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A Tribute to Tahrir Square

"What final character the Egyptian revolution will ultimately take as of now remains unclear, but whatever happens, what will follow is at its core of less importance than what Egyptians have already managed to achieve." Read the rest of Ali Mustafa's article here.

10 Myths Busted by the Egyptian Revolution

"The Egyptian revolution has busted 10 key myths about society, the “war on terror”, and social transformation," writes the radical physician who blogs at Your heart's on the left.

A Glorified Military Coup in Egypt: An Aborted Revolution or the Genesis of a Genuine Revolution?

Behzad Majdian writes in a piece published by MR Zine:

"Millions of people in Egypt and all over the Middle East erupted in joy as Omar Suleiman announced on Friday that Hosni Mubarak had resigned.

The Egyptian military decided to oust a widely-resented dictator as it witnessed the growing threat of a potential revolution being born in Egyptian streets.  Had it been allowed to continue for a few more days, the uprising could have grown into a full-fledged revolution which potentially could smash the Egyptian state.  To save the state, the military took charge and overthrew the stubborn dictator.  The dictator was thrown overboard in order to save the dictatorship."

Read the rest of the piece here

 

The Revolutionary Process in Egypt

Adam Hanieh argues that "The story that has been told in much of the mass media and reinforced by the carefully-worded rhetoric of U.S. and European officials is that these demonstrations have primarily been a struggle to overthrow individual tyrants... the claim that this is a struggle for ‘democracy’ acts to obfuscate more than clarify what these uprisings are about...The demonstrations were a direct result of the naked class power embodied by Mubarak's rule." Read the article here.

Strikes in Egypt & Call from Independent Unions

The military rulers of Egypt are calling for an end to strikes, but the number of strikes and protests has pushed them to declare Feb. 14 a public holiday. On Feb. 13, the new organization of independent unions issued an appeal to Egyptian workers calling on them to leave the state-run unions and demand that management stop deducting dues for the state-run unions from workers' pay.

 

Egyptian Army Moves

As the high command of the Egyptian military declares it will rule by decree under martial law until elections are held and moves to ban strikes, Richard Seymour argues that "the precise balance of forces in the new polity has still to be decided, and in particular the army's central role has to be negotiated (and struggled against). Everything the army does, therefore - whether they decide to keep the NDP men in place or throw them aside, for example - has to be read in terms of their determination to remain in charge." Read his full article here.

Meanwhile, Back in Toronto...

On Feb. 10, activists opposing cuts to social services disrupted a Toronto City Council budget meeting.

Return to Work and Trust Mubarak's Generals?

Hossam el-Hamalawy writes that "middle class activists have been urging Egyptians to suspend the protests and return to work, in the name of patriotism, singing some of the most ridiculous lullabies about “let’s build new Egypt,” “Let’s work harder than even before"... Those activists want us to trust Mubarak’s generals with the transition to democracy–the same junta that has provided the backbone of his dictatorship over the past 30 years." Read his entire blog post here.

 

Egypt: a call to action

This was directed at activists in the US, but will be useful for us as well.  J Kavanagh

 

VICTORY IN EGYPT!

U.S. Hands off the Ongoing Egyptian Revolution!

End US Military Aid to Egypt and Israel!

A Statement by the United National Antiwar Committee

On Friday, February 11th, the heroic Egyptian people won a historic victory with the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Now they are proceeding to secure this victory by moving on to eliminate the rest of this hated regime, and to win the freedom, jobs, equality and dignity which has motivated their revolution from the start.

Mubarak's resignation was coupled with news that the officers of the Armed Forces are now running the country. This comes as more rank and file soldiers and lower-level officers were joining the protests, and as others stood by as protesters blockaded the state TV, parliament and other government facilities.

No military regime in power in history has ceded true democracy to their people. We can be sure that the military hierarchy in alliance with what's left of the old regime will do everything in their power to stop the blossoming revolution in its tracks, to tell the protesters they must go home now and to wait for gifts from on high. THE DANGER IS REAL THAT WHEN THE MASSES SAY NO THAT THE MILITARY WILL RESPOND WITH REPRESSION.

We can be equally sure that Washington will give its full blessing and backing to these efforts of the remnants of the old regime and the military. Obama has made clear that he is solidly committed to the new face of the Egyptian regime, Omar Suleiman, who has proven over the years that he will collaborate with Washington in its torture and rendition policies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted in the New York Times saying that Washington would help organize political parties for future elections in Egypt -- a maneuver used to subvert revolutions.

The United National Antiwar Committee has urged supporters to mobilize for demonstrations called by Egyptian organizations in the US in solidarity with the revolution in Egypt and against US military and diplomatic intervention. As Egyptians in the US hold victory celebrations and protests to support continued progress, UNAC points out the special obligations of antiwar activists in the US given Washington's efforts to obstruct the wishes of the majority of the Egyptian people.

* The $1.3 billion a year in military aid which the US gives to Egypt must be cut off immediately.

* All US soldiers serving in Egypt, such as those in the Multinational Force in the Sinai, must be immediately withdrawn.

* US warships headed for Egypt must be immediately turned around.

From its founding, UNAC has opposed all US aid to Israel. That position is particularly important now given the danger that as the Egyptian revolution advances, Israel will intervene to derail it -- or launch new attacks against Lebanon, Gaza, or elsewhere as a diversionary tactic.

Amidst the euphoria in Cairo, Al Jazeera interviewed a young woman in the crowd, who said: "It's not just about Mubarak stepping down. It is about the process of bringing the people to power. The issue of women, the issue of Palestine, now everything seems possible."

TO DEFEND THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION, UNAC ENCOURAGES ALL ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT RALLIES PLANNED BY THE EGYPTIAN COMMUNITY, AND TO INITIATE THEM WHERE NONE ARE PLANNED.

Finally, we urge all supporters of the Egyptian people to redouble efforts to build the national antiwar marches called by UNAC for April 9th in New York and April 10th in San Francisco. These marches, called to demand an end to US wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, an end to support for Israeli occupation, and for social justice and jobs, take on even more importance with the revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, and elsewhere throughout the Arab world and Washington's attempts to crush or derail them.

SUPPORT THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY AND AGAINST EXPLOITATION AND OPPRESSION THROUGHOUT THE ARAB WORLD!
BUILD THE NATIONAL ANTIWAR MARCHES ON APRIL 9TH AND 10TH!

For more information: www.unacpeace.org, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

After Mubarak -- Interview with Egyptian Socialist Journalist

Listen to the audio interview (approx. 13 minutes) done on Friday afternoon with Hossam el-Hamalawy here.


Poem by Nizar Qabbani

Taken from an artilce by Tariq Ali on CounterPunch

Arab children,
Corn ears of the future,
You will break our chains.
Kill the opium in our heads,
Kill the illusions.
Arab children,
Don't read about our suffocated generation,
We are a hopeless case,
As worthless as a water-melon rind.
Don't read about us,
Don't ape us,
Don't accept us,
Don't accept our ideas,
We are a nation of crooks and jugglers.
Arab children,
Spring rain,
Corn ears of the future,
You are the generation that will overcome defeat.

Dynamics of Revolution

What happened on Feb. 10 "puts the question of power squarely at the center of things -- Mubarak's power as president, the power of the military and whether it will follow Mubarak's orders, the power of the mass struggle," writes Ahmed Shawki, who has been in Egypt.

Also, watch a multi-part video interview with Gilbert Achcar about Egypt here.

 

Mubarak's Folly: The Rising of Egypt's Workers

David McNally writes, "Rarely do our rulers look more absurd than when faced with a popular upheaval. As fear and apathy are broken, ordinary people – housewives, students, sanitation workers, the unemployed – remake themselves." Read his article here.

Egypt: Over 7 Million Demonstrate, Rulers Divided

According to Robert Fisk, on Feb. 10 "Fierce arguments among the army hierarchy – and apparently between Vice-President Omar Suleiman and Mubarak himself – continued while strikes and industrial stoppages spread across Egypt," with over 7 million people taking to the streets. Read his article here.

The Egyptian Revolution Continues -- Religious Leaders Lag Behind

With some of the largest mass demonstrations yet in Cairo and other cities and some groups of workers mobilizing together in them while others go on strike against their employers, the revolutionary process is moving forward, as this article documents.

Radical philosopher Peter Hallward argues that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are a major event in world history.

The leadership of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood "dithered" when the mass protests began in Egypt but is moving to try to boost its credibility after meeting with the government -- one of its leaders has called for Mubarek to resign within a week, as reported here. For more on how Muslim and Christian religious institutions and political currents in Egypt have responded to the revolution, check out this article.

Why Egypt 2011 is Not Iran 1979

Many pundits continue to compare the revolutionary process in Egypt today with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Juan Cole's Feb. 2 article about this comparison isn't a Marxist or other radical analysis about either Egypt or Iran, but it's worth a look, here.

English Subtitled Video of Wael Ghonim's TV Interview

 

Watch the full version (with English subtitles provided) of Google Exec Wael Ghonim's powerful TV interview, only moments after his release from an Egyptian prison where he was held, blindfolded, for twelve full days. This interview is being heralded as yet another galvanizing boost of inspiration to the brave and heroic protestors of Tahrir Square who are sacrificing everything they have to build a new Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of protestors are now filling Tahrir Square and the revolutionary movement looks to only be growing stronger with no signs of turning back. 

Egypt: More Socialist Analysis

"Clearly, the regime has a new strategy -- an attempt to try to overcome and bypass the protests," writes Ahmed Shawki from Cairo. Read his article here. The group Revolutionary Socialists Egypt has issued this statement.

Also, for a look at how the Egyptian revolution has been fueled not just by the country's undemocratic political regime but by capitalism, check out Nomi Prins's article.

 

 

Gilbert Achcar on Egypt Today

This February 4th interview with socialist analyst Gilbert Achcar about the Egyptian regime's strategy and the Muslim Brotherhood and other forces in the opposition movement is well worth reading -- here.

"The First Pages of the Revolutions of the 21st Century" (Updated)

"The situation as with any revolution is changing from hour to hour. Any evaluation will undoubtedly be overtaken by events within a few hours or days. But already we can say that the Tunisia and Egyptian people are writing the first pages of the revolutions of the 21st century." This fine sentence comes from a statement from the Fourth International, which is online here.

Al Jazeera's live stream remains a good news source about Egypt.

Richard Seymour writes today (Feb. 4), "The New York Times reports that the US is negotiating with the Egyptian military to force Mubarak, preserve the regime, and put the Vice President and former chief of military intelligence, Omar Suleiman, in charge as transitional president. The US trusts him, of course, because in addition to torturing Egyptians he helped run the CIA's kidnapping and torturing ring, known as 'rendition'." Read the rest of his article here.

Read the tweets from journalist Hossam el-Hamalawy and check out his photos here. A set of photos of women in the Egyptian Revolution are here.

Also, check this blog for updates.

If you're looking to understand the situation behind the headlines, this 17 minute interview with Bashir Abu-Manneh is worth a listen. Also, see this article here.

 

A graphic you can use

Egypt will rise. Mubarak must go!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickbygon/5412410519/

 

For those who can read Arabic

This is the Arabic translation of the item that appeared here on the 31st,  "The First Pages...."

 

More on Egypt and Tunisia

US socialist Ahmed Shawki is in Cairo and has written this article. Socialist Resistance in England have published Days of Rage, a 20-page pamphlet on events in Egypt and Tunisia.

An NGO reports that the Israeli state recently flew in planeloads of gas to be used by Egyptian forces to disperse crowds.

Falling dictatorships, Israeli panic

Falling Arab dictatorships and Israeli government panic
By Mordecai Briemberg
FEBRUARY 1, 2011

The walls are crumbling. The walls behind which dictators indulge in decadent opulence while "their" people are mired in wretched circumstance. The walls behind which "leaders" secretly sell -- for personal gain -- the rights of the people they claim to represent.

Across North Africa and the Middle East, across the Arab world, for decades dictatorship and deepening corruption, firmly supported by imperial powers, seemed beyond challenge. Today, once "stable" regimes are now facing a popular reckoning.

From the vantage point of Palestine, there are three new dynamics.

Within one month, the rebellion of the Tunisian people had sent Zine El Abidine Ben Ali scrambling for safety, neither the army nor police any longer ensuring his security. He hoped to land in France, one of his imperial patrons. After all, one French cabinet minister earlier had offered to send military support; but by the time of his flight from Tunisia, the Sarkozy government determined that Ben Ali had passed his "best-before date". So his plane landed, where Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's plane had landed, in Saudi Arabia.

The Tunisian people, in a tiny country nestled between Libya and Algeria, have rocked the throne of more than one dictator. Across North Africa, from Egypt to Mauritania, hope is supplanting popular cynicism about the possibility of creating a new order. And behind the walls where the dictators make their plans, a deepening anxiety has displaced confidence.

Israel's fate, too, is closely tied to the continuity of imperial-supported Arab reaction. Right after Ben Ali's flight from Tunisia, Netanyahu, on exiting a Cabinet meeting, revealed his anxieties when he called for "peace and security" to replace the "instability." With the mass uprising in Egypt, voices from Israel reveal even higher anxiety. A former Israeli ambassador to Egypt wrote in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, "The only people in Egypt who are committed to peace are the people in Mubarak's inner circle, and if the next president is not one of them, we are going to be in trouble."

Everyone in the Middle East knows what Israel means by "peace and security" (translation: "war and misery" for the Arab people) -- which brings us to the second new dynamic, "The Palestine Papers."

This is the heading Al Jazeera has given to "nearly 1,700 files, thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence detailing the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process... memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations - dat[ing] from 1999 to 2010." Al Jazeera says it has had "unhindered access" to the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Confirmed in vivid detail, beyond supposition and speculation, are this: (a) In this game called the "peace process" it is Israel which rejects reaching any agreement, despite the most extensive concessions by the "Palestine Authority" negotiators, obviously preferring to complete unhindered its independent plans for the further colonization of the territories conquered in June 1967; (b) The "Palestine Authority" concessions are so extensive that they amount to betrayal of the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people, ranging from abandoning the right of return of Palestinian refugees to abandoning the right to administer Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem. And beyond this abandonment, collaboration with Israel in killing Palestinians. More than concessions, even more than betrayal, many Palestinians are calling them treason; (c) The U.S. acts as Israel's lawyer, applying pressure -- both bribes and threats -- only on the Palestinians.

The impact of the public, documented confirmation of the foregoing propositions is profound, and the ramifications rapidly unfolding. This weekend we saw the desperate head of the "Palestine Authority", Mahmoud Abbas, send a message of support to Mubarak -- at the very moment Mubarak too has passed his "best before date." One sinking stone clinging to another. For more insight into the response of Palestinians in Palestine to Mahmoud Abbas, see the excellent article by Jonathan Cook: "Can the Palestinian Authority Survive?"

Then the third dynamic, this within the Palestinian rights support movement. For a long time the mantra among most activists was to accept the partition of a single historic Palestine into two-states, the same mantra that has dominated the Orwellian-named "peace process." But as Israeli colonization of territories conquered in 1967 continued unhindered, the realization that a "Palestinian state" could be no more than a set of tiny fragmented "Bantustans" became increasingly clear to activists. And the realization that the 1967 conquest was indeed a continuation of the 1948 ethnic cleansing emerged from the shadows into daylight.

The growing recognition of these realities, along with the more and more extensive and open affirmations of racist bigotry against Palestinians, within and outside the 1967 occupied territories, the more profound the moral indignation and disgust with Israel's policies and practices.
Solidarity activists are shifting away from following the parallel track of a non-existent peace process, moving toward the basics: denunciation of classic colonization, ethnic cleansing, and racist apartheid. Increasingly the tactic of boycott, divestment and sanctions is being pursued as appropriate, with the goal of a single state structure in all of historic Palestine, founded on legal equality for all its citizens regardless of ethnicity and religion, as the only way to realize justice and peace.

This third dynamic is the one solidarity activists in Canada can and should directly contribute to building. And as we do this, the other two dynamics will continue to shape the wider possibilities for success.

For 40 years the dominant narrative of Israel was flattering. A country of refuge for persecuted Jews, a land without a people for a people without a land, a model new society ever on the alert to defend itself from enemies driven by hate and jealousy.

Here in Canada there were hardly any voices to challenge this narrative. No need for campaigns to silence the critics.

Beginning with the first intifada in December 1987 and with gathering momentum, in irregular bursts, reports brought to light the existence of a Palestinian people, inhabitants of the land on which Israel was founded in 1948. Increasingly Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people raised questions and criticism.

The dominant narrative began to lose its capacity to gain reflexive approval. As discussions ensued, the voice of critics became increasingly present and credible.

The advocates of Israeli policies and practices make efforts to "re-brand" Israel, as they put it, to regain the old reflexive approval. But with diminished success they now put their emphasis on silencing, punishing, stigmatizing and criminalizing the voices of the critics -- fundamentally attacking freedom of speech.

Active defence of this right therefore is and needs to remain an integral part of the efforts for justice and peace in historic Palestine.

Mordecai Briemberg is a founding member of Canada Palestine Support Network, and is a regular contributor to rabble.ca

http://www.rabble.ca/news/2011/02/falling-arab-dictatorships-and-israeli-government-panic

Go Saleema! (video)

A remarkable video from Egypt here.