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The Muslim Brotherhood are not absolved today in Egypt

This is a guest post by Carl Packman

Writing on the situation in Egypt recently, Phil wrote: “the wheel appears to have turned full circle. The revolution is stalled and democracy, as stilted as it was, is dead.” And we can find an odd sort of analogy for its death in the socialist campaign to administer the revolution after January 25, 2011.

On May 10, 2011, it was agreed by the Egyptian Socialist Party to join in a Coalition of Socialist Forces with the Revolutionary Socialists, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, the Egyptian Communist Party and the Workers Democratic Party. This grouping was called the Revolution Continues alliance.

Today, that alliance is non-existent. The Egyptian Current Party and Egypt Freedom Party joined other coalitions, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Egyptian Socialist Party merged into one party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party joined the Revolutionary Democratic Coalition. A classic leftist split, t’was ever thus.The Revolution Continues, no more.

According to some the recent events in Egypt – where some 600 people died in one day, more than in Tiananmen Square – prove one thing overall: the end of Mubarak didn’t really happen.

In a Foreign Policy post recently entitled Why Hosni Mubarak still rules Egypt, Steven Cook writes: “Today the “revolution” that really never was, is over.” Emergency law for a month that will probably go on longer given the violence, curfew, military rule, and hostility toward the Muslim Brotherhood – what changed?

Well, one thing changed. Liberals and leftists have started to support crackdown on the protest. Is it not the case that now left wingers sit on the other side, supporting the status quo, watching supporters of the outed Muslim Brotherhood (MB) get wiped out, gunned down?

As a Washington Post article suggests, Egyptian liberals, of all people, carry the call for violent action on Brotherhood support, their sit-ins around Cairo University and the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.”The Egyptian liberals making these calls”, the article goes on to say, making its point very clear, “are aware that a crackdown by the military or police on a committed, cohesive, religiously inspired group could lead to bloodshed.”

But this situation, now very much out of hand, I would say, is a comment on the MB itself. I happen to believe Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the US, when he says that it was the MB itself which fell out of line, not agreeing to the original terms about sit-ins. Already the interim government reached out to the MB, it batted its hand away. Now MB use violent protest against the Egyptian police; what would you do?

Tawfik says, in a couple of passages that are worth quoting at length, even if a little shockingly realist in demeanour:

“The plan was originally to clear the sit-ins gradually, in stages, in a way that would not cause casualties. However, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters started shooting at the police, and there were casualties on the police side, it became necessary to finish this thing today”

Asked about whether the Tiananmen Square comparisons are fair, he answered:

“Most people don’t realize that most casualties did not take place where they had the two sit-ins, but when Muslim Brotherhood attacked citizens, government buildings, churches. This general aggressive behavior led to a very large number of casualties. I don’t recall that happening after Tiananmen Square”

Muslim Brotherhood supporters have reacted in this instance to attack the police and torch schools, businesses, and churches of the Egyptian Coptic Christian community. Yes, the reaction has been remarkably brutal – and the scary thing is it will probably happen again today.

The Muslim Brotherhood, we should be constantly reminding ourselves, were never at the heart of the revolutionary fever that hit Egypt in 2011, nor is it now. Furthermore, it is worth remembering this when critics blame only the interim government for ending the revolution.

Consider, for example, something that Alan Woods, leader of the International Marxist Tendency said back in 2011:

“The Islamic parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood, did not play any role in the organisation of this action [on the 25th of January] and originally they even opposed it. Only at a later stage were they forced to allow their members to attend … That is a devastating comment on those sorry “Marxists” in Europe who have been tail-ending the Islamists and given uncritical support to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

So, it pains me to see those sorry Marxists still at it today. John Rees of Counterfire, the splinter group from the Socialist Workers’ Party, puts it:

“The revolutionaries [in Egypt] need to pull the Muslim Brotherhood supporters back into joint action with them in order to defeat SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces]. If this does not happen, if the division between secular forces and Brotherhood supporters is allowed to continue, there will be more sectarian violence.”

There’s a reason liberals and leftists are among those calling for the police to restore order over MB protests, namely that the MB are counter-revolutionary, clerical-fascists, turned on by violence, filled with hate, and who lied about their peaceful part in a new, post-Mubarak Egypt.

Military rule and curfews are not the answer, in fact they serve to show how little has actually been achieved in Egypt, sadly. But the MB should not be absolved. Don’t listen to the cranks – liberals and leftists of all lands should reject the demands of the Brotherhood.