I know what you meant. No, neither of us has every done anything material for Egyptian democracy. The only thing we have done is pay taxes that funded Mubarak. But undoubtedly, neither had many of those in Tarhir Square before January 25. Do you think Egypt normally holds 1,000,000 professional revolutionaries? Not at all! Some of those in Tarhir are car salesmen, or store managers, or landlords. Does the presence of landlords preclude the possibility of true freedom? The point is to destroy the landlord who fights against the people. But if he is willing to risk everything for freedom, whatever changes come later?
There is no special virtue in being with a movement from its beginning. This is, in fact, a repressive belief—that legitimacy, power, authenticity come from length of association. What does this belief defend? Religions, states and systems. You know what have never been around as long as religions, states and systems? Individuals. But who is suffering and who producing the suffering? Virtue is to always be on the side of the people to whatever extent you can be. You cannot be everywhere at once, but you must always be fighting for justice wherever you are.
Intellectual superiority has eaten at the Left for thirty years, ruining some of its brightest minds and rendering the rest irrelevant. We must define our own way forward. We must be totally willing to destroy every theory we have ever encountered. What theory has brought freedom and peace?
In fact, the deep pessimism with regard to public movements is nonsense bequeathed by that paternalistic maternalism of post-Cold War Americology. Our parents' generation tell us it won’t work. Why not? Because they failed, and they were the greatest! But you know what? I floss my fucking ass with May '68. Those old shit bags can fucking retire on the 401K their generation invented to fucking incentivize the working 60-year-old. They can fart on over to their McMansion suburbs, and then later the Gated Retirement Communities they built to imprison their parents. And they can take yoga and be serious about recycling and just seriously fucking kill themselves, I don’t give a shit. The hippies, the soixante-huitards are total fucking bullshit, and so are the USSR and the Spanish anarchists and Victor Serge and Sergei Eisenstein and the Fucking Situationists and Delueze and Zizek they can all jump off a fucking cliff. We need a new paradigm, and it starts with throwing out all the bullshit hero worship and respect. Those fuckers have failed us. They are responsible for where we are today: who the fuck are they to even have a suggestion? We will take what is valuable from them but we will consider them as toothpicks!