Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’
Parti de Gauche (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) Condemns Repression in Egypt.
The Parti de Gauche condemns the Egyptian Army’s massive repression against civilian supporters of the deposed President, Mohammed Morsi on the 14th of August. The result of this blood bath has been – according to the latest totals – hundreds of deaths, including women and children. This repression has been condemned internationally, notably by Equator, which has withdrawn its Cairo ambassador. The decision to eliminate Morsi supporters, whether they are peaceful or not, will set Egypt on the path of a duel to the death between the army and Muslim brotherhood, supported, alternatively, by the Untied States, whose concern is to prevent the emergence of a force which will denounce the compromise – in place for the last thirty years – which secured their interests and those of Israel.
One would have to be naive not to recognise the Muslim Brotherhood’s will to pose as martyrs is in order to further their fundamentalist Islamist ideas. The PG denounces their use of confessional divisions which have inspired attacks on Coptic churches. The Egyptian army’s actions however, do not show a a visible force capable of guaranteeing public institutions and security. In declaring a state of emergency, and in accusing all forms of opposition of terrorism, its leaders intend to keep a large part of the means of production in their hands, and to preserve their own interests. Already, on the pretext of fighting “terrorism”, the public authorities broke a strike of workers at the Suez Steel Plant, and have arrested their leadership.
The present face-to-face confrontation between the military and the Islamists has nothing to do with the aspirations of the Egyptian revolutionaries, who rose up for freedom and social justice. This chaos is the result of decades of neo-liberal and authoritarian policies which have weakened the workers’ organisations and trade unions. But, far from the media’s attention, these bodies have continued to engage in everyday struggles, for social rights, and against all forms of dictatorship. The Parti de Gauche gives its supporter to these forces, as well as those able to bring to the fore these aspirations politically, notably through the organisation of free elections.
«A BAS LA DOMINATION MILITAIRE! A BAS AL-SISSI, DIRIGEANT DE LA CONTRE-RÉVOLUTION!» DÉCLARATION DES RÉVOLUTIONNAIRES SOCIALISTES D’EGYPTE (14 AOÛT 2013)
The army, more openly than ever, now has its hand on the levers of power of the country. This is what the Western powers fear.
The military is faced with at least three difficulties.
Firstly, to be able properly to control the security situation across the country – even if they will declare tomorrow that the police , in conditions of political polarisation (largely of their own creation), went “over the top”. This is paving the way for ‘confessional’ clashes. This direction has been already indicated by the attacks against the Copts at Sohag.
Next, after the failure of negotiations they will seek a “compromise” as their Western mentors demand. An attempt has already been made by Sheikh Al-Azhar who had tried to bring together – before August the 14th – the interim government, the military and Muslim Brotherhood The latter declined the invitation of a the Sheikh, somebody who had criticised their policies in government.
Finally, to meet the social and democratic demands of the people, even if a segment of the population seems to have presently given Sissi the mandate to exclude the Muslim Brotherhood.
To add to this is there is the trial of Morsi, which has been postponed for 15 days. Egyptian ”justice” has bright prospects, one might say. It has to settle a whole series of legal processes, (Mubarak and his family, as well as Morsi) … and, something everyone has forgotten, the charges against those who killed the martyrs of the revolution of 2011.
All the ‘western’ representatives will therefore insist that the government regains its ‘civil’ appearance. Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi, has committed himself, at around 20 o’clock this Aug. 14, to re-open the electoral process in early 2014.
John Kerry – U.S. Secretary of State, engaged in the interminable negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government (busy expanding its settlement programme, as is its tradition during such talks) has asked the army to organise elections. He has declared that the way the Muslim Brotherhood was “dispersed”was “regrettable”. He has no doubt reassured the Egyptian military and the police.. For now we will not dwell on other parts of the regional puzzle, as they appear difficult to put together. This is not the case, no doubt, for the experts in ”anti-imperialism”, who live in a world where everything is controlled by “conspiracies” hatched in the White House. In this case nobody seems able to control the mechanics of the “plot”.
(Udry CA, August 14, 2013, 21 hours)
The NPA publish this article with this (which I take from the Links site):
Egypt: Revolutionary Socialists on the latest massacre in Cairo
Down with military rule! Down with Al-Sisi, the leader of the counter-revolution!
Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists, Egypt
August 14, 2013 — The bloody dissolution of the sit-ins in Al-Nahda Square and Raba’a al-Adawiyya is nothing but a massacre—prepared in advance. It aims to liquidate the Muslim Brotherhood. But, it is also part of a plan to liquidate the Egyptian Revolution and restore the military-police state of the Mubarak regime.
The Revolutionary Socialists did not defend the regime of Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood for a single day. We were always in the front ranks of the opposition to that criminal, failed regime which betrayed the goals of the Egyptian Revolution. It even protected the pillars of the Mubarak regime and its security apparatus, armed forces and corrupt businessmen. We strongly participated in the revolutionary wave of 30 June.
Neither did we defend for a single day the sit-ins by the Brotherhood and their attempts to return Mursi to power.
But we have to put the events of today in their context, which is the use of the military to smash up workers’ strikes. We also see the appointment of new provincial governors—largely drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime, the police and military generals. Then there are the policies of General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi’s government. It has adopted a road-map clearly hostile to the goals and demands of the Egyptian revolution, which are freedom, dignity and social justice.
This is the context for the brutal massacre which the army and police are committing. It is a bloody dress rehearsal for the liquidation of the Egyptian Revolution. It aims to break the revolutionary will of all Egyptians who are claiming their rights, whether workers, poor, or revolutionary youth, by creating a state of terror.
However, the reaction by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in attacking Christians and their churches, is a sectarian crime which only serves the forces of counter-revolution. The filthy attempt to create a civil war, in which Egyptian Christians will fall victims to the reactionary Muslim Brotherhood, is one in which Mubarak’s state and Al-Sisi are complicit, who have never for a single day defended the Copts and their churches.
We stand firmly against Al-Sisi’s massacres, and against his ugly attempt to abort the Egyptian Revolution. For today’s massacre is the first step in the road towards counter-revolution. We stand with the same firmness against all assaults on Egypt’s Christians and against the sectarian campaign which only serves the interests of Al-Sisi and his bloody project.
Many who described themselves as liberals and leftists have betrayed the Egyptian Revolution, led by those who took part in Al-Sisi’s government. They have sold the blood of the martyrs to whitewash the military and the counter-revolution. These people have blood on their hands.
We, the Revolutionary Socialists, will never deviate for an instant from the path of the Egyptian Revolution. We will never compromise on the rights of the revolutionary martyrs and their pure blood: those who fell confronting Mubarak, those who fell confronting the Military Council, those who fell confronting Mursi’s regime, and those who fall now confronting Al-Sisi and his dogs.
Down with military rule!
No the return of the old regime!
No to the return of the Brotherhood!
All power and wealth to the people
Gilbert Achcar: “Social-imperialist” says Weekly Worker.
This very recent interview with Gilbert Achcar (which I cannot find in English) is extremely important.
From Gauche Anticapitaliste (Extracts).
The revolutionary process in the Arab region continues to surprise the media. How do you analyse the recent events in Egypt and Tunisia?
While there are qualitative changes that have taken place, but the fact that there are twists and turns in the process is not surprising. We must understand that what began in late 2010-early 2011 is a revolutionary long-term development. The idea that the electoral victories of the forces of Islamism (intégrisme islamique) in Tunisia and Egypt would close down the changes under way proved completely wrong.
These forces were doomed to failure since, they, like the regimes they replaced, had no response to the serious social and economic problems that caused the uprisings. They are a continuation of neo-liberal policies and therefore can not solve these problems which have only got worse.
The revolutionary process can take surprising forms, but we will continue to pass from upheaval to upheaval in the region as a whole, before the situation stabilises. This, would require, according to a positive hypothesis, a profound change in the social nature of the region’s governments and their move towards policies based on the interests of working people .
How do you see the battle going on today in Egypt?
In Egypt today, we must distinguish two levels: the manoeuvres and conflicts between those concerned with political power, and the underlying wave of popular discontent. The second has been unleashed, but like the the unrest of 2011, has ended in a military intervention.
Mubarak, had already been dismissed in February 2011 by the military, which then placed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces at the top of the executive. This time, they kept their distance from a repetition of the past operations, having burnt their fingers trying to govern the country in a state of upheaval. This is because any government carrying out neo-liberal policies is bound to wear itself out rapidly. But while civilians have been appointed to head the executive one can not hide the fact that it is the army that has the power.
However, it is a very right-wing view of democracy to adopt the the argument that the army intervened against a democratically elected government. That is to say that elected officials have carte blanche to do whatever they want for the term of office, even if they blatantly betray the expectations of their constituents. A radical conception of democracy involves the right to recall elected representatives.
It is this form that the movement took in Egypt with the petition calling for Morsi to go and for new elections to be held. The youth movement “Tamarrod” (Rebellion), gathered in a few months an impressive number of signatures for their petition calling for this, a much higher total than the number of votes Morsi obtained in his election to the presidency. From this point of view, his dismissal was entirely legitimate.
By contrast the big problem is that rather than organising the broad movement to overthrow Morsi by means of mass struggle – a general strike, civil disobedience – we saw the opposition leaders, both liberal and left agree with the military and applaud the coup. This action’s ultimate logic is to capture the potential for popular mobilization and impose a return to hard-line ‘order’, which has been confirmed by the actions of the military. This is extremely serious. In this respect there is a strategic gap on the majority of Egyptian left. The army’s image has been restored, and the commander in chief of the army (Al-Sissi) has been covered with praise.
Al-Sissi is the strong man of the new ‘ancien regime’. Although only Defence Minister, he allowed himself to call on the people to demonstrate in support of the army – completely ignoring the new government.
Today, even the youth of Tamarrod have begin to worry – rather late. They have fallen into a trap of their own making. The coup has allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to rejuvenate , posing as martyrs, and the victims of a military coup. They reconsolidated their social base, albeit minority – it is now clear – but important. The military action has polished their image anew.
The position of the Islamist movements who occupied the place of the old regimes in Tunisia and Egypt has quickly deteriorated , but the weakness of the left is now equally a big problem …
Apart from the revolutionary left that remains marginal in Egypt, most of the left have put their forces behind the National Salvation Front . Most of those who originate in the traditional Communist movement and those from the Nasserist current, which remains the left with the most influence on the people at large, have participated in the process of mystifying the role of the army. This is all the more unfortunate in that these forces were in the streets against the army in the months leading up to the election of Morsi!
Hamdeen Sabahi, the Nasserist leader, explained a few days before June 30, that it had been a mistake to have shouted a year earlier “Down with the military government,”. In this respect he drew the wrong lessons from history. This is a real error, to repent and to say now that we should be applauding the army.
What do you think of Tunisian plans to end the power of Ennahdha?
Unfortunately, there is a risk that Tunisia will develop into a similar scenario to Egypt: a left that does not have the political insight to fight on a left-wing agenda, and is preparing to build alliances even with the parts of the former regime. These links are present in Nidaa Tounès ["Call of Tunisia" - an initiative launched by Beji Caid Essebi, former Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs under Habib Bourguiba, a lawyer specializing in arbitration cases - become party recognized and authorised in July 2012]. Such an approach ultimately benefits the Islamist forces who have a golden opportunity to denounce the agreements of the left with remnants of the former regime. This allows the Muslim Brotherhood or Ennahdha to pose as bearers of the legitimacy and continuity of the revolution.
There is a problem of political representation of the working classes in the revolution?
Yes,. The problem is that instead of trying to win hegemony in the mass movement – fighting primarily on social issues- which would unite against it supporters of neo-liberalism ranging from fundamentalists to men of the old regime and even the Liberals, the Tunisian left has made a short-sighted alliance with sections of the old regime.
In a country like Tunisia, in my opinion, the trade union Federation, the UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers) is a socially hegemonic force and can easily become the politically dominant one. But a wall is erected between union struggles and the political.Tunisia’s left now heads the UGTT. But rather than launch the union federation into the political battle, with a strategy of forming a workers’ government, this left seems to be moving towards alliances – against its own interests – between its different political groups organised in the Front Populaire, on the one hand, and the Liberals and the remnants of the former regime, on the other.
Interview with Gilbert Achcar, led by Jacques Babel. Interviewed Monday, July 29 by Jacques Babel. Published on Alencontre.org
Achcar’s political conclusion can be summarised simply,
The left must assert a third, independent, way, against the old regimes and against the Islamists (Intégristes), to satisfy the social demands of those who who created these uprisings.
How far the Arab left is in a position to do this, is, one may say, quite a question.
The neoliberal policy of Egypt’s new president Mohamed Morsi looks very much like a continuation of that of Mubarak. It is increasing social tensions.
by Gilbert Achcar
What should the left think about the Egyptian Crisis?
Here are some useful contributions from Arab Awakening.
It is essential to read the whole articles but these are some extracts.
Egypt’s long revolution: knowing your enemy
SAMEH NAGUIB and ROSEMARY BECHLER 29 July 2013
Sameh Naguib is a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt, in London to speak about ‘Egypt, the Arab Spring and revolution today’ and to research a book he is writing on the Egyptian revolution whose title he thinks may be, ‘Egypt: the Long Revolution’.
N: Well, the 30th June was a very complicated day. It confuses everybody all over the world; in Egypt and outside of Egypt, because what you have is two processes happening at the same time. You have on the one hand what is clearly a revolutionary wave involving millions and millions of the Egyptian people. On the other hand, the army and the old regime have used that unprecedented upsurge to get themselves back in the saddle and to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood.
So, formally-speaking it is undeniable that you have a coup. Obviously. The military removed the president, who we haven’t seen or heard of since that day. He was the elected president. He was democratically elected, so this is by definition a coup.
But at the same time, you have this massive outburst, even bigger than the 2011 uprising, that is unprecedented. It’s much more geographically widespread, and occurs at the peak of the biggest strike wave we have ever had in Egypt. In the months preceding the 30th June – you may not know this – we had the highest level of strikes anywhere in the world and not just in Egyptian history – a rate of approximately 500 strikes a week, that’s the average.
But to answer your question, the coup, in order to legitimate itself both within Egypt and outside – particularly for the west which is important – has a kind of liberal front. So, all these people who have very good democratic credentials, like El Baradei, have been placed at the forefront as if there were an actual democratic process taking place. And importantly those people, and the financiers behind them, control the media in Egypt. They have big private media at their service, controlled by the billionaires who are supporting these two parties.
Egypt’s new interim government is not a leftist coalition
Joel Beinin: To be sure the army is aware that with this economic crisis, with rising prices and the fall in the import of wheat, the Egyptian people’s social rights have to be addressed. I would not say that the new government looks likely to follow this path. The prime minister Hazim Beblawi is a man of the centre and his government arises out of an agreement between the youth movements, the liberal party al-Dostour, led by Mohammed el-Baradei, and the Nasserists, supporting Hamdin Sabbahi: it is not a leftist coalition.
GA: In terms of political direction, what does the Minister of Manpower, Kamal Abu Eita, president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, lend the government?
JB: Eita is a Nasserist, not a socialist. It is enough to read his first commentary after the offer: “Workers should become the heroes of production”. According to the Nasserists, strikes should never take place: the national economy must ameliorate to the point that all salaried workers can live properly. For this reason, Eita has been criticized by the left, for instance by Fatma Ramada, representative of the Independent Syndicates’ board, who harshly opposed his appointment.
GA: Have the Muslim Brothers lost their support among the Egyptian workers?
JB: They never had any such support. The workers in the industrial sectors showed their clear opposition towards the Brotherhood; for instance, by rejecting the Constitution in the Nile Delta region and Cairo, the biggest industrial areas of the country.
A: During this year, did the many leftist parties that supported the rebel campaign swell their ranks before the 3 July military coup?
JB: The true leftist parties, such as the Revolutionary Socialist party, do not have a significant constituency. They are not able to mobilize the workers. They had some political space before and after Mubarak: but the economic crisis alienated their support in the workers movement. The Tamarrod (rebels) always described itself as a big coalition. Among the signatures collected, a fifth come from the left. But this component is rather lost in nationalist discourses. The campaign which led to Morsi’s fall speaks to and for the nation, without expressing the demands of any one class.
Le Monde Diplomatique is an important source of information and analysis.
The Muslim Brotherhood proved vulnerable in power both to its old secretive culture and a new popular awareness of its inaptitude for government. But it has to be included in any pluralist attempt to restore democracyby Alain Gresh
There may be surprise that an army source said 14 million Egyptians (some sources claimed as many as 33 million) demonstrated on 30 June, and that the army supplied the media with photos taken from military planes to back the claim (1). Or that interior ministry officials claimed the demonstrations were the biggest Egypt has ever seen. There may be scepticism over the 15 (or possibly 22) million signatures collected by the Tamarod (“rebellion”) movement for a petition demanding the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi; and over the claim by an “Egyptian philosopher” that the signatures were “recounted by the Supreme Constitutional Court” (2).
Whatever the exaggerations, the demonstrations were the biggest since January/February 2011. Egyptians gathered to repeat their demands for dignity, liberty and social justice, and to reject the policies of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.