Fidel Castro on NATO’S Inevitable War in Libya

In contrast with what is happening in Egypt and Tunisia, Libya occupies the first spot on the Human Development Index for Africa and it has the highest life expectancy on the continent. Education and health receive special attention from the State.  The cultural level of its population is without a doubt the highest.  Its problems are of a different sort.  The population wasn’t lacking food and essential social services.  The country needed an abundant foreign labour force to carry out ambitious plans for production and social development.

For that reason, it provided jobs for hundreds of thousands of workers from Egypt, Tunisia, China and other countries.  It had enormous incomes and reserves in convertible currencies deposited in the banks of the wealthy countries from which they acquired consumer goods and even sophisticated weapons that were supplied exactly by the same countries that today want to invade it in the name of human rights.

Colossal Campaign of Lies

The colossal campaign of lies, unleashed by the mass media, resulted in great confusion in world public opinion.  Some time will go by before we can reconstruct what has really happened in Libya, and we can separate the true facts from the false ones that have been spread.

Serious and prestigious broadcasting companies such as Telesur, saw themselves with the obligation to send reporters and cameramen to the activities of one group and those on the opposing side, so that they could inform about what was really happening.

Communications were blocked, honest diplomatic officials were risking their lives going through neighbourhoods and observing activities, day and night, in order to inform about what was going on.  The empire and its main allies used the most sophisticated media to divulge information about the events, among which one had to deduce the shreds of the truth.

Without any doubt, the faces of the young people who were protesting in Benghazi, men, and women wearing the veil or without the veil, were expressing genuine indignation.

One is able to see the influence that the tribal component still exercises on that Arab country, despite the Muslim faith that 95% of its population sincerely shares.

Taking Advantage of Internal Conflict in Libya

Imperialism and NATO ‒ seriously concerned by the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world, where a large part of the oil is generated that sustains the consumer economy of the developed and rich countries ‒ could not help but take advantage of the internal conflict arising in Libya so that they could promote military intervention.  The statements made by the United States administration right from the first instant were categorical in that sense.

The circumstances could not be more propitious.  In the November elections, the Republican right-wing struck a resounding blow on President Obama, an expert in rhetoric.

The fascist “mission accomplished” group, now backed ideologically by the extremists of the Tea Party, reduced the possibilities of the current president to a merely decorative role in which even his health program and the dubious economic recovery were in danger as a result of the budget deficit and the uncontrollable growth of the public debt which were breaking all historical records.

Rebel Leaders Reject Foreign Military Intervention

In spite of the flood of lies and the confusion that was created, the US could not drag China and the Russian Federation to the approval by the Security Council for a military intervention in Libya, even though it managed to obtain  however, in the Human Rights Council, approval of the objectives it was seeking at that moment.  In regards to a military intervention, the Secretary of State stated in words that admit not the slightest doubt: “no option is being ruled out”.

The real fact is that Libya is now wrapped up in a civil war, as we had foreseen, and the United Nations could do nothing to avoid it, other than its own Secretary General sprinkling the fire with a goodly dose of fuel.

The problem that perhaps the actors were not imagining is that the very leaders of the rebellion were bursting into the complicated matter declaring that they were rejecting all foreign military intervention.

Various news agencies informed that Abdelhafiz Ghoga, spokesperson for the Committee of the Revolution stated on Monday the 28th that “‘The rest of Libya shall be liberated by the Libyan people'”.

“We are counting on the army to liberate Tripoli’ assured Ghoga during the announcement of the formation of a ‘National Council’ to represent the cities of the country in the hands of the insurrection.”

“‘What we want is intelligence information, but in no case that our sovereignty is affected in the air, on land or on the seas’, he added during an encounter with journalists in this city located 1000 kilometres to the east of Tripoli.”

“The intransigence of the people responsible for the opposition on national sovereignty was reflecting the opinion being spontaneously manifested by many Libyan citizens to the international press in Benghazi”, informed a dispatch of the AFP agency this past Monday.

“We Know What Happened In Iraq”

That same day, a political sciences professor at the University of Benghazi, Abeir Imneina, stated:

“There is very strong national feeling in Libya.”

“‘Furthermore, the example of Iraq strikes fear in the Arab world as a whole’, she underlined, in reference to the American invasion of 2003 that was supposed to bring democracy to that country and then, by contagion, to the region as a whole, a hypothesis totally belied by the facts.”

The professor goes on:

“‘We know what happened in Iraq, it’s that it is fully unstable and we really don’t want to follow the same path.  We don’t want the Americans to come to have to go crying to Gaddafi’, this expert continued.”

“But according to Abeir Imneina, ‘there also exists the feeling that this is our revolution, and that it is we who have to make it’.”

A few hours after this dispatch was printed, two of the main press bodies of the United States, The New York Times and The Washington Post, hastened to offer new versions on the subject; the DPA agency informs on this on the following day, March the first: “The Libyan opposition could request that the West bomb from the air strategic positions of the forces loyal to President Muamar al Gaddafi, the US press informed today.”

“The subject is being discussed inside the Libyan Revolutionary Council, ‘The New York Times’ and ‘The Washington Post’ specified in their online versions.”

“‘The New York Times’ notes that these discussions reveal the growing frustration of the rebel leaders in the face of the possibility that Gaddafi should retake power”.

“In the event that air actions are carried out within the United Nations framework, these would not imply international intervention, explained the council’s spokesperson, quoted by The New York Times”.

“The council is made up of lawyers, academics, judges and prominent members of Libyan society.”

The dispatch states:

“‘The Washington Post’ quoted rebels acknowledging that, without Western backing, combat with the forces loyal to Gaddafi could last a long time and cost many human lives.”

Who are These “Prominent Members of Society” Demanding Bombing in Order to Kill Libyans?

It is noteworthy that in that regard, not one single worker, peasant or builder is mentioned, not anyone related to material production or any young student or combatant among those who take part in the demonstrations.  Why the effort to present the rebels as prominent members of society demanding bombing by the US and NATO in order to kill Libyans?

Some day we shall know the truth, through persons such as the political sciences professor from the University of Benghazi who, with such eloquence, tells of the terrible experience that killed, destroyed homes, left millions of persons in Iraq without jobs or forced them to emigrate.

Today on Wednesday, the second of March, the EFE Agency presents the well-known rebel spokesperson making statements that, in my opinion, affirm and at the same time contradict those made on Monday: “Benghazi (Libya), March 2.  The rebel Libyan leadership today asked the UN Security Council to launch an air attack ‘against the mercenaries’ of the Muamar el Gaddafi regime.”

“‘Our Army cannot launch attacks against the mercenaries, due to their defensive role’, stated the spokesperson for the rebels, Abdelhafiz Ghoga, at a press conference in Benghazi.”

“‘A strategic air attack is different from a foreign intervention which we reject’, emphasized the spokesperson for the opposition forces which at all times have shown themselves to be against a foreign military intervention in the Libyan conflict”.

Which One of the Many Imperialist Wars Would This Look Like?

Which One of the Many Imperialist Wars Would This Look Like? The one in Spain in 1936? Mussolini’s against Ethiopia in 1935? George W. Bush’s against Iraq in the year 2003 or any other of the dozens of wars promoted by the United States against the peoples of the Americas, from the invasion of Mexico in 1846 to the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982?

Without excluding, of course, the mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs, the dirty war and the blockade of our Homeland throughout 50 years, that will have another anniversary next April 16th.

In all those wars, like that of Vietnam which cost millions of lives, the most cynical justifications and measures prevailed.

For anyone harbouring any doubts, about the inevitable military intervention that shall occur in Libya, the AP news agency, which I consider to be well-informed, headlined a cable printed today which stated: “The NATO countries are drawing up a contingency plan taking as its model the flight exclusion zones established over the Balkans in the 1990s, in the event that the international community decides to impose an air embargo over Libya, diplomats said”.

Further on it concludes: “Officials, who were not able to give their names due to the delicate nature of the matter, indicated that the opinions being observed start with the flight exclusion zone that the western military alliance imposed over Bosnia in 1993 that had the mandate of the Security Council, and with the NATO bombing in Kosovo in 1999, THAT DID NOT HAVE IT”.

When at just 27 years old Gaddafi, colonel in the Libyan army, inspired by his Egyptian colleague Abdel Nasser, overthrew King Idris I in 1969, he applied important revolutionary measures such as agrarian reform and the nationalization of oil. The growing incomes were dedicated to economic and social development, particularly education and health services for the reduced Libyan population living in the immense desert territory with very little available farm land.

Beneath that desert was an immense deep ocean of fossil waters.  I had the impression, when I learned about an experimental farming area, that this would be more beneficial in the future than oil.

Religion, preached with the fervour that characterizes the Muslim peoples, was helping in part to balance the strong tribal tendency that still survives in that Arab country.

The Libyan revolutionaries drew up and applied their own ideas in regards to the legal and political institutions which Cuba, as a norm, respected.

We refrained completely from giving opinions about the conceptions of the Libyan leadership.

Basic US Concern is Not Libya but the Revolutionary Wave Being Unleashed in the Arab World

We see clearly that the basic concern of the United States and NATO is not Libya, but the revolutionary wave being unleashed in the Arab world, something they would like to prevent at any cost.

It is an irrefutable fact that relations between the US and its NATO allies with Libya in recent years were excellent, before the rebellions loomed up in Egypt and Tunisia.

At senior level meetings between Libya and the NATO leaders, nobody had any problems with Gaddafi.  The country was a sure supply source of top-quality oil, gas and even potassium.  The problems arising between them during the first decades had been overcome.

Strategic sectors such as oil production and distribution opened their doors to foreign investment.

Privatization reached many public corporations.  The World Monetary Fund exercised its beatific role in the orchestration of these operations.

As logic would have it, Aznar piled lavish praise on Gaddafi and on the heels of Blair, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Zapatero and even my friend the King of Spain, they paraded under the mocking gaze of the Libyan leader.  They were happy.

Although it may appear that I am being facetious, that’s not the case; I merely wonder why they now want to invade Libya and haul Gaddafi up in front of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

They are accusing him, 24 hours a day, of shooting against unarmed demonstrating citizens.  Why don’t they explain to the world that the weapons, and especially all the sophisticated repressive equipment Libya possesses, were provided by the United States, Great Britain and the other illustrious hosts of Gaddafi?

Cynicism and Lies

I am against the cynicism and the lies that they are now using in an attempt to justify the invasion and occupation of Libya.

The last time I visited Gaddafi was in May of 2001, 15 years after Reagan attacked his rather modest residence where he took me to show me how it had been left.  It received a direct air hit and was considerable destroyed; his little three-year-old daughter died in the attack: she was murdered by Ronald Reagan.  There was no prior agreement by NATO, the Human Rights Council, not even the Security Council.

My earlier visit had taken place in 1977, eight years after the start of the Libyan revolutionary process.  I visited Tripoli; I participated in the Libyan Peoples’ Congress in Sebha; I toured the first experimental farms using the waters extracted from the immense sea of fossil water; I saw Benghazi and I received a warm reception.  This was a legendary country that had been the stage for historic battles in the last world war.  At the time the population barely reached six million, nor were they aware of the enormous volume of light oil and fossil water. By then the former Portuguese African colonies had been liberated.

In Angola, we had fought for 15 years against the mercenary gangs organized by the United States on tribal bases, the Mobutu government, and the well-armed and trained racist apartheid army.  That army, following instructions of the United States, as we know today, invaded Angola to prevent its independence in 1975, reaching the outskirts of Luanda with their motorized troops. Several Cuban instructors died in that brutal invasion.  With the utmost urgency we sent resources.

Ejected from the country by internationalist Cuban troops and the Angolans, right up to the border with Namibia that was occupied by South Africa, for 13 years the racists received the mission of liquidating the revolutionary process in Angola.

With the backing of the United States and Israel they developed nuclear weapons.  They already had that weapon when Cuban and Angolan troops defeated their land and air forces in Cuito Cuanavale and, confronting the risks, using conventional tactics and weapons, advanced to the Namibian border where the apartheid troops wanted to put up resistance.  Twice in their history our troops have been under the risk of being attacked by these kinds of weapons: in October 1962 and in southern Angola, but on that second occasion, not even using the weapons that South Africa possessed would they have been able to prevent the defeat that marked the end of the odious system.  The events occurred under the Ronald Reagan government in the United States and that of Pieter Botha in South Africa.

No one speaks about that, and about the hundreds of thousands of lives that were the toll of the imperialist exploit.

I regret having to remember these facts when another great risk hovers over the Arab peoples, because they do not resign themselves to continue being the victims of pillage and oppression.

Arab Revolution Against Privileges

The revolution in the Arab world, so feared by the US and NATO, is the revolution of those who lack all their rights in the face of those who wield all the privileges, thus called the most profound revolution since the one which burst on Europe in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille.

Not even Louis XIV, when he proclaimed that he was the State, had the privileges that King Abdul of Saudi Arabia possesses, and much less than the immense wealth that lies beneath the surface of this practically desert-covered country where Yankee transnationals determine extraction and thus, the price of oil in the world.

Starting with the crisis in Libya, extractions in Saudi Arabia reached a million barrels a day, at a minimal cost and, as a result, for just this reason, the incomes of that country and those controlling it are reaching a billion dollars a day.

Nobody imagines, of course, that the Saudi people are swimming in money.  It is heartrending to read about the living conditions of many of the construction workers and those in other sectors, who are forced to work 13 and 14 hour days for miserable salaries.

Alarmed by the revolutionary wave that is shaking the prevailing system of plunder, after what has happened in Egypt and Tunisia with the workers, but also because of the unemployed youth in Jordan, the occupied territories in Palestine, Yemen and even Bahrain and the Arab Emirates with their higher incomes, the Saudi upper hierarchy is under the impact of these events.

Unlike other times, today the Arab peoples receive almost instant information about what is happening, even if it is being extraordinarily manipulated.

The worst thing for the status quo of the privileged sectors is that the stubborn events are coinciding with a considerable increase in the price of foods and the devastating effect of climate change, while the US, the biggest producer of corn in the world, uses up 40 percent of that subsidized product and a large part of soy to produce biofuel to feed automobiles.  Surely Lester Brown, the American ecologist who is the best-informed on agricultural products, can give us an idea about the current food situation.

Bolivarian President Hugo Chávez is making a brave attempt to seek a solution without NATO intervention in Libya.  His possibilities of reaching his objective would be increased if he would attain the feat of creating a broad movement of opinion before and not after the intervention happens, and the peoples don’t see a repetition in other countries of the atrocious Iraqi experience.

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Strikes, Workers’ Protests Spread Throughout Egypt

Large numbers of workers in Egypt’s main cities staged strikes and street demonstrations yesterday for higher wages, better working conditions, and the removal of corrupt managers of state-owned enterprise promoted under former President Hosni Mubarak. The movement of the working class is developing in defiance of the ruling military command, which has stridently demanded an end to all industrial action.

The junta, headed by Mubarak’s henchmen Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi and Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, declared an unscheduled public holiday yesterday, apparently in an attempt to defuse the strike wave. The military also declared today a public holiday.

Workers across many industries nevertheless mobilised yesterday, in both the public and private sectors. One BBC journalist commented, “There appears to be a whole series of mini-revolutions going on in the wake of the removal of Mr. Mubarak”.

The Central Bank of Egypt ordered that banks throughout the country be closed because of a strike by workers in the National Bank of Egypt (NBE), the largest state bank. Hundreds of workers demonstrated outside NBE’s headquarters, reportedly demanding that temporary workers be granted permanent positions. “It’s part of the revolution,” the bank’s chairman, Tarek Amer, told the Associated Press. “They believe that it’s an opportunity—if they had any complaints and demands—and that there’s a higher probability of getting them answered.”

Thousands of oil and gas workers employed by several companies are on strike and staged a protest yesterday in the Nasr City district of Cairo, outside the Ministry of Petroleum. According to blogger Hossam el-Hamalawy: “The workers have several economic and political demands, including putting an end to abusive management practices such as sacking workers who speak up for their rights, reinstating the sacked workers, raising salaries that roughly average LE400 [$68], establishing an independent union, impeaching the corrupt oil minister Sameh Fahmy, and stopping gas exports to Israel.”

Also in Cairo, hundreds of public transport workers demanded higher wages outside the state television and radio building. One of the workers, Ahmed Said, who has worked as a driver for 18 years, told the Guardian that more than half of his wages goes toward paying rent and he is forced to feed his family of five on the rest. “There is just enough money for food… If a child goes to the hospital and we have to pay for that, then me and my wife do not have a meal. This is wrong. How can Mubarak be worth so much and we have so little? Before, we had to be careful. We would be arrested. But now we can talk. We need food. We have been on strike four days. The army cannot stop us.”

Hundreds of ambulance paramedics demanding better pay parked about 70 vehicles in a row on a roadside along the Nile River in Giza district. Employees at a key Cairo traffic tunnel threatened to shut down the route if their wages weren’t raised. Several hundred people employed by the state Youth and Sports Organisation also demonstrated in Tahrir Square for improved working conditions.

Among other reported struggles, workers with state airline EgyptAir went on strike at Cairo International Airport and successfully demanded that the company’s head, Alaa Ashour, be removed. About 500 employees of the Opera House have similarly accused the organisation’s chairman of corruption and demanded his removal. Workers with the education ministry in Cairo’s satellite 6th of October City also protested yesterday, demanding higher wages, permanent contracts for temporary workers, and the removal of the ministry director.

The action was supported by several students. Kholoud Abdallah, from a secondary vocational school, told Al Ahram, “We have no books, no computers and we require these for study.”

There were also reports of continued strikes by textile, steel, and post office state workers.

Several hundred people also staged a demonstration outside the Mubarak regime’s official trade union body, the Trade and Workers Federation, demanding that the federation’s board be dissolved. Union bureaucrats inside the building reportedly exchanged volleys of bricks and bottles with demonstrators outside, before they were separated by soldiers.

Outside of Cairo, workers went on strike at the enormous Sukari gold mine, near the southern town of Marsa Alam. Near the Great Pyramids, about 150 tourism industry employees protested for higher wages.

The Associated Press also reported that in Beni Sweif, an impoverished city south of Cairo, “thousands demanded the distribution of promised state-built, low-cost apartments that are often awarded on the basis of nepotism”. Police admitted that local people have occupied 60,000 empty units of such housing in the provinces of Cairo, Beni Sweif and Qalioubiya.

Police officers demanding higher wages staged a provocative demonstration in Tahrir Square yesterday morning. About 2,000 anti-Mubarak protestors held a counter-demonstration against the widely hated police, but Al Jazeera and other media outlets were forbidden from broadcasting any footage from the square. This censorship appears to be part of the military’s effort to remove all the protestors from Tahrir Square and project an image of a return to “normality”.

Another mass rally, however, dubbed a “victory march” has been called for Friday.

The military council issued a statement yesterday demanding an end to the strikes. “Noble Egyptians sees that these strikes, at this delicate time, lead to negative effects such as harming the security of the country which causes disruption in all institutions and facilities of the state,” a military spokesman declared. “[Strikes] negatively affect the ability to provide for the needs of citizens and disrupt the process of production and work in state sectors … and they negatively affect the national economy.”

This statement comes after an army official told Reuters that the military leadership intended to ban union meetings, effectively forbidding strikes. It stands as a sharp warning to the working class as to the policies the army hopes to ultimately carry out.

The military has been the central pillar of the Egyptian capitalist state ever since the 1952 Free Officers Coup. Under Mubarak’s IMF-approved “free market” measures, the senior command amassed enormous personal fortunes as the military appropriated vast swathes of privatised state industry and landed property. The workers’ movement for higher wages, jobs, improved living conditions, and democratic rights represents a direct threat to the army hierarchy’s lucrative interests, as well as an implicit challenge to the rule of the entire Egyptian bourgeoisie.

The latest developments underscore the military’s concern over the emerging movement of the working class in the final days of Mubarak’s rule. Mass strikes erupted February 8 and 9, continuing up until Mubarak made his televised speech on February 10 in which it had been expected he would announce his resignation, but instead strove to cling to power.

According to a detailed account published by Al Ahram, the dictator had intended to step down but was persuaded by his wife and son Gamal not to. When this threatened to provoke a further upsurge in the revolutionary movement, the military stepped in and seized power to try to maintain control over the situation.

Notably, none of the official middle class “opposition” parties—including the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed ElBaradei’s National Association for Change—has condemned the military’s threats against the working class. Striving to maintain illusions in the role of the army, these forces have urged an end to the demonstrations and strikes. ElBaradei and his colleagues are now preparing to enter the military regime.

Britain’s Foreign Minister William Hague said yesterday that Egypt’s Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told him that the current government would be reshuffled to include opposition figures by next week. While the successful elevation of these “opposition” forces would open up opportunities for the individuals involved, for the Egyptian working class it would signify no more than providing a civilian fig-leaf for the military government.

Prominent anti-Mubarak activists, Google executive Wael Ghonim and blogger Amr Salamahey, met with representatives of the military council. They were reportedly told that the army plans to rewrite the constitution within ten days—entirely behind the backs of the Egyptian people—and put it to a referendum for ratification within two months.

The military has yet to announce when it will deliver on its pledge to rescind Mubarak’s draconian emergency legislation. It has also remained silent on whether it will release the many political prisoners who remain in detention.

The Independent’s Robert Fisk asked: “Is this because there are prisoners who know too much about the army’s involvement in the previous regime? Or because escaped and newly liberated prisoners are returning to Cairo and Alexandria from desert camps with terrible stories of torture and executions by—so they say—military personnel.”

From WSWS

Egypt: Mubarak’s Fall Is Only the Beginning of the Revolution

Hosni Mubarak’s departure came after 18 days of demonstrations and strikes that had waxed and waned, but that had generally grown in size and scope in spite of the brutal oppression of the regime. At this stage in the revolution, at least 300 have been killed―the real number is doubtless far higher―and thousands have been arrested and “disappeared”.

The decisive moment came Wednesday and Thursday, when the Egyptian working class moved to the forefront, partially or completely shutting down every sector of the economy.

The strike wave propelled the Egyptian military to finally move against Mubarak. Up until then, the Obama administration backed Mubarak, fearful that his removal would only spread the revolutionary contagion beyond Egypt and set the stage for a showdown between the Egyptian workers and the military, which will be neither willing nor able to address the social and democratic grievances of the masses.

Today there is justified jubilation in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, as millions of Egyptian workers and youth celebrate their historic victory.

These extraordinary events are a turning point not only for Egypt, but for the entire world. They have shown the immense social power of the working class, unanswerably refuting claims that the collapse of the Soviet Union signified the “end of history”—that is, the end of class struggle as a factor in human affairs. The victorious heroism of the masses of Egypt in the face of torture, arrests and repression are an inspiration for workers and youth around the globe.

Mubarak’s resignation was a humiliating about-face from his speech, delivered less than 24 hours earlier, in which he provocatively refused to step down. It was also a blow to the military brass, which issued a statement on Friday morning supporting the transfer of authority to Vice President Omar Suleiman, the longtime head of the Egyptian intelligence agency.

It is a devastating setback for the Arab bourgeoisie, which fears the spread of revolution beyond Egypt; for the Israeli state, whose policies of repression and military terror depend on the suppression of working class struggle both in the Arab countries and in Israel itself; and above all for US imperialism, which for 31 years was the main financier and backer of the Mubarak dictatorship. Washington has been complicit in all the regime’s crimes, including the widespread use of torture against political opponents.

The revolutionary upheavals gripping North Africa are the first major response of the world working class to the conditions created by the global economic crisis of capitalism. In bringing down Mubarak, workers in Egypt have launched the first salvo in a world struggle against economic exploitation, the suppression of democratic rights, and social inequality defended by governments not only in Egypt, but around the world.

As significant as the resignation of Mubarak is, however, it is only the beginning of this struggle. Mubarak may be gone, but the regime remains, with power in the hands of the officer corps that has been the linchpin of the capitalist dictatorship in Egypt for decades. The masses know they have only begun to settle accounts with the exploiters—the secret police, the venal Egyptian generals, and Mubarak himself.

In its struggle to hang on to power, the Egyptian regime will find its most ruthless allies in the financial aristocracy of the imperialist powers. For weeks, the Obama administration has worked behind the scenes to bolster Mubarak, insisting that he should oversee an “orderly transition.”

Obama’s perfunctory speech Friday afternoon acknowledging Mubarak’s resignation came on the heels of a Friday morning statement in which the administration pointedly did not call for Mubarak to step down.

Washington is undoubtedly engaged in intense discussions with the Egyptian military to ensure that whatever regime replaces Mubarak will equally be committed to US imperialist interests.

No confidence can be placed in the military or in Egypt’s official “opposition”—which has indicated its complete support for the military government—to oversee a “democratic transition.” One “opposition” leader, Mohammed El Baradei, has suggested that this could take place in a year’s time, leaving the military free to do what it wants for an entire year.

US imperialist strategists hope that in the meantime Washington will be able to shower its favored stooges in Egypt with cash, and arrange a “transition” that returns the working class to where it was before the overthrow of Mubarak. Speaking on CNN, former CIA director James Woolsey said the US should “work with the forces of stability and change in a democratic and law-abiding direction” and “help them economically, help them politically.”

Such comments are a serious warning to the working class. The jubilation tonight at Mubarak’s departure is as it should be, but the initial gains of the revolution must not be lost. The question of class strategy and the formation of a new revolutionary leadership in the working class will determine the fate of the next stage of the revolution.

The backing given by Washington and El Baradei to the military government is not an accident, but a reflection of the interests of the capitalist class. Every attempt to improve the conditions of the masses—raising wages, reducing prices, or defending political freedoms—inevitably puts workers in conflict with the representatives of this elite, who oppose any change that impinges on their economic or strategic interests.

From WSWS