Riots by opposition party members and constituents over Morsi’s rule and the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt have ravaged Tahrir Square for the past week. Egypt’s defense secretary Abdul Fattah al-Sisi warned that the rising political tensions “may lead to the collapse of the state and threaten the future of our coming generations.”
This comes just a little over three months before Egypt’s delayed parliamentary elections will be held in April of this year. The election will be monumental in the rising tide of Egypt’s transition to democracy.
The issues in this election are not mainly political but classist. Many Egyptians in poorer rural area have never even heard of parties other than the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist Parties (Salafists are even more conservative than the Muslim Brotherhood). Faced only with images of these party candidates in the past election allowed those two aforesaid parties to gain around 75% of votes in the last election.
The only way forward for Egypt is for the people to reach a national consensus. Although it was mainly the poor and middle-class who led the Arab Spring riots against Mubarak and shaped the current Morsi regime, it will be the interests of the rich that will drive national opinion. It is a historical trend that a regime cannot stand unless it has the support of the rich. In the American Revolution, it was the rich merchants and creditors who wanted British rule over so that they could trade freely. They were the ones who incited the whole population to oppose. The only exception to this trend is Communist regimes. Although Communist regimes were formed on the support of the proletariat class, they were able to survive through intimidation, suppression, etc. That will not work in Egypt because the people are so pro-individual rights since Mubarak’s rule. So, even the poor will not support the suppression of rights for their populist demands.
It is actually very easy to get the poor in Egypt on board with the elite class’s political interests. That is because the poor are less interested in a party’s political standpoint than they are with the material benefits they will get from the party. This is why Boss Tweed in the US who gave out clothes, food, jobs to poor was able to stay in power so long even though he was corrupt. Thus a compromise should be struck. A secular, economically liberal regime that will ensure more welfare for the poor should be created as an opposition party to the Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood.
The main issue though is how to get it out there and the answer is easy. Because the rich (mostly businessmen) are supporting this measure, they can donate money to campaign and then they can spread their reach even to poor areas. This, as opposed to the populism in the past tow years, will create a unified Egyptian state that models the vision of the first protestors in Tahrir Square around two years ago.