By Samir Amin
The reader will find on this site a paper entitled “The Arab revolution: a year later” (14/3/2012) in which I explained the main reasons which led to the electoral victory of the Moslem Brotherhood in the January parliamentary elections, and which reads as follows :
“The success of political Islam requires further clarification regarding the relationship between the success of imperialist globalisation on the one hand and the rise of Brotherhood slogans on the other hand.”
The deterioration that accompanied this globalisation produced proliferation in the activities of the informal sector in economic and social life, which represents the most important sources of income for the majority of people in Egypt (statistics say 60 percent). The Brotherhood’s organisations have real ability to work in these circumstances, so that the success of the Brotherhood in these areas in turn has produced more inflation in these activities and thus ensured its reproduction on a larger scale. The political culture offered by the Brotherhood is known for its great simplicity. As this culture is content with only conferring Islamic ‘legitimacy’ to the principle of private property and the ‘free’ market relations, without considering the nature of the activities concerned, which are rudimentary (‘Bazaar’) activities that are unable to push forward the national economy and lead to its development.
Furthermore, the provision of funds widely by the Gulf states has allowed for the boom of such activities as these states have been pumping in the required funds in the form of small loans or grants. This is in addition to charity work (clinics, etc.) that has accompanied this inflated sector, thanks to the support of Gulf states. The Gulf states do not intend to contribute to the development of productive capacity in Egyptian economy (building factories, etc), but only the development of this form of ‘lumpen development’, since reviving Egypt as a developing state would end the domination of the Gulf states (that are based on the acceptance of the slogan of Islamization of the society), the dominance of the United States (which assumes Egypt as a comprador state infected with worsening poverty), and the domination of Israel (which assumes the impotence of Egypt in the face of Zionist expansion).
This axis between an authority that hides behind the ‘Islamic’ slogans and at the same time succumbs to the prevailing imperialist capitalism and the consequent impoverishment of the people is not specific only to Egypt. It is a common feature of most Arabic and Islamic societies. This axis is at work in Iran, where Khumainism insured the dominance of the ‘Bazaar economy’ from the beginning. It is also the cause for catastrophe in Somalia, which is a state that was removed from the list of states of the modern contemporary world.”
The first round of the Presidential elections (23/24 may) has been organized in order to produce the result that Washington and the Egyptian ruling power are pursuing, i.e. to reinforce the alliance between the two pillars of the system, the High Command of the Army and the Moslem Brotherhood and secure that “nothing will be changed”. That assumes also that the two partners find a solution to their competition and decide who will be “in command” or appear to be so.
The two candidates selected to implement the plan were Mohamed Morsi (Moslem Brotherhood) and Ahmad Chafiq (former prime minister of Mubarak). Both benefited from massive financial support and acces to means for their campaign which the other candidates could not get, in particular Hamdeen Sabbahi, the best representative of the movement for democracy, social progress and national independence, therefore not acceptable for Washington.
The official results gave 24.7 % to Morsi, 23.6 to Chafiq and 20.7 to Sabbahi. Those results have been arranged in order to avoid Sabbahi being on the second round. These dishonest practices of so called democracy have nevertheless been ignored by the Western media. The Egyptian people is fully aware that the struggle must continue. Let us see what happens next…
Samir Amin is director of the Third World Forum. A selection of his books is available from Pambazuka Press.