Egypt’s Mass Strikes: When the economic becomes political

As thousands of workers continue to strike in the Upper Egyptian sugar refineries over pay, work conditions, as well as purging the management from the remnants of Mubarak’s regime. The strikers, seen in the videos, also accuse the management of clientalism to the US and Israel, and chant for “open strikes till the fall of the regime.” The workers also use the same slogans as those of Tahrir: “We will leave. He’s the one who should leave,” but referring to the mini-Mubarak they have in their firm.

The current mass strikes are political in essence, not just economic. While activists are mobilizing thousands in Tahrir to denounce the military tribunals, the workers in the hundreds of thousands are in effect breaking the anti-strike law which refers strikes to military courts. The common denominator between all the strikes, though they still lack a centralized command or coordinating body, is the purging of the company management from corrupt, regime affiliated figures. The strikers are even raising questions about global politics, anti-imperialism and anti-Zionism, during their industrial actions.

The strike wave constitutes the only hope for the Egyptian revolution.