by Edd Mustill
Today Egypt’s April 6th Youth Movement is celebrating its 3rd birthday.
On April 6th 2008, an attempted general strike occurred in Egypt, called by the textile workers of Mahalla. The April 6th Youth Movement was formed initially as a group in solidarity with the Mahalla workers.
The police attempted to stop the strike by forcibly taking over the factory. Within two days, the security services had moved to arrest the strike leaders. They shot and killed Mahalla residents, including a 15-year-old.
The events of April 6th 2008 were part of the strike wave that took place in Egpyt in 2006-8. Some said it marked the broadening of the strikes into political strikes. It gave impetus to other social movements in the country.
April 6th were among those who first called this year’s protest which ousted Mubarak, and are working for further democratisation and for a continuation of the revolution. They recently campaigned against the constitutional changes drawn up by the military, arguing that Egypt needs a completely new constitution.
Today we should remember that the struggle of the Egyptian workers did not just appear on our TV screens out of nowhere. It has been, and continues to be, a long, hard, and bloody fight. Mahalla has been, and will no doubt continue to be, on the front line.
To the workers and students of Egpyt, to the twentysomething-year-old veterans of revolutionary agitation… solidarity on April 6th.