Socialist Worker

Egypt: Generals fear mass resistance

by Anne Alexander
Issue No. 2290

‘Execute the field marshal’ says protester in Cairo (Pic: Hossam el-Hamalawy)

‘Execute the field marshal’ says protester in Cairo (Pic: Hossam el-Hamalawy)

Trade unions and activists in Egypt called for mass strikes on Saturday of last week.

Egypt’s ruling generals took the call extremely seriously.

They addressed the nation with warnings about “foreign plots” and conspiracies aiming to “sow strife among Egyptian people and between them and their armed forces.”

The generals redeployed troops in front of state buildings. And the state-run media predicted that the strike would bring chaos.

Religious figures, including Egypt’s most senior Muslim and Christian clerics, denounced the call.

The state security apparatus was also busy. Groups of thugs attacked well known political activists on marches against the military on Friday of last week.

Those targeted included prospective presidential candidate Bouthaina Kamel, and an MP who criticised the army for using bullets against protesters.

Revolutionary Socialist activists Sameh Naguib and Haitham Muhammadain were attacked in Alexandria on the same day.

The military arrested Sameh and kept him in custody for several hours.

The security police then accused textile worker activist Kamal el-Fayoumy and two foreign journalists of bribing workers in Mahalla to take part in the action.

And workers from a number of NGOs are facing trial on charges of receiving illegal foreign funding.

Some have received funding from the major US political parties and the US State Department.

The military council wants to hide its own, much deeper, connections to US imperialism. So it concocts stories to link revolutionaries, NGOs and the US government in people’s minds.

But the generals had more than the tactics of repression to rely on.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which dominates the newly elected parliament, fought hard to stop the walkouts.

But Brotherhood leaders also began to talk for the first time about using parliament to bring down the military-appointed government.

Their message was clear—the revolution is now in parliament, not in the streets or workplaces.

Yet each new outrage by the military has only won new recruits to the idea that the revolution must be made from below.

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