Resisting the policies of impoverishment and exploitation
The rule of counter-revolution moves with insistence towards crushing the lives of the poor and toilers in Egypt. Having already achieved record levels of poverty exceeding 27% of the population, unemployment at 13% and inflation above 14%, the regime has decided to float the Egyptian pound and increase fuel prices on black Thursday, thus multiplying those rates and driving the toiling classes to the abyss.
When a state sees its currency lose over 50% of its value it amounts to an economic catastrophe by any measure. Experts warn that inflation will reach 30% in the first half of 2017, a social catastrophe that will increase poverty in which a quarter of Egyptians already live – that is according to the usually deflated state statistics.
What the counter-revolutionary regime is doing cannot be reduced to a failure in economic management; the decisions that have wreaked havoc on the poor have been complemented with others favouring investors and the rich. As the state imposed the added value tax, greatly increasing prices and the cost of electricity, gas, water and fuel, the high committee for investment led by al-Sisi announced the free gift of land to investors, permanent and temporary tax breaks. This shows a gross bias towards the rich against the poor who are meant to alone bear the weight of the economic crisis that the regime itself created by squandering resources on illusory projects – which did not even cover the cost of their promotional campaigns – as well as deals with Western states to buy political support from them and break its isolation.
This unprecedented attack of the counter-revolutionary regime against the poor must not pass without serious resistance from the poor and the toilers themselves. The consequences of IMF policies are not a secret to anyone, they have ruined the lower and middle classes where they were applied, whether in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Greece and other countries whose poor and workers the IMF has wrecked.
Struggling unions and popular political forces in those countries have played a pioneering role in resisting IMF policies and their catastrophic effects. In Egypt, in spite of all the difficulties faced by the union movement as well as left and democratic political forces, the unions have constituted a real challenge to the counter-revolutionary regime in recent years. The independent civil servants’ union, the independent teachers’ union, the doctors, journalists, pharmacists, engineers, lawyers and other independent workers’ unions and syndicates have mobilised their rank-and-file to defend their interests under the worst conditions.
Today, the unions along with struggling political forces must lead society and with it the poor and the workers to confront the regime’s savage attack on their lives.
What has been achieved until now in the fight for Tiran and Sanafir with the success of the protest movement in halting their handover to Saudi Arabia, and good chances of a definite cancellation of that deal of shame shows that victories are possible against the regime of the counter-revolution if militants and the poor unite their ranks against the policies of impoverishment and exploitation.
The Revolutionary Socialists
8 November 2016