The new tasks of the Egyptian revolution

Statement by the International Worker’s Unity-Fourth International (UIT-CI)

The fall of the dictator Mubarak is a great triumph of the revolutionary mobilization of the Egyptian people, Egyptian youth and workers. For 18 days, the people of Egypt participated in a popular uprising by mobilizing throughout the country and occupying Liberation Square in Cairo. Millions of people celebrated this victory in Egypt and around the world .

The Egyptian working class has entered full force with a wave of strikes.The Egyptian people’s struggle continues to prevent the military and both bourgeois and Islamic opposition to abort the revolutionary process that has been opened and to achieve real  political and social change .

Egypt showed the power of the mobilized masses

The Egyptian revolution has given a great example to the people of the world, as the Tunisian revolution did before by toppling another dictator. In Egypt, it was demonstrated that the mobilized masses have the power to win victories that seemed impossible before.

For weeks, the masses managed to defeat the police; the masses paralyzed one of the largest armies in the world. Meanwhile, Mubarak ordered the army out into the streets to impose a curfew that was never fulfilled. The soldiers driving tanks ended up fraternizing with the people. Moreover, the top army commanders were paralyzed and could not give orders to repress the people.

People’s mobilization defeated Mubarak’s fascist gangs who tried to confront the population gathered in Liberation Square. Then the regime tried to tire out the mobilization but that did not work. Mubarak made a last attempt to hold on to power and made a speech where he announced he would stay in power and all it did was to increase the movement against him. The next day, Mubarak fled  Cairo. And the revolution triumphed. In recent days the working class involvement in the struggle was decisive to tilt the balance of forces. Thousands of workers went on strike throughout the country. Even Suez Canal workers went on strike.

The fall of Mubarak is a huge political defeat for US imperialism

Mubarak and his regime were essential components of U.S imperialist policy in the Middle East that sustained the Zionist state of Israel which seeks to subject the Palestinian people and their heroic resistance. Egypt is the largest country in the Arab world with a population of 80 million people and along with Jordan, they are the only two Arab countries that recognize Israel. Mubarak, as an agent of U.S. imperialism was so committed, that in his collaboration with Israel, he sustained a blockade on the border of the Gaza Strip in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian struggle.

That is why Obama, European imperialism and Israel tried all possible ways to keep Mubarak in power and that, at least prevent the masses from overthrowing him. Thus, the imperial powers sought to mount a “transition” by making a pact with the bourgeois opposition to the regime, that is El Baradei and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, all these efforts failed.

The fall of Mubarak means another heavy defeat for U.S. imperialism in the region and its ally Israel. This will deepen the political  and military crisis facing U.S. imperialism since the military defeat suffered in Iraq with the failure of the invasion.

Many governments around the world did not show open support to the Egyptian people. In fact, some governments remained silent by not making any pronouncements on the revolution. Among these were the supposedly  “anti-imperialist” governments of Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia and the governments of Iran and the PLO. Even Hamas banned marches in solidarity with the Egyptian people organized by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. Just after Mubarak ‘s flight, these governments and leaders came out to “greet” the Egyptian people.

The immense success of the Egyptian people, added to that of Tunisia, weakens imperialism and  impacts all the Arab countries of the region who face other dictatorial pro-imperialist regimes .Thus, demonstrations in Yemen, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain and Iraq are on the rise.The possibility of new revolutionary victories of the Arab people remains open. All this promotes the Palestinian cause and deepens the weakness facing U.S. imperialism.

A democratic revolution has triumphed―the struggle continues

Egypt’s democratic revolution has triumphed and workers, the youth and the Egyptian people have toppled a dictatorship. The fact that the military is in charge of government does not mean that a revolution has not triumphed.This is a first major triumph. For now,the lack  of a revolutionary leadership has prevented the revolution to end up with workers and  people’s power .

Looking at the military composition of the new government one might think that nothing has changed and that the dictatorship continues. However, that is not the case.

The mobilized masses cracked the dictatorship. The Supreme Council, while commanding an army, is very weak. The military, under pressure from the revolutionary movement, have had to cede some of the democratic demands of the revolution. In fact, the military dissolved parliament,suspended the Constitution of the former dictatorship and ratified that the military will stay in power for only 6 months and that elections will be celebrated in September.

The military could not defeat the mobilization and, least of all, launch a counter-coup.The Armed Forces had no other choice but to take over the government with the support of U.S. imperialism and the bourgeois and Islamic opposition and to prevent that the revolution deepened with a possible military division–with a section of the soldiers and low ranking officers joining the people with their weapons.

From now on, the military government can not be supported and the Egyptian people cannot put their trust in them as did the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal politician Baradei.This is a pro-imperialist capitalist government and therefore an enemy of the workers and the people.

Workers and the Egyptian people have planned further mobilizations to impose their democratic, social and political demands.

The new tasks of the Egyptian revolution and the struggle for power by the workers and the people

The contradiction of the Egyptian revolution lays in the fact that, although it was the masses, the youth (with their April 6 Movement), the popular sectors and the workers which toppled Mubarak,the military is in power with the support of imperialism and the bourgeois and Islamic opposition.

In Egypt, a powerful revolution has triumphed that in its early stages has achieved fundamental democratic gains such as pushing Mubarak out and ending his dictatorial regime as well as winning freedom to mobilize and organize. However, the revolution is still on and the masses aspire to much more including massive job creation, living wages, union and greater political freedoms, national sovereignty and so on. All these aspirations are in contradiction with imperialist policies, the leadership of the army and both bourgeois and Islamic opposition who are pretending and making the best effort to ensure that the revolution does not extend beyond the democratic demands and that way, the revolution will not move towards a working class and socialist perspective.

The Egyptian people did not only demand to seek democratic freedoms, but they also mobilized against mass unemployment and starvation wages in private enterprises, banks and public sector jobs.These social ills are caused by the financial domination of the multinationals associated with the local bourgeoisie and corrupt rulers at their service. To solve that, it is necessary to expropiate the multinational companies, the property of the rulers and the property owned by military and their families; who represent most of the local bourgeoisie. In other words, it is necessary to take anti-capitalist and socialist measures to meet social justice demands.

For revolutionary socialists, the revolutionary process must continue because now more than ever, it is on the agenda that the remaining  democratic, anti-imperialist and anticapitalist tasks can only reach its end with a government of the workers and the people formed by those from the 6th of April Movement and trade unions and popular organizations which played a role in overthrowing Mubarak.

For now, the people have withdrawn from the Plaza but they are still on alert. Right now the workers are going out in full force with their demands. We must demand the annulment of the 15% increase decreed by Mubarak and to give a general emergency increase to cover the basic food basket. Some are saying that Mubarak fortune is about 70 billion dollars; we must demand that this corrupt fortune and all property from his collaborators be seized and that all the money be allocated to meet people’s needs. It is not enough to dissolve Parliament. In fact, we demand that all repressive forces be dismantled and that the murderers of the people be prosecuted. Down with the state of emergency. Additionally, soldiers and low ranking officers shall be authorized to organize in political organizations and unions. We demand the nationalization of  all companies that were privatized by the dictatorship and once they return to the state, these companies be put under control and management of workers. The new government is talking about amending the Constitution, but it wants to negotiate behind the people and behind the scenes with both bourgeois and Islamic opposition. We must reject this and demand to convene an election to elect a Free and Sovereign Constituent Assembly where people discuss and resolve everything and reorganize the country to serve the needs of workers and the people.

The working class is out in the streets

One of the main expressions of the revolutionary victory is the mass irruption of the working class.

Even though the Supreme Council banned strikes people did not listen. The strikes have multiplied into a (almost)general strike . Among some of the workers in struggle that are occupying their places of work to demand better pay and the departure of senior officials involved in corruption are from the state ministries including the strategic oil ministry and Health and Culture ministries. Some of the workers who are on going on strike and occupying their places of work to demand better working conditions include textiles workers, railways, telecommunications workers, mail, teachers; workers from the oil , aluminum, pharmaceuticals,banking sectors; even  Suez Canal workers and the police who demand  a salary equal to that of the military and who even went to Tahrir Square to express  sympathy with the revolution. In Mahala al Kubra, in the Nile delta region, the staff of the largest public textile country, Misr (with 24,000 employees), suspended their indefinite strike but announced that they will continue their struggle for fair wages.

The official news agency Al-Ahram reported: “The vice president of the Union of Egyptian Workers, Mostafa Mongy, has been detained since Monday (February 7 ) morning by employees to demand his immediate resignation.” The number two corrupt union boss was arrested by his own employees! At the same time a new Federation of Independent Trade Unions was formed.

Mahmoud Nassar, head of the Youth Movement, said that his group will not stop the protests until all political prisoners are released. Every day, the Supreme Council  tries to behead this powerful revolutionary torrent but so far it has failed.

It is important to develop and strengthen new unions and popular organizations

Worker, popular and youth protests continue.This is the way to keep fighting for real change.That is why the Egyptian revolution brings to the fore the question of political leadership of the revolutionary process.

This great revolution runs the risk of cooling off in the absence of a revolutionary leadership. So as revolutionaries we favor and we encourage the masses to go over the bourgeois and pro-imperialist leaderships, build their revolutionary political tools and provide a socialist perspective such as what is happening on a small scale in the mining city of Redeyef in Tunisia where unions have taken control of the local government.

The accumulated experience of the revolutionary process and of the workers’ struggles in recent years have allowed  for the development of very important organizational and political awareness. As suggested by the metal workers in Helwan it is necessary  without any delays to develop and strengthen the worker and popular committees which are true organs of existing dual power; the April 6 youth movement; the labor unions that called the strikes; the new federation of independent unions and democratic committees; additionally, it is necessary to propose to soldiers and low ranking officers to defend the revolution.

We call for solidarity with Egyptian workers and with the revolution in Egypt and all Arab countries and demand the following: U.S. and European imperialism out of the Arab countries and the Middle East! U.S. troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and from all its military bases in the region! Break diplomatic relations with Israel and support the Palestinian struggle! Down with the corrupt Arab dictatorships!

                              International Secretariat of the UIT-CI

                              Issued on February 18, 2011