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Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

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Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby daivid » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:27 pm

Markos wrote:
ἐν δὲ τῇ γῇ ἡμῶν σήμερον ἄγομεν τῆν τῆς ἐλευθερίας ἑορτήν. (λέγω τὸ Fourth of July.) ἀναγινώσκομεν οὖν τὸν Ἰεφφερσον. φήμι δὲ τὸ ...That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it... νομίζω δὲ ὅτι οἱ ἐν τῷ Αἰγύπτῃ νῦν τούτους τοὺς καλοὺς λόγους


Image
οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι ἐκβάλλουσι δὴ τὸν ἄρχοντα.

The key problem for Egypt is that the army refuses to accept any democratic oversight. Bear in mind that the army controls half the economy. In Eastern Europe the solution to problem of an economy nominally run by the state but in fact controlled by a nomenklatura was privatization. I don't believe that was the best solution but it was one that made democracy possible. The alternative is to establish genuine democratic oversight over such an economy. However, to simply leave such a nomenklatura in control means that the dictatorship continues even if it may be disguised by a veneer of democratic trappings.

The recent coup makes the position of that nomeklatura impregnable.

***edit***
My guess of half the economy was way out. 10-15% would be closer. However the army pays no tax and can ignore the red tape that private industry complains about. For such a privileged body to be outside democratic accountability is incompatible with democracy.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:45 pm

It's essentially a coup.

The Declaration of Independence does not apply to you if you already have a constitution. Once you have a constitution, you have no right, with or without the army, to abolish your government, only to alter it, and all alterations must be done in accordance with that constitution. The U.S. constitution gives the Army absolutely no independent power. The President is the commander-in-chief. The U.S. constitution says that only Congress, not the people, can force a president out of office, and only for committing a crime, not for being unpopular. An unpopular President needs to be voted out of office once his term is up, or, if you cannot wait that long, he needs to have most of his power limited by a Congress elected every two years. Anything else is a coup and treason. On the other hand, a U.S. President cannot do what Morsi did because s/he can only pass and enforce laws that a court says are constitutional.

I don't know how close the Egyptian constitution is to the U.S. one, but that is the solution, amend it so as to ensure that what happened on July 3 in Egypt never happens again, (just like what happened in America on July 4th will never happen again, now that we have a constitution which essentially annuls the Declaration of Independence.) Amend it, while you are at it, to make sure that Egyptians pass no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibited the free exercise thereof.

Am I saying that every country on earth needs to have a constitution just like the American one? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

(It's just a quirk of history that Americans celebrate the Fourth of July instead of the date that should be our national holiday, namely June 21, 1788, the day when New Hampshire's ratification made the Constitution the supreme law of the land.)
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Scribo » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:53 pm

America is hardly a model for anyone to follow. Have you ever lived/been outside the US? I don't think I've ever met a single American who has done and yet still reveres the American model.

I think you miss the point, having a constitution does not at all preclude the citizenry from overthrowing the state and starting again, if they so wish. If, in the UK, we wish to get rid of the current system and go back to witenagemot style local government that is fine.

I find the idea of revering as artificial a construct as the state quite disturbing.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:26 pm

Scribo wrote:I think you miss the point, having a constitution does not at all preclude the citizenry from overthrowing the state and starting again, if they so wish.


Hi, Scribo.

And how many Egyptians have to die in this process? My point is that bloodshed could have been avoided if the rule of law was followed. I hate to bring up America again, but in 1974 not a single American died when Nixon was removed from office according to the rule of law, not the rule of mobs and generals. We had a Supreme Court that was guided by the Constitution. We had a responsive congress. We had protests, to be sure, but the protesters were simply petitioning their representatives to carry out their will through the legal process. The U.S. military during all this did exactly what it should have done--nothing.

Would you really deny these things to the Egyptian people? You say the American system of the rule of law is not a model. What model to you propose as a way out of this?

(BTW we continue to discuss this in Greek in the Agora.)
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby daivid » Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:03 pm

Scribo wrote:America is hardly a model for anyone to follow. Have you ever lived/been outside the US? I don't think I've ever met a single American who has done and yet still reveres the American model.

I think you miss the point, having a constitution does not at all preclude the citizenry from overthrowing the state and starting again, if they so wish. If, in the UK, we wish to get rid of the current system and go back to witenagemot style local government that is fine.

I find the idea of revering as artificial a construct as the state quite disturbing.


It is a very healthy situation when the rules of the political game are revered. Sure,when the a constitution is regarded as almost sacred, its faults are overlooked but when there is not that reverence the danger is that political conflict when it becomes too heated will drift into civil war.

One of the problems that Egypt has is that such reverence does not exist. The brotherhood has some responsibility for the crisis in that it pushed through their constitution without consultation so that the secularists were hostile to it. But at the end of the day, the constitution was voted in by the referendum with 63%. The US constitution was pretty controversial when it was first adopted and the Egyptian constitution despite its faults was something that the secularists could have worked within. Instead of demanding House of Representatives elections which they would have probably won - something that was within the constitution. They instead went took a course that could only lead to the army acting as it did.

Totally depressing.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby John W. » Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:18 pm

Markos wrote:The Declaration of Independence does not apply to you if you already have a constitution. Once you have a constitution, you have no right, with or without the army, to abolish your government, only to alter it, and all alterations must be done in accordance with that constitution.


I'm not sure about this. Weren't the American colonists theoretically bound by the British constitution, yet overthrew it (in terms of its application to themselves) by armed revolution?

Best wishes,

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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby edonnelly » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:52 pm

In America, the Declaration of Independence merely put into words what the people believed (and still believe): that rights are unalienable and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish any government that fails to secure these rights of the people. No constitution can supersede that right.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:59 pm

John W. wrote:
Markos wrote:The Declaration of Independence does not apply to you if you already have a constitution. Once you have a constitution, you have no right, with or without the army, to abolish your government, only to alter it, and all alterations must be done in accordance with that constitution.


I'm not sure about this. Weren't the American colonists theoretically bound by the British constitution, yet overthrew it (in terms of its application to themselves) by armed revolution?

Best wishes,

John


You raise a good point, John. I would say that the constitution in question must be, for lack of a better term, a really good one. One that ensures minority rights and has lots of checks and balances and includes universal suffrage and separates Church and State, among other things. I don't know much about the British constitution under George III, but I don't think this would fit the bill. I also question whether colonies are consistent with constitutional representative democracy, and yes, in passing, I think D.C. and Puerto Rico should either be made U.S. states or should be granted independence.

Does the Egyptian constitution at the time of the coup apply to this standard? Probably not, but I still think the solution would have been to amend it again, to simply remove the amendments that the Brotherhood just added. Now the Egyptians have a chance to get it right. They shall indeed, to quote Lincoln,

...nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:15 pm

edonnelly wrote:In America, the Declaration of Independence merely put into words what the people believed (and still believe): that rights are unalienable and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish any government that fails to secure these rights of the people. No constitution can supersede that right.


I understand this point of view, and part of me agrees, but I think Lincoln changed the equation. He established the principle that the Union was eternal, and as a practical matter, the Union can only express its will through a constitution. Force can only be used by a President who has to stand for election, as Lincoln did, even during civil war.

Of course, the Second Amendment does complicate this because it would appear to provide for arming the people directly.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby edonnelly » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:00 pm

Markos wrote: but I think Lincoln changed the equation. He established the principle that the Union was eternal,


I suspect the kings of England felt that they had established the principle that their rule was eternal as well.

However, I think the real situation in America has been quite the opposite of what we are discussing. Most Americans, myself included, see the Constitution and our form of government as the gold standard. We see this fact come out whenever people are dissatisfied with one of their elected leaders. Cries of "impeachable offense" or "unconstitutional actions" are heard --- meaning that the people feel the official is going against our Constitution. If there is ever going to be any kind of uprising in America in the foreseeable future, it will not be against the Constitution but rather against people who are accused of violating it, and both sides of the confrontation will undoubtedly claim the Constitution as their own.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:36 pm

edonnelly wrote:...the real situation in America...


The real situation in America is indeed complicated. Looking back, people will marvel that it has been forty years and we still don't know if the War Powers Act is unconstitutional. (Nobody has bothered to challenge it because nobody has bothered to invoke it.) Lincoln was right, it's the worst possible system, except when compared to all the others.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby daivid » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:17 pm

Markos wrote:
John W. wrote:
Markos wrote:The Declaration of Independence does not apply to you if you already have a constitution. Once you have a constitution, you have no right, with or without the army, to abolish your government, only to alter it, and all alterations must be done in accordance with that constitution.


I'm not sure about this. Weren't the American colonists theoretically bound by the British constitution, yet overthrew it (in terms of its application to themselves) by armed revolution?

Best wishes,

John


You raise a good point, John. I would say that the constitution in question must be, for lack of a better term, a really good one. One that ensures minority rights and has lots of checks and balances and includes universal suffrage and separates Church and State, among other things. I don't know much about the British constitution under George III, but I don't think this would fit the bill. I also question whether colonies are consistent with constitutional representative democracy, and yes, in passing, I think D.C. and Puerto Rico should either be made U.S. states or should be granted independence.

Does the Egyptian constitution at the time of the coup apply to this standard? Probably not, but I still think the solution would have been to amend it again, to simply remove the amendments that the Brotherhood just added. Now the Egyptians have a chance to get it right. They shall indeed, to quote Lincoln,

...nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."


The key problems for America was that it had never chosen to accept the British Constitution neither by a representative assembly nor by a referendum and second that it had no representation in Westminster. Franklin was for a long time an empire loyalist who came up with a number of alternatives for satisfying America's just grievances. Only when these were all rejected out of hand did he become a revolutionary.

Egypt's constitution was passed by a representative body (albeit steamrollered through by a Brotherhood majority) and then voted in by full vote of the people in the following majority. To steamroller their preferred constitution through was stupid. Egypt being still in revolutionary situation it was dangerous for the Brotherhood to rupture their alliance with the secularists. That does not alter the fact that the constitution had legitimacy.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby Markos » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:28 am

CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in connection to an attack on a police station that killed a policeman, convicting them after only two sessions in a mass trial that raised an outcry from rights activists.

It's beginning to look like even more of a coup. I happen to support the judicious use of the death penalty, but what the Egyptian government today is beyond outrageous. Morsi's government was bad too, but they never did anything this bad, did they?

Egypt, Syria, the Ukraine. If we are going to go off topic, can't we at least discuss something less depressing? :cry:
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby daivid » Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:11 pm

Markos wrote:
CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court on Monday sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in connection to an attack on a police station that killed a policeman, convicting them after only two sessions in a mass trial that raised an outcry from rights activists.

It's beginning to look like even more of a coup. I happen to support the judicious use of the death penalty, but what the Egyptian government today is beyond outrageous. Morsi's government was bad too, but they never did anything this bad, did they?

Egypt, Syria, the Ukraine. If we are going to go off topic, can't we at least discuss something less depressing? :cry:

Tell me about it. :cry: It has long been worse than worse than Morsi. This is worse than Mubarak. The Brotherhood's cardinal mistake was to do a deal with the army. Hence they never reformed the judicial system. Hence they are being shafted by that system now. Three years ago with the Arab spring it looked as if democracy would extend to the entire classical world. Then last year I was consoling myself that at least the fall of the soviet system was irreversible....

Happy news? Maybe we should try such a thread on the Agora but Happy News tends to be either controversial or boring.
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Re: Egypt coup or revolution? continuation from Agora thread

Postby daivid » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:47 pm

As promised I have started a thread for what in the news is good news for you. I suspect it will be a lot harder to make it a daily thing than for the weather thread.
http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=61374
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