Socialist Worker

Statement by the Egyptian Revolutionary Socialists on the presidential elections 27 April 2014

Issue No. 2400

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Against el-Sisi, leader of the counter-revolution

All the institutions of the state are mobilising behind Abdel Fatah el-Sisi—from the army, to the police, the government, the judges, the media and the bosses—in preparation for his coronation as president on the 5 June. 

Falling coincidentally on the anniversary of the “Setback” [defeat by Israel in 1967], this day will mark the announcement that the counter-revolution’s candidate has ascended the throne. 

El-Sisi has been touted for the past nine months as the saviour of the nation, the leader of the war on terrorism, not just Gamal Abdel Nasser’s successor, but also Anwar Sadat’s and even Hosni Mubarak’s. He has the solution to every problem. He has not been shy of trading on the hopes of millions affected by Hepatitis C, by offering a placebo developed by the army. 

It was he who signed a contract to build a million flats with the United Arab Emirates, not the Minister of Housing, trading on the dreams of the people living in cemeteries. It is for his sake that the interim government is holding back from imposing rises in the cost of gas and from abolishing subsidies, so that the popularity of his rule will not be affected by decisions which will send prices rocketing after he has arrived in power. 

The presidential elections take place when the revolution is in retreat among the masses and the counter-revolution is on the attack. We see the return of a police state of even greater brutality, committing unprecedented massacres, arresting and torturing thousands, storming and besieging university campuses, issuing laws which restrict freedoms such as the law on protest, and assaulting the independence of the workers’ movement. 

The counter-revolution aims to achieve a crushing victory over the revolutionary forces through the presidential elections in order to have the opportunity for further brutality and attacks on the revolution and freedoms. 

This is why the Revolutionary Socialists see participation in the election, and not a boycott, as the appropriate decision for the current political situation, seizing the chance to campaign against the candidate of the counter-revolution, in order to expose him and Mubarak’s cronies and the opportunistic boot-lickers who stand behind him. 

We take this position despite our principled criticisms of Hamdeen Sabahi’s stance. We disagree with him fundamentally, in particular after 30 June 2013, as he has remained silent on the violations of freedom by the Interior Ministry and the army, including massacres and arrests, torture and storming the university campuses. He has even supported the lie of the “war on terrorism” which the state is using as a pretext for the return of the police state. 

Yet we see at the same time that millions of Egyptians are beginning to doubt el-Sisi’s illusory rhetoric and programme and are starting to look for an alternative. We call on these to vote for Hamdeen Sabahi, as every vote which is lost to el-Sisi is valuable, if not today, then tomorrow in building the genuine, broad opposition which is becoming more rooted as each day passes. 

The presidential elections express the dilemma of the Egyptian Revolution which led to the absence of a candidate who completely adopts the demands and goals of the revolution. On this basis we call on Hamdeen Sabahi and his campaign to re-evaluate his support for the current regime which is restoring Mubarak’s state. 

We call on his supporters and voters to put pressure on him to declare that his programme will adhere to the goals of the January Revolution of bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity, and to adopt the following themes:

  1. Transitional justice for killers of the martyrs from the 25 January revolution until today in retribution for their crimes
  2. The release of prisoners and the abolition of laws restricting freedoms including the law on demonstrations, the use of military trials against civilians and confirmation of the right to organise.
  3. Redistribution of wealth through the imposition of a new tax system and the application of the minimum and maximum wage across the public and private sectors.
  4. An end to dictatorship and the creation of a popular participatory democracy; freedom and independence for the trade union and workers’ movement. 
  5. Freedom from dependency; guarantees of national independence

We will not leave the masses prey to the propaganda of the counter-revolution, and we will not take the puritanical stance of boycotting the elections, despite our respect for the rationale for doing this. We will join the electoral battle to expose el-Sisi’s illusions and to destroy the idol which Mubarak's state is erecting as it rebuilds itself. 

The revolution continues

Glory to the martyrs

Power and wealth to the people

The Revolutionary Socialists 
27 April 2014

Original in Arabic at revsoc.me/statements/23387

 

 


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