No stop for revolution in Egypt
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 18:14

The Square says Junta must go

The war cry of the hundreds of thousands of Egyptians is: Complete the revolution!

Cairo, Alexandria, Suez see the heat of the struggle of a people that defends its achievements with tooth and nail and fights to make headway towards total liberation. This is so as none of the fundamental problems of the Egyptian toiling masses has been solved: unemployment as well as material conditions of living are still in a dramatic and unbearable state.

Since last November 18th, the emblematic Tahrir Square has been the protagonist of massive demonstrations demanding the ousting of the Military Junta that replaced the dictator Hosni Mubarak last February 11th, after heroic 18 days of intense protests. This new wave of demonstrations broke out when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as the Military Junta was dubbed, published a chart of principles for the new constitution, where they pretend to grant unlimited powers to the military.

At the beginning, it was the Moslem Brotherhood who summoned for the protests, which soon accrued in numbers (hundreds of thousands of people swarmed out into the streets of various cities) and in radicalisation. At the moment we were writing these lines, the total of mortal casualties was estimated at 38, and over two thousand injured. The situation is so red-hot that popular pressure forced the provisional government, nominated directly by the Junta and headed directly by the now former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to resign.

The youth and the toiling masses, however, did not stop there. The Square got fed-up with manipulations and lies. The Square lost all patience and trust in truces. The Square wishes to get rid of the military Junta in the same way they had swept away the pro-imperialist tyrant, Mubarak.

The masses against the political plan of “transition” of the Junta

Egyptians are showing in the best possible way: in the streets, that they will have nothing to do with the political project of “transition” proposed by the military.

Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantaui, who had been Mubarak’s minister of defence for 20 years and is now the head of the Junta, had promised to stay in power for only 6 months, until the elections of a constituent parliament and of a new government stemming out of the elections. However, the parliamentary elections were not summoned for September and not until 28 November and subject to a confusing and antidemocratic system (an election by phases that is to last until January 2012). As to the date of the presidential elections, the militaries started talking about 2012 or even 2013, but, because of the demonstrations, they are now compelled to fix the date for next June.

From this point of view, it was the antidemocratic project of the militaries what triggered off the indignation of the masses. In the above mentioned chart, they established their intention of becoming “guarantors of the constitution” after the elections. This “constitutional protection” that the Junta is offering consists in denying political sovereignty to the future parliament. The chart poses that the members of the SCAF are to keep on acting as the “arbiters” using the power of the veto against any article they may not agree with and unrestrictedly free to define their own secret budget.

This seems to be why the masses are still fighting. The hatred and the awareness of being fed up with the military government have been increasing. This goes to prove that the revolution has made great headway since Mubarak’s fall, when there was an important degree of confidence in the army as an institution.

Nine months later we can see that political experience has been corroding this confidence. During this time, all that the Junta did or said they would do clashed against the aspirations of a people that is making it clear that they are not about to give up their revolution. In statements picked up by the newspaper El País, an Egyptian worker, named Osama says that the military government were “all a bunch of thieves, the same as the other ones.” And he carries on, “If a stranger came to govern I might trust him. But the army? I know them all. I want something better than that for my youngest son. Adel, a teacher says, “If they pretend to settle down they would better be prepared. People already know their way to Tahrir.”

Irritation accrued with the appointment of Kamal Ganzuri, former minister in the Mubarak administration, as head of the cabinet and that made the heat at the Square soar. Something similar happened when the spokesman for the Junta went to TV and, with absolute cynicism, apologised to the nation and asserted the summons to the elections for Monday 28th. But Egyptian people are fed up. They cannot believe any of the promises of the Junta.

From the IWL we unconditionally support the struggle of the Egyptian people to defeat the repressive, responsible for the impoverishment and pro-imperialist Junta. We determinedly expose the brutal repressions that this government launches against Egyptian youth and working class who are out in the streets to demand democratic rights and democratic guarantees. Consequently, we condemn all the attempts of betraying the struggle by means of pacts and negotiations that the Moslem Brotherhood and other sectors are carrying out with Tantaui’s Junta.

The intense, sublime and resolute struggle we can witness at the emblematic Tahrir Square is part and continuity of the entire revolutionary process that encloses North of Africa and the Middle East. The victory of the Egyptian people will be the triumph of the entire region. The victory of Egyptian toiling masses will be the victory for the world working class. 


We are publishing the part referred to Egypt of the document on revolution in the North of Africa and Middle East, voted on the X Congress of the IWL held between the 29th October and 5 November.  

Egypt, a revolution underway

The recently removed Egyptian regime has been in the office since the fall of king Faruk in 1952 when the free officers took over in the Egyptian state. Within this context, Nasser was a typical sui generis Bonapartist regime. He sought support from the masses when he challenged imperialism and led to important national achievements, such as the nationalisation of the Suez Channel. That is why even now he is remembered as a national hero and the Egyptian army still remembers Nasser’s struggle for independence. On the other hand, he had absolute control over political life and he repressed trade unions and communists alike while at the same time he co-opted many social leaders. It was a Bonapartist regime that repressed any attempt at independent organisation and where there were no democratic liberties for the opposition.

Even in Nasser’s later years one could observe a retreat in the nationalist postures and negotiations with imperialism aiming at returning to the old colonial status. But it was not Nasser who completed the swerve, but his successor, Anwar Sadat. This character signed a peace agreement with Israel and surrendered the struggle of the Palestinians, beginning to cooperate directly with the USA army and with Israel. The regime maintained inflexible censorship and repression within the dynamics of cooperation with imperialism. With Sadat, Egypt became a key part within the scheme of the imperialist order within the region. When Sadat was murdered, he was replaced by Mubarak, who was his vice and commanding office of the Egyptian Air Force and he continued being the pillar of the imperialist order and a warranty of the frontiers with Israel. This was an important victory of imperialism and of Israel that made it possible to rely on Egypt to watch over the frontier of Israel and cooperate with the repression of the Palestinians in Gaza while pressing the PLO to capitulate to the Zionist State.

Taking into consideration this historic bustle, the powerful revolution of the early 2011 achieved a tremendous success when Mubarak and a regime that was coming from 1950 were toppled in the early 2011.

The two criteria to define that a political regime has fallen even if the armed forces are formally still in power have been accomplished.

a-  There was a revolutionary crisis that became manifest through the existence of dual power expressed on the Tahrir Square and the Mubarak administration. This crisis became clear when Mubarak and imperialism defined a proposal of controlled opening with the continuity of the government until the September elections, something that was rejected at the Square with broadening mobilisation.

b-  There was a fundamental change in  Mubarak's regime, who used to govern supported by the armed forced and direct repression. The symbol of this change was the fact that the former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had to go to the Tahrir Square in quest of legitimacy.

That is why we believe that the previous regime fell and this requires a particular re-ordering of the demands inside the programme.

Originally, the fundamental demand was the fall of the dictatorship. Now, we must start aiming at workers’ government, which at first will have a propagandist form because the process is just beginning to bud.

Hinging round this political centre, we must build up a transitional programme including another democratic guideline. This guideline should include freedom for political prisoners, destruction of repressive apparatuses, punishment for torturers, no to constitutional reform, for a National Constituent Assembly, etc. These democratic demands are extremely important; they only change hierarchy in the current situation. The centre now is anti-imperialist, against Israel and for the opening of the frontier with Gaza, defence of working conditions of the workers, fighting for immediate increase of wages, end of military control and defence of workers’ control of workplaces, free trade unions, etc.

All these are to be crystallised in demands that constitute a real programme of action for the Egyptian. And our programme must be aimed against the present-day military government. It is very important for us to attack this weak point of the Egyptian revolution: the confidence that the masses still deposit in the armed forces. All these guidelines lead the workers and the youth to collide with the current military government. And we must patiently explain that the military are not arm-in-arm with the Egyptian people but with Israel, with USA and whatever is still left of the Mubarak regime.

The Egyptian case, as well as the recent Tunisian elections and the TNC plan for Libya to crystallise the elections prove that, also in this region, imperialism is still compelled to use the tactic of democratic reaction. As long as possible, they maintain the support from dictators, but they use democratic reaction to deviate and control revolutionary ascents when thing slip out of their control.

Contradictions of the revolution

However, the revolution spawned strong contradictions: the toiling masses confronted Mubarak and put an end to his rule but they still had expectations about the Egyptian army, the very same one that had been the support of the regime for over 50 years. The militaries managed to salvage some of their prestige in the eyes of the people because of the way the revolution developed, where they could appear as if they were “neutral” during the clash between the masses and Mubarak and anticipating the demand of Mubarak’s resignation.

The militaries created a government of their own that, in turn, reached an agreement with several pre-existing parties and with the Moslem Brotherhood for an ultra-limited reform of the Constitution. The referendum was promoted as a result of this agreement. The majority agreement to this reform expressed the contradiction between the revolution underway and the illusions bestowed on the new government and on the agreement with the opposition forces, such as the Moslem Brotherhood, that sustain this agreement.

This contradiction is an obstacle against the headway of the revolution and even more so with the passage of the Brotherhood to the camp of the new government. However, as the structural problems do not seem to dwindle, apart from the relation of structural dependence with the USA, the prospect of a confrontation of the military Junta that took over after the fall of Mubarak and the aspirations of the masses.

This expresses great mistrust of the mobilised youth in relation to the military junta administration. The latest confrontations between Israel and the Egyptian militaries at the borderline of Sinai where five Egyptian soldiers died after the attack of guerrilla groups on Israeli troops created a vanguard action at the Israeli Embassy that forced the Zionist ambassador to flee, to which the government reacted with very strong joint army and police repression. However, the pressure of the masses exists. It was no coincidence that the former Prime Minister Sharif was compelled to speak of “revising the peace treaty with Israel” after the clash and the invasion of the embassy.

There is a process of independent reorganisation underway in the trade unions and among students. Regardless all the confusions, it is a process that keeps on spreading among students as well as among workers. This process also tends to clash against the restrictions imposed by the government to strikes and trade union rights.

In Egypt there is an unconscious socialist and anti-imperialist revolution underway. As the revolution keeps on following its course, the process tends to become increasingly tending to confrontations between masses and the new government that insists on trying to repress mobilisation that go against exploitation and its structural relation of dependence on imperialism and its agreements with Zionism. The crossroads where they live must – as all the remaining revolution in the Arab world – lead to having to cope with the problem of independent organisation and the crisis of revolutionary leadership. 

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