U.S. Hands Off the Arab Revolution

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Down with Mubarak

Since January 25, the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez have been occupied by ever-growing crowds of protesters demanding the end to the despotic 30-year regime of U.S-backed Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Fed up with repression, political corruption, high unemployment and rising food prices, Egyptian students, unemployed youth, workers, and women are facing down police (in and out of uniform) and trying to win rank-and-file soldiers to their side. The rebellion that was touched off in Egypt by the overthrow of the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia is today spilling over into other Arab nations; among these are Jordan, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Algeria.

As the days pass and the Egyptian rebellion gains steam, it becomes more and more critical for those outside the Middle East who favor workingclass freedom to show their support for this inspiring popular uprising by holding demonstrations and issuing public statements that demand “Hands off the Arab Revolution!”

This is especially true in the U.S. and Europe since without the support of imperialism, many of the henchmen ruling Arab countries today would not last a minute longer. The fact that Egypt is second only to Israel as a recipient of U.S. military aid — $1.3 billion — tells the whole story in a few words.

President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who never condemned the overthrow of democratically elected Honduran president Manuel Zelaya by military forces tied to the U.S., now hypocritically call for an “orderly transition” to democracy and a “national dialogue” that will lead to “free and fair elections.” But it’s much too late for this. Clearly the Egyptian people are not listening; their dialogue with Mubarak has a life of its own.

The great challenge facing the Egyptian rebellion is to cast out Mubarak and his cronies and to replace them with a workers state that will provide for the poor (half of all Egyptians — 40 million people — live on less than $2 a day). This means rejecting the advances of bourgeois leaders, such as Mohamed ElBaradei, who put themselves forward to negotiate in the name of the people. ElBaradei is a Nobel winner and the former top nuclear inspector for the U.N. who has been living in exile in Vienna for all of Mubarak’s 30-year reign. He has returned to Egypt since the uprising began and is proposing to put together a transitional government to rule until previously scheduled elections in September.

Egyptian workers hold the key to the success of this revolt. Over the last five years, they have fought difficult union battles in the textile industry and in the port city of Suez, a major industrial center. They also waged and won a court battle to overturn Law No. 100 which effectively placed the unions under state control and prevented fair elections.

On January 30, a group of independent unions announced the formation of a new alliance — the Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions (FETU) — and called for a general strike. In its new constitution, they noted that “Labor struggles paved the way to today’s peoples revolution. That is why Egyptian workers and employees totally refuse that the governmental general federation [of unions] represents them and speaks in their name, because it often denied their rights and claims and even issued the famous statement on January 27 claiming to oppose every single protest action during this period.”

In addition to demanding “the right to dignity, freedom and social justice,” the FETU calls for freeing all detainees arrested after January 25 and protecting the right to organize as well as immediately instituting unemployment compensation, a minimum wage tied to inflation, social security, health care, housing, free education, and pensions. The federation also urges workers “to create civil committees in order to defend their workplaces, [other] workers and citizens during these critical times and to organize protest actions and strikes … to realize [the] Egyptian people’s claims.”

The situation in Egypt today is extremely fluid and no one knows where it will end. On January 29, it was reported that Bedouin tribesman had taken control of two towns in the Sinai Peninsula. These towns are the closest to the Gaza Strip and right next to the border with Israel. There were reports that Bedouin tribes had also laid siege to a police station in Suez while protests there had spread. Ending the Mubarak dictatorship’s control of this region is key to winning a workers’ revolution.

As the world watches this unfolding revolution, we in the Freedom Socialist Party will be in our unions and on the streets and the Internet letting the Obama administration know we stand as workers, as feminists, as internationalists and socialists with the Arab Revolution.

Mubarak out now!

Free Egypt’s political prisoners!

End U.S. military intervention and aid to the dictators of the Arab world!

All power to the Egyptian working class!

___________________________________________________________

Freedom Socialist Party

U.S. Section
4710 University Way NE, #100
Seattle, WA 98105
USA

Australian Section
PO Box 308,
Brunswick
Victoria 3056

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