Posted below is a statement from the Egyptian Real Estate Tax Authority Union (RETA) published by British Socialist Worker.
As a one-time low-level Australian Tax Office worker and former member of the Community & Public Sector Union (CPSU), I am curious about RETA – the Egyptian Real Estate Tax Authority Union.
Is it a bosses’ union? The CPSU was run by my managers .
My union has never supported any revolution let alone the ones in the Middle East.
They say that RETA has 27,000 members.
My union is one of the largest in the country (but it hides its real numbers and list of members). The CPSU does support the Labor Party and is a stepping stone into government for the leadership.
Any call from the leadership of the CPSU is pretty much meaningless because the members don’t get a say.
Any union member should ‘support the Libyan people in their revolution and for their right to freedom’. So too we should ‘reject foreign intervention and the aggression by foreign military forces against people in Libya’.
But what does that mean in practice? Whenever the members of my union voted to oppose privatisation (i.e. of the Commonwealth Employment Service) the state secretary (now Senator Claire Moore) subverted the call for action. We got privatisation and she got a senate seat.
Similarly, with this statement.
The problem is, that when push comes to shove, Libyan rebels chose foreign intervention and made direct calls for planes and missiles.
Worse still, as the conflict with the Libyan army escalated, rebels made calls for targeted attacks on Libyans by the United States and its allies.
When victory was imminent rebels phoned Libyan positions on the ground to bomb direct to NATO pilots.
Now that there is a stalemate, brought about by lack of military training by the rebels, reports say they are calling for more weapons and for NATO advisors & trainers on the ground.
Bob Fisk reports:
“Desperate to avoid US military involvement in Libya in the event of a prolonged struggle between the Gaddafi regime and its opponents, the Americans have asked Saudi Arabia if it can supply weapons to the rebels in Benghazi.”
The Saudis have played a role in putting down revolt by the people of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia & in Egypt itself.
Strikes and demonstrations continue. Our union brothers and sisters in the RETA are waging such campaigns.
I support my union brothers and sisters in Egypt but cannot support the rebel leadership in Libya. I mistrust the leadership of my own union so why should I trust the leadership of people who call for foreign intervention?
“Egypt’s real estate tax collectors started their strike and open sit-in at the heart of down town Cairo, facing the cabinet and Ministry of Finance on Dec 3, 2007. By the 11th day, the government responded to all demands of the 55,000 strikers”
— excerpt from the vimeo video sent by Mark (below, not the youtube video above – trying to get confirmation from different sources).
“…I think it possible that the Egyptian army will send peace keeping forces into Libya at some point.
This may answer RETA’s call for Arab intervention.
But I oppose it strongly.
It amounts to foreign intervention. Given the relationship between the United States and the Egyptian army such intervention will help the imperialists – so it is a mistake.
Just as much a mistake as the Syrian army’s intervention in Lebanon during the civil war 1975-1990. Their excuse was to save Lebanon from an israeli attack. The Israeli assault came anyway.”
But then it is easy from this tiny outpost to speculate about what should be done. I am not there on the ground. What would I do if the Americans came here? I hope that I would stick with my principles and deny the imperialist even the tiniest foothold on our land. Ooops, I forget, they are here already 🙂 and they did not even need to drop a single bomb on us – the Australian government welcomed the US military in with open arms, gave them spy bases with the licence to operate in secrecy from the poeple & our government. Worst still the US can count on committment from the government in unjust and illegal wars
7 April 2011
Statement against intervention in Libya from the Egyptian tax collectors’ union
No to Foreign Intervention
Yes to Arab Intervention
Our union has been following the events of the revolution of our Arab people in Libya closely, and we affirm our complete support for the Libyan people in their revolution and for their right to freedom from the rule of Gaddafi and his family.
We also affirm our complete condemnation of all the acts of repression which Gaddafi has carried out against our people in Libya. At the same time we reject foreign intervention and the aggression by foreign military forces against our people in Libya and call for Arab intervention to stop the shedding of the Libyan people’s blood and to stop Gaddafi’s aggression and bring him to justice.
Our union affirms its complete condemnation of the position of the Libyan trade unions which are collaborating with the Libyan regime and supporting the regimes destruction of the Libyan people. By doing this, these organisations shown that they have nothing in common with genuine trade unions and we call for their overthrow and for non-cooperation with them in the international and Arab arenas as they have the blood of the revolutionaries on their hands.
Long live the Libyan Revolution
Long live the Arab Revolution
Real Estate Tax Authority Union (RETA)