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COSATU salutes Egyptian and Tunisian working classes

From the album Women of Egypt by Leil-Zahra Mortada.

By Bongani Masuku, Congress of South African Trade Unions international relations secretary

January 31, 2011 -- The African working class has come of age. With the massive revolutionary struggles underway in both Tunisia and Egypt against despots, the history of the continent has been rewritten.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the developments that have dramatically changed the political and class landscape on the continent, particularly in a region known for a false sense of stability and peace, yet brutally repressive against workers and the poor.

We also note that the big powers, particularly the US, invested a lot of resources into both countries, particularly Egypt, as the pioneer agent of their interests in that part of the world and the second-biggest recipient of US aid after Israel. The repressive machinery of Egypt has been built through the resources provided by the US, while that of Tunisia has been primarily through France.

The lessons from these two militant struggles are that the working class must make no apology for sweeping dictators away from power. Further than that, they must deal with collaborationist layers that seek to compromise the interests of the working class for their own narrow material interests. These are the elements that always want to settle with the old order to protect their own positions, while subjecting the interests of workers and the poor to a new wall of shame against their popular aspirations.

We also fully support the demand for the dismantling of the old order and not just personalities. The RCD party (a French abbreviation of Constitutional Democratic Rally) and the National Democratic Party (NDP) are custodians of the old order and must be forced to own up to the economic failures and political suffering of the people for all these years.

The echoes of these revolutionary experiences have been felt as far wide as Yemen, Libya, Jordan, Algeria and even Morocco, where workers and the poor have taken to the streets in support of the Tunisian and Egyptian workers, raising demands for food, health, education and energy for all.

We are still to do a thorough analysis of the evolving experiences in these two and other neighbouring countries and their full implications for the qualitative and quantitative growth of the African working class, as well as its deepening levels of militancy in the struggle against global and local capitalism.

COSATU calls on all workers and poor people of South Africa to join the march to the Egyptian embassy this coming Friday (February 4, 2011) at 14h30 at 270 Bourke Street, Muckleneuk, Pretoria.

SAMWU will mobilise in support of Egypt’s mass democratic movement

By the South African Municipal Workers' Union

January 31, 2011 -- The largest local government union SAMWU salutes the mass uprising that is currently taking place in Egypt; we call upon the workers of Egypt to stay strong and continue to demonstrate until the oppressive Mubarak regime collapses.

SAMWU will be mobilising to support a local demonstration in support of the people's uprising in Egypt this coming Friday 4th February at 2:30pm, outside the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria. The demonstration is supported by a very wide range of organisations including the COSATU-led Coalition for a Free Palestine and all of its member organisations. We call upon all SAMWU structures in the locality to lead the demonstration on Friday.

We also call upon the South African government to condemn the Mubarak regime for oppressing its people and refusing to step down. The South African government must align itself with the democratic struggle of the Egyptian people, and distance itself from the efforts by the US and the other friends of Israel who are attempting to prop up the discredited Mubarak regime.

Despite cynics saying that the era of mass action is over, the Egyptian people have proved otherwise, and have successfully forced the notoriously corrupt and barbarous police back to their barracks. They are now poised to win over the army. Dictators and their imperialist friends must not be allowed to stand in the way of popular democratic movements. It is our duty to lend whatever support we can in their struggle for justice and freedom.

This union urges all of those who value democracy, and who wish to see a new world emerging from the old to support the demonstration scheduled for Friday 4th February. 

Issued by Tahir Sema, South African Municipal Workers' Union of COSATU.

A united call from solidarity organisations, social movements, trade unions, Egyptians and Tunisians in South Africa

Demo in support of Egyptians

Where: Embassy of Egypt, 270 Bourke Street, Muckelneuk, Pretoria (Map below)

When: 14:30, Friday, 4 February 2011

January 31, 2011 -- The heroic masses of Egypt have risen up against the decades-old corrupt dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. Taking inspiration from the intifada in Tunisia, Egyptian protesters are demanding: Bread, Jobs and Dignity! They are calling for an end to corruption and unemployment. These demands resonate with us and we support them. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians are on the streets defying a curfew. A general strike has been called and a million people are expected on the streets of Egypt tomorrow.

Dictators in their palaces and the capitalists in the boardrooms are trembling. They are afraid of this exemplary lesson of People's Power and the influence it will have throughout the world. This is not only an Arab revolution: This is a revolution for all of humanity.

The anger of the people is also directed at the support successive United States administrations have given to shore up dictators like Mubarak in the region and their collaboration with Israel and Israeli occupation. Mubarak's role as a vital strategic partner in the Israel-US-Egyptian axis also facilitates the illegal siege of Gaza by closing the borders between Egypt/Palestine and thus sealing the 1.5 million Gazans into the world's largest open air prison-denying essential access to medical treatment, education, food, water and the tools to rebuild a society completely broken down by Apartheid Israel's violent and racist ethnic cleansing campaign.

As South Africans watch the unfolding events in the north of our continent, it reminds us too of our own uprisings: Sharpeville, Soweto, Langa ... and spurs us on to express our solidarity.

Legions of commentators and politicians have declared that mass democratic action is a relic of the past, but events unfolding in Tunisia and Egypt have proved them all wrong. Making shoddy unmandated compromises behind closed doors, as the recent "Palestine Papers" have shown, has wholly discredited the US, Israel, their fixers like Tony Blair and puppets like Mubarak. Instead, mass democratic action is bringing about real change not foreign intervention nor Al-Quida. Mass democratic action can move mountains!

Over the next weeks, a number of activities will be held in solidarity with these struggles throughout South Africa. These activities will kick off with a demonstration outside the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria, with South Africans repeating the calls of our Egyptian comrades: “Bread! Jobs! Education! Dignity! Democracy! Freedom of Expression!

For more information, call: Samantha Hargreaves – 083 384 0088, Steve Faulkner – 082 817 5455, Melissa Hoole – 084 574 2674, Salim Vally – 082 8025936.

Map link: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=-25.762267,28.206867&spn=0.011054,0.022638&z=16&lci=com.panoramio.all,transit:prev

Please pass on – send sms, emails to everyone you know. Highlight the situation and inform others of Friday’s demonstration. Please help us raise funds for transport to the demonstration. Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated.

NEHAWU supports the Egyptian revolution 

By the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union

February 1, 2011 -- NEHAWU offers its solidarity and support to the working class of Egypt who are engaged in an epic and intense mass protests in order to overthrow the Western backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. We also congratulate the heroic people of Tunisia who toppled the kleptocratic regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali that has looted the country for the last 24 years. It is our belief that where anarchy is law revolution is in order.

This is an opportunity for the oppressed people of the world to learn lessons from these two countries and we encourage all world citizens to support this fight for the people of Egypt to decide democratically and freely the system of government and the leadership they want.NEHAWU calls on all its members and South Africans to join the solidarity march this coming Friday 4th February at 2:30pm outside the Egyptian Embassy in Pretoria.

South Africans have been beneficiaries of international solidarity against the evil apartheid regime and we owe it to all the oppressed people of the world to be at the forefront of the struggles against tyranny and injustice. We live in an unjust world that is deeply antidemocratic and reactionary and the consequences of this are paid for again and again by the working class.

We still witness the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan by foreign troops, Palestinian territories by Israel and the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco. Progressive forces need to unite and work together to fight these battles because our power lies in our unity. There has been an increase of retrogressive incidents like racism, xenophobia, neo-fascist practices as well as an intensification of attacks against economic migrants in Europe.

The people of Tunisia have shown us that people who struggle and work together will eventually succeed and all progressive forces at the trade union, social and political level have a duty to tell the working class the truth and open new paths. The oppressed people of Swaziland and anywhere in the world are reliant on planned struggles and durable solidarity against their oppressors in order to solve their current problems and we need not let them down.

NEHAWU also calls on the Tunisians and Egyptians to ensure that they not only kick out dictators but they introduce a social system that does not encourage the exploitation of one person by another. The opponents of the working class are not invincible! Invincible are the people who know how to fight for their rights.   

Issued by NEHAWU secretariat office

For further information, please contact: Sizwe Pamla (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 011 833 2902 - 082 558 5962 or email: sizwep@nehawu.org.za

Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za

People of Swaziland must emulate Tunisia and Egypt

By Lucky Lukhele, Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesperson

January 31, 2011 -- In yet another attempt to ridicule the nation, the king of Swaziland recently told the people at a prayer gathering not to panic as Jesus would intervene on the country’s economic woes. The king said this at a prayer service held at Lozitha Royal residence on January 29.

The king, whose state of sobriety was questionable, boasted about having Jesus Christ in him. Preaching that a greedy, polygamous, murderous and muti-worshiping man can have the spirit of Jesus in him amounts to blasphemy. However, His Lunacy was clearly on a mission to fool the public into believing that the solution to their problems lies somewhere in the skies when in fact it lies in their very hands, as the people of Tunisia and Egypt know very well.

Instead of listening to the king’s balderdash, the Swazi people need to force the king out of their country. This man will not be affected one bit by the country’s economic collapse. At the moment all government ministries, including those responsible for social issues such as health, have been forced to scale down their budgets by 24%. Meanwhile royal expenditure remains unaffected by this and will continue to increase. All this expenditure is meant to pamper a family that has its own personal sources of income both within the country and outside. This means that even if the government would no longer have enough to give to the king he would still be able to live in opulence.

Comments

Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesperson

While the Swazi constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, this is completely nullified by a clause in the constitution allowing the king to suspend these rights at any time. Thanks

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