Michael Gaynor
Beware the nature of revolutions, not Beck's "theory"
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By Michael Gaynor
February 9, 2011

Assuming that Egypt will suddenly be fundamentally transformed into an enlightened democracy is wishful thinking.

Change is not necessarily for the better.

Alana Goodman, "The Problem with Glenn Beck's Theorizing on Egypt" (www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/alana-goodman/389139): "...there's one thing that is especially unhelpful to the discussion — and that's the distribution of blatant misinformation. Glenn Beck, instead of taking a hard, sober look at a situation that will have major ramifications for the U.S., has been using his high-profile FOX and radio shows to, in fact, misinform. The new theory Beck appears to be pushing is that the Egyptian revolt is being controlled by an alliance between leftist American organizations and Islamists."

Misinformation should not be presented and should be exposed when it is, but is Beck really misinforming about the Egyptian situation?

Goodman admitted that "there are many reasons to be concerned about Islamist groups, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, gaining control in Egypt," but insisted that "there are also many reasons to be hopeful for democracy."

Goodman conceded that Beck's "theory is based in some truth."

Specially, Goodman wrote: "Leftist groups like ANSWER and Code Pink have inserted themselves into the Egyptian uprising, and there are indications that they've been reaching out to Islamist organizations. But so what? Many leftist groups are anti-American. Islamist groups are anti-American. That they've reached out to each other is not a particularly surprising, or significant, development."

It's not surprising, but it may be very significant. It may be the way for the Muslim Brotherhood eventually to take control of Egypt, and that would matter greatly to the United States as well as Israel.

The phrase the enemy of my enemy is my friend is an Arab proverb. It signifies that because two parties have a common enemy, one can use the other to advance their goals.

Goodman needs to appreciate that all revolutions are not like the American Revolution and some work out terribly.

For example, the Russian Revolution.

Wikipedia on the Russian Revolution of 1917 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Revolution_(1917)):

The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). In the second revolution, during October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a Bolshevik (Communist) government.

The February Revolution (March 1917) was a revolution focused around Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). In the chaos, members of the Imperial parliament or Duma assumed control of the country, forming the Russian Provisional Government. The army leadership felt they did not have the means to suppress the revolution and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the last Tsar of Russia, abdicated. The Soviets (workers' councils), which were led by more radical socialist factions, initially permitted the Provisional Government to rule, but insisted on a prerogative to influence the government and control various militias. The February Revolution took place in the context of heavy military setbacks during the First World War, which left much of the army in a state of mutiny.

A period of dual power ensued, during which the Provisional Government held state power while the national network of Soviets, led by socialists, had the allegiance of the lower-class citizens and the political left. During this chaotic period there were frequent mutinies and many strikes. When the Provisional Government chose to continue fighting the war with Germany, the Bolsheviks and other socialist factions campaigned for the abandonment of the war effort. The Bolsheviks formed workers militias under their control into the Red Guards (later the Red Army) over which they exerted substantial control.

In the October Revolution (November in the Gregorian calendar), the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the workers' Soviets, overthrew the Provisional Government in St Petersburg. The Bolsheviks appointed themselves as leaders of various government ministries and seized control of the countryside, establishing the Cheka to quash dissent. To end the war, the Bolshevik leadership signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in March 1918.

Civil war erupted between the "Red" (Bolshevik), and "White" (anti-Bolshevik) factions, which was to continue for several years, with the Bolsheviks ultimately victorious. In this way the Revolution paved the way for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). While many notable historical events occurred in Moscow and St Petersburg, there was also a broad-based movement in cities throughout the state, among national minorities throughout the empire, and in the rural areas, where peasants took over and redistributed land.

Goodman: "The danger of Beck's theorizing is that he's spreading the misconception that the uprising in Egypt was initiated by anti-democratic groups, and that it's Islamist at its core. While there's no doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood and socialist organizations have become involved in the protests, they didn't start the uprising, and that's not what the protests are about."

Assuming that Egypt will suddenly be fundamentally transformed into an enlightened democracy is wishful thinking.

© Michael Gaynor

 

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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