January 30, 2011
Having been involved in the genesis of a well-known protest, I know how everyone, including the media, gets the facts wrong when they try to ascertain the reason such events occur. The media won’t ever pay the real movers and shakers of protests any notice because they don’t know who any of them are. They need comfy, famous names and faces to do part of their job for them. It’s been almost 2 years after the Tea Party Movement started and our own media still doesn’t know who started it, and in most cases, they still don’t know why!
On the morning of January 28th, 2011, 3 days after the first day of the Egyptian protests, I was reading through the #Jan25 hashtag stream on Twitter, and I noticed that most of the foreign tweets were in Arabic. No big deal… my browser has a "translate this page" feature, just click and voilà, the entire page is translated. The problem is, I started noticing that many of the Arabic #Jan25 tweets were using phrases that sounded like Karl Marx fanboys passing socialist love notes back and forth to one another in class. Since we at The Graph focus on combating the worldview of neo-Marxists, it’s easy for us to spot Marxist propaganda. So, I put on my grassroots protester hat and started digging in the social web streams, because that’s where grassroots protesters work their magic.
In America, people are concerned that the Muslim Brotherhood are involved in the origination of these protests. In many tweets from Egyptians/Arabs in the #Jan25 stream people were very adamant about the Muslim Brotherhood not being the group responsible for the protests. The Muslim Brotherhood sounds like the Tea Party Express of the Egyptian protests – the western mainstream media is incorrectly attributing them for something they didn’t create.
I found no tweets in the #Jan25 hashtag stream espousing Islamic extremism. However, most Egyptians still link Sharia with justice.
These Egyptian grassroots political activists, most of them socialist/Marxist/unionist, used the momentum of the recent "revolution" in Tunisia to kick-off their January 25th protests. But who was behind the protests in Tunisia? Were the same people responsible there? If you look at the people who were appointed to the new Tunisian government, that should be obvious. Socialists. In the first post-Ben Ali government, the following new people were initially selected to serve as part of a 17 member cabinet. The other members were pre-existing members from the old regime:
- Mustapha Ben Jafar from the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties – This party is an advisory member of the Socialist International and is a coalition member with the Communist Party of Tunisian Workers
- Ahmed Ibrahim of the Movement Ettajdid – A socialist party originally known as the Tunisian Communist Party
- Ahmed Najib Chebbi of the Progressive Democratic Party – This party was formerly known as the Progressive Socialist Rally
- And 3 members of the Tunisian General Labour Union – This group is part of the communist-created and global socialist organization, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). Seems the head of the AFL (now the AFL-CIO) was in a pissing match with the Soviets at the time, otherwise they’d all be part of the WFTU.
Are you seeing a pattern?
Once it was decided by the activists in Egypt that protests were a "go", they presented idea that they should use the January 25th holiday of "Police Day" (ironic, eh?) to launch their protests in Egypt. The activists’ thinking, based on blogs and tweets, was that the police wouldn’t be very motivated to mobilize against their protests on their holiday. Many of the activists have said that they were taken by the momentum of this particular protest, because they’ve organized many in the past that were quick to fizzle out.
Some of the activists were interviewed on Al Jazeera saying that there was no official party or group control of the protest, but their affiliations were quickly evident when searching them online. Al Jazeera didn’t bother pointing out that these two activists, among those who have been placed front and center by the protesters, are self-described socialists too.
- Gigi Ibrahim (pictured above left) – socialist activist, Egypt. She lists quotes from Marx among her favorite quotes on Facebook. She has also lived in Anaheim, CA.
- Wael Khalil – socialist activist/blogger, Egypt
The BBC World Service also interviewed Ms. Ibrahim, but the BBC didn’t bother pointing out Gigi’s socialism either. If you listen to any of these activists speak, they’re all crying for "democracy", which, in their case, is apparently synonymous with socialism. Sure, they all despise Hosni Mubarak, but they would’ve protested anyone who wasn’t a socialist in the aftermath of the Tunisian protesters’ success.
Kamal Khalil, director of the Center for Socialist Studies with Ghazl el-Mahalla labor activist Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi, during Socialist Days 2007. (Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy)
Here are some of the more well-known socialists groups involved in kicking off the January 25th protests (this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive as I’ve been trying to get up to speed on all this during the last 24 hours):
- Kafya/Kefaya – "The Egyptian Movement for Change" – Translated to English it means "enough". It’s made up of socialists, Marxists, (seems 'Change’ means the same to them as it did to Barack) secularists and Islamists. Some see this group as Mubarak’s primary opposition group.
- Tagammu – "National Progressive Unionist Party" – a socialist political party in Egypt that rejects religious extremism.
- Mahalla/April 6th – a large group of unionists/socialists and their youth supporters. They launched a massive strike on April 6th, 2008, in Mahalla, Egypt, now known as the April 6th Youth Movement. Two of the recognized leaders of this movement Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi and Tarek Amin are well-known socialists in Egypt. In between the April 6th, 2008 strike and the January 25th, 2011 protests, Kamal participated in Socialist Days 2009 in Cairo, Egypt as a speaker. Socialist Days 2009 is also where Chris Harman, a well-known socialist author, and Marxist propagandist, from the UK, died while lecturing.
- The Center for Socialist Studies – an Egyptian group in Giza committed to bringing about "revolutionary socialism". Led by director Kamal Khalil. The picture to the right is of Kamal Khalil and Kamal Mohamed el-Fayoumi (the leader of April 6th, mentioned above) at Socialist Days 2007. You can see the Center’s Twitter stream here.
- Nasserites – mainly Arab nationalism combined with socialism and secularism. Named after former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar. These supporters tended to be older in age and were in much smaller numbers at the protests, but their worldview is mostly consistent with their younger counterparts.
Another socialist activist, who was heavily involved in getting out the word via blogs and Twitter, said of this Kayfa ( one of the organizations mentioned above) member photographed below, "The best shot I took today." The Kayfa sticker he’s holding probably says more about his leftist politics than Jihadi mayhem.
What do the protesters want? Well, originally, they wanted these demands met:
- To raise the minimum wage limit to LE 1200 and to get an unemployment aid.
- To cancel the emergency status in the country , to dismiss Habib El-Adly and to release all detainees without court orders. (this is in response to the alleged murder of Khaled Said)
- Disbanding the current parliament , to have a new free election and to amend the constitution in order to have two presidential limits only.
Although, now that the violence has escalated, curfews have been implemented, and an Internet blackout was forced by the government, many protesters are calling for a complete and total regime change. Mubarak firing his existing cabinet is not enough for some.
Some of you might say, "But you’re the guy who started The Graph. You guys are anti-Marxist." That’s true, but you don’t have to take my word for all the above. Take the word of socialist organizations from around the world (just a few of the many articles out there):
My takeaway from all this is that the Muslim Brotherhood has not been instrumental in this movement to date. The socialists involved in the January 25th uprising do not trust the Muslim Brotherhood politically because they see that group as beholden to Egyptian capitalism. However, the Brotherhood has money, powerful people who don’t mind engaging in murder, and years of organization on their side. If they want to co-opt this movement, they’ll be a force that the Egyptian neo-Marxists have to deal with.
Based on the people involved in the Tunisian movement, the April 6th Youth Movement/Mahalla Strike, and those involved in the creation of the January 25th protests, it’s clear that the current "revolution" in Africa has more to do with socialism than it does about Islamic fundamentalism, although the latter is playing a strong secondary role within some of the factions. Socialism has very deep roots in the Egypt and the Middle East going back to the era of Salama Moussa who wrote the first Arabic book on socialism in 1912 titled, "Al-Ishtirākiyya (The Socialism)". Moussa also helped form Egypt’s Socialist Party (later to be renamed the Communist Party in 1923) in 1921 alongside the likes of foreigner Joseph Rosenthal.
It seems as if there’s no real alternative to dictators or socialist organizations in Egypt and many other countries in the Middle East. The better question to ask is, "Who isn’t a socialist in Egypt?" If you remove a dictator there, you’re bound to end up with some flavor of socialism as a result. Capitalism is evil to Islamic socialists because it’s of the Western non-believer. Socialism is allowed to flourish to a degree, but under dictators it’s mostly just a bone to throw to the masses as appeasement. Arab socialism is different in some ways to the old Soviet communism because of the Islamic influence rejecting the Soviet tenets that were incompatible with the worldview of Muslims. As evidenced by the poll earlier in this post, many of the secular leftists in this region accept Sharia as being generally beneficial.
Where does George Soros fit into all this? Or does he? I engaged one of the Egyptian socialist activists on Twitter to learn more about the origin of the protests. When I asked who was originally behind the movement, he linked me to GlobalVoices. You can see the tweet here. Who funds GlobalVoices? Soros’ Open Society Institute, of course. It’s interesting that Soros-funded GlobalVoices’ January 25 protest timeline starts with a post on the 23rd asking if the January 25th protests were going to be Egypt’s Intifada.
Intifada was the word given to the uprising, or shaking off, in the 1987 Gaza/West Bank clash between Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis. During this First Intifada, Zachary Lockman wrote, "Israeli forces killed an estimated 1,100 Palestinians and Palestinians killed 164 Israelis, Palestinians killed an estimated 1,000 other Palestinians as alleged collaborators, although fewer than half had any proven contact with the Israeli authorities". How nice of a Soros-funded GlobalVoices to suggest Intifada. I think it’s worth investigating to see if Soros did have a hand in the protests in Tunisia and Egypt.
Leave it to the mainstream media to get yet another modern historical protest wrong. The Tea Party protests and the January 25 protests have almost nothing in common, save for the fact that the media doesn’t seem too interested in either protest’s precise origin. On behalf of the lamestream media, I nominate the Tea Party Express and the Muslim Brotherhood for the "irrelevant fire-starter" award.
As I’ve been writing this post, protests have begun in Saudi Arabia (doubt their protesters get too far), Yemen, Albania, and Jordan. Any takers on what ideology is behind the rest these protests? There are already reports of the Socialist Party speaking out in Albania against the current government there.