The following remarks were made by an IBT comrade at an International Socialists meeting on "Spain 1936" in Toronto on 5 June 2012.
In his writings on the Spanish Revolution, Trotsky characterized class collaborationism as “the main question of proletarian class strategy for this epoch” [“The POUM and the Popular Front,” 16 July 1936]. While many leftists viewed political support to bourgeois forces as a mere tactical issue, Trotsky insisted that betraying the principle of working-class independence could only result in the defeat of the revolution.
The situation in Egypt today, while different from that of Spain in the 1930s, once again sharply poses the question of multi-class political alliances vs. working-class political independence. There is no “lesser evil” for Egyptian workers in the second round of the presidential election on 16 and 17 June. Ahmad Shafiq was Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, while Mohammed Morsi of the Freedom and Justice Party is the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both represent the ruling class and are the sworn enemies of the workers’ movement. Marxists call upon working people to reject this charade, spoil their ballots and begin building organs of class struggle capable of advancing their interests against both the bourgeois military and Islamic reaction.
In the 2 June issue of Socialist Worker, the IS reprints a statement by their Egyptian sister organization, the Revolutionary Socialists, which “call[s] on all the reformist and revolutionary forces and the remainder of the revolutionary candidates to form a national front which stands against the candidate of counter-revolution [Shafiq], and demands that the Muslim Brotherhood declares its commitment to the following”:
“1. Formation of a presidential coalition which includes Hamdeen Sabbahi and Abd-al-Moneim Abu-al-Fotouh as Vice-Presidents.
“2. The selection of a Prime Minister from outside the ranks of the Brotherhood and the Freedom and Justice Party and the formation of a government across the whole political spectrum in which the Copts are represented.”
--Socialist Worker, 2 June
Calling for the formation of a new bourgeois government from “across the whole political spectrum” violates the most fundamental principle of Marxism: the political independence of the workers’ movement from the bourgeoisie. The struggle to build a revolutionary workers’ party in Egypt must begin by repudiating the “practical” class collaboration promoted by the IS which can only produce defeat and demoralization.