Samir Amin: The Future of Arab Revolts

Source: MR Zine

The way Egyptian scholar and researcher Samir Amin sees it, nothing will be the same as before in the Arab world: protest movements will challenge both the internal social order of Arab countries and their places in the regional and global political chessboard.

Hassane Zerrouky: How do you see what’s happening in the Arab world six months after the fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia and that of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt?

Samir Amin: Nothing will be the same as before — that is certain.  That is because the uprising isn’t only about toppling the reigning dictators, but it is an enduring protest movement challenging, at the same time, both various dimensions of the internal social order, especially glaring inequalities in income distribution, and the international order, the place of Arab countries in the global economic order — in other words seeking an end to their submission to neoliberalism and the US and NATO diktats in the global political order.  This movement, whose ambition is also to democratize society, demanding social justice and a new national and (I’d say) anti-imperialist social and economic policy, will therefore last for years — though to be sure it will have its ups and downs, advances and retreats — for it won’t be able to find its own solution in a matter of weeks or even months.

Are you surprised that the uprisings have been carried out, nay driven, by new players, particularly young people?

No.  It’s very positive.  New generations have been really politicized again.  In Egypt, for example, the youth are very politicized.  The youth have their own way, outside the traditional opposition parties which, in Egypt, are the parties belonging to the Marxist tradition.  But their political awakening is not against those parties.  I can tell you that, right now, there is deep, spontaneous sympathy between young people and the parties of the radical Marxist Left, that is to say the parties that come from the socialist and communist tradition.

You say that this is an enduring movement, but, if we take Egypt for example, isn’t there a risk that the revolution will be hijacked by conservative forces?

There are certainly many risks, including, in the short to medium term, the risk that a reactionary, Islamist alternative may prevail.  That, by the way, is the US plan, unfortunately backed by Europe as well, at least as far as Egypt is concerned.  The plan is to establish an alliance between the reactionary Egyptian forces and the Muslim Brotherhood; that is moreover an alliance supported by Washington’s allies in the region, led by Saudi Arabia — supported by even Israel.  So, will it succeed?  It is possible that it will work in the medium term, but it won’t provide any solution to the Egyptian people’s problems.  So, the protest movement, the struggle, will continue and magnify.  In addition, it should be noted that the Muslim Brothers themselves are in crisis. . . .

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