Egypt- A reply to Morad Shirin

We have to give clear guideline in our analysis based on the objective situation and our understanding of the experiences of the international class struggle. In a very good analytical article about the situation of Egypt, published here yesterday, once again the central slogan for masses considering the objective situation is missing.

Morad writes as a conclusion: “Only the Egyptian working class can blow these plans apart by being resolute in organising an open-ended general strike against the regime and against the whole bourgeois opposition.” I cannot agree with this more. But the question is that what is the next step from the situation that millions have already staged a general strike to taking the power by the proletariat? In order to answer this important question, we have to be clear about the nature of the present leadership of the working class. Do the oppressed masses have independent leadership (like soviets and their revolutionary party) to move from the present situation by staging an ‘open-ended general strike against the whole bourgeois opposition”? Unfortunately this is not the case. The workers and oppressed masses have only a “bourgeois opposition” as their leaders (mainly the Islamist tendencies). The masses are under the illusion that these are their genuine leaders. The socialists and Marxists are very weak and practically non existent. Independent movement without leadership, either does not exist or very soon will come under the bourgeoisie’s leadership. So what to do?

Having understood this situation, and without wishing to impose our ideal result and aims upon the direction of peoples struggles (which will surely isolate us as sectarians), we have to expose the nature of the whole bourgeois opposition, on a propaganda level. But practically we have to expose and show to the masses that for example the Muslim Brotherhood is not the real opponent of the regime and Imperialism. The masses have to experience these leaders in practice. The only option open to lead the masses to expropriation of the private property and the power, is to call for general strike for establishment of a revolutionary and democratic Constituent Assembly. This is clearly the next step today in Egypt (and other Arab countries with mass movements).

This slogan will be understood and accepted by all layers of society. It will create a breathing space for revolutionaries to show their superiority and consistency in defending the oppressed masses. This assembly is not a government but a transitional body to decide on the future state and its constitution. The Marxists, socialists and bourgeois opponents to Mubarak will participate in this assembly. The Marxists will fight for the socialist, anti-capitalist programme.

Morad may argue that what guarantee is there to achieve a democratic assembly and socialist programme in that assembly? The answer is that there is no guarantee in advance. All depends on our struggle to convince the working class that our method and line is correct. In revolutionary situations, the consciousness of the oppressed masses changes and develops very rapidly and we can expose the “whole bourgeois opposition” within this assembly, more than when they are in power alone.

The call for a “general strike against the regime and against the whole bourgeois opposition.” under the condition that there is no independent and socialist leadership, is a recipe for the definite defeat for the working class. It means abandoning the fight for the leadership and handing over the leadership to the “whole bourgeois opposition”, with posing a correct but an empty and irrelevant slogan to the present consciousness of the masses and its readiness to topple Mubarak and the “whole bourgeois opposition” all at once by an ongoing general strike.

Maziar Razi

2 February 2011

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