Recolonization of Africa: US Military Missions Reach Record Levels After Pentagon Inks Deal to Remain in Africa for Decades

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2044 or Bust By Nick Turse Global Research, April 15, 2015 TomDispatch 14 April 2015 For three days, wearing a kaleidoscope of camouflage patterns, they huddled together on a military base in Florida. They came from U.S. Special Operations Command … Continue reading

The Legacy of Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara

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Sankara Courts to Allow Exhumation of Thomas Sankara Remains. Investigation is needed which would be international in scope By Abayomi Azikiwe Global Research, March 10, 2015 Martyred Burkinabe revolutionary Pan-Africanist and Marxist leader from 1983-1987, Capt. Thomas Sankara, was assassinated … Continue reading

“Next 9/11 Will Come Out Of Libya”: US Authorities Making the Case to Expand the War on ISIS into Libya

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U.S. says “targeting authority” in Libya needed to take out ISIS By Kurt Nimmo Global Research, March 03, 2015 Infowars Image: Hillary Clinton with the so-called pro-democracy rebels in Libya during the NATO intervention which overthrew Gaddafi. An anonymous source … Continue reading

Australian Uranium Mining Company Accused of Contaminating Lake Malawi

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By Mayu Chang Global Research, January 29, 2015 CorpWatch 28 January 2015 Lake Malawi. Photo: bathyporeia. Used under Creative Commons license. Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 … Continue reading

“Humanitarian Intervention” in Nigeria: Is the Boko Haram Insurgency Another CIA Covert Operation? Wikileaks

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By Atheling P Reginald Mavengira Global Research, January 25, 2015 African Renaissance News We have already been regaled with reports provided by Wikileaks which identified the US embassy in Nigeria as a forward operating base for wide and far reaching acts of subversion against Nigeria which include … Continue reading

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR): An Anglo-American Creation in Support of the Kagame Dictatorship

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The ICTR exists to impose “victor’s justice” upon the Hutu remnants of the vanquished former regime By Edward S. Herman and David Peterson Global Research, January 20, 2015 It is widely recognized by independent analysts and observers of the International … Continue reading

Former Ben Ali official wins the first round of Tunisian presidential elections

By Antoine Lerougetel and Alex Lantier

19 December 2014

Béji Caïd Essebsi took first place in the first round of Tunisia’s presidential election on November 23, with 40 percent of the vote. With this vote, based on the disillusionment of Tunisia’s workers and oppressed masses with the Islamist interim government of the Ennahda party, the entourage of toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is bidding to return to power and attempt to fully restore the old regime.

Moncef Marzouki—supported by Ennahda, which did not field a candidate of its own—came second with 33 percent, advancing to the run-off on December 21.

The 88-year-old Essebsi, who served under Ben Ali and the previous dictator Habib Bourguiba, is the favourite to win the run-off on December 28. His Nidaa Tounes party is a coalition of bourgeois counterrevolutionaries, ex-Stalinists and officials of Ben Ali’s disbanded RCD (Democratic Constitutional Rally). These include Mohamed Ghariani, the RCD’s last general secretary, and Raouf Khamassi, a close associate of Sakhr el-Materi, Ben Ali’s son-in-law.

The Popular Front, a coalition of pseudo-left and nationalist parties, ran as all but official supporters of the old Ben Ali establishment, having formed a National Salvation Front together with Nidaa Tounes earlier this year. Its presidential candidate, the Maoist Hamma Hammami, came third with 7.8 percent of the vote.

The first-round result confirms those of the legislative elections on October 26, where, on a 69 percent voter participation, Nida Tounes with 38 percent of the poll won 86 of the legislature’s 217 seats, while Ennahda with 28 percent won 69 seats. Lacking a majority in parliament, Essebsi has not ruled out forming a coalition government with Ennahda or the Popular Front.

The moves to restore the old Ben Ali regime foreshadow explosive confrontations with the main force in the revolutionary overthrow of Ben Ali four years ago, the working class.

Nidaa Tounes’ reactionary programme gives priority to repaying Tunisia’s external debt through cuts in social services and subsidies for staple products, and privatising businesses confiscated from Ben Ali’s business empire. Aware that such an austerity programme will provoke deep opposition in the working class, particularly in mining areas where the 2011 revolution against Bin Ali began, Nidaa Tounes also calls for stepped-up law-and-order measures. Its ultimate goal is to fully rebuild the authority of the Ben Ali regime’s internal intelligence services and police state apparatus.

The coming to power of Nidaa Tounes testifies to the bankruptcy of Tunisian capitalism. It has proven unable to address the aspirations for jobs, democracy, and equality that drove masses of workers and youth into revolutionary struggle against Ben Ali—and triggered the toppling of Hosni Mubarak by the Egyptian working class, a few weeks later.

As the Tunisian uprising began, the WSWS analyzed it as a world-historic turning point in the class struggle, putting the construction of Trotskyist parties and the struggle for socialism and workers power, in Tunisia and internationally, directly on the agenda. In “The mass uprising in Tunisia and the perspective of permanent revolution,” it warned: “The crucial question of revolutionary program and leadership remains unresolved. Without the development of revolutionary leadership, another authoritarian regime will inevitably be installed to replace that of Ben Ali.”

Responsibility for the rising influence of the old Ben Ali establishment lies with the forces that blocked the struggle for socialism and the building of a revolutionary party in the working class. These include the pseudo-left parties in the PF coalition, such as Hammami’s Workers Party (PT) and the Pabloite Left Workers League (LGO), and their collaboration with the General Tunisian Labour Union (UGTT) bureaucracy. A bulwark of the Ben Ali dictatorship and its free-market policies, the UGTT looked on in horror during the 2011 uprising and only issued a symbolic, two-hour strike call as Ben Ali fled Tunisia, in a desperate attempt to cover its tracks.

These counterrevolutionary organisations have tied the working class to a perspective of supporting a series of reactionary bourgeois regimes that emerged after Ben Ali’s ouster. The result is that, four years later, the conditions of the Tunisian masses have worsened, the country is even more deeply in the grip of finance capital and the International Monetary Fund, and the old establishment, suitably refurbished, is poised to return to power.

Initially, the pseudo-left and the UGTT collaborated with the UTICA employers’ organisation and other trade groups in setting up the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) to devise a new bourgeois constitution for Tunisia. Elections to the ANC in October 2011 gave Ennahda the largest group but not an absolute majority. It therefore ruled Tunisia as part of the “Troika,” joining with the Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol, which was internationally affiliated to France’s social-democratic Socialist Party.

With Moncef Marzouki of the CPR as president, the Ennahda government imposed reactionary policies and crushed workers’ protests. With the support of the pseudo-left, it aligned Tunisia on the reactionary wars that Washington and its European allies waged in Libya and Syria, relying on Islamist proxy forces. Ennahda was widely suspected to be the instigator of the murders in February and July 2013 of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, two officials in the Popular Front.

As the political crisis of the Ennahda government sharpened, Hammami and UGTT leader Hacine Abassi held multiple meetings with US, French and European officials. The UGTT formed the Quartet with UTICA, the lawyers’ association, and the Tunisian League of Human Rights, while Nida Tounes and the Popular Front formed the National Salvation Front and engaged in “National Dialogue” with Ennahda. This led to the resignation of the Islamist government and the formation of an interim technocratic government last January.

The red thread running through the various factional manoeuvres and realignments of the pseudo-left was the opposition of the affluent middle class layers they represent to a social revolution against capitalism. These counterrevolutionary manoeuvres have now aligned them directly with the chosen political vehicle of the old Ben Ali establishment.

In his October 14 interview in the French Stalinist daily L’Humanité, Hamma Hammami insisted that the central issue in Tunisia was “doing everything to block the rise of religious fascism” and “the return of the men of the old regime.”

The struggle against all the representatives of the Tunisian bourgeoisie, including both Ennahda and the old Ben Ali regime, is the central issue, and it must be carried out against the PF itself. Hammami’s attempts to distance his party from the other main parties of the Tunisian bourgeoisie reek of bad faith.

Hammami worked with the Islamists and now is allied to the old regime through his joint participation with Nidaa Tounes in the National Salvation Front. He himself recognised that “we were at the origins of the constitution of a front of national salvation, gathering forces from the left all the way to liberal democrats”—that is, Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes.

The rising influence of the old, hated Ben Ali establishment is a devastating verdict on the bankruptcy of such unprincipled pseudo-left manoeuvring. The critical task facing the working class and youth in Tunisia remains the construction of a Trotskyist vanguard party, a section of the ICFI, to rally the deep opposition in the working class to a struggle for political power.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/19/tuni-d19.html

Ebola epidemic continues to ravage West Africa

By Niles Williamson

4 December 2014

According to the latest report from the World Health Organization released on Wednesday, the death toll from the ongoing Ebola epidemic has officially surpassed 6,000, with more than 17,145 reported cases of infection. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Spain and the United States have had person-to-person transmissions of the disease. Now entering its second year, the ongoing epidemic is the deadliest and most widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus on record.

Accounting for more than 99 percent of infections and deaths, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia continue to be the epicenter of the epidemic. While the number of newly reported cases has fallen significantly in Liberia and Guinea, with fewer than 600 new cases reported in the two countries combined in the last three weeks, the situation continues to be quite acute in Sierra Leone, where more than 1,400 new cases were reported in the same time period.

The economies of the three already deeply impoverished sub-Saharan countries have been seriously crippled by the effects of the Ebola crisis. Prior to the Ebola outbreak, the three countries had been experiencing relatively high GDP growth rates and the trend was expected to continue.

On Tuesday, the World Bank significantly revised downward projected GDP growth rates for 2014. The World Bank projects that the 2014 growth rate in Liberia will be 2.2 percent, down from a pre-epidemic projection of 5.9 percent; in Sierra Leone the growth rate is expected to be 4 percent compared to a pre-epidemic projection of 11.3 percent; while in Guinea the growth rate is expected to be 0.5 percent, down from a pre-epidemic projection of 4.5 percent.

As a result of the epidemic and ensuing crisis, it is projected that the economies of Sierra Leone and Guinea will shrink significantly next year (-2 percent and -.2 percent), while Liberia’s economy will only grow by two percent, half the rate projected prior to the Ebola crisis.

The World Bank estimates that declining revenues and increased spending resulting from the Ebola crisis have cost the three governments combined more than half a billion dollars in 2014. If the epidemic continues for another year, the World Bank projects a total fiscal impact on the West African region of anywhere between $3.8 billion and $32.6 billion, depending on the severity.

The response of the great powers to the outbreak has been wholly inadequate and driven entirely by geopolitical considerations. In the guise of building emergency testing and treatment facilities, the Obama administration dispatched several thousand soldiers to Liberia, exploiting the crisis as a means of gaining a military foothold on the African continent.

While foreign troops have been deployed to construct Ebola treatment centers, the responsibility for staffing these facilities has been left to an ad hoc grouping of NGOs, missionaries and local workers. The underfunded and corrupt national governments in West Africa are relying on NGOs such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF—Doctors Without Borders), which has provided volunteer doctors and nurses and employs thousands of local workers to undertake much of the most hazardous work, such as handling and burying the dead.

MSF released a statement on Tuesday in which it condemned the limited response to the crisis in West Africa by Western governments as “slow and uneven.” Dr. Joanne Liu, international director of MSF, criticized the decision to leave much of the direct response up to volunteers and untrained local workers. “It is extremely disappointing that states with biological-disaster response capacities have chosen not to utilize them,” she said. “How is it that the international community has left the response to Ebola—now a transnational threat—to doctors, nurses and charity workers?”

Working conditions for doctors, nurses, as well as other workers, are physically and mentally taxing and the risk of transmission of Ebola from patients to health care workers is high. Through the end of November a total of 622 health care workers have been infected with Ebola, and of these, 346 have died.

On November 25, burial workers in the city of Kenema in southeastern Sierra Leone went on strike and dumped 15 bodies around the local hospital in protest against the nonpayment of two months’ extra risk payments promised by the government. Earlier in the month, 400 health care workers at an Ebola treatment center in Bandajuma in eastern Sierra Leone went on strike over the same issue.

While the Ebola crisis continues to rage in West Africa still largely out of control, the issue has been all but been dropped by the American political establishment and US media coverage has largely disappeared in the wake of November’s midterm elections.

No new cases of Ebola either contracted overseas or transmitted in the United States have been reported since the end of October. The media frenzy over the transmission of Ebola to several nurses in Texas and an attempt to enforce a quarantine on an asymptomatic nurse, who had returned from treating Ebola victims in Africa, were driven by political calculations by both the Democrats and Republicans prior to the elections. Meanwhile, the approval by Congress of a proposed $6.3 billion in emergency funding for combating the Ebola virus remains in doubt.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/04/ebol-d04.html

In US-Supported Egypt, 188 Protesters Are Sentenced to Die Days After Mubarak is Effectively Freed

By Glenn Greenwald

 Featured photo - In US-Supported Egypt, 188 Protesters Are Sentenced to Die Days After Mubarak is Effectively Freed

December 03, 2014 “ICH” – “The Intercept” – Ever since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coup against the country’s elected president, Mohamed Morsi, the coup regime has become increasingly repressive, brutal and lawless. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, the Obama administration has become increasingly supportive of the despot in Cairo, plying his regime with massive amounts of money and weapons and praising him (in the words of John Kerry) for “restoring democracy.” Following recent meetings with Sisi by Bill and Hillary Clinton (pictured above), and then Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, Obama himself met with the dictator in late September and “touted the longstanding relationship between the United States and Egypt as a cornerstone of American security policy in the Middle East.”

All of this occurs even as, in the words of a June report from Human Rights Watch, the Sisi era has included the “worst incident of mass unlawful killings in Egypt’s recent history” and “judicial authorities have handed down unprecedented large-scale death sentences and security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.” The New York Times editorialized last month that “Egypt today is in many ways more repressive than it was during the darkest periods of the reign of deposed strongman Hosni Mubarak.”

As heinous as it has been, the Sisi record has worsened considerably in the last week. On Friday, an Egyptian court dismissed all charges against the previous U.S.-supported Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak stemming from the murder of 239 democracy protesters in 2011. The ruling also cleared his interior minister and six other aides. It also cleared him and his two sons of corruption charges, while upholding a corruption charge that will almost certainly entail no further prison time. The ruling wasbased on a mix of conspiracy theories and hyper-technical and highly dubious legal findings.

But while Mubarak and his cronies are immunized for their savage crimes, 188 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who participated in anti-Sisi protests that led to the deaths of 11 police officers, were handed death sentences today en masse. As the New York Times notes, it was “the third such mass sentencing in less than a year,” and was handed down despite “no effort to prove that any individual defendant personally killed any of the officers; that more than 100 of the defendants were not allowed to have lawyers; and that scores of defense witnesses were excluded from the courtroom.” The judge ordering these mass executions was the same cretinous judicial officer who, over the summer, sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to seven to ten years in prison.

The implications are obvious. Reuters today reports that the Mubarak acquittal is widely seen as the final proof of the full return of the Mubarak era, as the crushing of the 2011 revolution. Political Science Professor As’ad AbuKhalil argues, convincingly, that re-imposing dictatorial rule in Egypt to mercilessly crush the Muslim Brotherhood is what the U.S., Israel and the Saudi-led Gulf monarchs have craved since the unrest in 2011. With the Gulf monarch’s rift with Brotherhood-supporting Qatar now resolved, all relevant powers are united behind full restoration of the tyranny that controlled Egypt for decades.

Beyond the political meaning, the two starkly different judicial rulings demonstrate that judicial independence in Egypt is a farce, that courts are blatantly used for political ends to serve the interests of the regime, harshly punishing its political opponents and protecting its allies:

Rights advocates argued that the juxtaposition — hyper-scrupulousness in the case of the former president, a rush to the gallows for the Islamist defendants — captured the systematic bias of the Egyptian courts.

“It is just one more piece of evidence that the judiciary is just a political tool the government uses to prosecute its enemies and free the people it wants to be freed,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director of the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch.

In one sense, it would be nice for the U.S. Government to condemn all of this, and even better if they cut off support for the regime as punishment. But in another, more meaningful sense, such denunciation would be ludicrous, given what enthusiastic practitioners U.S. officials are of similar methods.

Fully protecting high-level lawbreakers – even including torturers and war criminals – is an Obama specialty, a vital aspect of his legacy. A two-tiered justice system – where the most powerful financial and political criminals are fully shielded while ordinary crimes are punished with repugnant harshness – is the very definition of the American judicial process, which imprisons more of its ordinary citizens than any other country in the world, even as it fully immunizes its most powerful actors for far more egregious crimes.

Indeed, in justifying his refusal to condemn the dropping of charges against Mubarak, Sisi seemed to take a page from Obama’s own rhetorical playbook. Egypt must “look to the future” and “cannot ever go back,” he said when cynically invoking judicial independence as his reason for not condemning the pro-Mubarak ruling. The parallels to Obama’s own justifications for not prosecuting U.S. torturers and other war criminals – “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” – are self-evident.

It may be true that U.S. courts don’t simultaneously sentence hundreds of political protesters to die en masse, but the U.S. government is in no position to lecture anyone on the indiscriminate and criminal use of violence for political ends. As of today, Obama officials can officially celebrate the War on Terror’s 500th targeted killing far from any battlefield (450 of which occurred under Obama), strikes which have killed an estimated 3,674 people. As CFR’s Micah Zenko put it, “it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity.”

Condemnation of Egyptian tyranny has always been an uncomfortable matter for U.S. officials given how they long used Mubarak’s favorite torturers to extract information from detainees in their custody. Indeed, once Mubarak’s downfall became inevitable, the Obama administration worked to ensure that his replacement would be the CIA’s long-time torturing and rendition partner, close Mubarak ally Omar Suleiman. And, just by the way, the U.S. also imprisoned an Al Jazeera journalist – in Guantanamo – for seven years until casually letting him go as though nothing had happened.

It seemed like just yesterday that American media outlets were pretending to be on the side of the Tahrir Square demonstrates, all while suppressing the unpleasant fact that the dictator against which they were marching was one of the U.S. government’s longest and closest allies, a murderous tyrant about whom Hillary Clinton said: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family.” It’s an extraordinary feat of propaganda that all of that has been washed away – again – and the U.S. is right back to acting as stalwart ally to a repressive and incredibly violent dictator sitting in Cairo doing its bidding.

Photos: Clintons with Sisi: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Email the author: glenn.greenwald@theintercept.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40378.htm

Egyptian dictator al-Sisi signs military, economic deals in Paris

By Kumaran Ira

3 December 2014

In his first trip to Europe, beginning last week in Rome, Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stopped in Paris on November 26-27, holding talks with Socialist Party (PS) President François Hollande, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, top officials including the speakers of both houses of parliament, and French business leaders.

The French and Italian governments hailed Sisi, who slaughtered thousands of protesters on the streets of Cairo during his July 2013 coup against Muslim Brotherhood (MB) President Mohamed Mursi, as a strategic partner. It was an explicit green light from European imperialist powers for Sisi to continue using mass killings to terrorize political opposition in Egypt and delay a renewed revolutionary upsurge in the working class.

Sisi’s trip to Paris came as tens of thousands of political prisoners and their families mounted a hunger strike against the Egyptian junta, and steel workers struck for back pay. The Sisi junta has killed over 1,400 people and jailed over 15,000. Sisi has banned the MB and sentenced over 500 of its members to death in mass show trials, while imposing austerity measures on the working class including massive fuel price increases.

The Hollande administration made clear that it supported the policies of Egypt’s Pinochet. Before Sisi’s visit, an anonymous source close to Hollande told the press: “Yes, we consider Sisi to be legitimate. But there’s a lot to talk about.”

Initial reports claimed that Hollande would address issues of democratic rights while meeting Sisi on November 26. The Reporters Without Borders NGO sent a letter to Hollande, asking him to raise the “crackdown in a shocking manner on journalists in the name of combating terrorism.”

None of these issues were discussed, however, when Hollande warmly received Sisi at the Elysée Presidential palace, focusing on economic and military cooperation. After talks with Sisi, Hollande praised Egypt as a “great country and a big partner for France.”

“We hope that this process, this process of democratic transition will continue, respecting the road map that will fully allow for the success of Egypt,” Hollande said at a joint news conference.

Hollande’s cynical remarks came as Alexandria courts handed jail sentences of two to five years to a group of juveniles, aged 13 to 17, for belonging to “an outlawed group,” after they participated in protests called by the Muslim Brotherhood calling for the fall of the Sisi junta.

The talks also dealt with economy, military and security cooperation. Al-Sisi said his talks with Hollande were “fruitful” and reflected a common consensus between Paris and Cairo on bilateral, regional and international relations.

Hollande revealed that he had signed economic agreements worth hundreds of millions in Egypt, including a €700 million Suez Canal deal and the refurbishing of Cairo’s subway system. On the second day of his trip, the Egyptian delegation met top French business officials.

Despite its cynical efforts to somewhat distance itself from the crimes of the Sisi junta, Paris is continuing to arm the bloodstained Egyptian military to the teeth. French shipbuilder DCNS has signed a €1 billion contract to furnish four corvettes to the Egyptian Navy. The two countries are also discussing the renewal of Egypt’s stock of French-built Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

“This deal opens doors because it is prompting enormous interest in the Gulf countries,” a French government source added.

Sisi and Hollande also discussed cooperating in the “war on terror,” with Hollande insisting, “We have to act together to fight terrorism.”

“Egypt is a country affected by terrorism, both in the past and in the present, and particularly in the Sinai Peninsula,” Hollande said. “In southern Libya terrorists are taking root, which would threaten and already threatens the entire region. We have all the proof.”

Hollande’s bogus claims to be waging a “war on terror” are a fraudulent pretext for aggressively advancing French imperialist interests in the Middle East and Africa, where it is fighting a war in Mali and threatening to mount a renewed invasion of Libya.

The bloody chaos and the growth of Islamist terrorism in Libya is a direct product of NATO’s bloody military intervention in 2011, after mass working class uprisings toppled pro-imperialist regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. The NATO powers, prominently including France, bombed Libya and recklessly armed Islamist opposition militias in order to oust Gaddafi and pillage Libya’s oil and financial wealth.

The goal of these wars, like that of Sisi’s coup itself, is to terrorize and intimidate the working class, in a region where workers have already toppled two bloody dictators. Hollande’s reference to the terrorist threat in the poverty-stricken Sinai Peninsula—which has seen a reign of terror unleashed by the Sisi regime junta, imposing martial law, arbitrary arrests, forced eviction of thousands of people after demolishing their homes

Hollande and al-Sisi claimed that they agreed on the need to establish a peace process between Palestine and Israel, after both governments backed the Israeli assault on Gaza that took the lives of thousands of Palestinians during the summer. The PS took the unusual move of banning outright protests against the Gaza war.

Hollande cynically declared, “We must set out again to demonstrate the necessity of negotiations to seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” In fact, this fraudulent “peace plan” aims to maintain the subjugation of Palestinian territory to the dictates of Israel and its imperialist allies, while dividing the Arab and Jewish working class along ethnic lines.

On November 27, al-Sisi visited the French National Assembly, surrounded by an honor guard, where he met with PS legislators including its majority leader Claude Bartolone, who hailed Sisi’s pro-business reforms against the Egyptian working class.

The National Assembly voted 339 to 151 to approve a resolution recognising the Palestinian state yesterday. The Senate is due to vote on the resolution on December 11.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/03/freg-d03.html

The acquittal of Hosni Mubarak

1 December 2014

The acquittal Saturday of deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on charges of corruption and state murder is a statement by the regime of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that it intends to carry through the counterrevolution and make the restoration of military dictatorship permanent.

The whitewashing of Mubarak’s role in the killing of 846 people and wounding of 6,000 by police snipers and thugs during the revolutionary upsurge that toppled him in 2011 is part of the drive by the bourgeoisie and its supporters in the upper-middle class to crush the resistance of the Egyptian working class. “It is very common to find [news] anchors openly saying that 25 January was a ‘conspiracy that the West plotted,’” one foreign diplomat in Cairo told Al Ahram. Another said that officials of Egypt’s political parties now believe “Mubarak was a good man who made a few mistakes.”

Outside Tahrir Square, which security forces sealed before the verdict was announced, police attacked a protest of several thousand people with water cannon and live ammunition, killing two and wounding nine.

Like all great revolutionary upheavals, the Egyptian revolution has passed through definite stages. The revolution began with a massive upsurge of the working class against the Mubarak dictatorship, a key instrument of US imperialism and Israeli policy in the Middle East. In Egypt as in previous revolutions, the bourgeoisie responded in the initial stages by seeking to adapt itself to the mass movement, buying time and reorganizing its forces while it prepared the counter-offensive.

At this stage, democratic slogans generally prevail, and so it was in the initial days after the upsurge that began in Egypt on January 25, 2011. The Egyptian ruling class and its sponsors in Washington sought to keep Mubarak in power, vaguely promising democratic reforms. When bloody repression failed to crush the mass upsurge, in which the working class began to emerge as the major social force, US imperialism and the Egyptian bourgeoisie reluctantly removed Mubarak and installed a new, supposedly more “democratic,” military regime in the form of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

The liberal bourgeoisie, represented by figures such as Mohamed El-Baradei, backed the new regime. It was joined by petty-bourgeois organizations such as the Revolutionary Socialists, who rallied behind the new military rulers and even vouched for their “democratic” intentions.

But this initial tactical shift failed to put an end to the revolutionary upsurge. The ruling class and Washington turned to the Muslim Brotherhood and engineered the coming to power as president of its candidate Mohamed Mursi. The Revolutionary Socialists and similar organizations of the privileged middle classes now came behind the Muslim Brotherhood, promoting its accession to power as a “victory” for the revolution.

The right-wing policies of the bourgeois Islamist regime only fueled the anger of the working class. In 2013, the Egyptian proletariat waged a stormy offensive against Mursi. While 2011 had seen over 1,000 strikes and protests, five times more than in the years before the revolution, the first half of 2013 alone saw 5,500.

The ruling class reacted by exploiting the political confusion of the masses, in the absence of a revolutionary Marxist leadership, to prepare a counterrevolutionary strike in the guise of a popular uprising against Mursi. Groups such as the Revolutionary Socialists, petrified by the mounting wave of working class struggles, played a critical role in promoting the military-backed Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement, which called for the military to remove Mursi from power.

The Revolutionary Socialists and other supposedly “left” groups that initially opposed Mubarak joined the liberals in supporting the July 3, 2013 coup led by al-Sisi, who proceeded to massacre thousands of anti-coup protesters in the streets, arrest tens of thousands more, and impose sweeping energy price hikes on the working class.

The acquittal of Mubarak is the outcome of this counterrevolutionary offensive, the aim of which is to restore military rule, utilizing if anything even more brutal methods than under Mubarak.

Once again, the counterrevolutionary role of the bourgeoisie, in the former colonial countries no less than in the imperialist centers, has been demonstrated. So has the impossibility of realizing the democratic aspirations of the masses outside of a revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the working class against all factions of the bourgeoisie on the basis of a program for workers’ power and socialism, and an international strategy linking the revolution in any one country to the world socialist revolution.

Inevitably in the course of a revolution, whatever the initial democratic pretensions of the bourgeoisie, the problems that drove the masses into struggle come to the fore. They seek to gain something from the struggles they have waged, while the opposition of the ruling elites to all such demands acquires an ever more vicious form. To the extent that the masses have not worked through the political challenges facing the revolution, social reaction gains strength and reconquers the positions it had lost.

The bitter experience to date of the Egyptian revolution has brought to the fore the most critical problem facing the working class not only in Egypt, but internationally—the crisis of revolutionary leadership.

Even the most enormous upsurge of the oppressed masses cannot by itself secure the basic demands and interests of the working class. The ruling classes and their agents—such as the pseudo-left organizations of the privileged middle class—are able to take advantage of the political confusion in the working class that is the result of the historic betrayals carried out by its old bureaucratic leaderships—Stalinist, social democratic, trade union.

A revolutionary party with deep roots in the working class must be built to direct the mass struggles to the conquest of power and the expropriation of the bourgeoise.

The International Committee of the Fourth International understood this very well and warned from the earliest days of the Egyptian revolution of the necessity for an independent perspective and organization of the working class. In a Perspective column published February 10, 2011 on the World Socialist Web Site, we wrote:

“The revolutionary Marxists must counsel workers against all illusions that their democratic aspirations can be achieved under the aegis of bourgeois parties. They must expose ruthlessly the false promises of the political representatives of the capitalist class. They must encourage the creation of independent organs of workers’ power which can become, as the political struggle intensifies, the basis for the transfer of power to the working class. They must explain that the realization of the workers’ essential democratic demands is inseparable from the implementation of socialist policies.

“Above all, revolutionary Marxists must raise the political horizons of Egyptian workers beyond the borders of their own country. They must explain that the struggles that are now unfolding in Egypt are inextricably linked to an emerging global process of world socialist revolution, and that the victory of the revolution in Egypt requires not a national, but an international strategy… In this global struggle, the greatest and indispensable ally of the Egyptian masses is the international working class.”

These lines have been absolutely vindicated. The bitter experience of the Egyptian revolution must become the impetus to undertake the struggle to build the necessary revolutionary leadership in the working class. The decisive question facing the working class in Egypt and in every country is the construction of sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International.

Alex Lantier

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/01/pers-d01.html