Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt

Parti de Gauche on Egypt.

with one comment

 

Parti de Gauche  (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) Condemns Repression in Egypt.

COMMUNIQUÉ

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 This repression has been condemned internationally, notably by Equator, which has withdrawn its Cairo ambassador.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.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Egypt: Down With Military Rule – Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste.

leave a comment »

69287724_69287723.jpg

«A BAS LA DOMINATION MILITAIRE! A BAS AL-SISSI, DIRIGEANT DE LA CONTRE-RÉVOLUTION!» DÉCLARATION DES RÉVOLUTIONNAIRES SOCIALISTES D’EGYPTE (14 AOÛT 2013)

From the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste site (originally from A l’econtre, Switzerland)

Extracts (adapted),

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

 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2013 at 11:21 am

Gilbert Achcar: Warnings on the ‘long-term’ Revolutionary Process in the Arab World.

with 2 comments

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.

More here.

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. 

See also,

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

Written by Andrew Coates

August 11, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Understanding Egyptian Politics.

with one comment

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’.

Extract,

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 and GIUSEPPE ACCONCIA 29 July 2013

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 democracy
by 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.

For those who read French this is important,  L’armée, les urnes, la rue par Serge Halimi, août 2013.

Tendance Coatesy’s own analysis, Arab Spring, Islamist Winter (December 2001)

Written by Andrew Coates

July 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

Socialist Action Tries to use Jean-Luc Mélenchon to Back its ‘Line’ On Egypt.

with 4 comments

The British groupuscule Socialist Action tries today to use in its  Jean-Luc Mélenchon to back its view on Egypt.

Which is that the mass movement against the Muslim Brotherhood presidency was some kind of ‘plot’ (name your instigators but I think was can guess them).

This is what said, Jean-Luc Mélenchon said, after some “careful commentary (brève remarque de prudence)

Du coup je veux dire amicalement à tous ceux qui ont salué l’action des militaires qu’ils se trompent à mon avis lourdement. En premier lieu parce que c’est mettre le doigt dans un engrenage toujours perdant que de compter sur des coups de force militaire pour faire prévaloir la démocratie ou « la volonté générale ». Faire de l’armée l’arbitre de ce qui est bon ou mauvais et même l’instrument de ce que veut le peuple est une vue de l’esprit très dangereuse. Pour ma part j’y suis absolument et totalement hostile. Je m’empresse de préciser que ma condamnation vaut dans tous les cas. Je veux dire que les « coups d’Etat de gauche », s’il devait y en avoir, ne valent pas mieux à mes yeux que les coups d’Etat de droite.

Pour moi le coup d’Etat de l’armée contre le président élu Morsi est un coup d’Etat de droite. Non que Morsi ait été si peu que ce soit de gauche : il était tout le contraire. Mais parce que l’armée, en intervenant, a retiré au peuple la gestion de la victoire qu’il était en train d’emporter par sa seule action.

C’est pourquoi on doit s’attendre à de nouveaux rebondissements de l’action populaire. L’armée n’est pas là pour autre chose que pour contrôler la situation que l’action populaire veut contrôler elle aussi. Comme il n’y a pas de sortie de l’impasse sans de profondes et radicales transformations de la société égyptienne, les masses que l’on a vu surgir déjà deux fois ne se contenteront de l’idée d’être débarrassées de l’équipe Morsi. Il va falloir répondre aux exigences de démocratie, et aux demandes sociales qui sont le moteur de l’action populaire. L’idée que l’armée puisse s’en charger est une pure vue de l’esprit et la source de terribles confusions pour le futur.

Which is  (my translation),

I wish to say firstly, in a  friendly way,  to all those who welcomed the military action,that they are wrong.

Firstly because relying on military coups to promote democracy or the “general will” leads to a political spiral beyond control. Making the army the referee of what is good or bad or even consdiering them an ‘instrument’ of the will of the  of the people is very dangerous.

For my part I am absolutely and totally hostile to this action. I hasten to add that I condemn coups in all circumstances. That is I am against “coups from the ‘left”  as much as I am against coups from the right.  For me, the army coup against the elected President Morsi is from the right.

Not that Morsi was  in the slightest bit on the left,  just the opposite.

But because the army removed the people from the political control of their own victory.

That is why we should expect new twists to the popular action. The army is not there for anything other than to supervise  the situation and control  popular action.

There is no way out from this dead-end without deep and radical changes in Egyptian society. The masses that we have already seen the political  emergence politically twice will surge again onto the scene. We’ll have to meet the social and democratic demands  that are the engine of the popular action.

The idea that the military can take charge is a pure figment of the imagination and will be the source of terrible confusion in the future.

Socialist Action have the grace to recognise that Jean-Luc Mélenchon  was sympathetic to the mass movement in Egypt.

They then go to say,

In our view the mass movement was already hopelessly politically compromised in support for the army, the Mubarakists and other right-wing and pro-imperialist forces by the time of the 30th June mobilisations – which were organised and encouraged by all the forces of the pre-2011 state. The call for the overthrow of Morsi could only lead to an anti-democratic and retrogressive outcome when no more left or progressive political force had hegemony – and indeed were small and mainly compromised minorities – in the demonstrations.

So the mass movement was anti-democratic.

That Morsi was in some obscure sense a fine fellow is obviously behind this ‘line’.

I think that is not what  Mélenchon said.

To say the least.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 12, 2013 at 3:35 pm

The Algerian Civil War and Egypt.

with one comment

Algerian Amy Does not Like Islamists.

There is a lot of comment comparing  the Algerian civil war, the  décennie noire (« guerre civile algérienne », « décennie du terrorisme », « années de braise ») with what’s happening in Egypt now.

According to the normally reliable Wikipedia, this began in 1991.

Total casualties have yet to be accurately counted but it is estimated to have cost somewhere between 44,000 and 200,000 lives, in a population of about 25,010,000 in 1990 and 31,193,917 in 2000.

No it did not begin in 1991.

I began when the Islamists began assailing and killing feminists, intellectuals, trade unionists and leftists in the late 1980s.

They assaulted unveiled women and tried to suppress ‘vice’ (drinking, immodest behaviour  and homosexuality).

It is said that they murdered the entire Algier’s section of the LCR. 

The whole process is shown in the film Bab El-Oued City (1994).

Our kith and kin, vigorously protested against the Front Islamique du Salut which was behind these attacks.

Huge demos were held in Algiers before the coup against the Islamists.

So next time somebody tells a fairy story about the ‘military’  suppressing Islamism remember our beloved North African  comrades.

They  hate the Islamists with a venom.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 6, 2013 at 11:52 am

“I Will Survive” Version Mocks Muslim Brotherhood.

with 2 comments

 

At the risk of a visit of the Suffolk Police anxious to protect the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood…

 

Not an endorsement, but this cover by secular leftists of Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 “I will Survive,” with satirical Arabic lyrics (translated in subtitles) about the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis in Egypt since the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak gives a window into the grievances and disappointments of the youth who made the January 25, 2011 revolution.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square today, Friday, demanding that Muslim Brotherhood leader and Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi call early presidential elections. The ‘Rebel’ campaign is supported by a group of leftist and liberal parties.

From here.(17/5.13)

Written by Andrew Coates

May 19, 2013 at 10:32 am