Where Next for the Egyptian Revolution?

by martin
on Thursday 06 Dec 2012

type: Event Notice
topic: Protests
region: Bristol
event time: Thursday 13 Dec 2012 19:30

Events are moving at breathtaking speed in Egypt once again.

Following president Mohamed Mursi’s announcement of sweeping new powers on 22 November, huge protests convulsed the country.

Mass mobilisations in the capital Cairo brought hundreds of thousands to Tahrir Square to reject his constitutional declaration.

Sections of the judiciary have walked out. 12 national newspapers and five TV channels were on strike. Revolutionaries march on the presidential palace.

The protesters camped out in Tahrir Square have announced their rejection of the referendum Mursi has called to approve his new constitution on 15 December. But unlike the generals who confronted the revolutionary movement in the streets last year, Mursi has a popular base.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which Mursi represents, and its Salafist allies, brought tens of thousands to rally in support of the constitutional change outside Cairo University last Saturday.

His opponents include revolutionary youth, the independent unions, the left and the liberals. But figures from the old regime and leading judges have also attempted to attach themselves to the movement.

Leaders of the Salafist movement and other conservative Islamist groups see the crisis as an opportunity to win revolutionary legitimacy for their cause.

Meanwhile the Brotherhood has partially implanted itself in some of the institutions of the state. It hopes to put down deeper roots. Workers and the poor who are drawn to its religious slogans will gain nothing from these moves.

The crucial question is, which side is continuing the revolution? Mursi wants to freeze the revolutionary process and consolidate a new political system including the Brotherhood. But he is telling Egyptians that his decisions were aimed at breaking the influence of the Mubarak-era judges.

He argues that the constitution will defend the gains won by the martyrs whose sacrifices achieved the revolution. The religious agenda is not currently enough on its own to mobilise the masses.

The intervention by organised workers is crucial, because it undermines attempts by others to seize the mantle of the revolution. Already, there has been a march of thousands of textile workers in Mahalla al-Kubra against Mursi.

Millions of Egyptians face enormous pressure on their living standards. Workers who strike have faced arrest, beatings and intimidation by the police.

Workers have the collective social power to drive this movement forward. If their strikes and protests bring the constitution down, rather than manoeuvres by the judiciary or the military, this will begin a new phase of the Egyptian Revolution.

Bristol Stokes Croft Socialist Worker Party Meeting introduced by Ruairi O'Neill. 730pm, 5th Floor, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft.

Link: http://www.facebook.com/events/180034165471119/