National Sections of the L5I:

Mubarak's counter-revolution rears its head

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The night of 2/3 of February saw savage fighting around Tahrir Square where the advanced forces of the Egyptian revolution are camped. The regime organised and launched attacks by gangs of lumpenproletarian thugs in an attempt to clear the square. So far they have failed but the next day or so will be decisive.

On the 1 February Hosni Mubarak gave his response to the unmistakable message of the Egyptian people that he must go. He made it clear that he will serve out his term. After a perfunctory statements that there would be reform he returned to his charge that the demonstrations had been causing “chaos and violence” and “violated the constitutional legitimacy.”

He went on to say that “the most painful thing is the fear that affected the huge majority of Egyptians and caused concern and anxiety over what tomorrow could bring them and their families and the future of their country.”

Yet all the foreign media the most striking things was precisely that Egyptians had lost their fear, – the fear of the dictator’s regime that tortured and beat its opponents, kept a State of Emergency in force for over fifty years and had thousands of political prisoners.

The atmosphere on 1 February everyone agreed was one of carnival and celebration with whole families, mothers with children- encouraged by the army’s pledge not to fire on them, feeling safe and secure. Those really in a state of fear and anxiety were the tyrant and his hangers on.

But on 2 February all this changed. The grimfaced Pharaoh was determined to foment the fear he talked about. Gangs of plainclothes police, recruited and paid large gangs of thugs, and prepared an attack on the main centres where demonstrators gathered - particularly Tahrir Square in Cairo.

These thugs also opened fire on the square and journalists report that four or five demonstrators have been killed and dozens more wounded.

Mubarak’s purpose is obviously to isolate and break the vanguard in Tahrir Square. He wants to terrorise the masses from coming out on the streets again. If he can seize the initiative he hopes he can then safely deploy the army to clear the streets and finally crush the movement.

As long as the movement responds by even greater mass mobilisations and a real effective general strike he can be beaten but certainly the next few days will be critical.

The pro-Mubarak gangs are the equivalents of the Black Hundreds of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917, of the Freikorps of the German revolution of 1919 and nearer to our own time of the Basaji who clubbed down the Iranian democracy protesters in 2009. These proto-fascist gangs are essential weapon the regime whose purpose is to spread chaos and disorder, intimidate the workers and youth and frighten the middle classes back into the arms of the regime.

The old dictator has proved one thing that his criminal regime will not go peacefully; it will have to be overthrown in a massive popular insurrection.

An indefinite general strike - led by the industrial and transport workers but drawing in the unemployed the small traders, the peasants must suspend the repressive operations of the state apparatus in mid air.

When it happens the ruling class will split, will abandon Mubarak, and lose all its confidence.

The seeds of this development have already been planted by the seven days of mass mobilisations, by the self defence teams and neighbourhood committees that have sprung up in many quarters, by the agitation conducted amongst the ranks file soldiers, NCOs and junior officers.

The opportunity must be created for the soldiers to side openly with the people, to help defend them against Mubarak’s thugs.

Not just the dictator but the dictatorship too must be brought crashing down - its police force must be dissolved and replaced by a popular militia. Those who attacked, murdered and injured the people and those who ordered it must be seized and held for popular justice. Those still in jails for political offences must be released.

The rank and file soldiers must take over command, forming committees and electing their own officers.

But above all the workers and the population of the popular districts must elect councils of recallable delegates – like the soviets of the Russian revolution.

A revolution that does not go forward can rapidly slip backwards. We must not forget the grim warning of the French revolutionary St Just, “Those who make revolutions half way only dig their own graves..”

The most urgent tasks of the days ahead are to defeat Mubarak and Suleiman’s counterrevolutionary offensive:

- to hold the streets and the squares with massive mobilisations, and hold meetings to formulate the people’s key demands, so that no one can usurp the right to speak for them;

- to consolidate a militia to defend the people and defeat Mubarak’s black hundreds and to win over the soldiers;

- to make the general strike massive and indefinite till Mubarak and the government falls;

- to elect councils of delegates from workers, youth, the poor, in every city district, every town, every village.

These steps will to make the revolution invincible, establish real order and provide the basis for the working people of Egypt to come to power.

Last but not least the militant youth, the activists of the unions, the socialist groups urgently need to unite their forces to create a working class revolutionary party on the Bolshevik model.

Spontaneity - the new social media – vital as they have proved in the early stages of the Tunisian and Egyptian Intifadas are insufficient to organise the completion of a revolution: a mass popular insurrection.

To do this necessitates a national network of fighters able to communicate by illegal means, with roots in the factories and workplaces, who know from their action programme what to do when communications are severed, what tactics to use, what objectives to fight for.

This party must be based on a strategy of destroying the old regime utterly, fulfilling all the immediate democratic and socio-economic aspirations of the people and moving on to fight for a socialist solution to the needs of the masses - bring to power a revolutionary workers and peasants government.