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Egyptian left answers the state's attack

The Egyptian military's December 16 attack on protesters provoked outrage.

December 23, 2011 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- The military regime that has ruled Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak has taken a harsh turn toward repression, symbolised by this month's barbaric attack against protesters outside the cabinet's headquarters.

Now the generals and their allies are singling out the Revolutionary Socialists among other leading voices of Egypt's left. In a pattern that activists say is consistent with past propaganda campaigns, the regime is trying to whip up a hysteria about the group, using videotape of a meeting at which leading members talked about the need for Egypt's mass movement to break the power of the state and the army. Clips from that meeting showed up on the Interior Ministry website, and on television stations run by the state and by hardline Islamists, known as Salafists, who now support the military.

In this statement, the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt respond to the smear campaign. [Below that, a range of political forces on the left also offer their solidarity.]

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By the Revolutionary Socialists

December 21 -- Accusations are being leveled against the Revolutionary Socialists in certain quarters -- chief among them the Ministry of the Interior's website and a number of satellite television channels, which are showing a clip from a video of a meeting which the Center for Socialist Studies organised recently in the wake of the massacre on Mohammad Mahmoud Street, with the title "What is the road to revolution?"

At this meeting, Kamal Khalil, Hossam el-Hamalawy and Sameh Naguib spoke. The clip showed a section of the meeting where Sameh Naguib talked about how the revolutionaries want the downfall of the state to build a new revolutionary state, and that the military council does not protect the interests of the Egyptian people, but instead protects the interests of the 1000 richest families in Egypt, of the Pentagon, the US government and the Zionists.

The aim of the clip is to raise a storm against us for being in favour of overthrowing the state.

Our reply is that it is no indictment to say that we want the downfall of the oppressive state and the creation of a just state -- it is the goal we are fighting for.

As Umm Kulthum sang -- and millions sang with her 60 years ago: "The oppressive state is erased -- by my own hand." It remains our dream to eradicate the corrupt state, which has spread like a cancer through the body of Egypt.

Yes, we are seeking to overthrow the state of tyranny and poverty that has ruled us for the last 30 years, and continues to rule us today -- the state that has killed thousands of fighters in its prisons, the state which has looted and stolen from the poor to increase the wealth of the rich.

This is the state which backs the bosses in their confrontations with workers. This is the state which refuses to renationalise the companies it sold off cheaply, even though the courts ruled in favour of the workers' campaign to return them to public ownership -- demonstrating that for this state, the power of capital is more important that the authority of the judiciary.

This is the state which allows the capitalists to sack and starve workers, peasants and the poor in their thousands, but then issues laws making their protests a crime. This is the state which discriminates between its citizens on the basis of religion, gender and race. It is the racist state which slaughtered Sudanese refugees in 2005 and sexually assaulted women in 2006 and 2011. It is the sectarian state which conspired to burn churches and persecuted poor Coptic Christians, and finally murdered 24 of them in October this year.

This is the state which deceives the people through its media. It demands austerity and calls on the people to tighten their belts and keep the "wheel of production" turning, while at the same time announcing palaces and resorts to secure the future of "our children".

Yes, we want to overthrow the state. We want the downfall of its health policies which have made health and medical treatment commodities to be bought and sold by those who can afford to pay, while the poor die in their hundreds because the public hospitals have been ruined. We want to overthrow its education policies, which teach lies and distortions to our children in classrooms that are collapsing over their heads because there is no money for building schools, so that pupils can barely speak Arabic by the time they leave education.

We want the downfall of the Ministry of the Interior, its minister and criminal officers who killed more of our sons and daughters than have died in natural disasters. We want to overthrow the policies of systematic impoverishment which have pushed over half our people below the poverty line. And the list goes on...

This oppressive state is protected by an army under the leadership of Mubarak's military council. So that is why we want to end this military junta's rule, which in less than a year has stolen the lives of more Egyptians than Mubarak managed to during his 30 years in power.

Yes, we want to put the corrupt leaders of the army on trial. For 20 years under Mubarak, more than 30 per cent of the economy came under their completely unmonitored control, in the form of factories, hotels, housing projects, farms, arms deals and other parts of the state budget, taxes and the subsidies we provide them through the forced labour of our young men on these kind of projects during military service, without any protection for their rights. These are the leaders of the army who opened fire on us and imprisoned thousands of our free young people after unjust military trials.

We believe that sooner or later, this army will produce patriotic leaders who will join the ranks of the revolutionaries, as has happened in all revolutions across the course of history.

Yes, we want to overthrow this regime and its state, together with its corrupt men, its opportunistic allies and its military council, which rules the country at the behest of the deposed president. We swear to continue the struggle with the revolutionaries in the Tahrir Squares across the country, despite smear campaigns and intimidation, until it falls and the people seize the power and wealth which is theirs by right...until the victory of the revolution which the people ignited.

Yes, the people still demand the fall of the regime and its corrupt and tyrannical state. Glory to the martyrs! Victory to the revolution! Power and wealth to the people!

Political forces condemn SCAF violence, rally behind Revolutionary Socialists

December 22, 2011 -- Ahram Online -- The National Association for Change reform movement and 15 political parties held a press conference at the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate on December 21 to respond to the latest statement by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on the ongoing clashes in downtown Cairo.

Head of the syndicate’s freedoms committee Mohammed Abdul Quddus condemned the human rights violations recently committed against protesters in and around Cairo’s Tahrir Square. At the conference, Abdul Quddus screened video footage showing a number of such violations by military and police forces.

Abdul Quddus also called for the arrest of those responsible for the bloody incidents, and allowed relatives of slain protesters a chance to present their painful experiences to reporters. A 10-minute video was also shown showing brutal assaults by soldiers against civilian protesters in recent days, highlighting the injuries sustained by numerous activists.

Prominent human rights activist Gamal Eid said that “crimes against humanity” had been committed both during and after the army’s December 16 crackdown on a three-week-long sit-in at the cabinet building, as well as when police forces clashed with anti-government protesters on Cairo’s Mohamed Mahmoud Street late last month.

“The authorities are responsible for these crimes, and the ruling military council is in charge of these authorities”, Eid said. “The culprits will be brought to justice sooner or later.”

The press conference also saw activists associated with the Revolutionary Socialists respond to recent accusations by journalists and talk-show hosts that the group was actively promoting anarchy and instability.

The campaign against the group, whose members includes labour and student activists, was initiated by Mohamed Nour, spokesperson for the Salafist Nour Party, who recently stated on television that “anarchy” was the movement’s overriding objective. He also accused the group of receiving funds from US intelligence agencies.

On December 20, independent daily El-Youm El-Sabea posted a video online of a recent speech by Revolutionary Socialist member Sameh Naguib in which he blasted the SCAF for defending the former regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. The paper went on to assert that the 44-year-old university professor’s comments constituted proof that the Revolutionary Socialists were, in fact, working to foment a military coup.

Naguib responded to these charges by telling reporters that the media and the SCAF together aimed to “discredit revolutionaries” through fear-mongering campaigns and talk of hidden anarchist agendas.

“They don’t want this revolution to continue; to realise its twin goals of freedom and social justice”, Naguib told reporters. “That’s why they smear the revolutionaries.”

Haitham Mohamedain, for his part, a rights lawyer and member of the Revolutionary Socialists, told reporters that his group – like other Egyptian political movements – was simply working to purge remnants of the Mubarak regime from all segments of Egyptian society.

“We want to end all Mubarak-era institutions and instead build democratic institutions accountable to the public”, Mohameddain said.

In an official statement, the Revolutionary Socialists described corruption as “a cancer spreading throughout Egypt's body”, adding that the Egyptian people had long suffered from ruling elites that had pilfered the nation’s wealth for six decades.

"We were a part of the January 25 Revolution and we will continue our struggle in Tahrir Square and elsewhere until the revolution triumphs", Naguib said.

Meanwhile, tens of people have posted statements of solidarity with the Revolutionary Socialists on Twitter and Facebook in the past two days, and hundreds others logged on to the Revolutionary Socialists Facebook page to download Naguib's speech.

Salah Adly, the head of the Egyptian Communist Party, stated at the press conference his group's rejection of "attempts by the ruling military council" to slander revolutionaries, and defended freedom of expression.

The SCAF, along with several media outlets, had earlier accused the April 6 youth movement of receiving foreign funding with the aim of sowing chaos in Egypt. Such allegations were never substantiated, however, and the movement was eventually cleared by the government of any wrongdoing.

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What you can do

Contact Egyptian government officials to demand that the assault on socialists and activists stop immediately. For Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, call 011-20-22-291-6227, fax 011-20-22-5748-822, and e-mail mod@idsc.gov.eg. For Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzoury, call 011-20-22-793-5000, fax 011-20-22-795-8048, and e-mail pm@cabinet.gov.eg.

 

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