Rage Without Theory: Egypt Is Not An Event

The beauty of modern
Man is not in the persons but in the
Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

The enunciated desire for “democracy,” seen in the Egyptian protests, is surely a sign of the times. Although mobilized, the Egyptian people lack a unified interest, there is no common reason. Crying for “democracy,” is, by definition, the interests and reasons of the many.

Mubarak has resigned! The military will oversee Egypt through a “transition.” But a transition into what? Two possibilities are immanent on the horizon. The first is that the military refuses to give up the national authority bestowed upon it by the “international community.” The second, arguably more likely scenario, is that the party eventually “elected” will be a politico-theological aristocracy. A third, distant possibility: Egypt actually adopts the foreign discourse of liberal-democracy. However, all they know of “democracy” has either been distorted by their “democratically elected” former leader, or been stylized by Advertising Empires that promote democracy as “the best of all possible worlds.” But we know, however, it is not the best. It is merely the least worst.

For the Egyptian uprising to be an event, something like a communist language is necessary. Not necessarily capital “C” communism, but an abstract theoretical language that could easily name and then translate the Egyptian situation, its countable elements, and the proposed result of action (i.e. “utopia”). Communist revolutions were successful in the past by articulating a situation (the “class struggle”), naming its protagonists (the “proletariat”), naming its enemies (the “bourgeosie,” “kulaks,” “counter-revolutionaries,” etc.), and promising a “world to come.” This “world to come,” however, must always be recognized for what it is: a regime. And communist regimes have always been among the worst disasters (excepting, maybe, Cuba).

Here the problem is most clear: communist discourse, in its Marxian and Freudo-Marxian variations, is a dead language resource. Arab subjectivity does not appear to be compatible with or support communist forms of thought; though it is very easily adapted to fascism … Perhaps a left-leaning fascist populism is the best that can be hoped for.

It will be seen what direction Egypt heads toward. We all have front row seats in the theater that is all front rows: the screens of post-history flicker with images of Egypt’s uprising.


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