BY JEFF MACKLER
The June 30 mobilization of 20 million Egyptians demanding the resignation of President Muhammad Morsi, elected on the same date of the previous year, was likely the largest street demonstration against ruling-class prerogatives in human history. A few days later, Morsi and several of his closest Muslim Brotherhood (MB) associates were arrested by the Egyptian military—the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)—today’s democratically clothed heirs to the former dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.
In the weeks since Morsi was deposed, Egypt’s military-backed government has steadily escalated its campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood and has vowed to clear pro-Morsi protesters from their Cairo encampments. Well over 100 MB supporters have been killed by the SCAF and its allies. Tragically, a large segment of Egypt’s movement for democracy is disoriented, at least for now, as it expresses support for the military crackdown.
Grenadian revolutionary and Prime Minister Maurice Bishop famously and aptly noted in late 1979 that “revolution is not a cup of instant coffee.” Egypt, and indeed all other revolutions where the working class and oppressed masses are in motion, highlight this undeniable fact of political and social development.
Revolution is a life-and-death struggle between contending classes. But the ruling-class capitalist minority always holds the reins of state power, even if that hold is tenuous, until completion of the revolutionary process. This miniscule minority, the 1 percent or less, controls every institution of the state that it has created, from the armed forces and police to the government bureaucracy, elected officials, corporate media, and judiciary. These state forces also include, when necessary, thugs and secret death squads that the ruling class sometimes turns lose to accomplish its dirty deeds.
In the case of Egypt, the February 2011 revolution that toppled the 30-year, U.S.-backed Mubarak dictatorship posed a critical question for the nation’s capitalist elite as to how to safeguard its interests. A fundamental element of that elite is the military, which is thoroughly integrated into, if not dominant, in the most productive corporate sectors. The SCAF is said to control some 20 percent of Egypt’s economy, while remaining totally subordinate to U.S. imperialism.
In 2011, the military decided that Mubarak had to step aside in favor of a carefully controlled “transition” to bourgeois “democratic” rule. Indeed, Egypt’s top military brass was at the Pentagon negotiating yet another multi-billion-dollar arms deal with U.S. officials at the height of the massive insurrectionary demonstrations in Tahrir Square and nationwide.
Soon after he had been toppled, Mubarak stated, egotistically and with contempt for the massive rebellion against his regime, that the decision to step down had been his own. This tyrant, who had outlived his usefulness to the capitalist state power and its imperialist U.S. overlords, couldn’t help but add that he could have remained in power if he had wanted to. In his interview with the Egyptian daily Al-Watan, Mubarak said, “I made the decision to step down myself. No one pressured me. It was possible for me to stay in power but I decided to step down to protect people’s lives and not shed blood.”
Ego aside, the well-coached Mubarak inadvertently admitted that his choices had been limited to either resorting to massive repression or stepping aside from being Egypt’s strongman while living the rest of his life in luxury, with his billions of stolen dollars intact. As for the Muslim Brotherhood’s electoral victory following the subsequent election, Mubarak wryly commented, “[The people] chose them,” adding, perhaps with some foreknowledge, that he was “unsure whether the Brotherhood would remain in power for long.”
The massive and sustained mobilizations against Mubarak posed the question of questions to U.S. imperialism and its faltering allied Egyptian regime. Either call out the military and proceed to impose its “solution” by slaughtering hundreds of thousands of protesters, or risk the possibility that the diverse forces in the streets might in time forge a revolutionary leadership capable of coalescing Egypt’s working masses, urban and rural, to fundamentally change the relationship of class forces and challenge their capitalist order itself.
Mubarak and his U.S. advisers were well aware that millions of Egyptians were outraged at the horror perpetrated against them in the course of neoliberal austerity measures that had reduced their standard of living and quality of life as never before in the recent era. They understood that the current revolutionary mobilizations were capable of rendering their regime obsolete, and in time, opening the door to the development of deeply rooted and influential socialist forces aimed at the abolition of capitalism itself.
As remote as the latter alternative might have been at the present conjuncture, U.S. imperialism and Egypt’s ruling elite nevertheless chose to play the “democratic” card and avoid the international price to be paid by imposing an earthshaking bloodbath conducted by a hated dictator.
Instead, a “democratic transition” to bourgeois elections was carefully orchestrated. In 2011-12, a group of parties led by the Muslim Brotherhood was elected to control the largest bloc of seats in parliament. In June 2012, however, the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, a holdover from the Mubarak era, dissolved parliament, ruling that the upper house had been elected illegally. Soon afterward, the MB candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won the presidency by a slim majority over the SCAF-backed candidate in the second round of the elections. This was an outcome that Egypt’s military and allied capitalist forces were prepared to endure until better opportunities presented themselves.
The MB had made its peace with Mubarak long ago and had been allowed a slice of the economy or some moderated corporate influence along with the “right” to organize and function politically, albeit with key restrictions and while enduring some moderate repression along the way. These MB “part of the system” forces were among the last to take to the streets against Mubarak, having grown accustomed to sharing in the profits and being wary of the SCAF’s capacity for terrible violence.
But Morsi’s coming to power in 2012 represented little or no change in the essential nature of Egyptian society. Not a finger was raised against capitalist property and the ill-begotten wealth of its ruling-class families associated with the military-corporate elite. As with his neoliberal predecessors, Morsi persisted in privatizing public institutions at fire-sale prices. His government proposed to “regulate” strikes while rejecting a draft labor law that would have guaranteed the right of workers to form independent unions via democratic workplace elections.
As with the previous regime, Morsi sided with employers in the face of wildcat strikes and other forms of independent working-class organization. His government turned a blind eye to all proposals to cancel Egypt’s debt to imperialist banks. These loans were in the main embezzled by Mubarak’s military-corporate swindlers or used to buttress its deadly repressive apparatus.
Whatever moves Morsi might have employed to thwart the old regime’s efforts to relegate him to a figurehead president were more than offset by his acquiescence to the still-powerful and indeed intact “deep state,” that is, the military and its associated economic empire. This included Morsi’s essential subordination of Egypt’s foreign policy to U.S. objectives with regard to Syria, the Zionist state of Israel, and beyond.
Morsi’s ouster was undoubtedly aided by the old state power’s artificial creation of food and fuel shortages that increased the misery of the masses, who were more than ever compelled to stand in line for everyday essentials. His “majoritarian” exclusion of some of the opposing liberal, reformist, and other secular capitalist forces and minority religious groupings also contributed to his downfall. But even here, this exclusion was likely more a reaction to the old state’s efforts to limit his power and authority than it was to establish an Islamic state.
At base, however, he came to power on the promise of modest political and social reform, which he sought to accomplish in the framework of a failing capitalism that had no concessions to offer and that he had no intention to challenge.
It is also important to note that Morsi’s failures were exacerbated by the old regime’s persistent efforts, in conjunction with imperialism, to undermine his initial popularity by thwarting even the most minor measures at reform. His IMF loan request for $4.5 billion, for example, as with all imperialist loans, was conditioned on pledges to deepen the already massive cuts in social services to guarantee repayment. Morsi, who balked at some of the worst of these conditions, understood well the social price to be paid by imposing these cuts and especially the resulting steady evaporation of the popular support that brought him to the presidency.
In a real sense Morsi was momentarily drafted to be a bit player in the “no win” capitalist game. To the very extent that he became a minor or even major partner in administering capitalist austerity his failure was preordained, even when he meekly attempted to play in the big leagues of world finance and partially resisted the most onerous aspects of the draconian measures demanded.
Morsi presided over a social system that was incapable of improving the lot of the masses. His removal came in the context of an Egypt where fully half of the population had been reduced to poverty or close to it—where one quarter of the population had to expend half of its resources to purchase food, the price of which constantly rose given the near-monopoly of the old regime’s hold on vital food supplies.
The Tamarrud (Rebellion) petition
This spring, young activists launched the Tamarrud (Rebellion) petition campaign to demand Morsi’s resignation and new elections. The petition effort received the immediate backing of key leaders of the National Salvation Front, and was embraced soon afterward by the entire NSF, in alliance with other anti-Morsi forces.
The democratically packaged National Salvation Front was led in large part by the barely disguised liberals of the old regime, including three bourgeois opposition parties that had been defeated in the last elections and some behind-the-scenes corporate-media billionaires who helped to fund the effort. The NSF also included and was enthusiastically supported by a broad range of forces, from social democrats, Coptic Christians, Islamic fundamentalists, anti-U.S. nationalists, and an amalgam of secular forces, all seeking their own version of democratic reforms and Morsi’s resignation.
Revolutionary socialists participated in the petition campaign, actively gathering signatures while properly presenting their own distinct programmatic perspectives. Tamarrud organizers claimed at the conclusion, with some veracity, that they had collected the signatures of some 17 million or perhaps 22 million Egyptians. Without a doubt, the vast majority of signers were workers, peasants, and the poor.
Tamarrud set June 30 as the date for Morsi’s resignation, and called on Egyptians to join mass demonstrations on the eve of the deadline. When the time came, the world witnessed a mobilization of such proportions that few could deny it represented the will of Egypt’s people. The vast majority of the petition’s millions of signers, and many participating organizations and parties in their formal declarations, saw Morsi’s resignation as being achieved through the mass pressure of a mobilized opposition in the streets, as opposed to the active intervention of the military.
There is no doubt, however, that powerful forces of the old regime, now decked out with “democratic” trappings, were waiting and calculating in the wings as well as participating in the Tamarrud effort itself. Along with the military, they were prepared to act if they deemed that the magnitude of the mobilization and Morsi’s likely refusal to resign would afford them sufficient justification for his removal by the “nationalist-minded” military itself.
That is precisely what happened. The old regime’s military seized the moment to issue a proclamation giving Morsi two days to either resolve the crisis and “meet the [unstated] demands” of the people or resign. This was a virtually unqualified declaration of intention to remove Morsi via the military, now posturing as the people’s savior.
Morsi was arrested in short order and held in the headquarters of the Republican Guard. Fifty-three of his mobilized and protesting Muslim supporters were soon afterward murdered by Egypt’s unreconstructed Mubarak military and police personnel—an action that was applauded by sections of the June 30 opposition who had turned a blind eye to the fact that this self-same military has done the same and worse for decades. Hundreds of thousands of Morsi supporters rallied in protest in other parts of Cairo, leaving Egypt, a nation of 84 million, deeply divided, with no immediate prospects or potential for either side of the present bourgeois divide or the leaderless masses to achieve any substantial reform.
So deep was the hatred of the Morsi government that at the height of the protests that opened the door for his removal, the old regime’s military helicopters were able to fly directly above the millions in Tahrir Square as if to signal support for the demonstrators’ expectations for reform while simultaneously making clear that the military was still society’s key arbiter of power. Tragically, many cheered for these pretending liberators.
Meanwhile, two U.S. Navy ships patrolling in Middle Eastern waters moved towards Egypt’s Red Sea coast, purportedly to protect or evacuate U.S. citizens or to provide “humanitarian assistance” if necessary—the latter being imperialism’s term for supporting “regime changes” that allow for more compliant representatives of U.S. interests to prevail.
Obama administration drops Morsi
The Obama administration hurriedly gathered its imperial corporate overseers, supposedly to legally determine whether Morsi’s removal constituted a “military coup to remove a democratically elected government.” Morsi’s government had been previously awarded this designation following his election a year ago. It was, according to a New York Times editorial, “the most democratic election in Egypt’s history.”
Since U.S. law supposedly bars aid to countries where military coups remove such “democratic” governments, Egypt’s annual $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid was now put into question. Obama sent for his supposed “expert” in these matters, Justice Department head Eric Holder, to help in the ruling class’s deliberations. While the U.S. had been Mubarak’s prime and enthusiastic backer for the past 30 years, in the face of the massive revolutionary mobilizations against him it was temporarily compelled to whistle the democratic tune upon his removal while playing a critical role in the behind-the-scenes decisions of Egypt’s still intact military.
Obama is now maneuvering to resolve this latest contradiction between the specific U.S. law banning aid to such coups and the reality of the coup itself. “It’s too early to decide,” one government spokesperson stated. Yet U.S. State Department representative Jen Psaki signaled U.S. intentions on July 9 when she stated that Morsi’s government “wasn’t a democratic rule.” Needless to say, her remarks were warmly greeted by Egypt’s now “democratically” refurbished military kingmakers and swiftly denounced by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Psaki did shed some crocodile tears of concern over the crackdown on MB leaders. “If politicized arrests and detentions continue, it is hard to see how Egypt will move beyond this crisis,” she felt compelled to note. The MB called for a “Million Person March” for Friday, July 12, to protest Morsi’s removal by what they describe as a “bloody coup.” To our knowledge a few hundred thousand participated, insufficient even in the eyes of Morsi’s top aides to reverse the outcome of the unprecedented June 30 mobilizations.
U.S. intentions were nevertheless made explicit when its compliant Gulf-state monarchies immediately agreed to an initial $16 billion lifeline in financial aid designed to temporarily stabilize Egypt’s failing economy and perhaps institute some immediate reforms aimed at placating its wary and ever-questioning masses. Coincidently perhaps, immediately after Morsi’s arrest, Egypt’s gas and even food supplies, still under the control of the “deep state” or felool (the still powerful and entrenched remnants of the Mubarak dictatorship) miraculously reappeared. The longstanding endless lines of angry people forever waiting for life’s necessities almost instantly disappeared, signaling what was obviously intended as a return to “normal life.”
Meanwhile, U.S. intentions were made clear when a top State Department official, after cautioning against further persecution of Morsi and his supporters, announced on July 15 that Egyptians would now have a “second chance” at democracy.
Quick to appear among the nation’s new “liberal democrats,” Adly Mansour was appointed interim president by the very Mubarak-era top general and Morsi-appointed Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It was Sisi who gave the orders to remove Morsi.
Mansour was the head of the still-existing Mubarak-era Supreme Constitutional Court and a former Mubarak Interior Minister. He announced a temporary constitution, without bothering to consult with Egypt’s Islamic fundamentalists, who backed Morsi’s removal but who insist on a constitution that more clearly incorporates Shari law. This too will undoubtedly be among the items “negotiated” while the “new” leaders prepare to re-brand Egypt as a democracy.
Parliamentary elections were tentatively announced in six months. In the interim the new regime is scrambling to assemble an “inclusive” cabinet to front for the old regime’s bourgeois state. Morsi’s party was even invited to participate in the new elections!
Egypt in context of world capitalist crisis
Whatever modest reforms Morsi might have contemplated or attempted to implement were made impossible by Egyptian and world capitalism’s desperate context—a worldwide economic and social crisis with no solution on the agenda other than ever-deepening austerity at the expense of the great majority in every nation on earth.
In this critical sense, the eruption of mass discontent imbued with revolutionary spirit and determination in Egypt, among the most advanced in the world today, is an expression of the same outrage that we have witnessed around the world, albeit in different forms. The world is not lacking in the willingness of the working-class masses to mobilize in huge numbers in the face of across-the-board austerity and repression imposed by cruel dictatorships and “democratic” governments alike.
Brazil’s recent massive nationwide mobilizations began with a protest in the hundreds of thousands over a seven-cent increase in the cost of public transit. It quickly devolved into mass protests in over 100 cities over a myriad of deep-seated and longstanding grievances. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whose popularity polled 80 percent a few years earlier, and 57 percent the day before the mass mobilizations began last month, dropped to 30 percent soon after the initial protests. Turkey’s mass protests across the country began ostensibly with the government’s move to turn a public park into a shopping mall. They too revealed the seething anger generated by capitalism’s horrific encroachments on the quality of life.
Similarly, millions of “indignados” have taken to the streets in Spain and across Europe. The same massive and virtually always majority-supported outpourings have marked the Greek struggle for the past several years, where some 22 general strikes and unprecedented mobilizations have challenged capitalist austerity in all of its manifestations.
Greek protests have often been marked by their working-class demands and character. In the poorer or underdeveloped nations the popular mobilizations have combined deep opposition to government austerity measures as well as a variety of democratic and popular or multi-class demands challenging widespread government corruption and persecution.
Whatever the starting point, as in the self-immolation of a persecuted street vendor in Tunisia or the massive mobilizations against the neoliberal policies of the dictatorships in Libya and Syria, the cause is the same. A rapidly degenerating and deteriorating world capitalist system has proven incapable of offering even the most minimal of reforms to the world’s beleaguered masses. They have without exception been compelled in one form or another to pay the bills and bail out a system in a long-term and deepening crisis arising out of its inherent contradictions.
Each nation, of course, has its own specificities and context. In Egypt today, there has been a level of self-organization unprecedented in Middle Eastern history. Workers, before Mubarak’s ouster and even more so since Morsi’s demise, have engaged in thousands of strikes and related protests in virtually every sector of the economy, from textiles and steel to strikes by Port Said dockworkers and transport workers. Some 5000 strikes have been recorded to date, most organized by independent local unions and community committees.
Two new national trade-union federations have been established, along with the steady but uneven development of local and regional unions independent of the old state apparatus and of the Muslim-dominated unions. But even here, the bureaucratic mis-leadership of one of these independent trade-union federations, as is the case around the world, seeks to collaborate with Egypt’s capitalist government rather than to forge united struggles to challenge without equivocation every aspect of the state’s assaults on its ranks.
Need for revolutionary leadership
Morsi’s removal was simultaneously a military-engineered coup long in preparation and an unprecedented mobilization of Egypt’s oppressed and exploited. The June 30 mobilization was multi-class in character, including former Mubarak and Morsi supporters and important layers of middle-class discontents, and largely led by opportunist/reformist forces that sought change within the confines of the existing military-political system. But the driving and overwhelming power of the mass mobilization—however much abused, twisted, and distorted by alien class forces—was that of Egypt’s workers and peasants, who have borne the brunt of the state’s austerity and oppression.
As in other countries, the lack of proletarian leadership has left the Egyptian masses without a clear course forward. Even the once massive and powerful social democratic parties and the Stalinist-oriented Communist Parties that a half-century ago dominated the workers movement in many countries have long since undergone a qualitative level of degeneration. To the extent that their remnants exist, they are in the form of pathetic reformist appendages to the capitalist state, sometimes called into government leadership when implementing capitalism’s vastly unpopular austerity measures can best be accomplished by those who fleetingly posture as representing reform.
This deep crisis of working-class and revolutionary socialist leadership is the chief characteristic and contradiction of our times. The central task of revolutionary militants today is to strengthen and rebuild the workers’ movements in alliance with all the oppressed, and especially to construct massive and deeply rooted revolutionary parties of the Leninist type. The role of such parties is to absorb the lessons of past working-class victories and defeats and set themselves on a course to organize the revolutionary-minded masses to challenge and defeat capitalist power everywhere.
Egypt’s numerically modest socialist fighters today are admittedly incapable of playing a significant leadership role in the present and still-unfolding revolutionary developments. They have nevertheless made important contributions in this still early stage of the Egyptian revolution. Some, however, have undoubtedly lacked clarity regarding the distinction between the fight for a democratic and socialist society and the fight for basic democratic rights. The achievement of the latter has at times been falsely seen as the “first stage” of a separate revolutionary process, during which a political and electoral alliance of working-class organizations with pro-capitalist but anti-dictatorship or democratically minded forces is called for.
This “popular front,” or multi-class alliance in the electoral arena, has historically proven to be the graveyard of revolutionary politics—the path to demoralization and defeat. The capitalist forces that inevitably dominate any such coalition-capitalist government that might prevail in elections have no interest in challenging their own private property “rights” or any of the myriad of capitalist prerogatives that require the subordination of the interests of workers and peasants to the rule of the corporate few.
While participation in the electoral process is certainly among the many and varied tactics of socialist fighters, it can only be effective when the objective is to forge an independent working-class pole whose demands and program combine the struggle for basic democratic rights with the struggle for working class power—for a government of the workers and the oppressed aimed at the abolition of minority capitalist-class rule.
The Obama administration and all others that preceded it have made clear that their conception of “democracy” is class based, that is, based on the rule of capital. They have repeatedly supported whichever dictatorship or regime best defends this class’s interests, whether in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, or anywhere else.
Capitalist democracy, increasingly seen by millions as an oxymoron, offers citizens the “right” to choose between the parties of the minority ruling class, sometimes in conflict with each other over which will control the state power to best serve their interests. None are in business to advance the interests of the working classes. Their candidates partake in multi-billion-dollar election campaigns that are often orchestrated “shell-game” style by their corporate media. The results are known well in advance; one or another section of the elite minority rulers wins while both continue in their exploitation of the vast majority.
Working-class parties and parties of the oppressed nationalities are virtually excluded from the ballot in the U.S. and around the world by a series of anti-democratic laws. Should they on occasion achieve ballot status, they are virtually excluded from coverage in the corporate media and/or lack the enormous financial resources required to reach the general population; it takes billions of dollars to do so in the U.S. But parties based on the working class and their mass organizations, including democratic and fighting trade unions, and/or mass socialist parties, can sometimes have an important impact during these elections in exposing capitalism’s horrors and in strengthening their potential to mobilize mass support to win important objectives.
Capitalist democracy is little more than a facade to justify, if not camouflage, the continued rule of the elite, whose government exists to regulate every aspect of social and political life to the advantage of the few and at the expense of everyone else.
In this sense, the multi-millions who mobilized to remove the Morsi regime were operating qualitatively more in the democratic spirit than the elite few who Morsi and the “deep state” elements behind him represented. Those who see Morsi’s demise as the product of an “illegal” and undemocratic coup by the millions who called for it, miss the forest for the trees. Egyptian democracy was in the streets on June 30, not in the laws established for “democratic” elections organized by the old regime and funded by billionaires, including those who brought Morsi to power.
History has never recorded a single instance in which the ruling elite voluntarily surrendered its class power and prerogatives to the majority via elections. Its response to any serious challenge has always been massive repression, including its final expression in the imposition of fascist rule of the Hitlerian type.
In truth, the fight for democracy, for majority rule, for the rule of the great majority against the elite capitalist plunderers, is inseparable from the fight for socialism. The democratic and socialist revolutions are in reality one and the same. The achievement of both requires a break with the minority capitalist state power in all its manifestations and the re-construction of society on a profoundly new and revolutionary basis. This includes the abolition of private property in the means of production and the establishment of a collective society run by the vast majority through their own organizations and in the interest of advancing the needs of the many as opposed to the profits of the corporate few.
The united front
The critical and daily fight for fundamental democratic rights demanded by all workers and the oppressed and even broader forces in society, on the other hand, necessarily requires the construction of united-front coalitions aimed at massive mobilizations around specific demands, whether they be for the right to assemble to protest government abuse, the right to education, health care, and food, the right to be free from racist or national oppression, or even the right to vote.
The struggle for mass mobilizations to win these democratic demands, as well many others, both exposes those forces who are unwilling to participate and simultaneously educates, to the extent of their success, the masses as they experience their own independent and majority power in the streets. The failure of the capitalist regimes to grant these elementary demands inevitably contributes to the education and understanding of the majority that capitalism itself is a system of minority rule that must be challenged at its core if any advances for humanity are to be achieved.
The Tamarrud petitions and resulting mobilizations represented an incredible expression of working-class power but were lacking in programmatic demands other than the call for Morsi’s resignation and for new elections. Revolutionary fighters nevertheless had an obligation to both explain this limitation and to warn against the possible exploitation or usurpation of the movement by reactionary forces. This was especially essential when a not unlikely outcome of such mobilizations would be a return to formal power of the temporarily disguised old regime.
But the revolutionaries who correctly supported, built, and participated in the June 30 mobilizations can hardly be held accountable for the results. When any nation’s working masses take to the streets to demand reform and democratic rights, revolutionaries have an obligation to join the struggle while simultaneously making whatever efforts are possible to explain that only working-class power as opposed to bourgeois reform can meet their needs.
June 30 was a mobilization the likes of which the world had not seen in generations. The best of the revolutionaries found themselves inextricably and unavoidably caught up in a tsunami of mass discontent overwhelmingly driven forward by an enraged people whose very being had been deeply undermined by the polices of a regime that had largely lost its credibility. The vast majority was in the streets fighting for a better life, however much the people still held deep illusions in the capacity of a new election to bring it into being.
The dangers of the old regime using this mobilization for its own ends, as it did, were insufficient for revolutionaries to stand aside and assume the role of carping critics. Revolutionary fighters often find themselves engaged, in the course of the complex struggle for a revolutionary transformation of society, in mass struggles for change that are ill-prepared, without effective leaderships, premature, and even doomed to failure. But being with the masses under these most disadvantageous of circumstances is far better than abstention.
The best fighters must be capable of sustaining inevitable defeats with their co-workers and all their oppressed sisters and brothers as well as leading victories under more favorable conditions. The possibility that June 30 would end in the semi-disguised return to power of the old generals, as it did, was insufficient to negate participation. In fact, it was a prerequisite for the future development of a deeply rooted revolutionary alternative, itself the prerequisite for the revolution’s advance in the months and years to come.
The unfolding but still vibrant Egyptian Revolution, as with the massive challenges to capitalist austerity everywhere, is proof positive that the future bodes well for the construction of massive working-class parties that are free from any illusions in capitalism’s capacity to resolve in any significant way the economic, political, social, and environmental horrors that it has imposed on the world’s working masses. The time to carefully and meticulously build such parties is now.
This is not and never will be the occasion to bemoan our fate, reject the fundamental principles of revolutionary socialism, and/or seek out vague and “new” forms of struggle devoid of class and revolutionary content. With tens and hundreds of thousands in motion—and now millions in Egypt—and world capitalism in the type of crisis that we have not seen in several generations, the opportunities to build anew have never been greater. Revolutionaries have a new world to win, and the forces to win it are appearing on the scene in numbers far exceeding at any time in world history.
Photo: June 30 mobilization. By Amr Nabil / AP