Opinion » Ted Rall

New Face of Revolution

After Tunisia and Egypt, the world


NEW YORK--From the British newspaper The Independent: "Like in many other countries in the region, protesters in Egypt complain about surging prices, unemployment and the authorities' reliance on heavy-handed security to keep dissenting voices quiet."

The problems that triggered the latest uprisings--inequality of income, frozen credit markets, unresponsive government--span the globe. The first regimes to be overthrown may be the most brutal U.S. client states--Yemen, Jordan and Algeria. Central Asia's autocrats can't be far behind. But this won't stop in Asia. Persistent unemployment, unresponsive and repressive governments exist in Europe and in the United States. They are unstable and global revolution is imminent.

Late last year I wrote a book, The Anti-American Manifesto, which calls for Americans to revolt against our out-of-control plutocracy and the corrupt political biarchy that props it up. I expected the right to react with outrage. To the contrary. While the desire for revolution is hardly universal among Americans, it is widespread and distributed across the political spectrum. Revolution, when it occurs here, will be surprisingly popular.

Criticism of Manifesto centers not on my thesis that the status quo is unsustainable but on my departure from Marxist doctrine. Old-school lefties say you can't have revolution without building a popular movement.

When revolution comes, it will follow a spontaneous explosion of pent-up social and economic forces. We will not need the old parties and progressive groups to lead us. Which is good because they aren't conditioned to create revolution. New formations will emerge from the chaos and they will create the new order.

I argue that old-fashioned ideologies are obsolete. Left, right, whoever, must and will form alliances of convenience. The leftist critic Ernesto Aguilar is typical of those who take issue with me, complaining that "merging groups with different political goals around an agenda that does not speak openly to those goals, or worse no politics at all, is bound for failure."

The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt may be destined for failure, but it doesn't look that way now. Those popular insurrections have played out the way I predict it will, and must, in the United States: set off by unpredictable events and formed by the people.

In Egypt, an ad hoc coalition of ideologically disparate groups has coalesced around Mohamed ElBaradei.

"Here you will see extremists, moderates, Christians, Muslims, all kinds of people. It is the first time that we are all together since the revolution of Saad Zaghloul," a rebel named Naguib, referring to the leader of the 1919 revolution against the British, told Agence France-Press.

ElBaradei's popularity, said Tewfik Aclimandos of the College de France, is due to the fact that "he is not compromised by the regime; he has integrity."

This is how it will go in Greece, Portugal, England and, someday, here. There is no need to organize, just recognize revolution.

What will set off the next American Revolution? I don't know. Nevertheless, the liberation of the oppressed peoples of the United States is inevitable.