The most useful article you’ll read on Egypt this week

Is here. How did we get to the position where the red flag and the desert eagle were suddenly back ahead of the star and crescent? How do the Muslim Brothers and other Islamists interact with the Left? Where did those people come from?

As a Revolutionary Socialist member who was active in the 1990s recalls: “We were a kind of leftist the Muslim Brothers hadn’t met before. They couldn’t quite figure us out at the beginning. Anyway, we were still too marginal for them to bother with. We were only a few individuals.” This began to change in 1999. On a few occasions in that year, as one socialist remembers, the Muslim Brotherhood students at Cairo University allowed the Revolutionary Socialist students to speak at rallies held on campus against the US airstrikes on Iraq. The socialist students took this unprecedented opportunity as a sign of the Muslim Brothers’ recognition that they were a force that had to be given a place on the political stage. It was a step in a long, slow process of building trust.

5 thoughts on “The most useful article you’ll read on Egypt this week

  1. A Muslim “Brotherhood” doesn’t sound all that capitalist to me. What makes you think that the association between religion and capitalism is anything but a development of the West?

  2. Well, in this case its base is typically lower-middle class – what the Lounsbury (remember him?) used to call the Pious Middle. Not to be confused with, say, Hamas, but not especially democratic, and very much concerned with business.

  3. Oliver, what association between religion and capitalism in the west? Islam is probably more positive towards capitalism than Christianity is: Mohammed was a business man for many years, whereas Jesus said “it is easier for a camel to pass the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven” and “give all you have to the poor”.

    There are plenty of socialist Christians (mostly outside the US, of course).

  4. In the West there has been a rift between socialism and religion due to Marx talking about the opium of the people.

    Now Islam likes trade, but it puts much emphasis on the equality of the believers.

  5. I do not believe anyone bases their politics on than comment of Marx’s – which I think you are misinterpreting anyway.

    The Christians I know in Britain tend to be more left wing than the atheists. The Church of England, has frequently been a source of opposition to right wing policies (especially when the had an impact on the poor).

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