No to the ban on strikes in the new constitution

The Revolutionary Socialists 29 July 2012 http://www.e-socialists.net/node/8969 The Revolutionary Socialists reject what was published as a draft of the new constitution, which includes an attempt to restrict public freedoms, and in particular the right to strike. We believe that the Constitution of the Revolution must expand public freedoms, and take into account all sections of the people. The Revolutionary Socialists refused to take part in the consultative committees attached to the Constitutional Drafting Assembly, in order not to provide cover – through token participation for any draft which would harm the interests of the working class and the peasants. Instead we prefer to put forward the demands of the masses who want to benefit from writing the constitution. What is happening now confirms our expectations that the Constitutional Drafting Committees are biased towards the interest of the ruling class rather than the interest of the masses. Before our eyes the revolution is being stolen from its rightful owners, the millions who went out into the streets in a movement against the repressive machine of Mubarak's state. They came out to show their desire for a state of justice and freedom. They marched to demand bread and human dignity. The mass struggle then moved from the squares of liberation to the point of production, with demands to cleanse the companies and factories of their corrupt managers, Mubarak's lackeys who looted and plundered them, demands for a fair wage and the re-opening of companies which have closed down, demands for permanent jobs for casual workers, and the creation of a new social contract which translates the slogans of the revolution into reality. Yet the old regime – which has not yet fallen – immediately realised the danger posed by the movement of the masses: the first legislation passed by the military council criminalised protests and strikes, and they tasked the governments of Essam Sharaf and Ganzoury with implementing this law. However, workers' struggle turned the legislation into mere ink on paper, as they confronted the central security forces and the military police, and faced down a vicious smear campaign in the media from the liberals and the Islamists, alongside a campaign to deceive workers by demanding that they remain 'patient'. Parliament also attempted to pass laws restricting trade union freedoms, although time was not working in its favour. Now we face a desire to restrict the right to strike in the Constitution. This

attempt to besiege the working class with laws is a firm line of continuity with the Mubarak regime, and it comes in parallel with an escalation of the class struggle, with the state resorting to violence against workers, and the bosses resorting to sending thugs to break up strikes and sit-ins. To those in the ruling class who are writing the constitution: the workers of Egypt took the right to strike by storm at the cost of immense sacrifices. They exercised this right in the most difficult circumstances when Mubarak's dictatorship was at its most powerful. Their strikes were the first spark and the last blow of the revolution which toppled him. Today workers' strikes are continuing to bring down the remnants of the regime, and to achieve the social justice demanded by the revolution. Anyone who stands for restricting workers' right to strike is standing shoulder to shoulder with the counter-revolution to defend the interests of the military and the bosses. Know that whatever is written into the terms of the constitution will be crushed under the workers' feet, and you with it! To the workers of Egypt: your struggle for a life of dignity, for the fruits of what you produce to return to you, for factories cleansed of corruption, and for working conditions fit for humans, all this is a direct battle against the old regime and all those who represent it. Yet another front has opened up: a legislative battle imposed by the ruling class and you must join the fight and become part of the political equation if you want the new constitution to reflect your interests and your hopes. To the revolutionary forces: the Constitution of the revolution which called for freedom reduces freedom, and attacks the fundamental human right to show opposition. It is the right to strike which confronts the state of corruption and exploitation in the workplaces with the transformation of the slogans of the revolution into reality. Finally, the revolutionary forces must organise with the vanguard of the working class all possible means of protest to demand that the right to work, the right to organise and strike, the right to education, healthcare and housing are at the heart of the new constitution. Pleading will not win us our social and economic rights, but rather strikes and demonstrations, as we must counter steel with steel. The Workers' Office – The Revolutionary Socialists Movement 29 July 2012

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