An Egyptian tea party?

“One of the first” and not “the first” because that honor probably belongs to Tea Party USA, which has used online organizing tools to try and take over the Republican Party. Like Sandmonkey’s vision of a leaderless popular revolution, the Tea Party is an example of a political movement that has no rigid organizational structure, no big office building in a great metropolitan area, no television stations. Nancy Pelosi kept looking for the funders of the “Astroturf,” and yet there were none to be found. She could not believe that a real grassroots movement could actually exist. Yet as the events of November 2010 showed her, the Tea Party really does exist. The question is whether a similar kind of force can operate within the Egyptian revolution. First of all, let’s see what Sandmonkey actually proposes…

Sandmonkey’s “Egyptian Unity Party” would be to Egypt what the Tea Party has been to the U.S. political process — an agent to change other parties. His program as articulated correctly emphasizes registering members [getting addresses and contact details] and connecting them to each other over the Internet, where they can assort themselves by reputation. As a concept it isn’t bad, but it way underestimates the difficulty involved in such a task. If Sandmonkey’s program comes to fruition it will be a near miracle. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a real chance. There is nothing wrong with the core idea; it is in fact the same idea behind the primary challenge process, interstate compacts, and even the Constitutional amendment process. In all of these, the Internet plays a major part. The U.S. Tea Party, for example, lives on Facebook. Because form follows function, the Internet is going to play a major role in any subsequent Egyptian shakeup — unless we leave it to the moustache Petes.