The election of Muhammad Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood as president of Egypt is a historic victory for the Arab Democratic Revolution. He should be welcomed and supported by all the progressive forces of the Egyptian people and by all the Arab people that are still struggling for liberation from imperialist domination and local tyrannies.
This election victory didn’t come easy.
First we should all remember, as President Morsi mentioned in his victory speech, that it is a victory that was paid for with the blood and souls of the Shuhada – the martyrs of the revolution.
The revolution in Egypt scored important victory with the toppling of Mubarak, but it was only a partial victory. The decision of the top brass of the Egyptian army to drop Mubarak, encouraged by their US mentors, saved a lot of blood and opened the way for the change of government and the installation of the new president by elections. But this decision was clearly motivated also by self interest – as the Mubarak area military and security establishment tries to keep as much as possible of their privilege and power at the expense of the Egyptian people. The Egyptian revolution is still not safe and still depends on the mobilization of the masses for any new progress against the forces of the old regime and against imperialist and Zionist pressures. This is just another reason why we should strengthen the hard-won victory in the presidential elections and build on it to continue the dismantling of the old regime, putting the Egyptian state at the service of its people and converting Egypt from a tool of Imperialist intervention to a bulwark of Arab liberation.
It was only natural that the brotherhoods’ candidate will come first in the first round of the presidential elections, on May 23-24. The brotherhood is the main organized force in the Arab Spring. It learned much of the revolutionary theory and tactics that the left and the nationalists have long forgot. It was more of a surprise that the representative of the old regime, Ahmad Shafiq, came second – but it stresses the fact that the revolution in Egypt didn’t reach all the people and all places yet, and the old regime still holds significant control on peoples’ lives and conduct. The gains of Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third, show that the left nationalist forces have an important base of support between the masses.
The real surprise, which should make all the forces of the Egyptian revolution reconsider their positions, is the results of the second round, on June 16-17, 2012. The fact that Mr. Morsi won by only a small margin, 51.7% to Shafiq’s 48.3%, means that the forces of the Egyptian revolution failed to unite when they faced a dangerous showdown with the old regime. It will not help if each party blames the others for this failure. The responsibility to create the necessary mutual faith, common program and unity in action is the common task of all forces that support the aspirations of the Egyptian people for freedom and social justice. After we were so close to failure, which could mean a setback for the revolution and, most probably, bloody repression and uphill struggle, all should work harder together to ensure the victory of the revolution in the coming challenging period.
Meanwhile we celebrate the victory of President Morsi as a victory of the Egyptian people and the Arab Spring. It starts a new tradition of changing governments by popular will, as expressed in free elections. The broad legitimacy of the newly elected president Morsi forms big cracks in the walls that all local dictators build around themselves to block the power of the people.