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Fourth International, November 1946


L. Soliman

Egyptian Notes


From Fourth International, November 1946, Vol.7 No.11, p.351.
Transcribed, edited & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.


Cairo, April 25 – With the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of international trade, the Egyptian bourgeoisie finds it impossible to maintain its profits at the level attained during the war, without lowering wages still further, increasing tariffs, and obtaining foreign markets. The employers declare themselves unable to continue production unless the workers agree to one of the three following conditions: either a 25 per cent reduction in wages; or the reduction of working hours from 8 to 5 per day with the corresponding reduction in wages; or the disemployment of 30 per cent of the workers employed in each factory.

When the workers refused to accept any one of these conditions some employers declared their intention to close down their factories altogether. Thus, for instance, the Choubra-El-Kheima textile mills, employing 20,000 workers, have announced a shut-down.

Asked to intervene, the Ministry of Labor declared that it was powerless to do anything, “the situation of the employers is especially serious.” This was accompanied by veiled suggestions that the workers themselves should demand the increase of customs tariffs.

The Egyptian bourgeoisie wants the Arab League to adopt the principle of common citizenship and the abolition of customs barriers between the various member-states of the League. Egypt being the most industrialized of these it is clear that the Egyptian bourgeois hopes to mask its designs in the Middle East by means of this manoeuver. The proposal for common citizenship and for the abolition of customs barriers between the member states was formulated by King Farouk himself in his message to the last Congress of the League. In this situation the Internationalist Communist Group of Egypt has taken the following measures:

  1. It has aided in establishing a “League for the struggle against unemployment” which has published its first manifesto.
  2. It has called for the formation of “Workers’ Committees for the struggle against unemployment.” These committees have already been formed in Cairo, in the sections most threatened by unemployment: In the workers’ quarter of Abbasieh, among workers in the military workshops, at the suburb of Choubra-E1-Kheima, among the workers of the textile industry which are today bearing the brunt of the employers’ pressure.
  3. The Internationalist Communist Group has addressed an appeal for the formation of a United Front to the various Stalinist groups for the realization of the following program:
  1. No lockouts. Nationalization of all factories whose proprietors do not comply with this demand.
  2. No reduction in wages.
  3. Purchase by the Government of the mechanics’ workshops installed by the Allied Military authorities, and their transformation for peacetime production.
  4. Abolition of overtime.
  5. Reduction of the work day to 7 hours and the work week to 40 hours without reduction in pay.
  6. Increase native production.
  7. Increase the purchasing power of the masses by increasing wages.
  8. Immediate establishment of the electrification project of the Assuan Reservoir to create the energy indispensable to the industrialization of the country.

Two of the Stalinist groups answered the appeal of the Internationalist Communists and a committee has been formed in which the three organizations are equally represented.

The IC group is carrying on agitation in all the factories and is active in the “Congress of Industrial Workers,” the strongest trade union organization in Egypt.

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Last updated on 11.2.2009