[Marxism] Left unites in Egypt

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Sep 22 07:29:05 MDT 2012


Egypt's left launches 'Democratic Revolutionary Coalition'
Randa Ali, Wednesday 19 Sep 2012

An initiative of 10 leftist parties and movements – named the Democratic 
Revolutionary Coalition – is officially launched Wednesday; members 
announced that protest will be held 22 September in Cairo

Ten leftist parties and movements announced Wednesday the formation of a 
joint coalition named the Democratic Revolutionary Coalition (DRC) 
during a press conference at the headquarters of Egyptian Socialist 
Party in downtown Cairo.

"The Egyptian left has always been one of the main pillars of the 
national movements in Egypt's history," said Ahmed Bahaa El-Din Shaaban, 
secretary general of the Egyptian Socialist Party.

Shaaban explained the reasons behind the current initiative to unify, 
due to "the criticality of the current situation in Egypt, with attempts 
at turning Egypt into a religious state ... Egyptian identity is being 
threatened, and the revolution is at stake."

The long-time socialist activist pointed out that this is the first time 
in Egypt's history that the left unites.

In 2006, different leftist groups tried to form what was known as the 
Socialist Alliance. This aimed at creating a leftist alternative, 
especially amid the new wave of industrial action emerging at the time. 
Yet no sooner had the alliance been announced than differences between 
its members paralysed its work on the ground.

After the 25 January uprising, five socialist groups and newly 
established parties, namely the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Socialist 
Popular Alliance, the Tagammu Party, the Workers and Peasants Party, and 
the Egyptian Communist Party, announced that they would unite with the 
Revolutionary Socialists to form a "socialist front." Once again the 
initiative failed to produce a leftist umbrella. Four of the groups that 
tried to unite in 2011 are now members of the DRC.

The new coalition is formed of 10 leftist parties and movements: the 
Egyptian Socialist Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Tagammu 
Party, the Workers and Peasants Party, the Egyptian Communist Party, the 
Democratic Popular Movement, the Egyptian Coalition to Fight Corruption, 
the Socialist Revolutionary Movement (January), the Socialist Youth 
Union and the Mina Daniel Movement.

Coalition leaders said they aim to ally with other national coalitions; 
however, Workers and Peasants Party co-founder Kamal Khalil underlined 
that any coalition is possible except “for whoever allied with SCAF, was 
party to Mubarak’s regime or was against the revolution.”

“We’re going through a dangerous phase that demands the unity of all 
national forces and not just the left,” said Khalil.

Khalil revealed the DRC’s intention to unite with both Nasserist Hamdeen 
Sabbahi’s Popular Current and reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei’s 
Constitution Party.

“We will unite on the streets and during elections. From now there is no 
'I' but 'us.' This is a starting point for a democratic coalition 
against the classist rulers,” said Khalil, stressing that unity will be 
based on the goals of the revolution rather on an ideological basis.

Forces coordinate

A number of initiatives are emerging in the political sphere in an 
attempt to counter Islamist domination over political life in Egypt. One 
is former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa’s Conference Party, a 
party of 25 currents and movements representing liberals, leftists and 
remnants of the Mubarak regime.

Sabbahi’s Popular Current is also emerging as a powerful force, and this 
week ElBaradei’s Constitution Party was legally recognised.

Many during the press conference voiced criticisms of the Muslim 
Brotherhood, implying that it is now their rival in the battle to 
accomplish the goals of the revolution.

"The domination of the Muslim Brotherhood in political life in Egypt is 
a danger that we need to overcome," said Adel El-Mashad, a member of the 
Socialist Popular Alliance.

El-Mashad said that the Brotherhood, the group President Mohamed Morsi 
hails from, have left them with no options but to be at the front rows 
of their opponents.

"The Muslim Brotherhood are still weak, but they are doing the best they 
can to gain further control over the country, and that will be through 
compromising to the imperialist and Zionist forces," added El-Mashad.

Also criticising the Brotherhood during the press conference, Salah Adly 
of the Egyptian Communist Party said:"They are now calling the workers 
strikes sectoral and accuse them of repelling foreign investment; they 
are using the same rhetoric that was used during the time of Mubarak."

Adly pointed out that during President Morsi’s visit to China in late 
August he was accompanied by “Mubarak-era businessmen.”

"We've seen how strikes are being suppressed these days, the Nile 
University students, public transportation workers, and the workers of 
Cairo University," said labour activist Khalil who said the Brotherhood 
is "now showing their true colours."

Khalil addressed the Brotherhood, warning them that the same Egyptian 
people that ousted Hosni Mubarak is able to oust the Brotherhood and 
their supreme guide.

“Oppressing strikes and the Egyptian people is crossing the red line,” 
said Khalil, who accused the Brotherhood of pairing up with the former 
Mubarak regime in ruling Egypt.

"They’re following in the steps of Mubarak, but rather in a worse manner 
with more subordination to the US and Israel,” said Khalil.

Protests to follow

By the end of the conference, members announced that a protest will be 
held 22 September in Talaat Harb Square, to voice key demands, which 
are: refusal of the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly; demanding 
the release of prisoners jailed during protests on politics-related 
cases, and the release of the military officers arrested 8 April.

The protest is also scheduled to oppose the IMF loan, to demand the 
removal of the current minister of interior, who activists see as “a 
clone of the ex-minister of interior, Habib El-Adly.”

El-Adly served as interior minister under Mubarak from 1997 till 2011. 
During his tenure, police brutality became pervasive, which is deemed to 
be one of the factors that triggered last year's uprising.

Under El-Adly's command, police forces also opened fire on protesters in 
the early days of the revolt, which toppled Mubarak on February 11 of 
last year. Both men in June were slapped life sentences for 'failing to 
protect civilians' during that period.

Hesham Fouad, a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists, told 
Ahram Online that his movement is happy that the left is once again 
considering unity, adding that "Even though the principle of having a 
united left is essential for us, we don't think that working with the 
Tagammu Party is acceptable."

The Tagammu Party, the oldest formal leftist party, was accused by many 
groups on the left as being opportunistic. However, party leaders say 
that many changes have been made to mend party politics.

"Before talking about unity, we have to know on what stances, and with 
who. We can't afford another bubble that will quickly burst," Fouad said.

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