Given the incredible footage of the mass protests coming out of Egypt against an Islamist leader who has betrayed his country’s transition to democracy, you might have thought our metropolitan liberal elite would come down on the right side for once. As ever, the strongest defence of a terrible regime comes from the Guardian’s former Stalinist Seumas Milne. In Milne’s warped world, apparently tearing down the Berlin Wall was a bad thing:
“The tumultuous Paris upheaval of May 1968 was followed by the electoral victory of the French right. Those who marched for democratic socialism in east Berlin in 1989 ended up with mass privatisation and unemployment. The western-sponsored colour revolutions of the last decade used protesters as a stage army for the transfer of power to favoured oligarchs and elites. The indignados movement against austerity in Spain was powerless to prevent the return of the right and a plunge into even deeper austerity.
In the era of neoliberalism, when the ruling elite has hollowed out democracy and ensured that whoever you vote for you get the same, politically inchoate protest movements are bound to flourish. They have crucial strengths: they can change moods, ditch policies and topple governments. But without socially rooted organisation and clear political agendas, they can flare and fizzle, or be vulnerable to hijacking or diversion by more entrenched and powerful forces.”