Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Egypt and the global economic order

An Earlier Photo of Philip Rizk Protesting the Closure of the Rafah Crossing and the Siege of Gaza.

Egypt's protests were a denunciation of neo-liberalism and the political suppression required to impose it.


By Philip Rizk

".......Denouncing capitalism

What started with workers in El-Mahalla El-Kobra soon expanded to include students, health workers and lawyers across the country. The protesters' grievances included economic exploitation, corruption and police impunity - the latter again coming to the fore in June 2010, when police officers beat 28-year-old Khaled Said to death in Alexandria.

During one period in early 2010, sit-ins around the parliament in downtown Cairo lasted for weeks. At first the government used these to highlight widespread freedom of speech, only to later have the police violently clamp down on the protesters and ban any further show of public dissent at the site.

Whether or not it has been directly articulated, the recent demonstrations on Egypt's streets are in large part a protest against crony-capitalism driven by the agenda of neo-colonial economic institutions. The protests are a denunciation of capitalism and the political suppression required to impose it.

But as the Supreme Military Council seeks to re-impose "stability" by, for example, banning labour strikes, Egyptians must be alert to the alarm bells that are ringing. The military, which has played its hand with great care throughout the protests - winning the trust and respect of many of the demonstrators - receives an annual $1.3bn in aid from the US, the same country that has been pushing the implementation of the economic model that has been so damaging to Egyptians.

The demonstrators must not now be fooled into believing that overthrowing the face of a corrupt and repressive regime is sufficient. They must prevent the military from propping up an economic order that only benefits the few and can be maintained only through iron-fisted rule."

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