Thursday, 27 January 2011

Egyptians demand: No to poverty, No to unemployment, No to torture"

Poster reads: No to poverty, No to unemployment, No to torture"

Well there is one definite, precise, explicit and clearly defined mood of determination sweeping the world’s working classes in the opening weeks of this New Year, that’s if the revolutions and protests in both Tunisia and Egypt are anything to go by.

One point that I recognise and wish at the start of this post to give some tongue and clapper to, is that these movements are leaderless revolts, a very significant point in light of our position on this blog in regard to leaders.

I like these lines from yesterdays Guardian: “a wave of protest, sparked by self-immolation, unemployment and high food prices, sweeps the Arab world from Mauritania to Saudi Arabia, there is one cry that stands out in Egypt: dictatorship will no longer hold us down.”

There is no doubtfulness about this; the thirty-year-old US-backed dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak has been shaken by an unprecedented wave of mass demonstrations calling for an end to the regime. An estimated 20,000 protesters, largely youth and young workers, defied a huge deployment of riot police and paramilitary troops in the centre of Cairo, and thousands more rallied in cities across the country. Once again we see the youth of the world taking a prominent role in these world developments.

The demonstrators hailed the mass protests that ousted long-time Tunisian strongman and potentate Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14 and demanded that Mubarak follow Ben Ali’s example and resign. Police attacked the rallies in Cairo and other cities, firing tear gas and water cannon and wielding clubs. Two protesters were reported killed in Suez, east of Cairo.

It is I think, very difficult for us on this side of the globe to get a true, accurate picture and position, although the press and media have been reporting developments as they happen, sensitive censorship of counterintelligence achieved by banning or deleting any information of value to the enemy (working classes), and even in the west is being exercised, because the governments of the US and here in Britain have supported, and for strategic reasons the dictatorship of Mubarak. And remember that Britain has a sordid and bloodcurdling history in Egypt. Just looked up an old book on the Middle East, well twenty years old in fact, but still the The Times guide to The Arab World and its Neighbours gives me some good background to Egypt, and I really begin to realise how worrying this must be for world capitalist leaders who would like to maintain the status quo and not see a new front open up in the region for all the obvious!”

Some interesting facts, Mubarak who succeeded Anwar Sadat after his assassination is a former air-force general and the inheritor of a political order which bases its claim to legitimacy on, and get this, a revolution carried out by the officer corps of the armed forces. Consequently, Mubarak is sympathetic to arguments that suggest that the armed forces are not simply the defenders of the country’s borders but are the ultimate guarantors of order. Just one other point before moving on and that’s just to highlight the relationship with the US who in the 90s cancelled the whole of Egypt’s military debt of $7billion. The cancellation of the debt was, therefore, a highly effective way for the US to reward the Egyptian government for the active part it played in the allied coalition formed to eject Iraq from Kuwait, and you could say minding the odd hiccup they have been bosom buddies ever since, with the US breast feeding from time to time.

The anti-government action in Egypt is part of a growing revolt by the working class and oppressed of Northern Africa and the Middle East against the Arab bourgeois and materialistic regimes and their imperialistic sponsors. In addition to the ongoing protests in Tunisia, mass demonstrations have occurred in Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Sudan.

Egypt, the most populous and powerful of the Arab states and the recipient of billions of dollars in US military aid, is the main seawall of US led imperialist domination in the Arab world. This immensely raises the stakes in the outcome of events in Egypt for the Arab ruling elite groups and political orientation on the one side, and the working class on the other. The US government, which has sought to mask its hostility to the popular movement in Tunisia with empty talk of democratic reform, has responded to the mass protests in Egypt by reiterating its support for Mubarak. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington: “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people.”

On Tuesday the world stood and looked in astonishment as protesters took to the streets and fought running battles with the police, it must be noted that they the protesters raised a series of social and democratic demands: for jobs, against poverty and for an end to the country’s emergency laws. The organisers of the protests, which were coordinated over Facebook and Internet web sites, had called for a “day of revolt against torture, poverty, corruption and unemployment” to coincide with a national holiday honouring the police, but traditionally used by dissidents to protest against police brutality.

One learnt and acquired class lesson for us all is this; The protests were boycotted by the established opposition, fearing a social upheaval on a similar scale to that in Tunisia, Egypt’s leading opposition parties and political figures boycotted the demonstrations and issued declarations aimed at discouraging their supporters from taking part.

Just how this will all pan-out in the end is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure and that is the worlds working classes are moving against their rulers!”  


Chris H said...

An encouraging post on encouraging developments across the world!

Tunisia, Egypt, the Redshirts in Thailand and others.

Each of these shares one feature - that change happened where it would not have through existing 'democratic' means. They have shown up the democratic process in this country as fit only for maintaining the status quo in the balance of power between worker, establishment and capital. And we need to remember that all of our parliamentary political classes are signed up to this sleight of hand - no change but the illusion of change.

We had nigh on a million people march through London and other cities under the stop the war banner. It made not one bit of difference. We had votes and motions in Parliament against the war. It made not one bit of difference.

What we see in these other countries, and to some extent with the recent student protests here is that true change does not come about through orderly means. Western style democratic processes are simply buffers to protect those that have from those that do not.

I don't yet know if real change is going to happen in any of these countries. It seems to me that the deckchairs are being rearranged, a few puppets are being hung out to dry, but those wielding the power so far seem to have remained in place.

We desperately need change, real change.

Norbert said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comments some very good points clearly made again.

The Socialist Way

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