With 17 million protesters on the streets on June 30th, Egypt experienced the greatest protests ever in its history. The protesters could no longer put up with a regime that was nothing more than the continuation of the Mubarak era, but with a new face. Some days later, Morsi was removed by the army, who chose to give him up in order to keep their control of the economy and the State apparatus.
Thousands of small social tremors had shaken Egypt before the great earthquake of June the 30th. 5,000 demonstrations had occurred all over the country during the previous five months and among them the overwhelming majority dealt with socio-economic matters. One of the main demands voiced during these social movements was for more justice in relation to wages. Opposition within society had been expressed in a decisive manner well before the revolution. A wave of strikes had already begun in 2005, with a peak in 2008. The January 2011 revolution cemented the phenomenon and gave birth to the first autonomous trade union confederation of the country, which today has two million members. Furthermore, the army and the police found it hard to hide their internal divisions: during the protests of the 30th of June, many policemen, soldiers and officers joined the ranks of the protesters.
In Tunisia, the assassination of Deputy Mohamed Brahmi on the 25th of June led to a 48-hour general strike called by the UGTT. The movement was well supported. Four days later the assassination of eight soldiers by Salafist elements in the interior of the country, set off a massive explosion of anger amongst the population, which staged a huge demonstration in front of the National Constituent Assembly, demanding the downfall of the government and the dissolution of the Assembly.
As in Egypt, the class struggle is intensifying in Tunisia, as nearly 30,000 social conflicts have erupted within companies and the administration since the beginning of the revolution. Tunisian workers have been demanding well paid regular jobs, a minimum level of social benefits and a state health cover for people on low incomes and for the unemployed. Victories have been numerous in this field as many agreements for wages rises have been signed since then among workers in the civil service and the private sector. It has to be said that opposition within society had been brewing for several years. In 2008 the mining area of Redeyef had already gone through a great wave of mobilisations caused by falsified results during a competitive exam in the public company that has the rights to extract phosphates.
In Egypt, the upper layers of the army are behind the power that is in place. They have allowed former president Mubarak to be freed on probation, awaiting his trial where he will appear as a free man. As for the Muslim Brothers, they are trying to transfer the conflict onto religious grounds by getting to grips with the Coptic minority. In Tunisia, protests demanding the downfall of the government and the dissolution of the Assembly are going on with an uneven participation. Ennahdha is trying to regain the advantage by coming up with some gestures of openness towards the opposition and by differentiating itself, in words speech, from the Salafist circle of influence.
As we have already explained, the Arab revolutions are not in the process of coming to an end. The social and economic circumstances of the countries of the area and the world crisis of capitalism will lead to new upheavals. There will be uprisings and thunderous eruptions of the masses into the political arena. There will be ebbs, weariness and lethargy amongst the population, all of which will lead to the masses once again taking a step back. These partial retreats, however, will only be preludes to even stronger mobilisations. In the absence of a mass revolutionary party capable of rapidly leading the workers to victory, the revolutionary process will necessarily be of a protracted and chaotic nature. This party must be built by the most revolutionary elements of the youth and the working class in Egypt and in Tunisia, at any cost.