarak fell. They have also made economic demands like taking public ownership of companies that Mubarak privatized. Workers have occupied their workplaces and thrown out the CEO then democratically elected their "bosses". To say that isn't "leftist" or their only goal was to bring western style democracy is a serious error. Also the comrades are advising that you do not festishize a tactic. Just like the OWS movement has learned that it cannot ban political parties and trade unions like in the begining it needs to evolve its tactics. The comrades are schooling you as they've already lived through the first crucial phase of a revolution. If you want to also win then you must listen and learn. The state has a monopoly on violence at the moment. When the moment comes and the movement is strong enough then to doggedly adhere to "non violence" is a sure way to make sure people are slaughtered.
"The comrades are schooling you as they've already lived through the first crucial phase of a revolution. If you want to also win then you must listen and learn. "
WHAAAAAAAT? What kind of paternalistic malarkey is that? We don't need to be "schooled" by anyone.
America is NOT Egypt and we can't follow the "Egyptian recipe" for our own Revolution. Violence in our present context would only bring MASS SLAUGHTER, MARTIAL LAW and TYRANNY.
The true strength of OWS lies in its commitment to gandhian and kingian nonviolence. There will probably be martyrs, but the Powers that be cannot kill us all. The American people will NOT tolerate mass slaughter of unarmed citizens.
It is not paternalistic to say that you should learn from very recent history. It is paternalist to say that Egyptians were only looking for western style democracy like another poster suggested. The comrades make very good advice when they say not to fetishize a tactic and to be symmetrical to your enemy. Of course that doesn't mean people in OWS should pick up guns now. However when/if the movement becomes big enough it will be attacked and to commit to Ghandian tactics then is to guarantee slaughter. If you are going to remain committed to "gandhian and kingian" tactics then I recommend you read some facts about those tactics and understand their implications. http://www.marxists.org/archive/harman/2001/06/violence.htm
Your comments fit within the parameters of this profile: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27053
Gandhi brought the British Empire to its knees and gained independence for India!!! That's good enough for me. And Martin Luther King made great strides for civil rights.
The "slaughter" you warn us about will NOT happen if we remain committed to nonviolence as King and Gandhi did. It WILL, however, be INEVITABLE if we "pick up guns" as you quaintly put it... There would be MASS SLAUGHTER, followd by MARTIAL LAW under some crackpot like Herman Cain or Sarah Palin... Is THAT your vision of the future for America???
You aren't listening to what the comrades or I am saying. You obviously didn't read the article. If you do you might learn that Gandhi's tactics worked to a point and then also hindered the Indian movement. Yes at this moment non violence is a tactic that is needed. However when/if there are millions on the streets then the police will attack. If you choose non violence then you are only condemning people to slaughter and will loose. The Egyptians didn't just let themselves be killed. They fought the police and they won. Of course if the working class is well organized and go on strike then there will be less violence because that is how the ruling class is defeated. Workers withdrawing their labour is the most effective tactic. This is a common element of mass workers uprisings against capitalism throughout its relatively short history. Google Paris Commune 1871, Russian Revolution 1917, Spanish Revolution 1936, Egyptian Revolution 2011 A brilliant development are US soldiers joining the movement and protecting people from the police. This is also a common element in history. The soldiers are key to defeating the ruling (capitalist) class.
Might you be a Marxist by any chance?
Your advice is VERY unwise.
That Cairo post was bogus. The tone was way too western and leftist; the Egyptian revolt wasn't a leftist revolt against capitalism, they were sick of Mubarak.
"That Cairo post was bogus." Has that been firmly established by OWS? If the whole thing was a prank, I think far too many readers were completely fooled.
Please don't misundertand me : I love and admire the brave Egyptian people and their phenomenal Revolution. But I also happen to know that a great many of the demonstrators were and remain deeply committed to nonviolence.
No, it hasn't been confirmed as a hoax, it just isn't plausibly Egyptian in my opinion. I don't think it was intended as a joke; more likely some overzealous protester in the states.
I myself think it was intended as a clever TRAP for OWS. Some "AGENTS PROVOCATEURS" have already been caught and confronted by OWS.