Posted on February 5, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Carl Finamore
Entering the third year of the revolt in Egypt, no amount of repression seems able to contain the swelling pressure exploding throughout the country the last several weeks. In fact, protests against the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohammed Morsi seem to be gaining support.
The truth is, the revolution in Egypt is deeper and more profound than any of the other valiant examples of the Arab Spring.
“We are not always coming together in protests,” 28-year old unemployed accountant, Saber, told me as he arrived for a demonstration in Tahrir Square last week. “Most workers have families which they must feed, so they go to work. Other youth, like myself, have nothing to lose. Our future is past.”
As Saber explains, political sympathy among the population cannot always be measured in the size of the recurring protests. But for sure, the rebellion remains alive.
Filed under: Solidarity | Tagged: Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 3, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Carl Finamore
Workers and youth fill the streets leading into Tahrir Square after Mubarak resigned(Photo by Carl Finamore)
The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), gets most of the attention these days when discussing Egypt. Criticism flows easily and the FJP’s reputation has definitely been sullied and bloodied because of their numerous sectarian and undemocratic policies.
But, what appears most remarkable is that the military establishment has been relatively unscathed in the polarized battles that have erupted the last several months. In fact, this is not accidental. It is the result of very clever political maneuvering by the country’s military leaders.
It is certainly true that FJP leader, President Mohamed Morsi, made himself an easy target by recklessly misusing his extensive constitutional authority to appoint cronies and to issue unilateral decrees.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: EFITU, Egypt, Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions, FJP, Freedom and Justice Party, Muslim Brotherhood, President Mohamed Morsi, SCAF, Supreme Command of the Armed Forces | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 3, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Ian Hartshorn
Egyptian worker demonstration March 2011
While many have focused on Mohamed Morsi’s recent actions toward the Judiciary and Constituent Assembly, the Egyptian president has quietly consolidated power over institutions affecting the lives of millions of workers, namely, Egypt’s labor unions.
A day after giving himself vast new constitutional powers on November 22, Morsi amended the country’s 46-year-old trade union law. The decree represents a major shift in a fundamental Egyptian institution. It also suggests the continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing influence on a movement it has long ignored.
Targeting Trade Unions
At first blush, Morsi’s amendment may seem benign. It limits board membership in trade unions to those under sixty years of age. It also extends current union boards for an additional six months after which new elections will be held. In the interim, the Minister of Labor will be allowed to fill any vacancies.
Filed under: Organizing, Solidarity, Uncategorized | Tagged: EDLC, EFITU, Egypt, Egyptian Democratic Labor Conference, Egyptian Federation of Independent Unions, Egyptian Trade Union Federation, ETUF | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 12, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Eric Lee
Remember the “Arab Spring”? It was supposed to mean a new era of freedom for workers. But in Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, union leaders and activists are being jailed and sacked in brutal attempts to crush independent trade unions.
Global unions have launched online campaigns to protest and we need your support and the support of your fellow union members to put pressure on governments and companies in North Africa to begin to respect workers’ rights.
In Morocco, Said Elhairech, the general secretary of the Moroccan dockers union was arrested in Casablanca on false charges, including one relating to national security. Nearly three months later, he’s still being held, denied bail. The International Transport Workers Federation has launched a global campaign to demand his release. Send your message to the Moroccan government today by clicking here.
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Arab Spring, Egypt, LabourStart, Morocco, Tunisia | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 22, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
bu Carl Finamore
Separate marches and rallies all around Tahrir Feb 18 (photo:C Finamore)
The military was the lone Hosni Mubarak-era institution to survive the revolution that toppled the country’s longest-reigning dictator last year. It remains the real power to this day and is skillfully orchestrating the May 23-24 presidential elections to paint a democratic veneer glossing over that simple truth.
The plan seems to be working.
The elaborate and deceitful military production casting the elections as the best hope to turn Egypt around is only part of the reason. Millions of frustrated Egyptians place their earnest hopes on the elections also because many, clearly exhausted from an economy that continues its downward plunge, are expectantly looking for easy, quick-fix solutions.
It is estimated that 50 percent live below the staggeringly low minimum level of poverty set by the government. Many of these hopelessly impoverished Egyptians watched with great interest a May 10 televised debate between the two top-polling candidates.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Egypt | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 5, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Carl Finamore
January 27, 2012 Tahrir Square encampment overlooking the hated Ministry of Interior flag-draped building, scene of numerous bloody protests.
Egyptians immediately recognized vivid symbolism few others understood in the soccer riot that broke out recently in the coastal city of Port Said.
First, the killing of 74 Ultras, fans of the Cairo team al-Ahly, occurred on the February 1 one-year anniversary of the memorably notorious “Camel Riders” attack against the Tahrir Square encampment.
Second, the Ultras played an enormously important and especially valiant role in repelling this vicious assault last year by Mubarak’s thugs. Their bravery on that day is acknowledged throughout Egypt.
Deep suspicions of police and military collusion in the soccer stadium assault against these honored heroes of the revolution are bolstered by numerous press accounts of police standing aside for several hours before intervening.
Thus, distrustful Egyptians have not fallen prey to far-fetched, concocted conspiracy theories when assuming the attacks, whether consciously planned or whether consciously permitted, were acts of revenge by authorities.
This extreme example of police misconduct only compounds broader concerns of brutality and injustice.
In the last year, for example, more demonstrators have been killed than during the 18 days of struggle that overthrew Mubarak. The abuses do not end there.
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, Egypt | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 27, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Carl Finamore
Cairo, Egypt (Jan. 26, 2012)—The most populated country in the Arab world took the day off on Wednesday, January 25.
Tahrir Square was overloaded with people stretching and squeezing into every nook and cranny on adjacent streets, storefront alcoves and building doorways. Still, thousands were simply unable to ever reach the center.
But there was something equally noteworthy on this day—the total absence of the police and army. In a country where the army has far too much control in all affairs of state, on this day they could not be found.
Nonetheless, it must be said that the army’s presence was very much felt. For example, the largest center stage in the middle of the square was controlled by their key ally, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Continuous “God is Great” and pro-military chants were consciously intended to counter opposition slogans of the protest movement.
Voices of the Youth and Workers
Beyond the center stage, however, were dozens of political groups, student and youth organizations and independent union contingents calling for a second revolution. They completely engulfed the areas along the perimeter of Tahrir.
After a series of recent bloody attacks against young protestors, along with continued repression of worker protests, a clear statement was made on January 25 that voices of the youth and workers, in particular, would not be muted.
Nonetheless, Egypt’s generals have shown themselves far more astute in dealing with raging social unrest and complex political issues than the ousted dictator.
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Egypt, Solidarity Center | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 23, 2012 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Cairo, Egypt – One year ago in February 2011, getting to Egypt wasn’t that easy.
Back then, my London flight crew suddenly refused, in midair, to layover in Cairo. Instead, we touched down in Athens where the airline did not actually even have formal landing rights. As a result, we were confined to the aircraft as it sat on the tarmac.
I was anxious to get to Egypt so it seemed like an eternity.
We all wondered what all the fuss was about. Of course, most of the Cairo-bound passengers were native Egyptians and they, along with me, had a pretty good general idea.
But it was only some twelve hours later after arriving in Cairo that I actually discovered the exciting news. Apparently, while we were cruising comfortably in the skies at 35,000 feet, President Hosni Mubarak was not having one of his better days on the ground.
Filed under: Global organizing | Tagged: Egypt | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 8, 2011 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Eric Lee and Gary Kent
Kamal Abbas General Co-ordinator of the CTUWS addressing the FBU Conference in Southport in May. Photo by Rob Bremner
The new societies being created in Egypt and the wider region must include strong, independent trade unions, says Kamal Abbas – the founder of Egypt’s Centre for Trade Union and Worker Services (CTUWS), during his visit to the UK last week.
Around the same time as the Berlin Wall was coming down Abbas, then a young welder, found himself the ringleader of an ‘illegal’ strike by 17,000 workers over pay and conditions at a large steelworks in the southern Cairo neighbourhood of Helwan.
The response of the state was massive repression. They sent in 5,000 soldiers who used live and rubber bullets as well as tear gas. One person was killed – Abdelhai Suleiman. Fifteen more were injured and more than 600 arrested and jailed.
Abbas was the last one to be released and the only one who was not reinstated at his job. He says that the long-term result of the strike was higher wages for the workers in Helwan.
Filed under: Global organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: Centre for Trade Unions and Workers' Services, Egypt | Leave a Comment »