Supplement of the International Courier – Egypt (February 2011)
Out with Mubarak now! For the triumph of the Egyptian and Arab revolution!
Written by LIT-CI/IWL-FI
There is a revolutionary process that is spreading to all the Arab Countries. Ever since Tunisia, where popular mobilisation toppled the dictator Ben Ali after 23 years in the office, riots spread like wildfire to the remaining countries of the region challenging the ruling dictatorships in various Arab countries, secular or religious, “republican” or monarchic, from Mauritania up to Yemen, through Algiers and Jordan
What had spawned all this revolutionary process was the worsening of poverty stemming out of the world economic crisis, which caused unemployment to accrue and prices of food soar because of the deep dependence of these countries on imperialism.
This revolutionary process caught on with an almighty impetus in Egypt, the most important country in the region. A great revolutionary process burst out a few days ago. It began with several thousand people in the streets of El Cairo and other cities in the country. It started expanding and became million on 1st February hinging round the demand of resignation of Mubarak. In spite of the repression, which has already claimed 140 lives according to official version, revolution has not been deterred and tends to become more radical with each announcement of alleged changes proposed by the ruler who is clinging to power with all his might.
If Mubarak falls due to the revolutionary activity of the Egyptian toiling masses, this would echo powerfully and would deepen the Arab revolution. At would also shake the entire imperialist machinery of control of the region, where the Mubarak regime is a key part. Especially, it would jeopardise the existence of the state of Israel. That is why that the Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu administration expressed concern and support for Mubarak.
This revolutionary process hinging round democratic demands may also affect the theocratic regimes as that of Iran, where demonstrations against the electoral fraud and for democratic liberties were ruthlessly repressed. It can also affect such Islamic organisations as Hamas and Hezbollah. That is why it is not surprising that when demonstrations were held in the occupied territories in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution, they were repressed by Hamas in Gaza. Hamas did the same work as the agent of imperialism in the West Bank, National Palestinian Authority (NPA) did.
Egypt, key country in the Arab world
With 80 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most densely populated Arab country. One out of every 3 Arabs is Egyptian. The weight of the population was also expressed by the central role in the life and in political processes in the Arab world.
In 1953, the army produced a nationalist coup, headed by who was then colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who defeated king Faruk I. In 1956, the Egyptian government nationalised the strategic Suez Channel, held by the British and the Americans up to that moment. Nasserism became the leadership of the struggle of the Arab peoples against imperialism and its main agent in the region, the State of Israel. However, as they were bourgeois nationalists, they did not expropriate the bourgeoisie and so maintained the capitalist exploitation and the ever-greater poverty of the Egyptian people.
A short time after Nasser’s death (1970), Anwar Sadat, swerved abruptly and capitulated completely to imperialism. In 1979, he signed the Camp Davis agreement with Israel recognising that state and he gave up any struggle against it. This agreement marked the end of the relatively progressive role played in the past by Arab secular nationalism when they confronted imperialism.
Sadat was murdered in 1981. During a long dictatorship, his successor, Hosni Mubarak, worsened this swerve and turned Egypt into an essential part of the American imperialism’s policy for the region, supporting the State of Israel and attacking the Palestinian people. A few years ago, this was expressed in the blockade of the frontier between Gaza Strip and the peninsula of Sinai. In this way, Egypt is, together with Jordan, the infamous part of the “Arab pincer” helping Israel to strangle the struggle of the Palestinian people.
In consideration of this service, Egypt receives $2 000 million a year as “military aid” from the USA (the greatest amount after Israel’s) which allows them to keep a well equipped army.
The reasons to fight
In a country where 2/3 of the population is under 30 years old and suffering a high rate of unemployed, the protagonist role of youth in the rebellion is an outstanding feature. The constant worsening of the living standards of the toiling masses was the background against which the fire started. Egypt is a semi-colony ransacked by imperialism. Most of the share that still stays in the country is grabbed by the oligarchy related to the regime and the military top-notches. For example, it has been estimated that the Mubarak family had accumulated a fortune of several million-million dollars. The situation the situation of impoverishment of the toiling masses became more acute with the international economic crisis that made unemployment soar as high as the cost of living, especially of food. The struggle against this situation had started before: Egypt was one of the countries where the “famine revolt” took place in March 2008, under the leadership of the textile workers of Mahalla, in the region of Upper Nile Delta.
The current riots began in response to the summons issued by the organisation 6th April Movement, whose first actions in the 2008 was support for the El-Mahala strike of the workers of the textile industry (actually, 6 April was the day the strike broke out) and who, days after that, also issued a call to topple Mubarak. As an outcome of these summons, immense contingents of youth, sectors of middle class, workers, including some independent trade union organisations and small left organisations became part of the movement. Egyptian people walked out into the streets in order to pull down the dictatorship that has been oppressing them for decades and to demand democratic liberties. That is why the central demand of the demonstrators is what glues together all the other demands. The most often chanted demand are “Out with Mubarak” and “Mubarak, your plane is awaiting” (meaning exile) Egyptian people are fed-up with a dictatorship that starves them and represses the slightest protest and that is why it eliminated democratic liberties, persecuted. Jailed or forced to exile numerous opposing leaders and activists. Bur, faced with manipulations and “reforms” proposed by the government, the process advanced and it is no longer limited to repudiating the president. “We want to change the regime, not just the faces”, say the demonstrators (Clarin 1/2/2011)
The wrath of the masses was further spurred by Mubarak’s pro-imperialist policy, especially his role of in supporting Israel and the wall round the Palestinian territory in Gaza. This surfaced through the demand chanted at the demonstrations, “Hosni Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, you are both agents of the Americans.” Suleiman is the chief of the secret services and has recently been appointed vice-president by Mubarak.
The bourgeois opposition attempts to lead the transition concocted with the regime
The two political oppositions best known internationally, the Moslem Brotherhood (an old organisation of Islamic fundamentalist ideology) and the diplomat Mohamed El Baradei (former chairman of the International Agency of Atomic Energy) have recently joined the demonstration several days after they had started. Now they participate and try to lead them as part of the demonstrations so as to achieve political legitimacy , try to channel it all into political negotiation with the regime and so be able to represent the movement in future negotiations and government formulae.
According to press reports, a short time before the rebellion broke out , The Moslem Brotherhood was negotiating with the Mubarak regime to support the maneuver of the succession by his son, Gamal, in exchange for the legalisation of the organisation. Remember that the Moslem Brotherhood has always stood for establishing an Iran-like theocratic dictatorship even if now they proclaim the need to respect the will of the Egyptian people.
What the outlook is
This is a critical situation in the country. Mubarak cannot rule and the toiling masses have not yet managed to overthrow him: the popular rebellion has wounded the Mubarak regime while imperialism and bourgeois opposition are in quest for a solution that would allow Egypt to play the same role it has had so far. Mubarak, on the other hand – while preparing a possible exit from the country (his family has already settled in a luxurious house in London) manipulates to see if he can stay on in power and so wield the key to a partial and controlled transition.
The masses listened to his address on TV when he simply announced that he would not run for presidency in September and they responded in full mobilisation and challenging the curfew making it clear that they were not going to have him in the office any longer. Such was the strength of the mobilisation that the bourgeois opposition had to say that they would negotiate with the government only if Mubarak is out and now it will depend on the masses if the entire Mubarak regime is swept away and if the can advance towards changing the system to benefit the toiling masses. Only the seizure of power by the workers can be a guarantee that real measures against poverty and unemployment will be taken, that there will be a split with imperialism and its outpost in this region: the State of Israel.
Imperialism is determined to maintain their influence no matter what
American and European imperialisms have given full support to the Mubarak regime throughout the three decades of dictatorship. It would be their will to keep on with the regime just as it is, but the rebellion of the toiling masses has made it possible only if the repression becomes much more relentless even at the cost of thousands of fatal casualties, which is what the Zionists demand. This alternative, however, is considered as of high risk due to the possible reaction of the people and a split in the armed forces. However we cannot discard the possibility of Mubarak ordering precisely this repression.
With this in mind, the Obama administration is taking various alternatives into consideration. According to press reports, one option would be centred round the appointment of Omar Suleiman (former boss of the espionage and very much respected in the army) as vice president. This plan would include a negotiated withdrawal of Mubarak, the assumption of Suleiman as president so as to decompress the situation and try to save the essence of the regime. That means: keep the army untouched. The statements made by Hilary Clinton requesting “changes” and the those of the military HQ saying that popular demands were “legitimate” seem to go along the same path Mohamed El Baradei is also likely to become an alternative supported by imperialism, postulating himself as the head or a part of a new government and trying “to lessen the losses” of imperialism.
The proposal of the Moslem Brothers placing their trust in General Samir Enan (CO of the Army) whom they support because of his good relations with the USA is evidence of the way this organisation is ready to agree with the regime and be part of the transition. Imperialism is ready to coexist with fundamentalism as long as they accept their international status quo. This is what happened with the Islamic administration of Turkey, who left their country in the NATO and in the service of imperialism.
Many elements of crisis in the army
Be it as it may, the course the central institution of the regime, the army will take is a key issue. Their HQ defends and is part of the great economic groups. But at the same time, functioning as it does on the bases of military service, its grassroots have strong connections with the toiling masses. This spawns enormous contradiction when it comes to repressing and that could be seen in the budding co fraternisation between the troops and the demonstrators. Furthermore, officers and non-commissioned officers of the armoured divisions have so far been tolerant with demonstrations, but we must not forget that so far there has been no direct order to repress no matter what. This is a problem for imperialism and Egyptian bourgeoisie and also a warning that an order to repress relentlessly – opening the possibility of thousands of fatal casualties – may cause a split. At present the army is quite a prestigious institution and seems to be a key for a negotiated solution for the revolution underway. But if the toiling masses advance, they will have to confront this army for being an army in a bourgeois state, it is in the service of serving the property and the regime of exploitation.
We call on the Egyptian masses not to trust the army as an institution. It is the same army that has, for decades, been the foothold of the Mubarak dictatorship and the HQ of which got very rich by making the toiling masses go hungry. The way to cope with this is by developing further co fraternisation between the demonstrators and the troops and so achieve a class division inside the army between the popular grassroots and the bourgeois top-notches while developing our own organisations of self-defence that will make it possible to confront repression. For example, faced with attacks by the police – carried out with the consent of the army – against the demonstrators at the Tahrir Square, it is necessary for the demonstrators to get organised to prevent and repel repression.
Who will govern and what for
It is necessary to boost independent self-organisation of the workers and the youth (up to a great extent unemployed and with not future to look forward to). It is necessary to develop committees of self defence of popular neighbourhoods that are already cropping up and to connect them to the independent trade union organisations and to organisations of the young people who are mobilising so that they can become organisms of revolutionary power.
Today power is in dispute in Egypt and that will have to be decided in a question of days. Either the Mubarak regime manages to defeat the massive mobilisation and stay in power or the toiling masses will topple him in a revolutionary manner. If the latter happens, the bourgeois opposition will try and occupy the space. We must prevent them from stealing our victory. The 6th April organisation, together with all the organisations of young workers should summon urgently to a meeting of the toiling masses in order to discuss a programme in the service of the people and seize power into their own hands to put that programme into practice.
This revolution is not only against the current regime; it affects the dominating imperialism directly and objectively. It is a struggle against capitalism that has dragged them to poverty. Those serious problems that Egyptian people are suffering can only find a thorough solution through a proletarian and socialist revolution.
Let us pose a socialist programme for Egyptian and Arab revolution
We call to keep up the struggle for
Out with Mubarak and his dictatorial regime NOW! No to the manipulations and pacts for a transition that will not break with imperialism and Israel.
For full democratic liberties: freedom of press, of communication, of political organisation, full trade union freedom for all workers. That includes freedom to go on strike!
Immediate dismantling of the repressive apparatus pf the dictatorship. Trial and punishment for all the repressors! Immediate freedom for all the political prisoners!
Immediate free elections! Sovereign plenipotentiary Constituent Assembly!
For immediate increase of salaries and wages in relation to the cost of family food basket!
For an emergency economic plan to guarantee jobs for all and the expropriation of the banks, the multinationals and the great concerns!
Out with the American imperialism and Israel! Immediate opening of the frontier with the Gaza Strip!
For a proletarian and popular government to guarantee all these demands. The Arab revolution is spreading to several countries now. In order to sweep away imperialism and Israel in the region it is necessary draw all the struggles together and so recover the unity of the Arab nation with view to future construction of a Federation of Socialist Arab Republic.
Let us carry out a great international campaign
We are summoning for a great campaign for solidarity and support for the struggle of the people of Egypt and the entire Arab world. It is very important to hold great demonstrations all over the world, especially in the great imperialist centres where there are great numbers of working Arab and Moslem immigrants suffering the ravage produced by the great economic crisis that the bourgeoisies and imperialism unleashed and now want the toiling masses to pay for.