In recorded memory, the 1977 uprising in Egypt appears as the end of a cycle. Yet, at an international level, it marks the beginning of a wave of protest against International Monetary Fund measures. In this article, I study how communist memories of the uprising, which are the only ones recorded, have built up a disregard for 1977's “immature” insurgents. The article investigates how these narratives can inform us about the history of the uprising and argues that the search for a Cartesian-type collective subject among insurgents limits our understanding of the insurrection. It refers extensively to the Alexandria Arsenal, a state-owned shipbuilding company where the uprising began, and the relationship between this “vanguard” and the rest of the insurgents. It deconstructs the theoretical presupposition of an analogy between insurgents and a Cartesian subject that permeates the sources, and also the concepts of “collective memory” and “moral economy”. This leads inevitably to the diagnosis of a defective subject. It favours the concept of “fluid memory” and highlights other “January 1977s”.