Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Egypt: Morsi removed by revolutionary movement - No confidence in the generals and bourgeois politicians - All power to the people

Expand Messages
  • Cort Greene
    TED GRANT CENTENARY This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ted Grant. As part of commemorating his achievements, In Defence of Marxism is
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2013
    View Source
    • 0 Attachment

      This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ted Grant. As part of
      commemorating his achievements, In Defence of Marxism is launching an
      appeal to all our readers and supporters to raise �2,000. [Read the

      Egypt: Morsi removed by revolutionary movement - No confidence in the
      generals and bourgeois politicians - All power to the
      Written by Jorge MartinThursday, 04 July 2013
      [image: Print]<http://www.marxist.com/egypt-morsi-removed-by-revolutionary-movement-of-the-people/print.htm>[image:


      After four days of mass revolutionary mobilisations by the Egyptian people
      and the beginning of a nationwide general strike, finally president Morsi
      was removed from power. What we witnessed yesterday is yet another example
      of the power of the masses of workers and youth, peasants and the poor when
      they start to move.

      [image: tahrir-sq-june30]<http://www.marxist.com/images/stories/egypt/tahrir-sq-june30.jpg>Despite
      all the talk of a �military coup�, the truth is that the Army generals only
      intervened at the last minute in order to prevent a full revolutionary
      overthrow which would have jeopardised not only the position of the
      president and the Muslim Brotherhood (a section of the capitalist class),
      but the capitalist state and the capitalist system as a whole. In this we
      can see the enormous strength of the revolutionary masses but also their
      main weakness, the lack of a clear leadership which could have led them to
      finish the job themselves.

      We must insist on this point: it was not the Army generals which removed
      Morsi, it was the revolutionary people through mass mobilisations which
      surpassed even those which brought down Mubarak in January 2011. The only
      way one can say that what happened yesterday was a �coup� is if you only
      look at the events during the few minutes in which Army chief-of-staff
      al-Sisi made his statement and Morsi was put under house arrest and forget
      everything that has happened in Egypt since January 2011 and particularly
      since Sunday, June 30, 2013.

      Let�s recall. First of all, a mass revolutionary movement of the people
      (led by the youth and inspired by the Tunisian revolution) took to the
      streets and brought down Mubarak who had ruled with an iron fist for
      decades and had at his disposal a numerous, refined and seemingly all
      powerful repressive apparatus. The crucial turning points in the revolution
      were: 1) the beginning of the entry of the working class into the scene
      with a strike wave moving quickly from the Mahalla textile workers, to the
      Helwan military industries and the Suez Canal workers; 2) the appearance of
      divisions within the Army along class lines, with lower ranking officers
      and soldiers fraternising with the revolutionaries on the streets. It was
      at that point - let us remember this - that the Army generals, the Supreme
      Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), intervened to remove Mubarak. This was,
      rightly, seen by the masses as a victory, but it was one which was only
      partial and incomplete, because it left the state apparatus and the power
      of the bourgeoisie over the economy untouched.

      The second act was the movement against SCAF and the attempt of the
      generals to continue with the old order but without Mubarak. In the period
      which goes from January 2011 until June 2012 there were constant mass
      demonstrations and clashes by the people against SCAF and defending the
      basic aims of the revolution. Dozens, probably hundreds of people in total,
      were martyred in the course of this struggle. Finally SCAF decided it could
      no longer continue to rule directly in the face of the enormous pressure
      from the revolutionary masses and made a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.
      The Brotherhood at the end of the day represents a section of the Egyptian
      capitalist class, one which greatly enriched itself during the last period
      of the Mubarak regime, benefiting from his policy of privatisation and
      liberalisation of the economy. What the Brotherhood lacked was full access
      to political power. They were not really a threat to the power, wealth and
      privileges of the generals and the capitalists system they represent. This
      is why a deal was possible.

      The deal consisted in leaving the military basically untouched, while Morsi
      would use his image as a �representative of the revolution� to keep the
      masses under control, while carrying out the policies Egyptian capitalism
      required. Stratfor described it in this way: �what the military needed was
      a government that could manage the political economy of the country such
      that the state of unrest could remain limited.�

      The presidential elections in June 2012 in fact showed how little support
      the Muslim Brotherhood had, even a year ago. In the first round 5.7 million
      voted for Morsi (24%), 5 million (23%) for Shafiq (the SCAF candidate), but
      another 4.8 million (20%) voted for Hamdeen Sabbahi, the left Nasserite
      candidate, and 4 million (17%) for Fotouh the populist Islamist candidate.
      The openly bourgeois liberal candidate Amr Moussa barely got 2.5 million
      votes. Even at that time abstention was a massive 53% with large sections
      of the population thinking that none of the candidates really represented
      the aims of the revolution.

      It is noteworthy that Sabbahi, the candidate which in the eyes of the
      masses more clearly represented the revolution won in the major cities,
      such as Cairo and Alexandria (with Morsi coming in a poor third in both)
      and Port Said (where Sabbahi scored an impressive 40% of the vote).

      There were many allegations of vote rigging and fraud. In any case, as
      Sabbahi did not make it to the second round, only two candidates were left,
      Morsi and Shafiq. In those conditions, many felt that they could not allow
      the direct candidate of the generals to win and rallied behind Morsi. When
      the final result of the second round was announced (again amidst many
      allegations of fraud and vote rigging), Morsi was declared the winner with
      13 million votes (out of a total 51 million registered voters). Many of
      those did not so much vote for him as against Shafiq. The stock exchange
      saw its largest increase in 9 years, revealing the opinion of the
      capitalist class.

      Amongst some sections of the masses there were expectations that Morsi
      would at least attempt to address some of the main demands of the
      revolution: bread, jobs and justice. He did not. He could not and he did
      not want to. The acute crisis of Egyptian capitalism, compounded by the
      world crisis meant that the economic situation of the masses went from bad
      to worse. There has been a 50% collapse in the value of the Egyptian pound,
      an increase in unemployment and poverty levels and 63% of the population
      now think that they are worse off than before he took power.

      In relation to democratic rights he used repression against those who
      protested against him, he allowed the acquittal of the old regime officials
      responsible for the death of the martyrs of the battle of the camels, he
      presided over the death sentences of the Port Said football fans, he gave
      himself sweeping powers ahead of the constitutional referendum, etc, etc.
      This was all part of the deal he had made with the Army, where his role was
      to maintain law and order. Throughout this period the Army generals
      supported him.

      There were regular outbursts of mass protests in Cairo, Alexandria, along
      the Suez Canal, with hundreds of thousands involved in mass movements in
      November/December 2012 and then in January 2013. In his last address to the
      nation, on Tuesday July 2, he repeated dozens of times the word
      �legitimacy�, but the truth is that he had lost any that he might have had
      originally, through the experience of the masses with his government.

      The Tamarrod movement which started in April this year, provided a channel
      for the accumulated anger against Morsi and the deep seated feeling that
      the masses had carried out a revolution but their victory had been stolen
      and nothing had been achieved. Ordinary workers and the poor cannot live on
      the basis of promises. They made a revolution to get jobs, bread and
      justice and what they got was higher unemployment, fuel and electricity
      blackouts, repression and no justice for the martyrs of the revolution.
      This is the real basis of the revolutionary overthrow of Morsi, not some
      military conspiracy. It had little to do with secular versus Islamic, and
      everything to do with the workers and the poor rising up for social justice.

      Tamarrod received 22 million signatures for its petition (surpassing the
      original aim of 15 million) demanding the immediate resignation of the
      president. This is far more than the 5.7 million Morsi won in the first
      round of the presidential elections and even than the 13 million he won in
      the second round (and many of those were not really his votes). Talk about

      The movement of the last few days was a genuine mass movement. The
      demonstrations on June 30 were huge, much larger and widespread than
      anything we saw in January 2011. Figures of the Ministry of Interior (MoI)
      say there were 17 million on the streets against Morsi. Of course, in this
      case the MoI might have a reason for exaggerating the size of the movement,
      but even if those figures are inflated, there would have been more people
      on the streets than those who voted for Morsi in 2012. As a matter of fact
      many who voted for him were now on the streets. The anti-Morsi
      demonstrations were certainly at least 10 or 20 times larger than those in
      his defence.

      The movement, however, was not limited to mass demonstrations.
      Revolutionary committees sprang up across the country. A general strike was
      launched. There were many reports, particularly on the morning of July 3,
      of groups of workers in the main industries and state institutions walking
      out of work and joining the protests and sit-ins, following the call of the
      revolutionary movement for mass civil disobedience. Power was in effect in
      the people's hands. Government buildings across the country were either
      occupied or blockaded and padlocked by ordinary working people, in several
      places with the participation of ordinary workers and officers.

      It is in this context that the Army generals intervened. As Morsi was not
      prepared to go and was clinging to power, the danger was of an all out
      confrontation with the revolutionary people which might have ended with a
      revolutionary overthrow and the masses doing away not only with the
      president but the whole edifice of the capitalist state. This, the generals
      could not allow.

      The way they coined their intervention revealed the real situation. They
      did not intervene to �restore law and order�, but rather �to make sure that
      the will of the people was fulfilled�! As a matter of fact Tamarrod had
      called on the masses on July 3 to surround the Republican Guard barracks to
      demand the Army to intervene and remove Morsi! On the one hand this reveals
      the shortcomings of the leadership of the movement, a movement which was
      perfectly capable of overthrowing Morsi without the need to appeal to the
      Army generals, but also shows how limited the room for manoeuvre is for the

      The ultimatum of the generals makes the point very clear. What they want is
      a new national unity government �including elements of the revolutionary
      youth� to take over, so that the masses go back home. The last thing that
      the generals want is to impose military rule over an aroused revolutionary
      movement of millions! They would be unable to do this and would provoke the
      breakdown of the Army along class lines. They are riding a wild tiger,
      which is a very dangerous thing to do.

      There were, of course, scenes of wild jubilation in the streets when the
      removal of Morsi was announced. Many will be appreciative of the role the
      Army generals have played in this. But they appreciate the Army insofar as
      it is seen to have carried out the will of the people. Any attempt of the
      Army generals to clamp down on the people would be met with a similar
      explosion of the revolutionary movement.

      However, we should not exaggerate the level of support the Army has amongst
      the people. On July 3, reflecting the widespread feeling that everyone was
      negotiating a solution behind the backs of the mobilised people Tamarrod
      issued the following message: �The regime, army and opposition should end
      their phone calls with the USA and listen to the nation and do what the
      nation wants." What the people want is bread, jobs and justice. And they
      have overthrown Mubarak, removed SCAF and now overthrown Morsi in order to
      achieve it. In the course of these tumultuous struggles they have drawn
      some very important lessons. They are not in a mood to trust anyone very
      much and they would judge whoever comes to power now against the yardstick
      of their own demands. They feel strong and confident.

      The more far-sighted analysts of the ruling class understand the dangers
      involved. They know that this is not �a coup�. Stratfor put it this way: �
      the forcible removal of the Morsi government will make it difficult to
      create a new civilian government because the political environment will be
      even more polarized.� What they see as the most dangerous element of the
      equation is that �the military has set a precedent for giving in to mob
      violence.� Translated into the language of the oppressed this means that
      the danger is that people think that through �violent mob� methods (read:
      revolutionary methods), they can achieve what they want, and that is
      certainly a dangerous �precedent�� from the point of view of the ruling

      The manoeuvre at the top is clear. When announcing the removal of Morsi,
      head of the armed forces al-Sisi surrounded himself with the Grand Imam,
      the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, bourgeois liberal ElBaradei, a
      representative of the Salafist Nour Party, representatives of the judiciary
      and the police, and yes, one representative from the Tamarrod campaign. The
      head of the High Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, a judge who comes
      straight from the Mubarak era, has been appointed as the new president. A
      new �broad-based� council for national reconciliation will be formed and at
      some point there will be a new constitution and new presidential and
      parliamentary elections.

      The idea is to channel the revolutionary movement, once again, towards the
      safe waters of bourgeois democracy and constitutionalism. They will try to
      involve as much as possible figures who are close to the masses, including
      from Tamarrod, in order to give the whole process as much legitimacy as

      The revolutionary masses are now jubilant. But beyond celebration they
      should remain vigilant, because their victory is in the process yet again
      of being stolen from them.

      The revolutionary committees which have sprung up (at a higher level than
      even in January 2011), should be maintained, strengthened and widened to
      include all sections of the oppressed people: workers, soldiers, peasants
      and the poor. They should take - as they have already done partially -
      authority into their own hands by occupying governorates and municipalities
      and start to rule. They should strengthen their position by calling mass
      assemblies in order to decide on all important matters. The structures of
      the committees should be formalised, with elected and recallable delegates
      from all workplaces, working class and poor neighbourhoods and also the
      election of delegates from amongst the army soldiers. Faced with the danger
      of radical islamists waging armed resistance, self-defence should be
      organised by the revolutionary committees.

      Above all, the revolutionary people should not wait for the new president,
      or interim council, to take decisions. Where were they when the masses took
      to the streets and risked their lives? Was Adly Mansour in Tahrir Square?
      Did ElBaradei fight the Mubarak thugs in the Battle of the Camels? Where
      was the Grand Imam when the police organised a trap for the Al-Ahly fans in
      Port Said? And most important of all, where were the Army generals when the
      masses overthrew Mubarak and then fought against Morsi? They only came in
      at the last minute. None of them can be trusted to carry out the will of
      the revolutionary people. Only the people, with the working class at its
      head, can do so.

      The revolutionary committees should take the initiative immediately.
      Revolutionary courts under the authority of the committees, should be
      established to bring justice for the martyrs of the revolution. Workers�
      control committees should be established in all factories to guarantee
      workers� rights and production to fulfill the needs of the people.
      Revolutionary provisioning committees should be set up in all working class
      neighbourhoods with authority to make sure enough bread is produced and
      distributed to the people.

      The crucial question of who holds power, whether it is the revolutionary
      people or a coalition of bourgeois politicians and army generals, is linked
      to the even more important question of who controls the wealth. The urgent
      needs of the masses cannot be solved even by the most democratic of
      constitutions. Voting a constituent assembly, a president and a national
      assembly will not give the masses bread nor jobs. That can only be done if
      a thoroughgoing political revolution is accompanied by a social and
      economic revolution. Only if the Egyptian working people expropriate the
      handful of wealthy individuals who control the country�s riches, a large
      number of them closely linked to the old regime, many linked directly to
      the Army high command and finally those capitalists who hide behind pious

      The revolutionary people of Egypt have once again been the source of
      inspiration for the oppressed of the world. The key task is to build a
      revolutionary leadership which is at the level of the tasks posed.

      *All power to the revolutionary committees!*
      *No confidence in generals, bourgeois politicians and religious leaders -
      trust only your own forces!**
      Expropriate the capitalists - all wealth to those who produce it!*


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.