Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

After the Port Said Incidents, the Political Crisis is Beginning Again

The violent incidents in Port Said after a soccer match were not another clash between supporters of two rival clubs, but something emerging from an unstable situation filled with profound social and political contradictions.

Claudia Cinatti

February 6, 2012
Facebook Twitter Share
The violent incidents in Port Said after a soccer match were not another clash between supporters of two rival clubs, but something emerging from an unstable situation filled with profound social and political contradictions.

The day after one of the most violent days in recent years, that left a toll of 73 dead and hundreds of injured people, a crowd again seized the streets of Cairo to demand the end of the military government, which they blame for the disaster and accuse of having instigated the clashes. As the supporters of the club that was attacked allege, most of the dead are spectators, who were desperately trying to flee the stadium, but found the doors shut and were killed in the stampede. The scenarios are varied: from those who suspect the involvement of security forces in the incidents in order to justify, with the violence, the continuation of repressive measures, to those who claim that it was revenge by the police against the “ultras” – groups of soccer fans who acted in defense of Tahrir Square in various mobilizations confronting repression and had a prominent role in the so-called “battle of the camels,” in which Mubarak’s gangs were defeated. But, regardless of how the actions were triggered, the fact is that, as in previous incidents like the orchestrated attack against the Coptic Christians last October, all signs point to the security forces.

The Muslim Brotherhood echoed the charges against officials of the regime and called an emergency session of Parliament to try to contain the situation.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in anticipation of the popular response, decreed three days of mourning, accepted the resignation of the government of Port Said and detained a local security chief. However, these measures were not sufficient to prevent the outbreak of a new political crisis with an uncertain outcome.

A year after the mobilizations that ended with the fall of Mubarak, the Egyptian revolutionary process remains open. The legislative elections served as a certain detour after the intense protests in November. Because of the agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood and the backing of the United States and other imperialist powers, the military junta has remained in power and appointed one of its agents, al-Ganzuri, as Prime Minister. As a result of the elections, the two Islamist parties – the Freedom and Justice Party (Muslim Brotherhood) and the Al-Nour Party linked to Salafi Islam – became the main political forces in the country, with a parliamentary majority that hovers around 70% between them both. But this detour is far from having been consolidated. The Port Said incidents were not an outbreak of isolated violence. A few days earlier, a massive mobilization that was trying to reach Parliament to demand an end to military rule was confronted by a large strike force from the Muslim Brotherhood that tried to break up the protest by assaults. The mobilization called into question the legitimacy of Parliament and challenged the ability of the Muslim Brotherhood to act simultaneously as a reserve force and police of the military regime, against the most radical groups of youth and the workers. The profound contradictions that led to the outbreak of the revolutionary process are strongly rising again in demonstrations and strikes, as seen in the impressive protest on January 25 for the first anniversary of the beginning of the mobilizations, which brought together hundreds of thousands of people under the slogan “Down with the military regime.”

The army, the local bourgeoisie, the parties that defend the capitalist state – whether liberal or Islamist, like the Muslim Brotherhood – and imperialism, seek to stabilize a “transition” to a regime of supervised bourgeois democracy, that will preserve the role of the military as a fundamental institution of the regime and will guarantee its economic and geopolitical interests, including the peace treaty with the State of Israel. After a year of struggle, the counter-revolutionary character of this plan is beginning to be obvious to groups of the advanced workers and youth who have come to the conclusion that these forces are expropriating their revolution and that they must confront them. In order to defeat them, it is necessary to forge a workers’ and popular alliance and prepare an insurrectionary general strike that will overthrow the military regime, with the perspective of setting up a government of workers and the people.

Facebook Twitter Share

Claudia Cinatti

Claudia is an editor of our sister site La Izquierda Diario and a leading member of the Party of Socialist Workers (PTS) in Argentina.

Middle East-Africa

U.S. Imperialism is Pushing Tensions in the Middle East to a Boiling Point

U.S. Imperialism's support for Israel is driving the tensions behind Iran's attack and the escalations in the Middle East. It is all the more urgent for the working class to unite with the movement for Palestine against imperialism and chart a way out of the crisis in the region.

Samuel Karlin

April 15, 2024
Destruction in Gaza following Israeli invasion.

From Cease-Fire to Liberation

With over 30,000 dead and much of Gaza turned into rubble, a ceasefire is insufficient, even more so if it does not include an immediate and permanent withdrawal of all Israeli troops and an end to the siege on Gaza.

James Dennis Hoff

March 6, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024

With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024


Thousands of Police Deployed to Shut Down Congress on Palestine in Berlin

This weekend, a Palestine Congress was supposed to take place in the German capital. But 2,500 police were mobilized and shut down the event before the first speech could be held. Multiple Jewish comrades were arrested.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 12, 2024

Liberal Towns in New Jersey Are Increasing Attacks on Pro-Palestine Activists

A group of neighbors in South Orange and Maplewood have become a reference point for pro-Palestine organizing in New Jersey suburbs. Now these liberal towns are upping repression against the local activists.

Samuel Karlin

April 12, 2024

“We Shouldn’t Let this Stop Us”: Suspended Columbia Student Activist Speaks Out

Aidan Parisi, a student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, was recently suspended and has been threatened with eviction from their graduate student housing for pro-Palestinian activism on campus. Aidan talked to Left Voice about the state of repression, the movement at Columbia, and the path forward for uniting the student movement with the labor movement and other movements against oppression.

Left Voice

April 11, 2024

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine — Interview with Nancy Fraser

The University of Cologne canceled a guest professorship with the philosophy professor from The New School. In this interview, she speaks about Germany dividing between "Good Jews" and "Bad Jews," her politicization in the civil rights movement, and her time in an Israeli kibbutz.

Nathaniel Flakin

April 10, 2024