Review - Egypt: a radical story of resistance

The egyptians book

The Egyptians: a radical story

Jack Shenker, Allen Lane/Penguin

2016, 544pp, £15.99

This wonderful book is written by Jack Shenker who was Egypt correspondent for The Guardian newspaper in 2011 and reported regularly on the Arab Spring. Five years on, most readers will remember the 18-day occupation by hundreds of thousands of people of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. According to dominant media accounts at the time, it was this defiant occupation of public space that started off a turbulent chain of events which led to the overthrow of the government of President Mubarak, the election of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, his subsequent overthrow by popular pressure and the installation of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, as the new President of Egypt in 2013.

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Egypt – repression deepens

The military repression directed at the Muslim Brotherhood has intensified since the 3 July 2013 coup and is now being directed at working class struggles in Egypt. On 14 August state forces attacked two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps that were demanding the reinstatement of former President Morsi. At least 1,000 people were killed as the police opened fire with machine guns on crowds. The official death toll was over 600. On 21 September the military attacked the towns of Kersala and Dalga, both sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. Estimates of the numbers killed since 3 July exceed 1,600 people, with 20,000 people detained. The leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood is in gaol and Morsi himself will be tried for inciting deadly violence against protesters. The release of former President Mubarak from prison on 22 August symbolised the continuing power of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt.

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Egypt: Economic and social crisis deepens

The mass mobilisations of millions of people on the streets of Turkey, Brazil and Egypt in recent months result from the crisis gripping international capitalism. In Egypt, the people’s demands for ‘Bread, freedom, social justice and human dignity’ cannot be met by the capitalist Egyptian state. The Egyptian ruling class tried to buy itself time by removing the government of President Morsi on 3 July. However, the problems underlying Egyptian society and the entrenched interests of its ruling class threaten to propel the masses back onto the streets and this time the conflict could prove decisive for the future of Egypt and the entire Middle East. Trevor Rayne reports.

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Egypt: threats and tensions

Egypt’s presidential election of 23/24 May has resulted in no overall winner and threatens the potential advances from the revolt that removed former President Mubarak in February 2011. A run-off between the Muslim Brotherhood, with its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) candidate Muhammud Mursi, and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, General Ahmad Shafiq, is scheduled for 16/17 June. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s overthrow, has said it will hand over power to the newly elected President by the end of June. If Shafiq is the President it will effectively retain power – he is their candidate.

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Egypt – battles to come

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians converged on Cairo’s Tahrir Square on 25 January 2012 to celebrate the anniversary of the start of the uprising that toppled President Mubarak on 11 February 2011, and to demand an immediate end to military rule. Similar demonstrations took place in Suez and Alexandria. Regardless of parliamentary elections, the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) are still in power.

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