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latest news

 CWI 11th World Congress
Upheaval of traditional European political framework

12/02/2016: Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

  CWI, Europe

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction

12/02/2016: Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

  Ireland North

 11th CWI World Congress
A World in turmoil

11/02/2016: Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

  Africa, Asia, CWI, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, US, World Economy

Hong Kong
‘Fishball Revolution’!

10/02/2016: Brutal policing must be condemned

  Hong Kong

Ethiopia
Hunger and deadly repression

09/02/2016: Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

  Africa

Greece
Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions

09/02/2016: All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

  Greece

Africa
New political storms and mass struggles

08/02/2016: Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

  Africa

Spain
A break in the political establishment

07/02/2016: December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

  Spain

US
#Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country

06/02/2016: Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

  US

Brazil
Devastating outbreak of Zika virus

04/02/2016: Another healthcare system failure

  Brazil

Pakistan
PIA strike continues despite state repression

04/02/2016: Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

  Pakistan

US
Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie

03/02/2016: “It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

  US

Japan
Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”

03/02/2016: Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

  Japan

 Greece
Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory

02/02/2016: Solidarity campaign needed!

  Greece, Solidarity

World Economy
Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters

02/02/2016: Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

  World Economy

Egypt
Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising

01/02/2016: Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

  Egypt

India
Justice for Rohit Vemula

31/01/2016: Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

  India, US

Britain
Fractured politics

29/01/2016: A volatile mix

  Britain

Tunisia
Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests

22/01/2016: Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

  Tunisia

China
Kidnapping and TV show-trials

21/01/2016: “China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

  China

Venezuela
Right-wing landslide

20/01/2016: First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

  Venezuela

Leningrad
‘Hero City’

19/01/2016: 900 days of siege in World War Two

  History, Russia

Britain
Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed

19/01/2016: Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

  Britain

US
Socialist response to State of the Union 2016

15/01/2016: Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

  US

 South Africa
Campus workers strike against outsourcing

14/01/2016: For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

  Africa, Solidarity, South Africa

Britain
Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum

12/01/2016: Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

  Britain

Scotland
Politicians have a choice

11/01/2016: Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

  Scotland

Sweden/Denmark
Closing borders

07/01/2016: The EU’s nightmare continues

  Denmark, Sweden

 Pakistan
Nestle workers solidarity campaign update

06/01/2016: Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

  Pakistan, Solidarity

 Taiwan
Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike

05/01/2016: Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

  Solidarity, Taiwan

Egypt

Revolutionary masses move to overthrow Mubarak dictatorship

www.socialistworld.net, 28/01/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Regime deploys army on streets to try to crush mass movement

Niall Mulholland, CWI

Mass protests spread across Egypt following today’s Friday prayers, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year presidency. Demonstrations took place in Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Sharqiya and Cairo. In many cases, clashes occured between protesters and police. Police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. In areas like Alexandria and Suez, the movement reached insurrectionary proportions, with police and security forces retreating from parts of the cities in the face of mass resistance.

These are the largest protests since the ‘food riots’ in 1977, when the Sadat regime was forced to lower food prices, as well as stepping up repression. But today’s movement is on a much greater scale. It is an enormous popular revolt of revolutionary character.

Protests on Thursday saw demonstrators attempting to set fire to a local office of the ruling National Democratic Party. There were reports earlier this week of attempts by the protesters to fraternise with and to win over police. “Brothers! Brothers! How much do they pay you!” protesters said to police ranks in Cairo.

The protesters are showing enormous courage in confronting the might of the state machinery. In some cases, demonstrators are forcing the police to retreat. It is reported that protesters took over a police station in Alexandria and that the “police have now given up fighting the protesters. The police and protesters are now talking, with protesters bringing water and vinegar (for teargas) to the police” (Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch, in Alexandria).

Events are moving at a dizzying speed, as the masses enter the stage of politics. The next hours and days are crucial and could see Mubarak overthrown. It remains to be seen if the state apparatus of repression can withstand the tidal wave of mass protest. The potential role of the army, on the streets or behind the scenes, is currently unclear. At the time of writing, it is reported that riot police in Alexandria were overwhelmed by protesters, who have armed themselves with police riot shields, and that police commanders have lost contact with their subordinates. In Suez, protesters seized police arms and broke into police vans. Two police stations were seized and prisoners released.

Police and army

Demonstrators instinctively made an appeal to the rank and file soldiers and police. Protesters in Cairo chanted slogans calling for the army to support them: "Where is the army? Come and see what the police is doing to us. We want the army. We want the army" An Al Jazerra reporter said protesters jumped and cheered beside an armoured army van, with the soldiers taking no action.

Socialists would add a class appeal to the rank and file army and police, who are mainly drawn from the working class and poor. This would include a call to create their own rank and file committees of action and to purge the officers and hierarchy, thereby fundamentally undermining and neutralising the security forces as a tool of repression for Mubarak.

If the disintegration or partial disintegration of the police seen in Alexandria and Suez today was to spread and be replicated across Egypt, the Mubarak regime would collapse. However, severely wounded by today’s extraordinary events on the streets, the Mubarak regime is now fighting to save its life and can unleash even greater savage repression. Mubarak called on the army to take control of security, indicating he has no confidence the police are capable of holding the line. Indeed, the police in Cairo were unable to quell the street protests.

The regime is attempting to crush the mass movement, imposing a curfew tonight, shutting down most of the internet and sending security forces to Al Jazeera local offices. The army are being deployed on the streets, including army tanks. Some sections of the demonstrators may see the army as potential saviours but this will quickly turn into its opposite should soldiers now be used to brutally prevent further opposition protests.

Events are unfolding fast, and as we publish it remains to be seen how the mass movement responds to these new developments. Will greater regime repression - the “whip of counter-revolution” - lead to even more protests and more steely determination by the masses to overthrow Mubarak? Will the army rank and file go over to the protesters? Or will the brute force of the state see the mass movement temporarily set back?

Even if Mubarak manages to hang on to power, for the moment, and brutally see off the street protests, today’s incredible events – a rising of the masses – means the regime is mortally wounded. Mubarak’s days in power are numbered, and it is no longer possible for the regime to continue to rule in the same old ways.

Today’s demonstrations mark the fourth consecutive day of protests in Egypt, which emulate the mass revolt in neighbouring Tunisia. So far, at least seven people have died in the unrest in Egypt and the police arrested thousands. A spokesperson for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said that twenty members of his organisation were arrested on Thursday, including senior leaders.

The regime attempted to crack down on today’s planned demonstrations by blocking internet and mobile phone access. But before blocking the internet, activists were able to use social networking to call for protesters to go to mosques and churches today. The regime also warned that an ‘elite special counterterrorism force’ would be deployed at strategic points around Cairo.

This week’s desperate actions by the Mubarak regime shows it has long been losing its social base of support. Around 30% of Egypt’s 80 million-strong population is under 20 years old, with the average age of just 24 years. This week’s events amply illustrates that working people and youth have lost their fear of the regime. Veteran journalist, Robert Fisk, commented, “they are no longer afraid…Mubarak’s men seem to have lost all sense of initiative…the filth and the slums, the open sewers and the corruption of every government official, the bulging prisons, the laughable elections, the whole vast, sclerotic edifice of power has at last brought Egyptians on to their streets” (Independent, London, 28/01/11).

Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood lagged behind the events of this week. Its leaders prevaricated over whether to support the movement or not. The Brotherhood then ran to catch up with the youth on the streets, attempting to take the initiative today and backing protests following Friday prayers. Protesters are heard chanting, “God is great!” leaving mosques after Friday prayers. Fisk comments that “This is not an Islamic uprising” warning, however, “though it could become one”. He adds, that for the moment “…it is just one mass of Egyptians stifled by decades of failure and humiliation”.

Although recent years have seen impressive strikes and the creation of several independent unions, so far the Egyptian working class has not entered the struggle as an independent organised mass force, stamping its authority on events and giving a clear class lead to overthrow the Mubarak regime. A general strike call now would get overwhelming backing and bring society to a standstill. Elected committees of mass struggle, in the workplaces, communities, schools and colleges, linked on a local, regional and national scale, could spearhead the resistance to Mubarak and form the basis of the rule of workers and the poor.

Workers need their own mass party, with a socialist programme to transform society. But in the absence of strong workers’ and left organisations to lead the mass social eruption, the Brotherhood will try to fill the leadership vacuum.

Also trying to fill the vacuum is Mohamed ElBaradei, who today warned Mubarak that his regime “is on its last legs”. Stung by criticism that he returned to Egypt days after the protests began, ElBaradei stressed his “solidarity” with the protesters.

El-Baradei, leader of the National Alliance for Change, like the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, is belatedly trying to channel the mass movement under his ‘control’.

ElBaradei offered himself to help lead a “transitional government” and warned that "If the international community does not speak out it will have a lot of implications…”

Indeed, US imperialism is extremely concerned at these developments. For decades, the US and other Western imperialist powers backed their ally Mubarak. Now concerned that about where the mass movement will lead, President Obama hypocritically calls on Mubarak to “make changes to the political system”. Mubarak has been a slavish follower of US policy in the region, including acting as prison guard over Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and as an ally against Iran. If Mubarak’s regime was to fall, US imperialist policy in the region could unravel and enter unchartered waters.

With Mubarak’s brutal repression, so far, failing to stop mass protests, imperialism and the Egyptian ruling class may be forced to remove Mubarak and make other changes at the top, to safeguard the future of the ruling elite in Egypt and a vital US ally in the region. They are terrified that Mubarak’s regime would collapse completely, possibly leaving the way open for the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the vacuum. The Tehran regime today provocatively commented that the mass movement in Egypt has “echoes” of the 1979 revolution in Iran that eventually led to the coming of power of the Mullahs.

Regime change?

The removal of Mubarak would be a great success for the mass movement on the streets. But Egyptian workers and youth can have no faith in any ‘national unity’ or ‘national salvation’ government, which would most likely involve remnants of the Mubarak regime and would be dominated by other pro-bourgeois ‘opposition’ forces. It is not even ruled out that attempts will be made to incorporate into a new regime the Muslim Brotherhood (or parts of it), whose leaders have long shown their willingness to compromise and accommodate. It claims its brand of political Islam is ‘moderate’. But as seen in the case of Tunisia, this sort of ‘regime change’ will not meet the needs and demands of the masses.

The Tunisian revolutionary movement is spreading across the Arabic world, from Yemen to Jordan and now most spectacularly to Egypt. Every rotten regime in the region is threatened, sooner or later, with mass street protests and their removal. The working masses have shown their power and blown away the notion that they will not fight back. The mass movements sweeping North Africa and the Middle East are a huge inspiration to working people and youth around the world and, quite rightly, a major concern for the ruling classes everywhere.

The CWI calls for:

End police repression and brutality – For international solidarity with the Egyptian masses

For mass workers’ action, including a general strike, to overthrow Mubarak and the whole rotten, brutal regime

For full democratic rights immediately, including the right to assemble, to strike and to organize democratic independent trade unions

For the creation of democratically elected committees of mass struggle, and defence against state repression, in the workplaces, communities, schools and colleges, linked on local, regional and national scale, to spearhead the resistance

For rank and file committees of police and soldiers - Side with the masses & purge the officers and hierarchy

No to sectarianism – For the unity of all workers across religious lines

No trust in any new ‘national unity’ regime based on the interests of the ruling class and imperialism

For immediate and free elections to a revolutionary democratic constituent assembly - For a majority workers’ and rural workers’ government

For a living minimum wage, guaranteed jobs, a massive programme of house building, education and health

End the Egyptian blockade of Gaza – For self-determination for Palestine and for workers’ unity and mass action to overthrow dictators across the region

For the nationalisation of Egypt’s big corporations, the banks and large estates and their democratic planning to meet the needs of the masses not an elite

For a socialist Egypt and a socialist confederation of the region, on an equal and voluntary basis



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NEWS

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction
12/02/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

Hong Kong: ‘Fishball Revolution’!
10/02/2016, Eyewitness report from Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Brutal policing must be condemned

Ethiopia: Hunger and deadly repression
09/02/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

Greece: Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions
09/02/2016, Editorial from Xekinima, fortnightly newspaper of the CWI, Greece:
All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

US: #Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country
06/02/2016, Socialist Alternative, CWI in the USA:
Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

Brazil: Devastating outbreak of Zika virus
04/02/2016, Isabel Keppler, LSR (CWI Brazil):
Another healthcare system failure

Pakistan: PIA strike continues despite state repression
04/02/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah and Rukhsana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan, Lahore:
Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

US: Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie
03/02/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
“It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory
02/02/2016, Xekinima (CWI Greece) Reporters:
Solidarity campaign needed!

Egypt: Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising
01/02/2016, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

India: Justice for Rohit Vemula
31/01/2016, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

Britain: Fractured politics
29/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A volatile mix

Tunisia: Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests
22/01/2016, Al-Badil al-Ishtiraki, CWI in Tunisia:
Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

China: Kidnapping and TV show-trials
21/01/2016, chinaworker.info:
“China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

Britain: Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed
19/01/2016, Press statement from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

US: Socialist response to State of the Union 2016
15/01/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing
14/01/2016, Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), Reporters:
For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Britain: Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum
12/01/2016, John McInally Public and Commercial Services Union Vice-President (personal capacity), from The Socialist newspaper:
Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

Scotland: Politicians have a choice
11/01/2016, By Brian Smith and Jim McFarlane, Glasgow City Unison and Dundee City Unison branch secretaries (in a personal capacity) and Socialist Party Scotland:
Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

Sweden/Denmark: Closing borders
07/01/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
The EU’s nightmare continues

Pakistan: Nestle workers solidarity campaign update
06/01/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah SMP (CWI in Pakistan), Lahore:
Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

Taiwan: Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike
05/01/2016, CWI Taiwan Reporters (translated from The Socialist, journal of the CWI Taiwan):
Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

China 2015: A year of unnatural disasters
04/01/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

Britain: Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right
01/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

Review: Alexandra Kollontai
29/12/2015, Heather Rawling, from Socialism Today:
A life of socialist struggle

Review: Revisiting Animal Farm
27/12/2015, Andy Ford, from Socialism Today (Issue 192 October 2015):
Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

CWI 11th World Congress 2016: Women and oppression in class society
13/02/2016, CWI World Congress Document:
A socialist approach

CWI 11th World Congress: Upheaval of traditional European political framework
12/02/2016, Sarah Wrack, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

11th CWI World Congress: A World in turmoil
11/02/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

Africa: New political storms and mass struggles
08/02/2016, CWI 11th World Congress Document:
Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

India: Rising class struggle reflects seething anger of working class
08/02/2016, Anand Kumar, from Dudiyora Horaata (Workers’ Struggle – newspaper of the CWI in India), Bangalore:
Is ‘Modimania’ on the wane?

World relations, economy and the class struggle
08/02/2016, Socialistworld.net:
CWI 11th World Congress document

Spain: A break in the political establishment
07/02/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI (article from issue 195 of ’Socialism Today’):
December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

Japan: Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”
03/02/2016, Carl Simmons, Kokusai Rentai (CWI in Japan):
Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

World Economy: Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters
02/02/2016, Lynn Walsh, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

Venezuela: Right-wing landslide
20/01/2016, Tony Saunois, from February edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

Leningrad: ‘Hero City’
19/01/2016, Clare Doyle (fuller version of a review article to be published in the February 2016 issue of Socialism Today):
900 days of siege in World War Two

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets
14/01/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, with additional reporting by Vincent Kolo:
Setting the tone for 2016?

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
05/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Socialist alternative is essential

Environment: A world of change
23/12/2015, Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA):
Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

Venezuela: Elections – who won and who lost?
16/12/2015, Johan Rivas, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Victory for the right wing reflects popular discontent

Pakistan: Religious extremism, military operations and increased intolerance
15/12/2015, Khalid Bhatti SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Revolutionary movement of the working class needs to finally defeat religious extremism and intolerance

Côte d’Ivoire : Ouattara reelected in a “frighteningly quiet” atmosphere
14/12/2015, CWI in Ivory Coast:
Dictatorship consolidating while opposition ridicules itself. Time to “turn the page”!

Environment: Socialism or ecological catastrophe
05/12/2015, Articles from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
25 years of hot air from establishment

World relations, economy and the class struggle
05/12/2015, CWI International Secretariat:
There has been a profound change in the world situation and world relations since the CWI’s last World Congress in 2010

Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria
04/12/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Britain: Syria vote reveals two Labour parties in one
02/12/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight for a party that stands against war and austerity

Scotland: Post-referendum, where is Scotland heading?
29/11/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Mass struggle and socialism will challenge capitalist austerity

Environment: Socialist change not climate change
28/11/2015, Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The growing threat of climate change and a socialist programme for the environment

Middle East: Bombing Syria won’t stop Isis
25/11/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity against war, terrorism and racism

Hong Kong: Great result for socialist election campaign
25/11/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Socialist Action’s Sally Tang Mei-ching lifts opposition vote to 33 percent