Posted by Mike Karadjis on Marxmail: http://www.marxmail.org/msg114316.html
"Egypt: Socialists need to rethink the military takeover"
Which says, among many other valuable things:
"A probing debate on these and other issues in the Egyptian struggle has developed in the discussion list of Green Left Weekly, an Australian newspaper associated with Socialist Alliance. The exchange was initiated by Roger Annis, Richard Fidler, and Art Young, socialists in Canada with whom I have collaborated for several decades. Their contribution argues in support of the view of Australian socialist Michael Karadjis, who stated on the same list, 'The coup regime has now revealed itself to be a bloody, anti-working class, anti-democratic, anti-Palestinian regime of reaction.'
"A contrary view has been argued by Tony Iltis in a series of articles in Green Left Weekly and in four replies to Annis, Fidler, and Young (see #1, #2, #3, and #4). Karadjis added a comment in reply to Iltis.
"It should be noted that Iltis's writings do not represent the position of Socialist Alliance. SA's views are expressed in August 16 statement that concludes: 'The Socialist Alliance adds its voice to those demanding that all political prisoners be released and supports those who are calling for an immediate end to military rule and a civilian-led process to democratically elect a new government.'"
I thank John and the other Canadian comrades, who I largely agree with. However, we also need to be clear on what disagreements exist. While the GLW articles by Tony Iltis do contain a number of views I disagree with, the way this is put above suggests that Tony would disagree with my statement that the coup regime is "a bloody, anti-working class, anti-democratic, anti-Palestinian regime of reaction," which I think is unlikely. It also suggests that Tony would disagree with the SA statement, since you quote the SA statement as contrary to the GL articles. Tony can speak for himself, but, again, I very much doubt Tony would disagree with the SA statement, in fact his articles have condemned the military repression and demanded it end.
And in fact, contrawise, the SA statements have contained some of the same mistaken formulations that Tony's GLW articles have contained.
In summary, seems to me the main differences are the following:
First, the continual insistence that the military only acted to oust Morsi under pressure from the mass movement, whereas in fact the Mubarakists had long had their own campaign, including of sabotage, against the MB regime
Second, the continual assertions that the military played a similar role in the February 2011 overthrow of Mubarak and the July 3 overthrow of Morsi, which is patently incorrect
Third, the tendency to equate the MB and the military as equal enemies of the Egyptian people at this moment - the MB are enemies, but it is not of the same order by any means
Fourth, I would add using the claims of absurd numbers of demonstrators (17 to 33 million), as well as the alleged Tamarod petition of 22 million for which no evidence has ever been presented, to claim there were more people on the streets or in petitions than had voted for Morsi, in order to argue against an obsession with bourgeois representative democracy. While this can't justify a coup, it can make it look not so bad - it is not what we would have chosen, but ultimately the military coup, if self-serving, did carry out the will of the masses at that point.
Two things wrong with that - first, the numbers themselves; second, the confusion it creates between an actual revolutionary overthrow (if the numbers really did reach that size and the masses were able to institute organs of popular power to compete with the MB-led parliament) and a coup speaking in its name.
Holding these views does not make one a supporter of the coup regime and its repression. However, it does create a lot of confusion.
The root of this confusion is not Tony Iltis, nor GLW, nor the Socialist Alliance, nor Solidarity (the Australian IST group and its international), nor SAlt (connected to US ISO and their int'l allies), nor the countless other left organisations and individuals who have come out with this line around the world.
The root of the problem lies with the fact that the revolutionary socialist movement in Egypt is tiny (the RS as far as I can see), that they understandably got swept up in the moment with millions in the streets, which overwhelmed their analysis (that's not a criticism, its understandable in the circumstances), and much of the world revolutionary left, without first-hand knowledge, initially followed an understandable policy of deferring to the opinions of the comrades on the ground, and not wanting to immediately jump up and down with a counter-line. The "non-sectarian" method.
Thus, both the RS's error, and the error of others in repeating their view, were understandable in the circumstances.
However, we have long moved beyond the heady days of early July. The blood-drenched counterrevolution is far more obvious now. I think that without sharp critiques and recriminations, all those who held those views then should reassess. The RS's statements have continually improved since the first one. Yet they still repeat some of the incorrect mantras. Even if they feel a tactical need to relate to the movement there in this way, and I'm not sitting on my laptop to tell them what to say in the thick of it, for us outside we need to be clearer and also to recognise that, not wanting to be "sectarian" and all that notwithstanding, we are allowed to recognise that those on the ground are not always right and are quite capable of making mistakes, so as soon as we have better information we should be prepared to put a different view.