Egypt’s Crisis Goes On: Power Struggles at the Top Whilst Those at the Bottom Die of Hunger and Poverty

Tahrir Square has exploded once again. Millions of protesters took to the streets of the main cities of Egypt. President Morsi has been deposed, arrested and is under surveillance in the "office" of the Republican Guard. An interim president Mansoor Adli, former President of the Constitutional Court, has taken his place, and the Constitution has been suspended. A caretaker government is supposed to come into existence to revise the constitution and prepare the ground for the next election to be held within a year, while the Army continues to be the pivot of Egyptian public life. Just as It was in Mubarak’s time, as it has been under the management of the brief Morsi government, as it still is for domestic and international stability in this delicate phase of the crisis. It’s no coincidence that the new strong man is the Minister of Defence, General Al Zizi who dominates the post-Morsi political stage.

Why all this? Why is Egypt still hanging on the tail of the so-called Arab Spring? First of all it must be said that the severe economic crisis, which was the basis of the original demonstrations against Mubarak, not only has not been resolved, but has got dramatically worse, affecting almost all social strata. In two years, Egypt, from an economic point of view, has taken ten steps backwards. In a country where the majority of the population lives in conditions of semi-poverty, official unemployment has reached 40% and pauperisation seems to be an unstoppable process, it is completely understandable why social unrest simmers under the ashes, ready to take to the streets at the first opportunity.

The opportunity was provided by the disappointment with the Morsi Government, of his party in power and, more generally, of the Muslim Brotherhood which had preached so much about democracy and equality that he was swept to power in the elections a year ago. Morsi has not only ignored those expectations, but, with his fundamentalist clique, continued the old tradition of dictatorial power based on force, coercion and corruption. Nothing had changed from the old and much-maligned regime, except for the worsening of the economic crisis and the religious repackaging of power as usual.

The combination of these two factors was the basis of the new demonstrations against the Morsi government and also by those who, with no lesser political intensity, support him although it has to be said in much smaller in numbers, as the events of Friday 5 July demonstrated. This has given the impression to both domestic and international political observers that if some "demiurge" had not intervened in time, civil war would have violently erupted, Egypt would have entered into a serious political crisis, and with it the entire region, questioning the already difficult balance between the Arab world and Israel, between the European Union and the United States, not to mention the price of oil and the shifting international speculation over oil revenues.

The "demiurge" has had to come into action to forestall the crisis, safeguard the economic interests of big business and take control of the political situation before the anger on the streets goes too far. The army demiurge has completed its task. It has made the Government fall, arrested Morsi, promised new elections within 9 months and in the meantime has assumed, in the shape of General Al Zizi, true command of operations. All in accordance with the programme of preserving the system and selling it to the masses. However, in this respect there are a few observations to make. The first is that the army was careful not to intervene in the streets with force. It has used the carrot while the stick has been brought out only to hit Morsi, a blow that was enough to get rid of the old government without the public at home or abroad crying "coup", even if that is what it is. This stick has since been further used on the supporters of Morsi who have taken to the streets to vindicate the legitimacy of their leader. The second is that the use of the velvet glove on the streets and preparation for a very soft coup, were "advised" by the Obama administration, which pretty much directed operations via telephone even as it recommended maximum caution. Let’s not be fooled by Obama’s subsequent declarations “calling for a return to democratic normality as quickly as possible” because that’s just part of the usual game in these cases. Morsi’s Islamist government has never suited the White House.

The American interest has a threefold purpose. Prevent a new crisis from detaching Egypt from American plans for the Middle East, or rather to ensure that the relationship with Israel is unaffected by leaving things as they are. Reconnect the threads which have always linked American governments with the Egyptian army, the only strong structure, in political and economic terms, which can be related to for finding of any kind of internal solution. Use the weapon of blackmail ($1.3bn arrive annually in the coffers of the army that was Mubarak’s, Tantawi’s and now Al Zizi’s) to influence policies and modus operandi. In terms of the latter point there is also Obama’s wish to propose Mohammed el Baradei, current head of the secular opposition, as a future candidate for the Egyptian presidency. Obama could not play that little game two years ago, when the situation in Tahrir square was politically out of hand and brought about the Islamist government and caused some concern in the White House, even though it claimed it would not tear up the agreements with Israel and would continue to be a staunch ally of the U.S.

In conclusion, for the moment, millions of desperate Egyptians who have taken to the streets have allowed a game to be played that is passing over their heads. On the one hand it has provided a pretext for the army to regain power. The removal of Morsi is a political sop to U.S. imperialism which allows it to regain its role, image and acceptance in an area where until recently it would have been rejected as a foreign body. What is even more disconcerting is that the announcement of Morsi’s overthrow and the army coup have been celebrated in the square as if they were a victory and not as yet another defeat. But as long as there is no revolutionary party in such situations, a party with a political programme that has a social and economic alternative to capitalism, as long as no-one tries to break the cords that bind the masses to the laws of capital and its political trappings, no matter if these are dressed in secular rather than religious robes, anything is possible, but always essentially within the same set-up. This is the risk, or rather it is a certainty. Down with Mubarak, up Tantawi. Down with Tantawi up Morsi. Up a secular government, then a religious one, then another secular one. Meanwhile, the crisis of capitalism remains; capitalism itself is not questioned. Egyptian workers are becoming more and more impoverished and unemployed yet the army remains in command of operations which, in this case, also follow a straight line which is always that of American imperialism.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


Dear comrades

This is, as to my observation, the first and very prompt Analysis of the overwhelming events of last week in Egypt - the "soft" military regain of power of July 3rd, that is published by one of the groups of the traditional internationalist communist Left.

I find it a very clear text.

Of particular importance I consider that the situation in Egypt is not solely treated at the level of the internal social contradictions and conflicts (the mass movement), but that the international framework of imperialist rivalries - and in particular the interests and role of the US in the region is addresssed.

This gives in my view a correct and neccessary perspective on what has been unfolding, which is of consequences that have yet to be grasped.

For an interesting coverage (and some analysis as well) on the unfolding of events at the level of the struggles in Egypt, I find very interesting to read what is published on :" Solidarité Ouvrière" related to the ICO (Hekmatist). Website: (it is in French).

They seem very close to the positions of the communist left at the level of understanding, but ... somewhat "leftist" in their approach or praxis.

Communist Greetings,