- Human RightsReform Issues
- October 3, 2007
- 4 minutes read
Speaking of inspiring rebellion against a military dictatorship…
The Mahalla strikers are not receiving splash headlines in Western media outlets, largely because the revolt by Egypt”s working class is undermining a client-state of America, not to mention one of the world”s finest torturers (see pics and here). 27,000 workers at Egypt”s largest public sector factory are striking against low wages and abuse by management, and demanding a share of the immense profits that have been made from their labour. This is the second time in the space of a few months that Mahalla workers have gone out on strike, and when they agreed to return to work last time, they warned management that they were ready for more if their demands were not met. Their demands were not met, and they are out for more. Apparently, the government have offered a deal, but it has been rejected, and the strike continues. They have occupied the factory, and in response management have declared a week-long holiday, with the proviso that anyone remaining in the factory is trespassing and may be violently attacked by government troops, a threat that increases when the Minister for Labour accuses the strikers of sabotage. Several union leaders have already been arrested, but the workers aren”t backing down.
A Solidarity Committee has been launched. The 7th December Movement (Workers for Change), a group apparently inspired by the Kefaya coalition, is trying to link this working class struggle to Kefaya”s campaign to oust Mubarak and the NDP. Kefaya is a sort of popular front led by an ex-communist and now Islamist scholar named Abdel Wahab al-Messiri. It doesn”t root its political strategy in the working class, but rather seeks to recruit them as an ally in a broader campaign, which they hope will include the Muslim Brothers one day. It”s worth keeping an eye on what they”re doing because they are the main grassroots opposition to the regime. But when it comes down to it, there is simply no match for the combined power and resilience of the working class. 3Arabawy is your best source of information on this struggle, and you”ll find his regular updates linked in the sidebar.