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Egypt: Morsi Humiliated as Revolution raises its head once again

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  • Cort Greene
    PHOTO GALLERY: Clashes enter tenth day around Tahrir Square
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2012
      PHOTO GALLERY: Clashes enter tenth day around Tahrir



      Egypt: Morsi Humiliated as Revolution raises its head once
      Written by Hamid AlizadehWednesday, 28 November 2012
      [image: Print]<http://www.marxist.com/egypt-morsi-humiliated-as-revolution-raises-head/print.htm#>

      Anger was simmering on Tahrir Square yesterday as hundreds of thousands
      poured in to the square to protest against Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi
      and his ruling Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Across the square large banners
      were inscribed with slogans such as �The Muslim Brotherhood has stolen the
      revolution� and �The Muslim Brotherhood are liars�. Throughout the day a
      seemingly never-ending stream of marches reached the square from all over
      the ancient city. In size and radicalism yesterday�s protest was equalled
      only by those that overthrew the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak in January

      [image: Tahrir Square yesterday. Photo: Gigi
      Square last night. Photo: Gigi
      marked the 6th day of protests that initially started by opposing a decree
      by the President which would concentrate all state power in his hands. The
      decree, besides letting him rule with immunity from the judiciary, would
      also allow him to take �any measures necessary� to �defend the revolution�.
      In reality this is a pretext to do the very opposite! Initially the
      reaction to the decree was confined to relatively small layers of mainly
      youth. But as the repression of the protests turned more and more heavy
      handed the main reasons behind the decree became clearer for the wider

      Sensing that the revolution might be in danger, the masses returned to the
      streets. The chants of �The people want to bring down the regime,� �Leave,
      leave!� and �Down with the regime!� once again resounded all over Tahrir
      Square. Reflecting the mood on the streets one participant, Mohammed Magdi,
      told AP, �We want to change this whole setting. The Brotherhood hijacked
      the revolution. People woke up to his [Morsi's] mistakes, and in any new
      elections they will get no votes.� Magdi was among a massive crowd of
      around 10,000 marching from the working class district of Shubra.

      The riot police showed no mercy to the crowd which it attacked several
      times during the day. The tear gas they used, and which covered large parts
      of the square throughout the day, was of a particularly dangerous type and
      ended up costing the life of a 54-year-old man. Prime Minister Hesham
      Qandil had warned earlier on the day that, �The government would sternly
      confront any destructive and violent actions that deviate from peaceful
      protests.� But confronted with the revolutionary wave the forces of the
      state proved to be powerless.

      In spite of the harsh conditions, people kept pouring into the symbolic
      square. As the day went the crowds swelled beyond what any of the
      organizers had anticipated. The Muslim Brotherhood itself put the figure at
      2-300,000. Many say that this was one of the largest protests ever in
      Egypt. One activist wrote on Twitter in the late afternoon: �The other
      amazing thing is that there is no space in Tahrir and the marches haven't
      even reached it yet!�

      The protesters weren�t only the youth, but from all walks of life, from
      striking workers and trade unionists to students and housewives, men and
      women, young and old, all there to show their anger and indignation.
      Another activist wrote on Twitter, �This time, whole families went down.
      All the independents came down this time, some of our parents for the first
      time as well.�

      Also beyond Cairo people were taking to the streets on a massive scale.
      There were large demonstrations in all major towns and cities across the
      country from Alexandria, Suez, Port Said and Luxor to Sohag, Assyut,
      Damietta, Mahalla, Tanta and many more.

      Although the swelling numbers in the square filled the masses with
      confidence and revolutionary optimism the mood was very serious and
      militant, far from the euphoric jubilant moods immediately after the
      revolution. This was in line with the mood we have witnessed in the
      demonstrations over the last week.

      In Alexandria where tens of thousands had participated in the protests, the
      Muslim Brotherhood ordered its members to abandon their offices which were
      under attack. In Mansoura the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood were burned
      down. In the proletarian bastion of Mahalla, protesters attacked the
      offices of the Muslim Brotherhood with stones and Molotov cocktails.
      The Islamists Stand Naked

      The Muslim Brotherhood, along with its political partner the Salafist *Nour
      Party*, had initially called for a counter-demonstration to take place in
      Tahrir Square as well. But seeing the mood that was developing they had to
      cancel their main rally in Cairo, hoping that at least in the other towns
      they would be able to muster sizeable turnouts. But despite this, and
      despite a well organised network and access to the state as well as its
      funds, the pro-Morsi demonstrations did not materialise.

      Only in the town of Assiut, far away from the industrial towns of the Nile
      delta, did the Brotherhood manage to gather 5000 people for a pro-Morsi
      demonstration. The protesters though, were mainly students of the Al-Azhar
      University, the chief centre of Islamic learning in the world, which is led
      by the reactionary Muhammad Sayyid Tantawy � an old supporter of Mubarak.

      In Alexandria, which was known to be a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood
      and their Salafist friends, the Islamists only managed to stage episodic
      gatherings which were dispersed by anti-Brotherhood crowds. In the end the
      MB had to evacuate their headquarters which the angry crowd then tried to
      set on fire.

      The Islamists are under heavy pressure now. In a pathetic move, the ever so
      arrogant leader of the Nour Party and advisor to Morsi, Emad
      Abdel-Ghaffour, told Reuters that he had �not been consulted� before the
      announcement of the decree by Morsi last week.

      The Muslim Brotherhood, after barely five months in office, have now
      entered into crisis. Only a few days ago bourgeois commentators around the
      world were hailing Mohammed Morsi as the new leader of the Arab world, some
      even going as far as proclaiming him to be the new Nasser.

      But today all the previous glory he was basking in has been destroyed by
      the Egyptian masses who thoroughly humiliated him with this massive show of
      force. Last night Morsi was only standing due to the mercy of the masses.
      If he had dared to call for a counter-demonstration in Tahrir, it would
      have been thoroughly defeated and his presidency would not have lasted
      until the morning.

      Morsi is not and will never be a new Nasser, because Nasser, despite his
      shortcomings, based himself on the mass of workers and poor in Egypt to
      strike blows against capitalism. Morsi (just like the rest of his Islamist
      allies) on the other hand, more than anything else is the man of capital,
      the man of the old order standing as an obstacle to the birth of a new one.
      Felools manoeuvre � �Leaders� open door for them

      On Monday, in an attempt to diffuse the movement that was building up,
      representatives of the President met with the Judiciary in order to strike
      a deal. Although a full retreat would have been too humiliating, Morsi
      publicly assured the Judges that his immunity would be limited to
      �sovereign matters�.

      At first the judges seemed to accept the deal, but seeing the anger on the
      streets they calculated that they could gain more concessions if they dug
      their heels in for a bit longer. Therefore they publicly denounced the deal
      claiming that there had never been one.

      [image: Tahrir Square last night. Photo: Gigi
      Photo: Gigi Ibrahim <http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigiibrahim/>It is clear
      that while the MB in general has no problems working with the *Felool* �
      name adopted by Egyptians for remnants of the old regime � it is not all
      layers that are equally happy about sharing power with the group. Some of
      these layers see the present crisis as an opportunity to strike back in
      order to regain their lost positions. The hysterical shrieks of these
      gentlemen, we should add, are not fooling any Egyptian who can remember how
      the same judiciary both under Mubarak and since then has been a pillar of
      support for reaction.

      However, while trying to ride the wave of revolution in order to strike
      blows against the MB, they mobilised for today�s protest and some of them
      attended Tahrir square. But throughout the day it was clear that the square
      resisted this trick and the Felools clearly stood out as an isolated
      minority in the protests.

      Unfortunately though, those who were supposed to lead the masses did not
      see through this trick. Last Thursday, the Liberal, Mohammed ElBaradei, and
      the Nasserist, Hamdeen Sabahi � who are generally seen by the masses as
      parts of the camp of revolution � announced a new National Rescue Front
      along with Amr Moussa, who was foreign minister under Mubarak. With the old
      excuse of �the more the better� these gentlemen are not only inviting Amr
      Moussa in but also his Felool friends in the judiciary and other places.

      The point is that the revolution has nothing in common with these people
      who just a few months ago were ready to drag the country through a sea of
      blood rather than have the people take power. Let us not forget that it was
      the judiciary who manoeuvred to cancel the parliamentary elections and to
      meddle in the constituent assembly. It was also the Judiciary who showed
      extreme leniency on Mubarak�s butchers when they appeared in court. To give
      any opening to these people is equal to inviting the counter-revolution
      deep into the camp of revolution � and this could have devastating

      Instead of clearing marking out the fault lines within society, and raising
      the political understanding of the masses, this tactic can only serve to
      disorientate and weaken the revolution. The first concrete results of this
      alliance have already revealed themselves. Firstly, the Brotherhood has
      been able to publicly accuse the anti-Brotherhood demonstrations of being
      in alliance with the Felool, a fact which would naturally dissuade many
      from joining the movement. Secondly, in order to satisfy the Felool, the
      programme of the front has been watered down to such a degree that it
      cannot attract anyone.

      Its main demands are the revoking of the presidential decree and in defence
      of the judiciary. To the extent that it defends the judiciary it is
      repelling the most honest and farsighted revolutionary forces and to the
      extent that it demands a withdrawal of the decree, it is actually
      tail-ending the movement whose demands in the Square were �down with the
      regime� i.e. *for a new revolution.*

      Thus we can see that the formula of �the more the better� actually turns
      into its opposite of limiting the scope of the revolutionary movement in
      order not to step on the toes of the old rulers. The only way to guarantee
      victory is by stating what is and putting forward a bold revolutionary
      programme and a plan of action aimed at sweeping away the whole regime and
      the economic and social system that stands behind it.

      Sabahi won more than five million votes in the first rounds of the
      presidential elections; he would probably have won the elections outright
      had there not been massive vote rigging. All of this happened because from
      the very beginning he made it clear that he was the �candidate of Tahrir�,
      and that he would support neither Shafik (candidate of the old regime) nor
      Morsi in a possible second round. But by cosying up with the Felool now he
      is risking losing all that support.

      If, yesterday, Sabahi had called for an escalation of the struggle into a
      general strike and a march on the presidential palace to overthrow Morsi,
      nothing could have stopped the movement. But instead the NRF is merely
      calling for more demonstrations and protests.

      The Revolutionary Socialists, as we explained in June, made a similar
      mistake. During the presidential elections, instead of exposing bourgeois
      class base and the counter-revolutionary character of the Muslim
      Brotherhood, they recommended a vote for Morsi as �the lesser evil�.
      Morsi�s campaign even thanked them in their victory statement. That
      criminal mistake � for which the leadership of this organization is fully
      responsible � weakened the organization and its links with the genuine
      revolutionary forces that are clearly not with the Brotherhood.

      In the last few days they issued a statement distancing themselves from the
      Brotherhood, but this is somewhat too late. If they had had the strength
      and understanding that it was necessary to state the real nature of the MB
      from day one of the revolution they would have had much to gain now as the
      living experience of the masses has shown them the true nature of the
      Brotherhood. Thus, because of this mistake and others like it, the
      organization and its many talented and dedicated members only form a small
      and relatively isolated part of the movement.
      Protracted and Unstable Process

      To all the sceptics who were moaning about the end of the Egyptian
      revolution after the coming to power of the MB, yesterday�s demonstration
      should have served to teach them an important lesson. Whatever the degree
      of religious belief or nationalist feelings there may be at any given
      moment in time, this cannot stop the class contradictions that exist in
      capitalist society from eventually coming to the surface.

      This is what we wrote one year ago:

      �It would be a mistake to ascribe �supernatural� powers to the Islamists
      and other counterrevolutionary forces, which somehow allegedly allow them
      to stand above society and the class struggle. The main point to understand
      is that these forces are all different shades of bourgeois parties who all
      defend the rule of capital. But as long as they defend the rule of capital,
      they must accept the logic of capitalism. They must therefore defend the
      crisis of capitalism, which at present does not allow for even the smallest
      and most basic concessions to the masses.

      �If all this had happened ten years ago, they might have been able to
      consolidate some form of bourgeois democratic regimes. The boom in world
      capitalism would have given them some margin for manoeuvring. But now there
      is a profound crisis on a world scale. This is both the reason for the
      revolutionary ferment and the reason why it cannot easily be brought to an
      end.� (One Year Since Bouazizi�s Death � One Year of Arab
      Hamid Alizadeh, 16 December 2011)

      Yesterday�s show of force fully confirms what we said. The revolution has
      chased away the thugs of the Islamists and has left all the forces of
      reaction in a state of shock and paralysis. Unable to do anything, they
      could only watch and hope that the masses would show them mercy. Had there
      been a revolutionary leadership of the movement, yesterday�s protest could
      have been turned into a new revolution sweeping away all the remnants of
      the old society. But the lack of such a force meant that the regime, though
      weak and unstable, is still standing.

      The masses want democracy, and we support them in this demand, but we also
      explain that the present state of things is the best that bourgeois
      democracy can offer in Egypt. The Marxists had foreseen the events that are
      now unfolding, but because of the weakness of the numerical weakness of the
      Marxist Tendency we are not able to bring these ideas to the movement as a
      whole. Therefore the masses will have to learn these lessons themselves
      through painful experience.

      Contrary to what bourgeois �experts� and sceptics on the left would have us
      believe, the Arab masses are not inherently prone to supporting reactionary
      Islamic fundamentalism. In fact the real traditions of the workers in Egypt
      and the rest of the region are Socialist and leftist.

      And as the tide of the revolution goes back and forth these old traditions
      will once again be rediscovered on a mass scale and this is because within
      the confines of the capitalist system not even the most basic needs of the
      masses can be met.

      Only the ideas of scientific socialism, i.e. Marxism, can show a way
      forward. Thus, the task of the day is to build a force within the Egyptian
      labour movement based on these ideas. By studying the experiences of the
      past and patiently explaining them to the workers and the youth our ideas
      will gain an echo within the revolution. Once this is achieved the road
      will be open to a genuine socialist revolution that will put an end to the
      capitalist system, which Morsi loyally serves.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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