Egyptian workers honor Freedom Flotilla martyrs

by , under Blog

[Qik video unavailable]

The current strike wave is not just about economic demands, but politics is also involved. The strike wave is also reshaping the consciousness of sections of the Egyptian working class.

You find a civil servant who was not involved politically, but suddenly joins a strike action over work conditions, and exhibits previously unknown (even to himself) organizing skills that elevates him to the strike leadership. Once the strike is suspended in victory, this civil servant together with his comrades goes ahead to build the country’s first independent trade union in half a century, and is taking an active role in political life, showing for all sorts of protests over democratic issues and helping spread the free union experience of the tax collectors to other workers in other sectors.

This is just one example. Another example could be seen above in the video, where workers from Tanta Flax, Amonsito and Mahalla denounce the Israeli deadly attack on the Gaza aid convoy. These workers started their fight over local grievances related their own specific factories over the past few years. But by time their consciousness have gone through transformation, helping some of them to look at the bigger picture, to start linking their factory grievances with the overall state policy, to start drawing parallels between the state’s policy towards them, with that of Israel vis a vis the Palestinians, and to start organizing, like in the video above, in support of the Palestinians while continuing fighting for their own specific demands.

I dislike it when someone tells me this strike wave is not political. This strike wave is changing the lives of those millions of workers taking part in it, and there lies the hope of changing the system.

  1. ahmed

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s still strange to me that most of the new youth or professional actions and movements do not seem to acknowledge that they are exercising a freedom margin won by the workers and lower middle class employees over the last few years: 4 years ago, no one would have thought of many professions going on strike, now it’s normal. If that’s not a country-wide political acheivement, I’m not sure what is (I hope it’s clear, I’m not trying to belittle anyone’s actions). Anyway, good post, I hope for more of them.