A prominent New York Times article of Feb. 13 will doubtless be seized upon as vindicating paranoia about neocon conspiracies behind the Egyptian revolution. It seems that one of the early protest groups, the April 6 Youth Movement—so named for their failed plan for an uprising on that date in 2008—drew inspiration (although not, by any indication, money or training) from the Serbian protest movement Otpor and international non-violence guru Gene Sharp.
Ben Smith blogging on Politico calls Sharp “The most influential American political figure you’ve never heard of,” implying the Egyptian protests are a cookie-cutter affair modeled on the 2000 overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. Committing a howler worthy of a particularly slow high-school student, he refers to Egypt’s Otpor link as a “Baltic” connection. (May we suggest that you meant “Balkan,” Ben? Please consult an atlas.)
This is too funny. The neocons themselves (against all evidence) tried to take credit for the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions—and now some lefty pundits seem to be buying their own self-serving propaganda! Meanwhile, the neocons’ arch-enemies in the Iranian regime likewise try to take credit for the Egyptian upsurge—even while suppressing similar protests within their own borders. Another one to file under “life’s little ironies.”
Other sectors of the idiot left, e.g. the ever-reliable Workers World Party, loved Milosevic but have at least got enough savvy to cheer on the Egyptian protesters. Yet they were sickeningly eager to betray the Iranian protest movement in 2009—and will doubtless be equally eager now that protests begin to re-emerge in the Islamic Republic.
One paranoid anarchist blogger writes of the Egyptian upsurge: “US Co-opted ‘Revolution’ for Neoliberal Designs.” Our problem is with use of the past tense—the US, like Tehran, will certainly try to co-opt the Egyptian revolution. Whether either will succeed remains to be seen. For the moment, the Egyptian revolution is under nobody’s control. And the very rush to claim it is testament to how dangerous it really is. A genuine secular working-class revolutionary movement is a threat to both the US-backed neoliberal order and fundamentalist states like Iran. If the movement isn’t crushed by the military, will it manage to avoid being domesticated by either the mullahs or the neocons? Insh’allah.