Egypt

President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is not a man familiar with the concept of shame. Perhaps that is why Donald Trump recently referred to him as his “favourite dictator”. Or perhaps the US commander-in-chief was just trying to make him feel better as the last of his authority in the eyes of the Egyptian people was ebbing away. Sitting calmly with a microphone in hand at the impromptu youth forum hastily arranged at his behest, Sisi did what his closest advisors had begged him to refrain from doing. He addressed the nation.

On Monday 17 June, the former President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, collapsed and died in court while on trial for espionage against the Egyptian state. Morsi, who suffered from diabetes and chronic kidney and liver conditions, had been imprisoned since 2013, when his presidency was overthrown by one of the largest mass movements in human history.

GERD workers

There is a crisis flowing downstream towards the mouth of arguably the world’s longest river. The Nile has been the source of Egypt’s water supply – and therefore the basis of agriculture in the country – for many thousands of years.

Presidential elections were held in Egypt last week, in accordance with a formal concession to the Egyptian Revolution in the 2014 Constitution. This was the first electoral test of President Sisi’s authority since he was officially inaugurated back in 2014. Despite the risible contempt for democracy demonstrated by Sisi and his regime at every stage of the electoral process, early estimates of the results indicate this is a test he has comprehensively failed.

On 24 November, around 30 Islamic State militants from the Sinai Province arrived in large, all-terrain vehicles outside the el-Rawda mosque in Bir el-Abed, Northern Sinai, during Friday prayers. They detonated two bombs inside and then sprayed the fleeing crowds with machine-gun fire. The attack left over 300 people dead and 130 wounded: the largest death toll recorded for such an event in Egypt’s modern history.

“The lot of young Arabs is worsening: it has become harder to find a job and easier to end up in a cell. Their options are typically poverty, emigration or, for a minority, jihad. Astonishingly, in Egypt’s broken system university graduates are more likely to be jobless than the country’s near-illiterate.” (The Economist, August 2016)

These words are now a year old and the situation for young Arabs in general – and young Egyptians in particular – has only gotten worse. In its lead article of an issue entitled ‘The Ruining of Egypt’, The Economistshowed a graph placing Egypt’s youth employment rate consistently between 40% and 46% over the previous six years. The

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Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ratified a deal to sell off the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia. The two islands – particularly Tiran Island – had historically played a pivotal role in conflicts between Egypt and Israel. Tiran was occupied by Israel between 1967 and 1982, at which point it was returned to Egypt and has since hosted military bases of the Egyptian army and the Multinational Forces and Observers tasked with monitoring the adjacent sea passage.

There were violent scenes on Al-Warraq Island in the suburbs of Cairo last Sunday as police attempts to evict residents inevitably resulted in brutal clashes. At least one local man was killed and fifty-six injured. The move to force the island's inhabitants onto the streets comes after President Sisi said in a June speech, “There are islands in the Nile... according to the law no one should be present on these islands.” This statement bears no regard for the thirty years that this community had inhabited the island or for the failure of any government during that period to provide them with an alternative.

Israeli tanks advancing on the Golan Heights. June 1967

On 5th June 1967 the Israeli Air Force launched a surprise attack on Egyptian air bases in the Sinai province, beginning what came to be known as the Six-Day War and ending with Israel occupying the West Bank, Gaza, the whole Sinai Peninsula and shortly afterwards also the Golan Heights. To this day the Palestinians have had to live with the consequences.

Egypt was rocked yesterday by suicide bombings in major cities which resulted in at least 45 dead and over 100 injured. In the second city Alexandria an attack was carried out at the entrance to St Mark’s Cathedral resulting in the death of 16 people. Two hours earlier in Tanta, a city in the Nile Delta, a bomb attack at a church killed 29. There are unconfirmed reports of further attacks on churches around the country.

Den 9 april skakades flera storstäder i Egypten av självmordsattentat. Attackerna skördade minst 45 människoliv, och över 100 skadades. I den näst största staden Alexandria utfördes en attack vid ingången till St Mark's katedral där 16 dog. Två timmar tidigare hade 29 människor mist livet i ett liknande bombdåd vid en kyrka i staden Tanta, belägen vid Nildeltat. Dessutom finns obekräftade rapporter om ett flertal andra attacker mot kyrkor runt om i landet.

Yet another crisis has been haunting Egypt’s 3 July military regime in the past three days. Hundreds of Egyptians in different cities have come out to protest cuts to subsidised good - mainly bread - in a militant and angry reaction to the Al-Sisi’s onslaught against the workers and the poor.

The economic crisis in Egypt is affecting all parts of society. The directors of the American University of Cairo and many other private universities have raised tuition fees to “cope” with the inflation. AUC fees have been raised by 40%. However, reflecting the general turbulence in society, the students have not accepted this.

Once more Egypt is on the brink of a major turning point.  Three years after Abdel Fatah al-Sisi came to power, his regime is being engulfed by crisis at every level.

On Friday February 5th, the Italian left-wing journal Il Manifestopublished a report on a meeting of Egyptian independent trade unionists posthumously credited to one of its contributors in Cairo. Giulio Regeni was a 28-year-old Italian student of the University of Cambridge writing his doctoral thesis in Egypt. His body had been found on a roadside two days earlier, covered head-to-toe in bruises, knife wounds and cigarette burns. His finger and toenails had been yanked out – clear signs that he was tortured before his death.

The whole of the Egyptian establishment, from statesmen, to businessmen and TV presenters, are falling over each other as they praise the ‘landslide victory’ of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the Egyptian presidential elections. However the stability that the bourgeois are craving for is further away than they think.

The class struggle is once more heating up in Egypt. Al-Sisi’s “popular” image is starting to fade as five union leaders are arrested after 50,000 post office workers came out on strike.

The die is cast. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the commander-in-chief of the army and Egypt's Minister of Defence, has resigned from his ministerial post and announced yesterday that he will be standing as a candidate in the presidential elections which he is likely to win.

The Egyptian Revolution has captured the attention of the masses all over the world. In Indonesia, activists are energetically discussing the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the revolution, the intervention of the military, the nature of the revolution, and the future prospect of the revolution. Below, in a reply to Muhammad Ridha, an activist from the Working People’s Party (Partai Rakyat Pekerja, PRP) in Indonesia, Ted Sprague outlines the dialectical process of the Egyptian revolution.

The Egyptian security forces have bloodily crushed and dismantled the protest camps of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) supporters, set up in Al-Nahda Square and Raba'a al-Adawiyya in Cairo as focal points to regroup and mobilise their forces after the overthrow of Morsi. This marks yet another dramatic change in the situation facing the Egyptian revolution.

The overthrow of Muhammad Morsi has opened up a new and turbulent period in the Egyptian Revolution. The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) still has a base in Egyptian society, among the petty bourgeoisie, the most backward and ignorant layers of the peasantry and the lumpenproletariat. It is determined to cling to power, but the multimillion masses that took to the streets to overthrow them are equally determined that they shall not return. The future of the Egyptian Revolution will be determined by the outcome of this struggle.

Morsi has fallen. The magnificent movement of the masses has once more shown to the entire world the authentic face of the Egyptian people. It shows that the Revolution, which many even on the Left believed to have stalled, still possesses immense social reserves.

After four days of mass revolutionary mobilisations by the Egyptian people and the beginning of a nationwide general strike, finally president Morsi was removed from power. What we witnessed yesterday is yet another example of the power of the masses of workers and youth, peasants and the poor when they start to move.

As we write these lines hundreds of thousands of protesters are already on the move in Egypt with one clear goal in their minds: to remove Morsi from office. The Tamarod movement which organised the huge rallies on Sunday June 30 has called for the Ittihadiya and Qubba presidential palaces and the regional governorates to be surrounded by the people by 5 pm and announced that they will issue a statement from the Qubba palace at 7.30 pm. This is the language of insurrection.

Yet again the people of Egypt have risen against dictatorship, poverty and corruption. Yesterday, June 30, millions of people flooded the streets in all sizeable towns and cities stretching from the rural areas of Upper Egypt through the industrial heartland of the Nile Delta and all the way to the areas in the north. Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, once praised by the West as saviours of Egyptian capitalism, have been completely disarmed by the revolution. His destiny is now in the hands of the movement which has every opportunity to sweep him aside.

In the second part of this article we take a look at the contradictions of Egyptian capitalism, which are hindering it from solving the most basic tasks that it is posed with. Only a socialist revolution can solve the tasks of the revolution. But how do we connect the struggle for socialism with the day to day struggles of the masses?

More than two years have passed since the first steps of the Egyptian revolution. At first the movement was in a state of euphoria going from victory to victory sweeping away every obstacle on its path. The mood was intense and to a degree even festive. Millions of people, oppressed for decades, flocked to Tahrir Square imbued with the sense of their own power. They felt that all problems could be overcome with the same ease as they swept aside Mubarak. They felt unstoppable, and they were right to feel so. But experience is teaching them things are not so easy.

We received this report from Cairo, written last week just after the big November 27th demonstration. While it was being written, several thousands of demonstrators were still in Tahrir Square after the big demonstration of 27th. Hundreds of thousands had gathered in this square, the symbol of the Egyptian Revolution, shouting “Revolution”, “Oust the murshid government” (murshidis the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood).

Anger was simmering on Tahrir Square yesterday as hundreds of thousands poured in to the square to protest against Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Across the square large banners were inscribed with slogans such as “The Muslim Brotherhood has stolen the revolution” and “The Muslim Brotherhood are liars”. Throughout the day a seemingly never-ending stream of marches reached the square from all over the ancient city. In size and radicalism yesterday’s protest was equalled only by those that overthrew the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.

Two funeral processions turned into mass protests on the streets of Egypt today. Over the last 5 days thousands of people have taken to the streets in order to protest against a decree announced by the Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, allowing him to rule more or less autocratically. The events have publicly displayed the true nature of the Muslim Brotherhood who once claimed to be representatives of democracy in Egypt. At the same time these events show that none of the contradictions which led to the revolution have been solved and that under the surface a new wave of revolution is being prepared.

The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Mursi has won Egypt's presidential election with 51.73% of the vote. Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate of the military, got 48.27%, according to the election commission. However these figures should be treated with caution.

The Egyptian revolution has taken a new turn in the last few days. The ruling Military Council (SCAF) has launched a number of very serious attacks on the revolution. The military police can now arrest civilians at will and parliament has been dissolved. The generals have also announced additions to the Constitutional Declaration of March 2011 which give them virtually unlimited powers. What was supposed to have been the first democratic presidential elections in the history of the country has ended in a farce and a power struggle between two rival factions of the Egyptian bourgeoisie: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Armed Forces.

Writing from Cairo on Wednesday 06 June Robert Fisk, an honest and perceptive journalist published an article entitled: Revolutions don't always pan out quite as we wanted. As far as Egypt is concerned, the title is an understatement. He further asks: Is Hosni Mubarak's ghost going to be reinstalled, substituting a security state in place of democracy?

Comrades, thousands upon thousands of youth, workers, and genuine revolutionaries, not only in Egypt, but throughout the Arab world, have had their eyes on and pinned their hopes on the Revolutionary Socialists. We ask that you to renounce your position of supporting Morsi and take to the streets, factories, universities, and neighbourhoods in order to explain to workers and youths the counter-revolutionary nature of both Shafiq and Morsi, that you expose the rotten and reactionary nature of Egyptian capitalism. [in Arabic]

One of the main features of a revolutionary situation is the suddenness with which the mood of the masses can change. The workers learn quickly on the basis of events. And the events of the last 24 hours show that the workers and youth of Egypt are learning fast.

The second round in Egypt's fraudulent presidential elections will be taking place on June 16 and 17. In the election, Ahmad Shafiq, one of Mubarak's old ministers, will face Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Marxists can offer no support to either of these candidates, both of whom represent the forces of counter-revolution. However, the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt have decided to do just that, and it is a grave mistake.

February 11 marks the one year anniversary of the fall of Mubarak. Summer, autumn, and winter have passed since the beginning of the “Arab spring”, and the Egyptian masses are still taking to the streets. Despite all that has happened over the past 12 months, nothing has fundamentally changed for the majority of ordinary Egyptians. There have been a series of victories and defeats for the workers and youth of Egypt, but now, with the anniversary of the Revolution, the movement is entering a new phase.

On Friday more than a million Egyptian youth, workers and poor yet again assembled in Tahrir Square. The masses have once again risen in an attempt to remove the remnants of the Mubarak regime, which are still in power. Not far from Tahrir, in Abbassiya Square, not more than a couple of thousand people gathered in a pathetic demonstration in support of the SCAF. To the sceptics who did not believe in the revolution, this should be a clear demonstration of the real balance of forces. But at the same time the revolution clearly faces obstacles, not from external forces, but in its own internal contradictions.

Events in Egypt are developing at lightning speed. Similarly to the last days of Mubarak in February this year, we see daily battles on the streets of Cairo and elsewhere. The Egyptian masses are determined to see the revolution carried through to the end. The clash between revolution and counter-revolution is provoking a crisis inside all political forces, as the rank and file instinctively move towards revolution and the leaderships vacillate and try to hold the masses back.

As these lines are being written revolution and counter-revolution are facing each other on the streets of Egypt. Cairo's Tahrir Square has once again become the focal point of the revolution. Over the weekend, clashes broke out once again in Tahrir Square as the police tried to clear it of activists who were demanding the end of military rule. Driven by the whip of the counter-revolution tens of thousands of revolutionaries are retaking their positions in the square where the revolution had played out its first acts.

Faced with ever increasing contradictions, the military rulers in Egypt have looked to cut across the recent wave of class struggle by attempting to divide the workers and youth along religious lines. This is the context in which the recent deaths of 24 Coptic Christian Egyptian protestors must be seen.

With the re-introduction of the emergency law, the military junta is desperately trying to strangle the revolution and return to the “normality” of the Mubarak era. But the workers are on the move. The recent upsurge in strikes and protests could spell the end for the SCAF regime.

The euphoria amongst the Egyptian masses that followed the fall of Mubarak in February has disappeared. The hard reality of the situation – in which political, social, and economic conditions have barely changed – has set in. The revolution has not ended, however, but has, after a brief lull, transitioned from the streets to the workplaces. The working class in Egypt – the motor force of the revolution – is organising and is on the move.

Almost seven months after the fall of Mubarak, the revolution in Egypt is far from over. The old regime is still in power and the masses can feel the revolution slipping through their fingers. Everything has changed, and yet everything remains the same. However, the anger of workers and youth has not gone away as the recent spate of strikes indicates.

Friday 8th July saw the largest protests since the departure of Hosni Mubarak as tens of thousands took to the streets of Cairo, and thousands more came out to protest in other cities across Egypt, such as Alexandria and Suez. Material conditions have not improved for the workers and youth of Egypt, and Tahrir Square has once again become a visible epicentre of the revolution.

On March 19, Egyptians voted by a large majority in a referendum in favour of a series of amendments to the Constitution. However, it would be wrong to see the results of this vote as an endorsement of the policy of the Army Council to contain the revolution and return to capitalist normality with as few changes as possible.

The mighty power of revolution has been demonstrated with the resignation of Mubarak. It has shown that the staunchest, most vicious and stubborn of despots can be overthrown when the masses enter the arena of struggle and their resolve becomes absolute. But the most unique feature of this movement is that even after the tyrant has gone it refuses to relent.

We republish here a statement from the Committee for the Defence of the Revolution of the south Cairo neighbourhoods of Maadi, Besatin and Dar el-Salam. Such CDRs were established during the revolutionary uprising which led to the overthrow of Mubarak and they exist in several Cairo neighbourhoods, but also in other cities, including the industrial centre of Helwan.

Despite appeals by the Army Council that strikes should stop, Egyptian workers, emboldened by the revolution, have continued to take mass action to solve their long held grievances. We publish here two reports we have received about the growing movement of the Egyptian working class.

The Egyptian military top brass have taken over the running of the country and, while they are promising a transition to “democracy” at some stage, they are more concerned in the short term about what they see as “chaos and disorder”. That is, not just the rallies that have gripped all of Egypt’s major cities, but something far more dangerous in their view, the growing strike wave.