Monday, 7 February 2011

Where next for the Egyptian Revolution?

I have been totally absorbed by the unfolding events in Egypt in the last few weeks. My usual online jousting with comrades involved in the UK anti-LibCon cuts movements has been suspended as all my spare seconds are spent watching al-Jazeera English and reading the twitter streams from Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Egypt.

The emotional rollercoster is palpable reading the expressions of revolutionary courage, hope, and bravery, along with the raw anguish and murderous rage agains the barbarism employed by a true military industrial combine desperately clinging to power in the attempt to hold on to the Billions of Dollars wrung out of the Egyptian workers and peasants.

Numerous times I have failed to tear myself away from the continuous stream of information and emotion to try and spend time on my work, with my family, or even to write this post.

At every turn, there has been a reminder of the history of revolutions long since fought: the betrayal by 'Western Democracy' of once trumpeted ideals which are now exposed as secondary in importance to the supply of oil and the security of Egypt along with other interests of organised global capital; the rapid development of street power with committees organising the day to day life when the state bows out; the use by the so called 'Father of the Nation' of the worst dregs of society to try and cow the revolution and the bystanders into submission; the importance of workers' control of the press to cut across the lies being fed on Egyptian State TV and other media - the list goes on.

Every day is like re-reading another passage from Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution with the absence of one thing - an organised working class leadership.

No one doubts the revolutionary zeal of the students and middle class youth who have fought bravely against heavy odds, and in some cases paid the ultimate price. But some of them are now starting to draw class conclusions about the need to be in control of the media; the relationship with the army; the wealth stolen from the people by the regime's cronies; asking questions about the involvement of Sawaris in the negotiations; the attitude of street committees in better off areas towards the revolution.

The ability of the revolution to unite all layers of society in Tahrir square, from all ages and all faiths and none has been a real testament to the fact that this is not just a political revolution but a social revolution. But the question on everyone's lips is 'what next?'.

The need for leadership has become apparent even among the youth who started with a natural distrust of leadership. According to blogs and interviews, structured decision making process has developed in Tahrir square; leaders for specific tasks have been elected.

Whatever the outcome of the current standoff, with a liberal capitalist government in place, there can not be much of an economic outlook for the great number of Egyptians. Without taking control of the large monopolies currently owned by the generals - stolen from the nationalised assets of Nasser's legacy; without taking a lead from the workers who in a small number of areas have expropriated their workplaces; without demanding real participation in decision making, rather than the ability to vote once in 5 years for which careerist politician to send to parliament, or to control their union, further contradictions will be generated to lead to another convulsion for Egyptian society.

Forward to a true social(ist) revolution!

1 comment:

  1. Watch the army, it will decide if they are to have freedom, or not, the army will now fill the roll of government well actually it already did with a number of minister being army or Military. Now the battle really start because if the people go up against the army the orders to fire may well come.