Morsi, SCAF and the Revolutionary Left →
Regardless of what your views may be, this piece does a decent job of touching on some of the nuances and divisions within Egyptian politics and society currently:
by Hossam El-Hamalawy
The majority of those who are cheering the electoral results are not necessarily happy about Morsi’s victory, as much as they are relieved that Shafiq, the representative of the SCAF-backed counterrevolution is not in office.
Shafiq’s victory could have meant a wide level of demoralization among section of the people to see the regime’s loyal man coming back in power, with full force and vengeance. For example, a comrade in Assuit spoke to me in details before the second round about how former State Security officers in his town were sending messages to activists: “Wait till Shafiq gets inaugurated you sons of X#$%, you’ll disappear the following day.” Similar threats were made against activists in other provinces. Remnants of the old regime had felt confident to reappear once again. But Shafiq’s loss caused mass demoralization and disarray among their ranks.
The Muslim Brothers have put themselves in a critical position now. Some on the left and in the liberal circles are more than happy to label the Brotherhood as a “fascist” organization and “just another face of Mubarak’s regime.” This social analysis of the movement is incorrect and will entail, in my view, wrong political positions to be taken vis a vis the Islamists.
The MBs are not a unified block. While the organization is in effect run and controlled by multi millionaires like Khairat el-Shatter, seeking compromise and reconciliation with the regime, their base cadres who hail from middle, lower middle and section of the working class are a different story. Across its history and with every twist and turn the Brotherhood were subject to splits.
For el-Shatter, Islamic Shariaa means neoliberal reforms and an economic program which could even be more right wing than Mubarak’s, but Shariaa for the MB worker translates into achieving social justice. Renaissance for Morsi may well include anti-union measures, but for the MB workers I meet, the Renaissance project means nothing but more union freedoms, higher wages, and social justice. Those different interpretations of what the MB stands for is directly influenced by the class (and on occasions generational) background. It is completely off the wall to claim that since Shatter and the leadership are pro-neoliberalism, then their followers in the provinces are up in arms defending privatization or it’s part of their daily discourse to go around bashing unions. This is how a fascist organization would behave.
A fascist organization is solely dedicated to the destruction of working class organizations. The MB is a reformist organization, whose leadership is just asreactionary and opportunistic as any of their reformist counterparts from other tendencies. The MB leadership which refrained for an entire year from mobilization in the streets, collaborated with the junta, for a share of the cake, was only forced to return to the streets recently, after it became clear they were being cornered. The junta dissolved the MB-led parliament in one day and the Egyptian people did not rise up to defend the “Revolution Parliament.” Why would they? What did they see from that parliament except laws banning porno websites, personal scandals that amount to soap operas involving Salafi deputies, failure on all levels to hold SCAF or the cabinet accountable for the state the country has gotten into? The clouds of war had already been looming. The MB leadership understood if Shafiq wins they will be subject to crackdowns and attacks worse than ever witnessed under Mubarak’s reign, and the 1954 scenario was invoked in almost every conversation about the MBs.