Cairo's calling

Issue section: 

The articles on the strike wave that has been rocking Egypt's ruling class were brilliant (Feature, Socialist Review, January 2008).

The importance of this movement can't be stressed enough. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, with the cheerful approval of the US and its allies, has ruled Egypt as a police state for over 27 years. In recent years the regime's enthusiasm for neoliberalism has gone into overdrive, heralding cuts in wages and an increase in work.

As Anne Alexander and Farah Koubaissy chronicled in Socialist Review, workers responded with a massive wave of strikes. Some 20,000 mobilised to defend their bonuses at the Ghazl el-Mahal factory in Mahalla el-Kubra, north of Cairo, in 2006 and 8,000 at Kafr al-Dawwar factory did the same. There were similar strikes at Zifta and Shibin al-Kum in Alexandria.

I was privileged to hear some of the rank and file leaders speak at the Fifth International Cairo Conference last year. Delegate after delegate described their experiences fighting - and beating - their bosses. The Egyptian strike wave confirms everything Marxists argue when we say the working class are the key to fighting capitalism and are the force which can draw all the oppressed behind it and reshape the world.

The Sixth Cairo Conference will be held from 27 to 30 March in Cairo this year. Activists should try to get delegations from their trade unions and their local Stop the War branches.

Sasha Simic