THE Egyptian revolution moved into a decisive stage yesterday with the announcement by the election committee overseeing the recent final run-off for president that it would not be announcing the result until next Saturday.
The two candidates, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafiq, the military’s candidate, both claimed victory, although it is significant that Shafiq produced no voting figures to substantiate his claim.
This delay in declaring Morsi an outright winner reflects the feverish debate being conducted amongst the military about how best to proceed in crushing the revolutionary uprising of workers, led by the youth, that ended the forty-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.
The choice facing the military is to either go for broke and declare Shafiq the winner and unleash the full might of the military against an enraged and united revolutionary movement of workers and young people.
The other option being considered by the military is to draw back from an inevitable open confrontation, with the entire nation on the streets and squares of the big cities, and go for a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, to enter a partnership in which the Islamists would be very much the junior partner but enjoy a figurehead presidency.
Under this deal the military would allow Morsi to claim victory and assume the position of president but he would be a puppet president, jumping to the commands of the military and their imperialist backers, who would then be able to crack down on the masses of the revolutionary youth and the working class in the trade unions.
The preparations for this scenario were revealed last week when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the parliamentary elections that gave the Muslim Brotherhood a majority in the new parliament were unconstitutional and the parliament, therefore, was declared illegitimate.
Under this ruling, the powers of parliament reverted to the military in the form of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces.
Either by an open and immediate confrontation to drive back the revolution or through drawing the Muslim Brotherhood into a counter-revolutionary alliance, the military and their imperialist backers are determined to smash the Egyptian revolution.
Alternatively, the powerful Egyptian working class and youth have no intention of giving up the gains of the revolution and will in their millions bar the road to an open military-police dictatorship, with an enormous surge of the revolutionary forces.
What is at issue is how this struggle will be waged with the prospect of success.
It is clear that there can be no transition from what was essentially a semi-feudal military police state through to a ‘democratic’ capitalist state, the path taken historically by the first capitalist nations in the West – a path that was decisively ended by the Russian Revolution in 1917.
The democratic yearnings of the working class and the many millions of the rural poor in Egypt and the rest of the semi-colonial world cannot be achieved under capitalism.
Trotsky made this clear in his work Permanent Revolution when he wrote: ‘The democratic tasks of the backward bourgeois nations leads directly, in our epoch, to the dictatorship of the proletariat and that the dictatorship of the proletariat puts socialist tasks on the order of the day.’
In short, the historic tasks of the bourgeois revolution in Egypt and throughout the Middle East can only be carried out through the working class, with the support of the rural poor, taking the power and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in order to carry out democratic and socialist measures as part of the world socialist revolution.
To carry this out the working class requires a revolutionary party at its head. The vital necessity today is the building of a section of the International Committee of the Fourth International in Egypt.