Radical media, politics and culture.

The Egyptian Masses Rise Up Again to Complete Their Revolution!

Egypt, since the fall of Mubarak in February, has been run by a military
junta, the SCAF, which has left untouched the basic structures of the
dictatorship. Protests and strikes have been met with extraordinary
violence, unions have faced draconian laws to make impossible any
action, torture has been widely practised, and there has been selective
repression against revolutionary militants in the social movements.
12,000 people have faced military courts during this
counter-revolutionary crackdown against the living forces and demands
that mobilised the Egyptian people on the 25th January unfinished
revolution. All of this is happening while they have been stimulating
sectarian conflict between Christians and Muslims, in order to divert
attention from the real problems of the Egyptian people. On Friday, the
masses took over to Tahrir again, demanding for the SCAF to step down,
in the middle of exceptional measures being decreed to reinforce its
powers. All of the political spectrum, but significantly the Muslim
Brothers (that have been very quiet since they have a number of secret
agreements with the SCAF), came out that day because elections are
programmed for November 28th and they fear that whatever the result, the
real power will be hijacked by the “Field Marshal” Tantawi, head of the
SCAF. The SCAF, indeed, had passed a decree giving to the military veto
over the Constitution to be drafted by the new parliament to be elected
in a week.

This Friday protest made all of the international media to talk about
clashes between the Muslim Brothers and the SCAF. But the actual clashes
started on Saturday, when a group of 200 diehard Tahrir revolutionaries
were brutally attacked by the police. That was the spark that ignited
these protests that have seen hundreds of thousands, if not millions of
people, take over the streets again. These current clashes have nothing
to do with political Islam which again, as on January 25th, has not been
a main actor in the protest. This is a protest lead by the same people
that lead the January revolution, who now realize the real
counter-revolutionary nature of the army, ill-disguised in a
“nationalist” aura.

At this very minute, there is street fighting in all of the major cities
of Egypt, particularly in Cairo, Port Said, Alexandria and Suez. In
Southern Egypt there are numerous demonstrations and clashes with the
repressive apparatus of the SCAF have also been reported. Police
stations have been attacked and barricades have been built in most
important roads and streets. Repression has been fierce: at least 6
people have died until now and over 1,000 are seriously injured by the
military and the hated Central Security Forces, the backbone of the
Mubarak repressive forces. Protesters at Tahrir were evicted some hours
ago with gruesome force, with the use of armoured vehicles, suffocating
gas (kindly provided by Obama to the SCAF) and shots of rubber bullets
and live ammunition –in scenes reminiscent of the Maspero Street
massacre in October (See http://anarkismo.net/article/20723). At this
minute (23:30), the protesters have managed to recover once again Tahrir
for the people and for the revolution. The rallying cry for the people
is “down with the SCAF, down with Tantawi”.

At 12pm we had the chance to talk with comrade Yasser Abdullah from the
Egyptian Libertarian Socialist Movement who explained to us what is
happening in Cairo. His first hand testimony of the events in Cairo are
a living proof that the revolutionary spirit is alive and well, and that
the coming days will be crucial for the Arab revolts. All forms of
solidarity are needed for our libertarian comrades moving forward with
the Egyptian people towards liberation.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
20th November, 2011

1. What is happening in Tahrir Square for the last couple of days? Who
was protesting and what was the cause of the struggle?

Few days before Friday (18th November), a number of relatives of
Revolution's victims and martyrs started a sit-in in Tahrir demanding
their rights. For ten months now after Mubarak stepped down, none of
those accused of killing and shooting people during the uprising has
been sent to jail. Also, last July the SCAF (ie., the military junta)
created a fund of 200 million Egyptian Pounds (about €25 million) called
“the Fund of the Revolution's Casualties and Martyrs” in order to
compensate them and their families, but this was nothing but propaganda:
the SCAF and the Sharaf's Government gave some of the victims jobs as
garbage collectors, literally speaking, so the victims felt humiliated,
that insult had been added to injury, so they started a sit-in for a
respectable solution. On Friday, it has also been planned a “Million
People” march calling for an end to the military rule and the interim
civil authority before April 2012. After the march, the sit-in
continued, and another march broke, called by the Islamist parties -who
are against the sit-in and are trying to do their best in order to win
the next elections scheduled for November 28th.

So the sit-in was left alone with just a few dozen people; on Saturday
19th, at 11 am the Central Security Forces (CS, civil police) started an
attack on the sit-in. There were around 200 protesters, who fought back
the CS. After that, the CS started to use tear gas and they drove their
armoured car on the protestors, running some over. Then some other
protesters joined them to defend Tahrir square, and that's how it all
began. The CS attacked Tahrir, we fought them back, they took Tahrir for
only half an hour, then we reclaimed it back and occupy it… now,
November 20th at 12 p.m, there are ongoing clashes between protesters
against both CS forces and Military police disguised as civil police.

2. The Muslim Brothers until recently had been allied with the
transition authorities... why are they clashing now with the police as
reported by the international media?

After the referendum for the Constitutional Amendment on March 19th, the
Muslim Brotherhood and all other Islamist forces, mainly the Salafis,
allied themselves with the SCAF. On March 20th a Salafi sheikh stated
that the ballot box said "yes to Islam"… they did not see the referendum
as being merely on amendments but actually on Islam, whose spirit they
saw reflected in people’s opinions as they voted. They reclaimed that
most voters were for them because they represent Islam, and acted as if
it was a referendum on them. From March onwards the Islamist stood
against any direct action against the SCAF, for they thought they would
get the power on the next elections, so they had to compromise with the
military junta… but now they feel that the SCAF has bluffed on them,
using their influence only to consolidate their own power. Actually, the
junta and the Islamists are quarrelling brethren, they can shout at each
other’s faces but they will not fight really. The ongoing clashes have
nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamist parties,
or even any other parties whatever its denomination. The majority of
parties now are aiming at parliament not at revolution. Only one leftist
coalition announced they're thinking of boycotting the next elections,
all other parties are putting all of their main attention on the next
elections and they did not to join the Tahrir occupation. In Tahrir now
are standing only the main revolutionary forces and the unorganised
youth who are ready to fight back for their rights, in defence of the
revolution. The political parties are all looking for compromise with
the junta, trying to win the next elections to take power by an
agreement with the SCAF… so to say that the ongoing clashes are by the
Muslim Brotherhood or any other organised political force is nothing
more than a big lie circulated by the main stream media.

3. Is there any potential for the popular movement in these protests? Do
you think the military will consolidate its power or that there will be
a renewed revolutionary wave?

The potential for the popular movement now is very high… on November
19th I felt taken back to January 25th, the main chants now are "down
with the military rule" and "people demand the removal of the regime".
There were clashes also in Alexandria and Suez. The casualties until now
(12 pm) are 1 dead in Cairo and 2 dead in Alexandria… today there are
plans for a day of action against the SCAF, all over Egypt. This action
is not being planned by any of the political parties, what is a positive
thing, for after ten months of revolution the people now realize that
their power lays in a leaderless and collective movement, they're
realising now that all of the political parties are traitors trying only
to gain some parliament seats. I don't think the junta can consolidate
their power… they're now in big trouble, on the one hand, their allies
are demanding that they transfer their authority in the elections, and
on the other hand, the protesters are in revolt on the streets to
continue with the revolution. I think the next days will be witness to
all forms of action against the SCAF.