Statement by the International Workers’ Unity (Fourth International)
In solidarity with the people of Egypt
A large segment of the population is demanding that Mubarak resign. Neither the curfew or police repression stopped the anti-Mubarak mobilization. Nor Cutting cell phones and Internet access prevented the coordination and dissemination of the struggle.
The [ Egiptian] army went out, supposedly, to carry out the curfew imposed by the dictator which resulted in the death of nearly 300 Egyptians. However, the power of the people’s mobilization has been so great that it created divisions within the military apparatus. That was clear when soldiers, enlisted and lower ranking officers fraternized with the demonstrators, dancing and singing with them and standing on top of their tanks shouting that the army and the people are one.
The Egyptian people are in the streets denouncing unemployment, inflation, the high price of bread and milk as well as struggling to end a 30-year dictatorship. On Feb. 1, the one “million” general strike took place. Millions took to the streets of Cairo and throughout Egypt. Mubarak, the main ally of U.S. imperialism in the region and key country in the protection of Israel, is shaking due to the strength of the struggle. In a desperate attempt to demobilize the struggle and began to negotiate, Mubarak announced that his term ends in September and that he will not run in the elections. But the response of the mobilized masses was clear: Mubarak must go, Mubarak must go! Thus, they decided to stay in the streets.
The Arab revolution is in motion
After the victory of the democratic revolution in Tunisia, the Arab people continue to mobilize against hunger and pro-imperialist dictatorships. The struggle is growing in both Yemen and Jordan.
The Arab masses are fed up with poverty, unbearable social inequality (Mubarak’s fortune is estimated at 40 billion dollars), corruption and dictatorship. There is an ongoing revolutionary process in the Arab countries started by small Tunisia and now the mighty Egypt. Mobilizations are growing in Yemen (a small but important ally of the U.S) and Jordan (a monarchy that long ago capitulated to Israel). And unrest is spreading to other countries such as Algeria, Libya among others.
The first sign of the beginning of a revolutionary process in the Arab world which sparked discontent against Mubarak was the fall of Tunisian dictator. Tuesday 25th was the “day of anger.” Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities. Since then, neither the repression of the police (there were more than 300 dead), who was forced to retreat from most of the cities, nor the “promises” of Mubarak has failed to stop the revolutionary process.
Egyptians are protesting against poverty, unemployment and dictatorship
After 30 years of Mubarak’s dictatorship, nearly half the population is illiterate and poor; most people survive on $2 a day and receive subsidized food. Unemployment exceeds 30% and it reaches 90% among those under 30 years. Millions of young people with college degrees and professional training have no opportunity to access decent work, are unstable and feed themselves on bread alone. In recent years, factories have relocated large multinational corporations to exploit cheap labor. A small minority of millionaires enjoy high standards of living thanks to profits generated in the export of oil and cotton sector and tourism.
People protest in many different ways to demand democratic freedoms; but they also protest against poverty and unemployment. In other words, the world capitalist crisis and economic adjustment have found its expression in Egypt and Arab countries. This explains the lack of Islamic religious slogans. The largest political force in the country is the Muslim Brotherhood who got 20% of the seats in the 2005 legislative elections (Their political representation is a result of a pact made with Mubarak). Early on, the Muslim Brotherhood did not support the mobilization, and then gave a lukewarm support to protesters by calling for calm.
In Cairo and other cities, the ruling party’s headquarters have been razed and burned by protesters. Meanwhile, the both Al Lail and El-Andalus casinos and the Hotel Europe were looted. Countless of police vehicles have been torched with Molotov cocktails. Additionally, there were lootings when people feared shortages of food. To protect homes from criminals, people have formed neighborhood popular committees, and in some cases with military; these actions prevented the looting of the Cairo Museum by provocateurs.
Egyptian working class –as it did in Tunisia– is playing an important role in the mobilization. For years, workers have been confronting the government and business owners by going on strike. Some of the largest and most sustained wave of strikes since the 40s has been taking place since December 2006. These labor strikes started with textile workers in Mahalla City in the Nile Delta, the largest center of the region’s labor force with more than 28,000 workers.
“In recent years the revolt was in the air” stated Egyptian journalist and blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy in an Al-Jazeera interview. Thus, began the first steps towards independent trade unions from the corrupt union bureaucracy controlled by the dictatorship. And now workers are key to a general strike against Mubarak.
Mubarak’s dictatorial regime, a cornerstone of U.S. imperialism
The democratic revolution which triumphed in Tunisia has been very important. However, the Egyptian revolution is of vital importance to both imperialism and the peoples of the world.
Egypt is the most populous Arab country while Mubarak is a staunch ally of the Americans and unconditional supporter of Israel. Furthermore, Egypt is one of the few Arab countries that recognize Israel. The Mubarak regime seems to be the last link of a political movement that went from being nationalism to becoming pro-imperialist.
In the fifties, President Gamal Abdel Nasser led Arab nationalism and faced the invasive presence of Zionism in Palestine. In July 1956, Nasser nationalized the strategic [Suez] canal which allows access to European Mediterranean ports to Gulf oil and cheap Asian products. Shortly afterwards, Nasser defeated Israeli, English and French troops when the Western power tried to retrive it in the “Suez War”.
The decline of that bourgeois nationalism gave way to greatest betrayal and capitulation to U.S. imperialism in Egypt. In 1978, president Anwar Sadat, Nasser’s successor, and [Israeli] Menachem Begin signed an agreement at Camp David(home of the president of the U.S.) led by James Carter, recognizing the State of Israel (which returned to Egypt the oil-rich territories in the Sinai Peninsula occupied since 1967). The Arab League and Egypt reject it and Egypt became isolated. In 1981, a militant of Muslim fundamentalism assassinated Sadat. He was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak, who since then has led an increasingly corrupt and repressive regime–an unconditional and strategic ally of imperialism in order to confront Iran and protect Israel.
Mubarak has received military aid worth millions of dollars from the U.S. Mubarak has used this military power to collaborate with Zionism in Gaza Strip blockade. This explains why it is not only the monarchy of Saudi Arabia that has expressed solidarity with Mubarak but even the traitor Mahmud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority who has stated his support to Mubarak. All the ruling regimes in the area fear that the fall of Mubarak will lead to a new Palestinian intifada and popular uprisings in the rest of the region.
Obama and the crisis of imperialism
Obama is facing a major dilemma: how to sustain a regime sympathetic to its interests if Mubarak is forced to flee? This is not a minor problem. He spoke from Cairo when he [Obama] toured the Middle East in 2009 and sent a goodwill “message “to the Arab world .
Obama’s defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to weaken him in the region. Meanwhile, many demonstrations in support of the Egyptian people have taken place in the United States. There is nothing that says that a “successor” to the “designated”[by Mubarak] vice president, former general Omar Suleiman, will restore calm. Nevertheless, the U.S. relays on the millions of dollars that it sends to the Egyptian military to put pressure on the Egyptian military. But the military leadership has distanced itself from Mubarak.
After 30 years of harsh dictatorship there are no recognized leaders of opposition organizations except for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic party.
Apparently, nuclear physicist Mohamed, Nobel Peace Prize 2005 who was director of the International Atomic Energy Agency could be a “candidate” for a political “transition” supported by the United States. So far, ElBaradei has not much popular support despite the media publicity. He became known in Egypt and the Arab in 2003. ElBaradei led the UN inspections of Iraq (alongside the Swedes Hans Blix), and questioned the alleged “evidence” about the existence of weapons of mass destruction held by Saddam Hussein. Bush used this great lie to “justify” the invasion. But ElBaradei is essentially a moderate, pro-imperialist political liberal leader who does not represent any substantive way out that can meet the demands of nearly 80 million Egyptians.
Right now, Obama is oscillating between sustaining the dictator Mubarak and seeking a negotiated solution between the army, ElBaradei and the Muslim Brotherhood by calling the military high command to negotiate a “peaceful” political replacement. Thus, U.S. imperialism seeks to avoid the danger of anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist radical political change.
In short, what is at stake is not only that the Egyptian people succeed in improving their living conditions; but what is also at stake is to give a big blow to the influence of U.S. imperialism in the Arab world and the survival of the Zionist state.
Solidarity with the Egyptian people
In these decisive hours the people of Egypt is mobilizing; they are determined to keep their fight until the overthrow of the dictator.
As Mubarak faces soldiers’ passivity and support for the mobilizations, pro-government groups have been sent out to break out the demonstrations.
Confrontations are on the rise. The struggle requires that in order to defend themselves from these murderous gangs, workers and the Egyptian people in general need to organize. And to call on military soldiers and low ranking officers to contribute in this task by forming soldiers’ committees so as to coordinate the defense of the revolutionary movement against the dictatorship.
The mobilization in the streets has shown a huge leadership vacuum. But at the heat of the struggle, a glimpse of dual power has emerged, and we push for its development through the neighborhood committees, unions and youth organizations that promote the mobilization and to unite into perspective to advance an alternative workers’ and popular power where reformist and conciliatory leaderships that support the rancid Egyptian oligarchy and U.S. imperialism have no place in it.
Solidarity with the people of Egypt and rejection of Mubarak is growing in the Arab world. The UIT-CI joins these demonstrations and call to deepen the solidarity with the Egyptian people, in struggle to overthrow the dictator. We call for the broadest unity of action to hold marches and actions against the Egyptian embassies and consulates.
We demand the governments of the world– and especially those of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Cristina Fernández [in Argentina] and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil–to abandon their passivity and to break relations with Mubarak and all the dictators who oppress Arab peoples and support the invader State of Israel along with U.S. imperialism.
Down with Mubarak! Keep mobilizing until he falls!
International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International (UIT-CI)
February 2, 2011