Egyptian People Power Versus the Oligarchy

By Michael Barker

The ongoing insurrection in Egypt is fantastic, but the barriers standing between the people and any substantive form of democracy are formidable and will need to be overcome in the near future. As one might expect there are plenty of ‘reformers’ waiting amongst the counter-revolutionaries to undermine any forthcoming revolution, ready and willing to proudly take on the mantle of power in the name of the democracy. Leading neoconservative ideologue, Paul Wolfowitz, suggests that Hossam Badrawi, the “recently appointed head of Egypt’s government party may be emerging as an interesting and reasonable transition figure.” Acknowledging that there are many such leaders who stand between the Egyptian people and a successful revolution, this article will focus on the elites in Badrawi’s higher circles in an attempt to draw attention to just a few of the many of the powerful groups and individuals ready and willing to smash/co-opt the peoples movement under the iron heel/velvet slipper of the Oligarchy.[1]

Until recently Hossam Badrawi served on the board of governors of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), but with the en masse resignations of many of the members of the NDP’s top executive committee, Badrawi a founding member of Arab Parliamentarians Against Corruption, became their new Secretary General. To gain an idea of Badrawi’s reformist ambitions for Egypt one might turn to look at some of his colleagues at Egypt’s International Economic Forum, a group whose “ultimate objective” is “fully integrating the Egyptian economy into the world economy on favourable terms.”

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Stephen Zunes and the Zionist Tinderbox

By Michael Barker

“[A]nti Zionism may be a ‘fool’s anti-imperialism,’ where Jewish nationalism itself is erroneously seen as the problem rather than the alliance its leaders have made with exploitative Western interests.”
Stephen Zunes, 2006.1

Who is Stephen Zunes? Well according to his web-site, he is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, who in 2002 won recognition from the Peace and Justice Studies Association as Peace Scholar of the Year. Although Zunes describes himself as a committed peace loving, anti-imperialist activist, by reviewing just one of his books this article will demonstrate that in actual fact his scholarly actions belie such intent. The book in question is Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Zed Books, 2003), a popular text that received glowing accolades  from Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Richard Falk, and Saul Landau (amongst others). This essay will illustrate how Zunes’ proclivity for defending Zionism ultimately leads hims to promote a “fool’s anti-imperialism.”

That is not to say that Zunes is uncritical of U.S. foreign policy, far from it, just that his work serves as a smokescreen for understanding the real drivers of U.S. foreign policy vis-a-vis the Middle East.

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