Below the jump is an interview recently conducted with a member of the Egyptian anarchist group Black Flag.
1) Please tell me your name and what movement you are from.
I’m Nidal Tahrir, from Black Flag, A small group of Anarcho-Communists in Egypt.
2) The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However, due to the internet being cut, information was difficult to find. Can you tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it look like from your perspective? (You can write a lot in this part.)
The situation in Egypt is So crucial right now, it begins with an invitation to the day of rage against Mubarak Regime in January 25th., no one has expected that an invitation to a day of rage from a loose group, Facebook page, not really organized called ” we are all Khalid Said”, Khalid Said is Egyptian Youth who has been killed by Mubarak police in Alexandria last summer, it was that Tuesday who begin everything, it was the spark for the whole fire, on Tuesday big demonstrations were in streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday begins the massacre, it begins with trying to finish the sit-in in Tahrir square on Tuesday late night, and continue in the following days, especially in Suez town, Suez has special value in every Egyptian heart, it was the centre for resistance against Zionist in 1956 and 1967, in the same district, which fought Sharon’s troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak police has made a massacre, at least 4 people killed, 100 injured, Gas Bombs, rubber bullets, Fire Guns, strange yellow substance thrown above people, may be mustard gas, Friday was called the Jumu’ah of Rage, Jumu’ah is Arabic for Friday, it’s the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries also, it’s sacred day in Islam, because the big prayers in this day, called Jumu’ah prayer, it was planned for demonstrations to go on march after this pray, in the noon, the police tried to prevent the marches with all of his power and violence, there was many clashes in Cairo,(in downtown, in Mattareyah (east of Cairo)), all over Egypt, especially in Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla (in delta, one of the centers of working class), from noon to sunset people marched in Cairo to Downtown, to sit-in in Tahrir till Removal of Mubarak regime, Chanting one slogan ” People demand removal of the regime”, at sun set, 5p.m CLT, Mubarak has declared curfew and bringing army into Egyptian towns, this curfew followed by planned escape of police, letting out the criminals and thugs which called Baltagayyah, and police plan great escape of criminals in many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt, no police, many army troops couldn’t control the street, scared people, it followed by news jam in Egyptian TV channels, radios, newspaper about luddites in many towns, about thieves firing at people, people organized ” people committees to secure every street, it was welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in the country, but it also a point we could start from it to build workers councils
3) As of Wednesday, there are clashes between pro and anti Mubarak people. Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the “Mubarak supporters?” How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average working class Egyptians?
It’s absolutely wrong to call it clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak, pro-Mubarak demonstration was consisted of many of Baltagayyah and secret police to attack the protesters in Tahrir, it has only began after Mubarak speech yesterday, after Obama speech too, personally I think Mubarak feels like slaughtered ox who try to throw his blood over his slaughters, feels like Nero, who want to burn Egypt before his removal, trying to make people believe he’s a synonym for stability, safety and security, in this way he’s really made some progress, the holy national alliance now has been formed against Tahrirites (Tahrir protesters) and Commune de Tahrir, many people are saying, especially middle-class, demonstrations must end because Egypt has been burned, Famine has begun, and it’s not true at all, it’s only an exaggeration, every revolution has its difficulties, and Mubarak using fear and terror to stay more, personally I’m saying even if the protesters were the responsible of this situation, Even If, Mubarak must leave, must go out, because of his disability to deal with the situation right now.
4) What do you see happening in the next week? How much is the position taken by the US government affecting the situation there?
Nobody can figure out what would happen tomorrow or next week, Mubarak is an idiot stubborn, and Egyptian media making the biggest media campaign in its history to detain the protests, next Friday, February 4th. There calls for another million march to Tahrir Called “Jumu’ah of salvation”, the position taken by US government affecting us more than demonstration, Mubarak is such a traitor who could kill the whole people, but couldn’t say no to his masters.
5) What has the participation of class struggle anarchists been? Who are their allies? (obviously keep security in mind)
Anarchism in Egypt is not big trend, you could find some anarchists but not a big trend yet, anarchists in Egypt joined both protests and popular committees to defend streets from thugs, anarchists in Egypt put some hope on this councils, the allies of anarchists in Egypt are the Marxists of course, we are not now in the moment of ideololigical debate, the whole left calls for unity and then argue about anything, anarchists in Egypt are a part of the Egyptian left.
6) What forms of solidarity can be built between revolutionaries in Egypt and revolutionaries in the “West?” What can be done immediately and what should we do in the long term?
The most difficult obstacle Egyptian revolutionary can front is that the cut of communication, western revolutionaries must put pressure to their government to prevent Egyptian regime from doing this, that’s for now but no one could say what happened in the long term, if the revolution win then the western revolutionaries must build solidarity with their Egyptian comrades against expected aggression from USA, and Israel, if the revolution had been defeated then it would be massacre for all Egyptian revolutionaries.
7) What will the main tasks be once Mubarak leaves? Has their been much planning about this on the street level? What have anti-capitalist revolutionaries proposed?
The main task now, speaking about street demands is new constitution and provisional government and then new elections, there’s much planning about this issue from many political trends here especially Muslim brotherhood, the anti-capitalist Revolutionaries is not very big in Cairo, the communists, democratic left, Trotskyites calling for the same demands about constitution and new elections, but for us as anarchists, Anti-capital, Anti-state too, we will try to make the committees which has been formed to protect and secure the streets more strong, trying to turn it into real councils.
8 ) What do you want to say to revolutionaries abroad?
Dear Comrades all over the world we need solidarity, Big solidarity Campaign and Egyptian Revolution will win.