Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia

"Tahrir, Liberation Square"

Exactly a year after the beginning of the uprising in Egypt (25/1/12), the film Tahrir, Liberation Square, by the Italian documentary maker, Stefano Savona, came out in a number of cinemas in France. Unfortunately the film revels in the nationalist and democratic illusions of those present and offers no wider perspective.

Drama in Port-Saïd, Egypt: a police provocation aimed at the entire population

On 2 February, the football match between the Port-Saïd team Al-Masry and the Cairo side Al-Ahly ended in a bloodbath: 73 dead and a thousand injured. The final whistle had just been blown – Al-Masry had won it - when local supporters, or people claiming to be, invaded the pitch and terraces, viciously attacking players and supporters of the Cairo team.

New strike wave in Egypt

The events in Egypt earlier this year were not a revolution, as the army has remained firmly in charge of the country ever since, doing everything that would be expected from a repressive state, including the introduction of a law banning strikes. But the workers were not crushed, as has most recently been shown in a new wave of strikes from the beginning of September.

What is happening in the Middle East?

The current events in the Middle East and North Africa are of major historic importance, the consequences of which are difficult to discern. Nevertheless, it is important to develop a discussion about them that will enable revolutionaries to elaborate a coherent framework of analysis. The points that follow are neither that framework in itself, still less a detailed description of what has been taking place, but simply some basic reference points aimed at stimulating the debate.

Book review: a change of regime is not a revolution




In a complex situation there will always be a range of explanations available. In late 2009 Zed Books published Egypt: The Moment of Change. Earlier on this year Zed re-publicised the book in the light of events saying that “With many of the chapters written by Egyptian academics and activists who are now on the very first line of the barricades, this is the one book that has all the answers.” The 'answers' are familiar enough – opposition to 'neo-liberalism', support for reforms – but some of the observations give a good impression of the complexity of the situation.

The social and political aspects of revolution

It seems that everyone is talking about revolution. The recent social upheavals in North Africa have been described as ‘revolutions’. In Ireland, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has proclaimed a “democratic revolution” because now it’s his turn to impose the austerity measures previously administered by his Fianna Fail and Green Party predecessors. In the US celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is fighting a “Food Revolution” against obesity.

The Importance of the Workers Struggles in Egypt

The article below was written in mid-February, during a wave of workers’ strikes which spread to numerous sectors. Although the governing military responded with stern warnings to the strikers,many of their demands were quickly acceded, thus avoiding a head-on confrontation. The strike wave seems now to have abated, but the Egyptian working class has kept its fighting spirit intact.Furthermore, as the article emphasises, the tendency towards the mass strike, which can certainly be discerned in this recent movement, unfolds on a historic scale, so that particular expressions of it contribute to the development of much deeper and wider movements in the future.

Egypt: The class struggle takes centre stage

The tide of rebellion in North Africa and the Middle East shows no sign of abating. The latest developments: demonstrations and clashes with the police in the Libyan city of Benghazi following the arrest of a lawyer involved in a campaign demanding an investigation into the brutal massacre of hundreds of prisoners after a protest in 1996. Qaddafi’s regime again displays its ruthless brutality – there are reports of snipers and helicopters firing into crowds, killing many; in Bahrain, thousands of demonstrators occupy the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, hoping to emulate the occupation of Tahrir Square. They raise slogans against sectarian divisions (“No Shia, no Sunni, only Bahraini”) and against self-appointed leaders (“We have no leaders”). At the time of writing, riot police have now cleared the area with considerable violence – many demonstrators have been injured and some killed. In Iraq, there have been new demonstrations against the price of necessities and the lack of electricity. 

Leftists fuel bourgeois campaigns about ‘revolution’

Whether you get your news from the papers, TV or online you won't have missed headlines about an 'Egyptian Revolution.' What's happened in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen has shown that people from many social strata are fed up with the conditions they live in and are rebelling en masse against those who enforce them. The fact that this movement has affected a number of countries is very exciting, but it does not amount to a revolution.

Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt: The best solidarity is class struggle


The thunder in Tunisia and Egypt is being echoed in Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen. Whatever flags the demonstrators carry, all these protests have their root in the world wide crisis of capitalism and its direct consequences: unemployment, rising prices, austerity, and the repression and corruption of the governments who preside over these brutal attacks on living standards. In short, they have the same origins as the revolt of Greek youth against police repression in 2008, the struggle against pension ‘reforms’ in France, the student rebellions in Italy and Britain, and workers’ strikes from Bangladesh to China and from Spain to the USA.

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