Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Different countries, same struggle

Although it would be inaccurate to say that the protests that started across Egypt on 25 January 2011 were solely motivated by any one issue, it is becoming clear that far more than simply ousting the odious Hosni Mubarak was and is at stake. From Alexandria to Aswan, the real crux is economic inequality: the gap between rich and poor in a country where Mubarak’s elite stole billions while nearly half the population ekes subsistence from two dollars or less a day.

Egyptian protester Muhammad Nusair holds a sign proclaiming common cause with Wisconsin workers

Nobody’s fool: Egyptian protester Muhammad Nusair holds a sign proclaiming common cause with Wisconsin workers.
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But this problem is not confined to Egypt. Around the globe today, a war is being waged: Multinational corporations and banking interests, in conjunction with the ruling elites of virtually every nation, are proceeding with methodical malevolence to despoil ordinary citizens of their wealth, and to defraud nations of their common patrimony. And finally citizens are beginning to realize their peril and fight back.

In Sana‘a as in Tripoli, in Tel Aviv as in Athens, across the Middle East and Europe, protests have arisen where popular government has eroded under the pernicious influence of neoliberal globalism and has been supplanted by kleptoplutocracy: rule by amoral elites that have enriched themselves by fraud and extortion.

No longer content to own most of the world, the robber barons of the richest tenth of a percent have now apparently decided they want all of it.

By the power of money as controlled by international banking institutions and by the power of laws written for their benefit by politicians whom their money has financed, they assiduously lay claim to all of our assets and generously offer to lend or sell them back to us.

So they would enslave us if we let them, for men will concede virtually anything to one who controls access to food, water, shelter, medical care and the other necessities of modern human existence, and the elites understand that it’s easier to control people if you have them over a barrel. To reduce us to destitution and desperation is therefore their unstated but inferable object.

Not merely to preserve a status quo that has served them well, but to capture us in a second dark age of serfdom, peonage and feudal fealty, is the object of our would-be mercantile baronage. To achieve this, they sedulously debauch our institutions and pervert our laws, stealing from us, bit by bit, all power and all rights.

In the United States, where economic inequality is already significantly worse than it was in Egypt under Mubarak or in Tunisia under Zine Abidine Ben Ali, Republican-dominated legislatures in Wisconsin and Indiana are currently seeking to strip public employee unions of collective bargaining rights, and have been checked only by their Democratic colleagues’ fleeing their respective states in order to deprive them of a quorum, while in California a similar proposal has been made but is unlikely to be effected thanks to that state’s Democratic majority.

That these proposals, the latest in a more than 30-year flood of such initiatives all tending to bear away still more wealth from working people to the elite, are part of a coordinated nationwide campaign to destroy public employees’ unions — now that efforts to demolish private-sector unions have achieved nearly total success — is evidenced by their simultaneous appearance in multiple states.

And on further examination, we find that these efforts are led by a cabal uniting right-wing governors and legislators with corporate executives that calls itself the American Legislative Exchange Council — a very unsmart ALEC for us to allow to dominate our decision-making.

However, just as the corrupt elites scorn national borders in their peculations, so have some workers begun to recognize a commonality of interest linking those outside the elites. As the sign carried by the protester on Tahrir Square shown above informs us, from today, Madison, Wisconsin, is next door to Cairo. We, the despoiled of the world, now must unite in defense of our rights as members of the human species. For if we do not, then we will separately die or fall into serfdom.

Hayy ath-thawra al-3alami: Long live the international revolution.

Originally published as a February 2011 review of a truth-out.org article on the protests in Madison, Wisconsin.

Peace, liberty, unity, justice, equality
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