Socialist Worker

Egypt: Movement resists attempts to stall the revolution

by Judith Orr in Cairo
Issue No. 2255

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has moved in on Egypt. It has agreed a $3 billion loan with the military council government.

International bankers and the government want a stable economy so they can get back to making profits out of Egypt.

One activist described how IMF and World Bank officials sat alongside government ministers in a “consultation meeting” to hear people’s views on the budget.

“People are angry,” said Dina, a socialist in Cairo.

“They ask, ‘Who gave you the right to look for loans in our name? You are only an interim government’.”

The government’s budget shows it has been forced to respond to mass expectations that the revolution will improve poor people’s lives.

It also shows that the ruling class wants to limit change.

There is a new minimum wage of 700 Egyptian pounds a month.

But as revolutionary socialist Sameh pointed out, “The demand of the Democratic Workers Party (see right) and the masses is for a minimum wage of 1,200. In Cairo it is impossible to live on 700.

Rent

“The cheapest room you can rent, where you will share a toilet with perhaps 10 other families, costs 300 a month.”

Sameh criticised Western attempts to buy off the revolution but also said they faced problems.

“The US can try and use money to get influence, but corruption means it won’t get to those who need it most.

“So any investment will not automatically placate protest.”

The government is telling workers to stop striking to help the economy.

But people aren’t convinced. Instead they are proud of the fact that others are replicating their struggle internationally.

Sameh described how revolutionaries are organising. “We see the gap between our tasks and our size as a socialist organisation,” he said.

“People are more open to socialist ideas than in the 1990s. There is profound political generalisation.

“The biggest demonstrations in Egypt before the revolution were in support of Palestine.

“This anti-imperialist element is an important feature of our revolution.”

People don’t want to go back to the old ways.

Relatives of a bus driver who died in police custody set a police station alight in Cairo last week.

Riot police were deployed. They marched up the Sharia Ramsis and the sting of tear gas wafted down the street.

But protesters and a burning vehicle soon blocked the road.

The police want to control the streets again.

But every day ordinary people refuse to be abused as they were for the past four decades—and keep on resisting.


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Tue 7 Jun 2011, 18:23 BST
Issue No. 2255
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