Forwarding a message / communique from activists in Cairo, who were
concerned to learn that the OWS GA passed a proposal to designate
$20,000 in funds for members of OWS to travel to Egypt to do election
I do not have contact info for folks in the Movement Building Working
Group, perhaps this should be shared there?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
To our kindred occupiers in Zuccotti park,
When we called out to you, requesting you join us on 12 November in
defending our revolution and in our campaign against the military
trial of civilians in Egypt, your solidarity—pictures from marches,
videos, and statements of support—added to our strength.
However, we recently received news that your General Assembly passed a
proposal authorizing $29,000 dollars to send twenty of your number to
Egypt as election monitors. Truth be told, the news rather shocked us;
we spent the better part of the day simply trying to figure out who
could have asked for such assistance on our behalf.
We have some concerns with the idea, and we wanted to join your
It seems to us that you have taken to the streets and occupied your
parks and cities out of a dissatisfaction with the false promises of
the game of electoral politics, and so did our comrades in Spain,
Greece and Britain. Regardless of how one stands on the efficacy of
elections or elected representatives, the Occupy movement seems
outside the scope this; your choice to occupy is, if nothing else,
bigger than any election. Why then, should our elections be any cause
for celebration, when even in the best of all possible worlds they
will be just another supposedly “representative” body ruling in the
interest of the 1% over the remaining 99% of us? This new Egyptian
parliament will have effectively no powers whatsoever, and—as many of
us see it—its election is just a means of legitimating the ruling
junta’s seizure of the revolutionary process. Is this something you
wish to monitor?
We have, all of us around the world, been learning new ways to
represent ourselves, to speak, to live our politics directly and
immediately, and in Egypt we did not set out to the streets in
revolution simply to gain a parliament. Our struggle—which we think we
share with you—is greater and grander than a neatly functioning
parliamentary democracy; we demanded the fall of the regime, we
demanded dignity, freedom and social justice, and we are still
fighting for these goals. We do not see elections of a puppet
parliament as the means to achieve them.
But even though the idea of election monitoring doesn’t really do it
for us, we want your solidarity, we want your support and your visits.
We want to know you, talk with you, learn one another’s lessons,
compare strategies and share plans for the future. We think that
activists or as people committed to serious change in the systems we
live in, there is so much more that we can do together than
legitimizing electoral processes (leave that boring job to the Carter
Foundation) that seem so impoverished next to the new forms of
democracy and social life we are building. It should be neither our
job nor our desire to play the game of elections; we are occupying and
we should build our spaces and our networks because they themselves
are the basis on which we will build the new. Let us deepen our lines
of communication and process and discover out what these new ways of
working together and supporting one another could be.
Any time you do want to come over, we’ve got plenty of comfy couches
available. It won’t be fancy, but it will be fun.
Yours, as always, in solidarity,
Comrades from Cairo
13 November, 2011
P.S. We finally got an email address: email@example.com
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