An attack on the revolution

June 15, 2012

Egypt's military rulers and the remnants of the old regime of toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak have made a naked move against the revolution. The assault took the form of a ruling by Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court that simultaneously intended to dissolve the country's parliament and allow the military's favored candidate to stay in a presidential runoff election scheduled for this weekend--two steps in the direction of the counter-revolution.

The court, which is packed with men appointed by Mubarak before his downfall in February of last year, overturned a law barring officials of the old regime from running for the presidency. That will allow Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, to remain in the runoff election. The military clearly hopes the ruling will boost Shafiq past Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A second ruling by the court nullified elections for about one-third of the seats in Egypt's parliament, most of them held by the Muslim Brotherhood. The ruling declared that parliament must now be dissolved until new elections are held, though some members of parliament said they would defy the order.

The aim of the ruling is for Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to assume legislative authority--with the new president chosen on Sunday to swear his oath to the generals. Under this move, the SCAF, rather than parliament, would be able to appoint an assembly to write Egypt's new constitution. The day before the ruling, the regime re-imposed martial law, giving the police and security forces the right to arrest anyone resisting the authorities, halting traffic, damaging buildings or harming government security--in other words, a total clampdown on protest.

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the former Muslim Brotherhood leader who ran for president and is acknowledged as a candidate of the revolution, declared in a statement: "Keeping the military candidate [in the race] and overturning the elected parliament after granting the military police the right to arrest is a complete coup, and whoever thinks that millions of youth will let it pass is deluding themselves."

Saad Aboud of the Dignity Party--which is led by Hamdeen Sabahi, another presidential candidate associated with the revolution, who came in a close third to Morsi and Shafiq during the first round of the presidential vote--told the Guardian: "This is a politicized verdict that constitutes a coup in political life. With the other verdict allowing Shafiq to continue in the race, today means the death of the revolution, and it is now imperative that we reconstruct it."

For his part, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi condemned the twin rulings. But he also said that he respects the ruling against the Political Exclusion Law and he will continue to stand in the runoff election this weekend.

The announcement of the two rulings was met with bitter opposition outside the court building, and numbers of protesters took to the streets throughout the day and evening. Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist and activist who blogs at the 3arabawy website, said a march is planned to Tahrir Square at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Here, we print a statement by the Revolutionary Socialists issued after the court ruling. The translation is by Jamie Allinson and was edited by SW staff.

The ruling of the Constitutional Court arrived today to announce that one phase of the revolution has been resolved in favor of the military regime. The judiciary, serving as regime accomplice, has passed down a ruling dissolving parliament. It has also ruled to reject the law excluding the man who occupied the position of prime minister while the revolutionary youth were being slaughtered in the streets. The judiciary had previously set the precedent in the incident of the Egyptian elections committee law, granting judicial power to the administrative council formed by decree of the military to supervise the elections in order to give them to Ahmed Shafiq, who is shunned by all popular forces, but supported by the military and judiciary. Thus, he can implement his promise to the people to impose “security” in 24 hours and to execute those he labels as “thugs,” while encouraging the economy by putting our workers and laborers as a cheap commodity on the global labor market.

And while the Mubarak regime, represented by the military council, mobilized all that it possesses in the way of institutions, resources, media, manpower and materiel to face the revolution of January 25, 2011, the political forces differed over the partitioning of society into civil (meaning secular) or Islamic. But the military council reminded them today that Egypt is divided into civil (meaning non-military) and military… And it has affirmed to them that democracy under the protection of the military is a lie, that the supervision of a judiciary delimited by the military is submissive and lacking independence.

What you can do

Activists in cities around the country are organizing emergency pickets for Friday at Egyptian consulates and other visible Egyptian-run enterprises (such as Egypt Air). Please bring out as many people as you can to the protest in your city.

For more information on the ongoing campaign in support of the revolution, visit the Petition in Solidarity with the Real Egyptian Revolution website.

The continuously negotiating and bargaining political forces, insatiable for a power that was never in their hands for one day, insisted on imposing their conditions, insisted on abridging the demands of the revolution to “democratic” demands in the shadow of a regime which does not fulfill even the unjust conditions of bourgeois democracy, which exceeds that injustice by carrying weapons and maintaining detention centers, prisons, and terrifying instruments of torture. The masses chanted for a mouthful of bread, rights to work and a life of dignity and social justice, but these demands were considered factional demands, to wait until the stability of the state was achieved—meaning stability of the stock exchange, investments, the wheel of production, running over and crushing the workers, the poor, the students and the marginalized. They demanded representation for the Copts in the Constitutional Constitutive Assembly, so they were represented by the Church and a handful of businessmen…They were not represented by the sister of Mina Danyal, nor by any of the revolutionaries who witnessed their brothers and sisters slaughtered by the tanks of the military during the Maspero massacre. They demanded the representation of women, and they got as representatives seven women with no knowledge of the realities in which the women of the country are living, the poverty, oppression, discrimination, and the violation of the most basic rights, among them their rights to bodily safety, both inside and outside the prisons…They demanded representation for the workers, so they were represented by men of the old regime in the yellow union federation…And they differed and fought and withdrew from representation by the parties, none of which was able to protect the revolution, nor even to disguise or prettify the process of its theft and overthrow.

No wonder then, that a state of frustration spread among the revolutionaries, comrades, colleagues and friends, a state of disbelief in today’s developments, for it appears to be a knock-out win for the counter-revolution. But this is what is to be expected if we believe or anticipate that our brave revolution is capable of winning and implementing democratic rights in the absence of simultaneous fierce struggles to achieve social justice. The slogans and struggles for social justice have receded in the face of demands for the constitution and the presidency and the parliament, etc.

But there will be for our revolution no victory through the ballot boxes, not through any one political group, nor through demonstrations, nor through youthful tenacity in the squares of liberation…The working class, absent from the field of battle, is still the sole force that is able to bring victory for our revolution, as it did in forcing out the head of the regime. It is true that the working class is struggling valiantly in its workplaces, against management and against the ruling capitalists in their companies, but these struggles remain far from the squares and far from each other. For these strikes and struggles and occupations, unprecedented in their number and distribution, still stop short, deprived of a single revolutionary labor movement to unite in solidarity against the phalanxes of the counter-revolution, now unified in its murderous executive, legislative, judicial and penal apparatus. And the revolutionaries of the squares do not assemble other than in the squares, or in short coordinating meetings, refusing organization and politics as if the revolution was not the highest form of practicing politics…

So the bridges remain cut off between the two armies of the revolution…

To build these bridges is our orientation in the second round of the revolution. The building of a united revolutionary front of all those who have a stake in the victory of the revolution, in the workplaces, among the peasants, the youth and women, among the working and toiling men and women of Egypt, that is our task today, a task that depends on the struggle in the workplaces and the neighborhoods and not at the negotiating table.

Our revolution will be victorious, despite the hatred of the military and their cronies…And the retribution of our martyrs is coming, despite the hatred of the murderers.

Glory to the martyrs!
Victory to the revolution!
Power and wealth to the people!

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