Repost from @news: “An #Anarchist Report from #Egypt” #jan25 #anarchism

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An Anarchist Report from Egypt

Last night an anarchist from Lebanon gave a report on the situation in Egypt at our social center, and I wanted to pass this information on to English-speaking comrades. This is a series of notes extracted from the talk, highlighting questions anarchists who have read mainstream coverage are likely to have about the situation.

The person who gave the talk has been involved in organizing solidarity with people in Egypt, and as a part of the talk he skyped a friend in Tahir Square so we could ask her some questions directly.

The revolution in Egypt has been spontaneous and self-organizing, spreading from Cairo and other major cities to the countryside, where in some areas Bedouins took up arms against the police and the military. The revolution has not been peaceful, but in most cases it has been unarmed, owing to the simple fact that most people don’t have recourse to weapons beyond stones, clubs, spray paint, and molotov cocktails, all of which have been used against police forces in abundance. (The spraypaint is for the cops’ visors, and once they have to lift those up in order to see, for their eyes). When government paramilitary thugs attacked the protestors on Tahir Square (the incident initially described by Western media as a clash between Mubarak supporters and Mubarak opponents), they were expelled with violent force.

Because Egyptians have lived under dictatorship for so long, only the elderly have any experience street fighting, so a major form of solidarity by comrades in other countries has been the creation of informational flyers in Arabic explaining what are essentially Black Bloc street tactics. Given the participation by anarchists and anti-globalization activists in this direct aid, the reference to the Black Bloc is not intended as metaphor or exaggeration.

Another major form of solidarity was reconnecting Egypt to the internet. Either through personal connections or even in many cases faxing infosheets to random fax numbers in Egypt, hundreds of people outside Egypt showed protestors in Egypt how to get around the blocks and reconnect to the internet.

Participation in the uprising has been general and multigenerational. In a country of 80 million, 3 million have regularly come out in Cairo and many millions more in other major cities. The rural population is less likely to mobilize in central locations but they have participated in the uprising in other ways.

So far, comrades in Egypt have generally turned down offers of fundraising so the regime could not say the rebellion was being funded by European anarchists.

Many Western media outlets have tended to focus on male participation in their images, but from the first day many women have participated in protesting and street fighting. The comrade we talked to in Tahir Square is a queer anti-authoritarian, so when she says “everyone [over there] is united,” we are inclined to interpret this differently than if a union representative had said the same thing.



~ by Vanzetti on February 14, 2011.

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