The necessity of revolutionary violence in Egypt


The global dimensions of this confrontation cannot be overlooked. The battles on Egypt’s streets against police forces in American uniforms are shaking the foundations of the neocolonial order.

The attack of Muslim Brotherhood cadres on a peaceful sit-in at the presidential palace in December 2012, with the backing of Central Security Forces (CSF), deepened the case for revolutionary violence. Days before the second anniversary of the revolution, on January 23, 2013, a video was released announcing the launch of the Black Bloc in Egypt. This phenomenon is merely a recent and sensationalized manifestation of the more widespread violent opposition to state violence, which explains the swift acceptance and proliferation of the trend on the street. Rather than appearing as a new movement, the Bloc has spread as a tactic for remaining anonymous in direct opposition to security forces.

Towering over the battles waged in and around Tahrir Square is the statue of Simon Bolivar, surrounded by charred trees and sidewalks pried clear of their tiles for use as ammunition against the soldiers of the CSF. Following the weeks of clashes in Tahrir Square last November, the sword of the statue of Simon Bolivar that had loomed over the battle for all those days disappeared. The missing sword is a powerful metaphor for the contest over legitimate violence that to this day takes place in the statue’s shadow.

No matter how they are articulated or who is even listening for an articulation, in order to subvert the entrenchment of the neocolonial order in Egypt, it is vital that violent forms of revolutionary struggle are maintained. For without the burning of police stations on January 28, 2011, Egyptian protesters would never have overpowered the state security forces, nor would they have dethroned Mubarak. Without responding to constant attacks of excessive force with stones, flares and Molotov cocktails, we would have posed no threat to a system that oppresses us. Without revolutionary violence, the chances that we will be able to shatter the neocolonial chains in which we find ourselves are even smaller.

Without revolutionary violence there would be no revolution — and we would never have gotten as far as we have today.