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Egypt’s elections under military rule: Join our resistance to the counter-revolution

From Comrades in Cairo

To you at whose side we struggle,

From the beginning of the Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion, the powers that be have launched a vicious counter-revolution to contain our struggle and subsume it by drowning the people’s voices in a process of mean­ing­less, piecemeal political reforms. This process aimed at deflect­ing the path of rev­o­lu­tion and the Egyptian people’s demands for “bread, freedom and social justice.” Only 18 days into our rev­o­lu­tion, and since we forced Mubarak out of power, the discourse of the political classes and the infra­struc­ture of the elites, including both state and private media, continues to privilege dis­cus­sions of rotating Ministers, cabinet reshuf­fles, ref­er­en­dums, com­mit­tees, con­sti­tu­tions and most glaringly, par­lia­men­tary and now pres­i­den­tial elections.

Our choice from the very beginning was to reject in their entirety the regime’s attempts to drag the people’s rev­o­lu­tion into a farcical dialogue with the counter-revolution shrouded in the discourse of a “demo­c­ra­tic process” which neither promotes the demands of the rev­o­lu­tion nor rep­re­sents any sub­stan­tial, real democracy. Thus our rev­o­lu­tion continues, and must continue.

Egyptians now find them­selves in a vul­ner­a­ble moment. Official political discourse would have the world believe that the tech­nolo­gies of democracy presently spell a choice between ‘two evils’. These are: Ahmed Shafiq, who guar­an­tees the con­sol­i­da­tion of the outgoing regime and its return with a vengeance, openly promising a criminal assault on the rev­o­lu­tion under the fascist spectres of ‘security’ and ‘stability’, and the false promise of pro­tec­tion for religious minori­ties (against whom the regime sys­tem­at­i­cally stages assault and isolation as part of its fear-mongering campaigns); and Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Broth­er­hood whom we are expected to imagine might ‘save’ us from the ‘old regime’ through the myths of cultural renais­sance — all while con­sol­i­dat­ing its financial strong­hold and the regional cap­i­tal­ist hegemony that fosters and depends on it for a climate of rampant exploita­tion of Egypt’s people and their resources. This con­sol­i­da­tion, we are certain, will be accom­pa­nied by the sub­se­quent mar­shalling of the military apparatus to protect the embold­ened ruling class of the Muslim Broth­er­hood from the wrath and revolt of its victims: the multitude whom the leaders of the orga­ni­za­tion have his­tor­i­cally fought by con­demn­ing and outlawing our struggles for liveli­hood, dignity and equality.

According to election officials, most voters them­selves (75%) have chosen neither Shafiq nor Morsi in the first round of elections. We refuse to recognize the choice of “lesser of two evils” when these evils mas­quer­ade in equal measure for the same regime. We believe there is another choice. And in times where perceived common sense is as far from the truth as can be, we find the need to speak out once again.

We perceive the affair of pres­i­den­tial elections in Egypt as an attempt by the as yet pre­vail­ing military junta and its counter-revolutionary forces to garner inter­na­tional legit­i­macy to cement the existing regime and deliver more lethal blows to the Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion. We ask you to join us in resisting the logic of this process that seeks to further entrench the counter-revolution.

Our struggle does not exist in isolation from yours.

What is rev­o­lu­tion, but the immediate and uncom­pro­mis­ing rejection of the status quo: of mil­i­ta­rized power, exploita­tion, class strat­i­fi­ca­tion, and relent­less police violence—just to name a few of the most basic and cancerous features of society in the present moment. These struc­tural realities are not unique to Egypt or the Egyptian rev­o­lu­tion. In both the South and the North com­mu­ni­ties resist what we are meant to accept without ques­tion­ing, rising up against the narrow realist per­spec­tive that tells us that democracy is merely choosing the lesser of ‘two evils’, and that the election of either rep­re­sents a choice in gov­ern­ment rather than what it is: an affir­ma­tion of the only gov­ern­ment that exists — that of unbridled, repres­sive and dehu­man­iz­ing cap­i­tal­ist relations. We stand in sol­i­dar­ity with the masses of pre­car­i­ous and endan­gered people who have chosen to defend their being from an aggres­sive global system that is in crisis; indeed, a sput­ter­ing system that, in its twilight hours, reaches for unprece­dented levels of sur­veil­lance, mil­i­ta­riza­tion and violence to quell our insurrections.

We must make clear that despite the fact of the inter­na­tional political establishment’s praise of the ‘demo­c­ra­tic’ nature of the first round of the Egyptian pres­i­den­tial elections, we strongly and cat­e­gor­i­cally reject the outcome of these elections for they do not represent the desires of the Egyptian people that fought in the January 25th Revolution.

Fur­ther­more, we cat­e­gor­i­cally reject the elections them­selves in principle, for the following reasons:

1– Even by the standards of the deceased and irrel­e­vant systems of rep­re­sen­ta­tion that once existed in the Global North, no ‘free and fair elections’ can take place under the super­vi­sion of a power-hungry military junta, vying relent­lessly for continued political dom­i­na­tion and the pro­tec­tion of their vast economic empire, so relent­lessly, indeed, that no con­sti­tu­tion exists to define the powers of any pres­i­dency. How can we tolerate a military dictatorship’s super­vi­sion of any political process when thousands of Egyptians continue to languish in the dungeons of military prison after under­go­ing arbitrary arrest, campaigns of sys­tem­atic torture, and excep­tional military tribunals.

2– The abuse of law in favor of the power mongering of the ruling military generals: in order to run the junta’s preferred candidate, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, the Supreme Pres­i­den­tial Electoral Com­mis­sion has simply and blatantly dis­re­garded the law of political exclusion recently passed in order to ban the candidacy of any members of Mubarak’s regime from running in the pres­i­den­tial elections.

3– The absurdity of unlimited power con­cen­trated in the hands of an electoral com­mis­sion made up of central figures from the Mubarak era who are meant to supervise a ‘demo­c­ra­tic’ process.

4– The vague programs marketed by the most strongly backed can­di­dates fly in the face of the values and object of the rev­o­lu­tion, the very reason why we are even having these elections today and the cause for which over a thousand martyrs gave their lives: “bread, freedom and social justice.”

If these elections take place and are inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized the regime will have received the world’s stamp of approval to make void every­thing the rev­o­lu­tion stands for. If these elections are to pass while we remain silent, we believe the coming regime will license itself to hunt us down, lock us up and torture us in an attempt to quell all forms of resis­tance to its very raison d’être.

We continue on our rev­o­lu­tion­ary path committed to resisting military rule and putting an end to military tribunals for civilians and the release of all detainees in military prisons. We continue to struggle in the workplace, in schools and uni­ver­si­ties and with popular com­mit­tees in our neigh­bor­hoods. But our fight is as much against the gov­ern­ments and systems sup­port­ing the regime that sup­presses us. We are deter­mined to audit loan agree­ments that did and continue to occur between inter­na­tional financial insti­tu­tions or foreign gov­ern­ments with a regime that claims to represent us while thriving from exploit­ing and repress­ing us. We call on you to join us in our struggle against the rein­force­ments of the counter-revolution. How will you stand in sol­i­dar­ity with us? If we are under attack, you are also under attack for our battle is a global one against the forces that seek our obedience and suppression.

We stand with the ongoing rev­o­lu­tion, a rev­o­lu­tion that will only be realized by the strength, community and per­sis­tence of the people; not through a poisonous ref­er­en­dum for military rule.

Comrades from Cairo

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