Anti-Authoritarian Revolution and Law Reform in Egypt: A Jadaliyya E-Roundtable

“Beyond the constitution, which laws must be addressed (and how) in order to advance the goal of anti-authoritarianism and a democratic political system in Egypt?” 1*)
“The question, then, is not so much how to amend or reform particular articles of the constitution, but rather, how to maintain the links to this democratic constituting power – a question that cannot be resolved on constitutional grounds.” (cf. HUSSEIN AGRAMA, see below)

Egypt caught up tight   in the grips of  “critical support” ,  like Ethiopia decades ago, differing with the “fortune”  that, no section is ransacking the community of their  intellectual elite with bullets. Until now!

Please see the interesting discussion below, with its relevance, awaiting the ” future Ethiopia”; without missing the caliber at what intellectual level these people are deliberating on the issue. I wonder where  our  contemporary  “elite”   would take off if the time comes for IT.
In my observation the Initials today are not that promising, but full of volatile handicaps impairing  the liberation of the mind. I hope my observation is not correct!


” SAMERA ESMEIR: A revolution is not constitutional reform. The first exceeds the latter and may also contradict it. Revolutions disrupt the taken for granted association between legality and legitimacy, introducing new grounds of legitimacy beyond state law. As Asli writes, revolutions are “extra-constitutional.” And I would add, revolutions are “extra-legal.” Modern law is incapable of sanctioning a revolution. Revolutions, however, maintain an aspiration to constitute a new legal order. Ironically, this order for the most part institutes new relationships of obedience between the law and the citizenry, making it illegal to wage another revolution, or to introduce the political praxis cultivated among the members of the revolutionary movement.
This paradoxical relationship between law and revolution is evident in contemporary debates about legal reform. Specifically, because the revolutionary movement in Egypt is yet to accomplish its declared objectives, the focus on legal reform, and the institution of a new legal order, becomes one way to secure some objectives. But this focus may jeopardize the ongoing revolution in two ways. First, this focus risks confining the sphere of political action and political opposition to the realm of the juridical, and therefore ignoring a much more difficult challenge to the security institutions of the state, including the military. If such narrow focus is to become dominant, Egypt’s democratic practice will be mainly centered on the law, like many Western democracies, sidelining other alternatives for democratic politics—ones that do not necessarily pursue politics through the law. Second, this focus also risks translating the revolutionary practice of collective self-organization to the practices of law-drafting that lack the collective, self-organizing element. The experience of the revolutionary movement in Egypt, however, has taught us, as Hussein points out, that collective self-organization is in itself an important political practice and the challenge therefore is not only how to translate collective demands into the law, but how to maintain collective action as a form of political practice.

How did the 18-day revolutionary act get equated, in some circles, with a constitutional crisis, and what does this “rhetoric of crisis” reveal about the relationship between legality, revolutions and the possibilities for democratic politics?”

Friday, 25.02.2011 Post Mubarak Demonstration 

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