Dec 10, 2012
On November 22nd, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi granted himself new powers, in particular, preventing the judiciary from any control over the head of state – himself. Less than two years after the fall of Mubarak, Morsi has taken executive and legislative power in his hands. Morsi is like a new dictator, which the majority of Egyptians had hoped to be rid of.
After Morsi’s announcement, there were demonstrations: anti-Morsi Egyptians clashed with Muslim Brotherhood militants and the even more fundamentalist Salafists. In attacks by police on demonstrators, seven people have died and hundreds have been wounded.
Although Morsi then said he would reduce the impact of his new powers, the rallies against him have not ended. On November 27th, thousands of anti-Morsi demonstrators went from the Cairo suburbs to Tahrir Square, crying “Bread, Freedom and Down with the Constituent Assembly.” (This assembly is totally subservient to the president and the two Islamic political parties.)
At the same time, the International Monetary Fund announced that 4.8 billion dollars in aid would be given to Egypt, on the condition that it revised the 2012-2013 budget – meaning it would tax Egyptians more and cut expenditures. Such conditions could really hurt millions of Egyptians. Already a large percent of 18 to 30 year olds are unemployed. Men continue to work 12 hours a day in a Cairo brick factory for $11 a day. To keep their families alive, people take all sorts of little jobs. If subsidies are cut on bread, the poor may starve. If living conditions get worse, it may provoke deep anger in those who believed after the Egyptian “spring” that their lives would change.
A year and a half after the revolts, those in power intend to reestablish an Egypt for the benefit of the wealthy and their imperialist protectors. Clearly, a great part of the population isn’t ready to accept this.