Source: Guardian Unlimited
Egyptian activists who helped topple former dictator Hosni Mubarak have lent their support to the growing Occupy movement in the United States and Europe, a further sign that links between global pro-change protests appear to be growing.
A message of solidarity issued by a collective of Cairo-based campaigners declared: “We are now in many ways involved in the same struggle,” adding: “What most pundits call ‘The Arab Spring’ has its roots in the demonstrations, riots, strikes and occupations taking place all around the world.”
Demonstrators in New York, London and hundreds of other cities have recently set up tent encampments to challenge what they say is a culture of corporate greed and democratic unaccountability. Much of the tactics, rhetoric and imagery deployed by protesters has clearly been inspired by this year’s political upheavals in the Middle East, including the dramatic occupation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January and February, which forced Mubarak to stand down.
Critics of the Occupy movement have dismissed suggestions that they share many similarities with protests in the Middle East, arguing that the latter have been about liberation from tyranny while the former are focused on economic reform. But the solidarity statement explicitly rejects that division, claiming that the Egyptian struggle is against “systems of repression, disenfranchisement and the unchecked ravages of global capitalism” and highlighting the social and economic damage caused by the implementation of neoliberal free market policies under the Mubarak regime.
“As the interests of government increasingly cater to the interests and comforts of private, transnational capital, our cities and homes have become progressively more abstract and violent places, subject to the casual ravages of the next economic development or urban renewal scheme,” reads the statement. “An entire generation across the globe has grown up realizing, rationally and emotionally, that we have no future in the current order of things.”