The middle classes as a whole rally around only the democratic objective, without necessarily objecting to the “market” (such as it is) or to Egypt’s international alignment wholesale. Not to be neglected is the role of a group of bloggers who take part, consciously or not, in a veritable conspiracy organized by the CIA. Its animators are usually young people from the wealthy classes, extremely Americanized, who nevertheless present themselves as “opponents” of the established dictatorships. The theme of democracy, in the version required for its manipulation by Washington, is uppermost in their discourse on the “Net.” That fact makes them active participants in the chain of counterrevolutions, orchestrated by Washington, disguised as “democratic revolutions” on the model of the East European “color revolutions.” But it would be wrong to conclude that this conspiracy is the cause of the popular revolts. Nevertheless, the CIA is seeking to reverse the direction of the movement, to distance its activists from their aim of progressive social transformation, and to shunt them onto different tracks. The scheme will have a good chance to succeed if the movement fails to bring together its diverse components, identify common strategic objectives, and invent effective forms of organization and action. Examples of such failure are well known — look at Indonesia and the Philippines. It is worthy of note that those bloggers, who write in English rather than Arabic (!), setting out to defend American-style “democracy,” often, in Egypt, develop arguments destined to legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood.
Samir Amin is director of the Third World Forum in Dakar, Senegal and author of The Liberal Virus (Monthly Review Press, 2004), The World We Wish to See (Monthly Review Press, 2008), and most recently The Law of Worldwide Value (Monthly Review Press, 2010). The text above is an excerpt from Samir Amin, “2011: An Arab Springtime?” (Monthly Review, 2 June 2011).