Thursday, 3 March 2011

Building a new left in revolutionary Egypt - an insider's account

A meeting of 500 activists on Saturday took forward the project of establishing a new left-wing coalition in revolutionary Egypt. This is an extract from a fascinating interview with Tamer Wageed of Egypt's Socialist Renewal group:

'Saturday's meeting was held in order to announce the new left movement, to gather the left and to build the institutions and organisations of this movement. The movement is still at its beginning. On Saturday people discussed the general rules and points of the movement.

This first phase, Tamer explains, will be more understanding between the supporters, especially considering they belong to different schools of thought and organisations. He nevertheless thinks that the next three months will be crucial for the development of the movement.

"The objective of this initiative is to build a vast and large united left movement gathering political parties, unions, workers, students, intellectuals, writers, artists, etc…" Tamer emphasised his wish to see all the popular strata to be represented in this movement.

The main political parties involved are the Egyptian Communist Party, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Democratic left and the Socialist Renewal Current. Tamer insisted several times on the inclusive nature of this new movement. There is a need, as he says, "to create a wider gathering than those in the past - everyone will have a voice in this movement".

Democratic organisation is very important in Tamer’s mind; each party will keep its independence in the movement and not dissolve in it. In the longer term, however, there is the possibility of new permanent organisation.

He also puts a lot of emphasis on the need for the youth to participate and to lead this movement, just like they led the revolution.

Tamer explains that the new movement hasn't yet planned anything for the upcoming elections, but he is sure they will run for it and present candidates. He stresses that in the meantime:

"The movement will still continue to encourage people to demonstrate and the workers to strike. All the different means and ways to mobilise the people will be used, whether being through legitimate and representative ways such as the elections or more radicals like strikes, occupation of workplaces and demonstrations."'


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