U.S. rulers are pushing two big lies about dictator Mubarak’s ouster and the mass protests that forced it. First, Obama and the bosses’ media try to mislead workers into thinking that large numbers of unarmed protesters demanding elections can produce a “revolution” against fascist oppression. But an election installing another group of pro-capitalist politicians is not a revolution, which only results from a fundamental change in class rule. It occurs when the oppressed working class overthrows the oppressor capitalist class and its state.
Secondly, elite analysts offer capitalist audiences groundless reassurances of Egyptian “stability.” The pundits say — while ignoring workers’ fight-backs — that continuing military control there means business as usual in the greater Middle East, the oil-rich cornerstone of U.S. imperialism. Both falsehoods hold grave consequences for workers.
Mass Murderer Obama, Rulers’ Media Praise Peaceful Protest, Steer Workers Down Political Dead-End
Just after Mubarak fled, hypocrite-in-chief Obama, dripping with the blood of workers from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan, compared protesters in Egypt to Ghandi’s and Martin Luther King’s movements. “In Egypt,” said Obama, “it was the moral force of nonviolence, not terrorism, not mindless killing, but nonviolence, moral force that bent the arc of history toward justice once more.” News broadcasts depicted crowds in Tahir Square exulting in “newfound freedom” and then dutifully tidying up afterwards.
There was almost a total blackout on strikes and mass violence against the police and government (see front-page article). Many of these strikes are continuing.
But Obama & Co. deliberately distort history. Whenever workers have significantly “bent the arc” of capitalist misery, it’s been through mass strikes and violent rebellions, not pacifism. King’s “turn-the-other-cheek” stance didn’t rid the U.S. of racism. Black rebellions in scores of cities across the U.S. that fought the military, not non-violence, won jobs for black workers in the basic industries. The “illegal” strike and rebellion of black Memphis sanitation workers, not King’s pacifism (he fled the city when workers marched) was the crucial factor in whatever was won. The communist-led sit-down strikes and mass movement of the unemployed in the U.S. that also fought the military in the Great Depression are what won the 8-hour day and unemployment insurance.
In India today, the working-class grandchildren of Gandhi’s pacifist followers are among the most exploited, poverty-stricken workers on the planet. Progress for the working class comes only with militant strikes and violent rebellions.
Lasting Change Requires Armed Revolution
But as long as capitalism is in control, even these advances are ground down by the inherent workings of the profit system. Only armed revolution of millions of workers led by a communist party can bring lasting change. It is just such a party that is missing in Egypt and Tunisia today.
The greatest working-class triumphs of the 20th Century were the revolutions in Russia and China. In the name of communism, armies of workers overthrew their capitalist exploiters. In both countries, our class made huge strides in every conceivable living standard and became the main force in smashing the Nazis and Japanese fascists.
Unfortunately, however, the Russian and Chinese parties practiced socialism which retained toxic capitalist elements, like nationalism — “sharing” power (in China) with local bosses — and a wage system (in both countries) which produced differentials among workers and an elite class of managers and cultural professionals. All this led eventually to complete restoration of the profit system in both countries.
However, Cairo’s demonstrators, lacking working-class consciousness, did not aim to overthrow the system that leaves half the working class jobless amid skyrocketing food prices and resulting profits. Stratfor, an outfit that “provides strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs,” noted (2/11/2011) that, “The end of President Hosni Mubarak’s reign over Egypt is more of a military succession than a popular revolution.” The military has just announced a ban on all union meetings and strikes.
As of this writing, power rests with General Omar Suleiman. “Head of the country’s feared security agency, Suleiman, was nicknamed the CIA’s man in Cairo,” reports the Brisbane, Australia Times (2/13/2011), “because of his close relationship with the U.S. on its so-called extraordinary rendition program — kidnapping suspected terrorists and taking them to a third country for interrogation and torture.”
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), U.S. rulers’ top Rockefeller-funded foreign policy factory, comforted its business-class readers with an article titled, “Mubarakism Without Mubarak.” It said events in Egypt were “the culmination of the slow-motion coup and the return of the somewhat austere military authoritarianism of decades past.” (CFR website, 2/11/2011).
On one hand, the CFR warned of potential future uprisings in Egypt. But its main thrust was that Egyptian fascists, who have served U.S. imperialism so well since the 1979 Egypt-Israel treaty, remain in power and should continue to get their yearly $1.5-$2 billion in U.S. aid.
No Egypt Victory for U.S. Imperialism; Pressure for Wider Wars Intensifies
But, while U.S. rulers’ media congratulate Obama for skillful bullet-dodging in the Mubarak affair, there are still plenty of loaded guns aimed at U.S. imperialism. A big one may very well be in Egypt itself, which (presumably) must now hold elections. The nation’s best organized political group is the pro-Iran, anti-U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. (Such elections produced anti-U.S. exploiter-leaders in Gaza and Lebanon.)
Washington’s best hope in Egypt is probable candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, who, though born in Egypt, hasn’t lived there for years, and thus has scant popular backing. His service to the U.S. empire as the UN’s nuclear watchdog lies in exposing Iran’s weapon program while stalling an Israeli attack on it, for which the U.S. is presently ill-prepared.
For this, ElBaradei won a Nobel “Peace” Prize from a Norwegian government committee, dominated by a major oil company (Statoil) active worldwide and a highly-modern military allied staunchly to the U.S.
However, as Anthony Cordesman, a major strategist for the U.S. war machine at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes:
“Whatever new government comes to power has less than a 50 percent chance of surviving for two years…. This…poses a long-term challenge for the U.S. that goes far beyond who in the military has power in the first phase of change following Mubarak’s departure. Egypt controls a critical global trade route in the Suez Canal. The security of the Canal and its pipeline has a major impact on energy prices and the world economy. Egypt is key to the Arab-Israeli peace and stability in the region, U.S. military overflights and staging, and the struggle against extremism. In short, Egypt is a vital U.S. national security interest — in fact, a far more vital interest than Afghanistan or Pakistan.”
Capitalism Cannot Solve Workers’ Problems
Coming from Cordesman — who, as General McChrystal’s advisor, got Obama to vastly increase Afghanistan-Pakistan death squads and drone terror attacks — this last sentence declares Egypt a U.S. war zone. But an even larger danger of war, which the rulers hesitate to mention, lies just across the Red Sea. “A revolt in Saudi Arabia…is looking increasingly possible given the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt.” (Boston Globe, 2/13/2011)
Capitalism cannot solve the problems of the workers in Egypt, of mass unemployment (intrinsic to the profit system) and raging price increases. Only a movement like our Party’s can lead to a real revolution that smashes the capitalist state and system and puts the working class in power. The kind of anti-racist, pro-working-class struggles reported in CHALLENGE of U.S. students, parents and teachers, of transit and hospital workers, of rebels in Haiti, of garment workers in Pakistan and Bangladesh, of teachers in Mexico — in which the PLP is being built — is the path to follow.
Exxon Man Gives Mubarak His Marching Orders
Frank Wisner, Jr., Obama’s emissary-extraordinary to Cairo in the Mubarak mess, sports sterling imperialist credentials. Retired as a lifelong diplomat, Wisner now works for the Washington law firm Patton Boggs, which counts Exxon Mobil as its biggest client. Patton Boggs, by dragging out the Exxon Valdez case for decades, has made a mockery of legal judgments against the company.
Wisner’s father, a founding spook of the CIA, helped engineer the 1952 CIA coup that installed the murderous pro-U.S. shah as Iran’s dictator.
The recent official White House version says Wisner urged Mubarak to stay on. But facts are more stubborn than press releases. Actually, reports the Washington Post (2/1/11), Wisner visited Mubarak in late January, “When it was time to give Egypt’s embattled leader a gentle nudge….Within 24 hours of Wisner’s private chat with the Egyptian president, Mubarak had announced on state television that he would step down at the end of his current term.” Mubarak held out for a week or so, threw a last-ditch tantrum, but then did the Exxon-CIA man’s bidding and resigned.