Egypt 2011: Millions have Heroically Stood Up…
The Future remains to be Written
A Statement By Bob Avakian,
Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
February 11, 2011
Millions of Egyptian people from all walks of life, drawing inspiration from the people of Tunisia, have heroically risen up, defied the hated regime of Hosni Mubarak and forced Mubarak to resign. This has shattered the notion that "things can never change." It is a powerful demonstration that there is no permanent necessity to the existing conditions under which the great majority of humanity suffer so terribly. Oppressed people and people who hunger for an end to oppression, in every country all over the world, have deeply shared in the joy and hope of these massive uprisings. And the stirrings of revolt continue to spread.
At the same time, while Mubarak has stepped down, the same basic forces that have so cruelly ruled over and exploited the Egyptian people remain in power. And, despite their honeyed words of praise for the masses of youth and others who have risen up, despite their promises of "freedom" and "democracy," in reality they are determined to bring about a "transition" that will ensure that there is no fundamental change—that whatever new arrangements are engineered in the political process will still keep the masses of people in Egypt, in Palestine, and other countries of strategic importance for U.S. imperialism, in unbearable conditions. After all, the armed forces in Egypt—which are now supposed to carry out this "transition"—are the same armed forces which for decades faithfully and brutally enforced the rule of the Mubarak regime, while the heads of this military enriched themselves through becoming major exploiters of the Egyptian people; and the imperialists of the U.S.—who fully backed Mubarak and his cronies and kept them in power for 30 years, without any regard for the suffering of the people—are the very same imperialists who are now seeking yet again to call the shots and give the ultimate orders in terms of what the "transition" in Egypt will be.
The plans and designs of these oppressors and exploiters are NOT what the masses of people desperately want and need. Theirs is the cry of "freedom," and the struggle must be carried forward until real freedom is achieved—freedom from the rule of the imperialists and their local henchmen and junior partners, freedom from all forms of oppression and exploitation. Freedom from both the outmoded forces which would enslave women, and the people as a whole, in medieval darkness and oppression—and from the outmoded forces who would enslave people in the name of "democracy"..."freedom"...and capitalist-imperialist exploitation marketed as "progress."
It has frequently happened in history, as has been the case in Egypt (as well as Tunisia), that the domination of imperialism and the rule of local exploiters has taken a concentrated form in the regime of a "strong man" butcher. This was the case, for example, in Iran, with the torture-chamber rule of the Shah, in the Philippines with the tyranny of Marcos, and in Indonesia with the long monstrous reign of Suharto—all brutal dictatorships put in power and long kept in power by U.S. imperialism. In Iran in the late 1970s, in the Philippines in the 1980s, in Indonesia more recently, massive uprisings of the people forced the U.S. imperialists to throw aside these hated tyrants and to allow some changes. But in every case, the ultimate result was not one which led to real "freedom" for the people—instead they have continued to be subjected to cruel oppression at the hands of those who replaced the old, hated rulers, while these countries have remained within the overall framework of global imperialist domination and exploitation. But historical experience has also shown that the continuation of oppressive rule, in one form or another, is NOT the only possible outcome.
In Russia, in February 1917, another brutal despot, the Czar (absolute monarch), was overthrown by the uprising of the people. Here again, the U.S., British, and other imperialists, and the Russian capitalists, tried to continue the oppression of the Russian people in a new form, using the mechanisms of "democratic rule" and elections which, while allowing for some broader participation of different parties, would still be totally controlled by the exploiters of the people and would ensure their continuing rule, and the continued suffering of the masses of people. In this case, however, the masses of people were enabled to see through these maneuvers and manipulations, to carry forward their revolutionary rising, through many different twists and turns and, in October 1917, to sweep aside and dismantle the institutions and mechanisms of bourgeois dictatorship and to establish a new political and economic system, socialism, which for several decades continued to advance in the direction of abolishing relations of exploitation and oppression, as part of the struggle throughout the world toward the final goal of communism. The crucial difference was that, in the uprisings in Russia, there was a core of leadership, communist leadership, that had a clear, scientifically grounded, understanding of the nature of not just this or that ruthless despot but of the whole oppressive system—and of the need to continue the revolutionary struggle not just to force a particular ruler from office but to abolish that whole system and replace it with one that would really embody and give life to the freedom and the most fundamental interests of the people, in striving to abolish all oppression and exploitation.
Even though the revolution in Russia was ultimately reversed, with capitalism restored there in the 1950s, and today Russia no longer seeks to disguise the fact that it is a capitalist-imperialist power, the lessons of the Russian Revolution of 1917 hold valuable, indeed decisive lessons for today. And the most decisive lesson is this: When people in their masses, in their millions, finally break free of the constraints that have kept them from rising up against their oppressors and tormentors, then whether or not their heroic struggle and sacrifice will really lead to a fundamental change, moving toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, depends on whether or not there is a leadership, communist leadership, that has the necessary scientific understanding and method, and on that basis can develop the necessary strategic approach and the influence and organized ties among growing numbers of the people, in order to lead the uprising of the people, through all the twists and turns, to the goal of a real, revolutionary transformation of society, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the people. And, in turn, when people massively break with the "normal routine" and the tightly woven chains of oppressive relations in which they are usually entrapped and by which they are heavily weighed down—when they break through and rise up in their millions—that is a crucial time for communist organization to further develop its ties with those masses, strengthening its ranks and its ability to lead. Or, if such communist organization does not yet exist, or exists only in isolated fragments, this is a crucial time for communist organization to be forged and developed, to take up the challenge of studying and applying communist theory, in a living way, in the midst of this tumultuous situation, and to strive to continually develop ties with, to influence and to ultimately lead growing numbers of the masses in the direction of the revolution that represents their fundamental and highest interests, the communist revolution.
In my writings and talks, in Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage, a Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and in other major documents of our Party, we have striven to draw as deeply and fully as possible the critical lessons from the historical experience of the communist revolution and the socialist societies it has brought into being—the very real and great achievements, and the serious errors and setbacks—and to learn from the broader experience of human society and its historical development, in order to contribute all we can to the advance of the revolutionary struggle and the emancipation of oppressed people throughout the world. As the Constitution of our Party states:
"The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA has taken the responsibility to lead revolution in the U.S., the belly of the imperialist beast, as its principal share of the world revolution and the ultimate aim of communism....
"The emancipation of all humanity: this, and nothing less than this, is our goal. There is no greater cause, no greater purpose to which to dedicate our lives."
It is in this spirit, and with this orientation and goal in mind, that I extend heartfelt support and encouragement to the millions who have risen up. To all who truly want to see the heroic struggle of the oppressed masses develop, with the necessary leadership, in the direction of real revolutionary transformation of society and genuine liberation: engage with and take up the emancipating viewpoint and goals of communism, and the challenge of giving this organized expression and a growing influence and presence among the struggling masses.
The Revolutionary Rebellion in Egypt
By Fidel Castro
The world knows what is taking place in the Middle East. The news is circulating at incredible speed. Politicians barely have time to read the cables coming in by the hour. Everyone is aware of the importance of what is occurring there.
After 18 days of harsh battling, the Egyptian people attained an important objective: to defeat the United States' principal ally in the heart of the Arab countries. Mubarak was oppressing and plundering his own people, he was an enemy of the Palestinians and an accomplice of Israel, the sixth nuclear power on the planet, associated with the military NATO group.
The Egyptian Armed Forces, under the command of Gamal Abdel Nasser, had overthrown a submissive king and created the Republic which, with support from the USSR, defended the homeland from the Franco-British and Israeli invasion in 1956 and retained possession of the Suez Canal and the independence of this millennial nation.
Thus Egypt enjoyed a high level of prestige in the Third World. Nasser was known as one of the most outstanding leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement, which he participated in creating, together with other eminent leaders of Asia, Africa and Oceania who were fighting for national liberation and political and economic independence from the former colonies.
Egypt always enjoyed the support and respect of the abovementioned international organization which brings together more than 100 countries. That sister nation currently presides over the Movement for the three-year period established; and the support of many of its members for the struggle which its people are now waging will not be slow in coming.
What did the Camp David Accords signify, and why are the heroic Palestinian people so passionately defending their most vital rights?
At Camp David – with the mediation of the then U.S. President Jimmy Carter – the Egyptian leader Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the famous accords between Egypt and Israel.
It is said that they held secret talks during 12 days and, on September 17, 1979, signed two important accords: one referring to peace between Egypt and Israel, and another related to the creation of an autonomous territory in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which Al-Sadat thought – and Israel knew and shared the idea – would be the headquarters of the Palestinian state, whose existence, as well as that of the state of Israel, the United Nations Organization agreed on November 29, 1947, during the British Mandate of Palestine.
After difficult and complex talks, Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from the Egyptian territory of Sinai, although it categorically rejected the participation of Palestinian representatives in the peace negotiations.
As a result of the first agreement, Israel returned to Egypt the Sinai territory occupied in one of the Arab-Israeli wars.
In virtue of the second, both parties committed themselves to negotiate the creation of the autonomous regime in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The former comprised a territory of 5,640 square kilometers and 2.1 million inhabitants; and the latter, 360 square kilometers and 1.5 million inhabitants.
The Arab countries were angry with that agreement in which, in their judgment, Egypt did not energetically and firmly defend a Palestinian state whose right to exist had been at the center of the struggles waged for decades by the Arab states.
Their reaction reached such extreme indignation that many of them broke off relations with Egypt. In that way, the UN Resolution of November 1947 was erased from the map. The autonomous entity was never created and thus the Palestinians were deprived of the right to exist as an independent state, leading to the interminable tragedy endured there and which should have been resolved more than three decades ago.
The Arab population of Palestine is the victim of acts of genocide; their lands are being snatched from them and are deprived of water in those semi-desert areas, and their housing is destroyed with sledge hammers. In the Gaza Strip, one and a half million people are systematically attacked with explosive missiles, live phosphorus and the well-known stun grenades. The territory of the Strip is blockaded by land and sea. Why is there so much talk about the Camp David Accords and no mention of Palestine?
The United States supplies Israel with the most modern and sophisticated armament, worth billions of dollars every year. Egypt, an Arab country, was converted into the second recipient of U.S. weapons. To fight against whom? Against another Arab country? Against the Egyptian people themselves?
When the population was demanding respect for their most elemental rights and the resignation of a president whose policies consisted of exploiting and plundering his people, the repressive forces trained by the United States did not hesitate to fire on them, killing hundreds and wounding thousands.
When the Egyptian people were awaiting explanations from the government of their own country, the replies came from senior officers from U.S. intelligence agencies or the U.S. government, without any respect whatsoever for Egyptian officials.
Do the leaders of the United States and their intelligence services, by any chance, know nothing of the Mubarak government's colossal theft?
Faced with the people's mass protests in Tahrir Square, neither government officials nor intelligence agents said one single word about privileges and the bold-faced robbery of billions of dollars.
It would be an error to imagine that the revolutionary popular movement in Egypt simply constitutes a reaction against the violation of their most fundamental rights. Peoples do not risk repression or death, nor do they stand fast the whole night protesting energetically about purely formal issues. They do so when their legal and material rights are pitilessly sacrificed to the insatiable demands of corrupt politicians and to the national and international forces sacking the country.
The rate of poverty already affected the vast majority of a combative, young and patriotic people, whose dignity, culture and beliefs have all been attacked.
How could they reconcile themselves to the continuing increase in the price of food with the tens of billions of dollars attributed to President Mubarak and the privileged sectors of his government and society?
At this point, it is not enough to know how high that figure is; it must be demanded that the funds be returned to the nation.
Obama is affected by the events in Egypt; he acts or appears to act as if he were the owner of the planet. What is happening in Egypt seems to be his own issue. He has not stopped talking over the telephone with leaders of other countries.
The EFE agency, for example, reports, "… He spoke with British Prime Minister
David Cameron; Jordan's King Abdala II and with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a moderate Islamist.
"The U.S. President recognized the 'historic change' that Egyptians have made and reaffirmed his admiration for their efforts…"
The principal U.S. news agency AP released some arguments worthy of attention:
"Wanted: Moderate, Western-leaning Mideast leaders willing to be friends with Israel and cooperate in the fight against Islamic extremism while protecting human rights…
"That's the impossible wish list from the Obama administration after popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia ousted two long-serving and close but deeply flawed U.S. allies in stunning rebellions that many believe will spread.
"This dream resume doesn't exist and isn't likely to appear soon. Part of the reason is that American administrations for the past four decades sacrificed the lofty human rights ideals they espoused for the sake of stability, continuity and oil in one of the world's most volatile regions.
"'Egypt will never be the same,' Obama said as he welcomed the departure of Hosni Mubarak on Friday.
"'Through their peaceful protests,' Obama said, ‘Egyptians changed their country, and in doing so changed the world.'
"Even though governments around the Arab world are nervous, there is no sign that entrenched elites in Egypt and Tunisia are willing to cede the power and vast economic leverage they have enjoyed…
"The Obama administration has insisted ever since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia last month – a day after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Arab leaders in a speech in Qatar that without reform the foundations of their countries were 'sinking into the sand…'"
The people in Tahrir Square do not appear to be very docile.
Europe Press relates:
"Thousands of demonstrators have arrived in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the mobilizations which provoked the resignation of the country's President, Hosni Mubarak, to reinforce those who have remained in the area despite attempts by the military police to dislodge them, according to reports by the BBC.
"The BBC correspondent posted in the central Cairo plaza has reiterated that the army is looking indecisive faced with the arrival of more demonstrators…
"The hardcore are situated on one of the square's corners… and have decided to stay in Tahrir to make sure that their demands are met."
Regardless of what may happen in Egypt, one of the most serious problems faced by imperialism at this time is the shortage of grain, which I analyzed in my January 19 Reflection.
The United States uses an important part of the corn it raises, and a large portion of soybeans, to produce biofuels. Europe, for its part, employs millions of hectares of land for this purpose.
On the other hand, as a consequence of climate change produced fundamentally by the rich, developed countries, a shortage of water and food is emerging which is incompatible with the growth of the world's population, at a rate which will result in 9 billion inhabitants within 30 years, without the United Nations or the most influential governments on the planet warning or informing the world of the situation in the wake of the fraudulent Copenhagen and Cancun meetings.
We support the valiant Egyptian people and their struggle for political rights and social justice.
We are not opposed to the people of Israel; we are opposed to the genocide of the Palestinian people and in favor of their right to an independent state.
We are not in favor of war, but rather in favor of peace among all peoples.
Fidel Castro Ruz - February 13, 2011 -
Translated by Granma International
( *** )
Is The Army Tightening Its Grip On Egypt?
By Robert Fisk
February 14, 2011 "The Independent" - -Two days after millions of Egyptians won their revolution against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, the country's army – led by Mubarak's lifelong friend, General Mohamed el-Tantawi – further consolidated its power over Egypt yesterday, dissolving parliament and suspending the constitution. As they did so, the prime minister appointed by Mubarak, ex-General Ahmed Shafiq, told Egyptians that his first priorities were "peace and security" to prevent "chaos and disorder" – the very slogan uttered so often by the despised ex-president. Plus ça change?
In their desperation to honour the 'military council's' promise of Cairo-back-to-normal, hundreds of Egyptian troops – many unarmed – appeared in Tahrir Square to urge the remaining protesters to leave the encampment they had occupied for 20 days. At first the crowd greeted them as friends, offering them food and water. Military policemen in red berets, again without weapons, emerged to control traffic. But then a young officer began lashing demonstrators with a cane – old habits die hard in young men wearing uniforms – and for a moment there was a miniature replay of the fury visited upon the state security police here on 28 January.
It reflected a growing concern among those who overthrew Mubarak that the fruits of their victory may be gobbled up by an army largely composed of generals who achieved their power and privilege under Mubarak himself. No-one objects to the dissolution of parliament since Mubarak's assembly elections last year – and all other years -- were so transparently fraudulent. But the 'military council' gave no indication of the date for the free and fair elections which Egyptians believed they had been promised.
The suspension of the constitution – a document which the millions of demonstrators anyway regarded as a laissez-passer for presidential dictatorship – left most Egyptians unmoved. And the army, having received the fulsome thanks of Israel for promising to honour the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, announced that it would hold power for only six months; no word, though, on whether they could renew their military rule after that date.
But a clear divergence is emerging between the demands of the young men and women who brought down the Mubarak regime and the concessions – if that is what they are – that the army appears willing to grant them. A small rally at the side of Tahrir Square yesterday held up a series of demands which included the suspension of Mubarak's old emergency law and freedom for political prisoners. The army has promised to drop the emergency legislation "at the right opportunity", but as long as it remains in force, it gives the military as much power to ban all protests and demonstrations as Mubarak possessed; which is one reason why those little battles broke out between the army and the people in the square yesterday.
As for the freeing of political prisoners, the military has remained suspiciously silent. Is this because there are prisoners who know too much about the army's involvement in the previous regime? Or because escaped and newly liberated prisoners are returning to Cairo and Alexandria from desert camps with terrible stories of torture and executions by – so they say – military personnel. An Egyptian army officer known to 'The Independent' insisted yesterday that the desert prisons were run by military intelligence units who worked for the interior ministry – not for the ministry of defence.
As for the top echelons of the state security police who ordered their men – and their faithful 'baltagi' plain-clothes thugs -- to attack peaceful demonstrators during the first week of the revolution, they appear to have taken the usual flight to freedom in the Arab Gulf. According to an officer in the Cairo police criminal investigation department whom I spoke to yesterday, all the officers responsible for the violence which left well over 300 Egyptians dead have fled Egypt with their families for the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The criminals who were paid by the cops to beat the protesters have gone to ground – who knows when their services might next be required? – while the middle-ranking police officers wait for justice to take its course against them. If indeed it does.
All this, of course, depends on the size of the archives left behind by the regime and the degree to which the authorities, currently the army, are prepared to make these papers available to a new and reformed judiciary. As for the city police, who hid in their police stations before they were burned down on 28th January, they turned up at the interior ministry in Cairo yesterday to demand better pay. That the police should now become protesters themselves – they are indeed to receive pay rises – was one of the more imperishable moments of post-revolutionary Egypt.
Now, of course, it is Egypt's turn to watch the effects of its own revolution on its neighbours. Scarcely a family in Egypt was unaware yesterday of the third day of protests against the president in Yemen and the police violence which accompanied them. And it is remarkable that just as Arab protesters mimic their successful counterparts in Egypt, the state security apparatus of each Arab regime faithfully follows the failed tactics of Mubarak's thugs.
Another irony has dawned on Egyptians. Those Arab dictators which claim to represent their people – Algeria comes to mind, and Libya, and Morocco – have signally failed to represent their people by not congratulating Egypt on its successful democratic revolution. To do so, needless to say, would be to saw off the legs of their own thrones.
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