Egypt: One Million to march in Cairo, Trade Unions Federate


As protests continue in Egypt the people are becoming more organised and creating their own structures. After a few days of unsuccessfully trying to smash the movement for change through violent repression, the police were withdrawn from the streets and the army ordered in. The largely conscript army however was unwilling to use violence against the population, whom the majority of soldiers clearly sympathise with.

The government gambled that the resulting breakdown of law and order and looting, chaos and violence on the streets from criminals and the desperate as well as covert state elements would result in people rushing back into the arms of the state for protection. But something else happened; people began organising, policing their own neighbourhoods, directing traffic, caring for neighbours. The best elements of humanity co-existed with the worst and the people began to claim their city from the state and those who were taking advantage of the chaos.  The regime's gamble did not pay off, and the people feel more empowered.

The Trade union movement has also begun to take action with a new Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions formed and the announcement of a decision to set a date for a general strike. (See statement below)

The April 6th youth movement has called for a million person demonstartion in Cairo for Tuesday to topple the regime. The pressure on the regime is massive, it's end is neigh, but the question now is what comes next? The formation of the Union Federation is a positive development and hopefully a general strike will help both put the final nail in Mubarak's coffin and also give the working class a sense of what is possible.

Press Release from Egyptian Trade Unionists - Date: Sunday, 30 January 2011

"Today, representatives of the of the Egyptian labor movement, made up of the independent Egyptian trade unions of workers in real estate tax collection, the retirees, the technical health professionals and representatives of the important industrial areas in Egypt: Helwan, Mahalla al-Kubra, the tenth of Ramadan city, Sadat City and workers from the various industrial and economic sectors such as: garment & textiles, metals industry, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, government employees, iron and steel, automotive, etc… And they agreed to hold a press conference at 3:30pm this afternoon in Tahrir Square next to Omar Effendi Company store in downtown Cairo to announce the organization of the new Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions and to announce the formation of committees in all factories and enterprises to protect, defend them and to set a date for a general strike. And to emphasize that the labor movement is in the heart and soul of the Egyptian Peoples’ revolution and its emphasis on the support for the six requirements as demanded by the Egyptian People's Revolution. To emphasize the economic and democratic demands voiced by the independent labor movement through thousands of strikes, sit-ins and protests by Egyptian workers in the past years."


WORDS: James McBarron