Socialist Worker

Egypt’s old regime is fighting to reassert its power

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2367

women workers in egypt march to shura council in may

Workers marching on Shura council in the lead up to the protests which ousted Mursi (Pic: Gigi Ibrahim)


A Cairo court announced it may be ready to release the ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak from prison this week.

He has been cleared of some charges of using public money to ­furnish his private homes. 

The announcement that this hated tyrant might walk free with the blood of hundreds of Egyptians on his hands, comes at a time of crisis for the Egyptian revolution.

Millions of Egyptians are still demanding that the hated tyrant be tried for the deaths of 800 demonstrators during the 18 days of revolt that brought him down.

That revolution brought elections and a government led by President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But popular anger at Mursi grew as poverty continued to spread and he was pushed out by a wave of anger.

After the fall of Muslim Brotherhood, the army installed a new government. This is backing the violent repression of the Brotherhood in the name of “crushing terrorism”.

Clampdown

“The army clampdown includes a curfew from 7pm every evening,” Hatem Tallima, a member of the Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt reports. 

“General el-Sisi claims he is acting in the name of the revolution by organising the army clampdown.

“The army has killed over 2,400 people since they took power on 3 July.”

Hatem describes the polarisation since Mursi’s fall and says resentment at his failure to deliver the basic demands of the revolution led to his downfall. 

At the moment this anger is ­fuelling popular support for the military’s attacks on the Brotherhood. 

Protesters have been murdered and the leadership has been rounded up and imprisoned. 

The government has threatened to once again make the Muslim Brotherhood an illegal organisation, this is after they were criminalised for decades under Mubarak. 

Hatem says, “The revolutionary forces who opposed the Brotherhood and who are also standing up against the army’s violence haven’t got the capacity at the moment to provide an alternative.”  

“But it’s important to understand the contradictions in the situation,” Hatem said. 

“What we are seeing now is just how strong the power of Mubarak’s state still is. It never fully went away. Now the military junta is trying to establish the basis for counter-revolution.” 

Minority 

The sheer ferocity of the army’s actions, and the actions of the new regime are pushing some to question their support for it—although this is still a minority.

“Workers cheered the inclusion of trade union leader Kamal Abu Aita in the new military-appointed government.

“But then they saw the Suez strike crushed and are starting to think about what can come next.” 

Workers do not benefit from the strengthening of the state machine and the real aims of the army can be exposed. 

Revolutionary Socialist, Hossam El-Hamalawy, has pointed to the contradictions within the state and its use of a conscript army to crush dissent.

He says, “every soul they kill has a brother, son, cousin, uncle or aunt related to that poor miserable conscript firing at them. The impact might not appear today or tomorrow but no army based on conscription is stable.”

Hatem said that this phase of the revolution is a dark time, “it is in peril but we are not beaten.”


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