Walk like an Egyptian

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Its sometimes hard to not self censor yourself when writing about what you are think, but today is a day for backseating personal embarrassment. Ho-fuckin-ray!!! Lets celebrate the liberation of a people by their own hands. Its been a long time since I’ve cried tears of pure joy at the human potential and realisation of systemic change. People power has just assumed a new meaning. “There is no alternative” is a dead ideology.

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” Erich Fromm

Its not very often you hear revolutionaries taking about love, but without reference to love’s what and whys political rhetoric remains just that. Its assumes the quality of dust in our mouths. We end up repeating the same mistakes as our oppressors and exploiters, eternally condemned to speak and act within the confines of the logic of economics. The inability to articulate politics as raw, valid, unfiltered and ultimately rational human expression also makes us dust in the ears of our fellow human beings.

Its tempting to try and dissect what has and is continuing to happen in Egypt, and its essential that we do if we are to learn lessons as the implications are massive. The mix of traditional left groups of workers and socialists, understanding the significance (or otherwise) of social media in internationalising a national uprising and creating a funnel of attention, the  conscious collapse of patriarchal  and sexists relationships beyond the pro-democracy organisers themselves and into the organic popular movement, the use of strategic non-violence in the face of massive military might are just some of the things that stand out clearly as worthy of close atention.  The refusal to cede to demands (both internally and internationally) that the movement put forward ‘leaders’, the almost immediate and seemingly natural emergence of self organised neighbour protections, medical and food distribution etc all provide rich ground of research – but more importantly lived experiences likely to play a role is shaping our movements should we care to learn.

But that is for another day. Today is a day to celebrate the resolve of fellow human being, ordinary women men and children to say “Ya Basta! ‘Enough is enough’. And understanding the collective courage, the very real sacrifices made and risks taken in the name of liberation and for control over their own lives. Actions were planned and taken borne out of the daily humiliations of poverty, the explicit suppressions of not just those people who put their head above the parapet for the cause of freedom, but the lives, dreams and aspirations of most within its borders. The revolution was borne from the refusal to submit to the common sense paradigm that says ‘things are as they as and that is how they shall be’.

So what do I take away from this tonight. Three overlapping things.

One is the smallness of this planet. The closeness felt with other human being retaining above all else a sense of communal dignity in spite of fear. That is the basis of any meaning of the word society that seeks to define itself as civilised. The expansion of our own dignity to all. What has happened in Egypt makes it that little bit easier to re-imagine ourselves as humans, as a planet of societies, and emboldens us to start/keep taking action to put flesh on these ideas. Its what 80 million of us are doing right now.  Ive spent the last few weeks glued to what was going on,  a  willing and absorbed spectator to a progressive small movement and watching it become a proper revolution.
The second is the essentialness of seeing  hope as solidarity. We often feel that we have face alone the trials and tribulation of life as it is, and it fucking sucks. This is true for life generally, its often horrible impacts of illness, death, fucked up relationships, unchangeable regrets. How much harder is it to face and attempt to resist/change the structural causes of inequality and injustice and the cultures we live in that replicate them. The deliberate attempts to make us more flexible/insecure in our work, the deliberate attempts of a few to use those poorer than use, more vulnerable than us as a tool of fear, and and as objects of disgust. This isnt possible to do this without actually and consciously refusing that narrative and its logic. We can try to make ourselves whole alone, but it is shared experiences that really shows us the dimensions of ourselves.

At the end of the day my life is has no meaning for me as ‘an individual’. But that’s a paradox of being alive. We just see people as people, individuals, atoms. That’s the common discourse. But that perspective just that, one perspective. Society is not made up soley of individuals. Society is what happens between individuals. This shit is might seem obvious to most people, but it sure as fuck plays little role in the major decisions that affect our lives, the ones we don’t get to play a part in. None of us asked to be here, none of us wished ourselves into existence, or the state of affairs when we live. But the people of egypt and all those right now and through the course of our histories who stood up and fought oppressions, big and small, offer us more humanity than we can ever muster alone.

Solidarity is organised hope.

The third is the death of the idea that we have reached the ‘end of history’. An end to the idea propagated by politicians like Thatcher, and carried by IMF puppets across Europe and beyond, and by ‘economic experts’ that there is no alternative to what’s on offer.

Perhaps the lasting legacy of the Egyptian revolution, however things turn out over the coming days weeks and years, will be the disembowelling of a self interested cynicism disguised as politics. “There is no other way” is an ideology that benefits the very very few, and has nothing, absolutley nothing, to offer us. Ireland Inc is a project, one foisted upon us by a generations of professional politicians who protected and defended the institutionalisation of women and of the working and unemployed poor of the country. Who protected and subsidised an organisation responsible for the emotional and physical abuse of children. Who let organised drug dealers infest working class areas and criminalise communites when they began to form their own defenses. (“Sure they dont vote, who gives a fuck”. You can see those word slipping out of the Haughey’s and the Ahearn’s and also most of everyone who get to have their ‘opinion’ printed in the press..)

The same establishment who always seem to ask us to vote again in referendums because we dont vote in a way that suits a business-criminal elite. Who beat, harass, terrorise and intimidate not just policised communites such as Rossport, but who seek to criminalise poverty itself. Who choose community projects, educational projects, the blind, the so called “marginalised”, the “pick your professionally defined sector of society here so we can feel good about ourselves” as the first deserving of cuts whilst suited gangster make off with the money our labour creates in the first place. Who see the symptoms of organised exploitation as something to be ‘managed’ by professional people who know how to ‘manage’ it rather than something to be eradicated by the reform/removal of things that cause it in the first place.

We dont have to put up with this, but we have yet to capture plausibility of remaking our society. Tonight as 80 million people dance sing and have conversations about hove they will now organise their society make nonsense of the idea that we cannot transform our own. For too long we have held silence and perseverance as a virtue, and give far to much respect for ‘official’ respect at the expense of communal dignity. The ‘Irish State’ is only around for just over one and a half average lifetimes, Ireland Inc even less so. It doesn’t command an army to hold us down.

So lets start flying our kites in the winds of change. The people of Egypt have put wind in the sails of transformation. Start talking to each other and begin taking our collective dignity seriously. Stop just asking for a bigger piece of the pie. Keep asking for sure but lets make it clear. We want the whole fucking bakery use our own recipes of democracy, dignity and equality that feed us all.

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