Mubarak måste avgå

Det skriver den US-amerikansk marxisten Lee Sustar i en analys av läget i Egypten där han fokuserar på armén och arbetarklassen. Han pekar på att armén är ett osäkert stöd för Hosni Mubaraks regim och hur arbetarklassen kan var avgörande i de sociala strider som nu präglar Egypten:

As Monday dawned over Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square, thousands of protesters mingled with tanks and armored vehicles of the armed forces that may either be won over the demonstrators’ demand to oust President Hosni Mubarak–or carry out the dictator’s order to repress a widespread popular revolt.

The fact that Mubarak has been forced to rely on an army of uncertain loyalty highlights the profound changes in Egyptian society since the mass protest of January 25. Suddenly, one of the most feared and effective police states in the world is on the brink of collapse, as millions shake off their intimidation and take to the streets across the country.

The working class may soon make its social power felt if a call for a general strike on Tuesday can be heard despite the government’s disruption of Internet and mobile phone networks.

The dynamics of Egypt’s rebellion recalls the classic revolutionary movements of the 20th century. Working people are withstanding assaults by a vicious security force, but continue to assert their rights–and, as so many in the streets told reporters, their dignity.

Beyond the great mobilizations in Tahrir Square, working people fought–and won–pitched battles with police in the cities of Alexandria and Suez. Back in Cairo, protestors managed to burn down the political center of the regime, the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party.

Det rä också uppenbart att striderna på andra orter än Kairo har varit väl så hårda, kanske till och med hårare och enligt rapporter så är det så att många av de så kalalde plundraran har varit poliser som övergått tillplundring när de dragits bort från gatorna:

At the same time, however, demonstrators continued to fraternize with soldiers, with many tank commanders allowing anti-Mubarak graffiti and signs to be placed on their tanks or even use the as platforms to address the crowd.

NEVERTHELESS, THE increasing presence of the army is a sign that Mubarak and his reshuffled leadership are counting on the military as a last bulwark to remain in power–if not to keep Mubarak in office, then to preserve as much of his state apparatus as possible in the face of the massive upsurge that began with the January 25 protest and led to days of protests and clashes with the hated police.

When the police repression–including the use of live ammunition that left more than 100 dead–failed to stop the demonstrators, the regime pulled them from the streets and, apparently, unleashed them as looters. Popular neighborhood defense committees across the country reported that they apprehended thieves who were carrying police IDs.

Vidare pekar Sustar på det faktum att Mubarak delvis har USA att tacka för att han kunnat hålla sig kvar vid makten:

If Mubarak is still clinging to power, it’s in part because the U.S. government that backed him for decades has been timid in its criticism, even now that rebellion has broken out in the streets of Egypt.

Vice President Joe Biden set the tone when he refused in a January 27 television interview to admit that Mubarak was a dictator. Tortured statements from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton call for democratic reforms–but with the aim of avoiding a revolution that could sweep away their most important client state in the Middle East.

Like Mubarak, Obama wants to keep in power as much of Egypt’s military brass and political elite as possible. Egypt, after all, has a peace treaty with Israel–the U.S.’s main ally in the region–and functions as Israel’s de facto ally in keeping the Palestinians in Gaza on starvation rations. The loss of Egypt as an ally would have an incalculable–and negative–impact on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond.

The U.S. has apparently concluded that it’s impossible to keep Mubarak in power indefinitely. But rather than see him swept out by a popular revolt, Washington wants a more orderly transition–one that at least keeps the U.S.’s closest allies in the mix. The call by the British, French and German governments for free elections in Egypt was a signal that other Western governments are maneuvering to be on the good side of whatever government does emerge. Since the European powers don’t have as much stake in Mubarak’s clique as the U.S. does, they’re prepared to bet on a different regime.

För att vinna över militären på upprorets sida menar Sustar att arbetarklassen har en avgörande roll:

Yet the longer the soldiers are on the streets to fraternize with protesters, the greater the risk that the armed forces won’t do the bidding of the top military brass. There is a gulf between the low-level officer earning around $200 per month and the generals who have grown rich from corruption, kickbacks from military contractors and the army’s extensive business interests.

In short, the movement must make an appeal to the soldiers on the basis of working class solidarity in order to neutralize the threat of repression. As the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky wrote, the army is ”a copy of society, and suffers from all its diseases, usually at a higher temperature. The hierarchy of command in capitalist society is reflected in a more extreme form in its armed forces. The officer castes keep in close touch with the capitalists.”

But even with a regime as isolated as Mubarak’s, there is no guarantee that rank-and-file soldiers will take the risk of disobeying their officers and refuse orders to shoot the people. They have to be confident that the revolution has a place for them, and that it can succeed–and so the appeals to them have to be organized.

A display of workers power–in the form of a general strike–would, of course, give greater impetus to the effort to win over the soldiers.

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