“Since the revolution there is a sense that we’re not going to wait for the economy to fix itself without us thinking about what it is we need from the economy.
Popular committees have formed in different neighbourhoods to expand forms of local governance. There have been many initiatives on the part of people who live in slums who are starting to move into empty apartments.
Workers have struck and free trade unions are forming. This isn’t us living under a military dictatorship. It’s us experimenting with what a revolution means.
Popular committees were formed on 28 January to protect public and places—such as the library in Alexandria and the Egyptian Museum, as well as people’s homes—from police thugs and infiltrators.
They then started politicising—seeing themselves as representatives of the communities they were in. They started monitoring the police when they returned.
There’s one example from Cairo where police harassed a woman at the market. The popular committees went to the police station to demand an apology.
When he refused, 1,000 people mobilised and sat outside the station. They asked him whether he’d like to apologise or wait for the other 3,000 to arrive.
He apologised on the spot.
There are three networks of popular committees. The most consistent one now is around 30 committees strong. There are committees in almost every locality and sometimes more than one—and in every district in Cairo.
The biggest challenge in this revolution is remembering that we are a revolution and we’re no longer in opposition.
We call the shots. We have to dictate whether the military is legitimate, whether the local governance councils are legitimate.
The military wants us to think we are not a revolution.
This is an international struggle. The Egyptian revolution reminded people of their supremacy as people—we hire governments to serve us.”