Monday, August 26, 2013

Egypt: the Counterrevolution strikes back.

The great Egyptian Revolution which began on 25 January 2011, which overthrew the 30 year old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak, and has inspired revolt around the world, is now facing a crisis.
On Wednesday 14 August the General Al-Sisi and the Egyptian military carried out a horrific massacre against the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins protesting at the removal of President Morsi. The official death toll for this massacre stands at over 650 – the real figure is probably much higher, maybe 2000 or more. This was cold blooded murder and since then killing has continued with hundreds more being killed across Egypt and many thousands being arrested.
There can be no justification or excuse for this. The Egyptian Military and their civilian stooge government claim the Muslim Brotherhood are ‘terrorists’. This is the standard accusation trotted out by rulers and tyrants everywhere against their opponents. Insofar as members of the Muslim Brotherhood have armed themselves it is clearly in response to the slaughter perpetrated by the military. The generals are using hostility to the Muslim Brotherhood government’s neo-liberal policies and the Brotherhood's failure to tackle the economic plight of the people to attempt to destroy all the gains of the revolution and restore the military dictatorship that ruled Egypt for so long.
President Obama and US imperialism are clearly complicit in this. There have long been the closest ties between the Pentagon and the Egyptian generals. The US have always given huge military aid to Egypt and this continues to the tune of $1.3 billion a year – money which is used to by F-16 fighters, tanks and other military hardware from US firms. A key demand in this situation is for an end to this military aid.
We should also demand the release of the four Irish citizens currently being detained in Egypt and that Eamon Gilmore strongly condemns the repression, and breaks off diplomatic relations with Egypt. A strong message needs to be sent. Simply ‘calling for restraint’ and ‘deploring violence’ is not enough.
For supporters of the Egyptian Revolution our first duty is to condemn the repression and oppose the counterrevolution but there also lessons to be learned. Sections of the left, who supported the 2011 Revolution against Mubarak, especially the Nasserites, have always had illusions in the ‘national’ role of the military and have gone so far as to support the Generals in the massacres and repression. This is totally wrong. The army and the state, not the Muslim Brotherhood, are the main centre of reaction and counterrevolution in Egypt.
However the Muslim Brotherhood government was a disaster because its right wing neo-liberal economic policies placed the burden of the economic crisis on the ordinary people and the poor and so completely alienated the masses. They also collaborated with the generals, the army, the US and Israel and failed to press home the cleansing of the Mubarak state apparatus. In this way they left intact the very forces that are now slaughtering them.
St. Just, the great French revolutionary, famously said, ‘He who makes a revolution half way digs his own grave’. He was right. This is why socialists have to say ‘ Down with Military rule, No return to the old regime or the Muslim Brotherhood, All power and wealth to the working people!’.
John Molyneux
19 August 26, 2013