Having written about the Egyptian revolution and the ensuing political twists and turns since the 2011 uprisings, five years later I look on and wonder about the sum gains and costs. In 2011 I wrote about the importance of coupling any type of street protests and reactionary political momentum with behind the scenes, long term strategic and ideological planning for what comes after the “revolutionary moment.”
While numbers and street protests play a part in popular uprisings, without strategic planning for what comes next (i.e., plans and alternatives for the post-revolutionary trajectory) people’s uprisings can be easily co-opted and revolutionary hopes thwarted. As I noted in an article last year, “the Egyptian revolution originally began with calls for ‘bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity.’ Nowhere in this popular discourse were there demands for greater religiosity or increased state force” . Yet this is the trajectory that the revolution took, with the Muslim Brotherhood co-opting the people’s uprising and coming to power in 2012, to later be ousted by the Mubarak-esque military regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which, for many, has thus far been as draconian as that of former president Hosni Mubarak.
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