In defence of the revolution:
•For a government of representatives of workers, the youth and the poor!
•For the immediate elections of a revolutionary constituent assembly supervised by committees of working people, the poor and the youth!
Less than 24 hours after he declared he would stay until September, Mubarak has been forced to resign as Egyptian president. The increasing size of the demonstrations, and especially the working class’s collective entry into the struggle through a nationwide strike wave, marked a decisive new stage in the revolution. Mubarak’s last TV broadcast enraged the more than six million who were then protesting on Egypt’s streets and the indignation spread to the military, as reports came in of soldiers going over to the side of the demonstrators.
Egypt’s revolution won the support of working people around the world. Tens of millions followed on TV and the internet every move. The hopes that the movement that started in Tunisia will win a victory in Egypt have been met. This victory will encourage every struggle around the world against dictatorship, oppression and misery. Many are now asking, who is the next ruler to fall?
This turning point is a tremendous victory for all those who courageously fought Mubarak’s police state - the youth, the working class and the activists in Tahrir Square. It is a huge example to workers and the oppressed around the world that determined mass action can defeat governments and rulers no matter how strong they appear to be.
However the battle is not over yet, dangers still remain. The military leaders, with the backing of US imperialism, removed Mubarak in the hope of preventing the revolution challenging the power of the elite. The new head of state, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, has been defence minister and the armed forces Commander-in Chief since 1991, nearly two-thirds of the time that Mubarak was in power. As a BBC correspondent commented: “The army takeover looks very much like a military coup … because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership”.
The mass of the Egyptian people must assert their right to decide the country’s future. Many may have hopes in the army, but there is a difference between the rank and file and the top commanders. No trust should be put in figures from the old regime to run the country or run elections. There must be immediate, fully free elections, safeguarded by mass committees of the workers and poor, to a revolutionary constituent assembly that can decide the country’s future.
Now the steps already taken to form local committees and genuine independent workers’ organisations should be speeded up, spread wider and linked up. A clear call for the formation of democratically elected and run committees in all workplaces, communities and amongst the military rank and file would get a wide response.
These bodies would co-ordinate the removal of the remnants of the old regime, and maintain order and supplies and, most importantly, be the basis for a government of workers’ and poor representatives that would crush the remnants of the dictatorship, defend democratic rights and start to meet the economic and social needs of the mass of Egyptians.
The revolution and its demands pose a decisive challenge to the old order and capitalism, but they cannot be completely won without breaking with imperialism and overthrowing capitalism. The Helwan iron and steel workers have called for “People’s revolution for the people!”, but this can only be realised through the mass movement bringing to power a government of workers’ and poor representatives that implements a democratic socialist programme. To achieve such a government workers, the poor and oppressed need their own political weapon. Workers and the poor need to create their own alternative - a new mass party of the working class attracting small farmers and the oppressed to a socialist banner.
Today there is naturally great support for unity to defend the revolution. Yes we need unity in struggle, but calls for unity do not answer the question of what sort of Egypt needs to be built?
Correctly there is great suspicion of all those who held top positions in the Mubarak regime. Now the ruling class will attempt to involve and trap the workers’ movement and the Left in joint work with the military rulers or in some kind of “unity” government of all classes. But any government involving capitalists would naturally attempt to safeguard capitalism in Egypt. This would be true of any government whose stated main role was “only” the organisation of elections as it would have to govern the country in the run-up to any elections. It is the lesson of many other revolutions – like Russia after February 1917 or Spain 1936 – that such governments cannot meet the demands of working people and are used by the ruling class as a means of trying to break the revolution and ensure the continuation of their rule.
The demands of the workers, poor and youth cannot be met unless all the elements of the old regime are completely removed. Capitalism cannot offer a way forward for Egyptian society. The Left must not join any coalition government with pro-capitalists; for a government of the representatives of workers, small farmers and the poor that carries out a genuine socialist transformation of Egypt.
Following is from The Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)
What next after Mubarak’s overthrow?
Mubarak’s removal, and the attempt by the military high command to safeguard the essence of both the old system and capitalism, has naturally sparked off a lively debate in Egypt on what should happen next. In these discussions the CWI is arguing for:
* No trust in the military chiefs and no participation in any government with leaders or officials of the Mubarak dictatorship.
* Immediate lifting of the state of emergence. Immediate freeing of all political detainees and prisoners. No prosecution or victimisation of activists in the revolution.
* Full political freedom. Freedom to publish and organise. Democratic control over the state media and opening up of state media to publish the views of all political trends supporting the revolution.
* No restriction of the right to strike and take other industrial action. Full freedom to form trade unions and conduct trade union activity. For democratic, combative trade unions.
* Arrest and trial before popular courts all those involved in the Mubarak police regime’s repression and corruption. Confiscate the assets of the looters and corrupt.
* Urgent formation of democratic committees of action in the workplaces and neighbourhoods – particularly in working-class and poor neighbourhoods – to co-ordinate removal of all remnants of the old regime, maintain order and supplies and, most importantly, be the basis for a government of workers’ and poor representatives.
* Formation of democratic rank and file committees in the armed forces and police to ensure the officers cannot use these forces against the revolution.
* No to rule by the military chiefs or the elite. For a government of the representatives of workers, small farmers and the poor!
* No to a constitution approved or drawn up by the military. For the rapid election of a real democratic parliament, a revolutionary constituent assembly, which not only agrees rules for elections but also a programme to change the conditions of the Egyptian masses. Such a parliament can only be convened – if it is really to represent the majority of the population – under the control of democratic workplace and neighbour committees. Representatives of the workers and poor farmers should form the majority in this parliament or constituent assembly.
* For a genuinely democratic socialist Egypt. For the nationalisation of the commanding heights of the economy under democratic workers’ control and management to enable a socialist plan to be drawn up to raise living standards for the vast majority of Egyptians in the cities and the countryside.