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Socialist Party USA: Socialism and the Spirit of Tahrir Square

By Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA- February 11, 2011
Socialist Webzine:

Tahrir Square transformed the idea of democracy from a stale ritual that occurs every few years to an open ended struggle for freedom.

We send greetings to the working people of Egypt on the day of their victorious struggle to depose the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Their grassroots movement provides definitive proof to the world that radical political activity can change the course of history. The activities of the protesters in Tahrir Square transformed the idea of democracy from a stale ritual that occurs every few years to an open ended struggle for freedom. We are inspired by the example provided by this mass revolt of the Egyptian people.

It is particularly important to recognize the central contribution made by the
working class to the defeat of the dictator. While the occupation of the square and the street demonstrations in several cities galvanized the resistance, it was the mass strikes carried out by the workers that broke the back of the regime. On February 9th thousands of workers demonstrated the ability to shutdown the entire society and economy until their demands were met. After these mass strikes, the regime understood that surrender was its only option.

The victory of Tahrir Square need not be an isolated one – limited only to the
removal of one dictatorial regime. The revolt was as much about the conditions imposed on Egyptians by capitalism – the lack of food, the unemployment, the poor housing, the declining environment – as it was about Mubarak. We can all join in the spirit of struggle initiated in Cairo by demanding a democratic socialist society where the needs of human beings are placed ahead of those of corporations.

See Tahrir Square for what it is – an open-ended struggle for freedom. And what the dissident voices in Egypt and many others parts of world are demanding are things that capitalism cannot deliver. In Egypt, the reorganization of an independent trade union movement, the experiences of direct democracy in the protests and the revitalization of a socialist left in the country offer greatest hope for advancing the political agenda for economic freedom developed in Tahrir Square.

As socialists located in the US, we pledge to continue to do our part in the international struggle for socialism. We see our own political activity as a part of the larger international movement for jobs, peace and freedom. As a part of a Socialism for the 21st Century!

Get Organized! Contact the Socialist Party USA!

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One Comment

  1. paulie paulie February 14, 2011

    Previous comments at


    Fun K. Chicken // Feb 6, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    It is a severe mistake to conflate this type of fascist-corporatist police state with a free market.

    As the article states ?On the one hand, Nasser was the leader who nationalized Egyptian economy, transforming it into a state socialist economy. Theoretically speaking the working Egyptian class ?owned? the means of production. While granting trade unions many rights, Nasser made sure these unions were designed in a hierarchical structure that put them under the control of ruling-party officials.?

    This is the way state-socialism and fascism operate in practice. They are only sold as representing the interests of workers in order to achieve political power, yet while in power they brutally repress workers on the one hand and organize them in sham government controlled ?unions? on the other.

    2 Porn Again Christian // Feb 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Free-market anti-capitalism, the unknown ideal
    By Sheldon Richman

    Ron Paul?s 2008 presidential campaign introduced many people to the word ?libertarian.? Since Paul is a Republican and Republicans, like libertarians, use the rhetoric of free markets and private enterprise, people naturally assume that libertarians are some kind of quirky offshoot of the American right wing. To be sure, some libertarian positions fit uneasily with mainstream conservatism?complete drug decriminalization, legal same-sex marriage, and the critique of the national-security state alienate many on the right from libertarianism.

    But the dominant strain of libertarianism still seems at home on that side of the political spectrum. Paeans to property rights and free enterprise?the mainstream libertarian conviction that the American capitalist system, despite government intervention, fundamentally embodies those values?appear to justify that conclusion.

    But then one runs across passages like this: ?Capitalism, arising as a new class society directly from the old class society of the Middle Ages, was founded on an act of robbery as massive as the earlier feudal conquest of the land. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege without which its survival is unimaginable.? And this: ?build worker solidarity. On the one hand, this means formal organisation, including unionization?but I?m not talking about the prevailing model of ?business unions? ? but real unions, the old-fashioned kind, committed to the working class and not just union members, and interested in worker autonomy, not government patronage.?

    These passages?the first by independent scholar Kevin Carson, the second by Auburn University philosophy professor Roderick Long?read as though they come not from libertarians but from radical leftists, even Marxists. That conclusion would be only half wrong: these words were written by pro-free-market left-libertarians. (The preferred term for their economic ideal is ?freed market,? coined by William Gillis.)

    These authors?and a growing group of colleagues?see themselves as both libertarians and leftists. They are standard libertarians in that they believe in the moral legitimacy of private ownership and free exchange and oppose all government interference in personal and economic affairs?a groundless, pernicious dichotomy. Yet they are leftists in that they share traditional left-wing concerns, about exploitation and inequality for example, that are largely ignored, if not dismissed, by other libertarians. Left-libertarians favor worker solidarity vis-?-vis bosses, support poor people?s squatting on government or abandoned property, and prefer that corporate privileges be repealed before the regulatory restrictions on how those privileges may be exercised. They see Walmart as a symbol of corporate favoritism?supported by highway subsidies and eminent domain?view the fictive personhood of the limited-liability corporation with suspicion, and doubt that Third World sweatshops would be the ?best alternative? in the absence of government manipulation.

    Read more:

    3 Porn Again Christian // Feb 6, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    If you haven?t read the whole article, you?r ereally missing out. I?d post the whole thing here, but some people might object.

    4 Mashed Potato with a Twist // Feb 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Sounds like there is nothing free about the market there.

    5 paulie // Feb 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Far from free.

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