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The historic advance of the Egyptian revolution

The Egyptian revolution has taken another important step forward for the people of Egypt, the Middle East and the whole world. The immense Tamarrod (Rebellion) movement, which organised “the biggest ever demonstration in history”, drove the government of Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood to the brink, finally forcing its downfall by the army. This is the third government, after those of Mubarak and Tantawi, which is being toppled by the power of Al Tahrir and Egyptian revolution. This was not only a decisive step towards weakening the Islamist forces in Egypt and in countries like Iran, but, more crucially, an expression of going beyond the limits of democracy and dealing a fatal blow to the myth of the rule of the ballot, i.e. the rule of the bourgeoisie. The whole world witnessed how tens of millions of women and men came onto the streets in Egypt, directly exercised their will and toppled a government which, although a product of a parliamentary process, nevertheless represented, like all democracies, nothing but a parasitic and reactionary minority. This is a historic watershed which will bear the name of the Egyptian revolution.

There is nothing more absurd than the laments of the various bourgeois governments about the “loss of democracy” and blaming the “military coup against a democratically elected government”. In fact what they are saddened by is the loss of the option of “moderate Islam” as a result of the advance of the Egyptian revolution. Last week’s events have also shown the failure of the policy of containment of the revolution through the ballot box and by sending people home. In fact, what they are frightened of is the direct will of the people and the advance of their revolution. They are well aware that the army gave up on the Muslim Brotherhood and carried out the coup from fear of the radicalisation of the situation and in the hope of controlling the revolution later. Also, it is generally known that not only during the time of Mubarak and Tantawi but also under Morsi and the present provisional government it has been the army that has wielded the real power.

In order to triumph, the Egyptian revolution in the end has to directly confront and defeat the backbone of the Egyptian state, i.e. the army, which apart from being a military power, is a formidable economic and political power. The magnificent Tamarrod movement and the historic demonstrations of the past few days and the removal of Morsi have placed the Egyptian revolution in a stronger position. Nevertheless, it is clear that the revolution has a winding road ahead. Apart from the army, the Islamists’ power should not be underestimated. The latter has suffered a heavy defeat, but will remain on the scene as an ultra-reactionary force. More importantly, the bourgeoisie in Egypt has a number of other cards in the bag, like ElBaradei, which it will try to pull later. But the greatest danger threatening the Egyptian revolution is if this revolution remains merely an opposition force, and if the gigantic Al Tahrir movement does not transform itself into state power based on the direct will of the people organised in their mass grassroots organisations. The Al Tahrir and the immense movement of the Egyptian people should elevate the exercise of its will from changing governments and toppling the various representatives of the bourgeoisie to taking political power and setting up a new system based on people’s undeniable freedom, prosperity and dignity. Last week’s events proved that Al Tahrir is the strongest and most decisive force in Egypt. The revolutionary people of Egypt should take political power, organise themselves as a state and govern directly. A humane and equal society without discrimination, prisons, executions and poverty, which is the wish the Egyptian people, can only be achieved through such a path.

Worker-communist Party of Iran
5 July 2013

Comments

  1. David Marjanović says

    nevertheless represented, like all democracies, nothing but a parasitic and reactionary minority.

    Whoa. What a broad brush.

    In fact what they are saddened by is the loss of the option of “moderate Islam” as a result of the advance of the Egyptian revolution.

    That is, in fact, sad to some degree. Europe is full of moderate Christian parties, often claiming names like “Christian Social” or “Christian Democratic” or even “People’s Party”; it would have been good if the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood would have become analogous moderate Muslim parties – good in the sense that such parties are capable of participating in halfway reasonable governments, that it’s possible to talk to them and negotiate with them, and that the existence of such parties prevents the pious but peaceful from supporting extremist parties instead – Egypt famously has an outright Salafist party that calls itself an-Nur, “the light”.

    Worker-communist Party of Iran

    Ah, well. Everything looks different through deep red glasses.

  2. machintelligence says

    Trading the Muslim Brotherhood for a communist party is like trading a headache for an upset stomach. Neither is desirable.

  3. alanflynn says

    “Going beyond the limits of democracy and dealing a fatal blow to the myth of the rule of the ballot.” This piece tells you all you need to know about Communist Parties’ disdain for democracy. Has the history of Communist dictatorship in the twentieth century not taught you anything? When any Party speaks with scorn of the ballot box you just know that down the line they’re going to turn into a dictatorship over the masses along the lines of the former USSR & every other Communist regime in history. With rhetoric such as this, the Worker-communist Party of Iran shows itself to be just another vanguardist organisation which, once in power, would lead the Iranian people into a new form of tyranny. I had thought that you Maryam were a force for enlightenment, but I am deeply troubled by your rejection of democracy – for that is what this article amounts to, whatever revolutionary jargon the Party will choose to spin.

    • Reza MORADI says

      the history of the communist dictatorship taught us a different form of dictatorship, what we’ve been an opposition to! I am sure Maryam and many other worker-communists would be the first to stand up against a USSR like system as they have… to make it brief, communism (what we fight for and promote, call it what you like) is about bringing back humanity in politics and putting people in charge. it’s worth looking at WPI’s programme http://www.m-hekmat.com/en/0600en.html

  4. vulcan29 says

    Perhaps we should all take to the streets to get rid of corrupt, incompetent and dictatorial goverments. Look out Europe and Britain in particular. Time to get rid of the parasites.
    Perhaps Egypt will get a government that is worthy of them.

  5. says

    Being against democracies as they are today does not make one anti-democratic. In fact, the council model where people vote as and when needed and are represented by local councils is more democratic. It doesn’t leave people at the mercy of their ‘representatives’ who do the opposite of what they promise and people must wait for years to change them for a similar model. In fact, anyone who supports people’s intervention and real vote should oppose the democracies we have today. Very few vote for this reason – people are disillusioned with the process and know it does not represent their wishes. In reality, democracy is the political rule of an economic system that puts profit before welfare and human need. It’s the rule of the ruling class packaged in the people’s rule. If anyone thinks that people rule the USA or UK or … they have been duped.For me, and for worker-communists – freedom means much more than this. People deserve much more in 21st century.

    Here’s a great piece by mansoor Hekmat on democracy: http://hekmat.public-archive.net/en/0880en.html. Everyone should read it.

    In it he says: Bourgeois society has succeeded in substituting the concept of freedom and the struggle for it by that of democracy. By so doing it has managed to pre-determine the extent of the onset of subjugated classes in their search for freedom, as well as the eventual shape of their victory. You fight for freedom and, upon ‘victory’, are given parliament and ‘pluralism’.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    In fact, the council model where people vote as and when needed and are represented by local councils is more democratic. – Maryam Namazie

    If by this you mean a system where these “local councils” send delegates to an area council, that sends delegates to a regional council, that sends delegates to a national council then no, it is not more democratic. Such systems are easily manipulated from the top.

    This was a US-backed military coup. contrary to your claims, there have been few:

    laments of the various bourgeois governments about the “loss of democracy” and blaming the “military coup against a democratically elected government”.

    Notably, the US administration has specifically refused to call the recent events a coup. Note that, as the linked article says:

    The US government is barred by law from giving foreign aid to countries under military coup.

    So if the US government is opposed to what has happened, it has a ready means of reprisal. Clearly, it isn’t.

    So, you’re cheering for a military coup tacitly approved by the USA, and openly backed by the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Israeli government will be pleased too, as this dishes Hamas. Yet you regard yourself, doubtless, as an anti-imperialist.

    • says

      33 million people in the streets is not a military coup. That the military came in to control the revolution is another matter but that doesn’t deny the revolution. The US Government, the Military all worked together to bring MB into power. The army only removed its support when it worried about losing control to people on the streets. A coup is the opposite of a revolution. It is from above and a means of controlling people not the other way around.

      • Nick Gotts says

        33 million? Who counted them and how? That figure appears to come from A former Egyptian general. Any way, you are right on one point: the people in the streets were not a military coup; the seizure of power by the army was the military coup. Refusing to call it that doesn’t change reality. And where’s your evidence that the US government and the military worked to bring the MB into power?

        • Reza MORADI says

          So what? In a military coup people hide at home. That’s not the case is it? You aren’t suggesting that Obama Administration has the same analysis and outlook as the Worker-communist Party of Iran, are you?

          • Nick Gotts says

            No, those who called for the coup do not hide at home. Do you suppose the big business owners in Chile hid at home when Allende was overthrown by the Chilean army? Of course there was widespread popular anger against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. But in calling for and then supporting a military coup backed by some of the most reactionary states in the world, and in effect by the USA, the secularist opposition to Morsi made a huge strategic error. The army has now regained the power they held for nearly 60 years. They will construct a civilian front, probably through manipulated elections, and will not so easily be dislodged again.

        • says

          So what has that got to do with it. Islamists are saying it is a coup so does that make you an Islamist because they are saying the same thing as you? I can be anti-Iranian regime – doesn’t make me pro-US militarism. Who says the same things is not the issue. I’m defending the people’s revolution and saying the army stepped in to take control of the situation. Coup detat is action from above; revolution from below. They are not the same thing.

          • Nick Gotts says

            Islamists are saying it is a coup so does that make you an Islamist because they are saying the same thing as you?

            No, because that’s simple fact. It’s when people start spouting the same bullshit that one has to wonder what the significance of that coincidence is.

            I can be anti-Iranian regime – doesn’t make me pro-US militarism.

            Well in practice, it appears that it does.

            Coup detat is action from above; revolution from below. They are not the same thing.

            Indeed: and this was a coup d’etat.

    • Reza MORADI says

      people “on top” must be super clever to manipulate everyone! People who are present in political scene and care about their needs, demands, welfare, political system and future of the society are hard to manipulate, as we’ve seen it twice in Egypt alone! A revolutionary society stays put.
      The only way to ensure Egypt’s not going back to another dictatorship is direct involvement of people in politics in which citizens chose their true representatives rather than voting for one person or a one party to dictate.

      • Nick Gotts says

        Actually, in Egypt we’ve just seen how people at the top can and do manipulate others – persuading people who have recently escaped from 60 years of military rule to demand its return! But with regard to the manipulation of systems of indirect election through layers of councils, I’m not guessing: I’m looking at the way systems of “soviets” – essentially, Maryam Namazie’s “councils” – were manipulated from the top in the Soviet Union.

        • Reza MORADI says

          at the moment in Egypt the revolution is in progress, the fact that the army stepped in and powers panic to control the situation doesn’t mean people are manipulated. And to be clear about soviet system, it was not anything close to what we want. It was rule of one party not people’s reps.

          • Nick Gotts says

            If your “people’s reps” system uses pyramids of indirect election, it will be just as vulnerable to manipulation from the top as the Soviet system. Once you remove those with the most powerful positions from direct democratic accountability to all, you have set the stage for dictatorship. As for Egypt – we’ll see, won’t we? I think you’re unable to recognise counter-revolution when you see it played out on the TV screens of the world.

  7. wtfwhatever says

    I am glad the Communists have defeated the Islamists. The beautiful part is when wintertime rolls around, the Communists simply freeze to death.

  8. K Madden says

    Oh Maryam. You do such good work and make so many good arguments.

    And then you go and undo it all – and shoot yourself in the foot – with a post like this.

    I could forgive the 20th Century utopianism as the wishful thinking of a well-meaning activist. But your use of Communist terminology sends chills of fear up my spine that I just cannot ignore.

    I see why you wish for an ideal world. We all do. But Communism didn’t just fail in the USSR. It has failed – ended in dictatorship and brutal suppression of dissent – everywhere that it has been tried. You can argue that as “worker-communists” you would oppose any “communist dictatorship”. That’s all well and good. But since every Communist regime over the last hundred years has rapidly fallen into dictatorship this is hardly reassuring. Your attack on democracy makes this doubly scary: since democracy is “of the people” your alternative suggestion is just a different form from the representative democracy we have in the West. So, while I’m sure this isn’t intentional, attacking non-specific “democracy” just makes it look like you’re a part of Communism’s historical tendency to the exact opposite of a system that’s “of the people”.

    I am sure that I speak for many when I say that I would put my life on the line to stop the same misguided experiments being repeated in the UK and cannot support anyone who wants to risk the same mistakes elsewhere. I won’t go any further into why I oppose Communism though – I’m sure you know my reasons already, and I’m sure I know many of yours for hoping for the system to work – such a discussion would likely just get bogged down and get nowhere

    I would, though, like to make two points. Two pleas, if you will.

    Firstly, you can’t single-handedly change everything that you personally think is wrong with the world. You need to pick your fights else you won’t get anywhere. You’re kidding yourself if you think your fight for true Communism will get anywhere – the reality is that it will achieve nothing. But your fights for secularism and for feminism, for justice and equality, have a chance of succeeding. If you also try to recreate the world economy based on a failed 20th Century ideal you will just undermine your other causes. Potential allies will disown you; potential donors will go elsewhere. Your refusal to be pragmatic will weaken them and it will weaken you.

    Secondly, if you must try to revolutionise society instead of just reforming it, you need to drop the language of 20th Century Communism. Stop referring to the bourgeoisie. Stop banging on about workers. Society has changed too much since Marx for these terms to hold the same meaning for him as they do for us and the failures of Communism has made the ideology’s terminology politically poisonous. You need to re-frame your ideology in terms that people today can relate to and in terms that weren’t used by some of the most murderous regimes humanity has ever created.

    I wish you well in your other work and honestly hope that you can see your way to moderating your more outlandish ideologies. Secularists and equality campaigners everywhere need you too much.

    • says

      Communism to me is a tool for real freedom and equality. I don’t support the Soviet Union or China or what have you. I believe that human beings deserve much more in the 21st century. Not to be hungry, not to live in societies that put profit before human welfare, not to have access to proper education and health care. Capitalism is an economic system of the ruling class; democracy is its political system. It gives the impression that it is for and by the people but seriously not many people buy that any more. You may think the language is old fashioned but it is still a reality. Just because you are happy with the status quo, don’t expect everyone else to be too. Of course I prefer to live in the UK than Iran or China or Soviet Union but I still think we deserve more. I want a society where freedom is not limited to democracy – you vote for someone every four years – and then they go ahead and cut your services, reduce your health care, criminalise the poor and working class, fuck you blind whilst pouring money they say they don’t have into wars and banks. If demanding equality and not just before the law is outlandish, well then that is exactly what I am. I dream of another world, a better one. You should too.

      As Mansoor Hekmat says, people seek out the left because they demand justice. That is why I am a worker-communist. In fact, all the good things you say I do – it’s basis is the human being – which is what worker-communism is to me.

      • alanflynn says

        As Mansoor Hekmat says … You quote this guy so much that it is uncomfortably reminiscent of the cult of personality of Mao Zedong & Kim Il-sung – not to mention Uncle Joe Stalin. I see that the Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) seceded from the Communist Party of Iran in 1991 & that in 2004, more than half of the members of the WPI Central Committee resigned & formed a new party, the Worker-communist Party of Iran-Hekmatist (which leaders of the WPI have derided as, in fact, ‘anti-Hekmatist’). The Worker-communist Party of Iran-Hekmatist itself split in 2012 into two factions [Wikipedia - please correct me if any of this is incorrect]. My point is that you show all the factionalism that is typical of organisations – most especially far left & far right parties – which believe that they possess a pure truth. You say that you dream of another world but history shows that the model you are advancing only leads to tyranny once power has become established – Stalin, Mao, Kim il-sung, Hoxha, Ceausescu, Honecker, Pol Pot to name a few. I don’t know if there is a clear route to a just society but I do believe that democracy is a sine qua non of progress. I am no supporter of Islam, let alone Islamism, but your cavalier backing for the overthrow of a democratically-elected President sends a clear message to his supporters that their vote has no value and hence will encourage anti-democratic movements. If the WPI Central Committee do not even uphold the result of free elections now – it’s “bourgeois democracy” when the outcome doesn’t suit you – do you honestly expect people to believe that your organisation is fit-for-purpose in the pursuit of justice and freedom? I, for one, do not.

        • Reza MORADI says

          This is what I love about what has happened in Egypt. People overthrow a “democratically elected” government and gain popular support and international sympathy; even the Western Governments, flag carriers of Democracy, can’t condemn it. This scares the shit out of every “legitimate” government and the system they feed on. Egypt sets up a great example, which proves the democracy isn’t about freedom or people’s involvement in their faith and future, and it’s absolutely right to stand up to it and question its fundamentals. The democracy you shout out is a myth of freedom, that’s all.
          The Worker-communist Party of Iran is a Marxist revolutionary party, which doesn’t compromise its programme and ideals. As you mentioned, some people left this party in 2004, for them the era of revolution was over! Well, Egypt proved them wrong :) Some of them have come back to the party and I welcome the rest. Satisfied?
          There is plenty that can be said about how unfair and upside down the system, democracy, current elections, current governments … are. But for now, please remove your thick Thatcher glasses and see the world objectively.

          • Nick Gotts says

            even the Western Governments, flag carriers of Democracy, can’t condemn it

            Here we have the clearest possible evidence that the military coup in Egypt is in fact welcomed by western elites, and you try to pretend it scares the shit out of them. It’s risible. As for you telling others to “see the world objectively” – that’s comedy gold right there.

          • Reza MORADI says

            the comedy gold is that you close your eyes to revolution in 21st century! 33m in the streets, world sympathy for overthrowing a “democratically elected” government, bringing down anti revolutionary “moderate” Islamic system after a year by people, an end to policy of military intervention by the western governments, lack of respect for fundamentals of democracy (parliamentary election …) and so on. Get a grip of reality. Democracy never worked! It only functioned by suppression and exploitation in different levels and different form. Now, when the whole world has been mesmerised by protests and events in various countries around the globe, when economical crisis has brought tension to hear of Europe …, you must be really behind time to speak as you do about Egypt and our analysis … stop watching James Bond movies ;) cold war is over.

          • Nick Gotts says

            No, I do not close my eyes to revolution in the 21st century. There was indeed a revolution in Egypt, which has now been betrayed and aborted.

            Democracy never worked!

            On the contrary, it has allowed billions of people the chance of a decent life, and a degree of freedom from fear of what the agents of the state might do to them. Of course, the limited democracy we have (and are in danger of losing) is not sufficient – we need to democratize economic decision-making, on a global scale, and increasingly substitute direct for representative democracy – but the answer is not to destroy what we have and substitute rule by an ideological elite manipulating a pyramid of indirect election, as the WCI clearly intends. I’m not willing to be a slave to fools like you and fascistic thugs like your party leaders, who cheer for US-backed military coups.

            Oh, and by the way, I’ve never watched a James Bond movie.

          • Reza MORADI says

            Nobody’s talking about loosing what you have! You might not have watched a 007 movie before but obviously the propaganda of “communist will take what you have” has worked well on you.
            If by what you have you mean freedoms and rights, you owe them to leftists. We wouldn’t take what we have given you!
            And you said it well ” … the limited democracy we have (and are in danger of losing) is not sufficient … ” you feel threatened by revolution, which makes sense. You support capitalism but wouldn’t mind reforming it, but exploitation and limiting freedoms is nature of “democracy” and cannot be reformed.
            I wouldn’t comment on your rudeness

          • Nick Gotts says

            I’m a socialist, you purblind idiot. Getting rid of capitalism is essential, but it must be done by extending and deepening democracy, not abolishing it as you and your fascistic friends want. Interestingly, the most prominent political tendency today which does not even pay lipservice to democracy is the salafis. In Egypt, they also supported the military coup. What a strange coincidence.

          • Reza MORADI says

            :) Again, in a military coup people hide behinds closed doors, military orders all to clear streets after dark … and dictates military rules. Do you see any of these signs in Egypt? The problem is, you don’t really understand politics and complexity of a revolution, and role of political forces in social and political changes.
            I can see why you’re frustrated; Just like the primitives who couldn’t explain earthquake and started believing in superstitious, you reach out of date theories, which do not have much to say about current world… that’s the problem with socialists like you. Have mind of your own, you’re a socialist.

          • Nick Gotts says

            Dishonest tosh. The military are in power, and you know it. They have appointed the “interim President” and his deputy, and the Prime Minister. The Deputy Prime Minister, Defence Minister and real ruler, is General al-Sisi. Scores of demonstrators have been slaughtered by the army. Hundreds have been imprisoned without trial.

            out of date theories, which do not have much to say about current world

            *chuckle*
            That, from an adherent of a Leninist Party that specialises in the worship of its leader, “comrade” Mansoor Hekmat, producer of heroic quantities of sub-Marxoid verbiage.

            Have mind of your own

            I do. Unfortunately, it’s only too clear that you don’t: you just wait to see what the party line is, then repeat it mindlessly.

          • Nick Gotts says

            Sorry, Hekmat should of course have been described as the party founder, not leader, although his worship has continued after his death. I note that that in the wake of that death, the WCI had a classic factional split, with both sides claiming to represent the true legacy of Hekmat. The idea that either faction will ever achieve anything worthwhile is risible.

  9. Kazem says

    “…If the WPI Central Committee do not even uphold the result of free elections now – it’s “bourgeois democracy” when the outcome doesn’t suit you – do you honestly expect people to believe that your organisation is fit-for-purpose in the pursuit of justice and freedom?..” Good question! Alan! for a moment forget about democracy. Do you have any respect for those 30 and something millions people who came to the streets of Egyptian cities these days and chanted “no to morsi” and brotherhood? Is there really any answer in democracy to this question? Please don’t tell me that these people have to wait 3 more years and elect another president. They apparently can’t. I oppose army’s opportunist intervention in the situation which made it much worse. But This is a big hole in democracy which fills with wars and human bloods. Same hole which allows George Bush to start a war in middle east despite the demand of millions of American and European people who didn’t want it.

    I am very interested to answer those comments you made about WPI and communism and dictatorship. But I am not good in English. I just can tell you that communists were killed twice in Europe. Once by Stalin which history says started his dictatorship by killing prominent communists and worker leaders, and another time by people like you who accept whatever is propagated on the official TVs like BBC. But truth is truth. Is there any major historic movement in the history that has not been defeated several times before being successful? Democracy which is the ruling discourse in these centuries included. You can say that communism is failed but ask yourself: Is this (the capitalism) the end of history? isn’t there a better world than this bloody one possible at all? IF yes who has the answer?

    • Nick Gotts says

      those 30 and something millions people who came to the streets of Egyptian cities – Kazem

      Who counted them and how? The only source I’ve found for this figure is an Egyptian former general.

      isn’t there a better world than this bloody one possible at all?

      Yes.

      IF yes who has the answer?

      Not you or the WCI, that’s for sure.

  10. Nick Gotts says

    Ah, the “historic advance of the Egyptian revolution” has now reached the stage of a sham referendum on a constitution that entrenches the power of the military, and draconian limits on freedom of expression and assembly; and the leader of the military coup you supported is soon to doff his uniform and get himself elected President. How proud you must be!

    • Reza MORADI says

      Are you imagining stuff? Where have we supported military or it’s leaders? … “In order to triumph, the Egyptian revolution in the end has to directly confront and defeat the backbone of the Egyptian state, i.e. the army, which apart from being a military power, is a formidable economic and political power. The magnificent Tamarrod movement and the historic demonstrations of the past few days and the removal of Morsi have placed the Egyptian revolution in a stronger position. Nevertheless, it is clear that the revolution has a winding road ahead. Apart from the army, the Islamists’ power should not be underestimated.” …

      • Nick Gotts says

        Where have we supported military or it’s leaders?

        By describing the military coup backed by the USA, and by Saudi Arabia and other absolute monarchies as a “historic advance of the Egyptian revolution” rather than the counter -revolution anyone not blinded by fuckwitted sub-Marxoid ideology would have recognised; and by lying about it being a military coup.

        When anyone can see that your ludicrous idiot sectlet came out with deluded nonsense such as:

        Last week’s events proved that Al Tahrir is the strongest and most decisive force in Egypt.

        in the immediate aftermath of the coup, it’s truly astonishing that you can expect anyone to take you seriously.

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