Lessons From the Egyptian Insurrection: Communization, Strategy, and Solidarity


In the past week, Egypt has seen the rapid spread of insurrectional violence, beginning January 25th with the 2-year anniversary of Mubarak’s fall, intensifying with the death sentences handed down to 21 Al-Masry ultras from Port Said and the subsequent declaration of a state of emergency on January 27th in provinces along the Suez Canal. Alexandria, Port Said, Suez, Ismaili, and Cairo have seen extensive clashes and the defiance of all curfews, with Port Said effectively seceding and military leaders warning of a state collapse. Within this fold, an explicitly revolutionary force has announced itself, calling itself Black Blocairo, Black Block Egypt, or simply the Black Bloc, pointing beyond the use of the black mask and violence as a tactic and towards a more organized and explicitly insurrectional position in North Africa; learning from the years of revolt and refusing to let go, they are pushing things forward when others would choose to give up.

While security forces have lost control of the streets in some cities, their absence does not beget a revolution, and in parallel the state proper may not be in control, but this does not mean that government –as opposed to the government— does not function. A revolution has to abolish everything, as much through insurrection as through communization.

throwing gas in a crowd

Communist Measures

How do we make it live? This is the most powerful question posed by an insurrection and certainly its most unthought. Many of us today lack experience while many more of us are just concerned with the immediate, thinking like pawns rather than like strategists. We need to ask ourselves now what kind of communist measures will be necessary to make an insurrection into a revolution; that the 2008 Greek riots and Hurricane Sandy are equally instructive should come as no surprise.

One need only imagine the potential territory of a living, breathing revolution. Barricades, occupied buildings, & overturned police cars; the expropriation of grain stores, supermarkets, and land; the seizure of the means of communication and the destruction of those of our enemies; the erection of health clinics and an autonomous power supply; the mobilization of thousands for a million tasks (like Gavroche in Les Misérables!); the question of weapons but irreducible to military operations. The Egyptian insurrection underway gives us a vision of this, which we must hold on to but also help make real everywhere.

So for all those who aim to influence the course of future events, to act decisively in history, there is the making of communism now and also apprehending the city and its flows. Thus, foresight and the strategic knowledge of where to go, knowing where the food storage facilities are in the city and what the key supply lines are. Knowing the answer to the questions of expropriation: do we want to use it, take it over, or burn it down? Does it deepen the insurrection, build our force, and increase our abilities?

Government is to be undone at the level of daily life, and only communist measures can do that. But the point is not to answer the question of needs from the perspective of inputs and outputs but rather to weave these together into a fierce insurgent territory; the question of food is inseparable from elaborating our relationship to worlds. Many of us know how to move within the flames, but the question is also how to connect and sustain these things.The people of Bougainville grappled with this in their rebellion, communizing arms, traditional knowledge, and homemade tech, successfully repelling the efforts of militaries and multinationals for decades.


Members of the Black Bloc are seen during the protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo

Solidarity Means a Lot More Than Attack

The Egyptian insurrection resonates with us, begging the question: what does it mean to be organized globally? Lending solidarity and support to the party of insurrection in Egypt is critical, whether organizing an #AnonOp to hinder military and police communications in Egypt, disrupting and paralyzing commodity flows over land & sea, or finding a way to provide critical supplies. A revolution simply cannot survive alone, especially while a thousand others forces are conspiring to smother it like the leftist parties who want to worm their way into power, the Islamists who hope to gain influence through the militarization of struggle as in Syria, or the generals on standby to massacre everyone.

It is only when we are organized, and organized at a global scale, that we can muster the force necessary to break our enemies and break government as a whole. Thus there is the building of the party everywhere, building the practice of communism at dense local and regional levels in coordination and across all borders. There’s the putting in common of the machines, spaces, and funds; the circulation of bodies, experiences, and dreams; the spread of blockades, riots, and occupations; the planting of seeds and the burning of buildings; the war to be fought and the spirit that animates it; the building of an insurrectional process from the ground up.

Above all comrades, don’t afraid, go ahead.




3 thoughts on “Lessons From the Egyptian Insurrection: Communization, Strategy, and Solidarity

  1. Pingback: Lessons From the Egyptian Insurrection: Communization, Strategy, and Solidarity « Bristol Anarchist Federation

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