Support the Workers’ Movement in Egypt!

By Toma Hamid

25th of October 2011

The international bourgeois class show a good level of unity and cooperation in dealing with the challenges it is faced with. This class is particularly united and vigorous in its response whenever and wherever there is any danger on the capitalist regime. The bourgeoisie has numerous organizations, tools and platforms to unite the ranks and forge a united response to challenges. The United Nations and its agencies, the Security Council, the G8, the G20, Euro Zone, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Council of Europe, the Arab League, the African Union, the Organization of American States, Caribbean Community, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and many more are just some of the political organizations and tools. While IMF, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement and hundreds other financial organizations and development banks are used for economic coordination, to protect the interest of the bourgeoisie and to deal with its challenges. The International Court of Justice, European Court of Human rights, the international Criminal Court and various law enforcement agencies like the Interpol are some of the bodies which make sure that the law which serves the interest of the capital is observed. These, in addition to hundreds more global public policy networks, giant media outlets and opinion manufacturing institutions are examples of the organizations, tools and platforms used by the bourgeoisie to unite its ranks and coordinate its response to various challenges. Because of this high level of cooperation and communication, the international bourgeoisie is sensitive to the hardships, which face their class in the smallest and the farthest parts of the world.

Despite differences and conflict of interests among various capitalist forces, states and blocs there is strong consensus on protecting the overall capitalist regime everywhere. The international bourgeois class constantly intervenes economically, politically and even militarily in various countries in favour of its class allies. This is more so during periods of change. During periods of political turbulence and regime change in any country, the world bourgeois class concentrates its effort and support for its own representatives to guarantee that any new regime erected best serves its interests. NATOs involvement in Libya was the latest example. During times of stability, it dictates the policies, which serve its interests on the different societies through various institutions like IMF and their local class allies.

On the other hand, the working class lacks this level of unity and cooperation. Its intervening tools and methods are very limited with the current level of coordination. The world working class lacks platforms and bodies to organize its response to the challenges that it faces generally or to those that face the working class in any particular country. During the current revolutions, which sweep the Middle East and North Africa, lack of intervention by the international working class has been striking. Due to isolation and lack of communication there is a lack of sensitivity to the questions, which face the working class in other countries.

No doubt, there is constant class struggle going on in every capitalist society, which can be concealed or overt, intense or not so intense. However, the class struggle in certain countries, and at certain junctures, can sometime be crucial and very decisive for the working class worldwide. The class struggle in Egypt today is crucial. The victory and the defeat of the working class in this struggle will have huge impacts on the struggle of the working class worldwide. The most important reason as to why the struggle of the working class in Egypt is so decisive is because Egypt, which is a medium size country, is passing through a revolutionary and unstable period and the fate of this revolution is yet to be decided. The class struggle is more transparent. The working class today is widely and actively involved in the struggle, although it is mainly for the urgent economic demands and less for political change. This class is in a revolutionary spirit and has shown strong revolutionary will and high vigilance against the ruling class and counter revolutionary forces. The working class in Egypt enjoys a good level of organization. The establishment of over 150 independent trade unions in the months following the revolution is an indication of this. In fact, the working class had enjoyed significant levels of organization prior to the revolution. This is what differentiates the working class in Egypt from the working class in other countries in region.

In Egypt, the working class is less influenced by the right wing international and local forces in comparison to the working class in many parts of the world. The ability of the Western governments and NATO to intervene is restricted to a certain degree. The most effective method of intervention to impact and shape the course of the revolution in the interest of the bourgeoisie is the military intervension, and this has not been allowed in Egypt because of the level of organization of the working class and the size of its participation in the struggle. The overthrowing of the Mubarak regime did not come through military action but through the progression of a prevalent revolution where the working class has played a crucial role. The ability of international and regional forces to intervene, even politically, in favour of the counter revolutionary forces is, to an extent, limited. The Islamic, tribal, liberal and pro-West forces have less influence on the working class in comparison to many other societies in the region. The working class has realized that the overthrowing of Mubarak has not brought about significant economic and political reform and has not put an end to poverty, the absence of basic rights and freedoms. It is becoming obvious that the rhetoric of the ruling class on human rights and democracy is hollow, therefore the working class has continued its revolutionary struggle after the overthrowing of Mubarak in order to impose its social, economic and political demands. Workers in Egypt are making progression on levels of organization and methods of struggle. However there is still no capable and organized political force with a clear perspective, which represents the will of the majority of workers, toilers, youth and women. There is still no worker-communist party, which can lead the working class to victory.

Clearly, the foundations of the bourgeois system in the Arab world have sustained a serious blow. The world capitalist system is in permanent crisis and the ability of the ruling class to intervene is nowhere as strong as it was a decade ago. The truck record of the bourgeois superpowers and their previous interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya exposes all their claims in regards to democracy and human rights. Therefore, the possibility of each of the two major classes, the working class or the bourgeois class, succeeding in Egypt is still open. There is still possibility for the working class struggle in Egypt to progress and achieve significant gains and improve the social status of the working class and its political weight in the society. This will have huge impacts on the struggle of the working class in the region and the world. If the revolutionary struggle in Egypt develops into a socialist revolution that overthrows the capitalist system and establishes a socialist regime, it will change the fate of the region and probably the entire humanity. On the other hand there is a possibility that the ruling class in Egypt, with the assistance of the world bourgeoisie, succeeds to contain the struggle of the working class after making some economic and political concessions and maintaining its grip on power. The revolution can be reduced, on an economic level, to few concessions like increasing the wages for organized sections of the working class, allowing trade unions to operate and so on. On a political level it can reduce the revolution to organizing some forms of elections among extremely reactionary forces portrayed to represent various sections of society, following a well orchestrated process which encourages the primitive identities and affiliation based on religion, ethnicity and tribe and empowers reactionary elements and forces in the society and marginalizes the working class and progressive forces. This is the scenario for Iraq and Afghanistan. If this scenario is realized, there will be a real danger of a brute and bloody oppression against the working class, where the army and the other oppression apparatuses openly defend the legitimacy of the regime. This outcome will have extremely negative impacts on the working classes in the region and worldwide. What makes this a real possibility is the fact that the bourgeoisie is organized and experienced so that even amid the circumstances created by the revolution, where millions of people deeply discontent with the entire regime have participated are able to mobilize its forces, put forward a representative, deceive, oppress and eventually stay in power.

In brief, the working class is still in fierce struggle for a better life, the class struggle in Egypt is more transparent, the working class is better organized and the fate of the political power is yet to be decided. The ability of the international bourgeois class to intervene is declining. The working class can be a serious contender on the future of the political regime in Egypt. The future of the revolution in Egypt will have huge impact on the entire region and the world.

Despite the current crisis, the bourgeois forces and governments are doing their best to end this struggle in their favour and shape the future of the bourgeois political regime in the region. The working class worldwide is yet to intervene effectively and show strong solidarity with the working class in Egypt. The revolutionary movement in Egypt and its struggle is decisive because unlike many other movements around the world, the working class and its struggle methods are an integral part of this movement. Therefore, all labour and progressive organizations, labour leaders and activists and people seeking a better future for humanity should stand behind the revolutionary movement and the working class in Egypt. There are many methods and ways to support the working class in Egypt in its current crucial struggle. We already have the Campaign in Solidarity with Workers’ Movement in Egypt, which should be supported and strengthened. A successful solidarity movement can work as a springboard to build the organizations, tools and platforms necessary for the working class to unite its ranks and enhance cooperation among its forces.



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