The Coming Global Uprising: Learning From Egypt, Libya, and Other Revolutions Gone Wrong
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You won’t hear it discussed much, not in main stream media anyway, but the people of Egypt are, and have been for some time, back in Tahrir Square fighting for the same things they were fighting for nine months ago. You’ll be allowed to see Hosni Mubarak wheeled into his media trial on a gurney, like a mafia Don feigning illness, dementia, or both, after finally being called to account for his actions. You’ll hear the Egyptian revolution spoken of in the past tense by vacant-eyed talking heads fawning over the courage of those whose bravery was supposedly successful in bringing change to to the country. But, you won’t hear about what is really going on; or what really happened; or, more accurately, what didn’t happen.
In Libya, you’ll see reporters ducking behind walls in their flack jackets, with over-sized helmets propped on their heads, reporting from the ‘war-zone’ while Libyans walk casually in the background shooting their seemingly endless supply of ammunition into the air while looking at them with a mixture of curiosity and amusement. You’ll hear of the horrors committed by Qaddafi, but you won’t hear much about what the National Transition Council has been up to.
You won’t hear that, months ago, one of the first acts of those who usurped the true revolution was to set up Libya’s new central bank in order to provide inroads for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank so that they can entrap the Libyan people with the same debt schemes that enslave the rest of us. You won’t hear that these usurpers spent more time concerned with the future well-being of international oil companies than the well-being of the Libyan people. And, my personal favorite, you won’t hear that one of the first acts of these so-called revolutionaries was to hire a high-powered Washington PR firm, the Harbour Group.
You also won’t hear that many of the leaders of the National Transitional Council, the supposed leaders of the revolution, were members of the Qaddafi regime who have long standing relationships with international banking cartels and multinational corporations as well as the governments of the NATO alliance, including working as interrogators and allegedly torturing people on behalf of the CIA.
The true Libyan revolutionaries will find themselves in the same position as their Egyptian counterparts, eclipsed by the media generated spectacle of false change and drowning in much, much more of the predatory capitalism that inspired them to action in the first place.
It is far easier to infiltrate a movement and misdirect it than it is to crush it. The Syrian dictator al-Assad has failed to realize this. As a result, international support is growing for those his regime brutalizes, and his victim’s resolve becomes stronger every day.
Soon, those that have learned the lessons of how to kill a revolution in the modern age of ubiquitous video and information sharing, perhaps America, NATO, or some other manufactured coalition, will ride in and save the day with a new, business and global finance friendly puppet regime ready to take control… just like in Egypt and Libya.
Dealing with the challenge of clandestine operations and the sophisticated machinations of professional intelligence personal is a difficult enough challenge for the often young and inexperienced activists. However, dealing with themselves and their peers can often be just as damaging to a movement seeking real change. This is a lesson being learned throughout Europe and clearly observed in the occupation in Athens after global capitalists had ravaged their economy and sent the citizens the bill, much like everywhere else on the planet.
The confusion of principles, often shared by activists, with paradigms and ideologies, often at odds with each other, or at least difficult to reconcile, seems to sound the first death knell of any uprising and potential revolution. Well meaning activists come with preconceived notions taken from the writings of great leaders and philosophers from the past. Libertarians, Progressives, Communists, Capitalists, Anarchists , etc. and so on, all come so well versed in the history and formation of their chosen paradigm they’re doomed to waste countless hours and immeasurable energy debating particulars in a conflict with their allies rather than jointly pursuing the principles they all share.
There is no historical political paradigm that deals with the challenges we face or the factors involved in modern society; not completely. Many may have something to offer, but none were designed to deal with either the monumental challenge of the global environmental crisis, or had the foresight to factor in the game-changing potential of the world-wide interweb.
As many activists are preparing to take to the streets in America, all of the aforementioned issues are already becoming apparent. Establishment figures have gone from positions in White House administration to heading well packaged, and well funded,
grassroots astroturf organizations designed more to mobilize partisan voters than to investigate real change; the myriad of organizations participating in the actions, that each, individually, exist to further a particular agenda, as important and honorable as they may be, are already meeting to ensure that they will be able to lead ‘the conversation’ in the direction they want it to go; and, everyone from the media to T-shirt companies are trying to figure out how they can either spin or capitalize on whatever happens in order to make a buck.
From the occupation of Wall Street on September 17; the ‘Stop the Machine’ October Coalition’s occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC; the second phase of the Keystone XL tar sands protests (in which over 1200 protesters have already been arrested during phase one) scheduled for October 7; to the global ‘Take the Streets‘ action planned for October 15, there are probably a million ways this can all go wrong.
We are living in a new world and we need a new paradigm. We can learn from past attempts and experiments but we must recognize their failings, shortcomings, and obsolescence. We need to conquer more than just the challenges and oppressions that we face… we need to get over ourselves. A failure to do so will make us easy victims to those that would subvert, and usurp, our attempts at emancipation as well as make us potential victims to our own egos.
If there is a road ahead it comes without a map. It is one we have yet to travel. Equality, Social Justice, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, Sustainability, and the realization of Universal Human Rights have never been a part of our history. We will not find the solutions we need by rehashing past failures or simply tweaking current imbalances, inequalities, and injustices without changing the system that has created them.
Real solutions will only come with truly profound fundamental change on a global scale. Not national, regional, continental, or any other method of dividing the citizens of this planet. Lets find what unites us, whether it be in a functional sense like the Internet or on a fundamental level such as our shared needs. Our challenges are global. Our efforts, strategies, and solutions must therefore also be global. But, at the risk of sounding cliché, in order to truly be global our paradigm must be uncompromisingly global as well, and for that to happen the most important change must happen within each one of us first. So, if you plan on being part of a successful movement for change, be alert, keep your head up, your mind open, and leave your baggage behind.