August 2, 2011

IN EGYPT, TURNING ON THE LIBERAL, SECULAR PRO-DEMOCRACY FOLKS. From the comments: “Hope and Change. But no plan. Sound familiar?”

Want a successful revolution? Have a plan for neutralizing or coopting your opposition on day one. Alas, liberal, secular revolutionaries don’t think this stuff through, as Iran demonstrated. Communists and Islamists, on the other hand, do. Example:

Elections have been pushed to November, but the liberals and the secularists appear not to have taken advantage of the delay. Instead of organizing themselves into a coherent bloc, they have set up minuscule rival parties and feuded among themselves, say analysts and diplomats.

“There is a power game going on—and the liberals and the entire secular movement are the weaker element, while the Islamists and the army are strong,” said Laila Soueif, a liberal activist and human-rights campaigner who teaches at Cairo University.

While the liberals and the leftists paint the military as a holdover of the old regime, the formerly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and the more radical Salafi Islamist movement have taken pains not to criticize Egypt’s ruling generals.

Secular liberalism flourishes under bourgeois democracy, but doesn’t seem very good at cultivating the qualities needed to seize or maintain power.

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