Military Review

Recall Nasser. Egypt and modernization

Egypt embraced the fashion of the general, the supreme commander of the armed forces, the chairman of the Supreme Council of the armed forces and the Minister of Defense Abdul-Fattah Said Hussein Khalil Al-Sisi, who was revered as the new Gamal Abdel Nasser. He is being promoted by the media, the streets are covered with his portraits. The brave general is emblazoned in the shop windows, the newlyweds must be photographed with him at weddings, and among the Egyptian young people clothing in the style of "military" has become wildly popular. There are sweets "al-Sisi" and special "Sisi-sandwiches", which are served in snackbars. It is clear that all this grimaces "consumer society". Yes, and Sisi does not any Nasser. In general, the Egyptian army has long been turned into something like a financial-bureaucratic corporation. However, there is a demand for a new Nasser, which gives rise to a corresponding offer. Egyptians want original modernization in the spirit of Nasser.
It is indicative that observers note a comparison with Nasser, but practically nothing is said about Nasser himself. Meanwhile, his political legacy is very interesting and, in many respects, relevant. The study of nasserism will help to understand a lot, making conclusions for the future.

The political evolution of Nasser is rather bizarre. Researchers often point out that his early views (1930-1940-s) were very confusing. The future Egyptian leader was attracted by Western democracy, dictatorship, nationalism and traditionalism. In this, however, one can also see the desire for the dialectical synthesis of various "fragments" that were once part of something holistic. It can be said that this whole was the Tradition, which should be distinguished from the doctrinal “traditionalism”, the adherents of which, at the socio-political level, try not to integrate, but to cut off. In a living, real Tradition, once the former basis of the existence of human communities, one can find democracy (veche, popular assembly), and socialism (predominance of the community), and "dictatorship" (military leader status of princes and kings). Of course, the Tradition itself is much broader than politics, even if integrated, but nevertheless it is this unity that distinguishes the notorious traditional society.

Let us return, however, to Nasser and his political evolution. In 1952, a revolution was taking place in Egypt that overthrew the pro-British monarchy. The Free Officers organization comes to power, in the creation of which Nasser plays a crucial role. At the head of the country is the Revolutionary Command Council (SRC), which in turn is headed by General Mohammed Naguib. It was a typical liberal with a "conservative" bias, who believes that classical, Western democracy is quite appropriate for Egypt. Nasser entered into a confrontation with him and achieved an opponent's bias. In 1954, he headed the IBS, and in 1956, he was elected president by direct vote. Liberal-democratic illusions were eliminated, however, Nasser was still at the national-bourgeois position, speaking mainly against foreign capital - in support of national. He nationalized the Suez Canal, triggering the aggression of Britain, France and Israel, which collapsed as a result of the firm "pro-Egyptian" position of the USSR. In addition, Nasser carried out a rather radical Egyptianization policy, expressed in a large-scale transfer of many foreign enterprises to the national bourgeoisie - the French 800 and the English 400 (by the 1957 year).

However, the president soon saw that, although the support of the bourgeoisie strengthened the country on the external front - against foreign capital, it led to a sharp aggravation of social contradictions. That is, ultimately, it still weakens Egypt. And then he takes a course on the construction of socialism - of course, not Marxist, but Arab. The very concept of Arab socialism emerged in the second half of the 1940s. It is curious that one of its leading developers (and the creator of BAAS - the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party) was a native of Damascus Michel Aflyak - an Orthodox Christian. He did not particularly delve into questions of politics and economics, but he developed a rather coherent philosophy of the “eternal Arab Message,” based on Hegelianism. She focused on the disclosure of the "Arab Spirit" in the past, present and future. Hegelianism was combined with traditionalism here, which was expressed in a special understanding of the revolution. Aflyaku, she saw it as a return to the “right past” on a new basis.

Ba'athism in many respects did not coincide with Nasserism, but one can notice some essential unity here. Nasser also emphasized the Arab community (Aflyak, in general, called it "Ummah"), being an ardent admirer of the creation of a single state of all Arabs. A foundation for this was laid in 1963, when Egypt and Baath Syria created the United Arab Republic (UAR). However, this state symbiosis did not last long.

Economically, Nasser emphasized the state and its regulatory role. In 1960-ies, large and medium-sized industries, banking, and insurance were nationalized. The public sector was 90%. (A characteristic moment - the electoral qualification “vice versa” was introduced in the country - people whose income exceeded the 10 thousand Egyptian pounds ceiling, were deprived of the opportunity to hold government posts.) In the village, state farms and cooperatives were actively encouraged. The Nasser regime was emphasized by the technocratic, progressive - which is worth only the Aswan Dam, built with Soviet assistance. During his reign, many factories, schools, hospitals, libraries, and peasants were built into comfortable dwellings.

But perhaps the greatest interest is the political transformation of Nasser. There was an attempt to combine the autocratic regime with corporate identity. Back in 1950, the president tried to create a political vanguard in the person of the National Union (NA), but he did not meet expectations. And in the 1960s, Nasser constructs a new party - the Arab Socialist Union (ASS). Unlike the avant-garde party of the Russian Bolsheviks (and many other parties similar to it, including the right ones), which from the very beginning were tightly centralized order-style structures, the party of Nasser was a broad popular front. It was allowed to enter to everyone, which immediately accumulated 6 millions. Thus, the party was conceived as a movement of all socially and politically active Egyptians.

Along with Arab socialism, the basis of the party was original democracy. Nasser himself decreed the guarantees developed by the ACC "respect for political and all electoral rights, as well as respect for the rights of trade unions, societies, communities, institutions and other organizations." It is significant that the rights are concretized here - these are the rights of not only individuals, but also various communities. Or here’s one of the Union’s position: “People’s organizations, especially cooperatives and trade unions, can play an effective and influential role in the development of a healthy democracy.” In addition, the need to develop industrial self-government was emphasized: “Egyptian workers were to participate in the administration of enterprises and become“ masters of the production process ”.

In 1962, elections to the National Congress of People’s Force (NKNS) were held. They were conducted in curiae - from workers, peasants, intellectuals, “non-exploiting capital”, students and women. The composition turned out to be such - in the NKNS 375 deputies represented peasants, 300 - workers, 150 - entrepreneurs, 225 - trade unions, 105 from universities, 105 - students, 105 - women's organizations. Thus, the representation was tied to specific social and professional groups, which made it impossible for the dictatorship of party political mediators.

In the second half of the 1960's, the ACC entered into a confrontation with the state apparatus. On this occasion, an open and mass discussion flared up in the country, which has already shown that Egyptian socialism is by no means a bureaucratic system. Although Nasser himself was well aware of the danger of bureaucratization, which could even threaten the frontline party. “A great danger for the ESS was created precisely because many leaders do not know how to communicate with the masses,” the president noted. - They sit in their offices and send out general instructions. So you will not achieve success. Others speak at meetings, but they are not prepared to draw useful experience from communication with the masses. ”

The discussion began in 1967, and a year later, Nasser announced his “March 30 Program”. It announced the transfer of the center of gravity from the administrative apparatus to the ACC. The general national congress of the party became the highest political body of all of Egypt. At the same time, the ACC itself had to undergo reorganization with re-elections at all levels.

A similar system looks similar to the Soviet one in which the party apparatus towered above the state. However, it is hardly possible here to talk about identity. In Russia (USSR), the party monopoly was formed almost instantly, immediately crushing under itself elected Soviets (a separate question - could this have been avoided). It was the party nomenclature that was the main breeding ground for bureaucracy. In Egypt, the administrative bodies of power were such a hotbed, and the front-party acted as an organized popular alternative to bureaucracy, supported by a charismatic socialist president.

The beginnings of Nasser were buried after his death in the 1970s. Anvar Sadat, who came to power, hurried to dismantle the thin, avant-garde construction built by Nasser. Already in 1971, the Constitution was adopted, in which the party was deprived of the right to control any state body. Thus, the bureaucratic caste was rid of popular control. Five years later, she generally performed the ACC mutation. Three platforms (“stands”) were created in it. T. n. The “Arab Socialist Organization” united a pro-presidential majority consisting of state officials. In the "Organization of the Liberal Socialists" shoved the "right" wing, and in the "National Progressive Organization of the Unionist Bloc" - the "left" group. Subsequently, the Arab Socialist Party was founded on the basis of the ASO, which was later renamed the National Democratic Party (NDP), which had a political monopoly under both Sadat and Hosni Mubarak. The new name did not at all remind of the socialist choice proclaimed at the time as a national hero, the legendary Nasser. Yes, and inappropriate were references to socialism. Large-scale capitalization unfolded in the country, accompanied by a massive influx of foreign capital.

Liberals (all over the world and among us) strongly criticized the Mubarak regime for authoritarianism, bureaucracy and corruption. However, they close their eyes to the fact that the Mubarak, military-financial, bureaucratic regime arose precisely during the times of the Sadatov liberalization and was the result of a departure from Nasser's socialism - towards capitalism.

They also don’t like to say that it was the “progressive” capitalist West that provided full support to radical Islamism (many of its structures, such as Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, were created with the support of Western intelligence services). And thus most seriously archaized entire regions of the Islamic world. Referring to the threat of “terrorism”, cultivated by them, the West organized several “liberation” military campaigns, which threw the “liberated” countries far back, almost into the Stone Age. Take, for example, Afghanistan, which has plunged into the real feudal anarchy. “It is the field commanders who today provide control over the situation in each Afghan province, receiving from Kabul - more precisely, from the US, because the Afghan budget for 91 percentage consists of international investments -“ loyalty fee ”, - I. Korotchenko. - Before us is a typical control scheme of the British colony of the XIX century. Tribal leaders receive a "reward for loyalty" from the colonial administration, the right to dispose uncontrollably in the territory entrusted to them the life and death of the native population and, most importantly, to earn those means that are most suitable for them. Heroin production? Please, according to the NATO classification, this is a “traditional craft”, which cannot be touched, because the economy of the provinces will collapse, the incomes of the leaders will fall. But they need a personal militia to maintain ... Racket on the roads? No problem, create a "private security company," and Kabul will sign a contract with you for "cargo escort." This is not an exaggeration, but the everyday life of an Afghan province. ” ("Here comes the Taliban")

The “Arab Spring” was also aimed at archaizing, arousing a powerful fundamentalist wave. A key role here was assigned to such a large country as Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Their rule provoked the indignation of wide urban strata, dissatisfied with the archaization creeping into the swamp. At the same time, these circles refused to trust the popular liberals yesterday. This situation took advantage of the army, which took everything into their own hands. (The development of events did not go much the way the Western puppeteers had planned - it was not by chance that the United States stopped financial assistance to Egypt, clearly expressing its attitude to what happened.) Her activity aroused nostalgia for Nasser. It turned out that he is remembered, and Nasserism is claimed by the Egyptians, who reject both fundamentalism and liberalism - forces are equally regressive, acting, in fact, at the same time (as it was in Libya - also cast off into the “stone age”). Military, alien to the ideas of Nasser, at the same time forced to flirt with them. And flirting with the idea can lead to very different results. It is quite probable that in these favorable conditions a political subject will arise that will return the country to the path of national-socialist, original and modernization development.
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  1. Lindon
    Lindon 15 November 2013 09: 20
    The emphasis is placed correctly - the article is a big PLUS.
    I liked how the author revealed the mechanism of colonial policy of the West.
    Let's see which way the Egyptian military chooses - society needs to be offered candy a la Nasser in the modern version. And what will actually be behind this facade is time will tell.
    1. xetai9977
      xetai9977 15 November 2013 09: 41
      My father told me, and then in the late 80s he read that the Americans removed Nasser by means of a poison rubbed into the skin by his masseur, a CIA agent.
  2. Katsin1
    Katsin1 15 November 2013 12: 49
    From the Soviet folklore of the 60s: "Sitting in Cairo, stroking the belly of a semi-fascist, semi-socialist, Hero of the Soviet Union Gamal Abdel on All Nasser"
    The fact is that during World War II, Nasser supported the Germans, and Nikita drunk gave him the Shchvezda Hero in the 2s
    1. alone
      alone 15 November 2013 22: 17
      By the way, a lot of SS-tsevs were among his advisers (former ones he missed the prefix, there are no former SS-tsevs)
      1. RoTTor
        RoTTor 16 November 2013 23: 15
        clarification: Nasser, like other officers, did not support the Nazis, but opposed the British colonialists. From this and ego sympathy for the Germans.
    2. Pilat2009
      Pilat2009 15 November 2013 22: 20
      Quote: Katsin1
      Nikita drunk gave him the Shchvezda Hero in the 60s

      Select the order from Nasser, does not fit the order of Nasser ....
    3. RoTTor
      RoTTor 16 November 2013 23: 13
      when Nasser in the 60s came to the USSR and all students, schoolchildren and so on. drove him out to meet, we sang like that
      "... we were awakened early in the morning by Abdel Nasser to meet,
      Egypt is his homeland, Egypt is his mother !!!!
  3. Asan Ata
    Asan Ata 15 November 2013 15: 20
    The political opponent of Gamal Abdel Nasser on the way to the Egyptian Olympus was physically eliminated by the professional KGB killer Baidaulet, a Kazakh, a man of amazing fate. A person who embodied many of the secret desires of the KGB abroad, came out of very difficult situations and if their water was dry, could calmly become a Soviet agent 007.
  4. RoTTor
    RoTTor 16 November 2013 23: 08
    At the same time as me in the late 60s - early 70s, aviators from third world countries studied at the special faculty. Among them was Sadat and Hafez al-Assad, then not dictators.

    The Egyptian "aviators", senior officers and a couple of generals who were shattered by the Israelis in the Six Day War (we studied tactical manuals "The Experience of Combat Operations of Israeli Aviation in the 1967 War" tactics) differed from other foreigners in the abundance of frightening signs and badges on beautiful shape and an abundance of order straps. None of them really could explain why they really awarded him. By the way, the Israelis generally have almost no orders and medals, all the more so since we adore the anniversary and departmental ones, apart from the modern ones — purchased.

    And also due to the fact that faithful Muslims were statistically ruffled in front of each other in the city, and in the city - one by one and "in civilian life" they lodged around taverns and women.

    So the current ebibetan okhfitserye does not suit the former, like everything post-soviet - to the soviet.