The Egyptian Protest Manual

In the run-up to the protests in Egypt a manual was created and disseminated to the people. The title of the manual was ‘How to Protest Intelligently’. This booklet laid down a concrete strategy with key tactics for the resistance to follow. It also outlined what personal equipment protesters should procure and the best ways to utilize this equipment.

Although not as detailed as the Warrior Manual, the Egyptian Manual is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, it is an exceptional example of a ‘general resistance’ being packaged and formulated to fit the needs of a specific local situation. In other words, it is not the same-old stale attempt either to assess “the material conditions of resistance” or to hastily apply a political philosophy from one region/time to a completely different situation. In fact, the manual is remarkably devoid of any overarching philosophical treatise – whether sociological or political. Some may see this as a flaw because it can leave a movement directionless after it’s actions are complete. But, it is also true that it is easier for citizens to get on board with a plan of action whose aims are straightforward and not unduly philosophical.

Main aims outlined in the manual:

  1. The downfall of the Mubarak regime
  2. The end of Emergency Law
  3. Freedom
  4. Justice
  5. The formation of a new, non-military government interested in the Egyptian people
  6. Constructive administration of all Egypt’s resources

The manual is also noteworthy because of its recommended methods of distribution. Facebook and Twitter are explicitly warned against as a distribution tool mainly because they can be easily monitored by authorities. Instead, citizens are encouraged to print and photocopy the booklet, or email it directly to trusted individuals. Although email can also be compromised, the creators of the manual have the right idea: blindly broadcasting the specific strategy and tactics outlined in the manual could have compromised the efforts of the Egyptian resistance. In this regard an understanding of proper information dissemination behooves any organized campaign of resistance.

Currently, there are still issues in regards to the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution (the Army is essentially still in control, no officials have been tried for the more than 800 civilian deaths during the revolution, no civilian/national control of resources, undue external influence on the country still exists), but there are still many things to learn from this document in addition to the specific tactics outlined: namely the notion that a coherent strategy for a local rebellion can be disseminated to the populace on short notice, and the idea that some communication channels should be avoided at all cost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *