CTUWS, a labour-movement NGO based in Egypt, has been involved in the establishment of a new union federation to emphasise a working-class voice "in the heart and soul" of the ongoing revolution.
It is a sign of the political degeneration of the British left that almost any attempt to differentiate between political forces active within the Egyptian revolution is met with hysterical accusations of "racism". AWL disagrees; on the contrary, we think that it is the relativist attitudes of the Stalinoid left which smack of racism. That they implicitly hold Egyptian workers to lower political standards than western workers (denouncing notions of working-class politics or secularism as western constructs that we could not possibly expect Egyptian workers to understand or base themselves on politically) is obscene. That they cannot distinguish between Muslims (including many practising, religious Muslims) and Islamists is likewise.
We are in full solidarity with the efforts of the Egyptian working class to overthrow the hated regime of Mubarak. But we are not just passive cheerleaders; we are socialists, and we exist to promote working-class, socialist politics not just in Britain but across the world. In Egypt, we aim to identify socialist and working-class elements within the revolutionary movements. It is those elements, and the politics they represent, that we want to see achieve political hegemony - rather than other political forces (Islamist, liberal or otherwise).
As such, the news from CTUWS that a new trade union federation has been formed is of great interest to us. Undoubtedly the classless, "anti-imperialist" left will denounce it because of its links to the AFL-CIO (the American equivalent of the TUC) and some western NGO bodies. But for us, any development which represents, on any level, workers organising themselves independently and in their own interests is of paramount importance and deserves our active solidarity and support.
CTUWS press release:
Today, representatives of the of the Egyptian labor movement, made up of the independent Egyptian trade unions of workers in real estate tax collection, the retirees, the technical health professionals and representatives of the important industrial areas in Egypt: Helwan, Mahalla al-Kubra, the tenth of Ramadan city, Sadat City and workers from the various industrial and economic sectors such as: garment & textiles, metals industry, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, government employees, iron and steel, automotive, etc.
And they agreed to hold a press conference at 3:30pm this afternoon in Tahrir Square next to Omar Effendi Company store in downtown Cairo to announce the organization of the new Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions and to announce the formation of committees in all factories and enterprises to protect, defend them and to set a date for a general strike. And to emphasize that the labor movement is in the heart and soul of the Egyptian Peoples’ revolution and its emphasis on the support for the six requirements as demanded by the Egyptian People's Revolution. To emphasize the economic and democratic demands voiced by the independent labor movement through thousands of strikes, sit-ins and protests by Egyptian workers in the past years.