Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egyptian Reactionaries Take to the Street

According to this CNN report, violent Mubarak supporters are taking to the street. That makes it a lot harder for the Egyptian military to maintain its neutrality among contending political factions.

We shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Mubarak, or other high-placed reactionaries, must be orchestrating these violent counter-demonstrations and that pro-Mubarak constituencies will recede into the social background after he’s out the door. We've made that mistake before.  The architects of the Iraq war, for example, presumed that pro-Saddam forces would melt away after we dismantled the regime, or at least after we captured Saddam. They couldn’t fathom the conviction on the part of a lot of Sunnis that Saddam was entitled to rule and that Sunnis were entitled to the advantages they enjoyed as a result of his ruling. We all remember how that worked out.

Spontaneous protest isn’t the exclusive prerogative of progressives. All authoritarian regimes cultivate mass constituencies who are likely to be made worse off by regime change. Those people are just as likely to take to the streets as regime opponents. If enough of them do, things in Egypt are going to get ugly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like things are already getting very ugly. Even poor Anderson Cooper got beat up today.