The Egyptian Coup and Its Washington Paymasters

As we watch the Egyptian military and police forces kill and maim their fellow Egyptians we can wonder if Washington will cut off all aid to the Egyptian junta. That’s what it is, a junta. Even if it was a progressive military coup (which it is not), it would still be in power because of a coup. Therefore, it is a junta.

Democracy in the modern world is deceptive. In a true expression of its origins in the bourgeois revolutions of the 18th century, modern day democracy represents one class in every society where it exists. That class is the current version of the bourgeoisie. In the United States, this means the government represents the wealthy and the middle class. In other nations that are nominal democracies, the class makeup of the represented is essentially the same. Naturally, this represented class makes certain its military and police forces are on the same side as they are, even though the rank and file in these agencies are often from the working and lumpen classes.

Morsi’s election in 2012 was relatively fraud-free. As any observer knows, completely clean elections rarely ever happen, especially in countries where powerful forces are competing for complete control. This is certainly the case in revolutionary Egypt. In part because the left and liberal forces of the revolution were divided and split the non-Muslim Brotherhood/Salafist vote, he was elected about as democratically as can be expected; certainly as democratically as George Bush was elected to the White House in 2000. However because of where the true interests of the Muslim Brotherhood lie, Morsi began to accede to the demands of Washington and the international capitalist system. Still, he failed to move quickly enough for the real powerbrokers and continued to represent a threat to them. The negotiations for an IMF loan dragged because of popular and left opposition to the implementation of austerity regimens demanded by the IMF. As the economy dragged down, the military continued conspiring to regain power while the liberals, the left and some religious parties organized larger and larger protests. These protests culminated in the massive demonstrations of June 30, 2013 that brought millions into the streets across the country.

When it was all over, the military had arrested Morsi and several members of his government. Morsi supporters and others opposed to the coup set up protest camps in cities around the country. The military was now running the country and Washington’s response was a typical mishmash of semantics, lies and denial, with the end result being that US military and other aid would continue to flow to the generals. As part of the requirement for that aid, Morsi would be charged with aiding a terrorist organization (Hamas). Some elements of the Morsi opposition would come out in support of the military junta. This allowed the generals to find some sycophantic power hungry stooge to serve as their president and provide a façade of legitimacy to their rule. In the days that followed, the president began appointing ministers. Eleven of the eighteen appointments are former military officials and two are ex-police generals. The results of these and other appointments are being shown on television and computer screens around the world as I write. The video is of people burned to death in their tents and bloodied protesters; corpses stacked in makeshift hospitals in Cairo and elsewhere; a government official praising the restraint of the police and military; and members of various leftist organizations decrying the violence and the junta.

The revolution in Egypt is at a crossroads. The forces of reaction have laid another of their cards on the table. It is one of the bloodiest cards every played in Egypt’s recent history. Once the Muslim Brotherhood is crushed, the opposition forces secular and religious, leftist and liberal may be once again under the boot of the Egyptian generals, wondering how they could have supported the coup in the first place. Only those who have refused to support the Morsi regime at any time can claim revolutionary foresight. The junta’s paymasters in Washington, Cairo, and beyond have much to answer for. It’s time we demand the answers.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator's Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013. Read other articles by Ron.