Revolutionary socialist activists in Cairo warned yesterday that the latest round of the media attacks against them show there is an organised campaign to stop the revolution itself.
On 24 December the newspaper of the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) political party carried a banner headline accusing the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) of planning violent attacks and promoting anarchy.
The MB’s website also carried a report that a member of the Brotherhood has presented a dossier to the public prosecutor claiming that RS activists Yasser Abd-al-Qawy, Hisham Yosry and Sameh Naguib were agitating to overthrow the state and burn public buildings.
But as a wide range of political forces rallied to support the RS, splits and contradictions in the Brotherhood’s position quickly emerged.
Muhammad al-Beltagi, a prominent member of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party executive made a public statement in which he distanced himself from the attempt to bring a court case against the RS activists.
“Ideas should be confronted with ideas and not by complaints to the courts, nor by prosecutions” he said on Saturday evening. “I disagree fundamentally with the ideas of Sameh Naguib and Kamal Khalil, but I appreciate the struggle they have fought for this nation over many years alongside us” he added. “What the country needs is dialogue and debate, not accusations and battles tearing us apart.”
In a press conference at the Centre for Socialist Studies on 24 December, Sameh Naguib argued that those who want to see the revolution continue and deepen are now facing an organised campaign against them.
“In my opinion this is not simply about smearing the Revolutionary Socialists, but about smearing the revolution itself. They want to stop the revolution itself. They have charges and accusations ready for when there are further confrontations in the coming period,’ he said. ‘The campaign focuses on the claim that we are calling for violence.
‘There is no basis for this charge whatsoever. The methods of struggle we use are strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations. These are all non-violent methods of struggle. We have never called for any other forms of struggle except these three.
‘That’s the first point. They are using violence. The army is using violence to break up the sit-ins. The police are using violence against us. For them to accuse us of violence, at the same time as they are killing demonstrators, and dragging people in the streets, is laughable.
‘The second point they’ve focussed on is the idea that we want to destroy the state. Of course this is a point they’re playing on by taking what was said out of context. Yes we do want to dismantle the state, we want to dismantle the state of poverty, tyranny and exploitation and build a new state, a state of justice, a state of dignity. In every revolution there is a process of dismantling and building up.
‘The revolution dismantles in order to rebuild. The basic slogan of the Egyptian revolution was: ‘The people want the downfall of the regime’. The regime hasn’t fallen. There are still many battles in front of us before we will be able to bring the regime down.
‘The regime is represented today in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The Supreme Council is the heart of the regime.
‘We will never go back on this analysis, and in fact it is what the Egyptian revolution itself has been saying from the beginning. Anyone who took part in the demonstration in Tahrir Square yesterday can tell you that. These are the slogans of the revolution today.
‘The third point is the question of the army. There are honourable army officers and soldiers who refused to take part in repressing the demonstrators, and refused to take part in crushing the Egyptian revolution and hitting the revolutionaries.
‘But there is also the SCAF which is telling its soldiers to throw rocks and open fire on the protesters, to drag them in the streets, to humiliate and assault women. No, the army is not a single bloc.
‘Because we respect the Egyptian army, and because we respect the soldiers and officers of the Egyptian army, we say that there are two sides to the Egyptian army. There are the honourable soldiers and officers, who will have certainly refused, even if they were given direct orders, to take part in the brutality of the last few weeks, and of course we are with them, and against those giving the orders to kill.
‘The last point is that we have to understand that this always happens at moments like this during revolutions.
‘They are terrified by 25 January. They are terrified of the new wave of the revolution which is coming. They are terrified of the strikes which are coming because of the economic crisis, and because of their inability to manage the economy in the current period.
‘The SCAF and the Brotherhood and their like are desperate to stop the revolution right here. We want to continue the revolution. We are for the deepening of the revolution. We are for the transformation of the revolution into a social revolution.
‘We are for the continuation of the revolution until it achieves its aims: social justice, dignity and freedom. Unfortunately until now we have not achieved any of these three goals. We will continue the revolution, using the methods of the revolution: strikes, sit-ins and demonstrations until we win.”
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