Declaration of IWL-FI
Written by the International Secretariat of IWL-FI 7-23-13
Taking over the control of their destiny, the imposing struggle of the Egyptian people once again shakes the world. A new date has just been registered in history of the most populous country of the region: June 30 2013. On that day, streets and squared of the main cities of Egypt were seized by an irrepressible demonstration of millions of people. The roar of these millions expressed a categorical verdict: Out with Morsi!
The Mohamed Morsi administration, supported by a pact between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military Headquarters, collapsed after three days of this final verdict in the streets.
The experience of the masses, extremely accelerated due to revolutionary process underway, caused one year in the office to suffice fro Morsi, who never responded to any to the popular aspirations after the fall of Mubarak, to become a political corpse.
Jaded and absolutely fed up, the toiling masses rose with much greater power than that epic feat against the dictator and toppled another president in fewer three years. Confirming and strengthening the entire process of revolutions that shake the North of Africa and the Middle East that has, so far defeated Gadafi in Libya, Ben Ali in Tunisia, Saleh in Yemen and is now up in arms against Al Assad in Syria.
In the streets, squares and besieging palaces, Egyptian masses are now writing a new page in the history of their revolution, a revolution that is still continues its course and is permanent and uninterrupted, when Egyptian people proved clearly that the fall of Mubarak is nothing but the beginning.
The defeat of the Morsi defeat means a new immense victory for the popular masses. And this was the way Egyptian people regarded it and greeted it. It was a victory because the determining element that caused the defeat of Morsi was that colossal popular mobilisation.
The military regime ruling in the country managed to survive the fall of Mubarak was not destroyed even it was injured and weakened by the activity of the masses, for once again the masses verified that it is possible to impose the change of a government with their power in the streets.
That is so because the plan of the regime was that the Morsi administration should be able to head office until the end. The massive mobilisation compelled the commanding officers were compelled to sacrifice another servile government: it was Mubarak first and now Morsi.
It was against their will that he militaries had to manoeuvre in order to appease the tremendous mobilisation that engulfed the entire country and jeopardised the very continuity of the military regime.
They had to change another fuse and after each blow delivered by the masses, their situation became more and more precarious and fragile even if still capable of manoeuvring.
As we have already stated before, this is the contents of the facts and the process. It is very important to bear this in mind for it is natural for doubts and confusions to crop up above all due to the manner in which the final downfall of Morsi took place: a military coup.
The military interventions which, in the midst of the mobilisations, carried out the removal of Morsi, even if it is a contradiction and not the essence, is not an element of minor importance for, as from that moment there is a new government in Egypt and an entirely new political plan is underway, a “road map”, orchestrated as usual by the military, that maintain the same goal of the ruling classes and imperialism that has been there since the fall of Mubarak: defeat the revolution.
But the first and fundamental thing is to understand that, regardless the forms, the fall of Morsi, just as the fall of Mubarak was before it, is an enormous revolutionary triumph of the Egyptian masses who, through their activity weakened the military as well as American imperialism that have been upholding this regime for the past 30 years.
Once more the fall of these governments upset the stability of the regime and drove it into a defensive position. To stay in power, the generals had to make a series of concessions on the democratic grounds (the latest one was to sacrifice Morsi) but they appear to be unable to do the same thing on the economic grounds. The outcome of this process is an increasing degree of instability of the regime. The preventive coup does not halt the process; it spurs it further on. This situation will inevitably drive the masses to further confrontations with the new government in the same way they did with Mubarak and Morsi, for the crisis is getting worse and worse with every day that goes by.
The contradiction of the process: why do the military make their prestige accrue?
Once we have posed the essence of Morsi’s fall (the action of the masses) we should now try and understand what the contradiction of the process is and what its consequences are: the fact that actually it was the military who, faced with the mobilisation of the masses that jeopardised the regime as a whole, knew how to relocate themselves on time and intervene with an ultimatum and depose Morsi.
With this move, the army has displaced the masses from their leading position in the process and took over the leadership, thus preventing the masses from continuing with the mobilisation and pulling the government down. This move bestowed great prestige on the generals and let alone the great confusion among the vanguard and the anti-regime left who have been restlessly fighting against Mubarak and Morsi.
Such a contradiction needs an explanation for it has made it necessary to understand the reason for the popular trust and support for the Armed Forces. The most immediate factor is that, as we already know, faced with the great mobilisations that toppled Mubarak and Morsi, instead of repressing and orchestrating a bloodbath – as is to expected from a counterrevolutionary military regime – they felt compelled to shift positions and make democratic concessions so far going that they destroyed their two latest governments.
Having played this card, they could present themselves to the public eye as “friends” and “guardians” of the aspiration of the peoples and be regarded as such by ample sectors of the vanguard.
But this political prestige of the Egyptian army has deeper historic roots. Financed directly by the USA as part of the peace accords of Camp David with Israel, contradictorily, the prestige of the Armed Forces is based on their anti-imperialist past. It is related to nationalism and Nasserist pan Arabism that challenged and destroyed the monarchy, challenged imperialism and went as far as nationalising the Suez Channel, a radical measure that was militarily defended in 1956 during a war when Egypt fought against Great Britain, France and Israel. The reputation of the military has a lot to do with the wars against Israel: the Six Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur in 1973.
However, this prestige did not remain intact. We must not forget that during the days of the government of the Military Junta between the fall of Mubarak and the election of Morsi, a broad vanguard and sectors of mass movement made a more direct experience with the army itself.
The measures taken by the Military Junta in February 2011 spawned a process of depletion that started to erode this prestige earned by the military gradually after the fall of Mubarak.
In view of this and faced with the electoral victory of the Brotherhood who narrowly defeated the direct candidate of the Junta, Ahmed Shafik, the militaries accepted that the Brotherhood should take over as long as they guaranteed the foundations of the regime, that is to say, the weight and the economic privileges of the armed forces who control not less than 30% of the economy of the country and the political and military agreements with the USA and Israel. Apart from that, the Brotherhood had to comply with the task of controlling the mass movement; a pact quite evidently counterrevolutionary that the Brotherhood accepted gladly.
This pact prevailed until when the Morsi administration became no longer useful for such purposes.
The Brotherhood administration got worn out very fast because of their neoliberal management as well as because of their Bonapartist, clearly authoritarian measures. In a short time, this image of “moderate” that Morsi tries to nourish proved to be a farce. After a few months in the office, the Brotherhood honestly tried to carry out the project of Islamisation of society and of concentration of power in presidency. From this point of view, a high point of depletion of Morsi, not only in the eyes of the masses but also with important sectors of the bourgeoisie, was the decree that invested them with full powers in November 2012.
Added to that three was the boosting of and approval for the constitution which, apart from being anti-workers and anti-strikes, was also based on the “sharia” (Islamic Law) as the main juridical source for the State. In this way the Brotherhood revealed that their project was to achieve an Islamic republic.
The Morsi administration, as part of the military regime, meant the continuity of repression against activists, of attacks on the media, and on religious minorities: Coptic and Shia. These measures kept on depleting this government gradually among the toiling masses as well as with some sectors of the bourgeoisie. It was not without a reason that demonstrators hailed Morsi as the “new Mubarak” or the new “Pharaoh”.
All this, together with an economic situation on the verge of collapse that the acceptation of Morsi (and up to a great extent also of the Brotherhood) collapsed and popular dissatisfaction accrued. The campaign launched by the youth movement Tamarod (rebellion in Arab language) offered an alternative that channelled the accumulated anger towards massive actions ant these flowed into 30th June, the point of inflexion. In March 2013 alone 1334 demonstrations took place and in April this year 1462 protests occurred (48 a day) accounted by the Centre for the International Development – 62% of them had economic character. This was a record not only for Egypt but for the entire world during this month.
It is within this framework that the Army began to take away from Morsi and tried to convince his to back off and negotiate. The Tamarod campaign began to gain support from the bourgeois opposition. The Army and the police let it be until the demonstration of 30th June.
The ultimatum of the summit of the Armed Forces by General Al-Sisi takes place in the midst of a situation out of control, where the country was already engulfed in demonstrations with clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi fighting it out in the streets, that is to say, when the fall of the government was merely a question of time.
With this in the background, the Army acted to avoid a direct and complete overthrow of the government by the masses and moved within the process so as to better deviate it and contain it.
They handed in another ring, but they saved their fingers. At least for the time being, they managed to recover the prestige that suffered for the wear and tear during the government of the Junta at that time commanded by General Tantawi.
Unfortunately, they managed to usurp the triumph of the masses so as to be able to control the post-Morsi process and so moderate in the conformation of the new administration. Due to the lack of a revolutionary leadership with a bearing on the masses, protesters finally trusted the solution that the Army wove to appease the popular mobilisation.
What position is to be taken in the face of the mobilisation of the Brotherhood?
During the Morsi administration, we, the revolutionaries had to be out in the streets, together with the masses, fighting against this government and propagandizing the need to fight against the militaries and the regime
When the militaries, faced with the mass mobilisation gave an ultimatum to Morsi and told him that he had 48 hours to comply with the claims of the people or else they would topple him. This position could no be modified because the military “coup” did not mean recoiling that it certainly would be if there were a change from a bourgeois democratic government to a dictatorship. In this case it happens to be a “coup” in the hand of the same military regime and even if the army were pulling him down by the force, it would be complying with the main demand of the masses at that moment: pulling Morsi down. This case is similar to that of Mubarak, who at the end of his administration and cornered by the tremendous mobilisation of the masses, it was the Head Quarters of the Army who told him that he had to go because it was impossible to sustain him any longer.
The toppling of Morsi represents the fall of a new autocrat, a ne Mubarak – in this case an Islamic civilian – and an interruption to the implantation of his ultra-reactionary, Bonapartist, technocratic project headed by the Brotherhood. And the masses feel it as a democratic victory.
In a nutshell, during the Morsi administration we were always together with the masses against this government and against the military regime and we have not changed this position – not even when this government was threatened by the military and finally defeated by the military – In the same way, now we are against the new government and against the military regime and we are all for the progressive mobilisation that will challenge it.
But this does not mean that it would be right for revolutionaries to support any massive mobilisation regardless its character.
In Egypt, when the Muslim Brotherhood walks out into the streets defending the return of the Bonapartist Morsi administration, they are staging a mobilisation against the regime but of counterrevolutionary character and that is why it is not right to defend any kind of united action with this organisation.
Fighting for the return of Morsi stands for fighting for the return of those responsible for the attacks on religious minorities, for the attempts of imposing the sharia as the base for the Constitution, i.e.: for the return of a government with a Bonapartist technocratic project; this would be receding from the revolution.
In order to understand this, let us imagine Mubarak, after his fall in 2011, summoning a mobilisation of his followers to return to power, alleging that his fall was the outcome of a “coup”. It would be easy to believe that nobody would stand for the “democratic rights” of that dictator heading this clearly counterrevolutionary initiative.
That is why even it this mobilisation had thousands of people believing mistakenly that they are defending “democracy” against a “coup” it would still have nothing progressive about it. If the revolution is to make headway, it is necessary to defeat this kind of mobilisation that only serves the counterrevolution.
For weeks now, mobilisations for or against Morsi have been happening frequently. During these demonstrations confrontations of both bands occur and the outcome is dozens of injured and fatal casualties. That is why it is necessary for popular organisation that defeated to have plans and organs of self-defence to impose the will of the masses against the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood and so no longer depend on the Army or the police to impose this will.
However, the fact that we are against the demonstrations of the Muslim Brotherhood to return to the office does not mean that we shall back any repressive action of the Army or the police because their measures obey the interests of their commanding officers and the is no reason for which we can trust them.
For example, we expose the attack that ended in the death of more than 50 members (80 according to some sources) of the Brotherhood who were staging up a protest in front of the HQ of the Republican Guard demanding the liberation of Morsi, for all the images show that it was not an armed confrontation but a shootout by police and the army against people, most of whom were unarmed.
We condemn this attack for its unnecessary cruelty and because these deaths served the only purpose of strengthening the attempt by the Brotherhood at returning to power taking advantage of the indignation that this fact caused in all the sectors, including those who had evicted Morsi.
Of course, according to what we explained above, this repudiation cannot stand for our supporting the demonstrations of the Brotherhood trying to return to power or that their leaders – beginning with Morsi, liable for all the repression during this year, or the Brotherhood’s mass media are to be returned to them to be used in campaigns against what the masses decided in the streets.
It is necessary to appeal to the grassroots of the Brotherhood to get them to accept the fact that it was the people who had evicted Morsi. We must expose the fact that the leadership of the Brotherhood is using them to restore the authoritarian and neoliberal project of power.
As long as the Brotherhood keeps on calling their supporters to walk out into the street to take over the control, that is to say, to go against the action of the vast majority of the toiling masses and the achievement that the eviction of Morsi meant for them; we are against defending his right of expression and demonstration.
As long as they keep on demonstrating for the return of Morsi, a drawback for the revolution, we shall not demand freedom for their leaders or rehabilitation of their TV channels that were closed by the new civilian-military government.
What is the imperialist policy?
Imperialism supported the Morsi administration as long as it was politically useful to maintain the military regime and the economic policy dictated by the IMF.
When this support became unsustainable for Morsi’s eviction had become in a must to attenuate even if only momentarily the colossal ascent of the masses, imperialism withdrew their support for the Brotherhood and endorsed the military coup. Even though up to almost the last moment they bet on Morsi’s permanence in power just the way they did with Mubarak, they finally realised that it was impossible to sustain him in the face of the massive demonstrations of the toiling masses.
Actually, nothing else could be expected inasmuch as the change of the government occurred within the framework of the same regime dominated by the Army, a direct agent of Washington in the region.
On the other hand, within the regional scope, it became notable that the policy of the Gulf monarchies was to sustain the new government servile to the militaries and to imperialism. Without any delay, they put some “aid” of $12 000 million ($5 000 million from Saudi Arabia, 4 000 million from Kuwait and $ 3000 million from the Emirates) a much higher sum total that by far surpasses the yearly contribution of the USA ($1500 million) and even the loan that is being negotiated by the IMF ($4 800 million); this doubtlessly contributes an important oxygen tank for the new occupants of the presidential palace of Ittihaiya.
The issue of violence against women
There is a serious stumbling block for the revolution in Egypt: the oppression of women; it is a deeply rooted feature in Egyptian society: it is the massive rapes that have occurred even in the Tahrir Square demonstrations.
This has a lot to do with the male chauvinist violence against women, a barbarian, abhorrent practice that is deeply rooted in Egyptian society. But on the other hand, it has also been used during the revolutionary process in order to divide the ranks of the revolution and drive women who have been taking active part in the demonstration away from the struggle. Ensuring full participation of women is of enormous importance for without it the triumph of the revolution is unthinkable. On the other hand, the mobilisation of women and the struggle to empower them to act without having to fear violent attacks is a struggle against the military regime and the male chauvinist oppression is part of the struggle against the military regime and male chauvinist oppression aiming at driving half of the population away from the revolutionary action.
This situation was already very serious during the Mubarak administration, but it got worse during the transitional administration of the Armed Forces and Morsi. All these governments used the method of attacks and rape as a political weapon against the participation of women in revolutionary struggle. For example, facing charges of rape committed by his followers Morsi’s answer was cynical and scandalous, “women know well that they are among rough men and that they must take care of themselves before asking Home Ministry to protect them. If they are found under such circumstances, women are 100% liable.”
Even General Al-Sisi, the strong man of government in the times of the Military Junta was who overtly defended the permanence of the despicable “virginity tests” practiced on activist women who reported sexual abuse by members of the Army. Al-Sisi went as far as saying that he approved of these tests because they were the way of ensuring the “respectability” of the Armed Forces. Consequently, the struggle to ensure the participation of women in the revolution has been there during the successive administrations from Mubarak up to this new civilian-military government included. In this way, in this sexist milieu, where the governments deliberately seek support to inhibit women, it is absolutely necessary to have a policy to combat sexism in and outside the social movement and, at the same time, take effectual security measures against groups of bandits and rapists in the service of the powerholders.
The new administration: puppets of the military and of imperialism
After the fall of Morsi, a new “interim” administrated, headed by Adli Mansur, former head of the Constitutional High Court, a character so far unknown but now basking in the confidence of the Armed Forces.
This judge is expected to lead the “transition” that will establish the amendments in the Constitution carry out the new elections for President and to the Parliament.
Due to the correlation of forces between the classes, the Army did not choose a strong man of theirs (It could have been General Al-Sisi) to head the new government concentrating the positions of Chief Commanding Officer of the Armed Forces, minister of Defence and Vice-Prime Minister.
The military summit had to invest another civilian as the new fuse to head the Executive. The Prime Minister is the liberal economist and former minister of Finances, Hazwm Beblaui, known for his conservative and pro-imperialist positions. Nabil Fahmi will be the head of the diplomatic corps; he is a former ambassador to the USA and it will be his job to pamper the relations with Washington and ensure the financial aid for the Army.
The military summit also incorporated well-known leader of the bourgeois opposition to Morsi, such as El Baradei, Peace Nobel Price and another man of imperialism, now anointed by the military power as the Vice-President of the interim government. Heading the very important Finance Portfolio there is Ahmed Galal, PhD economist at the University of Boston and former employee of the World Bank.
There was no room for Islamite sectors, not even the Salafists such as Al Nur (who had 30% of the old Parliament) in spite of the fact that this political organisation supports – even if critically – the new government. The Muslim Brotherhood was also summoned and several posts were offered but they declared their non-recognition of the new cabinet.
The interim administration incorporated not only the former bourgeois opposition to Morsi and has the blessing from the main religious institutions, such as that of the Imam of Al Azhar and the Coptic Patriarch but also, as often happens in revolutionary situations, the new cabinet will do their best to irradiate a “popular” image to respond to a new victory of the masses. That was the meaning of the nomination of the main leader of the Independent Trade Union Federation (EFITU), Kamal Abu Eita as Minister of labour and Immigration that added the element of class collaboration.
It is necessary to be very clear about it that this new cabinet is and will be just another administration of the same military regime in the service of imperialism. As all the previous ones it has the difficult task to stabilise the country and defeat the powerful revolution, the strategic problem that unites the Egyptian bourgeoisie and imperialism.
The Army, however, at this precise moment of the fall of Morsi intervenes with a different tactic, get a coat of “civilian” varnish and use the legitimate aspirations of the toiling masses. They act this way, because the revolution has fixed a roof for them and they cannot unleash a violent repression running the risk of setting the country on fire.
However, we must be very clear about it: even if at present it may be difficult due to the correlation of forces, the Armed Forces have earned some prestige in this process and this will be a fulcrum for the repression of workers’ strikes, radicalised struggles or action that will most certainly continue due to the aggravation of the economic crisis and the plans of adjustment that the government must impose.
No confidence in the new government! We must face them independently!
With Morsi defeated, the main enemy of the mass movement is the new government established once more by the military.
As we say in the previous statements, neither will the new government, surfacing from inside the regime as a response to the struggle of the toiling masses, live up to the legitimate demands and democratic and economic aspirations of the Egyptian toiling masses.
This government responds, as did Mubarak and Morsi before them, to the same regime paid directly by imperialism. We have to use the exposure of each one of their policies to explain patiently to the activists and the masses why it is not right to give any kind of support to the new government that has just taken over after the ousting of Morsi or to the Army that is behind them.
It is a government that shows approval for the imperialist policy in Palestine and Syria. Syrian exiles are being arrested in Egypt the borderline with Palestine and Gaza is closed. This government is seeking an approach to the dictator Assad the same as the monarchies of the Gulf and attacks the Palestinians with the excuse the Hamas (who is leading in Gaza) is an ally of the Brotherhood. This is the way in which the government is trying to justify the new isolation of the Gaza Strip in full agreement with the policy of the USA and Israel.
It is necessary to summon the vast majority of Egyptians who toppled Morsi, especially the working class, to get organise in an independent manner and trust their own power alone because the Army, in spite of all their manipulations, has proved to be an organism for repression of people and cannot be trusted.
From this point of view, the role of sectors of old opposition such as El Baradei, the Tamarod movement and the leader of the Trade Union Federation who, took over as Minister of Labour is fatal for they are now politically lined up with the Army and cooperate to create illusions among the masses about the militaries being politically on the side of the people. For example: the new Labour Minister called for no more strikes and more production. This has spawned a justified indignation among sectors of workers and youths who are against heir leaders’ support for and participation in the anti-popular administration and in the service of the regime.
That is why, at present revolutionaries have the extremely important task to explain patiently to the Egyptian vanguard and masses that this will not be their government and that it will be part of the same regime and that we must remain mobilised against their plans.
We must explain that they are the outcome of a deceitful reshuffling so that everything should remain unchanged. This government represents an attempt at continuing with Morsi’s economic plans as well as the ruinous agreements with the IMF and the military agreements that submit the country to the USA.
That is why it is fundamental to pose a programme to continue the struggle to continue mobilised. The great task is: seeking support from the achievement that the toppling of Morsi meant to maintain the mobilisation to achieve full democratic freedoms, punish all the crimes, not only those of Mubarak but of the entire military HQ Morsi’s and that of the Brotherhood, confiscate the fortunes and properties and annul all the pacts that have anything to do with imperialism.
The mass movement must demand from this new civilian-military government, the one that claims to be the “guardians of the people” an immediate, really democratic and sovereign Constituent Assembly to pass a programme for the liberation of Egypt from the imperialist bonds; to break the accord for Camp David and all the financial and political subordination of the Army with imperialism and Israel; that may establish the Non-payment of the Foreign Debt; assign these enormous resources (only this year $5 000 million are to be paid as interests) for public works so that genuine sources of labour can be created; to take care of Public Health and education for the poor people of Egypt.
It is for this reason that the struggle must be against this new indebtedness by $4 800 million with the bankers of Washington that Morsi has already started negotiating and that the new government keeps it up.
Religious freedom must be incorporated into the Constitution against the attempts of imposing a theocratic Constitution. The rights of all Egyptians, whether professing other religions or not, must be respected. The Muslim as well as the Copts, Shias and those without a religion must be free to exert their belief or their non-beliefs. It is wrong to try and impose the designs of a religion – in this case the Islamic religion by adopting the Shiara as a base for the Constitution. The results of this kind of dictatorial theocratic regime can be seen in Iran.
It is necessary to reopen the frontier with Gaza immediately; it is necessary to liberate the arrested Syrian refugees so that they can live freely in Egypt. Egyptian revolution is part of Arab revolution and must support the fair struggle of the Palestinians against the Zionists and of the Syrians against Assad.
Another struggle on the agenda is for a general increase of wages and salaries! For an emergency economic plan and immediate reduction of working hours without reduction of salaries so that work can be ensured for everybody! For the expropriation of the great national and multinational firms and of the financial system!
So that revolution can overcome, for a real economic and social change in Egypt what we need is an independent solution of the working class and the toiling masses. And more than that, an independent class organisation of workers and toiling masses are only guarantee of continuity of the revolutionary process. That is why it is necessary to keep up the independence of proletarian and popular organisation and, in the heat of make headway in constructing a revolutionary and internationalist party that can lead the mobilisation to the destruction of the military regime in the direction of advancing towards the only thorough solution: a proletarian and popular government in Egypt.