United States imperialism is trying their best to divide the masses, to make worker kill worker as they did in Iraq when the masses were united against the military invasion. US imperialism would even plant people within the ‘pro-Morsi’ and ‘anti-Morsi’ groups to shoot on opposing factions to divert the masses from fighting against the military regime. We should not allow US imperialism to divide us.
What were the masses demanding on the 30th June 2013?
The masses were demanding jobs, an end to high prices, justice for all those killed by the old Mubarak regime; in a sense the masses were demanding an end to the entire capitalist regime, not only the figurehead of Morsi. Indeed, ordinary Muslim Brotherhood supporters formed part of the crowds making these demands. Imperialism sent their forces to try and infiltrate the protests and to divert them away from a fight against the regime to a fight within the capitalist system, trying to limit the fight to one of removing Morsi but replacing him with another capitalist figure. Each day, for the next 4 days, the numbers in the streets grew up to 17 million; many workers had gone on strike joining, in fact, spearheading the revolutionary upsurge.
In order to pre-empt a total takeover by the revolutionary masses, the military launched a pre-emptive coup, suspending even the limited Constitution, dissolving the parliaments, arresting Morsi and many of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters, shooting down more than 100 protestors in the process. There has been several decades of bourgeois propaganda claiming that the military is progressive and ‘above politics’, a lie unfortunately supported directly or indirectly by many on the left (including the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt- part of the International Socialists group around the Socialist Workers Party, SWP, of Britain).
Who controls the Egyptian military?
US imperialism gives over $1bn every year to the Egyptian military. The generals and top officers are all trained in US military academies. The generals control at least 20% of Egyptian industry. In the time of Mubarak, the real power behind him was the military. The real power controlling the generals is US imperialism. The pre-emptive coup against Morsi was planned by US imperialism. Every move of the military is planned by US imperialism. Even after the coup, bypassing even their own Constitution, US imperialism decided to send another billion dollars to the Egyptian generals.
A Constituent Assembly?
On the 25th Jan 2011, it was the military who forced Mubarak to stand down to pre-empt the masses taking power themselves. On the 3rd July 2013, the military forces Morsi to step down to prevent the masses taking power. The Constitutional Assembly that wrote the Constitution and opened the path for the election of Morsi, was dictated by the generals. General Sisi, who is the coup figurehead, disbanded the Morsi government and appointed an interim govt, of which he is still the Minister of Defence and head of the army.
The Revolutionary Socialists in their 3rd July 2013 statement make as a minimum condition for the masses ‘Morsi's departure and early presidential elections’. In other words, they have no problem with the coup Generals staying on in their posts nor even do they have a problem with the capitalist election system imposed by the generals. The Revolutionary Socialists go further in that they call for a Constituent Assembly. Thus, they create the illusion that the interim government, placed there by US imperialism and the military, will be able to draw up a Constitution that will act against the generals and the capitalists. How can the capitalist generals be in charge of convening an Assembly that will act against the capitalists and the generals? This is like asking the gangster, Al Capone, to lead the campaign against gangsterism.
The decades of Mubarak and the 30 months of Morsi shows that the capitalists will never allow an Assembly to convene that will act against them. Who will convene the Constituent Assembly?- this question is fundamental. It can only be convened by a revolutionary workers’ government which is based on committees of workers and rank and file soldiers, who have no vested interests in maintaining the exploitative system of capitalism. The generals, the National Salvation Front, the Muslim Brotherhood, El Baradei all have vested interests in limiting the Constituent Assembly.
In other words, the only way to guarantee that a Constituent Assembly sits without restrictions, is for the masses to take power in their own hands, based on their own committees, subject to instant recall and without privileges. But immediately the question would arise as to whether the Constituent Assembly is needed and even if it can go as far as the workers government which was based on committees of workers. Elections to Constituent Assembly would include delegates from the capitalists- they will fight for their privileges. The limits of the Constituent Assembly would be seen by all the masses. That the capitalists and the generals will also be in the Constituent Assembly is shown by the second demand of the Revolutionary Socialists for the ‘ Election of a Constituent Assembly, representing all sections of the people…’
The RCIT (Revolutionary Communist International Tendency) place the struggle of the masses within capitalist limits by saying that the central slogan should be for a Constituent Assembly with proportional representation- in other words, they too believe that the capitalists should be present and represented in it. For us the central slogan is for a workers government not a Constituent Assembly. The bourgeois position of the RCIT is further exposed when they say that the role of the ‘provisional revolutionary government’ is to make sure that ‘the delegates of the Constituent Assembly are controllable and can be replaced if they do not implement what their electoral base wanted them to do.’ So for the RCIT, the role of the revolutionary govt is to safeguard the Assembly which includes the capitalist representatives, ie the revolutionary govt must limit itself to protect a bourgeois parliament, which is what the Constituent Assembly is.
If the question of a Constituent Assembly comes up, the task of the revolutionary government is to show the limits of it, to expose it and disband it. The revolutionary workers’ government based on grassroots committees will be a million times more democratic than the best Constituent Assembly where the capitalists and their parties sit.
The way forward
It is pointless crying about lack of revolutionary organization; the masses do not wait for the party. What is the programme to unite the masses against the imperialist-backed military regime? This is the basis for the revolutionary party to be built.
· The revolutionary Socialists say that the first demand should be for ‘social justice’ for the poor. The military is getting $10 bn in loans to give the appearance of ‘justice’ just so that they can stay in control. The masses are demanding food, jobs, and end to high prices. Social and economic justice can only be achieved if those who have been stealing during the Mubarak era and the Morsi era, are expropriated. Thus the first demand must be for the entire capitalist class, including the generals and the assets of the Israeli companies, to be expropriated including the large capitalist commercial farmers, without compensation, and these entities and banks centralised and run under workers control; This means that councils of workers delegates from all industry and workplaces, irrespective of party affiliation, should be set up to spearhead this fight and implement this demand. These workers councils should be extended to the working class communities and thus also include delegates from the unemployed; What will El Baradei, the National Salvation Front and Morsi say about this demand to expropriate all the capitalists? We think they will side with the generals against the masses;
· For the nationalization of the land; assistance to the small farmers through cheap credit and modern equipment and training;
· The capitalist generals are likely to defend their privileges and thus it is important to win over the rank and file soldier to the side of the masses; thus we call for the councils of workers delegates to include delegates from rank and file soldiers; these workers and soldier councils should establish armed self-defence committees;
· The workers and soldiers committees should set up its own provisional revolutionary government
· Demands should be raised for the immediate freeing of all prisoners of the military, including Morsi- the masses will decide on their own justice through their own structures; the military wants to start with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood but wants to extend this to crack down on all the masses who are opposing the regime.
· For freedom of movement, the right to protest, freedom of expression; lift all the restrictions of the military regime on the Muslim Brotherhood, the trade unions and other organizations;
· For Workers tribunals to try all those associated with the crimes of the Mubarak regime against the masses;
· Tear down the Rafah border, open all the tunnels, close the gas pipes to Israel;
· For international workers solidarity in support of the masses struggle against the military regime in Egypt and against US imperialism
The above forms a basis for the setting up of a revolutionary working class party that is needed to unite the fighters in Egypt against the regime; the struggle for workers power in Egypt is part of the struggle in the region and internationally against world capitalism-imperialism.
Down with the interim government appointed by the generals; Down with the SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces); Forward to a workers’ government based on grassroots committees of delegates of workers and rank and file soldiers.
24.7.2013 Workers International Vanguard Party firstname.lastname@example.org
ph or sms 822020617; website www.workersinternational.org.za