As hundreds of thousands of Egyptians yet again go on the streets to regain their hijacked revolution, it might prove useful to re-imagine what might have been, as a way to help chart what could be
Hani Shukrallah , Friday 25 Jan 2013
".......And herein lays one of the great paradoxes of the Egyptian revolution,
possibly the fundamental paradox at its heart, from which a whole host of other
dualities of strength and weakness spring.
Goals, noble or otherwise, are the first primary condition of strategy, but
strategy is equally, indeed first and foremost, about having a plan to realise
these goals. For such a plan to be effective it must be based on the most
thorough assessment of the configuration of forces, on a clear, unambiguous and
dispassionate understanding of strengths and weaknesses, within your own ranks,
no less than those of your foes.
Equally important, a revolutionary strategy involves a profound awareness of
“the present moment”, the conjuncture, and thus possessing the ability to
recognize and comprehend the ever shifting configuration of forces, identify
“the weakest link” in the chain of oppression you’ve set out to shatter,
recognize and identify as well your allies, your enemies and those who could be
neutralized: when to strike, at what, and how. Russia’s Lenin has been described
as a scientist of the conjuncture.......
One more point needs to be made here. Revolutions, ultimately, are not about
protest as much as they are about power. Admittedly, historical experience has
shown that revolutions everywhere – however successful – are nowhere the
far-reaching, all-encompassing ruptures with their respective anciens
régimes they would like to be, and often perceive themselves as being.
Oppressive structures rooted in economic and social privilege, invariably have
shown a remarkable resilience and capacity for regeneration in new ways, both
within the state and outside it.
Genuine revolutionary transformation is thus an ongoing process involving
popular protest, electoral politics and the elaboration and refinement of
continually-evolving organs of popular power able to subject the state and other
structures of power and privilege to a growingly potent siege, to bring them
increasingly under their sway – in an ever expanding, ever-deepening
democratisation of state and society.
Yet, revolutions do signify a rupture, and one which implies and requires,
absolutely, a much greater emphasis on access to power and the exercise of
effective sway over it, than with protesting against those who would maintain a
monopoly of power. Revolutionary transformation cannot be pursued with a
protester’s mindset, or rather a mindset that remains unable to make the vast
intellectual leap wherein the instruments of protest are now fully integrated
within the overall framework of creating and seizing greater access to, and
influence over the instruments of power......"