Bennett

Last active
1 year, 3 months ago
  • Bennett and Pictureottogrendel are now friends

    2013-12-27 11:52:10View | Delete
  • You have already caught a lot of flack for this—by me, if you will remember—when you suggested in another thread that arabs are not capable of democracy. I suggested that you take your racist drivel somewhere else.

  • Yes precisely. The events right now are horrific, and the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood unconscionable, but to reduce everything to “democracy” is a reductive narrative which obscures more than it reveals.

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Tom Engelhardt, Can Edward Snowden Be Deterred? by Tom Engelhardt.

    2013-07-16 15:51:39View | Delete

    Here’s a thought: could we use public outrage over Snowden to try and get the Espionage Act repealed? Obviously that’s ambitious, but it would send a strong response to the administration in its relentless attacks on whistleblowers.

  • Bennett commented on the blog post Egypt On Brink Of Civil War

    2013-07-09 15:29:24View | Delete

    In a democracy when you don’t like the people in power you vote them out of office, you don’t enlist the army to overthrow them. Once you cross that line you’re no longer living in a democracy. I think that should be self evident, but obviously many, many people still need to have it spelled out for them.

    Yes well I think you’re fetishizing the form of formal democracy, ignoring the (many) ways it can be captured by interests which fail in any way to express the will of the people. Assuming you live in the US I should think this point entirely obvious: are any aspects of (e.g.) American foreign policy remotely subject to democratic accountability, or does the deep state not have its own politics which it’s successfully imposed on this (and other) territories? Unswerving allegiance to the ballot box is fidelity to form over content; people rising up against a form which they feel has failed to represent them is much more radically democratic than you’re willing to admit. It’s the content that the form is supposed to express, but which it tends to repress.

    The idea that military acted out of some altruistic identification with Morsi’s opponents is a poisonous lie that has blinded a great many people to the truth.

    Nowhere do I say that the military acted out of “some altruistic identification with Morsi’s opponents.” Re-read my post; I say that the actions of the military (in this instance) “served in the people’s interests.” I have no doubt the military’s motivations were self-serving; the thing is, motivations aren’t the only thing that counts. (Whether you support my bill because you believe in it or to weaken the opposition, at the end of the day you’ve given me your vote.) The people in the streets wanted Morsi out and the army accomplished it; in this act they served the will of the people regardless of whether they intended to or not. Tomorrow their actions may well oppose the people and in that case they will have to come out in the streets again. That’s how popular revolts work.

    They will make the right noises about interim governments and new elections but what inevitably happens after military coups is as the promised date for the transition to civilian rule draws closer the military leadership decides that the conditions still aren’t propitious, that there were more complications than they anticipated, that more time is needed to set things right. So the promise is delayed… Really if you haven’t seen this movie a thousand times already you don’t know your 20th century history.

    There is nothing inevitable about the unfolding of military coups and there is nothing inevitable about the unfolding of history. I don’t know if you think we’re in some weird banalization of the Hegelian dialectic were you plug in the variables and can predict all the results. That’s not how it works. Plenty of coups have led to dictatorships, others have led to democracy—and this includes coups against “democratic” gov’ts. The most famous example would be de Gaulle’s seizure of power and the transition from the 4th to the 5th republics in France. The 2005 ouster of the Ecuadorian president—called a “coup” at the time—would be another; last time I looked it hasn’t led to any suspension of democracy. One might also point to Fiji in ’87, Turkey in ’97, and countless other examples.

    I’m not saying I would have supported all of those coups or for that matter that I’d have opposed them; history’s too complex for a simple up-down vote, that’s my whole point. But to suggest that all “coups” inevitably lead to authoritarianism is a patent absurdity, a flattening-out of history into a cardboard construct from which we can learn nothing. Change is difficult, complex, and often—sadly—bloody. Just look at the French revolution, or the American one for that matter. You seem to think that once anything which calls itself “democracy” is in place history’s come to an end and we all just passively await our turn at the ballot box, hoping that something will miraculously change even when our state’s fully captured by imperialist interests. This is a dividing line between liberals and leftists: liberals defend the “sanctity” of the “democratic” state at all costs, leftists look at what that supposedly democratic state is actually doing.

  • Bennett commented on the blog post Egypt On Brink Of Civil War

    2013-07-08 14:32:35View | Delete

    Whoops! Was writing my post at the time you posted this one, and end up saying the same thing in different words. And yes, I think the 1/3-1/3-1/3 is probably not too inaccurate.

  • Bennett commented on the blog post Egypt On Brink Of Civil War

    2013-07-08 14:21:40View | Delete

    The scenario you laid out works only if one assumes that the Egyptian people wanted a revolution

    I think a substantial portion of the Egyptian people did. A slightly smaller but still substantial portion were quite happy under Morsi. Beyond that, a large portion were generally unhappy but indifferent/undecided about the ouster. This is admittedly a hypothesis, but one the data from this June ’13 Zigby Poll seems to bear out.

    Look, the Egyptian Revolution (like every revolution) left a power vacuum that isn’t easily filled. A majority of people were united in their opposition to Mubarak but quite divided about what they wanted to come after (Islamist state, western-style secular/bourgeois democracy, Nasserism, socialism, etc). You’re asking what the people want but the problem is “the people” are not one; different people want different things, and some (many) probably don’t know exactly what they want. The question is whether some force will be able to garner sufficient support to assume state power with a sufficiently broad mandate and whether they’ll be able to translate that into results. (Or from the other side, whether a sufficiently broad plurality of people will be able to get behind a common party/policy/aim.) Again, I think this is really the case with every revolution, and I’d say that in Egypt we’re still in the midst of that revolutionary uncertainty.

    All of which to say: IMHO, it’s too complex to take a simple black/white snapshot of this moving picture–to say either “this is the people” or “that is the people,” or to point out a bugbear (the US) and reduce everything to that. Of course the US wants a finger in every pot but to write off what’s happening as “US interference” is *way* too reductive. Nor can you invent the masses in the streets.

    Again, in my opinion: the millions in the streets *did* amount to a popular revolt and the actions of the military served in their interests. Hence I cautiously support the coup and am equally cautiously optimistic that a new President will be elected who manages to gain broader legitimacy. The reality though is that the country is deeply divided and if anything the turmoil reflects that.

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 15:22:21View | Delete

    the ’87 coup in Fiji was both preceded and succeeded by democratic governments. Ditto for the so-called “postmodern coup” in Turkey in ’97 (and several other Turkish coups before it). The 2005 ouster of Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutiérrez was called a coup at the time and might be a particularly interesting precedent. In short, plenty [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 14:55:54View | Delete

    where is the one example of a military of dem elected gov brought democracy

    A 1958 military coup brought an end to the French 4th Republic and brought de Gaulle to power. He was re-elected President in the fall of that year and the new constitution ratified by popular referendum, creating the 5th Republic that persists [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 13:39:36View | Delete

    To try and sum up on a mutually respectful note: 1. You point to Morsi’s 13 million votes in the June 2012 election and view this as the sole source of democratic legitimacy, and thus oppose his ouster. 2. I point to the 20 millions Egyptians in the streets in June 2013 and suggest that this [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 13:25:23View | Delete

    show me where you made up, I mean , got your facts 52%

    I clearly stated and linked to my source (June 2013 Zogby poll) in my post. But whatever, here it is again: http://www.aaiusa.org/page/-/Polls/EgyptianAttitudesTowardMB_%20June2013.pdf

    Are you a paid Morsi flack or just a troll?

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 13:22:10View | Delete

    Jesus Christ you are citing polls from the June 2012 elections. I am citing opinion polls from June *2013*—one year later—showing upwards of 70% dissatisfaction with the Morsi gov’t and a roughly 29/33 split between islamists and supporters of the opposition, with 38% undecided. All of this to refute your (unsourced) claim that the Muslim [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 13:11:29View | Delete

    Thanks eCAHNomics! I guess we should all just stop arguing with jbade as s/he is obviously immune to both analysis and facts. (Not to mention, nuance.)

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 13:07:05View | Delete

    The military removed him *because* 20 million people were in the streets, to express those people’s will and to prevent prolonged street violence and the needless death of civilians who were fed up with their government. This is the same thing they did with Mubarak in 2011. I don’t see how you can deny a [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 12:57:46View | Delete

    they have the largest amount of support in the country

    Here’s a Zogby poll from June 2013 showing 73% of Egyptians poled do not believe Morsi made a single good decision in his first year of office. In terms of support: 29% support Muslim Brotherhood or other Islamic tendencies, 33% support the opposition parties, and 38% are [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 12:38:07View | Delete

    you know nothing about where the support is over 50% of the people voted for an Islamist government, that is about the same amount that probably want it today.

    This is simply not true! 50% of “the people” did not vote for Morsi, not even 50% of registered voters voted for Morsi–51% of those who showed up [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 12:23:43View | Delete

    @jbade. The above is a re-post of a comment I left on another thread; it still holds true. Democracy really doesn’t just mean the voting box, it means the will of the people, which I think they have clearly expressed. (22 million petitions, 17 million in the streets.) I think you’re really fetishizing the form of democracy; [...]

  • Bennett commented on the diary post Behind the Morsi Coup; Get Out the Word on Sabahi by eCAHNomics.

    2013-07-07 12:08:44View | Delete

    So, democracy (from the Greek demo-kratia, “people’s rule”) ideally means that the state and the government should reflect the will of the people. If that ceases to be the case—if the people feel their government is not representative—what should be their manner of recourse? Wait 4 years and express their opinion at the ballot box? [...]

  • Bennett commented on the blog post Egyptian Military Fires On Pro-Morsi Demonstrators

    2013-07-05 14:22:56View | Delete

    Right, because that whole “oh democracy will never work for those funny brown people, what they need is a strong dictator” isn’t Orientalist at all.

  • Bennett commented on the blog post Egyptian Military Fires On Pro-Morsi Demonstrators

    2013-07-05 14:18:09View | Delete

    Wow. The cynicism (and racism) here is killing me.

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