Egypt

Yesterday, Sunday, April 6, the workers of Egypt were preparing for what could have been a very powerful general strike. The state intervened heavily at the Mahalla textile plant arresting 150 workers. These methods cannot stop the growing wave of working class militancy and will only serve to increase the determination of the workers. The workers ‘intifada' which erupted later that day in the city is proof of this.

The magnificent wave of industrial action in Egypt, which started over a year ago, is continuing. And it continues to be ignored by the media. Price rises are the central focus of protest. But in a very important development, at the Ghazl al Mahalla textile company have raised political demands for the first time.

The Israeli siege of Gaza and imperialist pressure to retaliate on the Gaza population in order to isolate Hamas has provoked a major crisis that is shaking the Middle East. Once again the direct intervention of the masses has changed the whole scenario, putting into jeopardy the stability of the most important point of support of US imperialism in the Arab world: Egypt.

Despite an international conspiracy of silence, as we have reported over the past year Egypt has seen a major upturn in the class struggle. Workers have shown fantastic bravery and made enormous sacrifices. The working class, especially the massive Egyptian workers movement, is the key to the future of the Middle East, not the so-called war on terror or the blind alley of Islamism.

Egypt is entering a crisis. The working class is standing up, as strike after strike shakes the country. The government has decided to hit back, attempting to close the Centre for Trade Union and Workers’ Services.

For the last three years Egypt has experienced a wave of strikes, mainly in order to fight against a new wave of privatisation of state owned companies promoted by the Mubarak government. The movement started amongst textile workers but has now spread to other sectors, encouraged by the fact that most of the strikes have ended up in victories

The recent elections in Egypt were in no way democratic. What they reflect is the pressure of imperialism that wishes somehow to stop the unstoppable, that is the inevitable movement of the masses from below. But the change is only cosmetic and the masses can see through this.

On Wednesday August 17, a US-style campaign began for the upcoming elections in Egypt. 32 million Egyptians are eligible to vote on September 7, but how many will vote is a big question.

We received this article from a trade union activist in Egypt who reports on how the state security police have removed candidates in the trade union elections who are opposed to privatisation. It is quite clear that a very angry mood is developing among Egyptian workers and the state, in collaboration with the leaders of the trade unions, are attempting to stifle the growing opposition.