France, WSF, Korea ... International left solidarity with the Egyptian people's uprising
Below are a number of statements and reports of solidarity actions around the world following the overthrow of the US-backed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. They include a statement from organisations attending the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress in France, solidarity from the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, a statement by leaders of the Socialist Party USA and a report on trade union organised protests in South Korea. Check back for more.
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Statement from left organisations present at the New Anti-Capitalist Party congress
February 12, 2011 -- The overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak change the political situation not only in the Maghreb but on the international scale.
Popular revolutions which have put an end to dictatorships supported for decades by US and European imperialisms are giving back confidence to all the Arab peoples and strike a devastating blow to the imperialist and Zionist order in the region.
Jordanian, Yemenite, Iraqi, Algerian and Palestinian populations have already taken to the street to demand political changes.
These revolutions are the direct impact of the international economic crisis and of the diktats of the IMF and the World Bank which impose a radical social offensive and the impoverishment of populations already suffering from decades of policies of social injustice and corruption.
These two revolutions open the way not only to democratic demands to break with the dictatorships, but also to the questioning of capitalist economic systems which are the cause of so much injustice. Social issues were at the source of the popular insurrections.
Imperialism is going to do everything to safeguard its positions in the region and stop the anti-imperialist development of processes at work and their propagating in the region.
This means that the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples, the forces which want to open a anti-imperialist and socialist road in those countries, need the solidarity and the active support of revolutionaries of anti-imperialist movements, of social and trade union movements of the whole world.
We are committing ourselves, each and everyone of us, in our countries, our regions, to developing this solidarity especially in order to fight against the attacks which international institutions and capitalist groups are already wreaking in order to stop any social and economic furthering of these emerging revolutions, and to using this magnificent example to stimulate the mobilisations against the debt and the demands of the IMF.
Long live the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions!
Note: The World Social Forum Social Movements Assembly in Dakar has launched an appeal for a worldwide day of demonstrations on March 20, 2011.
Australia: Socialist Alliance
Brazil: Party of Liberation and Socialism (PSOL)
England: Socialist Workers Party; Counterfire
Canada: Socialist caucus of the New Democratic Party
Catalonia: En Lluita
Corsica: A. Manca
Euskadi (Basque Country): Askapena
Greece: SEK; DEA
Indonesia: KPRM-PRD; Working People’s Association (PRP)
Iraq: Iraq Freedom Congress; Union of Communists-Iraq
Ireland: Socialist Workers Party
Italy: Sinistra Crítica
La Réunion: NPAR
Portugal: Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc)
South Korea: New Progressive Party; Institute of the 21th Century Korean Research; KDLP -- Paris Committee
Spanish State: Izquierda Anticapitalista; POR
Sri Lanka: NSSP
Tunisia: Ligue de la Gauche Ouvrière Tunisienne ; Communist Workers Party of (PCOT)
USA: International Socialist Organization
Venezuela: Marea Socialista
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February 12, 2011, Sydney -- What was scheduled to be another rally in support of the Egyptian people's revolution against the hated Mubarak dictatorship turned into a spontaneous celebration after the hated dictator was toppled overnight. As one sign declared: "Congratulations Egypt -- never underestimate people power". Photos by Peter Boyle.
Socialism and the spirit of Tahrir Square
By Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA
Tahrir Square transformed the idea of democracy from a stale ritual that occurs every few years to an open ended struggle for freedom.
February 11, 2011 -- Socialist WebZine -- We send greetings to the working people of Egypt on the day of their victorious struggle to depose the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Their grassroots movement provides definitive proof to the world that radical political activity can change the course of history. The activities of the protesters in Tahrir Square transformed the idea of democracy from a stale ritual that occurs every few years to an open ended struggle for freedom. We are inspired by the example provided by this mass revolt of the Egyptian people.
It is particularly important to recognise the central contribution made by the working class to the defeat of the dictator. While the occupation of the square and the street demonstrations in several cities galvanised the resistance, it was the mass strikes carried out by the workers that broke the back of the regime. On February 9 thousands of workers demonstrated the ability to shutdown the entire society and economy until their demands were met. After these mass strikes, the regime understood that surrender was its only option.
The victory of Tahrir Square need not be an isolated one – limited only to the removal of one dictatorial regime. The revolt was as much about the conditions imposed on Egyptians by capitalism – the lack of food, the unemployment, the poor housing, the declining environment – as it was about Mubarak. We can all join in the spirit of struggle initiated in Cairo by demanding a democratic socialist society where the needs of human beings are placed ahead of those of corporations.
See Tahrir Square for what it is – an open-ended struggle for freedom. And what the dissident voices in Egypt and many others parts of world are demanding are things that capitalism cannot deliver. In Egypt, the reorganisation of an independent trade union movement, the experiences of direct democracy in the protests and the revitalisation of a socialist left in the country offer greatest hope for advancing the political agenda for economic freedom developed in Tahrir Square.
As socialists located in the United Staes, we pledge to continue to do our part in the international struggle for socialism. We see our own political activity as a part of the larger international movement for jobs, peace and freedom. As a part of a Socialism for the 21st Century!
South Korean support for the Egyptian revolution
By Roddy Quines
February 13, 2011 -- On February 8 the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) held a protest in front of the Egyptian embassy in Seoul to as part of the “International Day of Solidarity Action”. The KCTU expressed its support for the Egyptian protesters and its solidarity with the newly established Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions.
Speakers at the rally drew parallels between the struggle in Egypt and South Korea’s struggle for democracy in the 1980s, in which militant unions and radical students were at the forefront of the struggle against military rule.
“The struggle of Egyptian people reminded me the June Struggle for Democracy in 1987. The people who have suffered from the dictatorship for 30 years is now crying for freedom, rights to work and democracy. KCTU is standing by workers and people in Egypt. We will use every endeavour to support the courageous struggle” commented Jeong Ui-heon, first vice-president of the KCTU.
After speeches were made, Jeong Ui-heon tried to enter the embassy to give a protest letter to the Egyptian ambassador. However, police blocked the entrance of the embassy and the embassy also refused to accept the letter. In response to this Jeong ripped up the letter and threw it over the wall of the building.
On February 11, a crowd of Koreans and Egyptians gathered in front of the Egyptian embassy in Seoul for one more protest against the Mubarak regime. There were speakers in English, Arabic and Korean. As the protesters called for Mubarak to step down, little did they know that within hours their dreams of freedom for Egypt would come true.
Above and below: February 11 protest in solidarity with Egypt. Source: www.left21.com.
Above: Flyer for the February 11 protest in solidarity with Egypt. Source: www.left21.com.
Egyptian people’s struggle is right!
Korean Confederation of Trade Unions
February 8, 2011 – The KCTU fully supports the protest of workers and people of Egypt!
The Egyptian peoples struggle against the 30 year of pro-US dictatorship has been continuing for more than 15 days. On February 8, the day which has been decided as a “Day of Solidarity Action for Egyptian People” by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), its affiliates in 151 countries start their solidarity action including presenting protest letters to the Egyptian embassies. KCTU welcomes the ITUC’s decision and will use every endeavour.
The claims of Egyptian people are right. Their demand for a minimum wage and the right to work is the same as the demand of the KCTU and Korean workers, and Korean people, who have experienced the series of military dictatorships of Park Jung-hee, Chun Du-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, fully sympathise with their demand for an abolition of the emergency laws. The international community already turned its back on the rule by the iron fist of Mubarak and is urging his resignation and transition to the democracy. The United States, which has stood by the anti-democracy of Egyptian governments for the sake of its hegemony, is at a loss which way to go.
The KCTU, which has its root in the Gwang-ju People’s Uprising in 1980 and the June struggle for democracy and following great struggle of workers in 1987, is paying special attention to the Egyptian Federation for Independent Unions, which has been newly established against the government’s national centre. The federation has led the general strike and struggled strongly together with other organisations, including the April 6 Youth Movement, and was launched in the middle of the ongoing struggle. The federation is determined to fight to the end despite the ruling class’s suppression. Its demand for the right to work, a minimum wage, free education and unemployment compensation, which meet the people’s basic demand for livelihood, is absolutely supported by the people.
Egypt is attracting the world’s attention. We firmly believe that the workers and people in Egypt will win the victory despite of the merciless oppression and sabotage of the Mubarak regime and the manipulation of the United State. The KCTU states its solidarity and support with the Egyptian people’s struggle by joining the international day of action of the ITUC and will continue until the people win a final victory.
“Transition now, respect the will of the people!”
Thousands pledge support for people of Egypt and Tunisia
By Thandi Winston, Dakar
“Their struggles are lighting the path to another world, free from oppression and exploitation”, the statement reads. “Inspired by the struggles of the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt, we call for March 20th to be made a day of international solidarity with the uprisings of the Arab and African people, whose advance supports the struggles of all peoples.”
Thousands of delegates attended the assembly at the main venue at Cheikh Anta Diop University. Loud applause broke out as the statement was read out. Some delegates had expressed concerned that the events in North Africa were not granted enough time for discussion time at the forum. Others said the assembly’s statement goes a long way in showing solidarity to the people of Tunisia and Egypt.
Following the reading out of the statement, Mamdouh Habashi, an Egyptian activist who had spent several days at the focal point of the Egyptian protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square just before coming to Dakar, addressed the assembly.
“The revolution is not yet over. Mubarak is still in power”, he said. Habashi said the “people of Egypt are at war with the imperialists and need the support of the African people and the world”. Change in Egypt, he said, is an earthquake taking place that will change the world. He underlined that pressure must be put on countries that still supported Mubarak.
Picking up the theme, Habashi’s fellow Egyptian and activist, the public intellectual Samir Amin, echoed these sentiments but urged activists to find ways to offer effective solidarity.
“It is not enough to show solidarity with the people of Egypt, we have to also change the U.S. and other powers. It is only through doing this that we can truly help the people of Egypt.”
When she took the floor, feminist and activist Pumi Mtetwa said the social movements of South Africa and Southern Africa also support the people of Egypt and Tunisia.
“Unity in struggle and struggle in unity,” she declared. “We pledge our solidarity to the people and support the assembly’s declaration”.
Habiya Sheg from Algeria said, “The people of Egypt have taken the decision [to resist] and will not go back and this is about political sovereignty.”
Thousands of delegates have been urged to support a march on the Egyptian embassy in Dakar at the end of the WSF’s final proceedings.