Egypt - Reaction to Morsi and MB seizure of power

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bastarx
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Jul 13 2013 13:26
klas batalo wrote:
anyone else notice the "Tamarod" copycats in Tunisia, Morroco, Palestine, etc???

is this the Occupyzation of the movement? or perhaps another Optor?

*Otpor. I was thinking there were some similarities with the fall of Milosevic as well. And btw the SWP were big boosters of Otpor.

Mark.
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Jul 13 2013 17:58

Interview from Tahrir ICN

The morning after the June 30 uprising that brought down Mohammed Morsi, I did an interview with Mohammed Hassan Aazab as he helped hold down four anarchist tents in one of Cairo’s major sit-ins. Shortly thereafter, the military stepped in, removed Morsi from office, and set about rounding up Islamists and shuttering media outlets deemed to be partial to the Muslim Brotherhood. In some cases they shot party members under arrest, even massacring a number of supporters during prayers. Islamists have responded by blocking the airport road and carrying out low-scale warfare in scattered parts of the country.

For anarchists and others in Egypt who remember the last period of military rule after Mubarak’s ouster, a complex situation has emerged: The Islamists they sought to oust are in retreat, but they’re at the hands of a military that could just as easily put other grassroots movements in its sights. The time seemed right to resume my conversation with Aazab.

It’s been nearly two weeks since the 30th. What’s the view, from where you are?

Well, as we all expected, the old regime has started to rear its head again. The Brotherhood loses popularity every day. No new government has been formed, though, so it’s not clear at this point what’s likely to happen. Once a government is formed, we'll know where the next fight’ll be.

Now it seems you’re basically stuck between the army and the Ikwhan [Brothers].

And the old regime. We’re in deep shit. There’s almost nothing to do but laugh.

It seems like the military  — especially its leadership — would be more favorable to the old regime. The generals control something like 30 percent of the economy, right?

Yeah, that’s right. The army is at the center of our economic problems. And there’s less chance of addressing that now than there was before, probably, because at the moment people see the army as having prevented a civil war. So, they’re basically beyond reproach. They can do pretty much anything, and no one will ask questions. And if anyone protests, they’ll be deemed traitors.

The other day, when we were talking, you seemed to be personally struggling with your own feelings about the army’s actions against the Ikhwan. What’s your feeling about that now?

Well, I hold two feelings, you know? If we allow the Ikhwan to be the army’s victim today, we’ll be the victim tomorrow. On the other hand, part of me feels like the Ikhwan deserves everything that happens to them. They’ve been playing the civil war card up to now. So it’s incredibly difficult to sort out, emotionally. I’m scared my hatred of the Ikhwan could ultimately cost me my humanity. When I saw the photos of the Brotherhood supporters killed at the Raba’a Adwyia mosque the other day, I didn’t feel anything. I remembered how Islamists had found excuses for the army to kill us on Mohammed Mahmoud.

At the same time, I’m afraid that we’ll never see justice over the Ikhwan’s actions and we’ll regret the day we didn’t eliminate them all. They threw kids out windows of tall buildings in Alexandria the other day for supporting the protests. Before I went up there, I was in the clashes with Islamists on the October 6th Bridge here in Cairo — they were shooting at us with machine guns, and all we had were fireworks and molotovs. Five people were killed. There’s violence happening against Christians in Upper Egypt, and neither the interim government nor the opposition — or even the international community — is talking about it. The media only seems to care about what’s happening in the big cities. Christians are dying and their homes are being torched. The Islamists need to be stopped, they are so dangerous in Upper Egypt.

Is any sort of defense of Christians possible, by means other than the army?

No, they’re just leaving their villages.

It’s interesting hearing you say you’re worried about losing more of your humanity to a hatred of the Brotherhood — the idea that the impulse to eliminate them could make you someone you don’t want to be. Do you feel like that impulse could make Egyptian society — or any society in a revolutionary moment — an unhealthy foundation for any new society?

Yeah, no doubt. We have enough social problems, we can’t afford that.

What’s the way forward, in your mind?

The key problem is the disconnect between our generation and the older generations. Young people need to represent the revolution. We don’t need old faces anymore. As we say in Egypt, they are burned cards; we have no use for them.

What do you think that looks like? Student organizing? You don’t seem optimistic about unions…

I’m very optimistic about the student movements. In the last year there has been a huge student movement, especially in the private schools. The Brotherhood’s first loss was in the universities, actually. They couldn’t challenge the revolutionary movements there.

What was the struggle there about, exactly?

It varies, actually. Generally it was around students’ rights and fighting the management of the universities, often with the Brotherhood students supporting the management. That was happening in all the universities, and ultimately the student movements won those struggles — even when violence resulted, as with the German University in Cairo.

At Ain Shams University, the movement was combatting thugs and the corruption of the security forces on campus. At Misr International University, it was about the safety of the main road, after two students died. At Elshorouk, it was about medical care, after a student died in the university clinic. At El Nile University, it was over a building the government was trying to seize — something happening at many universities, actually.

Like a student center?

No, I wish. They wanted to take a classrooms building. They were actually trying to seize educational space.

How did these victories affect the movements? Are students still active?

Yeah, they are. And now they’ve started forming a union of the students’ movements all over Egypt. They’re working hard, a lot of meetings and activities.

What are the major issues at this point?

Releasing students arrested going all the way back to the January 25 revolution, the right to decent dorms in the universities, and kicking security out of the political life of the university.

Are students leaving universities radicalized?

It depends on the student. It’s probably impossible to say, one way or the other.

Among anarchists in particular, are there aspects of this revolutionary process that you have all felt connected to, beyond taking down Mubarak?

Real organizing didn’t really even begin until after Mubarak’s ouster. We started gathering, talking to people, printing up writing about our ideas, and organizing meetings in downtown cafes in front of whoever was there. Then in the clashes on Mohammed Mahmoud Street, we found ourselves actually fighting beside each other.

I imagine that was a fairly traumatic experience. I found just walking past the murals creepy. Did that shape anarchists?

Of course. After removing Mubarak, working in the streets was incredibly difficult. Horrible things happened in Tahrir, and no one believed us. People believed the army and the Islamists. This last year and half, after removing Mubarak, there’s a way in which you could say we were actually fighting our own community, and by the time Morsi took office we were just utterly dispirited.

That was why you told me you’d given up on politics when we met?

Yeah, exactly. I’ll tell you something as an example. At this point, 90 percent of Egyptians don’t believe that the army shot people with live rounds in Tahrir during the clashes outside the prime minister’s headquarters after Mohammed Mahmoud. A lot of us were there and four of our friends died in front of us, and people act as though we’re lying. Shit like that just crushes you.

Mark.
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Jul 13 2013 21:36

KarmaMole: The crisis of mind and morality in Egypt

A Cairo conspiracy

'Ceci n'est pas un coup'

teh
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Jul 14 2013 23:30

Mubarakism Without Mubarak- The Struggle for Egypt by Joseph Massad

Quote:

Ever since Muhammad Mursi was elected president of Egypt in democratic elections marred by his Mubarakist opponent Ahmad Shafiq’s electoral corruption and bribes, a coalition of Egyptian liberals, Nasserists, leftists — including socialists and communists of varying stripes –and even Salafist and repentant Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members began to form slowly but steadily, establishing an alliance with Mubarak’s ruling bourgeoisie and holdover politicians from his regime to oust him from power, fearing that he and his party were preparing a “Nazi-like” takeover of the country and destroying its fledgling democracy.

The scenario they fear is the one that brought the Nazis to establish a totalitarian state in 1933. In July 1932, in the German Reichstag (parliamentary) elections, the Nazi party received over 37 percent of the vote, becoming the largest party in parliament. On 30 January 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Reich Chancellor, wherein Hitler headed a cabinet with a minority of Nazi ministers. A month later, on 27 February 1933, arsonists burned down the Reichstag building in Berlin. Hitler blamed the communists and accused them of a plot to overthrow the democratically elected parliament and asked the President of the Weimar Republic to grant him emergency powers to suspend civil liberties so that he could chase the communists, imprison them, dissolve political parties and close down the press. This came to be known as the Reichstag Fire Decree. On March 23, the Reichstag conferred on Hitler dictatorial powers, establishing the Nazi totalitarian regime and state.

The anti-Mursi alliance, which began to form in earnest in August 2012, started out bashfully but would become proud and assertive by November 2012, after Mursi’s infamous Constitutional Decree, which centralized political power in the hands of the President. With the aid of Mubarak’s judges, the Mubarakist bourgeoisie and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which had ruled Egypt for a year and four months after Mubarak’s ouster, had already dissolved the post-uprising democratically-elected parliament, which was composed of a majority of Islamists, on technical grounds, before Mursi’s election. They did so to the cheers of liberals and leftists who claimed that they were the real leaders of the 25 January uprising that overthrew Mubarak and who feared the elected Islamists whom they depicted not as part of the uprising but as encroachers on their “revolution.” A few days before the elections, the military also issued a constitutional decree constricting the powers of the elected president and concentrating it in the hands of the military.

The liberals’ and the leftists’ fear was that the MB was Egypt’s Nazi party –they pretend to be democrats until they get elected and then they will refuse to leave power and will eliminate the democratic process and establish an Islamist dictatorship. That the Mubarak-appointed judges were the ones who dissolved the democratically elected parliament seemed not to bother the liberals and the leftists much, but they were horrified when Mursi issued his Constitutional Decree, which aimed to take away the power of Mubarak’s judges whom he had tried to depose unsuccessfully. Indeed the Constitutional Decree was seen as a sort of Reichstag Fire Decree, which it could very well have been. Mursi would soon reverse himself and would cancel the Decree in response to popular uproar. He would more recently express regret for having issued it.

Mursi’s Record

The Mursi government seemed surprisingly pliant and friendly to Western interests, including towards Israel, whose president Shimon Peres was addressed by Mursi as “my dear friend” in an official presidential letter. Contrary to expectations of a burgeoning friendship with Hamas, under Mursi’s government, the Gaza border in Rafah was closed more times than under Mubarak, security coordination with Israel became more intimate than under Mubarak, and to make matters worse, Mursi, with the Egyptian army and the help of the Americans, destroyed the majority of the underground tunnels between Gaza and Sinai which the Palestinians had dug out to smuggle in food and goods during their interminable siege since 2005 and which Mubarak had not dared demolish. Mursi even went further by mediating between Israel and Hamas during the latest Israeli attack on Gaza, vouching that he would guarantee that Hamas would not launch rockets against Israel but not the other way around. It is true that Mursi refused to meet with Israeli leaders but even Mubarak had refused to visit Israel for years before his ouster and had recalled his ambassador in protest against Israeli policies. One of Mursi’s more major acts before his recent ouster was not the closure of the Israeli embassy, as friends and enemies of the Islamists threatened he would do, but closed down instead the Syrian embassy in support of the ongoing rightwing Islamist insurrection in that country.

While in power, Mursi and his government continued Mubarak’s policies of contracting the public sector and social spending in a continuing war against the poor and downtrodden of Egypt, who are the majority of the population, and pushed forth neoliberal economic policies that favored the rich and powerful, including an IMF deal (which was never finalized for no fault of Mursi’s), which would increase the already existing austerity measures against the poor. Indeed, he did nothing to change the existing labor and tax laws that favor the rich and oppress workers, middle class employees, and the poor. Mursi neither prosecuted army generals for crimes of which they stood accused (he rather bestowed on them major state honors and awards and made those whom he retired into advisors to the President), nor tried the Mubarakist thieving bourgeoisie in the courts for its pillage of the country for three and a half decades, let alone the security apparatus that continued to repress Egyptians under his rule.

On the contrary, as a president who came out of the rightist and neoliberal wing of the MB (compared to the more centrist ‘Abd al-Mun’im Abu al-Futuh who also ran for the presidency and lost), he was interested in an alliance between the Islamist neoliberal bourgeoisie, whose most visible member is Khayrat al-Shatir (who was barred from running for the presidency by the Mubarakist courts), and the Mubarakist bourgeoisie. Unlike al-Shatir who is the son of a rich merchant and who made his own fortune in Egypt, many among the Islamist rich, though not all, made their money in the Gulf. They were mostly kept out of a share in the pillaging of Egypt, restricted to the close businessmen friends of Mubarak, now wanted a place at the table to partake of the ongoing pillage of the country. While Mursi won the favor of the military with the US vouching for his good behavior, at least until last week, hard as he tried to convince the Mubarakist bourgeoisie to allow the Islamists to partake of pillaging Egypt, the Mubarakist bourgeoisie would not budge.

The Response of the Mubarakists

The Mubarakist bourgeoisie’s response was that Egypt was theirs to pillage alone (though they have always been happy to include the Americans, the Saudis, the Emiratis, and of course the Israelis) and that they would not allow some Islamist upstarts to move in on their territory. Having shunned Egypt’s poor, its peasants and workers, its low income middle classes, while courting the rank and file of the MB, the Islamist and Mubarakist bourgeoisies, and the military, Mursi had no one but the MB to fall back on when the army abandoned him and the Mubarakists and the coalition plotting with them intensified their attacks on him.
.......

Mark.
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Jul 15 2013 22:51

Jano Charbel: And where do the workers stand?

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Shortly after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces deposed Morsi on July 3, the presidency of the EFITU issued a statement praising the Armed Forces and their role in the “June 30 revolution,” while also calling on workers to forfeit their right to strike. EFITU President Kamal Abu Attiya wrote that “workers who were champions of the strike under the previous regime should now become champions of production.”

But Abu Attiya, named the new minister of manpower on Monday by interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, isn’t the only representative of the independent unions movement.

On July 10, EFITU council member Fatma Ramadan issued a rebuttal to Abu Attiya’s statement. Ramadan insisted that “Egypt’s workers must never sacrifice their right to strike.”

Ramadan told Mada Masr that Abu Attiya unilaterally issued his statement without conferring with other EFITU council members…

-----

https://twitter.com/JanoCharbel

Mark.
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Jul 16 2013 10:38

Hossam El-Hamalawy: Is the Egyptian revolution aborted?

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So for the supporters of the Egyptian revolution abroad: What you can do is to keep circulating information about the abuses of the army that are taking place here. This is not something that we should cheer or salute. We also need the independent labor unions abroad to issue solidarity [statement] with the Egyptian strikers who are striking in the factories over both bread-and-butter issues as well as over the purge from the companies of the old corrupt figures that belong to the Mubarak dictatorship. And maybe here I should also refer to the disgraceful position of the Independent Federation of Trade Unions in Egypt, which had played very positive political and economic roles on so many occasions before. But, the Federation leadership—which is influenced by Nasserism—has decided to compromise with the military, and they decided that they will be suspending strikes as well as pushing the workers in order to “produce more”—which is this kind of nationalistic propaganda that is against the strikes and actions in order to improve the social standards of the Egyptian workers. Thank God that the Federation, actually a bureaucracy, does not have much control over the militant base cadres within the Federation and the Federation still does not control, or still is not in the leadership position of, the Egyptian labor movement. Most of these strikes that were happening, they were neither happening because of nor organized by the Federation or by any political group. There were spontaneous locally organized grassroots activists in those factories, and I expect them to continue...

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Egyptian liberals embrace the military, brooking no dissent

Quote:

In the square where liberals and Islamists once chanted together for democracy, demonstrators now carry posters hailing as a national hero the general who ousted the country’s first elected president, Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Liberal talk-show hosts denounce the Brotherhood as a foreign menace and its members as “sadistic, extremely violent creatures” unfit for political life. A leading human rights advocate blames the Brotherhood’s “filthy” leaders for the deaths of more than 50 of their own supporters in a mass shooting by soldiers and the police.

A hypernationalist euphoria unleashed in Egypt by the toppling of Mr. Morsi has swept up even liberals and leftists who spent years struggling against the country’s previous military-backed governments.

An unpopular few among them have begun to raise alarms about what they are calling signs of “fascism”: the fervor in the streets, the glorification of the military as it tightens its grip and the enthusiastic cheers for the suppression of the Islamists. But the vast majority of liberals, leftists and intellectuals in Egypt have joined in the jubilation at the defeat of the Muslim Brotherhood, laying into any dissenters.

“We are moving from the bearded chauvinistic right to the clean-shaven chauvinistic right,” said Rabab el-Mahdi, a left-leaning scholar at the American University in Cairo.
[…]
Many on the left are still locked in a battle of semantics, trying to persuade the world — and perhaps one another — that the overthrow of Mr. Morsi was not a “coup” but a “revolution.”
[…]
Ahmed Maher, a founder of the left-leaning April 6 group, initially joined a small volunteer team that tried to enlist Western support for the ouster. But after the arrests and shootings of Brotherhood supporters, he began to recall the generals’ long hold on power after mass protests drove President Hosni Mubarak from office two years ago.

Mr. Maher put his worries about the generals in a Twitter message to another activist: “If we assume it’s not a coup, and I tell people it’s not a coup, when they screw us again like they did in 2011, what would I tell people?”

His allies responded by trying to drum him out, not only from the volunteer team but also from the April 6 group…

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Reza Pankhurst: Liberal hypocrisy no laughing matter

Wael Gamal: No jasmine tea for the square

rooieravotr
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Jul 16 2013 13:46

On Egypt's failure

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I've spent the last year railing against the Brotherhood's increasing bigotry, bullying, incompetence. They failed, on strategy and substance. They don't have the vision or the guts or the skills or the decency to govern Egypt and make something better of it. And the divisiveness the country suffers from now is largely their fault -- they could never represent anyone beyond themselves, and they could never believe that there were so many who they did not represent at all.

But that doesn't mean one should support unwarranted retaliation agains them, or countenance the dehumanization (and murder) of their supporters. And that doesn't mean one should celebrate now -- quite the contrary, I fear. Since June 30, on social and old-fashioned Egyptian media, I have found a startling lack of lucidity. The endless denunciations of US meddling -- the alleged American backing of the Brotherhood, CNN’s biased coverage -- and the endless aspersions cast on all Islamists are pathological, a way to change the subject, to use indignation as a rhetorical and psychological feint. The denial of the pivotal, dangerous role played by the army and the police in what happened (a role that continues to be documented in greater detail) is, as one observer puts it, "a delusion so outlandish that it must be willfully self-induced, a device to conceal the enormity of a shameful choice."

From far away, there was something troubling, almost immediately, with Egypt's "second revolution." Now, as activists admit that retired army generals asked them not to chant against the military or the police; as gas shortages and power cuts suddenly end; as the entire Egyptian media, state and private, spews propaganda; as charges are brought against the Brotherhood that would make them responsible for both the violence of protesters and the police during the original 18 days (hence proving there was no raging animosity on one side, no criminal wrong-doing on the other); now my misgivings have congealed.

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Ed
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Jul 16 2013 22:26

So just re-read this 1978 article from Khamsin #5 last night, The Development of class struggle in Egypt, and was struck by this passage about the period of struggles after WW2 up til 1952 (Nasser's overthrow of the monarchy).. how much do people feel it holds for the situation today? It really made me think of that Marx quote about history repeating itself, (1st time tragedy, 2nd time farce).. dunno if anyone else has that impression..

Quote:
Under the rule of the latifundia-owning and comprador bourgeoisie, with an industrial bourgeoisie that was weak and unable to gain power, the crisis spread daily. The more the crisis expanded, the less the ruling class was able to check the ever-growing conflict in the cities and in the country: the revolts of the wretched peasants and agricultural workers, the industrial workers' strikes in Shubra El Khaima, Kafr El Dawwar, Elmahalla Elkubra – and the demon­strations of the police themselves against the regime. In 1952 Cairo burned. But the opposing class forces were equally balanced, so that the continuation of the struggle could only have led to a long civil war which would have left all possibilities open.

Faced with that twofold inability: the inability of the bourgeoisie to keep social peace and the inability of the popular masses – in which the urban proletariat was a negligible minority – to bring down the regime immediately, the army, the only relatively coherent, armed and organised power, moved to depose the king from the throne, which in any case was only half-occupied. The emergence of Nasserist Bonapartism through the coup d'etat in 1952, was not essentially a historical transformation from a regressive social class to a progressive one. Rather it was a slight renovation of the same fatigued social class, by deposing its leadership, without any historical in­terruption.

rooieravotr
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Jul 17 2013 14:09

@Ed: interesting comparison. I think the broad support for the army has to do something with the hope that they can do a Nasser-turn again (parts of the protest movement consider themselves explicitly Nasserist, by the way). Difference: in the fifties, there was considerable more space for reforms through statist means. The life of workers and especially peasants DID improve a bit in the fifties and sixties. I don 't see much space for such improvement under the current military leadership - which may be a reason why the generals want to hand over power quickly to a formally elected leadership - which may get ther blame if things go from bad to worse, which is likely...

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mikail firtinaci
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Jul 17 2013 05:02
rooieravotr wrote:
@Ed: interesting comparison. I think the broad support for the army has to do something with the hope that they can do a Nasser-turn again (parts of the protest movement considers themselves explicitly Basserist, by the way). Difference: in the fifties, there was considerable more space for reforms through statist means. The life of workers and especially peasants DID inprove a bit in the fifties and sixties. I don 't see much space for such improvement under the current military leadership - which may be a reason why the generals want to hand over power quickly to a formally elected leadership - which may get ther blame if things go from bad to worse, which is likely...

This comment is spot on.

A warning about Bonapartism comment though: this manner of explanation have been used a lot by also liberals even in Turkey, which has a slightly similar history. According to that, the army by hindering the further escalation of class struggles, actually regressed the historical process. So, for instance today the left liberals in Turkey (one of whose publishing house recently published 18 Brumaire) claim that the Islamists coming to power is actually a sign of progress. According to that logic, AKP in turkey and MB in Egypt actually represent the analogous of the native bourgeois elements whose coming to power would eventually bring democracy since these can only rely on popular forces against the bonapartist army. Further, their conjectural weaknesses will force to them to make concessions towards workers and eventually these moderate islamic forces will be tamed.

What is absent in these kinds of analysis is the clear fact that, even the islamic bourgeois elements which are politically repressed by the military-secular elites, are economically tied to the state. Unlike it was the case in the 18th century France, today world market is largely shared and not-expanding. So the state is the main consumer which every faction of the bourgeoisie is tied to the neck to a certain extent. They don't have any independent interest than that of the state. So the only concession that islamists might give would and could eventually be towards the state and the army and NOT to the "civil society" or the working class.

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Jul 17 2013 15:16

I agree with that. The arguments of the liberal left, which seems to be very influential in Egypt, need to be fought because they do seem to be taken up by so many in the broad social movement. The degree of support for the army coup among the people gathered in Tahrir is a very grave warning of the danger inherent in the current situation: that Egypt will head towards the Libya/Syria outcome, where social revolt is engulfed by inter-capitalist faction fights, ultimately by inter- imperialist warfare. The working class in Egypt is much stronger than in these two other countries, which is why there is still a great deal of hope in the situation - plus the fact that there is a new wave of rebellion internationally.

This to me makes it even more vital that communists outside Egypt try to engage in discussion with all those inside the country who are critical of the illusions in the army and in democracy generally. The leaflet signed 'Cairo comrades', produced before the coup, seemed to express a class standpoint and it is referenced in the lead article on our website and paper at the moment (http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201307/8946/egypt-highlig...). Does anyone know more about these comrades?

The interview with the Egyptian anarchist published by Mark above is also interesting because he is clearly reflecting on the difficulties of the situation, but he also admits (understandably) to such a deep hatred for the Islamists that it could tempt him off the path. I would say that the anarchist movement there is bound to be very shaky on a number of key issues, not least the whole Israel-Palestine question, any one of which could led some of them towards unholy alliances with the 'left' factions of the ruling class. This is why debate with them is all the more important.

S. Artesian
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Jul 17 2013 15:55

Part of the admiration for the army is the holdover, nostalgia for the Nasser period (which is not coincident with the 1952 coup, but develops from that point and begins to emerge in 1954). Part of the admiration is based on Sadat's crossing of the Nile and defeat of the Israelis in 1973. It's hard to overestimate the significance of that event in the public consciousness.

Of course, it would be nice if people also remembered that the first acts of the military council after taking power in 1952 was to break the strikes in the areas outside of Cairo where workers were in fact appealing to agricultural laborers to join them in struggle. The military summarily executed the strike leaders.

And of course, there's Nasser's repeated arrest, imprisonment, repression of Marxists, big C Communists, with their periodic release ever time he wanted to "tack left."

Anybody have any contact with any group inside Egypt arguing "No military, No Muslim Brotherhood"??

Mark.
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Jul 17 2013 22:11
Alf wrote:
The leaflet signed 'Cairo comrades', produced before the coup, seemed to express a class standpoint and it is referenced in the lead article on our website and paper at the moment (http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201307/8946/egypt-highlig...). Does anyone know more about these comrades?

I don't really know any more, except that they've produced some previous statements:

2011- To the Occupy movement – the occupiers of Tahrir Square are with you

2011- Comrades from Cairo respond to OWS Egypt delegation

2012- Egypt's elections: join our resistance to the counter-revolution

Mark.
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Jul 17 2013 22:56
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There’s violence happening against Christians in Upper Egypt, and neither the interim government nor the opposition — or even the international community — is talking about it. The media only seems to care about what’s happening in the big cities. Christians are dying and their homes are being torched. The Islamists need to be stopped, they are so dangerous in Upper Egypt.

Is any sort of defense of Christians possible, by means other than the army?

No, they’re just leaving their villages.

Sectarian attacks on Copts since the coup, also here

Does anyone know if these attacks are being directly organised or encouraged by the Muslim Brotherhood?

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Khawaga
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Jul 17 2013 23:31

More likely salafi groups, but the MB has been whipping up sectarian tension for some time. There's also a lot of confusing tribal and family tensions in Upper Egypt.

Mark.
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Jul 18 2013 11:24
Ablokeimet
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Jul 18 2013 23:33

A coup or continuation of the revolution? My brief assessment:

(a) There is a revolutionary process occurring in Egypt;

(b) This process was building up into a push to overthrow the Brotherhood's President;

(c) The Army and the feloul decided "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" and decided to join the push to depose Morsi in order to lead it, staging a coup; and

(d) So far, their decision seems to have been spectacularly successful, but economic events will determine the eventual fate of the Army's regime.

S. Artesian
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Jul 19 2013 14:07

It's a coup. The military took power, expelling the previous government. The masses didn't take power. Those demonstrating didn't take power. The same officers who were put in place by Mubarak, and who expelled Mubarak-- and that was a coup also-- are in control the government apparatus. Call it what you want, call it ice-cream if you like, but it's still a coup.

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Jul 19 2013 15:07

How can we call what's happening in Egypt a revolution? Can we do so because there are large numbers of people protesting? Can we do so because they want to switch political regimes? Most of these switches have been orchestrated by state actors. It wasn't the work of the Egyptian proletariat. And nor could it have been that way. I mean, what are they supposed to do? Construct a participatory democratic state to administer Egyptian capitalism?

Their won't be a genuine revolution in Egypt until the vast majority of the proletariat there consciously unite on the basis of a communist program. And that's the thing. It doesn't seem to be on the agenda there. They don't have too many alternatives. It just seems to me that for a while, regimes are going to go back and forth with the complete dissatisfaction and disappointment of the masses. Unless a class perspective is infused into the consciousness of the populace, to not just provide some direction, but provide an alternative to what they have now: Islamism or secularism.

Mark.
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Jul 28 2013 23:09

Statement by the Libertarian Socialists (just a machine translation, I think)

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Statement from Fatma Ramadan of the EFITU

My comrades, the workers of Egypt are struggling for their rights and for a better Egypt. Egypt’s workers dream of freedom and social justice, they dream of work at a time when thieves who are called businessmen close down factories to pocket billions. Egypt’s workers dream of fair wages under the rule of a governments that are only interested in promoting investment at the expense of workers and their rights, and even their lives. Egypt’s workers dream of a better life for their children. They dream of medicine when they are sick, but they do not find it. They dream of four walls in which they can take shelter.

Since before the 25th of January and you have been demanding your rights, and your strikes and demonstrations for the same unanswered demands continued after Mubarak’s overthrow. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military have negotiated left, right and centre, not once having in mind your demands and rights. All they have in mind is how to put out the sparks you have lit with your struggle in times of darkness, even these sparks all burned in isolation from each other.

Did not the military forcibly end your strikes in Suez, Cairo, Fayyoum, and all over Egypt ? Did not the military arrest many of you and subject you to military trials just for practising your right to organize, strike, and protest peacefully? Have they not adamantly worked to criminalize this right through legislation banning all Egyptians from organizing peaceful protests, strikes, and sit-ins?

Then came Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who followed in Mubarak’s footsteps with dismissals, arrests, and smashing strikes by force. It was Mursi who sent police dogs against workers at Titan Cement in Alexandria, acting through the Minister of the Interior and his men. The same police and army officers who are right now being carried shoulder-high are killers, the killers of honest, young Egyptians. They are the authorities’ weapon against us all – and always will remain so unless these institutions are cleansed.

The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are planning crimes against Egyptian people on a daily basis, which have caused the killing of innocent people, while the army and the police are facing these with brutal violence and murder. But let each of us remember, when do the army and police intervene? They intervene long after clashes have begun and are almost coming to an end, after blood has been spilled. Ask yourselves, why don’t they prevent these crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian people before they start? Ask yourselves, in whose interest is this continuation of fighting and blood-letting? It is in the interest of both the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military together. Just as the poor are cannon-fodder for wars between states, Egypt’s poor, workers and peasants, are fuel for internal war and conflict. Has not the doorman’s innocent son been killed in Mokattam, and in Giza as well?

Today, we have been asked to go out and authorize Al-Sisi’s killing spree, and we find all three trade union federations in agreement: the government’ Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) (of which I am a member of the Executive Committee). I debated with members of the EFITU executive committee in order to convince them not to issue a statement calling on its members and the Egyptian people to go down on Friday, confirming that the army, the police, and the people are one hand as stated in the statement. I was in the minority, winning four other votes versus nine votes, and thus all three trade union federations called for workers to join the protests on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

We are thus faced with jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. The Muslim Brotherhood committed crimes and it must be held accountable and prosecuted for them, just like police and army officers and men of the Mubarak regime must be held accountable and prosecuted for their crimes. Do not be fooled into replacing a religious dictatorship with a military dictatorship.

Workers of Egypt, be aware, for your demands are crystal clear. You want work for you and your children, you want fair pay, laws that protect your rights against the laws that the businessmen of Mubarak have designed to protect their interests against your rights. You want a state which has a real plan for development, opening new factories in order to absorb a growing labour force. You want freedom, freedom of all kinds, freedom to organize, freedom to strike. You want a country where you can live as free citizens without torture or murder. You have to specify what stands between you and these demands. Do not be fooled and let them take you to battles not your own. Do not listen to those who ask of you today and tomorrow to stop pressing for these demands and rights on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Fatma Ramadan

Member of the Executive Bureau of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions Friday, July 26, 2013

teh
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Jul 29 2013 02:39
Quote:
The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood are planning crimes against Egyptian people on a daily basis, which have caused the killing of innocent people, while the army and the police are facing these with brutal violence and murder. But let each of us remember, when do the army and police intervene? They intervene long after clashes have begun and are almost coming to an end, after blood has been spilled. Ask yourselves, why don’t they prevent these crimes committed by the Muslim Brotherhood against the Egyptian people before they start? Ask yourselves, in whose interest is this continuation of fighting and blood-letting? It is in the interest of both the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood and the military together. Just as the poor are cannon-fodder for wars between states, Egypt’s poor, workers and peasants, are fuel for internal war and conflict. Has not the doorman’s innocent son been killed in Mokattam, and in Giza as well?

This has been the line of the civilian face of the current junta, like El-Baradei, since the coup- the MB are sending people out to their deaths, as if mass shootings are a natural consequence of holding a sit-in or blocking a major bridge to traffic. And there is a difference between people killed in street fighting between the MB and its opponents and the army shooting hundreds in the past weeks.

The "where are the army and police" remark is also a common refrain to call for "stability". For instance literary hours before the Saturday army mass killings in Cairo prominent RS member Gigi Ibrahim wrote on her twitter:

Also worth noting on a related note that the president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Kamal Abu Eita, has been appointed Labor (or manpower) Minister. He was one of the founders and president of the first independent trade union in Egypt (of the tax collectors). The former Labor Minister under military rule before Mursi Ahmad El-Borei has also been given a ministry. http://www.ituc-csi.org/egypt-labour-minister-appointment?lang=en The head of the ITUC quoted in that article calls on "the international community and progressive forces around the world [need] to show solidarity to help the interim authorities to tackle the crisis” to fight "terrorism." The ITUC participated in the founding of the EFITU and they have close ties.

Mark.
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Jul 29 2013 11:04
teh wrote:
Also worth noting on a related note that the president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, Kamal Abu Eita, has been appointed Labor (or manpower) Minister...

Already quoted above but maybe worth repeating as it refers to this, and also a split in the EFITU executive:

Jano Charbel wrote:

Shortly after the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces deposed Morsi on July 3, the presidency of the EFITU issued a statement praising the Armed Forces and their role in the “June 30 revolution,” while also calling on workers to forfeit their right to strike. EFITU President Kamal Abu Eita wrote that “workers who were champions of the strike under the previous regime should now become champions of production.”

But Abu Eita, named the new minister of manpower on Monday by interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, isn’t the only representative of the independent unions movement.

On July 10, EFITU council member Fatma Ramadan issued a rebuttal to Abu Eita’s statement. Ramadan insisted that “Egypt’s workers must never sacrifice their right to strike.”

Ramadan told Mada Masr that Abu Eita unilaterally issued his statement without conferring with other EFITU council members.

“As a union federation our role must be to uphold all workers’ rights, including the right to strike. Workers can reclaim their rights and freedoms only if they retain their right to strike — as a weapon by which to confront labor violations and employers’ abuses,” Ramadan says. “As unionists, we cannot possibly call on workers to protect the interests of businessmen by forfeiting labor rights under the pretext of bolstering the national economy.”

Ramadan views the June 30 movement as “an uprising-turned-coup. It lacks both a unified leadership and clear aims. SCAF, along with right-wing elements and remnants of the Mubarak regime, appear to be taking over this movement, and may turn June 30 from an uprising to a counter-revolution.”

On Friday, July 26, Fatma Ramadan wrote:
Today, we have been asked to go out and authorize Al-Sisi’s killing spree, and we find all three trade union federations in agreement: the government’ Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the Egyptian Democratic Labour Congress (EDLC), and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) (of which I am a member of the Executive Committee). I debated with members of the EFITU executive committee in order to convince them not to issue a statement calling on its members and the Egyptian people to go down on Friday, confirming that the army, the police, and the people are one hand as stated in the statement. I was in the minority, winning four other votes versus nine votes, and thus all three trade union federations called for workers to join the protests on the pretext of fighting terrorism.

So the majority of the executive are backing Kamal Abu Eita - and the army.

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Alf
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Jul 29 2013 16:06

These developments show how difficult it is to defend a position of class autonomy in the present situation. Ramadan's reaction is interesting but he's clearly in a minority and the evolution of the 'Independent Trade Union' towards backing the army has an air of inevitability about it.
It's good that Mark linked to the statement by the Libertarian Socialism Movement. It does seem to be openly and equally against both Morsi and the army. The rejection of calls to mobilise for civil war is particularly important. It's difficult to say given the horrible machine translation but it has some noticeable 'chinks in the armour', such as the idea that the bourgeoisie is betraying the revolution (which might have made sense in 1848) and worse still betraying the 'homeland'. This would make the group highly vulnerable to attempts to mobilise against the 'Zionist enemy' - which has been a strategy of the Egyptian ruling class (and of leftism) in previous periods of class upsurge, such as the 1970s.
Does anyone know anything more about the group that calls itself the 'Third Square', which has organised small demos critical of both the army and the Muslim Brotherhood?
http://www.france24.com/en/20130729-egypt-third-square-activists-reject-...

rooieravotr
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Jul 29 2013 22:04

Alf:

Quote:
Does anyone know anything more about the group that calls itself the 'Third Square', which has organised small demos critical of both the army and the Muslim Brotherhood?

It does not seem top be a well-defined group, more an iniotiative of those who are against botg Morsi and the Army.

Quote:
The group announced via Facebook that they are not against the army but against the military rule because the army has a greater role in protecting the nation and its borders and fighting terrorism.

They aim to create what they believe to be a third square to stand against religious fascism and military rule, calling for a civil state. They are also planning to return to Sphinx Square at 9pm as a part of a series of planned demonstrations.

"The Third Square" group includes members of Salafist preacher Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail's Hazemoon, Revolutionary Socialists, the April 6th Youth Movement and Salafyo Costa group as well as independent activists.

Source:
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/77475/Egypt/Politics-/Egypts-Third-Square-protesters-denounce-army,-Mors.aspx

Mark.
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Jul 30 2013 09:36

There's a report by Sarah Carr about Third Square here.

Also:

rooieravotr
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Jul 30 2013 12:51

http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/between-tahrir-and-rabaa-third-square

Quote:
twice now - once on Friday and again on Sunday - a grassroots group of young revolutionaries from a number of groups involved in the January 25, 2011 uprising have gathered at the Sphinx Square in Giza to voice their disapproval of both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.

and

Quote:
While the numbers at the group’s earlier Sphinx Square protest don't begin to compare the number of people seen at Tahrir Square or the sit-in in Nasr City, it is starting to gain some attention. Its Facebook page has over 11,000 "Like" and is growing.

rooieravotr
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Jul 31 2013 01:05

More pleasantries from Siss 's new regime

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/29/egypt-restores-secret-police-units

Quote:
Egypt's state security investigations service, Mabahith Amn ad-Dawla, a wing of the police force under President Mubarak, and a symbol of police oppression, was supposedly closed in March 2011 – along with several units within it that investigated Islamist groups and opposition activists. The new national security service (NSS) was established in its place.

But following Saturday's massacre of at least 83 Islamists, interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced the reinstatement of the units, and referred to the NSS by its old name. He added that experienced police officers sidelined in the aftermath of the 2011 revolution would be brought back into the fold.

Mark.
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Aug 2 2013 23:38
Quote:

A new rash of strikes across the Egyptian textile industry shows the challenges faced by the military-backed government installed in the wake of Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow.

The new government has been in power less than a month, but workers’ protests are already on the rise. This is the result of the continuation of the same anti-worker policies which pushed Egyptians into organising the largest number of protests anywhere in the world last year and was the main factor behind the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime.

Workers at Nasr Spinning and Weaving Company in Mahalla walked out on strike on 31 July in protest at delays in paying their wages, and the failure to pay 3 months of their annual profit-sharing bonus in time for Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the same demands are behind a twelve-day strike by workers at Stia Spinning and Weaving Company, while protests by workers at Misr Spinning and Bayda Dyers in Kafr al-Dawwar have reached day four. In Damietta, workers and the Damietta Spinning Company walked out over the same demands.

http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2013/08/01/egypt-textile-strikes-put-pr...

Quote:

Workers at the giant Misr Spinning complex in Mahalla al-Kubra staged a lightning strike today, demanding 2 days paid holiday over the Eid-al-Fitr festival and the payment of part of their annual profit-sharing bonus. The strike was sparked by a notice from the publicly-owned mill’s management, restricting the Eid holiday to 1 day, and refusing to pay out the bonus.

Within 8 hours, management had climbed down, agreeing to pay one and half months of the profit-sharing bonus and increasing the Eid holiday to 5 days.

According to Kamal al-Fayyoumi, one of the leaders of the strike, workers also raised wider demands in a memorandum submitted to the military governor in Mahalla two weeks ago. These included the dissolution of the official union in the factory, which is run by State Security, the dismissal of Fuad Abdel-Alim, chair of the Textiles Holding Company and the return of the company to management by the Ministry of Industry.

The current wave of strikes in the textile industry poses a major challenge to the military-backed government led by Hazem al-Beblawi, which took office after the downfall of Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi. The new Minister of Labour, Kamal Abu Aita, was until a few weeks ago, president of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions. Despite his promises of far-reaching social reforms, workers in the textile industry have found their pay cut or delayed just as they did before Morsi’s overthrow. So thousands have taken matters into their own hands in order to force their bosses to back down.

http://menasolidaritynetwork.com/2013/08/01/egypt-mahalla-workers-win/

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armillaria
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Aug 5 2013 06:30

It's kinda sorta like that time the U.S. military overthrew their own puppet regime in Vietnam and let Diem get assassinated, to try and diffuse popular rage so they could keep controlling things from behind the scenes, but then got their asses kicked anyway. (Except, by a guerrilla movement that wound up being dominated by Stalinists.)

Khawaga - could you point me towards reading that would explain more about how the MB has its cadres organized?

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Entdinglichung
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Aug 5 2013 08:28

don't know how accurate this is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Brotherhood_in_Egypt#Organization ... a friend who had studied Middle Eastern history said, that many Islamist orgs do combine features of a modern "western" cadre party with features of the more rigidly organized Sufi tariqahs