THE bloodbath in Egypt last Wednesday, which saw hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood cut down in cold blood by the Egyptian army, was the outcome of their inability to form a government able to stamp its authority on the working class.
It was the powerful Egyptian working class and youth that stood against the military dictatorship of Husni Mubarak and forced its removal in 2011, not the army or the Muslim Brotherhood which conspicuously abstained from the struggle.
The plan by the Egyptian bourgeoisie, fully supported by their imperialist backers, was to hold what was virtually a snap election, giving no time for the insurgent working class to organise, in order to ensure that one of their members would emerge with a supposedly ‘democratic’ majority.
In Mursi’s presidential campaign he pledged to ‘stand up for democracy’ and unite the people while at the same time promising to ‘preserve’ the military.
Mursi kept to his promise to preserve the military – after replacing the old Mubarak army leadership with his own appointee, General al-Sisi, they were allowed to carry on as usual, that is being funded by US imperialism to the tune of $1.3 billion a year in return for which they carried on as an auxiliary of the Israeli army, policing the borders on behalf of the Zionist state.
As for the promise of standing up for democracy, that went out the window immediately as Mursi set about attacking the working class and its trade unions.
Using laws that dated back to the Mubarak era, trade union leaders were jailed for three years for leading strikes on the docks at Alexandria – this was subsequently overturned by a court which affirmed the right of Egyptian workers to strike.
Mursi had earlier tried to introduce laws which denied the courts any right of veto on his decrees.
This jailing of dockers’ leaders was just one example of the campaign to illegalise strikes and occupations by workers, a campaign that led to trade union leaders being brought before the law and strikes condemned as acts of ‘terrorism’ against the state.
Having brought down Mubarak, the working class was not prepared to submit to Mursi, and 18 million workers and youth took to the squares and streets in a mass movement that created a huge crisis for the bourgeoisie and forced the army to step in with a coup to oust Mursi.
The army intervened out of fear that the working class would bring down Mursi and go forward to a workers government that would have to make inroads on Egyptian capitalism – a government that would be forced to carry out the re-nationalisation of Egyptian industry, force through pay rises, healthcare and implement educational and democratic changes for the benefit of the people.
It was to stop this that the army, with the blessing of the US and British governments, carried out the coup, described by John Kerry as ‘democratic’.
In effect, what we are witnessing is two wings of the bourgeoisie fighting it out between themselves, a war that is the product of the fact that the Egyptian bourgeois has come too late on the scene of history, and is too weak to solve the problems of Egyptian capitalism and deal with a powerful working class that has been revolutionised by the world crisis.
What is confirmed most powerfully by these events is that the only force capable of uniting the nation is the working class.
The working class, having dealt with Mubarak and Mursi, will not accept any new regime of the army which will just represent a return to the era of Mubarak.
Workers must now enter the open struggle for a workers government, based on the unity of the working class and the rural poor. This struggle, by the most advanced working class in the region, will be a powerful blow for the socialist revolution throughout North Africa and beyond.
This is why now is the time to build a section of the Fourth International in Egypt to organise the taking of power by the working class and the socialist revolution in Egypt and Palestine, and throughout the region.