A reply to the criticism of the WIVP and the LCC on the meaning of the Military’s Coup d'État and the slogan of the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly
By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 17.7.2013, www.thecommunists.net
The military’s coup d’état, whose purpose was to halt the revolutionary wave in Egypt, is a central issue of the present conjuncture of the Arab Revolution. Unsurprisingly it has provoked a series of controversies and debates and has led to confusion amongst a number of progressive organizations and activists. In fact most of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia and the left in Egypt praise the ruling class’ army command. (1) We have already dealt with the treacherous positions of the reformist Communist Party of Egypt who openly welcomed the coup d’état. We also criticized the centrist Revolutionary Socialists in Egypt (affiliated to the British SWP as well as the US-American ISO, both in the tradition of Tony Cliff) who downplay the danger of the coup d’état and jumped from welcoming Mursi’s electoral victory one year ago to a popular front with the pro-imperialist liberals like ElBaradei. (2)
The RCIT’s analysis and programmatic response has however also provoked a discussion amongst serious Marxist forces. The South African Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVP) has published a statement on the events in Egypt in which they criticize the RCIT’s application of the slogan of the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. (3) The Liaison Committee of Communists (LCC, with groups in New Zealand, USA; Zimbabwe) in its declaration on Egypt expressed its agreement with the WIVP criticism on the RCIT and went even further to reject our assessment that a military coup d’état has happened at all. (4)
We think that the comrades both of the WIVP as well as of the LCC are mistaken on these issues. In the following article we will elaborate our arguments in defense of the RCIT’s line on the present phase of the Egypt Revolution.
To deny the military’s coup d’état is to deny reality
Let us start with the question if a military coup d’état has happened or not. This seems a bizarre question but unfortunately it is not only the Egyptian Stalinists and right-wing centrists like the RS or the IMT of Alan Woods who deny the fact of a military coup d’état but also the LCC comrades. (5)
Such the comrades wrote: “The masses put a stop to this regime. Leftists who are fixated on BBC reports and subsequent talking heads’ buzz of a military coup don’t realize who has been in power continuously but uninterruptedly since 1952. And they do not realize that the Army acted to remove Mursi by force after he had already been de facto removed by the resignations of his cabinet ministers. This distinction between coup d’etat myth and mass action reality matters because some on the left buy the story that a “democracy” has been suppressed. (…) What coup, we ask…? Coup d’etat? Who did they think was in power all this time?! Certainly not some MB “democracy!”
This critique of the RCIT’s position is totally wrong. First it was a military coup d’état by all meaningful criteria. The army put first an ultimatum to the Mursi government on 1st July and then overthrew it 48 hours later. Since then soldiers are on the streets en masse to suppress any resistance. It closed several TV stations and arrested the president, its advisors and 300 leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood respectively put them on the wanted list. It massacred 54 Brotherhood supporters and wounded hundreds in a single incident on 8th July when the Brotherhood staged a sit-in in front of the Republican Guard’s headquarters. The army command suspended the constitution and imposed a new provisional constitution. It imposed a new president, vice-president as well as a new government. By any meaningful standards this is a military coup d’etat and not a “coup d’etat myth”!
We ask: If “the masses put a stop to this regime” and if “Mursi had already been de facto removed by the resignations of his cabinet ministers”, why was it then necessary for the army command to deploy its troops on the streets and kill, wound and arrest hundreds of people?!
The comrades write that talking about a military coup means not to realize that the army “has been in power continuously but uninterruptedly since 1952”. While it is certainly true that the army always had a central bonapartist role in the Egyptian state since 1952 it is impossible to deny that an important change took place in 2011. After the first stage of the revolution in January 2011, the army lost some of its power. Now, with the coup d’état they got some power back. If one ignores this and sees just one and the same “uninterrupted” rule of the military, any talk about the “Egypt Revolution” becomes meaningless. Nothing would have changed between 1952 and 2013. Of course, the LCC comrades know that there is a revolutionary process since early 2011. But why do they then downplay the importance of the army’s intervention in the class struggle?!
The military’s coup d’état has shifted the balance of power towards the pro-US-American bourgeoisie and its army command
The comrades refuse to understand that the military’s coup d’état shifted the balance of power towards the feloul (remnants of the old Mubarak regime) and the openly pro-Western imperialist forces amongst the ruling class and not towards the working class and the oppressed. They completely ignore this aspect despite the obvious evidence.
As we already stated in our past declarations the Egypt army itself is in close relations with the US forces and financially dependent on them. The new interim president, Supreme Court judge Adly Mansur, as well as vice president ElBaradei are liberal, pro-Western figures. The new interim Prime Minister Hazem Al-Beblawi, First Deputy Prime Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (he is also the army chief and Minister of Defence, the real strong man of the new regime) and Deputy Prime Minister Bahaa El-Din (who served under Mubarak as Chairman of the Egyptian Supervisory Authority in 2009 and Chairman of the Egyptian General Authority for Investment and Free Zones form 2004-2007) are other pro-Western figures. (6)
Expressing its reactionary goals, the military even announced that Mubarak-era attorney-general Abdel Maguid Mahmoud had been reinstated by the judiciary. (Amid many protests, he however immediately announced his resignation.) All these figures don’t represent in any way a progress in the revolutionary process. They have been put in power because the ruling class and the US administration hope that it will implement the imperialist’s austerity program and at the same time to channel and suppress the mass protests.
The new military-imposed regime already showed its true color by announcing a decree which gives the interim president broad legislative powers to “take all necessary measures and actions to protect the country” which means he has unrestricted power. The petty-bourgeoisie Tamarod movement, whose spokesman Mohammed Badr shamefully was among the 14 people who joined Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on the stage when he announced the coup d’état, already broke with the new government because of this decree. It rightly criticizes the decree “as a reversion to practices under President Hosni Mubarak”. The movement said that the decree means that the interim president has “absolute and unrestricted power.” It also observed: “This is an obvious theft of the revolution, taking us back to Jan. 25, 2011”. In addition, despite all the rhetoric of a danger of theocratic rule by Mursi, the army’s decree itself refers to the Shariah law. (7)
The USA and the European Union have discreetly approved the coup d’état. The Obama administration proved their support by denying it was a coup d’état so that it continues to send its $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid to Egypt (which it would not be allowed by law if it would officially designate the military’s coup d’état as such). As we already quoted in our statement from 8th July, the Wall Street Journal, a central mouthpiece of US imperialism, openly supports the military’s coup d’état and calls it to follow the road of Pinochet. (8)
In addition, shortly after the coup d’état Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates did already give the new government loans totaling $12bn. (9) But Hasan Tariq Al-Hasan, a Bahrain-based political analyst, commented: “Gulf leaders’ show of support to army chief El-Sisi illustrate the extent of relief in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE at the ouster of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, whom they perceived as dangerously close to Iran and to their own domestic opposition groups”. (10)
As we already referred to in a past article, Al Jazeera has demonstrated with a number of secret documents that the US administration has planned and supported the coup d’état. (11) The New York Times reported that US imperialism pressurized Mursi to resign. (12)
The Palestinians are worse off after the coup than they were already before. Already the reactionary Mursi regime started to destroy tunnels to Gaza. However the new military-imposed regime goes even further and has closed completely the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza since the 3rd July. Worse, they are now deporting Palestinians trying to return to Gaza via Cairo, sending them back to the countries they flew in from! (13)
Not surprisingly, Israel welcomes the coup d’état. Tzachi Hanegbi, Israeli Likud Knesset member and advisor for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, said “that the military coup carried out by the Egyptian army in Egypt was good news for Israel.” And the pro-imperialist lackey Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, too “offered praise for the Egyptian army, saying it had preserved security, and congratulated Mansour.” (14)
In short, the Western imperialists and their closest lackeys know that this was a military coup d’état which strengthens their influence and power and which weakens the working class and the oppressed masses (including the Palestinians). Why does the LCC refuse to acknowledge this simple matter of fact?!
A “formalistic” defense of democracy?
Those sectors of the revolutionary masses that were on the streets on 30th June have been demobilized since then. We ask: If the coup d’état would have been a step forward in the revolutionary process why do we see a decline of mass mobilizations and strikes of those organizations which have been involved in the great 30th June march?!
It is therefore in complete contradiction with the reality of the class struggle in Egypt if the LCC comrades present the RCIT as formalistic defenders of an abstract concept of ”democracy” and claim that the events in Egypt are just a “suppression of the major theocratic group”:
“To confuse the suppression of the major theocratic group, however reprehensible this may seem as a violation of civil liberty, with the suppression of democracy, is to side with those who believe democracy is parliaments and laws and not the activity of millions of Egyptians taking the streets and speaking their minds!”
The truth is that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a bunch of obscure Salafist dictators. It represents the class interests of sectors of the Egyptian smaller and middle bourgeoisie and has substantial roots amongst the petty-bourgeoisie, the peasantry and the urban poor. Why else did they become the strongest force I all parliamentary and presidential elections in the last one and a half years?!
What many leftists forget is the fact that the Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood do not represent the most immediate threat of counter-revolution (the “vendee” in the IMT’s words). These comrades forget that Mursi won the presidential elections against Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under Mubarak's dictatorship and candidate of the feloul. They forget that the Muslim Brotherhood joined the revolutionary mass movement lately as a conservative and inhibiting force in spring 2011 against the Mubarak regime and the army command. It is the old institutions of the ruling class – first and foremost the repressive military bureaucracy with its close links with US imperialism and Zionism – which are the most immediate threat to the Egyptian Revolution. Those who ignore this are incapable of understanding the tasks of the Revolution.
The RCIT says: if the revolutionary masses which were on the streets on 30th June would have overthrown the Mursi regime, it would have been a tremendous step forward in the revolutionary process. (15) If however the Mursi regime is overthrown by a military coup d’état which enables the ruling class and the imperialists to determine more directly the composition and policy of the Egyptian government, then we don’t have a step forward but a step backward in the revolutionary process. This is the only concrete and dialectical understanding of the dynamics of the present situation.
Those who claim the Islamists are the most immediate danger to the Revolution and not the so-called “secular” army command should also consider the following: Are they not in danger of unintentionally coming close to repeat the logic of those Stalinists who claim that the Islamists in the rank of the Syrian rebels are the most immediate threat since they want to impose an Sharia theocracy instead of understanding that it is the “secular” Assad dictatorship which is the most immediate enemy of the Syrian workers and peasants?! (16)
What is the meaning of the RCIT’s slogan of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly?
The LCC comrades can't see the important democratic questions which are involved in the military coup d’état. Hence they criticize the RCIT for raising the slogan of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. The comrades from the WIVP correctly understand the nature of the military coup d’état but unfortunately they also criticize the RCIT for raising this slogan. What are the arguments of the comrades? Let us first quote them.
The WIVP writes: “A Constituent Assembly? Some of the left like the RCIT are calling for a Constituent Assembly. But the central question is: who will convene it? The military? They have shown that they will do everything to water down and constrain any Constituent Assembly. The only force that can convene it without restrictions, is the working class in power, a workers government, but for this to happen, the military regime has to be overthrown. The 17 million in the streets are not demanding a Constituent Assembly; in a sense, the fact they are there, means they have moved beyond capitalist parliament. Why should we hold the masses back, take them back to bourgeois parliament? The imperialist only hope is to offer a sham Assembly, maybe with some more concessions, but only enough to keep the system intact. The other option, if they can get away with it, is to divert the masses struggle into inter-group fighting and in this case try to wipe out a generation of fighters- but the masses are not defeated, they are on the march, the capitalists are on the defensive, why should we help them get out of their corner?”
They also state: “At this time, while the masses are in the streets, it would be creating dangerous illusions to call for a Constituent Assembly as the whole struggle would now be diverted once more into the path of bourgeois elections, although with red colours but essentially the line of the imperialists, who are now calling for elections next February.”
The LCC comments on the WIVP statement and adds: “We agree with the July 8th statement of the South African Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVP) where the comrades reject the slogan for a Constituent Assembly. Even though we don’t agree that a military coup took place we can’t imagine how a Constituent Assembly could be revolutionary at this time. (…) Class War maintains that the call for a Constituent Assembly, or a “Revolutionary Constituent Assembly,” is ALL WRONG at this time and plays the game of the bourgeois democrats seeking to broker a new constitutional arrangement with the armed forces.”
Let us deal with the arguments one at a time. The WIVP comrades ask: “who will convene it? The military? They have shown that they will do everything to water down and constrain any Constituent Assembly. The only force that can convene it without restrictions, is the working class in power, a workers government, but for this to happen, the military regime has to be overthrown.” Unfortunately this argument betrays the comrades’ lack of understanding of the transitional method. If it would be wrong for revolutionaries to raise a slogan because it can only be implemented by the working class in power, then it would always be wrong to raise transitional demands including revolutionary-democratic transitional demands. However, the purpose of such slogans is exactly to lead the masses towards the revolution, towards a workers government.
Of course, revolutionaries must openly say that the struggle for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly – as for all transitional demands – has to be combined with the perspective of a workers’ and peasants’ government. Contrary to the WIVP suggestion, the RCIT does not create the illusion that such a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly should be convened and controlled by the army. If the WIVP comrades would have read carefully the RCIT statement they could have seen this. We wrote:
“Revolutionaries in Egypt need to organize around an Action Program which combines the struggle against poverty, super-exploitation by foreign imperialism with revolutionary-democratic demands and a perspective for working class power via a socialist revolution. A central slogan of such a program which can unite those who opposed Mursi as well as the new army-imposed regime is the call for a revolutionary Constitutional Assembly. Such an assembly should be elected with equal voting rights for all over the age of 12 (the age when youth in Egypt can enter job-training and a substantial number has a entered the labor force). It should have proportional representation and no threshold, and its delegates must be recallable by those who elect them. It must be protected by workers and popular militias against any interference by reactionary forces. Clearly such a program must be combined with the perspective of a workers government, based on the poor peasantry and the urban poor committed to the expropriation of the multinationals, big capital and banks under workers control as well as the replacement of the bourgeois state apparatus by workers and peasant organs!” (17)
Posing the slogan of a Constituent Assembly in a revolutionary or an opportunist way?
As we have seen in the Arab Revolution, the opportunists raise the slogan of the Constituent Assembly in a reformist way. For example in Tunisia the Maoist PCOT and the Mandelite Ligue de la Gauche Ouvrière asked the bourgeois transitional government to convoke a Constituent Assembly. We reject this reformist method of raising the slogan of a Constituent Assembly. The slogan of the Constituent Assembly must be linked to the slogans of workers and peasant soviets, militias and a workers and peasant government. (18)
The fact that reformists or even sectors of the bourgeoisie raise the question of a Constituent Assembly is however not an argument against the dealing with this issue by the revolutionaries. Quite the opposite, it is an argument for taking up this issue and tackling it from a communist point of view.
When Lenin discussed the way how to raise the slogan of the Constituent Assembly in 1905 he made this difference clear. He was aware that in this situation also the pro-monarchist was in favour of a Constituent Assembly.
“We thus see that the interests of the bourgeoisie as a class quite naturally and inevitably lead it at the present revolutionary moment to advance the slogan of a Constituent Assembly of the people, but in no case the slogan of a provisional revolutionary government. The first slogan is or has become the slogan of the policy of compromise, huckstering, and brokerage; the second is the slogan of revolutionary struggle. The first is the slogan of the monarchist bourgeoisie, the second, the slogan of the revolutionary people. The first slogan makes it possible chiefly to preserve the monarchy, despite the revolutionary onset of the people; the second offers the straight road to the republic. The first leaves the power with the tsar, restricted only by public opinion; the second is the only slogan which consistently and unreservedly leads to the sovereignty of the people in the full sense of the word.” (19)
This of course did not stop Lenin from raising this slogan but he emphasised that this slogan must be combined with the slogans of the revolutionary overthrow of czarism and the provisional revolutionary government. Such he wrote:
“The keynote of our programme, too, is the demand for a popular Constituent Assembly (...). But this slogan does not stand isolated in our programme. The context and the addenda and notes prevent any misconstruction on the part of those who are least consistent in the struggle for liberty or who even struggle against it. It occurs in our programme in conjunction with the following other slogans: (1) the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy; (2) its replacement by the democratic republic; (3) the sovereignty of the people, safeguarded by a democratic constitution, i.e., the concentration of supreme governmental authority entirely in the hands of a legislative assembly composed of representatives of the people and forming a single chamber.” (20)
He explained further:
“The slogan of a popular Constituent Assembly, taken by itself, separately, is at the present time a slogan of the monarchist bourgeoisie, a slogan calling for a deal between the bourgeoisie and the tsarist government. Only the overthrow of the tsarist government and its replacement by a provisional revolutionary government, whose duty it will be to convene the popular Constituent Assembly, can be the slogan of the revolutionary struggle. Let the proletariat of Russia have no illusions on this score; in the din of the general excitation it is being deceived by the use of its own slogans. If we fail to match the armed force of the government with the force of an armed people, if the tsarist government is not utterly defeated and replaced by a provisional revolutionary government, every representative assembly, whatever title—“popular”, “constituent”, etc.—may be conferred upon it, will in fact be an assembly of representatives of the big bourgeoisie convened for the purpose of bargaining with the tsar for a division of power.” (21)
It is this method which we are applying with our slogan of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. We say only in this way can the masses make sure that the delegates of the Constituent Assembly are controllable and can be replaced if they do not implement what their electoral base wanted them to do. In this sense the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly is not simply a bourgeois parliament.
So, our call for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly is a revolutionary democratic slogan to mobilize the masses around a central issue in the coming period. Whatever the WIVP and LCC comrades wish for, the question of the constitution will be a most central issue of the class struggle in the coming months – for the army command, for the liberals and for the Islamists. (22)
This should be pretty obvious given the fact that the constitution put forward by the Muslim Brotherhood was one of the main issues of the present events and given the fact that the military-imposed regime suspended the existing constitution and invented a new provisional one. By refusing our slogan for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly the comrades leave this issue to be exploited by the enemies of the Egyptian Revolution.
Another mistake of the comrades is their confusion of the call for a Constituent Assembly with a bourgeois parliament. The RCIT of course rejects calls for new elections particularly in times of mass mobilization. But a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly is something different. It is a slogan which relates to situations where fundamental questions of the constitution are involved – which is undoubtedly currently the case – and where masses have democratic illusion.
This is why we have summarized our position in the RCIT Program in the following way: “Where there are basic issues of political sovereignty on the agenda and there is still no awareness among the masses about the superiority of proletarian council democracy, in certain phases the slogan of a revolutionary Constituent Assembly can be important.” (23)
Shall Marxists raise the slogan of a Constituent Assembly only if the Masses are not mobilized?
In our opinion, the WIVP comrades completely err if they say: “At this time, while the masses are in the streets, it would be creating dangerous illusions to call for a Constituent Assembly as the whole struggle would now be diverted once more into the path of bourgeois elections”. With such a method Marxists can never raise the Constituent Assembly slogan when the masses are mobilized. But this is completely alien to the tradition of the revolutionary Marxist movement. Marxists indeed also raised the slogan of Constituent Assembly in situations where the masses were mobilized and where constitutional issues were of central importance. The argument of the LCC comrades “the RCA is a defensive slogan for revolutionaries” is refuted by the experience and the theory of Bolshevism.
For example the Bolsheviks agitated for a Constituent Assembly during the whole revolutionary period of 1917! This was a situation where mobilized fully and armed and when even Soviets already existed! But the question of a constitution was a central issue and the masses had democratic illusions. This was the criteria for the Bolsheviks to raise this slogan and so it is for us. Similarly Trotsky raised the slogan of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly during the Spanish Revolution in 1930/31. Here too the masses certainly were mobilized on the streets but had massive illusions. (24)
Trotsky explained the Marxist approach to the slogan of the Constituent Assembly on numerous occasions. In a reply to Chinese comrades, who had sectarian tendencies and rejected the agitation for a Constituent Assembly, Trotsky explained:
“You ask: “Is it possible to carry on agitation for a Constituent Assembly while denying that it can be accomplished?” But why should we decide beforehand that it cannot be accomplished? Of course the masses will follow the slogan only if they consider it feasible. Who will accomplish it, and how will it be accomplished? Here only suppositions are possible, in case of the further weakening of the military-Kuomintang regime and the growth of discontent among the masses, particularly in the cities, it is possible that an attempt will be made by a part of the Kuomingtang together with a “third party” to convene something on the style of a National Assembly. Of course, they will as much as possible cut into the rights of the more oppressed classes and layers. Will we Communists, go into such a curtailed and manipulated National Assembly? If we will not be strong enough to replace it, that is to take over power, we will, of course, go in. Such a stage would in no way weaken us. On the contrary, it would help us gather and develop the forces of the proletarian vanguard. Inside the pseudo-assembly, and particularly on the outside of it, we would carry on our agitation for a new and more democratic assembly. In case of a revolutionary mass movement we would simultaneously build Soviets. It is very possible that in such an event the petty-bourgeois parties would convene a comparatively more democratic National Assembly, as a dam against the Soviets. Would we participate in such a sort of representation? Of course we would participate. Again, if we would not be strong enough to replace the assembly with a higher form of government, that is the Soviets. But such a possibility reveals itself only at the highest point of revolutionary ascent. But as it is presently, we have not as yet approached the beginning.
Even if the Soviets were a fact – which is not the case in China at present – this in itself would not be cause enough for the abandonment of the slogan of the National Assembly. The majority in the Soviets may be (and at the beginning will certainly be) in the hands of conciliatory and Centrist parties and organizations. We will be interested to have these parties exposed in the open forum of the National Assembly. By this method the majority of the Soviets will be won over to our side sooner, and much more certainly. When our conquest of the majority will become a reality, we will counter-pose the program of the Soviets against the program of the National Assembly, we will gather the majority of the country around the banner of the Soviets, which will give us the possibility, in deed and not on paper, to replace the National Assembly, this parliamentary-democratic institution, by Soviets, as the organ of the revolutionary class dictatorship.” (25)
The RCIT is convinced that the slogan of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly – as all democratic slogans by the way – is a slogan for mobilization of the masses and not for diversion. Only if the masses have overcome their democratic illusions and understand the need for taking power by workers and peasants councils, only then can revolutionaries drop slogans like Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. Is it surprising that the masses in Egypt – after many decades of bourgeois dictatorship – still have democratic illusions?! It is likely that this will continue to be case for some time.
So we think that the comrades both of the WIVP and the LCC misunderstand the situation in Egypt after the military’s coup d’état and the issue of revolutionary democratic demands like the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. We look forward to hear the comrades’ elaboration of their criticism.
(1) An useful overview on the liberal’s capitulation can be found for example in David D. Kirkpatrick: Egyptian Liberals Embrace the Military, Brooking No Dissent, July 15, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/16/world/middleeast/egypt-morsi.html?_r=0 as well as in The Associated Press: Egypt's liberals pressing for democracy after coup, July 11, 2013, http://newsok.com/egypts-liberals-pressing-for-democracy-after-coup/article/feed/565053. Shamefully even Kamal Abu Eita, President of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, sold himself to the army command and serves as a minister in their government. (See Ahram Online: Labour leader Abu Eita to be appointed Egypt's manpower minister, 15 Jul 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76509/Egypt/Politics-/Labour-leader-Abu-Eita-to-be-appointed-Egypts-manp.aspx
(2) See Yossi Schwartz: Egypt: The U.S. Support for the Military Coup and the Left’s ignorance. Notes on the role of US imperialism in the military’s coup d’état and the failure of the Egypt left, 11.7.2013, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-us-support-for-military-coup
(3) Workers International Vanguard Party: Down with the pre-emptive military coup in Egypt, 8.7.2013, http://www.workersinternational.org.za/downwithcoup8.7.2013.htm. All quotes from the WIVP in this article are from this statement.
(4) Liaison Committee of Communists: Egyptian Class Combat Deepens: On to the Mass Political Strike! Forward to workers councils! July 15, 2013, http://cwgusa.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/egyptian-class-combat-deepens-on-to-the-mass-political-strike-forward-to-workers-councils. All quotes from the LCC in this article are from this statement.
(5) We will not deal with the outrageous absurdities of Alan Woods’ IMT but only note in passing that they downplay the army’s massacre against the Muslim Brotherhood which killed dozens of demonstrators and wounded hundreds as an “armed clash” between which was supposedly provoked by the Brotherhood supporters. (“A Brotherhood sit-in in front of the Republican Guard’s headquarters, where Morsi is believed to be held, suddenly turned into an armed clash between the army and the Brotherhood., which left 54 dead and hundreds wounded. Although it is not clear how the clash started it is clear that it had been prepared for several days. The same day the Brotherhood was also trying to provoke a clash with the anti-Brotherhood protests in Cairo, by blocking the main roads to the Ittihadiya presidential palace where a huge rally was headed. Besides this there were countless attacks against anti-Morsi rallies leaving up to 40 dead in the previous days. What the Brotherhood was aiming at was to create a clash that could galvanize support around them.”)
The military’s intervention was therefore supposedly not a coup d’état but expressed the “right of the people to implement change in society.” (“The hue and cry of the bourgeois “democrats” about a coup – which is shamefully echoed by some so-called lefts – is not a defence of democracy at all, but a disgusting slander and an attack on the revolution itself. It is a hypocritical attempt to deny the right of the people to implement change in society. That the prostitute bourgeois media should use the argument of a so-called coup to try to discredit the revolutionary movement and lower its confidence is perfectly understandable. That people who call themselves “lefts” should act as an echo of this miserable bourgeois campaign is merely despicable.” The IMT also hallucinates: “The Brotherhood has suffered a decisive defeat, not by the army, but by the revolutionary people of Egypt.”)
It is therefore supposedly not the US-financed Egyptian army which is in power since 1952 who is the arch-enemy of the Egyptian Revolution but the Muslim Brotherhood – which the IMT calls the “Vendee”, i.e. the most counter-revolutionary force, against the Revolution. (“The Muslim Brotherhood represents the Vendee of the Egyptian Revolution. Its defeat is the prior condition for the further advance of the Revolution.”)
All quotes are from a recently published lengthy IMT article: Alan Woods and Hamid Alizadeh: The Egyptian Revolution – a nightmare for the bourgeoisie, 12 July 2013, International Marxist Tendency, http://www.marxist.com/the-egyptian-revolution-a-nightmare-for-the-bourgeois.htm.
Such conclusions are characteristic for a right-wing centrist organization that believes in a peaceful transformation of capitalism into socialism because the bourgeois state apparatus is supposed to be reformable and which has again and again praised the army bureaucracy like the Assad regime in Syria of leading a “proletarian-bonapartist” social transformation to create a deformed workers state.
(6) On the composition of the new, army-imposed government see Ahram Online; Who's who: Egypt's full interim Cabinet, 17 Jul 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76609/Egypt/Politics-/Whos-who-Egypts-full-interim-Cabinet.aspx as well as Joel Gulhane: Ziad Bahaa El-Din appointed deputy PM, July 12, 2013 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/07/12/ziad-bahaa-el-din-appointed-deputy-pm
(7) See Roy Gutman: New Egyptian coalition splits over granting interim president broad powers, McClatchy Foreign Staff, July 9, 2013, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/09/196253/new-egyptian-coalition-splits.html#.UeVijm0uz0Y
(8) “Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy.” (Wall Street Journal: After the Coup in Cairo. The U.S. shouldn't cut off aid to a new Egyptian government, July 4, 2013, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324399404578583932317286550.html#)
(9) Egypt billionaire Sawiris family to invest 'like never before', Reuters, 15 Jul 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/3/12/76521/Business/Economy/Egypt-billionaire-Sawiris-family-to-invest-like-ne.aspx
(10) Quoted in Bassem Aly: Old friendships never die: Egyptian-Gulf relations after Morsi. The ouster of Mohamed Morsi has been warmly welcomed in Arab Gulf States, except Qatar, with aid now following to prop up Egypt's shaky economy, 14 Jul 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/76430/World/Region/Old-friendships-never-die-EgyptianGulf-relations-a.aspx
(11) Emad Mekay: US bankrolled anti-Morsi activists. Documents reveal US money trail to Egyptian groups that pressed for president's removal, Al Jazeera, 10 Jul 2013 http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/07/2013710113522489801.html
(12) David D. Kirkpatrick and Kareem Fahim: Brotherhood Says U.S. Diplomats Urged It to Accept Ouster of Morsi, July 7, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/world/middleeast/egypt.html?google_editors_picks=true&_r=1&
(13) Ali Abunimah: Egypt deporting Palestinians trying to return to Gaza, 07/08/2013, http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/egypt-deporting-palestinians-trying-return-gaza
(14) See Israel welcomes Egyptian army coup, 05 July 2013 http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6472-israel-welcomes-egyptian-army-coup and Reuters: Former IDF chief: Morsi's fall doesn't pose immediate danger to Israel, 07/04/2013, http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Former-IDF-chief-Morsis-fall-doesnt-pose-immediate-danger-to-Israel-318738
(15) See on this also our statement RCIT: Tasks of the Revolution in Egypt, 2.7.2013, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/tasks-of-egypt-revolution
(16) On the RCIT’s analysis of the Syrian Revolution and its inner contradictions see some of our recent articles: Yossi Schwartz: Class struggle and religious sectarianism in Syria, 12.6.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/class-struggle-and-religious-sectarianism-in-syria/; Yossi Schwartz: Syria: After the defeat in Qusayr and ahead of the Battle for Aleppo, 11.6.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-after-defeat-in-qusayr; ISL-Leaflet: Victory to the Revolution in Syria! http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/victory-to-revolution-in-syria.
(17) Revolutionary Communist International Tendency: Egypt: Down with the Military Coup d’État! Prepare Mass Resistance! 8.7.2013, www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/egypt-down-with-military-coup-d-etat
(18) We have discussed the question of how to pose the slogan of the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly for example in Michael Pröbsting: Die halbe Revolution. Lehren und Perspektiven des arabischen Aufstandes (2011), Der Weg des Revolutionären Kommunism No. 8, August 2011, www.thecommunists.net/publications/werk-8
(19) V.I.Lenin: Revolutionary Struggle and Liberal Brokerage, in: LCW Vol. 8, pp. 492-493, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/jun/09c.htm
(20) V.I.Lenin: The Democratic Tasks of the Revolutionary Proletariat, in: LCW Vol. 8, pp. 513-514, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/jun/17b.htm
(21) V.I.Lenin: The Democratic Tasks of the Revolutionary Proletariat, in: LCW Vol. 8, p. 517, http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/jun/17b.htm
(22) The question of the constitution is for example the focus of the newly-formed liberal movement 'National Popular Alliance'. (See Ahram Online: ‘National Popular Alliance' launched, calls for a new constitution. New political alliance includes syndicates, unions and revolutionary groups; calls for a new constitution, not amendments, 14 Jul 2013, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/76470/Egypt/Politics-/National-Popular-Alliance-launched,-calls-for-a-ne.aspx
(23) RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, p. 46, www.thecommunists.net/rcit-manifesto/revolutionary-struggle-for-democracy
(24) See various writings of Trotsky on the Spanish Revolution, e.g. his letter from 12.1.1931 “Soviets and the Constituent Cortes” or the chapter “The Programme of the Revolution” in his pamphlet “The Revolution In Spain” (1931), http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1931/spain/spain04.htm or the article “"The Spanish Revolution And The Dangers Threatening It" http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1931/spain/spain01.htm
(25) Leon Trotsky: The Slogan of the National Assembly in China; in: Trotsky Writing 1930, pp. 164-165, http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/04/china.htm