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is the main event. The political stupidity of the Brotherhood is boundless, but it's not a zero-sum game : everyone loses. The secular left, on the whole, is reduced to backing the army. I agree with this opinion piece from Al Jazeera:

Both the manner of the removal of Morsi and subsequent events raise the question as to whether any political formation in Egypt has the capacity to forge and hold together a broad national coalition. The organised strength of the Muslim Brotherhood was demonstrated over and again in a series of elections and referenda. Unable to match it in the short run, the secular left turned to extra-parliamentary methods, wielding a coalition of the street, the army, and remnants of the Mubarak era (the "folool").

Egypt's political shades of grey

The result is a secular coalition that spans an ideological spectrum so broad that it is even less likely to build a credible national front. For a start, the secular left embraced the deep state created during the Mubarak era to combat the organised strength of the Muslim Brotherhood. If the secular left, and in particular the youthful Tamarrod Movement, has credibility with the street, it is the time-tested leadership and the resources wielded by the army generals and the folool that has a strategic advantage in shaping the path this coalition is likely to take so long as it holds.

If the Muslim Brotherhood were unable to bring the army under civilian control, the secular left has delivered itself and those it leads to the army. If the Muslim Brotherhood were guilty of excluding allies in their preoccupation with power, and its fringe elements involved in killings in Port Said and the lynching of Shia in Cairo, the secular left is complicit in large-scale massacres on a regular basis.

Out of left field

There is a lesson here for the political left, not just in Egypt but in the wider region. Historically, seduced by the possible opportunity to implement its agenda, the left - both political and intellectual - has been attracted to an embrace of power, rather than holding accountable those in power. When faced with popular support for non-secular ideologies, whether religious or ethnic, the left has often and enthusiastically embraced the development of statist nationalism.

In the process, it has legitimised the use of deadly force against different sectors of society. Examples abound in the post-colonial history of the region, from Nasser to Nkrumah. In spite of the move from Nasser-era Arab nationalism to Sisi-era Egyptian nationalism, there is change in the statist character of the new nationalism in Egypt.

Mao once wrote that all past popular uprisings in Chinese history had provided an opportunity to nobles out of power to displace those in power. The challenge for the left is to break out of this see-saw, change of one master for another. The secular left, in Egypt as well as in the rest of Africa, will do well to keep this sensible lesson in mind.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Jul 31st, 2013 at 06:18:14 AM EST

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