Hassan el-Brince, a Muslim Brotherhood senior figure and FJP parliamentarian, has joined Wael Kandil in denouncing the labor protests taking place in front of the presidential palace. Brince is repeating the same delusional accusations that those sit-ins are part of some “counterrevolutionary plot.” He even goes further to describe the workers as “mercenaries” paid to protest by State Security Police and businessmen affiliated with the dissolved National Democratic Party.
Instead of seeing the potential in those protests to take the revolution a step forward, liberal writer Wael Kandil dismisses the labor protests in front of the presidential palace as some “trap” or “plot” driven by the counterrevolution to embarrass Morsi and sabotage his efforts.
Kandil claims “these protests can never be spontaneous… how did they [the workers] get the courage to go to the presidential palace if they were not driven by state agencies?” The only “legitimate” protests according to Kandil would be protests in support of the release of the detainees, but labor protests aiming at improving work conditions must be driven by some plot.
This is the same chorus sung following Mubarak’s fall, when intellectuals and the political forces were denouncing the labor strikes as فئوية calling on the workers to give SCAF a chance… then it was PM Essam Sharaf’s turn, and the same intellectuals were running columns in newspapers denouncing strikes and asking the workers to give Sharaf a chance.
The fact remains, those strikes toppled Mubarak; they are the biggest threat to the junta and our only weapon to bring down this regime.
Not a single day that passes since his inauguration without labor protests in front of the presidential palace still primarily over economic demands, yet they start wading into clear political lines when the enemies include NDP businessmen and officials.
One group of workers come to protest, meet Morsi, some leave after promises, others continue to sit in as a new group of workers arrive to join the protests.
The strike curve has already been going up. The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, for example, put the number of labor protests and industrial actions in the first half of May: 137 labor protests and industrial actions. The figure went down in the second half of May to 69, thanks to the presidential elections. And continued sliding in the fist half of June to 38, only to start increasing again in the second half of June to 119.
This post is tackling briefly the labor situation, since I’m short of time. But you can add other factors that accelerate the critical situation Morsi is sliding into, including the MB dismal performance in Tahrir with the suspension of the sit-in, the scandalous inauguration in presence of Tantawi and the SCAF generals, his failure to secure the swift release of prisoners sentenced by military courts.
Morsi has inflated the expectations of the public, but in reality he will not be able to deliver, because of continuation of SCAF control on the one hand, and the opportunistic politics of the MB leadership.
An hot industrial summer is already in the making. Follow @EgyStrikes for continuous updates on labor protests…
While walking in downtown Cairo, I came across a small protest young men and children, chanting against SCAF and calling for the execution of Field Marshal Tantawi.
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