yeah, now guess who:
Let’s look at the emerging coalition, in its parts.
First, by all accounts, is the April 6 Youth Movement. Leftists, socialists and pro-labor people know that the movement takes its name from April 6, 2008, when a series of strikes and labor actions by textile workers in Mahalla led to a growing general strike by workers and residents and then, on April 6, faced a brutal crackdown by security forces. A second, allied movement of young Egyptians developed in response to the killing by police of Khaled Said, a university graduate, in Alexandria. Both the April 6 group and another group, called We Are All Khaled Said, built networks through Facebook, and according to one account the April 6 group has more than 80,000 members on Facebook. The two groups, which work together, are nearly entirely secular, pro-labor and support the overthrow of Mubarak and the creation of a democratic republic.
Robert Dreyfuss, Who’s Behind Egypt’s Revolt?, 31.1.2011
This revolt began gradually at the convergence of two parallel forces: the movement for workers’ rights in the newly revived factory towns and micro-sweatshops of Egypt — especially during the past two years — and the movement against police brutality and torture that mobilised every community in the country for the past three years. Both movements feature the leadership and mass participation of women of all ages and youth of both genders. There are structural reasons for this.
[..]The so-called “Facebook revolution” is not about people mobilising in virtual space; it is about Egyptian internet cafes and the youth and women they represent, in real social spaces and communities, utilising the cyberspace bases they have built and developed to serve their revolt.
Paul Amar, Why Egypt’s progressives win, 10.2.2011
Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the demise of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, and the weakening of Hosni Mubarak’s grip on state power in Egypt, has been the trade unions in both countries.
While the media has reported on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook as revolutionary methods of mobilisation, it was the old-fashioned working class that enabled the pro-democracy movements to flourish.
Eric Lee & Benjamin Weinthal, Trade unions: the revolutionary social network at play in Egypt and Tunisia, 10.2.2011
Some Western media outlets dwelled on the novelty of social media while under-reporting the longer-term social forces that precipitated protests in Egypt. But others, criticized for having credited the Internet with ushering in the wave of protests in Iran, have downplayed social media’s role in bringing down Mubarak. [..]
A veteran opposition leader told Sedra, “The youth have done in six days what we’ve been trying to do for thirty years.”
Sam Graham-Felsen, How Cyber-Pragmatism Brought Down Mubarak, 11.2.2011
Sie nahmen Kontakt zu den kampferprobten berüchtigten „Ultras“ des Fußballklubs al Ahli auf. Diese sind zwar unpolitisch, aber sie hatten in zahlreichen Straßenschlachten mit der ägyptischen Polizei wertvolle Erfahrungen gesammelt. Während der Kämpfe auf dem Tahrir-Platz sicherten mehr als zehntausend von ihnen vor allem den östlichen Teil des Tahrir-Platzes.
[..] Die Aktivisten hatten auf gewaltfreien Protest gesetzt und waren dabei auf die serbische Jugendbewegung Otpor gestoßen, die in Serbien am Sturz des Diktators Milosevic beteiligt war und sich vom amerikanischen Politologen Gene Sharp hatte inspirieren lassen. Der hatte den gewaltfreien Widerstand als Mittel entwickelt, um Polizeistaaten zu untergraben. Die „Bewegung des 6. April“, die der Blogger und Kifaya-Aktivist Ahmad Maher ins Leben gerufen hatte, übernahm sogar das Logo von Otpor. Maher hatte im Internet über die gewaltsam niedergeschlagenen Arbeiterstreiks vom 6. April 2008 im ägyptischen Mahalla al Kubra berichtet.
Rainer Hermann, Revolution nach Plan, 15.2.2011
The Muslim Brotherhood leadership did not endorse the call for the January 25th demonstration. They usually don’t support actions that they don’t initiate and control. But as it became clear after the first day that a revolution was underway, they decided to participate.
They played an important role in Tahrir and elsewhere, especially on the day, February 2, when the government sent its thugs on horses and with Molotov cocktails to attack the demonstrators.
It wasn’t necessarily their numbers that made a difference–they don’t have more than 15 or 20 percent political support on the street, and only one out of the 13 martyrs that day was a member of the Brotherhood. Rather, it was their level of organization that helped. They act in a highly disciplined manner, and that helped in defending the square.
They now intend to announce the formation of a new political party. Some want it formed on a civilian and non-religious basis. Others from the conservative old guard will oppose that. In other words, we expect to see divisions in their ranks.
We have seen the formation of a more liberal group, Etilaf Shabab Althawra, the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, which formulated a number of political demands and negotiated with the army last Monday.
This formation includes a number of activists who participated in the revolution. But they represent a middle-class liberal wing that would like to limit the revolution to a political revolution for democratic reforms, without questioning or challenging the basic capitalist system. These liberals see their role as advising and pressuring the army to replace this or that corrupt person with this or that honest technocrat.
Many of these liberals are now opposed to workers’ strikes. They say workers are selfish. Some are launching an attack on strikers on Facebook. As I said, they simply want political reforms. They oppose class struggle.
Interview of Sameh Naguib with Mostafa Omar, Conversation with an Egyptian socialist, 23.2.2011
And despite the claims of Tunisia being a Twitter revolution – or inspired by WikiLeaks – neither played much of a part. In Tunisia, pre-revolution, only around 200 active tweeters existed out of around 2,000 with registered accounts. The WikiLeaks pages on Tunisian corruption, says Koubaa, who with his friends attempted to set up sites where his countrymen could view them, were blocked as soon as they appeared – and anyway, the information was hardly news to Tunisians. However, “Facebook was huge,” he says. Koubaa argues that social media during Ben Ali’s dictatorship existed on two levels. A few thousand “geeks” like him communicated via Twitter, while perhaps two million talked on Facebook. The activism of the first group informed that of the latter.
All of which left a peculiar loophole that persisted until December, when the regime finally launched a full-scale attack against Facebook. This in in a country that already tortured and imprisoned bloggers, and where the country’s internet censors at the Ministry of the Interior were nicknamed “Amar 404” after the 404 error message that appeared when a page was blocked.
“Social media was absolutely crucial,” says Koubaa. “Three months before Mohammed Bouazizi burned himself in Sidi Bouzid we had a similar case in Monastir. But no one knew about it because it was not filmed. What made a difference this time is that the images of Bouazizi were put on Facebook and everybody saw it.”
Peter Beaumont, The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world, 25.2.2011