The people’s revolution of Egypt did not occur overnight, and also the protests and demonstrations that happened in Tunisia was not the only main reason for the people to stand up against their government. Over the years that Mubarak was in power, Egypt came across an oppressive regime, economic woes that worsened at the wake of 2008 financial crisis, and a state that dealt with corruption. (Mashrabiyya) According to a local newspaper in Egypt, there were two main reasons for the breakout of the 2011 Revolution in Egypt.
“The primary reason was the regime that took power for over 30 years and the Egyptian people’s thirst for democracy and legitimate elections. ” (Mashrabiyya)They began to demand for democracy and implement fair elections for the people. This was one of the main reasons why millions of Egyptians took to the streets in defiance of curfew orders, and behaving brutally against the police, was to have the freedom of choices. (Mashrabiyya) The second factors that lead to the Egyptian revolution were the concern of the economic policies that the Mubarak regime was in charge of.
Mubarak during his time in power, increased cost of living, an enormous growing visibility of wealth and creating a huge gap between the rich and the poor. “Egypt is a country of 80 million people, at least a quarter which live under the poverty line. ” Since 2003, the Egyptian people noticed the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The rising costs began with increase in living and slowly moved towards the cost of staple food products (meat, sugar and tomatoes) had risen to about 20-30% in the last few months.
The costs of all goods have generally increased to about 12% at the time. (Mashrabiyya) With all of these factors, the Egyptian people over time started to realize that their needs and priorities were not being met. The people became fed up with corruption, increase in the cost of goods, and living, a government that was controlled by the army and police, and lastly failure of hope in their own futures. This is when the people believed it was time to speak up and show their country that they needed to do something that will make the government listen to its people.
On that day, primarily the youth population launched their eighteen day campaign to topple the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, dissolve the parliament and to draft a new constitution. By the time Mubarak stepped down in February 2011, more than 300 Egyptian people were reported dead or missing. Later that year, the death toll was completed and more than 6,000 people were reported to have been injured. Throughout the revolution Mubarak spoke to the protestors three times to support and ease the tension.
After Mubarak’s resignation was declared the following day the power was handed over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which soon dissolved the parliament and suspended the Constitution. (El-Bendary, p. 2, 2013) In late August Mubarak went on trial for ordering the killing of demonstrators. (BBC) Subsequently, Egypt began to see changes when the Islamist parties began to emerge within the parliamentary elections in early January.
The candidates of for first democratic elections in Egypt: In May, the first round of Egypt’s presidential elections constituted between thirteen candidates that ranged with various ideologies such as, former generals and spies, conservative Islamists, Nasserites and liberal activists. (Al-Jazeera Calstrom 2012) Furthermore, the run off consisted of two candidates, Mohamed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafiq the last prime minister under President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Ahmed Shafiq argued because he had a very experienced background with the previous Egyptian regime he would be able to share his knowledge of the military means and can ensure a successful handover of power. (BBC-Knell, 2012) Shafiq quoted in one of his interviews that “Egypt cannot suddenly bring a civilian man with no relation or knowledge of military life and make him president and supreme commander of the armed forces” (BBC-Knell) He made several promises about how he would change the army and how they are treated by the state.
Within the aspect of the military, Shafiq believed that the military was a necessary central role in the Egyptian lifestyle. The military played an important role in his campaign because he promised the country that they would be used as a protector of the constitution. (Al-Jazeera Calstrom, 2012) For Shafiq, religion was not mentioned through his government structure. On the other hand, the only reference that was made towards Islam was improving the Al-Azhar’s standing as an institution of higher learning.
Mohamed Morsi on the other hand focused more on improving social services, by reducing unemployment by having 7% within just his first term, to be able to cut off inflation and public sector debts. (Al-Jazeera Calstrom, 2012) Furthermore, Morsi does not mention the act of the military during his campaign. He state that there would be no “entity that will be above the constitution” meaning that the power of the military will be controlled by the president.
An important factor during the elections that Morsi stated in one of his speeches, he demanded that he promised that he would not turn Egypt into a theocracy, by respecting the rights of all religions that are present in the country. Morsi was generally thinking of how to make Islam the central part of the government. (Al-Jazeera Calstrom, 2012) The first democratic elections that were held in Egypt contained two different types of candidates for president. The first candidate Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the second candidate, Ahmed Shafiq a previous prime minister during Mubarak’s regime.
These two different oppositions created tensions for the Egyptian people, by having to pick between Morsi topped the first round of voting in the first free presidential elections. Later on that month, the military made a very important announcement that Egypt came at the end of its ‘state of emergency’ which has been in place since 1981 Sadat’s assassination. Towards the end of June, Mohamed Morsi won the presidential elections, which was probably one of the most historic moments for the country. It was the first time that Egypt held a democratic vote and that they also allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to be a part of Why did it erupt?
The Egyptian revolution had many different theories behind the outbreak of the protests and demands of bringing Hosni Mubarak down. Mohamed El-Bendary believed that it broke out due to the large number of Egyptians that were not satisfied with the economic growth which the country enjoyed in the decade prior to the January 25th Revolution. (El Bendary, p. 4, 2013) Furthermore, the most important issue was the lacks of freedom the Egyptian people were given. In the 1990’s a series of economic reforms began to weaken the status of the workers and declining them to full jobs with benefits.
Which then lead many private companies to cut the number of staff to increase their profit? All together with having low salaries, it demonstrated the workers for their rights which then lead in following Mubarak’s resignation. An important factor which contributed to the revolution is the increase in population from 21 million to 83 million by 2011 which resulted in higher unemployment among the youth. The main issue was that the country falls under what is called a youth bulge, which is a large youth population which signifies that 20% are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four.
Define revolution (the origins) Fred Halliday defines revolution as “a major political and social transformations in the context of a contradictory modernity involving mass participation and the aspiration to establish a radically different society. ” (Halliday, p. 21, 1999) Introduction: Political changes have been one of the main transitions for typically traditional societies that were trying to aim for more development into modern states.
While on the other hand, the approach on the widespread violence through revolutions, coups, riots and civil wars it seems to arise all over the world. The general classification of revolutionary theory focuses on the causes, origins, and dynamics of a revolution and this is mainly focused four generations of theories and theorists. Each one of these generations presents and criticizes the main characteristics and approaches to help study the revolution towards a new direction. (Cucuta) 1st generation: The first generation revolutionary theory is derived from natural history of the revolution.
The main focus is one describing the patterns of revolutionary events and starting to analyse them through small series of extraordinary revolutionary cases. It is common to find theorists trying to focus on the pattern of events that have lead up to the revolution to understand the meaning behind it. Many theorists have realized that there are several common characteristics of revolution. (Cacuta) The fall of the regime usually tends to deal with the immediate downfall, of the military, economic development and political challenges.
Goldstone is great contributor to the 1st generation theory, he has analysed revolutions to occur 2nd generation: 3rd generation: 4th generation: Introduction: Whilst identifying the understanding and the origins of the concept of revolutions, it is important to explain why revolutions occur in certain countries and the various systems of the government and specifically the particular time and why the revolution happens. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) There are certain characteristics that make up a revolution, the certain participants, the goals and outcomes to explain the revolutionary process.
The main focus of the 4th generation process argues that the most important part is what happens as revolutionary conflicts develop and unfold. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) When analysing the reasoning behind the revolutionary moments for a nation, the process helps us understand what social scientists call “agency” and “path dependency” (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) as the main characteristics that makes up the revolutionary process. These two main terms help define the two different perspectives of how academics refer to the process.
An agency refers to that not all aspects of a revolution are made up of macro-social and structural factors. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) This mainly focuses on whether the revolution will turn out to be successful and how it develops throughout the process. While on the other hand, the path dependency refers to the events and actions and how it affects the aftermath of the revolution. The fourth generation revolutionary theory refers specifically to the timing of the actual event of the revolution.
It is stated that the moment in which revolution takes place, is crucial because it helps define the actors. A vivid example is the revolution that occurred in Iran, the particular leaders and the coalition at the time demonstrated that internal conflicts of the time and the various outcomes of the situation. In Iran, at the time the Shah’s dictatorship promised a democratic system, which then lead to harsh religious tyranny in Iran. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) Origins: The origins of a revolution tend to be found in social, economic and the various policy changes.
The main observation is the characteristic of failure, and this is typically found through ruler, dictator or president. These failures are usually found in “excessive state debt, fiscal emergencies, economic mismanagement, high inflation, low or negative economic growth, and military (international or domestic)” (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) On the other hand failures could also arise from the state being highly dependent on foreign powers (allies), religious beliefs and interests and a division in certain political group.
These various elements of failure could easily be led into the direction of revolution or a state crisis. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) For a revolutionary situation, the elites become divided and start to strongly disagree with the current state of the government whether it should stay the same or be changed. (Goldstone, p. 12, 2003) Process: During the actual process of the revolution, the state is concerned with moving their country forward and doing so they try and include a need for change through reforms, repression or both.
It is state by Goldstone, that usually when reforms and repressions are seen as to make the situation worse, by implementing demands for greater change or creating more outrage could cause the state to one to revolt. (Goldstone, p. 14, 2003) Foreign powers and western countries play a huge impact in the process of the revolution. This depends on the aid to the government and by implementing restrictions. While on the other hand the foreign aid could also provide a sense of stability towards the country and could possibly enhance in resources, organization and effectiveness of the opposition.
The outcomes of a revolution are what defines the cycle and how it all operates. The fall of the old regime and the power of the revolutionary opposition mark the end of the revolution which rarely happens. This stage could potentially lead to a new stage within the revolution and this could struggle to shape the outcomes. This process could technically take many years and even decades to build a lasting political and economic institution.
The outcomes of a revolution define whether it was a revolution that occurred in that nation. A common factor which is found in similar situations is the further struggle for power once the old regime has fallen. Crane Brinton states that radical and moderate regime oppositions may fight to shape the course of the revolution during the aftermath. This could lead the country to go into two different directions, through democratic outcome, or through the perspective of a radical group and reshape society through the cost and the outcome is likely to be authoritarian.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the course of a particular revolution is shaped through three main factors that Goldstone states throughout his research, the state crisis and elite division, secondly through the ideologies, collations, and conflicts that develop through the revolutionary process and lastly, the struggle among various leaders, and foreign powers that shape revolutionary outcomes.