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Pirate chief walks plank

By Michael J. Smith on Friday February 11, 2011 11:20 AM

La Vache is gone. Wow.

Al-Jazeera did a nice thig: The commentators shut up for a solid ten minutes and just broadcast the crowd noise from Tahrir Square. Extremely moving. It's quite a moment.

Of course, now comes the hard part....

Comments (26)

Now, the economic struggle.



My internet went out right before the announcement, but luckily there's an Egyptian-run restaurant nearby that was showing Al Jazeera on their flat screen. I have to say that was the most moving event that I've witnessed. It actually brought a tear to my eye.


Bears repeating:

There's a kind of wonderful inspiration in a moment like this; it transmutes our base human metal into something much finer. Touched by such events, we can take on a kind of heroic stature for a splendid interval; we can speak clearly, directly, eloquently, insightfully; the hidden glories and powers of our strange muddled nature shine through the quotidian tarnish. It's as if this were the thing we were meant to do; the thing in which our deepest dignity and honor as men and women consists -- to break the yoke of our burden, and the rod of our oppressor, as on the day of Midian.

- Father Smith


Now on to sully and the rest of the panchos

The people must probe this military council

And for once jc is on target
the union movement must thrust
The basic
economic struggle into
the foreground
before this all tumbles into feckless ballot boxing

They'll be fine as long as they don't listen to "economists."


FB: did MJ really say that? Geez, what a poet!!


OP: stop being such a cynic! "Feckless ballot boxing" is better than frightened obediance. Yes, there won't be a socialist revolution here, and yes, US influence will continue, but definitely it's been weakened. Unless Israel does something nuts (normal, I mean), ripple effects of this event are going to be wonderful to watch.

Boo yah, gang! ...and while my brain churns on a proper Mubarak resignation cartoon, here's a little fun I had with some Al Jazeera screen grabs, in the hip new four-panel vertical foto funnies format:


Look out, all those saints are comin' through--
'cause it's all over now, Baby Blue!


Agreed. The Egyptian people aren't going to have their memories wiped, over the next weeks and months. That doesn't mean ponies and roses, but ferfuckandchrissakes, they aren't going to forget their own strength of resistance, camaraderie and resolve just because some academic Avakianoids can't take their own faces away from an historical script no one's been following for at least fifty years.

Hell, my kin and extended family in Lawrence still commemorate Bread and Roses every year. That was nearly one hundred years ago.

And Ethan (6th or 7th) made a salient point, recently - this is a Commune moment. Not an analog, not a parallel, of course. But a moment of similarity. The Commune also ultimately failed in the face of Prussian might and Versailles dastardliness. But, its import as a mnemonic template should not be underplayed, just because of the historical edifice which has been built around its defeat.


The Egyptian people aren't going to have their memories wiped, over the next weeks and months.

Agreed. They've just proven to the world that the powers arrayed against them are not invincible. They won't soon forget that, and neither will the elites above them. Nor should we.


Not a cynic not at all
If this movement is to get to the next Level
Then a independent union movement needs to emerge here
Capable of crippling the system if certain basic demands aren't met

Waiting for elections is a bad mistake and I doubt this will happen
I'm quite sure the taste of power at the base won't fade

A fact we all seem to agree on

Though I get the impression some of us don't know what comes next primarily because they are into insurrection without a revolution
Not for any reason beyond they have never seen or read about a revolution that didn't going" statist"

This leads to celebrating spirit over concrete accomplishments
And sustained transformation


OP: lenin (richard Seymour) calls the Egyptian people "the vanguard of global democracy". I think he gets it just right. This is not a socialist revolution, yet, but a demonstration of poeples' power against an oppressive global system. The real outcome of this event may lie beyond Egypt's borders, in the loosening grip of western power.


the parallel to the yellow revolution is apt
but maybe this could be more ....

socialist revolution who said anything about that
in fact the scoff at the trotsky's womb
reposted mainfesto if the iron mongers
is precisely aimed at such soaring chatter
whilst an intact military backed by washington
holds complete authority ??

this is indeed a democratic uprising
and yet
the question which class(s) shall lead it
from here
which class(s)
shall form the power core of its new state
these are issues yet to be firmly settled

the spontaneous process here would lead to some formal freedoms
how much that might be worth to the bottom half of the people is undetermined
only economic restructuring can push the new process toward basic change in the economy
what political forces now in the field are dedicated to this mission ??

Clio has many prior tales to tell on this eh ??

what realistically is still on the agenda
anything is possible is a good working hypothesis in all cases pof massive upheavel

this isn't even as yet
a case of the people against
the compradors

precedent suggests
not until the army splits into pieces...if it does
over national strikes
with a anti american -zionic icing
will the limits be reached that this movement
must cross to break new ground

nothing has been tested here
accept the form of governance

a victory for people power

but if they go home
back to the job
back to "school "

this great and glorious wave
will remain
apparently all that some here
want or is it simply believe is ever possible ...now here
a national popular event
to be remembered
with joy by all freedom loving egyptians

are some of you suggesting or implying
that amounts to mission accomplished ??
all the egyptian masses can hope to accomplish here??

anyhting more is romantic adventurism ??

brandishing a bigger social revolition
if it were to emerge now
would be
just a stunt
a empty threat
effective enough to send mooby et al packing
but hardly in the reach of acvtual popular action ??

the question today is obvious

who now can and will make something more
out of the openning up
of the political process ????


The uprising is bourgeois. I don't think anyone is disputing that. It's still revolutionary, whether or not it adheres to your specific and preferred definition of Revolution.

It's not like the Egyptian people went through accelerated stages of socialist awareness, over a three week course of self-instruction. And outcome isn't up to us, anyway. We're the beneficiaries of the bad guys.


They just refused to submit to a particular and national tyrant who had the weight of capital and US military imperialism behind him. With great courage and inspiring resolve. It took ovaries and balls of impressive fortitude to face down Mubarak's national security apparatus. Especially given the likelihood that Mubarak's government would order a massacre (and he did order it; the soldiers in Tahrir Square refused to obey).

But, the alteration of their material and moral awareness is nonetheless revolutionary. They now know what before they could not assume with any surety.

Sure, Google execs and international enforcement technicians got a lot of media face time, but they did not make the revolution. And they did not bring impressive numbers of organized labor into the mix.

Those workers have been striking* with increasing frequency for the bulk of a year, probably laying the groundwork for organized collective action of which we have only really seen the surface and mediated elements.

They have, building over several years, culminating in a year of heavy strike activity, and a successful revolution, now positioned themselves as independent of not only the state, but the departing and replacement governments.

That ought to warm the withered cockles of your Bolshevik heart, not tease you into a milkman's sneer...

* - http://www.counterpunch.org/amin02112011.html


i agree with almost every word you wrote

of course i do
why would you take my expression as a sneer ??

in particular
this part :

"It took ovaries and balls of impressive fortitude to face down Mubarak's national security apparatus"

i should think anyone oughta assume
we here
all realize just that
and at
a fairly deep level

--- i know i know
i've violated my prime law of two
i'm over commenting
in that regard :
condolences to the weak of stomach ---


To sharpen what JC just said, I'd ask if the steelworkers put their expropriation demands before the whole country, right now, what support would they get? It's possible, that for all the deep-rooted conservatism and ignorance in the US, we are closer to a socialist revolution than Egypt.

I used that phrase (socialist revolution) because I didn't think you meant simply better wages when you talked about shifting the battle to the economic front.



"i used that phrase (socialist revolution) because I didn't think you meant simply better wages when you talked about shifting the battle to the economic front"

hey the ocober boys while the real lenin lived
drove by path ziggy zaggy to NEP

is that a socialist destination ??

ah words
they get in the way of communication
not as much as crypto animosity of course
which u and i don't have toward each other

thank the sun god


"the US...closer to a socialist revolution than Egypt."
now there's a question

for dialecticians or all stripes
from them high faluttin'
to us door matt types

and ...and jc

you ragin' howlers of the nihilist-positivists left

shall we reason together
as a great texican used to say


OP: not implying "mission accomplished", just taking modest position on the sidelines while Egyptian people figure out what they want next. Presumptious to be telling them how to conduct a revolution. Role of labor only one of many factors to watch out for, including US/Israeli manipulations. Meanwhile, why not celebrate a hearty blow to the solar plexus of empire?


" Presumptious to be telling them how to conduct a revolution."

that my dear friend is a badly over used

claims to personal modesty
and lack of merlin like insight foresight etc
really ought to go without saying eh ???

but STFU ???

who needs that order ??

certainly not the people over there
on the ground

they and us
have only clio's record to guide us

and yet if we and they consult her stories carefully
we almost without fail
can find helpful suggestions
if not in parallels
then in differences
" Role of labor only one of many factors to watch out for"
indeed but i contend it is the key to the next phase of the uprising
will it turn into a social revolution
will another class sieze the high ground

in fact far less then a social revolution
will it turn into
a real national democratic revolution

in that regard
i can answer this question:
"why not celebrate a hearty blow to the solar plexus of empire?"

because it hasn't happened yet
so far as i can see looking at
the present mrmbership of the scaf

these folks claiming to run egypt now
through its transition
to an arab style liberal democracy
a brass hat comb over clique
of willing compradores


"neither of the two basic problems or tasks
of Egypt's bourgeois-democratic revolution can be solved or accomplished by the national bourgeoisie.....Possible participation in the revolution on the one hand and proneness to conciliation with the enemies of the revolution on the other-- such is the dual character of the Egyptian bourgeoisie...When confronted by a formidable enemy, they unite with the the people the workers and peasants against him, but when the workers and peasants awaken they turn round
to unite with the enemy
against the people the workers and peasants...Therefore, the proletariat, the peasantry, the intelligentsia and the other sections of the petty bourgeoisie undoubtedly constitute the basic forces determining Egypt's fate... These classes, some already awakened and others in the process of awakening, will necessarily become the basic components of the state and governmental structure in the democratic republic of Egypt with the proletariat as the leading force...This new-democratic republic will be different from the old European-American form of capitalist republic under bourgeois dictatorship, which is the old democratic form and already out of date...This new democratic state form suits a certain historical period and is therefore transitional; nevertheless, it is a form which is necessary and cannot be dispensed with, this form is a state under the joint dictatorship of several anti-imperialist classes... this transitional form of state will be adopted in the revolutions of the emerging countries. Each of these revolutions will necessarily have specific characteristics of its own, but these will be minor variations on a general theme"

Not sure why anybody thought op-san was sneering.

Meanwhile, also surprised to be seeing lttle or no commentary here about two topics that seem of interest and importance:

1. To what extent is this the next stage of Chavez fever, aka the Latin American virus?

2. To what extent is this a food/peak oil/collapse of normalcy rebellion?


No-one said STFU, just begged to differ. I can imagine ten different narratives of future events, each one possibly occupying center stage for awhile, most eliminated rather quickly. Now, you're embarassing me for not being more militant, so I will switch to your side for awhile and watch events through your lenses. I'm also watching Angry Arab, who is not so sanguine yet.

No crypto animosity here, but crypto respect.

I keep coming back to the word "maturity." The Egyptian revolutionaries demonstrated tremendous maturity throughout, far above our own (and I most definitely include myself in that statement). We need to think of ourselves as students, and not masters. Students who can think critically, but nonetheless students.

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