Bloodshed in Egypt: down with military rule, no to the return of the Brotherhood!

Submitted by AWL on 17 August, 2013 - 10:24

Hundreds of people have been killed in a wave of repression and violence which has followed the military coup in Egypt.

Bloodshed began in the same week as the army took power, with 51 people dying in clashes surrounding protests organised by the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing.

The Brotherhood says as many as 2,000 have been killed this week, mainly on 14 August, during army manoeuvres to break up Brotherhood protest camps in Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda in Cairo. State figures claim 638 civilian deaths. Nearly 4,000 people have been injured. The state claims that weapons caches have been found in Brotherhood protests camps and at its Cairo headquarters, implying that the Brotherhood were preparing a counter-coup or new insurgency against the military government.

The period since the coup has also seen a wave of church burnings across Egypt, with some 36 Coptic churches facing attack, apparently from Brotherhood supporters who harbour religious-sectarian hostility to Egypt's Coptic minority.

The military government has also moved against workers' struggles. On 12 August, they arrested Amr Yusif and Abd-al-Ra’uf, two of the leaders of a long-running steel workers' strike at the Suez Steel company in Adabia. The strike leaders were released on bail on the evening of 13 August. Over 2,000 workers have been on strike at Suez Steel since 18 July, in a dispute over management's failure to stick to the terms of a collective-bargaining agreement signed in 2012, which should guarantee workers profit-share bonuses, health care benefits, and pay increases.

The leading military figure in the coup government, General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, was part of the military of the old state and is a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). He was also defence minister under the government of Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president who the military coup ousted. Many officials appointed by the military government are, according to the Revolutionary Socialists (an Egyptian socialist group linked to the British SWP), "drawn from the ranks of the remnants of the old regime".

The military coup represents the reassertion of elements of the Mubarak regime, whose "deep state" was never properly dismantled despite the political revolution of January 2011. Opposing the coup, and opposing the murderous repression carried out since, implies no political support for the Muslim Brotherhood. We are against the repression of its protests and the murder of its supporters by the military, but we do not politically defend the Muslim Brotherhood camps or their demand for Morsi's return.

The only solution in Egypt is for the independent labour movement to develop its own policies and organisations and offer an alternative to the bleak futures of authoritarian terror and clerical-fascism offered by the military and the Brotherhood.

• The Revolutionary Socialists' statement, which concludes with the slogans: "Down with military rule! No the return of the old regime! No to the return of the Brotherhood! All power and wealth to the people" — click here
• Statement in solidarity with the Suez Steel strike — click here
• "Neither the army nor Morsi", Workers' Liberty article from 17 July — click here
• "Against the Egyptian military, against the Brotherhood!", Workers' Liberty article from 3 July — click here

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