- On February 3, New York Times writers Helene Cooper and
Mark Landler headlined, "White House, Egypt Discuss Plan for Mubarak's
- His administration is "discussing with Egyptian
officials a proposal for (Mubarak) to resign immediately and turn over
power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman
with the support of the Egyptian military," including Lt. Gen. Sami
Enan, armed forces chief, and Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi, defense minister.
- The alleged plan includes constitutional reform, a transitional
government with opposition groups like the Muslim brotherhood, and "free
and fair elections in September."
- Testifying during a February 3 Senate hearing, senior
CIA official Stephanie O'Sullivan said earlier tracking of Cairo instability
showed conditions were "untenable," but "we didn't know
what the triggering mechanism would be."
- On February 4, Times writer David Kirkpatrick headlined,
"Egyptian Government Figures Join Protesters," saying:
- During Friday protests, "(c)racks in the Egyptian
establishment's support for (Mubarak)" emerged with Amr Moussa, Arab
League head, and other notable figures appearing on Cairo streets, including
defense minister Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the first member of Egypt's
ruling elite to do so.
- Non-Negotiable People Demands
- Obama's proposal is absurd, an insult to courageous people
risking their lives for real change, not replacing one despot with another
with the same regime in place. They demand ouster of all Mubarak officials,
followed by free and fair elections for new ones they choose. Getting it
is another matter, and Obama losing faith in Murabark masks his uncompromising
support for continuity.
- The New York Times as well in its disingenuous February
3 editorial headlined, "Egypt's Agonies," saying:
- Attacking protesters and targeting journalists are "familiar
tactics of dictators who want to brutalize their citizens without witnesses."
Mubarak telling "ABC News that the government is not responsible -
is patently absurd. (He's) chosen survival over his people. He told ABC
that he had to stay in office to avoid chaos. In fact, his presence ensures
only more chaos and instability."
- Then, cutting to the chase, The Times said, "The
cost of the turmoil is being felt. Tourists are fleeing. The economy is
paralyzed. Egypt and its people need a quick transition...."
- In other words, profits, not social democracy matter.
It's been uncompromising Times policy for decades, including support for
legions of US-allied despots, Mubarak a longtime favorite before falling
- What's Next?
- Workers suffer painfully from neoliberal harshness, often
hardened by IMF diktats, including mass privatizations, layoffs, wage and
benefit cuts, and public debt service over people needs, causing massive
impoverishment and human suffering. Replacing one regime with another with
this agenda leaves deep-rooted misery unaddressed. Examples are numerous,
including Corazon Aquino replacing Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines
in February 1986.
- Despite two decades of loyalty, Marcos turned liability
and had to go. Aquino was ideal to replace him. Wife of assassinated political
opponent Benigno Aquino and endorsed by conservative Cardinal Jaime Sin,
she represented elitist interests with generous National Endowment for
- Her legacy includes subservience to Washington, human
rights violations, corruption, and the worst of neoliberal harshness -
business-friendly policies at the expense of popular needs she ignored,
as did her successors to this day, including a decade under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
from January 2001 - June 2010.
- She ran a death squad regime, targeting unionists, human
rights activists, peasants, and anyone against state policies. Yet Washington
strongly supported her like Mubarak, practicing the same agenda for three
decades until falling out of favor.
- South Africa Under Nelson Mandela
- In 1994, the African National Congress (ANC) gained power
under Mandela after generations of brutality and decades of apartheid harshness,
the worst form of racism. From 1948 - 1993, pass laws segregated blacks
from whites, restricted their movements, required pass books be carried
at all times, and produced on demand or face arrest and prosecution. Evolving
from the 18th and 19th century until their 1986 repeal, they restricted
entry to cities, forcibly relocated blacks, denied them most public services,
many forms of employment, and became apartheid's most hated symbol.
- An anti-apartheid activist, Mandela was imprisoned in
1962 for life, served 27 years until released on February 11,1990, days
after President FW de Klerk ended the official ban against anti-apartheid
organizations, including the ANC.
- Addressing the nation, Mandela said:
- "I am a loyal and disciplined member of the African
National Congress. I am therefore in full agreement with all of its (social
justice) objectives, strategies and tactics."
- "There must be an end to white monopoly political
power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems
to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society
- He quoted his own 1964 words saying he was prepared to
die for "a democratic and free society in which all persons live together
in harmony and with equal opportunities." As president, he reneged,
surrendering totally to finance capital, though not at first rhetorically.
- On May 10, 1994, two weeks after taking office, he addressed
parliament, endorsing ANC Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP)
socioeconomic issues, including, democracy, growth, development, reconstruction,
redistribution and reconciliation. Specific concerns were housing, healthcare,
land reform, jobs, education, public works, clean water, and electrification.
- He called the RDP the "centerpiece of what this
Government will seek to achieve, the focal point on which our attention
be be continuously focused."
- Five years later in his last parliamentary speech, he
ignored RDP mandates after abandoning them in principle.
- During his tenure, he shifted from RDP to GEAR - Growth
Employment and Redistribution Program based on neoliberal free market diktats.
It reflected IMF harshness, serving capital not popular needs.
- State assets were privatized. Mass layoffs followed.
Services were commodified, harmfully raising prices for millions. Markets
were opened for trade. Taxes for corporations and the rich were cut, and
social spending reduced. Bottom-line priorities trumped other issues. Record
profits followed. Accessing healthcare, education and other essential services
required "user fees." Few could afford them.
- Wealth distribution benefitted rich whites at the expense
of poor Blacks, worse off than ever, their average income declining 19%
from 1995 - 2000, while whites rose 15%.
- ANC-run South Africa empowered elite Blacks, enriched
white capital more than ever, and created far greater inequality, poverty
and depravation than under apartheid, reflecting neoliberal betrayal, exploiting
the poor for the rich.
- Post-Soviet States
- Free market shock therapy devastated them, lowering,
not raising, living standards, Poland one of its victims. In the 1980s,
Solidarnosc (Solidarity) unionized 10 million members, gaining the right
to bargain and aspire to transform state-controlled companies into worker-run
cooperatives. Instead, mines, shipyards and factories were privatized,
subsidies slashed, and price controls lifted, skyrocketing unemployment,
poverty, depression, and overall worse times than before.
- On January 18, Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers headlined
their article, "The Spectre Haunting Europe: Debt Defaults, Austerity,
and Death of the 'Social Europe' Model," saying:
- "(D)ecades of neoliberalism....crashed the US and
several European economies. Years of deregulation, speculation and lack
of investment in the real economy left them with rising inequality and
little consumer demand, except for what was financed by running up debt."
- In an earlier April 2010 interview, Hudson explained
that suffering economies "from Greece to the Baltics and Iceland (were)
directed to pay the financial sector first - international bankers, creditor-nation
governments (like America, Britain, France and others), the IMF, World
Bank, and financial institutions - before (spending) on sustaining their
own employment and economic growth."
- In other words, depriving their people for finance capital
as well as balancing their budgets on their backs. IMF diktats shrink economies.
As a result, enormous hardships throughout Eastern Europe were created,
targeted nations having no choice but go along.
- It's a "financial war against industry, against
labor, against the post-Soviet economies, against the Third World....(It's)
a war against government, against public spending. Its solution to unpayable
debts is to demand that governments sell off whatever assets remain in
the public domain. (It's) the most naked property grab since the Viking
- It's opposite of what responsible governments should
do, putting popular interests ahead of predatory foreign lenders. It's
redistributing wealth equitably and fulfilling a social contract. It's
growing their economies, not shrinking them.
- Forced to go along under threat of economic and political
reprisals, no wonder people yearn for the "good old Soviet days"
with jobs and basic needs met. Today they're cursed with neoliberal hardships,
proving commissars were friendlier than bankers.
- Economic Hit Men Enforcers
- In his book "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,"
John Perkins discussed his own work with the IMF, World Bank and other
global financial institutions, saying his job was to convince countries
to accept unaffordable loans for infrastructure development, contracted
to US corporations.
- He defined economic hit men as:
- "highly paid professionals who cheat countries around
the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World
Bank, (USAID, the IMF), and other foreign 'aid organizations into the coffers
of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control
the planet's natural resources. Their tools include fraudulent financial
reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play
a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions
during this time of globalization."
- His mandate was to impoverish and bankrupt countries,
trapping them in debt bondage, those refusing facing economic, political
or other reprisals.
- Starving Third World Economies
- In her February 3 article titled, "The Egyptian
Tinderbox: How Banks and Investors Are Starving the Third World,"
Ellen Brown explained:
- "that roughly 40 percent of Egyptians struggle (with
incomes) of under $2 per day," facing unsustainable annual 17% annual
food price inflation. As a result, "as much as 60 to 80 percent of
(their) incomes go for food, compared to just 10 to 20 percent in industrial
- Credit, not Fed policy is at fault, hiking prices "by
too much money chasing too few goods, but the money is chasing only certain
selected goods" like food and fuel.
- Speculation and market manipulation also hammer economies
unwilling to deregulate and allow free capital flows. Methods include hot
money created real estate, stock and other asset bubbles as well currency
attacks, causing destructive devaluations, debt bondage and impoverishment.
- A Final Comment
- Independent new leaders face enormous challenges, including
destructive reprisals for defying Western diktats. As a result, most accede,
accepting neoliberal harshness over public needs, no matter their popular
mandate or desire. That's Egypt's dilemma whatever new regime emerges.
If Mandela failed South Africans, how will new Egyptian leadership fulfill
campaign pledges if doing so means economic disaster, political isolation
- As a result, expect new faces continuing old policies,
letting everything look changed but be the same, including deep-rooted
needs. That spark ignited Tunisia and spread regionally, assuring Mubarak's
regime ends, leaving his policies in place unless heroic new figures defy
risks, no matter potential consequences.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
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