Thursday, February 24, 2011

Workers Strikes in King Abdulla Financial Centre in Riyadh

Workers Strikes in King Abdulla Financial Centre in Riyadh

report received from worker in Saudi Arabia

I went last Thursday to my workplace, and I found out that there were over 3000 workers demanding their rights before they called a general strike in the construction site in Saudi Binladin Group. The workers were very angry, there workplace is one of the largest construction project in the country, which worth SR.100 billion. However, they live in a terrible conditions, one of the workers was telling me how he was living: "I live in a room 4m x 3m with 8 people, and for every 10 people there is only one toilet". Another Egyptian worker was telling me about the working conditions and the restriction of religious freedom: "those are Zionists, they don’t even allow me to pray on time!!", and another worker was speaking about the water at the site, which is infected and full of filth and insects: "the managers wouldn’t even wash their hands with it, but for us we have to drink it because it is the only drinking water at the site". The others talked about the delayed salaries and the unpaid overtime: "can you believe that some of the workers here are paid only 700 riyals a month, and I am paid 1000 riyal, how would we survive??".

They couldn’t continue in the old way, they organized themselves and decided to do a demonstration at the site, to demand their rights immediately. It was the most interesting scene that I have witnessed in my life, when a group of coordinators and security guards tried to persuade them to go back to work the workers replied by smacking their hats on the walls and they shouted we demand "food, money , accommodation – we need to be respected!!", all the managers, for the first time since the start of the project 4 years ago, took the workers seriously.

The police force which had an oppressive role in this socity couldn’t control the workers, when of the police officers told the workers that they need to return to their accommodation and their issue will be solved later, the worker replied by throwing stones at him, and they managed to frighten all the police officers around him. The stones missed the police officer, but unfortunately it did not miss his car! It was the first time in my life I saw a police car smashed in Saudi Arabia.

When several coordinators, sent by thy managers, tried to promise the workers for change, I and several socialist we were pushing for the occupation of the construction site, but that did not work. However, when one of coordinators said: "we will give you a new accommodation with a football pitch", one of the workers replied: "how would we play football after 13 hours of work with an unpaid overtime?!" , then the coordinators promised that every worker will be paid after 5 days, someone replied: "what would we do with todays bread after 5 days, we need it now, we are sick of excuses, a billionaire cannot pay his workers today??!!"

In the end, the owner promised the workers that they will pay them on Saturday – which is after two days – the workers went back, and on Saturday they received an extra SR. 500 on top of their salary and the owners promised them that they will improve their accommodation and they will pay them 100 hour for their overtime each month. The workers started to organized with a sister company which belong to the same owners to start a new wave of strikes in different parts of the construction site. Through this week, there were several strike actions in King Fahad Library and in a construction sites in King Saud University.

Saturday, February 12, 2011



Friday 11 February 2011 is a historic day. It will be remembered forever as the day a heroic people brought down a hated tyrant.

Let us not, in the midst of our celebration, forget for one moment that three hundred Egyptians, mostly young Egyptians, paid with their lives for this victory. Glory to the martyrs of the Egyptian Revolution! Those responsible should be brought to trial.

Let us not, in the midst of our celebration, forget for one moment, the terrible and heroic struggle waged by the Egyptian people, mostly (as in all revolutions) the youth of Egypt, to win this great victory. The world saw, in the full light of day, Mubarak’s thugs – his police out of uniform and their paid accomplices – attempt, with ferocious violence, to drive the people from Tahrir Square. It saw the people, with courage and organisation and, above all, numbers, drive them back and rout them.
What the world did not see, or saw much less of, was the even more heroic battle of the Egyptian people, again mainly the young, which occurred to a considerable extent under cover of darkness, in which the revolutionaries routed the feared and hated police. This was the seemingly impossible. This was the victory no ‘sensible’, ‘moderate’ or ‘reasonable person’ would have deemed possible. The fact is it happened, and the fact is also that revolutions happen when people are willing to give their lives for them, as they were in Egypt.

Let us not, in the midst of our joy, forget also that the USA, and Britain and Saudia Arabia etc, sustained the hideous Mubarak regime with massive financial and military aid, until the last possible moment. The American modus operandi for these situations is unfortunately well established: support the dictator to the last possible moment, then pose as champions of democracy at the eleventh hour in order to retain influence over the situation.

But nothing – nothing – can change the fact that the ordinary people, with their bare hands, brought down the tyrant and this means that everywhere in the world whenever people say, in their weariness and alienation, ‘it’ll never change’ or ‘it will never happen’ we can say simply ‘Egypt!’.

However, our joy at this great victory does not relieve us of the duty to tell the truth about the situation on the ground. Apart from the fall of Mubarak the central aims of the Revolution have not yet been achieved. As yet we do not know that the practice of torture in Egypt’s police stations and prisons has ended. As yet we do not know if the practice of detaining people without trial is finished. We do not know if there will be a transition to genuine democracy.

At the moment the Egyptian people are asked to trust the military, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, to ensure these things happen. But this Supreme Council consists entirely of generals close to Mubarak and up to their necks in the blood of the Egyptian people and up to their wallets in the people’s wealth. It includes the notorious Omar Sulieman, torturer-in-chief, and the CIA’s man in Cairo. It includes and is headed by Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, former commander of Mubarak’s Presidential Guard, and Sami Hafaz Anan of whom Al Jazeera reports:

Lieutenant- General Anan ... is commander of 468,000 troops. He is seen as having a crucial role in coordinating interim arrangements... He was in Washington when the uprising began ... it was reported that the United States was pushing Anan for a key mediating role, though it was speculated that he was far too close to Mubarak to retain ant role in a new government.

The other members are similar and many are closely linked to the US. Moreover, the basic idea that the army is the army of ‘the nation’, of the people, is an illusion. The Egyptian Army, i.e. its high command as opposed to the ordinary soldiers, like every army, is part of the society’s ruling class and will defend its interests. If the army did not repress the people in the last 17 days it was probably for fear that its rank- and – file would break and side with the people, as has happened in many revolutions from the Paris Commune through Russia in 1917 to the Iranian Revolution. So the army is still there to defend the rich and the regime if need be. I remember with sadness the prevalence of the illusion in a ‘national army’ before the Polish military coup, crushing Solidarnosc, in 1981 and before the Tianenman Square massacre in China in 1989.

There is an even more fundamental problem. The Egyptian people who made the revolution will be hoping for a better life – not only political freedom but also economically and socially. But the poverty and deprivation that is so widespread in Egypt is NOT simply the product of the Mubarak regime. It exists, to a greater or lesser degree, everywhere from Washington to Rio, from London to Cape Town, from Portugal to India. It is a product not of one government but of the international capitalist system and the imperialist structure of the world economy that goes with it.

Economically and strategically Egypt is a highly significant part of this system and structure and closely tied to the US which is the very heart of the system and its main international policeman. Nothing that has happened so far in Egypt will have changed the fact that the Sawiris family, estimated wealth over $20 billion, coexists with millions in slums and abject poverty; nothing to end the contrast between the rich luxuriating in Zamalek or Heliopolis and wage slaves of Mahalla or Helwan or the poor of Shubra or the Cities of the Dead. And the Supreme Council, and the US government and David Cameron and many of the media pundits, who are expressing false solidarity and fake approval of the Revolution, will be desperate to see that nothing does challenge this monstrous inequality or the capitalist system that underlies it.

But what the Revolution has produced already is a power, the power of the working class, that CAN challenge capitalism and, undoubtedly WILL come into conflict with the system in the days, weeks and months ahead.

This is why the struggle goes on: to cleanse the regime of its torturers and thieves; to establish real democratic freedom; to build the people’s power from below that can claim Egypt’s wealth for the people of Egypt. In this struggle the People’s Committees formed to defend communities in the Revolution and the strikes and workplace occupations developing over the last few days are crucial. POWER TO THE WORKERS!

John Molyneux
12 February 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011


April 6 Movement:

Egypt - Mubarak refuses to resign, a general strike is needed to bring him down!The Egyptian masses thought Mubarak would resign, but he had other plans, Simon Hardy reports on what happened and what comes next

In the afternoon of 10 February the Egyptian Army Supreme Council, which had met without its commander in chief Hosni Mubarak, issued Communique number 1. The communique explained that the army had stepped in in order to safeguard "the people's achievements and demands". Omar Suleiman, the Vice President, was sent to meet Mubarak to relay the discussion and opinions of the generals.

ABC news in the US announced that Mubarak would step down. Leading members of the NDP had said that they "did not think Mubarak would be president by Friday." Thousands surged into Tahrir and took to the streets across the country to be there when they heard the news that they had been waiting for.

Everyone thought he would resign - the mood in tahrir square was phenomenal, celebratory - a feeling of triumph surged through the crowd. But Mubarak had other plans.

Mubarak's speech was an astonishing piece of hypocritical filth. This man who sat atop of the regime which brutalised his people for 30 years, and tried in the last 17 days to destroy the movement any way that it could shed crocodile tears for the people that his police had killed. Over 300 people have died to force him from power, and after cursing the movement and trying to drown them in blood he addresses his speech to the "youth of the nation". These are the youth of the nation who have risen up against him and hate him with a passion - they have nothing in common with him or his regime. They are the future and he is the past, that is why he has fought against them so violently.

He promised a full investigation into anyone involved in persecuting protesters and swore again that he would resign in September, but not before.

During his entire speech he did not offer one serious concession to the people - he did not even withdraw the state of emergency. He proposed the amendment of 6 sections of the constitution, including the most controversial ones of article 76 and 77. He said he would scrap article 179. Article 179 is a relatively new anti terrorism amendment which stipulates "the state will assume responsibility for safeguarding security and public order in the face of the dangers of terrorism", which allows for anti terror suspects to be investigated and arressted without any kind of judicial over view.

The crowd in Tahrir square became enraged when word spread that he was not resigning. People began to wave their shoes in the air, the universal sign of disrespect and contempt in the Arab world, they were lifted up on sticks, held aloft above their heads. Mubarak knows that he cannot step down, if he does so it will give a green light to everyone across the region that dictators can fall under popular pressure.

But now the masses will become enraged. Tomorrow will see millions upon millions of people marching across the country. Masses of workers are due to join the protests. The strikes should not be called off, they need to be extended and co-ordinated into an all out general strike. The strikes should be co-ordinated by democratic councils of the workers, they need to organise the defense of the revolution. It is also important now that the rank and file soldiers be won over to the revolution.

Now the demand for a constituent assembly is crucial. It is not the military or technocrats which should decide the new constitution but a democratic assembly composed of recognished deleates from the people.

Whether Mubarak is working in relative agreement with the army or defying them is not clear. Clearly the army wants to consolidate its influence in the political process. Clearly the miltiary are divided over what to do - still the different factions within the regime do not know what to do. Some within the NPD want Mubarak gone, but Mubarak and his clique want to hold on to power. The army's position is changing, but it is not clear yet what role they will play.

Tomorrow may see a revolution in the country, or a military coup. There will be a reckoning between the people and the army sooner or later. All the world is watching history happen in Egypt tonight!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Solidarity with Egypt from Portsmouth Trades Unions

This is from the Trades Council in my (former) home town of Portsmouth. This is what Trades Unions should be doing everywhere.John M

On Behalf of Portsmouth Trades Council (the official organisation that represents the various trade union branches in the City of Portsmouth)

Congratulations on the formation of RETAU, the independent federation of Egyptian trade unions.
When our trades Council met on 3 February we discussed the inspirational struggles in Tunisia and Egypt. Our delegates wanted to express our solidarity with you in your revolution against tyranny.

Down with Mubarak! Victory to the Egyptian People! Workers of the World Unite!

As media officer, I issued the press release below. I didn't know how to convey this message to our sisters and brothers in Egypt until some comrades emailed me your contact details. I am so pleased to open up a direct dialogue with you. Your bravery and determination gives us strength to fight our bosses and rulers who are trying to cut our living standards. Many of us are watching your struggle on the TV and internet. We have heard of your strikes, but were concerned that the Egyptian Trade Union Federation was too closely linked with Mubarak. We are delighted that you have formed your own free and independent trade union federation. We wish you every success in your struggle and offer any help that we can provide.
Victory to the Egyptian Revolution!

Yours Fraternally
Jon Woods
Portsmouth Trades Council Media Officer




Portsmouth Trades Council (PTC) is sending a message of solidarity and support to the people in Tunisia, Egypt and across the Middle East fighting for economic demands and political freedom. The uprisings across the region began in Tunisia with protests over unemployment, food prices and the banning of political protest.

‘In Tunisia, the Union Generale des Travailleurs Tunisien (UGTT) trade union confederation called a general strike which helped force Ben Ali from power. Although the Egyptian Trade Union Federation has close links to the Mubarak regime, there have been widespread strikes. Workers in the Suez steel mill that produces 70% of Egypt’s steel are on indefinite strike until Mubarak falls. There are strikes in the centre of the textile industry in Mahalla al-Kubra’, said Jon Woods.

PTC supports our brothers and sisters across the Middle East in their struggle for bread, freedom and social justice. We call for genuine democracy and the removal of tyrants such as Mubarak. We demand an immediate end to violence against the pro democracy protestors. We support workers in forming their own independent and democratic trade unions.

For further information contact;

Louis MacDonald (PTC Secretary) on 07940 503634 or at

Mick Tosh (PTC Chair) on 07900 877720

Jon Woods (PTC Media Officer) 0n 07921 775828

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Statement of the Revolutionary Socialists Egypt:

Glory to the martyrs! Victory to the revolution!

What is happening today is the largest popular revolution in the history of our country and of the entire Arab world. The sacrifice of our martyrs has built our revolution and we have broken through all the barriers of fear. We will not back down until the criminal 'leaders' and their criminal system is destroyed.
Mubarak's departure is the first step, not the last step of the revolution
The handover of power to a dictatorship under Omar Suleiman, Ahmed Shafiq and other cronies of Mubarak is the continuation of the same system. Omar Suleiman is a friend of Israel and America, spends most of his time between Washington and Tel Aviv and is a servant who is faithful to their interests. Ahmed Shafik is a close friend of Mubarak and his colleague in the tyranny, oppression and plunder imposed on the Egyptian people.
The country's wealth belongs to the people and must return to it
Over the past three decades this tyrannical regime corrupted the country's largest estates to a small handful of business leaders and foreign companies. 100 families own more than 90% of the country's wealth. They monopolize the wealth of the Egyptian people through policies of privatization, looting of power and the alliance with Capital. They have turned the majority of the Egyptian people to the poor, landless and unemployed.
Factories wrecked and sold dirt cheap must go back to the people
We want the nationalization of companies, land and property looted by this bunch. As long as our resources remain in their hands we will not be able to completely get rid of this system. Economic slavery is the other face of political tyranny. We will not be able to cope with unemployment and achieve a fair minimum wage for a decent living without restoring the wealth of the people from this gang.
We will not accept to be guard dogs of America and Israel
This system does not stand alone. Mubarak, as a dictator was a servant and client directly acting for the sake of the interests of America and Israel. Egypt acted as a colony of America, participated directly in the siege of the Palestinian people, made the Suez Canal and Egyptian airspace freezones for warships and fighter jets that destroyed and killed the Iraqi people and sold gas to Israel, dirt cheap, while stifling the Egyptian people by soring prices. Revolution must restore Egypt's independence, dignity and leadership in the region.
The revolution is a popular revolution
This is not a revolution of the elite, political parties or religious groups. Egypt's youth, students, workers and the poor are the owners of this revolution. In recent days a lot of elites, parties and so-called symbols have begun trying to ride the wave of revolution and hijack it from their rightful owners. The only symbols are the martyrs of our revolution and our young people who have been steadfast in the field. We will not allow them to take control of our revolution and claim that they represent us. We will choose to represent ourselves and represent the martyrs who were killed and their blood paid the price for the salvation of the system.
A people's army is the army that protects the revolution
Everyone asks: "Is the army with the people or against them?". The army is not a single block. The interests of soldiers and junior officers are the same as the interests of the masses. But the senior officers are Mubarak’s men, chosen carefully to protect his regime of corruption, wealth and tyranny. It is an integral part of the system.
This army is no longer the people’s army. This army is not the one which defeated the Zionist enemy in October 73. This army is closely associated with America and Israel. Its role is to protect Israel, not the people. Yes we want to win the soldiers for the revolution. But we must not be fooled by slogans that ‘the army is on our side’. The army will either suppress the demonstrations directly, or restructure the police to play this role.
Form revolutionary councils urgently
This revolution has surpassed our greatest expectations. Nobody expected to see these numbers. Nobody expected that Egyptians would be this brave in the face of the police. Nobody can say that we did not force the dictator to retreat. Nobody can say that a transformation did not happen in Middan el Tahrir.
What we need right now is to push for the socio-economic demands as part of our demands, so that the person sitting in his home knows that we are fighting for their rights. We need to organize ourselves into popular committees which elects its higher councils democratically, and from below. These councils must form a higher council which includes delegates of all the tendencies. We must elect a higher council of people who represent us, and in whom we trust. We call for the formation of popular councils in Middan Tahrir, and in all the cities of Egypt.
Call to Egyptian workers to join the ranks of the revolution
The demonstrations and protests have played a key role in igniting and continuing our revolution. Now we need the workers. They can seal the fate of the regime. Not only by participating in the demonstrations, but by organising a general strike in all the vital industries and large corporations.
The regime can afford to wait out the sit-ins and demonstrations for days and weeks, but it cannot last beyond a few hours if workers use strikes as a weapon. Strike on the railways, on public transport, the airports and large industrial companies! Egyptian Workers! On behalf of the rebellious youth, and on behalf of the blood of our martyrs, join the ranks of the revolution, use your power and victory will be ours!
Glory to the martyrs!
Down with the system!
All power to the people!
Victory to the revolution!


Emergency Motion passed at Dublin City Council 8th February, 2011

This Council declares its total solidarity with the heroic democracy protesters of Egypt, and especially with those currently occupying Tahrir (Liberation) Square. It strongly supports their demands: for the immediate removal of the dictator, Hosni Mubarak, from his office as President; for the repeal of the anti-democratic Emergency Law (which since 1981 has given the notorious State Security Forces the right to detain people without charge or trial); for the dismantling of the whole Mubarak regime of murder torture and corruption; for full freedom of the press and genuine democratic elections. This Council resolves to refuse all collaboration with the illegitimate Mubarak Government or its agents .
This Council also calls upon the Irish Government to; a) end all diplomatic relations with the Mubarak/Suleiman regime until such time as a new democratically elected government is established; b) to make a public statement of its support for the democracy movement; c)to vote accordingly at the United Nations and in the EU Council of Ministers and European Parliament; d) to call publicly for Mubarak to be put on trial at the International Court of Human Rights at the Hague.

This motion was proposed by Councillor Brid Smith
People Before Profit Alliance

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution

Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution

As someone who has often visited Egypt and has many friends in Cairo I appeal to everyone everywhere who reads this blog to do everything they can to mobilise support for the ongoing and embattled Egyptian Revolution. Demonstrate, picket your Egyptian embassy, organise meetings, whatever you can do.

Above all it is necessary to combat the idea that the Egyptian people are divided or that it is just chaos and confusion. What has happened is an organised attack by plainclothes police, paid thugs on behalf of a brutal dictator and his regime to attempt to crush the amazingly heroic uprising of the Egyptian masses. Mubarak must not be given another 6 months to scheme, kill, and shore up his position.


Solidarity Rally in Dublin
The Spire, O’Connell St.
Friday 4 February 4pm-6pm

Followed by
Irish SWP public meeting
Egypt in Revolution
Friday 4 Feb 7pm
Cassidy’s Hotel, Upper O’Connell St.