On March 15, the Communist Party of Egypt announced that after many years underground because of repression, it will be assuming open, public political activities once more.
The announcement came after “an extensive meeting with all of its bodies” and was unanimous.
The original Communist Party of Egypt, the Hizb al Shuvuci al-Misri had been founded in 1922, when Egypt was still a monarchy and very much under the thumb of British imperialism. The last king of Egypt, Farouk, was overthrown by an uprising of young army officers in 1952. Out of that revolution came the 14-year regime of Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser, a radical nationalist who worked to break Egypt away from subservience to Western capitalist powers. In 1965, the Communist Party of Egypt merged into Nasser’s own movement, the Arab Socialist Union.
A number of former Communist Party activists dissented from this merger and formed their own independent journal, Al-Inisar (Victory), starting in 1973, which led to their re-founding the Communist Party in 1975. Under the governments of Anwar Al Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, the re-founded Communist Party of Egypt faced repression and was not allowed to run in elections. However, it did not disappear and did not abandon the struggle for democracy and socialism.
When the demonstrations against the Mubarak regime began earlier this year, the Communist Party of Egypt, working in unity with other left-wing dissident groups, quickly gained public visibility as a key voice in the secular opposition. Its Feb. 1 proclamation read as follows:
The revolution will continue until the demands of the masses are fulfilled
Statement issued by the Communist Party of Egypt
February 1, 2011 — The moment of truth is approaching. This is the decisive moment for the Egyptian popular forces for change; to topple the Mubarak regime. It seems that the imperialists, and their American masters in particular, are lifting their hands from him after the continuation of revolution everywhere in Egypt.
Today millions emerge to demand the departure of Mubarak. They will prevent all the conspiracies of the dictator and his gang of spies to thwart the revolution and overcome them.
The formation of a committee, which enjoys the confidence of the people and the demonstrators, is crucial to achieve the demands of the political, economic and social revolution, and we emphasise the basic demands presented by the national forces to the deputies of the people’s parliament:
1. Dismissal of Mubarak and the formation of a presidential council for a transitional period of limited duration.
2. Forming a coalition government to administer the country during the transitional period.
3. To convene the election of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution for the country based on the principle of the sovereignty of the nation and ensure the devolution of power within the framework of a democratic just civil state.
4. Prosecute those responsible for hundreds of deaths and injuries of revolutionary martyrs and victims of oppression as well as ensuring the prosecution of those responsible for plundering the wealth of the Egyptian people.
5. Long live the revolution of the Egyptian people!
Although some of these goals have been achieved, such as the dismissal of Mubarak, obviously others will have to be the focus of intensive struggle, and the situation in Egypt is hardly stable. This is why the Party has decided to reorganize itself as a public political force. The Communist Party of Egypt is involved in various discussions with other democratic parties and organizations about the future of the Egyptian nation.