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Interview with an Egyptian Anarcho-Communist

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://www.anarkismo.net/article/18710 Interview with an anarcho-communist
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2011
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Interview with an anarcho-communist activist in Freedom Square in Cairo
      category north africa | community struggles | interview author
      Friday February 04, 2011 12:40
      author by Yasser Abdullah

      Interview with an anarcho-communist activist in Freedom Square, Cairo

      Can you please tell me your name and what movement you are from?

      I'm Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag, a small group of Anarcho-Communists
      in Egypt.

      The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However, due
      to the internet being cut, information was difficult to find. Can you
      tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it
      look like from your perspective?

      The situation in Egypt is so crucial right now. It began with an
      invitation to the day of rage against the Mubarak regime on January
      25th. No-one expected that an invitation to a day of rage from a loose
      group, a Facebook page, not really organized, called "We are all Khalid
      Said" (Khalid Said is a young Egyptian who was killed by Mubarak's
      police in Alexandria last summer), it was that Tuesday that began
      everything, it was the spark for the whole fire. On Tuesday there were
      big demonstrations in the streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday
      the massacre began. It began with trying to finish the sit-in in Tahrir
      Square late on Tuesday night, and continued into the following days,
      especially in Suez town. Suez has a special value in every Egyptian
      heart. It was the centre for resistance against the Zionists in 1956 and
      1967, in the same district. It fought Sharon's troops back in the
      Egyptian-Israeli wars. Mubarak's police carried out a massacre - at
      least 4 people killed, 100 injured, gas bombs, rubber bullets, flame
      throwers, a strange yellow substance thrown above people, maybe mustard
      gas. Friday was called the Jumu'ah of Rage - Jumu'ah is Arabic for
      Friday, it's the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries
      also. It's a sacred day in Islam because of the big prayers on this day,
      called Jumu'ah prayer. It was planned for demonstrations to go on after
      prayers, at noon, but the police tried to prevent the marches with all
      of its power and violence. There were many clashes in Cairo, (downtown,
      in Mattareyah, east of Cairo), all over Egypt, especially in Suez,
      Alexandria, Mahalla (in the delta, one of the centres of the working
      class). From noon to sunset, people marched in Cairo to Downtown, for a
      sit-in in Tahrir, till Mubarak's regime was removed, chanting one
      slogan: "The people demand the removal of the regime". At sunset, 5pm
      CLT, Mubarak declared a curfew and brought the army into Egyptian towns.
      This curfew was followed by a police-planned breakout, letting out the
      criminals and thugs called Baltagayyah. The police planned a widescale
      breakout of criminals in many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt.
      No police, many army troops couldn't control the street, people were
      scared. It was followed by a news jam on Egyptian TV channels, radios,
      newspaper about luddites in many towns, about thieves firing at people.
      People organized "popular committees" to secure every street. This was
      welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in
      the country, but it is also a point we could start from to build workers

      As of Wednesday, there are clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak people.
      Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the "Mubarak
      supporters?" How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average
      working-class Egyptians?

      It's absolutely wrong to call it clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak.
      The pro-Mubarak demonstration consisted mostly of Baltagayyah and secret
      police, to attack the protesters in Tahrir. It only began after
      Mubarak's speech yesterday, after Obama's speech too. Personally I think
      Mubarak feels like a slaughtered ox who is trying to throw his blood
      over his killers. He feels like Nero and wants to burn Egypt before his
      removal, trying to make people believe he's a synonym for stability,
      safety and security. In this way he's really made some progress - a holy
      national alliance has now been formed against the Tahrirites (Tahrir
      protesters) and the "Tahrir Commune". Many people, especially the middle
      class, are saying that the demonstrations must end because Egypt has
      been burned, famine has begun, but it's not true at all - it's only an
      exaggeration. Every revolution has its difficulties and Mubarak is using
      fear and terror to stay longer. Personally, I'm saying that even if the
      protesters were responsible for this situation, even IF, Mubarak must
      leave, he MUST go because of his inability to deal with the situation
      right now.

      What do you see happening in the next week? How much is the position
      taken by the US government affecting the situation there?

      Nobody can figure out what will happen tomorrow or next week. Mubarak is
      a stubborn idiot and the Egyptian media is making the biggest media
      campaign in its history to detain the protests planned for next Friday,
      4th February. There are calls for another million-person march to
      Tahrir, called the "Jumu'ah of salvation". The position taken by the US
      government affects us more than the demonstrations. Mubarak is such a
      traitor, capable of killing the whole people, but he couldn't say no to
      his masters.

      What has the participation of class-struggle anarchists been? Who are
      their allies?

      Anarchism in Egypt is not a big trend. You can find some anarchists but
      it's not a big trend yet. Anarchists in Egypt have joined both the
      protests and the popular committees to defend the streets from the
      thugs. Anarchists in Egypt put some hope in these councils. The
      anarchists' allies in Egypt are the Marxists, of course. We are not now
      at a time of ideological debate - the whole left is calling for unity
      and then argue about anything. The anarchists in Egypt are a part of the
      Egyptian left.

      What forms of solidarity can be built between revolutionaries in Egypt
      and revolutionaries in the "West"? What can be done immediately and what
      should we do in the long term?

      The most difficult obstacle Egyptian revolutionaries face is the cutting
      of communications. Western revolutionaries must put pressure on their
      governments to prevent the Egyptian regime from doing this. That's for
      now, but no-one can say what will happen in the long term. If the
      revolution is successful, then Western revolutionaries must build
      solidarity with their Egyptian comrades against the expected aggression
      from the USA and Israel. If the revolution is defeated, then it will be
      a massacre for all Egyptian revolutionaries.

      What will the main tasks be, once Mubarak leaves? Has there been much
      planning about this on the street level? What have anti-capitalist
      revolutionaries proposed?

      The main task now, speaking about the street demands, is new
      constitution and provisional government, and then new elections. There's
      much planning about this issue by many political trends here, especially
      the Muslim Brotherhood. Anti-capitalist revolutionaries are not very
      numerous in Cairo - the communists, democratic left and Trotskyites are
      calling for the same demands about the constitution and new elections,
      but for us as anarchists - anti-capital, anti-State too - we will try to
      ensure that the committees that have been formed protect and secure the
      streets, make them stronger and try to turn them into real councils.

      What do you want to say to revolutionaries abroad?

      Dear Comrades all over the world, we need solidarity, a large solidarity
      campaign and the Egyptian Revolution will win!

      Audio Interview:

      Interview edited by Anarkismo.net

      Dan Clore

      New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
      in charge on this island?
      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
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