Revolution and Counter Revolutio

Revolution and Counter Revolution ‚Äď the Struggle of the People of Egypt To Win!

The Way I See It!

February 12th 2011

Don Currie, Chair Canadians for Peace and Socialism


The international revolutionary anti-imperialist and working class movements and organizations of the people have expressed their solidarity with the mass popular uprising of the people of Egypt against the pro-US-Israel Mubarak regime.  First among these, the International Worker’s and Communist Parties (IWCP) are everywhere mobilizing public support for the national revolutionary economic and democratic demands of the laboring masses of Egypt.[1]

The Communist Party of Canada has issued a strong statement of solidarity with the working class and mass democratic people’s movements of Egypt.[2]  The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) also provides credible analysis of events.[3]   The CPA defines the upsurge in Egypt as a national democratic revolution to overthrow a pro-imperialist regime.

The Communist Party of Egypt (CPE) has issued a statement in Arabic that does not translate well with Google into English but with careful attention yields important information.[4]   The statement of the CPE is dated February 5th and as we all know events have moved on since then.

CPS cannot vouch for the accuracy of our understanding of what the CPE statement says in detail and caution it is based on an unofficial translation.  Nonetheless we believe it important to attempt to convey the main points.

The CPE statement outlines three stages in the revolutionary events of the recent past. ¬†The first stage was the outright rejection of the Mubarak regime of all of the people‚Äôs demands and its attempts to resort to what the CPE defines as a ‚Äúcriminal plan of fascism‚ÄĚ to retain power. ¬†It did so by the use of regime thugs and criminals to unleash violence in an attempt to spread panic and ‚Äúto use power in the face of the people‚Äôs revolution.‚ÄĚ ¬†The response of the people was to organize ‚Äúpopular committees, initiatives that were popular voluntary and spontaneous in most cases able to secure streets and houses, especially in the early days of the security vacuum.‚ÄĚ ¬†The CPE statement then states these committees in areas where businesses functioned were taken over by secret police and State Security officers and used to support the enemies of the revolution.¬†

The second phase followed Mubarak‚Äôs speech asserting he would not leave and pledging reforms. ¬†CPE states it was an effort to set the stage for mass suppression of the people. ¬†It was during this second phase that state violence against the people resulted in 8 deaths and 1000 injured and many arrested and attempts made to suppress the popular social media used by the youth. ¬†The response of the people on February 1st was to pour 8 million people into the streets and squares and to heighten the demand that Mubarak step down. ¬†The CPE describes these events as; ‚Äúthe heroic epic of protesters, rebels who resisted the hordes of terrorism and criminality and (sent - DC) the remnants of the security forces fleeing‚ĶThe effect was to expose the system to the whole world.‚ÄĚ ¬†¬†The CPE asserts that the Mubarak plan to suppress the mass upsurge resulted in the opposite and brought such mass pressure to bear it compelled all governments of the world to support Mubarak‚Äôs departure out of fear that direct intervention would spread popular revolutionary sentiment throughout the region.

The world-wide solidarity in support of the Egyptian people was a sobering reminder to US-Israeli-NATO-EU governments to proceed cautiously on the diplomatic front.  What military maneuvers were underway by the US military in the vicinity of Egypt and Tunisia during these past weeks will no doubt be revealed in time.

One should add at this point, that one of the few governments that expressed its contempt for world opinion was the right wing minority Conservative government of Prime Minister Harper that waited while approximately 300 people were killed and thousands injured by the Mubarak regime before issuing a terse statement containing what is for the Harper government the most important consideration in the Middle East, uncritical support for Israel.[5]

The CPE statement goes on to describe the third stage of events, the mass outpourings of February 4th that exposed and frustrated Mubarak’s attempts to remain in power by promising not to run for election next September. Mubarak appointed a new cabinet and appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman as his successor.  Al Jazeera carries one report that accuses Suleiman of being an internal security chief and CIA operative who is accused of torture.[6]

The Mubarak regime during this period attempted to split the revolutionary forces by asserting the demonstrators and foreign interference was responsible for ‚Äúthe chaos and lack of security, economic losses and halt economic activity‚ÄĚ which included delays in paying salaries and wages. ¬†CPE asserts; ‚Äúthese maneuvers failed in inciting the people.‚ÄĚ ¬†The CPE statement says that people understood that the economic losses and disruption of schools and closure of government offices, banks, were the result of a collapsing regime and the refusal of the President to relinquish power.

The CPE February 5th statement says that the regime was continuing to “use all means to thwart the revolution. The CPE credits the resistance of the people that surprised the world.  “It is the whole basis on which (sic) forced the Government of the United States and Western governments to abandon its ally to preserve the survival of the regime, which fears of its collapse and fall if the revolution continues will spread to the rest of the region.

The CPE statement analyzes the actual role of the Muslim Brotherhood.   The CPE contends that even the Muslim Brotherhood was surprised by events and that its role was minimal, belated and had little bearing on what motivated the people. Even the privately owned corporate controlled western media was compelled to downplay that canard intended to spread panic in the west of the rise of a religious state in Egypt.

The CPE statement warned that some opposition parties were sending official and private delegations ‚Äúseeking to rush to dialogue with the ruling regime without an agreement with the national forces and without real support to the forces of revolution.‚Ä̬† CPE says these forces are attempting to ride the wave of revolution to achieve some gains that it describes as ‚Äúnon-core‚ÄĚ and correctional and to abandon the basic demand of the revolution to bring down the dictator. ¬†CPE said the attempts of the so-called committee of Wise Men advocating the transfer of power to Mubarak cronies was rejected. CPE asserts that the departure of the dictator is important and can lead to a dismantling of the system that would enter into a new phase of the Egyptian revolution and ‚Äúdevelop the revolutionary process and preventing (a) miscarriage.‚ÄĚ ¬†The CPE statement of February 5th said the sit-ins and demonstrations would continue until the most important demands of the revolution at that stage were met:

CPE stated the demands of the youth and the workers were:

1.       The dictator to step down from power

2.       The formation of a presidential council and a coalition government for a transitional period to prepare the country for presidential and parliamentary elections and allow the political forces launched its freedoms, especially freedom to form trade unions and parties, and the abolition of the state of emergency and all laws that restrict freedoms.

3.       Formation of a Constituent Assembly to change the constitution after a referendum.

4.       To achieve economic and social demands urgent for the masses, especially the implementation of the judicial ruling on the minimum wage and the implementation of practical solutions to unemployment.

Since the CPE statement of February 5th the mass sit in Tahir Square has ended and Mubarak has skipped to a posh residence in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

An interim caretaker government headed by Mubarak supporter Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has been set up for six months to replace the former Egyptian Parliament that consisted of 90% representation of Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party.

The Supreme Council of Egypt’s armed forces are now the de facto interim government. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi is the leader of the supreme council. The officer corps of the Egyptian Army is US trained and maintained by a $1.5 - $1.8 billion annual US payment. The army is a 500,000 strong force. There are not news reports that US support has been halted.

To appease the people, the interim government has paid lip service to the people’s demands without their revolutionary content. The initial statements by the Shafiq interim government are more about assuring US imperialism and its allies that the pre-revolutionary status quo will be restored and the demands of the people ignored.

Prime Minister Shafiq told a recent press conference that the main priority of his cabinet is to restore security in the country.  Shafiq said that the Supreme Council of the armed forces is to determine the future and position of Mubarak-appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman.  The Supreme Council has also stated it would lead a transition to civilian rule and honour the peace treaty with Israel.

These statements and the fact that hundreds of protesters remain in Egyptian jails, and none of the demands of the people described in the CPE statement of February 5th have been met, would suggest that there is a consolidation of the Mubarak forces without Mubarak.  One of the key demands of the revolutionary forces is that the perpetrators of the crimes against the people’s movements and in particular those that have plundered the wealth of the Egyptian people be placed on trial.

CPS takes the view that the international forces of the counter-revolution are implementing a plan, agreed to in secret and imposed by stealth and deception to disarm and revolution and subvert its purpose. While those plans are underway we have no doubt the revolutionary forces are also aware of what is underway and planning to conserve their forces, reorganize them around their key demands, and will wage a counter-offensive as events unfold.

CPS does not subscribe to the view that the west and its intelligence forces were caught unawares. The CIA, Mossad and British intelligence would be informed by Mubarak’s intelligence service as to what was developing and to act accordingly. On February 8th NATO Secretary Rasmussen met with Prime Minister Netanyahu pledging support for Israel.[7]  The supreme irony of Rasmussen speaking of the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, an oblique reference to Iran, in the full knowledge that Israel is reported to have in its possession as many as 50 nuclear weapons plus the technology to deliver them to target. On February 11th Rasmussen issued a terse statement on events in Egypt stressing the main concern was security and stability, code words for maintaining the Egypt-Israeli peace treaty which is designed to maintain Israeli dominance in the region and unimpeded use by big oil companies for the movement of mid-east, central Asian oil to US and other markets [8]

Further proof of the collusions among the US military, the Israeli government and the Mubarak regime is the deployment of US naval forces including 850 marines to monitor the Suez Canal.  The Israeli government has called upon the US military to seal the Philadelphia Corridor between Gaza and Egypt.[9]

All of the Egyptian interim government statements, the statements of NATO, the statements of the Obama administration and Prime Minister Harper all stress security and stability, code words for subversion of the Egyptian revolution and to maintain Israeli dominance in the region.

The initial euphoria about events in Egypt is understandable. Progressives, in particular Communists need to temper the initial enthusiasm with close attention and a deeper study of the relative strength of the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces not limited to the balance of forces in Egypt itself but in the entire region.

The role of the laboring masses of Egypt and their attempts to organize a new independent labour centre are in need of close study.  There is no doubt that the strike movement in Egypt over the past four years combined with the enthusiasm of the democratic youth and in particular the revolutionary bravery of the women of Egypt are major factors preceding and laying the basis for the people’s uprising. The World Federation of Trade Unions has issued a statement in support of the Egyptian revolution.[10]

The forces that will lead the revolutionary process in Egypt to the next stage, the struggle for a genuine people’s revolutionary government will of necessity require the working class to lead that phase of the struggle.