When I first began penning this column in the late-1990s’ there seemed to be a spate American anarchist movements. A few whose thoughts were given voice and then viciously impugned in this space are the American Revolutionary Vanguard (last heard from in 2005), North American Anarchist Movement (last seen in 2002), and the Independent Institute (petered out in 2000). And those were just three that had an Internet presence. Oh, there were more, trust me. And I heard from many. Then the Patriot Act kicked in and the fun was over. Anarchy was out. Or at least stamped out by Big Brother. Just as well, it was an insipidly impractical solution for whatever ails, coming from the far Left or the far Right. No one likes to keep 24-hour vigil at the homestead to keep it from being looted or burned to the ground. Oh, and running water and ample electricity are commodities too precious to dump on account of political fervor.
Last summer when the Tea Party enthusiasts started to contact us, we made our way to several events; even spoke at one, with much of the same detached irony that borders on contempt displayed here weekly. Not sure what they expected, but it’s what they got. In spades. Hey, you ask a wise ass to your silly gathering, you get one—a beggar’s version of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes with less moaning and more booing.
But belly-up anarchist movements and our exploits in addressing pseudo-revolutionaries are a mere detour to a more sober discussion on what is going on in Cairo, Egypt right now, which is a bonafide uprising, and mere hours (at the time of this writing) from hard core anarchy. As American-made tear gas reigns down on what is coming up on two weeks of street mayhem, there is a certain by-the-hour sense of news shifting like desert sand in a storm. No one has a fucking scintilla of an idea where it will blow next and everyone’s fortunes are at stake. This makes for news. And in a world filled with crap that passes for fact and dung filling in the commentary spaces, this is the real deal.
It is a far more serious, less intellectual and even less-so emotional glimpse into pure desperation going on in Egypt right now. It is dissimilar to what went down in Iran two years ago, mainly because it is wholly economic and not in the least anti-theocratic. That botched mutiny was mostly youth-related. Like many of the failed communal counter-culture blips of the 1960s, it tanked. This will happen when enthusiasm over tyrannical religious rule is your only fuel. Money is a different animal. State-strangling corruption leads to economic strife, which then leads to a failure to feed the kids and keep the heat on. This is what we have unfolding on our television sets.
Egypt’s “democratic” state, supported with a stream of U.S. funds only out-matched by Israel, has hit the wall. It is democratic in name only and fails to even resemble our half-baked republic. Truth be told, and now it is being told, Egypt is more or less a crude-oil based dictatorship masquerading as a democracy to bolster the West’s energy’s concerns and act as a buttress against another 1967 all-out war with Israel. This charade has gone on for 30 years under the rule of a reality-compromised “president,” who has enjoyed American funds, weapons and protection for keeping the oil rigs flowing after Anwar Sadat was gunned down in 1981. This gained him unwavering support over the course of now five American presidents and was especially significant in the wake of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, when another U.S. pawn dictator was sent packing.
In the course of this all-out revolt, our man has morphed seamlessly from stern leader to soothing orator to conciliatory speech-maker to placating sad sack. This was all starkly illustrated as he casually announced he wouldn’t run for re-election as the capital of his country was being burned to the ground. A more delusional response is hard to conjure.
But the hallucinations of Hosni Mubarak are hardly at issue here. The main crux of the matter in Cairo is how the United States, Saudi Arabia, OPEC and Israel will deal with the fallout. And there will soon be fallout, because as the country stands on the brink of military lockdown, there will only be anarchy left. And within it, there comes a vacuum. And that vacuum breeds uncertainty. And if there is one place uncertainty cannot be allowed to endure for the oil industry or its bitch, America, it is Egypt. Of course the Saudis have been whistling past the graveyard for some time, but let’s face it, kids; if Saudi Arabia goes its electric cars and solar panels for everyone.
Seeing Egypt in flames has taken the heart out of our Secretary Of State. Hillary Clinton has changed her stance on this nightmare so many times there isn’t any point to it anymore. The United States, if the White House is any indication, has only one play here—appear as if we’re for freedom and the people and then get some new puppet asshole in there to patch up the works. We’re too close to closing shop in Iraq and winding down festivities in Afghanistan. The northeast is under mountains of snow and the airline and auto industries are on life support. This is no time for Egypt to descend into craziness.
One of our few staunchly Arab-run allies is on the brink of total ruin. And go figure; after we’ve spent a decade jamming our big nose into Middle East business with goofy eighth-grade level pipe dreams of democracy and McDonalds for all.
This is why, as we go to press, it is becoming obvious that whatever lip service Mubarak paid to his citizens, the hammer of violence would soon be succeeding it. Suddenly, after over a week of riots, looting and unlawful lunacy, with parked tanks as spectators, the pro-Mubarak vigilantes begin flailing machetes and heaving Molotov cocktails into crowds of protesters. Of course, this makes things tough on his sponsor, the U.S. of A. We like our bankrolling of the rough stuff a little less public. First journalists get the beat down and then the cameras are turned off.
Call it revolution if you must, although a true revolution comes with some kind of leadership direction or manifesto or declaration of rights and basic post-fighting structural overview. Call it a conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood, although it is less likely than the laughable “9/11 was an inside job” paranoia. Or call it what it really is; anarchy.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.