ElBaradei - criticising the government is now a "red line"
Police arresting farmers for the 'crime' of protesting
To that end, the Amn al-Markazi security forces and plainclothes police arrested ten protesters in front of the parliament on 8th June, attacking students, farmers and other workers who had been demonstrating there. Under the new anti-protest law, those arrested face the possibility of a year's imprisonment and/or a fine of 500,000 EGP (£52,000).
On Wednesday 15th, soldiers and cops attacked two thousand protesting railway workers in Sharqia governorate. Two demonstrators were detained, and taken to an unknown destination.
But if the 'January 25th revolution' showed anything, it was that desperate Egyptians would not be intimidated by state repression, and would do whatever it takes to secure their material interests. The strikes keep coming, and last Friday saw a large Cairo protest against the ban - itself an example of mass direct action, under conditions where such assemblies are banned. July 8th has been declared "Correcting The Track Friday", when even bigger acts of defiance are planned.
However, the army will not be pressured into sacrificing its own profits, and neither will other sections of the Egyptian bourgeoisie. Mohamed ElBaradei - the former UN man who the western media has portrayed as a future Egyptian president - has declared that protesting against or even criticising the army is now a "red line" which cannot be crossed. Last week it was announced that a 'National Coalition for Egypt' had been formed - comprised of thirteen parties from both the nominal 'left' and the right. The basis for this unity is a commitment to "national unity" - in other words defence of the capitalist economy.
If a "second revolution" is to win decent living standards for all Egyptians, it must decisively reject the generals, the 'democratic' bourgeois, and the dead hand of US imperialism, which continues to provide resources for the repression of the Egyptian working class, even though Mubarak has gone. It must be based on working class self-organisation and control of the economy.