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Egypt

Tariq Ali on upheaval in the Arab world: An Arab 1848: Despots totter and fall

By Tariq Ali

February 4, 2011 -- Counterpunch via Radical Notes -- He can’t stay any longer because the military has declared that they will not shoot their own people. This excludes a Tiananmen Square option. Were the Generals (who have so far sustained this regime) to go back on their word it would divide the army, opening up a vista of civil war. Nobody wants that at the moment, not even the Israelis who would like their American friends to keep their point man in Cairo for as long as possible. But this, too, is impossible.

Egypt: Independent workers' union leader: `This revolution will never stop until Mubarak goes'; Suez workers rattle regime

The US Navy counts on the Suez canal for rapid deployment of vessels from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf.

[For background to Egypt's working-class movement see also "Egypt: Historian Joel Beinin on the role of the labour movement" and "Egypt: Workers hold key to uprising".]

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Kamal Abbas, director of the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services, interviewed by Jane Slaughter

February 9, 2011 -- Labor Notes -- Though all eyes are on Cairo and its Liberation Square, few could know that Egyptian workers have been protesting and striking in huge numbers for years.

(Updated Feb. 11) Strike wave across Egypt: `The working class has entered the arena with full force'

February 10, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Reporting from Cairo, Democracy Now! senior producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous says thousands of workers, including doctors and lawyers, have joined the protests in Tahrir Square. The demonstrators continue to flood the streets despite government threats and just one day before what is expected to the largest day of protests to date. Click here to read the transcript.
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[For background to Egypt's working-class movement see also "Egypt: Historian Joel Beinin on the role of the labour movement" and "Egypt: Workers hold key to uprising".]

Egypt: The danger to the revolution comes from Washington

Protesters stand in front of grafitti calling on the US government to stay out of Egypt's affairs, February 2, 2011. Photo by Matthew Cassel

By Ali Abunimah

February 6, 2011 -- The Electronic Intifada -- The greatest danger to the Egyptian revolution and the prospects for a free and independent Egypt emanates not from the baltagiyya -- the mercenaries and thugs the regime sent to beat, stone, stab, shoot and kill protesters in Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in early February -- but from Washington.

Egypt: Historian Joel Beinin on the role of the labour movement; Democracy Now! interview

February 10, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Egypt’s pro-democracy uprising is surging after striking workers joined in the protests nationwide. Thousands of Egyptian workers walked off the job February 9 demanding better wages and benefits. Strikes were reported in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and the Suez Canal. We speak to Stanford University Professor Joel Beinin, who, as the former director of Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo, has closely studied the Egyptian labour movement for years. “This is huge, because there has been for the last 10 years an enormous wave of labour protests in Egypt”, Beinin says. “In the last few days what you’ve seen is tens of thousands of workers linking their economic demands to the political demand that the Mubarak regime step aside.” Click HERE for the program transcript. Intervew continues HERE.

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Uprising in Egypt -- Democracy Now! Two-hour special (Feb. 5, 2011); Al Jazeera's 'Egypt Burning'

On Saturday, February 5, 2011, Democracy Now! aired a two-hour "Uprising in Egypt". Watch above or here.

Highlights included:

Statement of the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt: `Glory to the martyrs! Victory to the revolution!'

Hossam el-Hamalawy explains the origins of the Revolutionary Socialists, and its associated Center of For Socialist Studies:

Starting in the late 1980s, small circles of Egyptian students, influenced by Trotskyism, gathered to study, eventually evolving in April 1995 into an organisation named the Revolutionary Socialists’ Tendency... From a handful of members in 1995, the Revolutionary Socialists grew to a couple hundred activists on the eve of the second Palestinian intifada. Their ranks then swelled thanks to their role in the Egyptian movement of solidarity with the Palestinians... The radicalising influence of the intifada among youth helped to reawaken the Egyptian tradition of street politics, which had been virtually smothered by the Mubarak regime’s fearsome security services.

The Revolutionary Socialists are aligned with the International Socialist Tendency, led by the British Socialist Workers Party. The group produces a newspaper, The Socialist, a copies of which can be found here and here.

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Eyewitness Egypt: Ahmed Shawki on `Day of Departure' demos -- `A tipping point has been reached'

February 4, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Video report: "Battle for Tahrir: An inside look at how pro-democracy activists reclaimed Tahrir Square after attacks by Mubarak forces. Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports live from Cairo.

International Socialist Review editor Ahmed Shawki reports from Cairo on the mass demonstration that shifted the balance away from the violence unleashed by the dictatorial Mubarak regime on February 2 and 3. Click here for Shawki's first-hand account of the attack by the regime's goons.

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February 4, 2011 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Anti-Mubarak demonstrators gathered in their hundreds of thousands today, in Cairo's Tahrir Square, in Alexandria and in cities and towns across the country for a new day of mass protest against the regime.

(Updated Feb. 6) International left in solidarity with the Arab revolution


Socialist Alliance local councillor Sam Wainwright addresses a rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, Western Australia, on February 5, 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.

February 4, 2011 -- Most trends in the socialist left internationally have rallied to offer solidarity to revolutionary upsurge in Egypt, Tunisia and the wider Arab world.

Fidel Castro: Mubarak's fate is sealed

By Fidel Castro

February 1, 2011 -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s fate is sealed, not even the support of the United States will be able to save his government.

The people of Egypt are an intelligent people with a glorious history who left their mark on civilisation. “From the top of these pyramids, 40 centuries of history are looking down upon us”, Napoleon Bonaparte once said in a moment of exaltation when the revolution brought him to this extraordinary crossroads of civilisations.

After World War II, Egypt was under the brilliant governance of Abdel Nasser, who together with Jawaharlal Nehru, heir of Mahatma Gandhi; Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah; and Guniea's Ahmed Sekou Toure — African leaders who together with Sukarno, then president of the recently liberated Indonesia — created the Non-Aligned Movement of Countries and advanced the struggle for independence in the former colonies.

Egypt: Workers hold key to uprising

Pro-democracy protesters confront police in Suez.

By Jeff Kaye

January 31, 2011 -- MyFDL -- While much analysis has focused on the youth-social network driven aspects of the recent uprising in Egypt, or on diplomatic and political maneuvers that thus far have left President Mubarak in office, and given even more power to the state repressive apparatus through the appointment of intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the vice-presidency, it is the Egyptian working class that holds the future of its country in its hands.

The organised workers' movement saw its unions gutted by state privatisation and the gutting of union independence though the hated Law No. 100, which guaranteed that union representation would be strongly controlled by the state. However, recent events, particularly in strategic Suez, have shown that when the social weight of the workers is thrown into the balance, even all the machinations of Hillary Clinton’s State Department will not be able to patch together Mubarak’s state apparatus. The question then will be, what will follow it?

Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt: How 'spontaneous' are they?

“Leave you thief! Mubarak should be tried in front of an international court.” Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy/3arabawy.

By Hicham Safieddine

February 1, 2011 -- The Bullet -- Arab uprisings are taking place with the historical speed of light. I began writing this piece following the downfall of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali and closed with the imminent downfall of Egypt's dictator, Hosni Mubarak. The Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings are not, as some armchair pundits have called the Tunisian one, Jasmine revolutions. They are ones of bread, bullets, blood, democracy and dignity.

Thailand, South Korea: Solidarity with Egypt's struggle for democracy


February 1, 2011. In front of the Egyptian embassy, Bangkok. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

On February 1, 2011, about 100 members of Thailand's mass democracy (Red Shirts) and student movements gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Bangkok to send solidarity and support to the people of Egypt fighting to rid their country of the dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak. The protest was organised and supported by the Student Federation of Thailand (SFT) and member organisations, Thai Youth for Democracy, 24 June Group and other democratic networks.

Egyptians and Koreans stand with one voice to denounce the Mubarak regime

By Roddy Quines, Seoul

Egypt's uprising and its implications for Palestine (and Jordan)

Egyptians call for Mubarak's ouster, Tahrir (Liberation) Square, Cairo, January 29, 2011. Photo by Matthew Cassel.

By Ali Abunimah

January 29, 2011 -- Electronic Intifada -- We are in the middle of a political earthquake in the Arab world and the ground has still not stopped shaking. To make predictions when events are so fluid is risky, but there is no doubt that the uprising in Egypt -- however it ends -- will have a dramatic impact across the region and within Palestine.

Communist Party of Egypt: 'The revolution will continue until the demands of the masses are fulfilled'


Al Jazeera reports on the latest developments in Tahrir Square and across Egypt.

February 2, 2011 -- According to Al Jazeera, "More than a million protesters flooded into central Cairo on [February 1], turning the Egyptian capital's Tahrir, or Liberation, Square into a sea of humanity as massive protests against Hosni Mubarak swept across Middle East's most populous nation. Packed shoulder to shoulder in and around the famed square, the mass of people held aloft posters denouncing the Egyptian president, and chanted slogans 'Go Mubarak Go' and 'Leave! Leave! Leave!'

Eyewitness Egypt: Feminist Nawal El Saadawi --'No discrimination between men and women ...That’s what women and men are saying'

January 31, 2011 -- Democracy Now! -- Renowned feminist and human rights activist Nawal El Saadawi was a political prisoner and exiled from Egypt for years. Now she has returned to Cairo, and she joins us to discuss the role of women during the last seven days of unprecedented protests. "Women and girls are beside boys in the streets," El Saadawi says. "We are calling for justice, freedom and equality, and real democracy and a new constitution, no discrimination between men and women, no discrimination between Muslims and Christians, to change the system... and to have a real democracy."

AMY GOODMAN: We go back right now to Egypt. Joining us on the phone is one of Egypt’s most renowned human rights activists, Nawal El Saadawi. A well-known feminist, psychologist, writer, former political prisoner in Egypt, she lived in exile for years due to numerous death threats. Nawal El Saadawi joins us on the line from Cairo.

Welcome to Democracy Now! Your feelings today in the midst of this popular rebellion against the Mubarak regime, calling on Mubarak to leave? Do you agree?

Malaysian solidarity with Egypt: PAS & PSM lead protest at Egyptian embassy

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

January 31, 2011 -- Parti Sosialis Malaysia -- A last-minute mobilisation and continuous rain did not hinder about 70 protesters from assembling to call for Hosni Mubarak to step down as well as showing support to the brave people of Egypt. The protest and memorandum handing ceremony was led by Mohamad Sabu, from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS) central committee, and S. Arutchelvan, Socialist Party of Malaysia (Part Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) secretary general.

The group walked a short distance and was greeted by around 50 police personnel in riot gear blocking the front entrance of the embassy. There were no confrontation with the police, who also desperately tried to get a representative from the embassy to take the memorandum. Like in Egypt, the situation at the embassy was equally uncertain as no one wanted to take the responsibility to receive the memorandum.

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.

Eyewitness Egypt: two interviews with Hossam el-Hamalawy

A protester carrying a banner addressed to Mubarak: “The people want you to fall”. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy/3arabawy.

Below are two recent interviews with Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist and socialist activist who produces at the 3arabawy website. The first appeared at Al Jazeera and the second at the Washington Post.

January 27, 2011 -- Al Jazeera via Socialist Worker (US) -- Mark LeVine, professor of history at UC Irvine, managed to catch up with Hossam el-Hamalawy via Skype to get a first-hand account of events unfolding in Egypt.

Why did it take a revolution in Tunisia to get Egyptians onto the streets in unprecedented numbers?

In Egypt, we say that Tunisia was more or less a catalyst, not an instigator, because the objective conditions for an uprising existed in Egypt, and revolt has been in the air over the past few years.

Western powers line up against Arab democracy

Above: young woman protester in Egypt. "The protests have been led by educated young people frustrated by poverty and lack of political freedom."

By Tony Iltis

January 30, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Having started with a fearless uprising for democracy and economic justice that is sweeping the Arab world, 2011 is shaping up to be a decisive year for the Middle East. By January 14, the first dictator had already been overthrown: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak looks set to follow.

Protests inspired by the Tunisian revolution have occurred in several Arab countries, repeatedly in Yemen and Jordan. On January 28, the Middle East’s most populous country, Egypt, was rocked by riots after police tried brutally, but unsuccessfully, to end four days of protest against the 30-year-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

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