QUOTE: The revolution started long before the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and it will continue for a long time to come. Workers everywhere are rebelling against the miserable conditions, slave wages and "privatization", the crown jewel of neoliberalism. The privatization of state industries in Egypt is the proximate cause of the current uprising. It's led to a general slide in living standards to the point where people would rather face a policeman's truncheon than endure more-of-the-same.
"Egypt began a series of reforms in the 1990's that stacked the deck against workers and farmers. The government sold off the large state enterprises. New owners had little incentive to keep people in jobs or jobs in Egypt. The government enacted new measures to protect large farmers, with peasant farmers left on their own.
When conservative Prime Minister, Ahmed Nafiz, took power in 2004, the situation became desperate. With the help of a new anti labor law, pressure mounted on Egypt's industrial workers.
An Egyptian writer noted, "In the 6 April uprising, the demands of the workers and the general population overlapped. People called for lower food prices as workers called for a minimum wage."
In addition, the April 6 Youth Movement emerged as a key player advancing the aims of the national strike. This is the same organization that has been central to rallying crowds throughout the country." ("Forces Behind the Egyptian Revolution", Michael Collins, The Economic Populist)
See? This isn't about removing a despot. It's about class warfare, of which no one will speak in western media.
The revolution signals the rise of organized labor and a frontal assault on the Washington Consensus and the race-to-the-bottom regime that has pushed Egyptian workers to the breaking point. This didn't happen overnight; these forces have been coalescing for a very long time and now the tinder has been lit.
The Egyptian people have avoided a full-blown confrontation with government forces with impressive nimbleness. But the threat of a crackdown is still very real. Workers have laid out their demands, and in this new environment of political activism, it's unlikely that they will back down until they achieve their goals. They're not taken-in by Mubarak's departure. They know that the "new boss, is same as the old boss". As the Center for Trade Unions and Worker's Service's states in their manifesto, this isn't just about "decent wages" or "medical care" any more. Egypt's working people "refuse to live a life of humiliation."
From the Center for Trade Unions manifesto:
Freedom is not just the demand of youth only ....we want freedom so that we can express our demands and rights … so we can find a way to monitor the wealth of our country, the result of our hard work that is being stolen … and so we can re-distribute with some sense of justice … so that different sectors of society who have been oppressed can get more of what it is owed to them so they don't have to needlessly suffer from hunger and illness."
The Egyptian people want what's owed to them---their freedom, their dignity, and a fair share of the pie. And it looks like they might get it all. - Mike Whitney
Full article here: http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney02172011.html
Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"