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Vol. 75/No. 8      February 28, 2011

Familiar faces on Egyptian streets

Workers in the United States can recognize in the faces of the workers on strike, university students, peasants, and other Egyptians on the streets today something familiar: a struggle for dignity, for the right to organize and to speak out, for a decent standard of living.

Like many struggles that erupt in working-class communities in the United States, the explosions shaking North Africa and the Middle East were touched off by police abuse—a slap in the face of an unemployed peddler in Tunisia by a cop filled with contempt for the working class. It was one blow too many for workers and youth in that country, where, like here, millions are trapped in joblessness, wages too low to make ends meet, and capitalist rulers who turn a deaf ear to demands for relief.

In forcing the ouster of presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, working people of Tunisia and Egypt discovered their own strength. These tyrants remained in power for decades with the help of the military and capitalist opposition parties intent on maintaining stability to maximize their profits. Workers everywhere can draw a lesson from that experience—reliance on capitalist parties does not advance our class interests.

What lies before the masses in Tunisia and Egypt now is the possibility of organizing a working-class alternative to the capitalist rulers oppressing them and exploiting their labor. This is a time for meetings in factories, neighborhoods, and farming villages to discuss the next steps forward. To hold the ground already taken working people need councils of the toiling population—to defend their communities from police and right-wing thugs, organize solidarity with the strikes that continue, fight for an end to the state of emergency, for freeing the many political prisoners, and organizing to reach out to fellow fighters around the world.

Acting along these lines leads to a break with all the options promoted by imperialism and capitalist forces under the guise of “reform.” It is the road to rebuilding unions that fight for the needs of their members and all working people. It is in this way that a revolutionary proletarian party, the indispensable weapon the toilers need, can be forged to lead the working masses in the fight to take political power. That is the road forward for workers around the globe.
Related articles:
Egypt: Workers strike for wage raises, rights
Military command seeks to end protests
Unionists in Tunisia: ‘Beast still breathing’
Montreal action backs protesters in Algeria
Question of leadership in North Africa revolt  
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