Program of the Democratic Workers Party
Freedom – Dignity – Humanity – Social Justice
Preamble to the Party’s Draft Program
The document in your hands is the draft program of the Workers Party. It is the result of discussions, carried out by groups of the party’s founders in different places, recording their thoughts on basic principles as well as their ideas for a new revolutionary Egypt, which must come into being after our people’s revolution on 25 January 2011.
We present this draft to all Egyptian workers, farmers, politicians, intellectuals, students, and to everyone who wishes to join the party’s ranks and to defend the laborers’ interests. It is up to every member to contribute his opinion and expertise in order to develop this program, for it is ready for amendment, discussion, additions, and deletions. The platform will only become final after its confirmation by the party’s first founding congress and will not be changed except during the party’s second congress.
In every corner of Egypt, Egyptian workers participated in all national struggles. They actively joined in the 1919 revolution and struggled against the English occupation. They opposed the oppression of the authorities and the regime oppression, starting with the tobacco workers’ strike of 1899 until their latest strike during the revolution of 25 January 2011.
The history of the Egyptian workers’ struggle is a history we should be proud of and from which we borrow its experience and lessons against all the ranks of exploitation and class oppression.
The Egyptian workers’ struggle during the 1919 revolution, and their struggle to form a national Workers’ and Student’s Committee in 1946, and their constant struggle against capitalist exploitation are venerable examples. The Mahalla al-Kubra uprising of 6 April 2008, and the workers’ strikes, protests, and sit-ins which went on from December 2006 till now: these were a natural prelude to the revolution of 25 January.
The workers bore much oppression during their history, not only by their main enemy (exploitive capitalism), but also by the repressive state apparatus and the colonialists. The Egyptian working class gave many of their children as martyrs, injured, detainees, and as prisoners of conscience.
The workers were always at the vanguard. And the Workers Party remained dreaming of attracting the most devoted workers. The working class did not despair of realizing the dream, but began to demand it, trying to find a place for it in the shade of the darkest conditions and the utmost oppression, corruption, and tyranny until the dawn of freedom and revolution broke. For it brought light to the darkness of the night and tyranny and toppled the regime, and the realization of the dream was inevitable.
Our party’s identity is labor .. Our party is a political party striving to achieve freedom, democracy, human dignity, and social justice .. Our party is of an urgent necessity and historical inevitability .. For the workers are the architects of progress and civilization, they are the honorable hands which, with their blood and sweat, produce, provide, and protect. Throughout its history, the Egyptian working class did not find any fortress within which to find refuge, nor a shield to ward off the enemies’ arrows, nor a sworn with which to fight their enemies. So it was inevitable that it find such a fortress, sword, and shield in a party that defends it and fights for it.
Declaration of the Democratic Workers Party’s Principles
1 – The Workers Party calls for respecting the religious faith of every Egyptian and against discrimination between them based on religion, color, or sex. It seeks to build a civil state, built on the principles of citizenship and full equality of all Egyptian citizens and against discrimination and sectarianism.
2 – The Workers Party embraces everybody who works for a wage, workers, employees, and professionals.
3 – The Workers Party will struggle for the three principles of the Egyptian revolution: freedom, social justice, and a civil state.
4 – The Workers Party embraces in its ranks all students, intellectuals, literati, writers, artists, and every person who defends the interests of the hardworking and all of society’s oppressed.
5 – The Workers Party is open to the unemployed. It regards the issue of unemployment and the establishment of a general union of the unemployed and an unemployment allowance as priorities of the party.
6 – The Workers Party is open to all pensioners. The issues of a just pension and the distribution of looted welfare money are priorities of the party’s work.
7 – The Workers Party defends in its program the issues of poor farmers and all those oppressed in the cities and on the countryside.
8 – The Workers Party will struggle continually for the better labor relations and conditions in such a way at to make labor a main domain of achievement and innovation, instead of being a domain of misery and tragedy. Labor laws are not merely an economic relationship between worker and owner, but they directly influence the social relationships of society and family .. Just wages, a seven-hours day, and the guaranteed right to work are all important and necessary, having been withheld from Egyptian workers for many years.
9 – The Workers Party is hostile to colonialism and Zionism. The party aims at struggling together with Egypt’s masses to cancel the obsequious Camp David Accords, which leave the Sinai threatened by Zionist occupation at any time and diminishes Egyptian sovereignty in the Sinai, and squanders the blood of Egypt’s martyrs and their bitter struggle against predatory Zionism.
10 – The Workers Party calls for a complete Arab revolution against all Arab dictatorships and calls for Arab unity on the condition that it will be based on democracy and true popular will.
11 – The Workers Party believes that the Egyptian revolution’s influence will not be limited to the Arab region, but will spread to many countries. From here, we consider ourselves part of the world revolution, influenced by it and influencing it. We proclaim our solidarity with all workers and peoples of the world for a better world, ruled by justice, freedom, and equality .. a world without war and poverty.
12 – The Workers Party supports women’s issues and refuses all views that insult the status of women and look down on them .. Because women have a special place in our party and in society .. they are the light of life and make up half of our Egyptian revolution.
13 – The Workers Party strives to contribute to building an independent general union for the Egyptian working class and to preserve the union’s independence, far from any party control.
14 – The Workers Party strives to contribute to building farmers’ associations and unions in the Egyptian countryside, paving the way for an independent Egyptian farmers’ union.
15 – The Workers Party will support the struggle of the Egyptian Nubian people to recover all of their rights and to end the real persecution against them, and against the internationalization of the Nubians issue. Under the auspices of the 25 January revolution, we reclaim all rights through our struggle, trust, and confidence in the Egyptian Nubian masses.
16 – The Workers Party supports our people’s struggle in precious Sinai to own the land and to undertake real development for Sinai’s society, returning a life of dignity to their children. The Sinai is Egypt’s eastern gate and was, for ages, always the point of first confrontation for the colonizing and imperialist armies, from Hyksos to the Zionists.
17 – The Workers Party supports the struggle of poor Egyptian fishermen against the leviathans of capital controlling their lakes and against these leviathans’ destruction of the abundance of fish. The party struggles with the fishermen to set up independent associations for each fishing region and an independent general Egyptian fishermen’s union.
18 – The Workers Party will struggle for the right to social security under just conditions and to expand the range of social and health insurance for all citizens, from birth until death, against handicaps and disabilities, disease, retirement, accidents, natural and environmental disasters, unemployment, arbitrary firing, bankruptcy, orphanhood, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, in addition to full social security covering the attendant needs of motherhood, childhood, and old age.
19 – The Workers Party struggles for free education at all stages, with an interest in developing education, technology, and scientific research at the highest level world-wide and linking them to production and development plans in society.
20 – The Workers Party struggles for education, health, and housing to become basic rights for Egyptian citizens, instead of goods you sell and buy, for these humanistic rights to become like water and air, as the early pioneers’ wanted.
21 – The Workers Party regards the essence of social justice exemplified in:
- Fair distribution of wealth based on the principle of each according to his work, with complete protection for the elderly and children.
- Redesigning production in society with the goal of satisfying human needs with regard to food, clothing, housing, health, and education, rather than production for the sake of profit and accumulating wealth in the interests of a small handful of capitalists.
22 – The Workers Party aims to develop and consolidate the positive aspects of the Egyptian personality which became evident during the revolution, especially among Egypt’s revolutionary young men and women, like:
- National affiliation and collective solidarity instead of egoism and individualistic dissolution.
- Working collectively for a clean and beautiful environment.
- Free and proud people with dignity against humiliation, subservience, and submission.
23 – The Workers Party draws inspiration from the experience of popular committees which appeared spontaneously during the revolution and which protected public and private property. The party will strive to develop this popular creativity since true democracy arises from: popular committees in neighborhoods, workers’ councils in factories and industrial zones, and popular farmers’ councils in villages.
Introduction to the Draft Program of the Democratic Workers Party
Greetings to Egypt’s revolutionaries, to its workers and employees .. to its students and youth .. together, through our glorious revolution, we made it possible to overthrow the dictator Mubarak and imposed the dissolution of the fraudulent People’s Assembly and the Shura Council .. launching trials and calling to account the corrupt big businessmen who pilfered the people’s wealth .. But we are still at the beginning of the revolution .. our popular revolution will not calm down until the country is purged of all of the symbols of the former regime, until all those responsible are tried and the country is finally liberated from robbery, tyranny, and the impoverishment of the people for the well-being of a small handful of criminal businessmen.
We want to overthrow the regime of looting under the name of capitalism .. we want to achieve social justice .. we want to build a society of equality between people .. between Copts and Muslims .. between men and women.
Poverty, oppression, and violence didn’t differentiate between Muslims and Christians or between men and women when workers were displaced, when they were drowned on the ferry1 and incinerated in trains2 and tortured in prisons .. our social revolution will not differentiate except between oppressors and oppressed, between subjugators and the subjugated.
We want to realize the demands of the workers, the employees, the unemployed, and the poor farmers because they are the majority of the people .. during Mubarak’s long rule they suffered impoverishment, displacement, and humiliation while the businessmen accumulated billions by the blood and sweat of the poor.
All this happened by way of a strong alliance between the corrupt regime and its businessmen on the one hand and colonialism and Zionism on the other .. the regime played the role of servile agent for these forces and helped them to realize their interests in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon.
But the time has come for the Egyptian people to raise their heads high, to declare independence from the Americans and the Zionists and to stand beside the peoples who struggle for freedom and independence, first among them the Palestinian people who have been besieged and oppressed.
Truly the downfall of the regime does not only mean toppling its head. Rather, we want a essential change of the regime’s policies.
We do not want the businessmen and the elite to steal or halt our revolution halfway .. we want to build a part for the Egyptian workers, for all those working for a wage, and all allies of the Egyptian working class.
Draft Program of the Democratic Workers Party
The Workers’ Struggle for Freedom
First: Putting in place a new constitution for the country through a founding assembly elected by the people:
- A constitution which dissolves the dictatorial presidential regime.
- A constitution which lays the foundation to build a civil democratic state.
- A constitution in which the masses are the source of all powers.
- A constitution which protects all economic and social rights for the popular classes and guarantees a dignified life for every citizen.
- A constitution which protects the right of citizenship and the principles of equality and non-discrimination between Egyptians based on religion, color, or sex. One which criminalizes all sectarian behavior and calls for respecting the religious beliefs of all Egyptians.
Second: Completing the realization of the revolution’s democratic demands which have not yet been met, first among them:
1 – Immediately lifting the state of emergency and releasing all those detained and convicted before military or exceptional courts for matters of conscience.
2 – Prosecuting Mubarak’s family and all thieving elements of the old regime and recovering the millions looted from the Egyptian people’s wealth.
3 – Prosecuting all those responsible for crimes of torture over the last thirty years and all those responsible for assassinating the revolution’s martyrs.
4 – Prosecuting all perpetrators of sectarian crimes, first among them the criminal bombing of the Church of the Two Saints.
5 – Dissolving the State Security Investigations Service, the ruling party of the former regime, and all local councils on the level of neighborhoods, cities, and governorates .. For all these places were breeding grounds of domination, corruption, and repression.
6 – Granting the freedom to form parties, trade unions, confederations, associations, students unions, and popular committees.
7 – The freedom to publish media.
8 – The freedom to organize strikes, sit-ins, and demonstrations without threat.
9 – Toppling the Egyptian Trade Union Federation which was forced on us by the former regime and forming a new federation of independent trade unions.
The Workers’ Struggle for Social Justice
First: The Workers:
1 – A minimum wage not less than 1,500 Egyptian pounds monthly for all workers and linking wages to the rise in prices (flexible price-wage link). Setting the maximum wage for higher government positions to not more than 30 thousand Egyptian pounds monthly and pensions to not less than 1,200 Egyptian pounds monthly and linking the pensions also to any rise in prices. Unemployment aid for those out of work to be no less than 600 Egyptian pounds and making permanent all temporary workers.
2 – Nationalizing the big companies which were sold at the lowest prices to businessmen and foreign companies. This nationalization should be carried out without compensation and in the framework of true democratic workers’ supervision, giving workers the full authority to supervise and hold to account the companies’ board of directors and bookkeeping department and to prevent corrupt people from taking control.
3 – Mandatory price controls for essential goods and breaking up all trade monopolies.
4 – A final end to the policies of privatization and freeing the economy from that which impoverished and displaced the Egyptian masses of workers, farmers, and poor.
5 – Introducing increased taxes, totally exempting the poor, workers, employees, and small property owners and raising the tax ceiling for the rich and large companies.
6 – Returning the state to its central role in development and investment for the well-being of the masses, under the democratic supervision of the workers.
Second: The Farmers:
1 – Canceling all farmers’ debts to the banks.
2 – Restoring interest-free loans to farmers in need.
3 – Restoring the nationalization of production and distribution of water, seeds, and agricultural machinery.
4 – Canceling the 1997 law on agricultural rents.
5 – Setting an upper limit for rents and their annual increase.
6 – Complete and radical agricultural reforms, redistributing land to the farmers in a just manner.
Third: Health and Education:
1 – Stopping all forms of privatization in the health system and nationalizing large private hospitals. Restoring free health services and increasing spending on health.
2 – Stopping acts of waste, corruption, and bribery in public treatment institutions and putting them under popular democratic supervision.
3 – Restoring truly free education, multiplying the education budget, and placing the implementation of educational investment plans under popular supervision.
4 – Developing educational methods and interest in scientific research.
1 – Placing a ceiling on residential rent increases.
2 – Concentrating the housing budgets on public investments in housing projects for the people.
3 – Nationalizing large private real estate companies without compensation and redirecting their investments toward popular housing.
Fifth: The People of Sinai:
1 – Canceling the compulsory restrictions on investments in Sinai and implementing a real development project.
2 – Recognition of the civil rights, among them landownership and equality with the rest of Egyptians.
3 – Overturning those judgments issued regarding the right of the people of Sinai and releasing the remaining prisoners and compensating them for the term of their imprisonment, in the interests of ending the state of instability and paving the way for the rule of law and respect for customs and traditions.
4 – Prosecuting those responsible for killing the people of Sinai before and during the revolution, as well as those who squandered the funds intended for Sinai development projects.
5 – Prosecuting of Gamal Mubarak and Husayn Salim for the criminal bombings in Sharm al-Shaykh, for which the people of Sinai paid a high price.
Sixth: The Nubians:
1 – Giving Nubians their right to full reparations and reassessing the meager reparations for the 1964 migrants.
2 – Allocating all lands around the reservoir, which is the firm coastal lands and what is around them, free of charge to the Nubians which were living there before the dam was built.
3 – Giving Nubians full freedom to move to this region after its transformation into populated, built-up areas and after basic utilities and services are provided.
4 – Transforming what is currently a region of migration (Nasr al-Nuba), given its advantages, into a built-up area.
5 – Putting to work the unemployed Nubian youth in New Nubia in productive projects.
6 – Caring for the Nubians’ material heritage from disappearing because of migration, for it the equivalent of a memory for the new generations.
The Workers’ Struggle for the National Issue
1 – Opposing the colonialist and Zionist schemes in the Nile basin region. A constant dialogue with the countries of the Nile basin, to arrive at a just and enduring agreement taking into consideration the interests of all the region’ states and guaranteeing continual cooperation to find the most suitable way of benefiting from the abundance of water, without wasting it.
2 – Stopping all forms of normalization with the Zionist enemy in all of the following spheres: political, military, cultural, diplomatic, and trade. At their head, halting the export of natural gas to the Zionist enemy and canceling work on the QIZ Agreement, which awards the Zionists the right to 10 percent of Egypt’s industrial production in the spinning and weaving sector, in order to allow them to enter American markets.
3 – Canceling the agreements that diminish Egyptian sovereignty over Egyptian lands and limit the size of the Egyptian army to a specific number of forces.
Just as our people overthrew the humiliating 1936 alliance with the British colonialists, they must strive to cancel the Camp David Accords and its secret appendices, while the country recovers its vitality and strength. We do not seek adventure, but we do not have to humiliate ourselves and live with humiliating agreements that diminish Egypt’s sovereignty over precious Sinai.
4 – Opening the Rafah crossing and transforming a policy of oppressing and besieging the Palestinian people into a policy of solidarity with its brave resistance until the liberation of Palestine.
5 – Halting all joint exercises with the American army and halting cooperation with and military facilitation for that colonialist army.
6 – Allocating revenues of the Suez Canal to a dignified life for citizens and a solution to the unemployment and housing crises, for these are the stifling problems of the popular classes. Prohibiting passage through the canal of any war ships aiming to invade, destroy, and occupy Arab land, as happened during the American aggression against Iraq.
The Workers Party sees that, in order for Egypt to regain its standing, the Egyptian people must able to stand as an example to the peoples of the region in ridding themselves of despotism, poverty, and ignorance. Considering that the Arab peoples and the peoples of the Nile Valley, especially the people of Sudan, are sister nations, it extends to them a helping hand and requests their assistance in their struggle for a dignified life.
This is the view of the Egyptian workers for completing the glorious Egyptian revolution .. we will continue to struggle for its realization and to arrive at a revolutionary government which truly reflects the interests of the majority of the Egyptian masses.
The time has come for the workers and poor of Egypt to have their independent voice and their independent political party .. we will not allow our rights and our votes to be stolen anew, whether by intellectuals or the military or businessmen..
So together let us begin to build our independent party and let us continue our revolution until complete victory is achieved .. let one of our first steps be to form a committee to defend the revolution, defending it on the battlefields, and in the factories, companies, neighborhoods, and villages.
For revolution until victory
To contact: [redacted]
The party’s Facebook page (The Workers’ Voice)
1 A reference to the sinking of the MS al-Salam Boccaccio 98 passenger ferry in the Red Sea on 3 February 2006. The ferry was carrying over 1,300 passengers and a crew of approximately 100 when it sank en route from Duba, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga, Egypt. Only 388 people were rescued.
2 A reference to the al-Ayyat train fire of 20 February 2002. Seven third-class carriages of a passenger train traveling from Cairo to Luxor were incinerated in a fire caused by the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder. The official number of deaths reported by the Egyptian government was 383, but there was widespread speculation that the true number was closer to 1,000, as each carriage was thought to be carrying well over the maximum carrying capacity of 150.
Acquired 1 May 2011
Translated by Alina Mülhauser
Translation reviewed by Alex Winder