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From: The Socialist issue 695, 23 November 2011: Fight till we win!

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Egyptian masses fight for real change

Thousands of activists have fought running battles with security forces for control of Tahrir Square, Cairo. Many people have been killed and thousands injured. There have also been big protest demonstrations in Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura and other cities.

"The military promised that they would hand over power within six months," one protester said. "Now ten months have gone by and they still haven't done it. We feel deceived."

There is growing anger at the role of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which is trying to retain its grip on power. The council, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, is supposedly charged with overseeing the country's transition to democracy after three decades of dictatorial rule under president Mubarak.

Elections are due on 28 November, but it is becoming clearer that the SCAF will do everything to hold onto power, whatever the human toll. Instead of repealing Egypt's hated emergency laws, the generals have extended it, while protecting their own privileges. An estimated 12,000 people have been brought to military tribunals over the last ten months.

Several opposition parties are reported to have stated they will not take part in the coming elections. Mohamed El Baradei, a pro-capitalist opposition figure, has offered himself to lead a 'national government of salvation'.

Like other revolutions, the Egyptian revolution is not a single act but a process. The masses fought hard to remove Mubarak last January/February at the cost of many lives. After he was overthrown, strikes broke out in many sectors and protests continued by youth, students and other sections of society.

For big swathes of the population, exhausted by struggle and yearning for 'stability', they put hopes in the new regime to oversee democratic elections and a better life. But now big sections of the population have correctly concluded that the SCAF is an attempt to continue the Mubarak regime in new clothes and that a new revolutionary upsurge is needed to win real and long-lasting democratic rights and fundamental social and economic changes.

This is why the CWI argued on 11 February, the day of Mubarak's removal, that the working class and youth should have, "No trust in the military chiefs!" and needed to build an independent movement that fights for "a government of the representatives of workers, small farmers and the poor!"

The movement needs to urgently create democratically elected and run committees of mass struggle and defence against state repression. The army rank and file can be won over, with a firm and decisive appeal to join the uprising.

Mass workers' action, including a general strike, to overthrow Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the whole rotten, brutal regime needs to be organised. Alongside this, there needs to be a struggle for a government formed by representatives of workers, the youth, small farmers and the poor that can take immediate action against counter-revolution and for democratic rights, immediate steps to improve living standards, and to break with capitalism.

David Johnson and Niall Mulholland, CWI
see full article on www.socialistworld.net

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Article dated 23 November 2011

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