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The assassination of the Prosecutor General: statement by the Revolutionary Socialists

Statement by the Revolutionary Socialists
30 June 2015

Usually the assassination of public figures unleashes a whirlwind of confusion as propaganda and counter-propaganda circulate, conspiracy theories flourish and violence is met with counter-violence. Naturally the assassination of the Prosecutor General, the day before the 30 June has created an unprecedented state of panic and hysteria. The assassinated Prosecutor General is the symbol of the judiciary of the military regime and the coup. This lawyer of the coup played a specific role in all the disasters since July 2013, from the massacre of the Republican Guard Headquarters to the slaughter of protesters at Raba’a and al-Nahda Squares, and many others, including the killing of the Ultras in Zamalek, Shaima’a al-Sabbagh’s murder. He is responsible for hundreds of death sentences and tens of thousands of detainees and the acquittal of the criminals of the Interior Ministry and other security institutions. In all these events one man was the key link in the chain between the military regime and the judiciary: Hisham Barakat who was assassinated on 29 June.

From the point of view of the supporters of the military coup and the counter revolution he symbolises patriotism and protecting the state from collapse: an iron fighter against terrorism, and against all those who conspire against Egypt and her state, her security and stability. Indeed he was the “People’s Lawyer”, as the headlines in the coup’s private and state-owned newspapers loudly proclaimed.

The reactions to the assassination indicated the nature of the political moment in Egypt today, at the beginning of the third year since the coup. Sisi himself gave a speech at the funeral of the “People’s Lawyer”, saying that the blood of the “martyr” would be avenged by the police, the army, the judiciary and the media. “The hands of justice have been shackled by laws”, he added, “but we will revise those laws to deliver justice as swiftly as possible”, confirming that the death sentences will be carried out. In other words, all that is coming is a new wave of murder and repression.

Naturally this triggered a wave of hysterical propaganda with different media outlets baying for blood and demanding executions. Mustafa Bakri called for the announcement of a state of emergency and the expansion of the military courts.

As for the Brotherhood, they keep repeating the same conspiracy theories that the regime itself assassinated the Prosecutor General in order to justify more repression. Behind this analysis lies the assumption that the coup is reeling and about to collapse and its leaders have thus lost their senses.

Of course the leaders of the coup and their media are using the assassination to launch a new wave of repression, murder and lethal violence, not only against the Muslim Brotherhood, but against any opposition to the regime. This is clear from the media and political attacks on activists and human rights defenders, as this is the description which is used to label opponents of the regime who are not Islamists. Any talk of rights today, whether economic, social or of course, political rights will be considered support for terrorism and an attack on the state and the people.

Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat was one of the most important men of the counter-revolution, and played a dirty role in enabling Sisi to transform prosecutors and judges into cheap tools in the hands the army and police generals, erasing even the appearance of judicial independence. The judges were, of course, never independent of the interests of the state and the ruling class, but regime continued to need judges capable of appearing independent and neutral in the eyes of the masses. But in the context of counter-revolution all the masks have fallen and the likes of Hisham Barakat and Minister of Justice Ahmed al-Zend administer justice as if were a branch of the military or the police.

Men like these deserve to be tried in revolutionary tribunals for their crimes against the Egyptian people and their revolution. But terrorism and assassinations will not save us from the nightmare of counter-revolution. Rather, these methods deepen its madness and violence and increase the support of wide sections of the middle class for all kinds of barbaric, repressive measures which will be directed not only against the Brotherhood, but against all protesters and strikers and certainly against all prisoners and detainees.

We saw in the first few hours after the assassination how Sisi and his media rushed to mobilise a new escalation of unprecedented repression. Hisham Barakat will be replaced immediately by one who is even more brutal, ugly and corrupt.

But do we not deserve justice for our martyrs and for the thousands of victims of Hisham Barakat? His assassination will not bring justice, instead it helps our enemies to increase their torture, oppression and murder.

Individual assassinations, and terrorism in general even if they target those who have violated the people’s rights and the revolution, only have the effect of increasing the violence of the counter-revolution at the same time as they increase the frustration among the masses who are longing for a return to the revolutionary path. Someone who assassinates a leader of the counter-revolution, it is as if they are saying to the masses “we have no need of your demonstrations, your sit-ins and your strikes. Stay in your homes and we will finish off this tyrant or corrupt official on our own.” Rather than taking a step forward, we take a step back, and the road to revolution becomes more difficult.

The Revolution of 25 January 2011 confirmed that the only road to revolutionary change is when the masses move themselves in the streets and squares and workplaces. Our weapons are strikes, sit-ins and protests as we organise our ranks in preparation for the coming revolution. Assassinations and bombs only serve the enemies of revolution. The day will come when all those who played a role in the counter-revolution will be judged. All those who killed and tortured and imprisoned and raped. All those who justified, funded and legislated for the military dictatorship. But those tribunals will take place under the supervision of the masses occupying the squares and the factories. There are no shortcuts to retribution. We must fight patiently and consistently to win back our streets and our squares and our revolution, and only when we have achieved this will we see justice.

The Revolutionary Socialists,

30 June 2015