Saturday, February 12, 2011

Socialism and the Spirit of Tahrir Square

by Andrea Pason and Billy Wharton, co-chairs Socialist Party USA
February 11, 2011

We send greetings to the working people of Egypt on the day of their
victorious struggle to depose the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Their
grassroots movement provides definitive proof to the world that radical
political activity can change the course of history. The activities of
the protesters in Tahrir Square transformed the idea of democracy from a
stale ritual that occurs every few years to an open ended struggle for
freedom. We are inspired by the example provided by this mass revolt of
the Egyptian people.

It is particularly important to recognize the central contribution made by
the working class to the defeat of the dictator. While the occupation of
the square and the street demonstrations in several cities galvanized the
resistance, it was the mass strikes carried out by the workers that broke
the back of the regime. On February 9th thousands of workers demonstrated
the ability to shutdown the entire society and economy until their demands
were met. After these mass strikes, the regime understood that surrender
was its only option.

The victory of Tahrir Square need not be an isolated one – limited only to
the removal of one dictatorial regime. The revolt was as much about the
conditions imposed on Egyptians by capitalism – the lack of food, the
unemployment, the poor housing, the declining environment – as it was
about Mubarak. We can all join in the spirit of struggle initiated in
Cairo by demanding a democratic socialist society where the needs of human
beings are placed ahead of those of corporations.

See Tahrir Square for what it is – an open-ended struggle for freedom.
And what the dissident voices in Egypt and many others parts of world are
demanding are things that capitalism cannot deliver. In Egypt, the
reorganization of an independent trade union movement, the experiences of
direct democracy in the protests and the revitalization of a socialist
left in the country offer greatest hope for advancing the political agenda
for economic freedom developed in Tahrir Square.

As socialists located in the US, we pledge to continue to do our part in the
international struggle for socialism. We see our own political activity
as a part of the larger international movement for jobs, peace and
freedom. As a part of a Socialism for the 21st Century!

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