Monday, March 28, 2011

Egypt's Revolution: Full Circle With Ban on Strikes and Protests

By  Barry Rubin

The cabinet appointed by the military junta in Egypt has proposed to the ruling military council to outlaw strikes or protests that harm the economy. The young pro-democratic activists protested this as a violation of the rights the revolution was waged to achieve.

What nobody will notice, though, is the even greater irony here: the April 6 Youth Movement, which launched the revolution in the first place, was begun in support of a labor strike outlawed by the Mubarak regime about three years ago.

Well, the regime does need to keep the economy afloat. It isn't the fault of the junta so much as the result of Egypt's objective circumstances. This is a country, after all, where a few days ago police striking for higher pay set fire to the Interior Ministry!

But what's going to happen in two or three years when the elected president and parliament have no money to raise living standards, increase salaries, maintain subsidies on food, provide jobs, or build housing? Then the need to repress demonstrations and strikes may lead to renewed repression, another revolution, or the government's use of anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Israel demagoguery to stay in power.

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