HUNDREDS of thousands of Egyptian workers and youth gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square yesterday to mark one year since the start of the revolution which toppled President Husni Mubarak, but has left his repressive military apparatus and legislation intact.
The Mubarak dictatorship has been replaced by the military (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) in a growing alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The working class remains deprived of its rights, and is determined to continue the revolution until it gets them.
The revolutionary mood was emphasised by workers who told the media: ‘The Egyptian army killed us in Tahrir and I am not afraid to say it.
‘The army and police murdered us and tried to cut off the revolution’s voice; but I am telling you now, the revolution’s voice will not be silenced.’
This sentiment was echoed by groups who chanted ‘Down with military rule’ and ‘Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets’.
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the effective head of state, said on Tuesday that the state of emergency, which has been in place in Egypt almost continuously since 1967, is to be lifted, only to contradict himself in the next sentence by saying ‘the law will still be applied in cases of “thuggery” ’, which workers and youth understood to be a reference to trade unions, strikers and demonstrators in general.
In fact, after Mubarak’s removal the military widened the emergency legislation to include banning strikes, banning demonstrations that halted the traffic and banning spreading socialist propaganda, renamed as the ‘offence’ of ‘spreading false information.’
A Labour Congress last Monday demanded ‘the right of the Egyptian workers to establish independent and democratic trade unions capable of defending the workers’ rights and improve their work conditions and circumstances. . . unions which are subject only to the workers’ will.’
It added: ‘The Egyptian workers who were deprived for tens of years from the right of association and whose independent unions and trade union movement were jeopardised, escalated their strikes during the past five years in unprecedented rates because, very simply, they lacked the presence of trade unions as a tool to express their interests and negotiate on them.
‘The Egyptian workers were forced to sit-in and sleep with their families and children in the street in front of the People’s Assembly for days and months looking for someone to hear their voice. . .
‘The Egyptian workers withdrew confidence from the state-organised Egyptian Trade Union Federation, applied to stop their membership and tried in vain to stop cutting subscriptions off their monthly salaries. . . Those workers are the genuine party in the conflict. They are the owners of the right which nobody could waiver or compromise. . . their right to establish independent trade unions.’
Conference demanded: ‘the abolition of the infamous law on trade unions No. 35/1976 and its amendments and the adoption of the Law on Trade Union Freedoms, which guarantees the right of association and encourages the formation of trade unions.’
Yesterday 50 groups published their manifesto vowing to ‘complete the unfinished revolution’ and to march on the parliament to demand ‘bread, freedom, and social justice.’
Egyptian workers are right to fight to complete the Egyptian revolution, in a situation where over 80 million workers and peasants have no life and no rights.
At a time when capitalism as a world system is in its death agony the bourgeoisie cannot establish bourgeois democracy and the basic democratic rights as it did in parts of western Europe.
The most they can achieve is a renewed military dictatorship partnered by the Muslim Brotherhood to try to keep the working class at bay.
To win its basic democratic rights the working class must lead the many millions of rural poor in a socialist revolution to smash capitalism, and all the remnants of pre-capitalist society, to go forward to a socialist republic, based on the leading role of the working class in alliance with the rural poor.
This is part of the perspective of the permanent revolution. To carry it out the working class requires a revolutionary party at its head. A section of the International Committee of the Fourth International must be established in Egypt without delay.