The revolution in Egypt has won a huge victory by driving out President, Hosni Mubarak, the 30 year military dictator of that country. The people of Egypt have made the first steps in a revolution.
On Thursday, Mubarak promised to make a speech, and everyone predicted that it would be his resignation. However everyone was shocked to hear his declaration that he would not leave! The Egyptian people were enraged by this statement. All over Egypt millions of people demonstrated and clashed with Mubarak’s police thugs.
The regime stood, but the working class of Egypt was beginning to exercise its power. Already on Wednesday, 200,000 workers left work to join in the protests in and around Cairo. But perhaps most threatening to the power of the ruling elite of Egypt and the world were the actions of just a few workers on the Suez Canal. Egypt’s Suez Canal is one of the economic arteries of the world. The world economy relies on the Suez to transport 7.5 percent of the world’s goods, including ten percent of the world’s oil. A strike by a few workers in such a key sector can give the corporations’ crooked economy a heart attack as they watch their profits crumble.
The Question of the Army
But between Mubarak and the people stands the Egyptian Army. In Egypt the Army rules. Mubarak was a military officer until assuming the presidency in 1981, and his closest allies are military men. What’s more the military of Egypt is trained and funded with American tax dollars. Every year $1.3 billion flows into the Egyptian army. Egyptian officers are trained in American military schools.
However most of the army is composed of ordinary soldiers, poor Egyptians who join the military for a job. They suffer low pay, bad conditions, and the corruption and brutality of the officers. Will poor Egyptian soldiers kill their brothers, sisters, friends, relatives in order to save the wealth and privileges of the military elite? Already cracks have appeared in the army. Soldiers have let the protesters write revolutionary graffiti on their tanks. And most telling of all, soldiers have deserted to the side of the people in Tahrir square, joining in the protests.
The Decisive Moment
Friday night, as the strike-wave gripped Egypt, thousands of protesters marched on the presidential palace in Cairo. Would the military risk firing on the people? The answer was given by the soldiers as the guns of their tanks turned to the side. The military of Egypt stepped in to make Mubarak submit to the will of the people. This is a massive victory for the Egyptian revolution.
The beginning of a Revolution, Not the End
The order for Mubarak to leave came from the Egyptian military command and from their masters in Washington. They promise elections in six months to write a new constitution. They have dissolved the old parliament dominated by Mubarak’s hand-picked stooges. But this doesn’t mean things have changed. Already they have threatened the people and made promises to the U.S. The military has issued a communique stating that anyone causing disturbances or disorder will be punished. And the military has promised they will not challenge Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians
The Egyptian revolution has won a victory but it is not over. It won’t be over until the rank and file soldiers join with the workers and poor of Egypt to demand a better life, and cease being the tools of oppression in the hands of the military elite and their masters in the United States.