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Egyptian workers and youth refuse to be cowered.
US capitalism's dictators in North Africa are under assault. The process taking place in North Africa and the Middle East lays to rest the pessimistic arguments put forward repeatedly by Union leaders, liberals and the like that workers will not fight. It also confirms the importance of organization, leadership and program. As in the strikes that have taken place in the US and gone down to defeat, what is missing is leadership, not the heroism of workers or our will to fight.
As expected, the revolutionary process has not subsided in Egypt despite brutal attempts by the police to drive protesters from the streets. The Arab masses are lifting their heads from under the heel of some of the Middle East’s most oppressive regimes bringing down the government of Tunisia and threatening to do so in Egypt and Yemen. Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous country and, like the dictators in Yemen and Tunisia, armed and funded by US imperialism.
We should not underestimate the level of concern and crisis that exists among the US capitalist class. Their phony diplomacy and public persona that Wikileaks is exposing will project an image of dignity and concern for the democratic process and the rights of all people to govern themselves but behind the scenes the situation is dire. The US will be doing what it can to influence events, co-opt leaders and/or select those that will best ensure its ability to continue to loot and plunder the region’s wealth. But as Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer pointed out in today’s Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Mubarak may hang on. But Egypt will never be the same.” (1)
It is no secret that these corrupt regimes have been kept in power with the assistance of the US taxpayer. The powerful and much censored US mass media does a good job in keeping this from the public eye domestically. But within the pages of the serious journals of capitalism we can see clearly the crisis that exists within the US ruling class.
As we pointed out in previous blogs, (http://www.weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com) Hilary Clinton’s first response to the Egyptian events was to declare that the Mubarak government was “stable.” On Tunisia she initially made it clear that the US was “not taking sides” while stressing that the US and the Tunisian government’s had very “positive” relations.
A Wall street editorial Friday (2) that reveals increased division within the US ruling class over who is to blame for US foreign policy that led to the present situation, attacks Hilary Clinton for her “stable” remark with regard to the Mubarak regime. It then attacks her indecisiveness quoting her a day later as she, “pointedly amended those remarks. She said that reforms "must be on the agenda" of Egypt's government and supported such efforts by "active, civil leaders in Egypt." That is, the people in the streets.”
Champion of democracy that the Wall Street Journal is, the editorial reminds us of the brutality of the dictators in the region, “in almost every instance, including Egypt, the method of political "control" is still crude, physical brutality, even as the news of these abuses now spreads instantly among the population via new information technologies.”
Revealing conclusions these thugs have drawn from the Wikileaks affair the editors of the Journal warn their class that, “Assuming that these dictators can stay afloat indefinitely across waves of information technology is a foreign policy of perilous hope.” A remark like that from the dominant mouthpiece of US capitalism should convince detractors that deny social networks will play an important role in any change that occurs in the world.
P.J. Crowley, the US State Department spokesperson also takes an opportunity to urge his class to recognize that things have changed for them in the Middle East, “The status quo in the Middle East and North Africa is not sustainable.” he is quoted as saying in a piece in the same edition titled, “Arab Unrest Spreading” which confirms their recognition of the facts on the ground.
Perhaps the clearest expression of the concern US imperialism has about the entrance of the Arab working class on to the stage are those made by Graeme Bannerman, a former US State Department official and Middle East analyst who stated in an interview on NPR that, “Popular opinion in the Middle East runs so against American policies that any change in any government in the Middle East that becomes more popular will have an anti-American and certainly less friendly direction towards the US which will be a serious political problem for us.” (3)
For us workers in the US, these uprisings of the Arab working class and youth in the Middle East are developments that we should support. Anti-American, does not have to mean American workers. It is an opportunity for us to separate ourselves from the murderous policies of the US government that have killed millions of people and cost the US taxpayer trillions of dollars. Along with all the others, Obama’s remarks during his State of the Union speech about, “the courage and dignity of the Tunisian people” and how the US “stands with the people of Tunisia.” are spoken after the Tunisian workers and youth drove out his friend Ben Ali; they are an insult to Arab and American workers alike.
In a strike, when workers call for unity, or use the term, “United We Stand” we don’t mean united with the boss, we have the most severe disdain for bootlickers and scabs, we mean united with other workers, with each other against the boss. We don’t consider this treason or being anti-American to use that much used and distorted phrase. With the events in the Middle East the same applies. We unite with the workers and youth of the Arab world against their corrupt governments and ours. Anti-Americanism and the rise of the religious fanaticism have their roots in US foreign policy; lets unhitch our wagon from that team. The US government is the force that places our youth in harms way in their predatory wars for profit and attacks us at home as well.
US capitalism is waging a war domestically in an offensive against social services, rights and living standards that took us a generation and heroic struggle to win. Supporting and uniting with the struggles of the Arab workers and youth and workers throughout the world is what will drive back this offensive of capital internationally and at home.
While this blog supports all efforts for democratic reform, we recognize that capitalism cannot solve the global crises of poverty, unemployment, disease and environmental disaster; capitalism is the source of these crises. Traditional formations like community and workers committees have arisen during the revolutionary process in North Africa, just as they arose in great strikes of workers on US soil. It is through the spreading of the revolution, the overthrow of capitalism and the formation of a federation of socialist states in the Middle East that the crisis of poverty in the region can be ended and the aspirations of the Arab masses as well as all workers will be realized.
(1) WSJ: Egypt Will Never Be the Same
(2) WSJ: Egypt’s Choice and Ours
(3) WSWS: Egypt, Tunisia and the Fight Against US imperialism