Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Way Forward in Egypt? Defeat the Left's Red-Green Alliance and Build the Secular-Representative Alternative to Mubarak

Over the last few days, William Kristol has been among the most vocal supporters of dramatic democratic change in Egypt. And in today's essay he pushes back against Glenn Beck and others on the right who fear a Red-Green Alliance of communists and Islamists. Kristol also disagrees with Charles Krauthammer, but that seems secondary to him slamming those positing "one-world conspiracies theories" of a communist-backed caliphate across the Muslim world. The problem is that while Glenn Beck's show sometimes comes off as half-baked, the neo-communist left has indeed aligned with global jihad in a campaign against the West. In fact, today was the progressive-left's "international day of mobilization and solidarity with the Egyptian people." The neo-Stalinist ANSWER homepage has the announcement, "Emergency demonstrations: Stop all U.S. aid to Mubarak dictatorship!":
Emergency demonstrations in solidarity with the uprising of the Egyptian people are taking place across the country to demand that the U.S. government stop all aid to the Mubarak dictatorship.
As I've reported many times, the ANSWER contingents have been at the center of every left-wing mobilization over the past decade, from the Iraq war to Proposition 8 to the anti-SB 1070 campaign last year. The left's all-purpose protest machine, ANSWER is bolstered by Democrats and progressives, many of whom have ties to the Obama administration. Code Pink's Jodie Evans, for example, served as a top campaign fundraiser for Barack Obama, and now her organization is leading a fundraising operation for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt: "Code Pink: Obama, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood Ally Raising (Tax Exempt) Money to Overthrow Egypt Gov’t:
As we reported previously, Code Pink has been on the ground in Cairo since the beginning of the uprising. The group has made nine trips to Egypt in the past two years as part of a campaign to undermine the Egyptian government and the blockade against Hamas-controlled Gaza.
For over a week now we've had international solidarity protesters calling for an anti-American, anti-Zionist revolution in Egypt, so, folks might want to step back and go easy on the freedom euphoria just a bit (in favor of a prudent democratic realism).

In any case, Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, a.k.a. Mahmoud Salem, offers
a way forward for Egypt's democracy:
So here are my two cents: next time when you head to Tahrir, alongside blankets and food and medicine, please get some foldable tables, chairs, papers, pens, a laptop and a USB connection. Set up a bunch of tables and start registering the protesters. Get their names, ages, addresses & districts. Based on location, start organizing them into committees, and then have those committees elect leaders or representatives. Do the same in Alex, In Mansoura, in Suez, in every major Egyptian city in which the Protesters braved police suppression and came out in the thousands. Protect the Data with your life. Get encryption programs to ensure the security of the data. Use web-based tools like Google documents to input the data in, thus ensuring that even if your laptops get confiscated by State Security Goons, they won’t find anything on your harddrives. Have people outside of Egypt back-up your data daily on secure servers. Then, start building the structure.

You see, with such Proper citizen organization and segmentation, we’ll have the contact information and location of all the protesters that showed up, and that could be transformed into voting blocks in parliamentary districts: i.e. a foundation for an Egyptian Unity party. That Egyptian Unity Party will be an Umbrella party that promotes equality, democracy & accountability, without any ideological slants. It should be centrist, because we don’t want any boring Left vs. Right squabbling at that stage. Once you institute the structure, start educating the members on their rights and their obligations as citizens. Convince them to bring their friends and relatives into meeting. Establish voters’ critical mass , all under that party.

The Egyptian Unity Party, however, will not be a permanent structure, but rather a transitional entity with a clear and direct purpose: create the grassroots organization to take back the parliament and presidency in the next elections. Once sufficient votes and seats have been obtained, the party will amend the constitution to promote civil liberties, plurality, and truly democratic elections. Once that constitution is in place, the party can disband, and its elected members can start forming their own parties and collations, based on their personal beliefs and ideologies, or they can join any of the existing parties, and breathe some life into their decaying carcasses. We will end up with an actual political process and representative political parties that will actually discuss policy and have to represent those who voted for them so that they can get re-elected. Democracy in action. An old but brilliant concept. A way to ensure that no matter what, we will have a huge influence on who becomes the next Egyptian President come election day in September.
That sounds awesome. The only problem is that during revolutionary crises the most highly organized factions often seize power through divide, conquer and assassination politics. We know now that Egypt's Arab street will not be silenced. But the shape of developments is still extremely fluid, and given the left's heavy investment and mobilization in the Muslim Brotherhood, a certain caution is well warranted.


Ritchie The Riveter said...

Without individual liberty ... and respect for it from all who govern ... peace is just an illusion.

Merely changing the leadership of a nation ... even through democracy ... without implementing that respect does not assure a sustainable peace.

This is what the Egyptian people ... those who support their efforts to cast off their police state ... and those who support the current leadership as a bulwark against the Muslim Brotherhood ... all need to understand.

The fundamental choice is not between the status quo and the Brotherhood ... the fundamental choice is between some form of tyranny, and a new course leading to rights-respecting governance.

This new course, however, that may challenge the predisposition within Islam to encourage/compel submission to the clerical hierarchy ... but it is the course to sustainable peace.

Some have said that Egypt lacks a democratic tradition to serve as a foundation for such a transition. However, there is a greater force than tradition ... and that is human nature.

And human nature has a greater need than "order" or even democracy ... it needs rights-respecting governance in order to thrive, and suppress the temptation to resort to terror as a means of pursuing happiness.

The lack of a democratic tradition does not make the establishment of rights-respecting governance (including representative democracy, but going well beyond that) any less of an imperative for a sustainable peace inside and outside Egypt

It is imperative that Egypt build this foundation ... in fact, free people must insist upon it ... for the world is too small today to avoid the evil that will spring forth from choosing either tyranny before them.

Again, without respect for liberty on the part of those who govern ... new, or old ... peace is just an illusion.