In an article written today on the New American, writer Christian Gomez traced the history of the Muslim Brotherhood. Since many news outlets are reporting that the events taking place in Egypt are predominately an Islamic revolt against the policies of the Mubarak government, below is a representative video clip from China Central Television:
In the article, Mr. Gomez traced the history of the brotherhood:
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in March 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, an outspoken Egyptian schoolteacher and imam who, among many topics, openly discussed Marxism.
Originally established as an Islamic society, the Muslim Brotherhood soon attracted many individuals including Sayyid Qutb.
Born on October 9, 1906 in Musha, Egypt, Sayyid Qutb would go on to become one of the leading Islamic theological scholars for the Muslim Brotherhood. His writings have been credited as the main ideological inspiration for Islamic terrorism.
In his book Social Justice in Islam Qutb discussed a range of issues, including Communism of which he wrote:
Similarly we have no good grounds for any hostility between Islam and the struggle for social justice, such as the hostility which persists between Christianity and Communism. For Islam prescribes the basic principles of social justice and establishes the claim of the poor to the wealth of the rich; it lays down a just principle for power and money and therefore has no need to drug the minds of men and summon them to neglect their earthly rights in favor of their expectations in heaven.
In discussing the connection between the economic ideals of Communism with his views on Islam, Qutb wrote: “…while Communism is compelled to oppose religion in order to safeguard the rights of the workers, we have no need of any such hostility to religion.”1
Mr. Gomez went on to write:
In an interview on January 14, 2011, Salah Adly of the Communist Party of Egypt (CPE) referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as “the maximum right” and although he claimed “we do not ally ourselves with them,” he nevertheless said, “but we are coordinating some of the issues of democracy and an end to a state of emergency against the practices of torture and to guarantee free elections.” (Emphasis added).
In discussing some of the problems the Communist Party has had with the Muslim Brotherhood he admits to “alliances made with them in recent years.”
Regardless of how Islamic the Muslim Brotherhood would have one believe it is, it’s communist heritage remains undeniable and worth noting as the dominoes fall throughout the Middle East.
The most significant part of the interview, however, was what it revealed of the CPE’s role in the orchestration of the current revolution in Egypt.
In speaking of the 2011 Alexandria bombing, in which a group of Coptic Christians were killed a few minutes into New Year’s Day 2011, Adly condemned the attack and predicted “that the growing sectors of the Christians may join in the coming stage to protest movements demanding democracy, equality and change the conditions prevailing dictatorship.” (Emphasis added)
What did he mean by “coming stage”? Was he alluding to the current revolution? If so, then how could he and the CPE have known of the protests, over a week before they started, unless they were key in its inception?
Although some members, including elder leaders, of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested, the truth of the matter is that they have been playing the role of catch-up — initially taking no side in the conflict — eventually joining in on the side of the masses already in revolt.
This would largely seem to discredit many commentators and pundits who regard the Egyptian revolution as a purely Islamic one or one helmed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the brotherhood may only be “fellow travelers” to the events taking place in Egypt, the article goes on to link the CPE with radical Islam and points to the World Socialist Web Site which states:
The aim must be to replace the existing state with a workers’ government, controlled by new institutions of popular democracy. Such a government will be the basis for carrying through socialist measures, including the nationalization of all major corporations and banks.
Finally, the struggle of the Egyptian workers must be consciously linked to the struggles of workers throughout the region and internationally. As Trotsky explained in his theory of permanent revolution, there can be no solution to even the most basic democratic demands, including an end to dictatorship, within the framework the nation-state system and the rule of the national bourgeoisie.2
As if right on queue, the board placed the blame for the recent protests in Egypt squarely on that most hated of groups:
The bourgeoisie in every country—“first and foremost the United States—is responding to the global breakdown of capitalism by ruthlessly attacking its “own” working class.
Of course, this so-called “global breakdown” was preceded by an interesting set of circumstances. For more on that, see China and the Bailout.