58 comments on “Is Egypt Heading Towards Civil War?

  1. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    Thought you may be interested in this analysis?

    http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6066

    Quote from it: “While protesting alongside liberals against Mursi’s power grab and the undemocratic draft constitution, socialists need to make clear their separate identity. A socialist constitution would include genuine democratic rights for all, as well as the right to freedom from poverty, homelessness and illiteracy. Free education and healthcare, pensions for the elderly and disabled, a decent minimum wage – these are all fundamental rights that will not be conceded by capitalist politicians, whether from right wing Islamist or liberal secular parties. Workers need their own party. Appealing to workers, the poor and the youth with a socialist programme of revolutionary change can split away support from the right wing political Islamist parties.”

  2. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    No. The opposition are a lash-up of former pro-Mubarak forces and an opportunist “left” that was praising Mursi and the Ikhwan only a short time ago, calling for a vote for Mursi, saying the Ikhwan was the “right wing of the revolution”. Such forces aren’t about to engage in civil war, especially when it looks likely that the army is backing him. So is imperialism and the reactionary Gulf states. So we can rule out the opposition getting a revenue stream from these sources, significant arms supplies, diplomatic support, satellite TV stations pumping out propaganda and all the other gimmicks that go with civil war.

    I like this World Socialist Website analysis:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/dec2012/revo-d06.shtml

  3. Mark Victorystooge: I like this World Socialist Website analysis:

    This is a terrible analysis. The Egyptian left is engaged in a counter revolutionary role now, not when it was lining up with Morsi.

    It’s a fatal error to confuse form and content when it comes to revolution.

  4. #3 Given that other factors that accompany such events so often include sectarian strife, mass murder, rape and torture and huge numbers of homeless and orphaned children, I very much hope you’re right, particularly in the absence of a sign of a civil war resulting ultimately in an otherwise vaguely positive outcome.

  5. 4# the MB are counter revolutionary- as should be obvious. Those socialists who think that the MB are pro working class or pro democratic are very mistaken. the MB represent extreme reaction and have the support of imperialism in their attack on the working class in Egypt. Some socialists made the same mistake regarding Khomeini in Iran in 1979 and paid with their lives. The revolution was crushed by Khomeini and a regime was established that was even worse than the Shah- a thing that was thought not possible by many on the left at the time

    sandy

  6. #8 Absolutely. The ‘anti-imperialist’ dogma ‘Your enemy is my friend’ is such a mistaken policy as it ends up in workers blood (e.g. Iran, Chile etc) and the destruction of their organisations.

  7. #8 and #9

    The opposite error can be just as deadly if not worse.

    How did those leftists who took up armed struggle against the Khomeini regime get on btw? Are they all in the peak of good health at the moment?

  8. Morning Star reader on said:

    Let’s hope that the 99% of Egyptian communists and socialists who are not in the Egyptian affiliate of the Committee for a Workers International can see the situation in their own country as clearly as Dave Johnson of the Socialist Party of England and Wales can (Jimmy Haddow’s link at #3).
    In the same way, as soon as I receive a statement from the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialist League (For the Reconstruction of the Fourth International) on what the left needs to do in Britain, I’ll be sure to pass it on.
    Then again, perhaps the Egyptian communists and socialists have already thought about what issues and slogans to raise in Egypt, without expert guidance from Dave Johnson.
    Good grief, give me strength.

  9. Sorry about the downtime. Not sure what happened, and as you’d expect, all the fancypants monitoring tools failed to alert us to any problems.

  10. sandy: the MB are counter revolutionary- as should be obvious.

    Really? Didn’t they just play a key role in fomenting a revolution? Does this mean they’ve done a backflip? What does it mean exactly?

    sandy: hose socialists who think that the MB are pro working class or pro democratic are very mistaken.

    Let’s get this straight: they’re not pro-democratic having just won a free and fair election? Are you sure?

    sandy: the MB represent extreme reaction and have the support of imperialism in their attack on the working class in Egypt.

    Extreme reaction against what? They have a mandate?

    Maybe it’s more the case that imperialism has no choice other than to try and foment amicable relations with the government of the most populous Arab country in the region.

    And maybe Morsi and the MB understand that they were not given a mandate to declare war against imperialism or Israel but to challenge and uproot the last remnants of the apparatus of the Mubarak regime.

    Egypt has not and is not going through a socialist revolution, Sandy.

  11. 13# The MB are a deeply reactionary and anti working class movement. Not only in Egypt but through out the middle east. They joined the Arab spring in order to turn it into winter. Even if it is accepted that a working class revolution establishing a workers state is not on the immediate agenda it does not follow that socialists should give any support to the MB since the MB are out to crush the democratic strivings of the Egyptian masses. Socialists should strive to establish the maximum amount of democratic rights in order to allow the working class movement to live and breath and thus grow to the point where the working class can take power. Demands such as womans equality and a secular state can only be won in fierce combat with the MB who are well funded by the reactionary states of the region and now have the support of the USA and the EU. The fight for democratic rights against religious obscurantism falls to the working class and the socialist movement. The liberal bourgeois fear the working class more than they hate the clerics

    sandy

  12. sandy: The MB are a deeply reactionary and anti working class movement. Not only in Egypt but through out the middle east. They joined the Arab spring in order to turn it into winter.

    Sandy, are you sure this is a product of analysis?

  13. Shuggy LP on said:

    I didn’t see anything wrong with David Johnsons article.
    It was an interesting news article with a standardleftist conclusion in the last paragraph.No need for a cheap shot at his party!
    And no I don’t think egypt is heading for civil war. Bit premature for that!

  14. Jimmy Haddow on said:

    http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/6067

    Free Ramy Sabry, a socialist activist, and all political prisoners arrested by the State who with the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood (MB), now in power, are in alliance with the same big business owners who backed Mubarak.

    “The Committee for a Workers International (CWI) strongly condemns the organised killing of the Leftist journalist Al Housseini Abou Dayf, and the kidnapping and torturing of activists by members of the Muslim Brotherhood during the mass protests against Mursi’s new constitution. We call on the immediate release of all the activists.”

  15. sandy,

    sandy: Some socialists made the same mistake regarding Khomeini in Iran in 1979 and paid with their lives. The revolution was crushed by Khomeini and a regime was established that was even worse than the Shah

    This is factually incorrect.

    Pro-imperialist regimes, like the Shah, allow imperialsim to impoverish the country while taking a cut of the loot for themselves.

    Populist regimes like the current Iranian government come into conflict with imperialsim because they demand somewhat better terms for themselves and in order to maintain popularity.

    Iranian living standards have increased markedly, both absolutely and relatively in the region, since the fall of the Shah.

    The antagonism of imperialism cannot be explained otherwise than as a function of the reduced outflow of capital they must endure.

  16. Funky Joe Stalin on said:

    frank,

    Please – at least acknowledge that tens of thousands of Socialists and Trade Unionists were imprisoned, tortured and murdered by the clerical regime. These very same left wing parties helped the Ayatollah achieve power.

    Secular parties were eradicated and the notion of free party democracy removed.

    At least recognise this.

  17. Nick Parker on said:

    Why the hell shouldn’t Egyptian socialists offer debate and criticism about politics in Britain? Isn’t that the spirit of internationalism?

  18. Funky Joe Stalin: These very same left wing parties helped the Ayatollah achieve power.

    Some did and some did not. Those who did, suffered later and in some cases, helped target those who did not, who went earlier.

    It was a complex situation way beyond summing up in the cod ‘analysis’ of much of the British Left. Most of whom at the time found the actual Iranian revolutionaries a bit daunting.

    Oh and Frank @20 is right.

  19. 20# Frank it is a strange kind of socialist who celebrates the fact that their “own” boss class has managed to achieve a higher share of surplus value viz a vie foreign capital. Particularly when this success is based on the mass execution of the socialist left and the destruction of the self activity of the working class. There was nothing progressive in Khomeini’s politics or the “Islamic revolution”. It was a counter revolution against the working class and the socialist movement. The only anti imperialism that socialists should support is that which increases democratic rights for the masses and provides a space for the development of the strength and solidarity of the workers movement. Any other form of “anti imperialism” leads to barbarism.
    Political Islam in Egypt is not leading a revolution but is trying to crush a revolution

    sandy

  20. #25 Just for clarity, are you saying that the Iranian people are no better off economically or politically as a result of the overthrow of the Shah?

    Was the result of the Iranian revolution essentially total defeat for the working class?

    If the answer to both questions is ‘no’, why is Iran such a pariah state for imperialism?

  21. 26#The Iranian revolution was drowned in blood by political Islam. A total defeat for the working class- there was nothing progressive about the Khomeini regime. A big set back

    The reason that the Iranian regime is a bit of a pariah state for US imperialism is similar to why North Korea and Burma ( until recently)are/were pariah states. They are unpredictable and not integrated within the imperialist system. And also US imperialism needs enemies in order to justify its military expenditure and military adventures.

    There is nothing remotely pro working class about the regime in North Korea despite it being of concern to imperialism. Or do you think differently?

    sandy

  22. Watch Your Back! on said:

    You have got to get it right some times – If you lead a major party of the left, too many mistakes ought not to be the order of the dsy! Who said this in June? “The choice is clear. A vote for Shafiq would be a vote against the revolution. A vote for Mursi is a vote against the legacy of Mubarak and for continuing change. Now it is time to put Mursi to the test—and to continue struggles over jobs, wages, union rights and for radical political change.”

  23. 21. & 25.

    The character of a regime cannot be determined by how many Leftists it kills. It can only be determined by analysing its relationship to all classes, domestically and internationally.

    The Iranian regime is a populist one. It uses some of the increased resources retained domestically by expelling imperialist interests to bolster its own support. So, during the 10 years after the revolution, all indicators of human development, life expectancy, child mortality rates, school acess (both women and men), etc. improved.

    They also improved relative to peer group.

    http://hdrstats.undp.org/images/explanations/IRN.pdf

    It is the channelling of significant resources (capital) to the population and away from imperialism, which is the source of the latter’s antagonism to it. It is not some alleged ‘unpredictability’ on the regime’s part. The murder of the the sitting PM, possibly by those acting on behalf of her replacement makes Pakistan, for example, somewhat ‘unpredictable’, much more so than Iran. But, predictably it does nothing significant to harm US interests.

    But regimes cannot be characterised solely or even primarily by their domestic policy.
    The imperialist countries rarely kill Leftists in their own countries- their savagery is mainly reserved for foreigners.

    The reason Iran is not simply a populist nuisance to the US, like a clerical Peronism, is because it materially supports the defence of the Palestinians. This is intolerable to the US and its allies, and is what puts Iran in their cross-hairs.

    To imagine that Iran faces US hostility because of its undoubted crushing of opposition parties, workers’ organisations, and so on is to accord a progressive role to imperialism which is pure invention.

  24. frank: To imagine that Iran faces US hostility because of its undoubted crushing of opposition parties, workers’ organisations, and so on is to accord a progressive role to imperialism which is pure invention.

    Who said that ? The one thing that US imperialism would like about the Iranian regime is the fact that it crushed the socialist left so I dont know who you are arguing against here Frank. But the fact that imperialism is opposed to a regime does not mean that socialists should support that regime. Anyway it is my understanding that the present regime is a star pupil of the IMF and is following a neo liberal economic policy. My point is that socialists should give no support to the Iranian regime while also opposing any imperialist sanctions or military action. You seem to think that the Khomeini regime was a step forward for the working class. I dont.

  25. #32 The key question in countries such as Britain in respect of Iran is of course to oppose imperialist intervention.

    Our opinions on the relative merits of the current Iranian government are slightly academic given that we are currently not in a particularly strong position to influence the composition of our own government, let alone that of Iran.

    Just out of interest though,

    (1) What do you think are the prospects of the current government of Iran being replaced by one that would be more to your liking? (Btw I suspect that such a government would probably more to my liking as well).

    (2) What do you think are the chances of the current government of Iran being replaced by one more to the liking of imperialism?

    I do find it interesting though to look at the policies in respect of Iran of a government that IS to my liking- that of Venezuela.

  26. sandy: My point is that socialists should give no support to the Iranian regime while also opposing any imperialist sanctions or military action.

    No, that’s just noise, it helps enable the imperialist sanctions and interventions that you say you don’t want.

    sandy: The one thing that US imperialism would like about the Iranian regime is the fact that it crushed the socialist left so I dont know who you are arguing against here Frank.

    And yet Sandy the USA did not like it. Frank may be arguing against catecistic idiots, if he is he would have a point.

  27. Of course imperialism preferred the victory of political Islam to the victory of the forces of socialism in Iran. You have to be an idiot not to see that. Indeed imperialism has promoted political Islam in order to help defeat the workers movement throughout the middle east and beyond. Indonesia ( 1965) and Afghanistan (1980s) being two obvious examples.

    As everywhere the main fear of imperialism is that the working class could come to power in Iran. When it became apparent that the Shahs regime was doomed- (oil workers on strike, mass movement, workers committees etc) imperialism helped broker (US and french) the transfer of power to Khomeni. (Later on british imperialism gave a list of all communist party members in the army to the Khomeni regime which led to their arrest- this was reportedly supplied to britian by the high level defection of a KGB agent based in London- Oleg Gordievsky)

  28. sandy: Of course imperialism preferred the victory of political Islam to the victory of the forces of socialism in Iran.

    As might be apparent I was involved with the ‘forces of socialism in Iran’ so don’t mind me asking who do you think they were? the names of the organisations will do.

  29. the forces for socialism are the working class and its organizations

    what is your point? That imperialism wanted the left to win the battle with political Islam? Surely you dont believe that

    sandy

  30. sandy: what is your point?

    My point is that you are a fucking gobdaw pontificating about something you know nothing about. Now, I know its the internet and all, but there is a minimal standard.

  31. Morning Star reader on said:

    Nick Parker (22) asks: “Why the hell shouldn’t Egyptian socialists offer debate and criticism about politics in Britain? Isn’t that the spirit of internationalism?”
    Yet the strange thing is that most communist and socialist organisations in non-imperialist countries don’t issue statements telling the left in Britain (or elsewhere) what they should be doing to advance the struggle for socialism in Britain etc. It’s mostly the Trotskyist left in the imperialist countries who seem to think they know so much about how others should be conducting their struggles. The arrogance is bad enough, but when the prescription is a list of exactly the same shallow generalities and cliches for a whole range of different countries, in different conditions, it becomes an insult.
    I can only speak with any knowledge about the relations between Communist Parties. Most of them exchange information about their respective conditions and perspectives, learning as much as possible from each other, while raising questions where they don’t understand why the other party has taken a particular position. Doubts and reservations may then be expressed. Most Communist Parties have a degree of modesty about their own capacity to determine what others should be doing elsewhere.
    That approach is very different from handing down superficial, know-all prescriptions from far away in the manner of the SP and its miniscule satellite “Committee for a Workers International”.
    Nick, in my view the real spirit of internationalism is to learn about the struggles in other countries and give concrete support to those engaged in them – much more than reciting a list of slogans that you think they should follow.
    In similar vein, SA (34) doesn’t think it’s right to oppose the Iranian regime while also opposing imperialist intervention in Iran. Well, doing so is the position of what is still the biggest and best organised left force inside that country (the Tudeh Party), and it’s also the position of most of the trade union and women’s movements inside Iran. If only they understood as much about the struggle in their own country as SA thinks he does!

  32. Morning Star reader,

    Morning Star reader: Yet the strange thing is that most communist and socialist organisations in non-imperialist countries don’t issue statements telling the left in Britain (or elsewhere) what they should be doing

    Of course, Morning Star Reader, the countries whose ruling parties were ‘organised’ in the Comintern, the Cominform, and who then “inofficially” recognised the leading role of the Soviet Union never, ever dreamed of telling the left anywhere what they should be doing. Nor did they ever intervene in other countries’ internal policics, with aid, military ‘support’ or even invasions. No, no.

    And of course such parties today do have opinions on the rest of the world’s events. But maybe they don’t get published here, not even in the Morning Star, because they maybe aren’t deemed to be very relevant. The opinions of British left groups probably aren’t read with very much interest, if at all, in the countries they are writing about. Or do you disagree?

  33. Morning Star reader on said:

    Dagmar (40), I’m afraid some of your points may be lost in the attempts at sarcasm.
    For example, your references to aid and military assistance: only now are we learning of the extent of some of the aid from the Soviet Union, GDR etc. and Communist Parties (including Britain) for the national liberation movements, communists and socialists in Africa, Chile etc. That’s real internationalism, rather than patronising slogans about how people in Africa, Chile etc. should have been conducting their struggles.
    Many of the statements issued by Communist and Workers Parties parties around the world today can be found at http://www.solidnet.org. I think you will find most of them free from the arrogance and presumption about elsewhere that infects some – not all – parts of the Trotskyist left in Britain and other imperialist countries.

  34. Morning Star reader: In similar vein, SA (34) doesn’t think it’s right to oppose the Iranian regime while also opposing imperialist intervention in Iran. Well, doing so is the position of what is still the biggest and best organised left force inside that country (the Tudeh Party), and it’s also the position of most of the trade union and women’s movements inside Iran. If only they understood as much about the struggle in their own country as SA thinks he does!

    No, I didn’t say that. Nor do I presume that I know more about Iran than any Iranian. But your assumptions about what I might think show your awareness of the fatal role Tudeh played at a crucial period. It wasn’t pretty and it didn’t work.

  35. Morning Star reader on said:

    SA (42) I don’t want to misrepresent your position.

    Sandy wrote: “My point is that socialists should give no support to the Iranian regime while also opposing any imperialist sanctions or military action”.

    You reproached him for taking that position, which is the same position that Tudeh and most of the trade union and women’s movements take in Iran.

    You told Sandy: “No, that’s just noise, it helps enable the imperialist sanctions and interventions that you say you don’t want”.

    Tudeh and other left and progressive forces do not believe that opposing the regime on the basis that they do “enables” sanctions or military intervention. You believe you know better.

    You then became quite abusive towards Sandy (with whom I profoundly disagree on other issues on this blog), implying that he knew nothing about the situation in Iran, whereas you had had some involvement with socialist forces in that country.

    That was why I suggested that you think you understand more about the situation inside Iran than the left and progressive forces who are actually there. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable conclusion to draw from your rejection of Sandy’s standpoint, which he shares with Tudeh and other anti-regime, anti-imperialist forces.

    Incidentally, Tudeh have carried out a long and searching analysis and self-criticism of their positions in previous times. I’m not sure what advice they were offered at the time of the Khomeini revolution that would have guaranteed an escape from betrayal and massacre – although some of it would have resulted in the Ayatollah’s forces turning on them much earlier.

  36. Morning Star reader: That’s real internationalism, rather than patronising slogans about how people in Africa, Chile etc. should have been conducting their struggles.

    What do you mean “we are only finding out now”? It’s old news (for the left), no?

    Anyway: I’m pretty sure, that, say, many Ethiopians would have prefered sloganising or even some theory from the Cuban government as opposed to their intervention there – or as you put it, “real internationalism” – in the 1980s. Even the Cuban government don’t like to talk much about that incident.

    And while you mention support for national liberation movements, you of course know I was also referring to things like Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. But maybe you consider those ‘incidents’ to be merely “internationalism” as well. Poland got military rule with the justification that otherwise the USSR would march in – even parts of the Polish party were presumably not very keen on that kind of proletarian internationalism.

    And of course, there wasn’t just sloganising – which there was, of course. There was all that cash given over decades to the satellite parties in the west, given in order that they would do what was wanted of them.

    Somehow that Trot sloganising doesn’t seem quite so bad after all. For me at least´- I suspect you might see it differently.

  37. Morning Star reader: Tudeh and other left and progressive forces do not believe that opposing the regime on the basis that they do “enables” sanctions or military intervention.

    They are in Iran, its appropriate for them to state their position there. We, living in a country that yearns to regain, even partial, control of Iran and its assets should perhaps be more mindful of not giving cover to imperial adventures.

    You see the difference I’m sure, nothing said here about Iran will influence its internal politics but some slight influence is still possible in the UK.

    Morning Star reader: I’m not sure what advice they were offered at the time of the Khomeini revolution that would have guaranteed an escape from betrayal and massacre

    I cannot see where ‘advice’ came into it. They did what they did and reaped the harvest. I imagine the long and searching analysis and self criticism of previous positions has proved very instructive for those who managed to survive. Three people I was close to did not and so I well recall the period and who did what and to whom.

    Anyway Egypt..

  38. Morning Star reader on said:

    Dagmar, I’m afraid you are falling over yourself in your desperation to have a go at “Stalinism”. You’ve managed to introduce most of the anti-Communist litany of the 20th Century (although we’re still waiting for China in the 1920s and East Germany in 1953), even though these events have little or nothing to do with the contemporary matters originally under discussion.
    It’s also clear that you have little knowledge of some of the issues you raise, which is why you imagine they can all be rolled up into a ball as ammunition to throw at me.
    You do realise, surely, that many “satellite” CPs (and therefore Communists) opposed the Czech intervention in 1968, including the British CP (and me)? And the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (not my position though – I supported the Red Army and the progressive Afghan government against the imperialist-backed Mujahideen – which side were you on?).
    You also seem to have no idea about Cuba’s differences with the Soviet Union in Ethiopia about the Eritrean question.
    And clearly you are not up to speed about all the newly published documents and books about Soviet aid to the African liberation movements, the Chilean socialists and communists etc. – which was far greater than previously revealed.
    But don’t let any of the facts get in the way of your rather stale anti-Communism.

  39. prianikoff on said:

    It’s unlikely that the conflict over Morsi’s Constitutional Decree will lead to civil war in Egypt.

    The National Salvation Front doesn’t represent a clear cut opposition to the Brotherhood.
    It’s in no position to take power and is more likely to try to reach a compromise with Morsi, who has already made concilliatory moves in their direction.

    The Egyptian RS has wisely declined to join the NSF:-
    A spokesman Hisham Fouad said in an interview this week:-
    “The Revolutionary Socialists are not part of the Front, because it involves elements from Hosni Mubarak’s old regime, such as former minister Amr Moussa.
    “It is highly contradictory, including the Popular Socialist Alliance on the far left, to the Free Egyptians on the liberal right. Some of the parties involved are neoliberals, others oppose neoliberalism.”.

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=30192

    Nor does the Obama administration see Morsi as a threat.
    On the contrary, they’re trying to get him on board.
    A largely accurate analysis of the current situation is in the US Socialist Worker of December 13th.

    http://socialistworker.org/2012/12/13/us-plan-to-derail-the-arab-spring

  40. Mark Victorystooge on said:

    47 – Yes, as I suggested further up the thread, I don’t think it is going to be civil war. I don’t think the opposition has any sinews of war, and it is unlikely to get either the domestic or foreign support that would make it possible to wage war.

  41. #46 Interesting points.

    Am I correct that the Cubans would not allow their military forces to be used against the EPLF?

    On the Afghan question, do you still believe that the USSR was right to send in troops?

    In my view it was a disastrous decision that did much to weaken the appeal of the left not only in Afghanistan but elsewhere, particularly in the Muslim world (including Egypt and Iran).

    I also suspect it made it easier for regimes as disparate as those of Saddam and Khomeini to attack the CPs (and similar forces such as the Fedayeen Majority) in their respective countries.

  42. prianikoff on said:

    #48 Unfortunately, you also linked your comments to a demonstrably false article published on the World Socialist Website on December 6th, which claimed :-

    “…the RS are aligning themselves with secular big-business parties. Their new “revolutionary” front stretches from ex-UN official Mohamed ElBaradei and his liberal Constitution Party, to Nasserite leader Hamdeen Sabahi, the liberal Free Egyptians Party of multi-billionaire tycoon Naguib Sawiris, and remnants of the old regime such as Amr Moussa―the former head of the Arab League and minister under Mubarak.”

    This is disproved by the statement by Hisham Fouad that I quoted at #47.

    “The Revolutionary Socialists are not part of the Front, because it involves elements from Hosni Mubarak’s old regime…”

    The comment by John at #5 to the effect that “The Egyptian left is engaged in a counter revolutionary role” is therefore also a distortion, since not everyone on the left has joined the NSF.

    Political criticism isn’t the same thing as telling blatant lies.

  43. Vanya: In my view it was a disastrous decision that did much to weaken the appeal of the left not only in Afghanistan but elsewhere, particularly in the Muslim world (including Egypt and Iran).

    That is the reason that Andropov, when head of the KGB, originally led opposition to military intervention on the politburo.

    What changed was the preception, founded or otherwise, that that the Afghan government was prepared to go to the Americans fr aid if the USSR did not intervene.

    The Red Army also had an exaggerated belief in their ability to fight such a war, based upon their sucessful experience of the Bashmati wars, from 1919 onwards, not being fully over until about 1935.

  44. Vanya: In my view it was a disastrous decision that did much to weaken the appeal of the left not only in Afghanistan but elsewhere, particularly in the Muslim world (including Egypt and Iran).

    Yes, but this is an analysis taken in light of what happened. At the time (and btw the Soviet Government was dragged kicking and screaming into Afghanistan) I’m not sure the Soviets had much choice. A friendly regime on its southern border was engaged in fighting a by then US supported insurgency of religious obscurantists and the risk of allowing a pro-US regime to take power in Kabul, with the possibility of Afghanistan being used to host US missiles, was very real back then.

    The ongoing faction fight in the PDPA between its pro rural and pro urban elements, added to the crudity of its methods when trying to break the rigid feudal and tribal culture in the countryside, reflected the material and cultural limits of the left in global terms.

  45. prianikoff: The comment by John at #5 to the effect that “The Egyptian left is engaged in a counter revolutionary role” is therefore also a distortion, since not everyone on the left has joined the NSF.

    Then who or what has it joined? The Egyptian left is too weak to be an independent actor, therefore it has to line up with either Morsi or the assorted secularists arrayed against him.

    What’s the alternative?

  46. #25 I’ve re-read your comment. I also noted that further on you stated your opposition to intervention, while giving no support to the Iranian government.

    Can we be clear- in the event that Iran was attacked by imperialist military forces, who failed to achieve their objectives, but no change took place in the status quo in Iran, would that be a good thing in itself in your view? Or would that be an example of anti-imperialism that you could not support?

  47. #52 Yes they were clearly in a difficult position. My view is however that it was entirely predictable at the time that the negative political (and humanitarian) implications would outweigh any possible gains. I thought that at the time and it gives me no pleasure to be able to say that I was right.

    #53 I would agree that lining up with people who represent the old regime seems problematic to say the least, but specifically where is the bottom line that suggests an alliance with Morsi is the way to go?

    It’s always an option not to take sides. And surely it’s better to be marginalised than in the wrong?

    On this issue I need convincing.

  48. Vanya: but specifically where is the bottom line that suggests an alliance with Morsi is the way to go?

    I’m not in a position to say definitively that it is at this point. However, it is a fact that elements of the Mubarak apparatus remain entrenched within the judiciary and military and that until they are uprooted the revolutionary process there will be hamstrung.

    At this point I think that Morsi and the MB have been crude in their approach to this problem and have succeeded in alienating many who formerly supported them.

    This significantly does not include the Palestinians.

  49. prianikoff on said:

    #53 “What’s the alternative?”

    The MB claim that the “Feloul”- the remnants of the old regime- are the “hidden hand” behind the demonstrations against Morsi.

    This is disingenuous, as the MB themselves have been involved in serious compromises with sections of the regime. For instance, the new constitution allows the military to try civilians and keeps its budget secret.

    MB has also antagonised workers, the religious minorities and the secularists:-

    * MB are supporting cuts in food and domestic fuel subsidies to meet the terms of an IMF loan.

    * Their proposed Constitution restricts the independent unions formed since the fall of Mubarak.

    * They wants state controls of the finances of the Coptic Church and withdrawal of recognition to the Bahai, who are seen as a heretical sect by orthodox Muslims.

    * Article 44 of the Constitution prohibits blasphemy and in effect, makes atheism a crime.
    Only this week there was a trial in Egypt where the defendant Alber Saber, got 3 years for “insulting Muhammad, Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the angel Gabriel… and.. God himself.” The prosecution added that the “defendant believes humanity to be a product of nature.”

    None of these measures have anything to do with completing the process that began when Mubarak was overthrown. They’re anti democratic and against workers’s rights.

    Under the circumstances, the socialist left has to split both camps and try form an independent class-based party. There’s no other alternative.
    There’s clear evidence that this is what’s already happening on the ground in Egypt.

    In an interview from Cairo with Lee Sustar, published in US Socialist Worker on November 29th, the Egyptian journalist and Socialist Mostafa Ali said:-

    “HAMDEEN SABAHI, who came in third in the presidential election, and the former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei, are not leading the movement to the left.
    They have allied themselves with Amr Moussa, Mubarak’s former minister of foreign affairs and a presidential candidate.
    These three figures are hoping to draw anti-Brotherhood crowds that had in the past supported Mubarak.
    However, many voices in the mass rallies carry signs that read “No to the feloul,” meaning no to the remnants of the regime.
    They physically chased Moussa and others out of rallies.
    For its part, the Muslim Brotherhood accuses the opposition of making an alliance with the counterrevolutionaries.
    But the vast majority of people in the anti-Morsi protests are revolution supporters from Day One.
    In fact, the head of the Mubarak-era liberal Wafd party was smacked on the head at a Tahrir Square rally.
    The question of the character of the opposition is a live debate.
    Many members of the Sabahi and ElBaradei camps are infuriated by their leaders’ alliance with Moussa.”

    full:-
    http://socialistworker.org/2012/11/29/did-morsi-overplay-his-hand

  50. #56 My knowledge of the subject is limited.

    But the way I look at the situation is that (a) there is the danger of new reactionary forces becoming entrenched within the state apparatus -via the MB- (b) if the left is as marginal as it appears, better to be marginal but with an independent voice, than a marginal wing either of those who are implicitly defending the vestiges of the old regime or of those who may be in the process of replacing it with a new regime which could be little better and in some respects worse.

    And when you refer to the Palestinians, who specifically are you talking about? Is there unanimity accross the board (including the Palestinian left?)

    I stress, I have no answers myself.