Global Revolution: Will the Many Finally Triumph Over the Few?

By Gilbert Mercier and Liam Fox

Even though the revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt are still at an uncertain fluid stage, under what hopefully will be a ‘temporary trust’ of their respective armed forces, they already have made an irreversible geopolitical impact in the Middle-East and beyond. If 9/11/2001 marked the start of a dark chapter in world history, 2/11/2011 could become the beginning of a new era of positive global systemic changes challenging a worldwide unsustainable course of development.

Both Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt were pawns in the global game of transnational predatory capitalism. The fact that they were both toppled means that this imperialist world order can be challenged. Despite their different specifics, both revolutions were fueled by what are the universal desires of  every human beings: social justice, economic justice, freedom of speech, and the right to define our destiny through a  fair democratic process.

The cases of Tunisia and Egypt are far from being isolated, and as matter of fact they constitute more the norms of worldwide governance than the exception. Both dictators were running their countries like mafioso for the exclusive benefit of themselves, their families and a small group of criminal associates. But, if you compare Mubarak to someone like Berlusconi in Italy, or Putin in Russia, the level of control exercised by the two leaders on Italians and Russians are, despite the window dressing of pseudo-democracy, in essence the same. Both Berlusconi and Putin have a wide control of the media, and both behave like bosses of a mafia style government by rewarding their submissive underlings and crushing anyone seriously challenging their power.

This abuse of power is not unique to countries dominated by charismatic figures, ‘strong-men’, dictators, or military regimes.  Even Western Democracies suffer from the same social and economic inequalities (America’s wealth inequality is far greater than Egypt’s), repression of dissent (the U.S. Patriot Act, Espionage Act, and proposed Internet Kill Switch), challenges to freedom of speech (the current campaign against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks), and the exploitation of the many for the profit of the few (austerity measures and loss of services to maintain the profits of global financiers). The fundamental mechanisms that collect wealth in the hands of the few are universal to global capitalism.  Regardless of the outward appearance of any existing political system, the impact on the citizens of the planet, their livelihood, and their environment, are the same.

In North Africa and the Middle-East, the domino effect generated by the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt is already on its way. On Saturday, large protests took place in Algeria and demonstrations in Jordan and Yemen are becoming a daily event. This Tsunami has already reached Saudi Arabia where activists are organizing on Facebook and Twitter. Despite the new  narrative coming from Washington, pushing its vassals states for superficial reforms to quell the uprising, it seems that the wave is too powerful to be stopped or even contained. Former Secretary of State Henri Kissinger once said that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” This statement not only defines the psychology of men like Ben Ali, Mubarak, Berlusconi and Putin,  it proves revealing of the global elite and their pursuit of empire.

Kissinger, who had his hands in US foreign policy for 40 years, was a so called ‘pragmatist.’  In other words, he was in favor of supporting autocrats as long as the interests of the empire were not challenged. Even up to about four weeks ago, a common school of thought, in Washington, was that “Arabs were not ready for democracy.” Not only are they ready, but Tunisians and Egyptians are giving us all a lesson in courage and  democracy in its ultimate form. The Arab world is defining its own history over issues that concern all of us, and the sheer emotion of it will ignore national borders.

It is the ‘Empire’ that has been established by global capitalism that is not ready for democracy in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.  It’s the global capitalist empire that needs to maintain a strangle-hold on the resources of the region just as it needs to maintain control of its industrial workforces and profitable consumer economies throughout the European Union and America.  Elements of democracy have been rationed at the minimums necessary to gain the cooperation of those under the control of the system.

When the greed of the elite supersedes the tolerance of the people, and the crumbs are spread too thin, the people rise up.  Superficial changes may be offered such as what we saw when Ben Ali and Mubarak offered simple shuffling within their regimes, or the subsequent replacement of them as stewards of the status quo by their country’s generals.  In more sophisticated situations, the citizens of a ‘democratic republic’ may be allowed to argue amongst themselves, and even vote, on how they will meet the financial demands of the global elite, or establish a sense of equality, among themselves.  Not a true equality mind you.  The elite are not factored into the equation.  Their status and profits remain fixed, as we have learned with the financial crash of 2007-2008.  Who will be taxed more and who will work longer and harder is the most that citizens are allowed to fight over.  And, if we’re loud enough, as the people in Egypt have learned, we may be offered a few more crumbs from the table.

Despite the enormous impact of what has been accomplished in Egypt it is only the beginning.  A few wise individuals have chosen to remain in Tahrir square until a true, democratic, civilian government is established.  They will face pressure from the military as well as from their fellow countrymen who may be fooled by the removal of Mubarak.  The uprising has proven that the empire can be challenged by the people but change has not yet been achieved.  The appearance of change has been offered.  The strength of the movement must continue until the demands of the people are realized in full.

The motivation of this movement rises above petty nationalism.  The roots of the unrest go deeper than the specifics of a region, a language, a religion or a culture.  The roots of this unrest can be found in the principles borne out of the age of enlightenment and continued in the current writings of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek, among others.  The roots of this revolution are universal in principle and global in their impact.

This struggle throughout the Arab world is part and parcel with the anti-austerity struggle in Greece, Spain, France, and Ireland.  The global empire built on predatory capitalism has victimized the people of the world and relegated individuals to the status of serfs.  Regional exploitation has resulted in third world countries, banana republics, industrialized nations, and consumer societies; all neatly compartmentalized to service a global economy that increasingly benefits the few, the elite, the modern global nobility.

What we can learn from Egypt is that a single punch will not win this fight.  The empire has taken the blow and is shaking it off… firmly planted on its feet.  Loosing Mubarak was a black eye.  Real change can only be accomplished with a full follow-through and complete destabilization.  A protracted general strike that starves the empire of its human and material resources may be the only thing that can truly bring about a new world order.  And, a new world order will require a global effort.

A shared goal and alternative system must be established.  The force of the Egyptian people stopped the old guard in its tracks, but there was nothing prepared to replace it.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides a framework of principles to organize a global movement around.  These are neither regional concerns nor issues that can be dealt with by regional remedies.  The principles enshrined in the declaration must be applied to all humans regardless of geography or current status in the global hierarchical empire.  A new system of government must be explored and an alternative, sustainable, non-exploitive, economic system must be implemented to realize these principles and ideals.  In order to ensure our own rights and freedoms, we must stand for the rights and freedoms of all.

Egypt’s struggle has just begun.  It is more than symbolic and has demonstrated the real potential for change.  It is the same struggle as in Greece, Ireland, Yemen, China, America, and Saudi Arabia, and suffers from the same barriers… the greatest barrier being self imposed through the lack of unity, combination, and cooperation.  It is the struggle of the many against the few.  It is the struggle of the expendable class against the global elite.  It is the struggle of those who strive for true universal equality,

Will we finally reach across borders to lift each other up rather than exploit?  Will we finally achieve shared prosperity rather than fight for table-scraps while the elite hoard our resources and profit from our labor?  Will we join in a global struggle for universal equality?  Will we build a global movement that can provide the follow-through to Egypt’s glorious first punch?  Will the many finally triumph over the few?


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