Egypt in flames
A powerful wave of anger among the poor and unemployed Arab masses shakes the young, voracious and brutal capitalism of the North African and Middle Eastern countries supported by the old and bloody capitalism in Europe and America.
Anticipation of a social wave that can only be resolved in favor of the vast majority of the population by the emergence of the proletarian class.
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 7; Summer 2011)
For 5 days the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and many other Egyptian cities have witnessed a great wave of anger among the masses who can no longer bear to live in unemployment, poverty and hunger: after Tunisia and Algeria now its Egypt’s turn.
The media in the opulent western world, which can now no longer hide the brutal police repression, focus all their information on the “lack of reforms” and the absence of “true democracy”! It was not until the masses, defying the crackdown, unleashed their anger by attacking government buildings, burning what they could, hurling rocks, knocking out tanks, groups fighting in a melee against policemen, defying the curfew and the gunfire of the forces of repression, forcing the media to recognize that these hireling regimes, protected and armed by the Western democracies and principally the United States; have maintained order and social control by a systematic and generalized police violence; that they have arrested, tortured and hounded any opposition underground using any and all means in order to have their hands free and in a few odd years to accumulate enormous richesses for their clans – and their foreign godfathers.
The timid requests made by Obama, Merkel, Sarkozy and Co. to the Mubarak regime (and previously with that of Ben Ali) for urgent concessions in order to respond to the most urgent demands of the masses (bread and jobs, essentially) show the extent to which the imperialists were surprised by the wave of riots that spread throughout the countries of the Maghreb and the Middle East.
Have the western democracies suddenly begun to concern themselves about the misery which the proletarians and the agricultural toiling masses of these countries have experienced for years?
Not at all! In countries where capitalism is developing in the only way possible, given the ruthless imperialist competition that imposes an economic social and military oppression on all the world’s populations – let’s not mince words – the most savage and brutal history has known, in countries where the capitalist mode of production claimed to bring welfare and civilization, there is no other prospect for the masses that exploitation, repression, poverty and hunger. These regimes like Egypt or Tunisia which have crushed their people down and who now receive in return a very small fraction of the violence inflicted on the masses have throughout this period been strategic outposts of the imperialist “democratic” powers that dominate the world.
Faced with the overwhelming explosion off anger among the disinherited Arab masses Washington, Berlin, Paris, Rome, London and Brussels, address to Cairo as they did yesterday to Tunis and Algiers the counsel that they should permit freedom of expression, carry out reforms, stop the repression…. Empty words that only serve to make people believe that more “democracy”, less corruption and less brutality by the authorities, would improve the situation of the masses. Western leaders know from experience that the thousand cards in the deck of “democracy” can be played in different scenarios to divert the struggles of the masses towards objectives that do not challenge capitalism, but limit themselves to changes in government. It is no coincidence that in the demonstrations the various opposition parties put forward the demand, “Ben Ali Must Leave!”, “Mubarak Get out!” They just want to take advantage of the riots to replace the Ben Ali and Mubarak clans in the governments of these countries.
What will change fundamentally for the masses? Nothing.
With only a little more freedom of expression and freer elections, it will be the continuation of the brutal exploitation of the proletarianized masses which capitalism inflicts everywhere on the planet, but with the added aggravation of an imperialist oppression, which fills the strong-boxes of the American and European bourgeoisies and allows them to buy the complicity of the reformist organizations controlling their own proletarians!
The riots which today shake the Arab world prefigure tensions and riots in Europe: the Mediterranean, mare nostrum of the ancient Romans, could be transformed into a lake of fire setting aflame the Old Continent because the economic crisis which shook the Western economies and of which the delayed but inexorable consequences fall upon the countries of the periphery, can be surmounted by capitalism only by further oppressing the proletarian masses of the world.
By their rioting in recent weeks, the North African, Middle Eastern and Albanian proletarians cry out to the world that capitalism is not able to meet the elementary requirements of the masses and that this intolerable situation must change. The proletarians of Europe and America regard these revolts with surprise, anxious but also pleased with revolts which put to flight these blood-thirsty governments. The proletarians of the richest countries on the planet, who are also experiencing a continuous deterioration of their living and working conditions, do not have the power to revolt in the same way. They have been educated in the respect of “democratic legality”, they have been poisoned for decades by the myth of a democracy which they see every day is impotent to solve their day to day problems, but from which they are not able to free themselves to give expression to the revolt that any slave inevitably feels.
However, the proletarians of the old capitalist countries have a history of class struggles, revolutionary struggles not only against the old feudal regimes, but also against capitalism. It is this history that they can and must reclaim if they are not to remain forever subjugated to their imperialist bourgeoisie, they must rediscover the lessons of the glorious history of class struggles of the past and the real social revolutions that have made all the imperialist powers tremble in fear!
If the proletarians of the Maghreb and the Middle East which have risen up against their regimes, allow themselves to be channeled onto the path of democracy and into the allegedly not faked elections – which is where the opposition parties are directing them – they will not succeed in finding a perspective for their class, they will not succeed in emancipating themselves from the exploitation and oppression which condemns them to poverty today and tomorrow will transform them into cannon fodder, as has already been the case in the numerous wars that have already drenched the region in blood. The nationalisms which various Arab States have cultivated among the masses to defend the interests of castes and bourgeois factions allied with this or that imperialism, are the other side of the coin, which accords perfectly, if the need is felt for any supplementary “social link”, with religious fundamentalism, as demonstrated by the Ayatollahs in Iran and Zionism in Israel.
The proletarian masses which today express their anger away and apart from any religious instrumentalisation will not long be able to remain in this situation. Even when the bourgeois regimes go through a grave political crisis as is the case in Egypt and Tunisia (and tomorrow perhaps in Morocco, in Jordan, in Libya or elsewhere), in the absence of the class party, armed with the revolutionary communist program and determined to prepare the proletarians for the future anticapitalist revolution, the masses can be “neutralized” thanks to the always effective action of democracy, and – if it is necessary – in recourse to an alternative of the Islamic type...
Actually the proletarians are faced with three possibilities: to fall back into silence as before the revolt, with some freedom of expression and organization permitted by a new legality imposed by new bourgeois fractions with the agreement of imperialism; or to be represented by some forms of Islamist parties, which through their denunciation of corruption and immorality, succeed in capturing the disgust of the masses against the current leadership, or to take the path of class organization for the defense without compromise of their immediate interests with a view to overthrowing bourgeois society plunged into the commodification of all existing social and human relations.
This path of class struggle is undoubtedly the most difficult; and it seems most distant because bourgeois society in the competition of one against another drives each individual to only see themself, to think only of their personal needs (or those of their family) over those of their neighbors. But the proletariat is a class based on particular productive and social relations: they are the class which the capitalists must exploit to get their profits and it is the material condition of wage-earning labor power which makes the proletariat a class in which individuals have the same interests and feel the need to unite to defend them; it is this material pressure, this movement of defense that gives birth to solidarity and the consciousness of possessing a force that does not limit itself to outbursts of anger, but can be organized to arrange for a future that is no longer that of eternal exploitation by capitalism!
The European proletarians, for their part, have everything to lose if they just sit and watch passively at what’s happening on the other side of the Mediterranean; the revolt of the proletariat and the poor masses of Africa and the Middle East are of the most acute interest to them: it is their class brothers who revolt, driven by hunger and poverty, and if repression triumphs some of them will seek opportunities in Europe that offer more in life than where they come from, as has been happening for decades – new proof that the proletarian condition is the same everywhere. Capitalism can only use these new entrants to increase competition among workers, which is why the revolt of the masses is also directly relevant to European proletarians of the Mediterranean. The workers are the only ones who have nothing to fear from these riots, who have nothing to fear if the fire touches the European metropoles. They are the only ones because they are part of the same class of wage laborers, exploited by capitals belonging to networks of interests that bind the bourgeoisies one to the others, and must be fought everywhere.
But to be effective, this struggle must overcome the myths of a “democracy” and a “legalism” that every bourgeois, every capitalist, under pressure from the street, is ready to demand against the other now-hated and discredited bourgeois, then when calm returns and the dust has settled to trample them underfoot without the least scruple!
The revolts which have succeeded one another in the Arab countries give a lesson for proletarian struggle: the way forward for the workers on both shores of the Mediterranean as in all countries of the world, is the path of class struggle, the struggle in which the proletariat rises not in defense of bourgeois democratic lies, but of their own class interests, which also represent the future of human society because they imply the end of the capitalist mode of production and therefore of all the social, political economic and military oppression characteristic of bourgeois society.
January 30, 2011
International Communist Party