An excuse to whip up nationalist fervor

July 27, 2015

A string of attacks on Egyptian military positions in the Sinai, for which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility, have led to bloody clashes that have left scores of Egyptians dead. On July 26, government officials announced a third three-month extension to a state of emergency declared last October in North Sinai, which imposes a curfew on local residents, among other measures.

On June 29, a car bomb killed Egypt's top prosecutor as he drove to work, in an attack believed to mark the second anniversary of the military's coup that removed President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood from power.

The following statement issued by Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt on July 19 makes the Marxist case in opposition to terrorism because it hands the regime the pretext it needs to crush dissent--while challenging those who line up against the military regime..

PERHAPS THE reactions to the latest wave of terrorist operations, and in particular those targeting army positions in Sinai, have confirmed the scale of crisis in the ranks of the Egyptian opposition.

The regime's response was clear and forthright: the wholesale adoption of exceptional laws in order to strengthen the iron fist of the security apparatus and the unleashing of a new wave of repression, killings, assassinations and torture targeting all who fail to express complete agreement with the narrative of the events created by the secret police.

Anyone who opposes the regime when it is in a state of "war on terror" is considered a traitor and terrorist. "Anyone who is not with us is against us." There is a direct line here from George Bush and his wars on Afghanistan and Iraq to Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi and his open and expanding war on the Egyptian people and their revolution.

This is all perfectly logical. Every dictatorship uses terrorism as an excuse to increase repression and create a state of national panic and hysteria across the widest sections of the masses in order to force everyone to close ranks behind the dictator. However, this hysteria now extends to liberal and leftist opponents of the regime, who at least in theory are opposed to Sisi's coup and his counterrevolution, and this is creating surprise and disgust.

Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi
Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi

There are those who have stood clearly with the regime from the first instant, condoning all the crimes committed, using the excuse of fighting terrorism or out of fear of the Muslim Brotherhood. These people threw themselves without hesitation into the arms of the military and counterrevolution from the beginning, even if they have occasionally criticized some of the excesses of the security forces, particularly against those outside the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood.

But there are also those who take a halfway position, opposing with equal vehemence the counterrevolution and the Muslim Brotherhood, arguing that these are, in fact, two factions of the counterrevolution. They reject both the military faction aligned with the ousted Hosni Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood faction. They attempt to maintain the same distance from both warring factions, imagining that they can ignore their battles and build a third alternative which is capable of opposing the military regime's policies and repression, while also resisting the Islamist opposition, thus conflating different kinds of Islamist movements and different forms of opposition, whether violent or nonviolent. Thus, bloody terrorist attacks in Sinai and a peaceful protest in the village of Nahia become simply two different expressions of counterrevolutionary Islamist obscurantism, no less dangerous than the current military dictatorship.

This third way appears on the surface to oppose the regime, but at a practical level and in terms of its content, in reality, it supports the military.

In the face of the latest terrorist attacks, the ranks of the third way have crumbled, with many of its proponents showing that they are united with the state against the threat of our real enemy, ISIS! These people suddenly lost whatever superficial neutrality they claimed in the battle between the terrorism of the state and the terrorism of the armed Islamist groups, declaring "bravely" for closing the nation's ranks as we are already in a state of war. They repeat the demagoguery of the regime's mouthpieces, weeping over the soldiers killed in Sinai at the hands of treacherous "religious fascism," while not uttering a word over the murder of peaceful protesters after Eid prayers.

ONCE AGAIN, we the Revolutionary Socialists confirm our rejection of terrorist operations, because they increase the power of our principal enemy: the military dictatorship that is leading the counterrevolution. Terrorist attacks are a propaganda coup for defenders of the regime, who use them to justify all its crimes against the masses and everything that represents the revolution. We reject terrorism, even when it is directed at the symbols of the regime because it increases the power of the regime and sends a disastrous message to the masses: "There is no need for your strikes and sit-ins!" For this reason we utterly oppose all forms of terrorist action.

At the same time we do not forget for an instant that the strongest and most dangerous form of terrorism is the terrorism of the military dictatorship. The road to getting rid of ISIS and its like is not through closing ranks with el-Sisi's state, which is Mubarak's state. Nor does it mean taking a neutral stance towards the battles between the state and the terrorist movements, which is either just naïve or, in most cases, complicit with the state. The only revolutionary road is to revive the weapons of mass struggle through strikes, sit-ins and protests against the corrupt military dictatorship that will bring us nothing but poverty, repression, violence and terrorism.
Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt

First published at the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt website.

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