The Revolutionary Socialists (RS) are a revolutionary socialist organisation in Egypt aligned with the International Socialist Tendency. The RS produces a newspaper called The Socialist.[1] They claim to have played a criticial role in mobilizing for the first demonstrations on January 25, 2011, along with the April 6 Youth Movement, which marked the start of the Egyptian Revolution.[2] Their most prominent members are journalists Hossam el-Hamalawy[3] and Gigi Ibrahim.[4][5]


The group began in the late 1980s among small circles of students influenced by Trotskyism. Adopting the current name by April 1995, the RS grew from a few active members to a couple of hundred by the Second Palestinian Intifada. Despite not being able to freely organize under President Hosni Mubarak,[6][7] the group's membership still increased due to their participation in the Palestinian solidarity movement. The intifada was seen to have a radicalizing effect on Egyptian youth, which in turn helped to re-establish grass roots activism, which had long been repressed under the Mubarak regime.[1]

The RS' relationship with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood is also distinct from earlier leftist organizations in Egypt which held similar positions to that of the Communist Party of Egypt, which generally equated Islamism with fascism. The RS however, advanced the slogan “Sometimes with the Islamists, never with the state”. The slogan was coined by Chris Harman of the Socialist Workers Party of Britain, in his book, The Prophet and the Proletariat,[8] which was translated into Arabic, and widely distributed by the RS in 1997. The RS has thus been able to campaign alongside the Brotherhood at times, for example, during the pro-intifada and anti-war movements.[9]

2011 Egyptian Revolution

File:A female protester with her camera and a flower.jpg

RS activist Gigi Ibrahim in Tahrir Square on 1 February 2011

The RS, along with the rest of the Egyptian far left and the April 6 Youth Movement, played a key role in mobilizing for January 25, 2011, marking the first day of the Egyptian Revolution. The various forces previously met and developed strategies, such as demonstrating in different parts of Cairo simultaneously, before marching on Tahrir Square, to avoid a concentration of security forces.[2]

The RS later issued a statement calling on Egyptian workers to instigate a general strike in the hope of finally ousting Mubarak:

The regime can afford to wait out the sit-ins and demonstrations for days and weeks, but it cannot last beyond a few hours if workers use strikes as a weapon. Strike on the railways, on public transport, the airports and large industrial companies! Egyptian workers, on behalf of the rebellious youth and on behalf of the blood of our martyrs, join the ranks of the revolution, use your power and victory will be ours!
Glory to the martyrs!
Down with the system!
All power to the people!
Victory to the revolution! [10]

Post Mubarak

In the aftermath of Mubarak's resignation as President, the RS is calling for permanent revolution.[11] They argue that the working class, particularly of Cairo, Alexandria and Mansoura were the key players in ousting Mubarak, rather than the Egyptian youths' use of social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as has been widely reported.[12]

The RS along with many other Egyptian leftist organizations are also seeking to establish a new workers party in the wake of Mubarak's downfall.[2][13] The party, to be named "The Democratic Workers Party", aims to have "workers as the main players and leaders of the party joined by a number of intellectuals".[14]

During the 2011 Wisconsin budget protests, the RS sent a message of solidarity to the US International Socialist Organization, urging them to build a "a revolutionary socialist alternative" against "Zionism and imperialism".[15]

When a state security detention center -- one amongst many SSI buildings -- was entered in early March, in the wake of signs of files being destroyed, Hossam el-Hamalawy was able to visit the cell where he had been imprisoned and then wrote on his Twitter feed,[16] "Many are literally crying."[17]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt). Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. URL accessed on 7 February 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Conversation with an Egyptian socialist. Socialist Worker (US). URL accessed on 26 February 2011.
  3. Revolution 2.0: Interview with Hossam el-Hamalawy. MRZine. URL accessed on 10 February 2011.
  4. Socialist from Egypt to join debate about revolution. Socialist Worker (UK). URL accessed on 19 March 2011.
  5. Splits Emerge Among Egypt's Young Activists. The Wall Street Journal. URL accessed on 15 March 2011.
  6. Egyptian revolutionary: ‘We are changed forever’. Socialist Worker (UK). URL accessed on 8 February 2011.
  7. Egyptian socialists: 'This won't stop at Mubarak'. Socialist Worker (UK). URL accessed on 1 March 2011.
  8. (1994). The prophet and the proletariat. REDS – Die Roten. URL accessed on 8 February 2011.
  9. Comrades and Brothers. Middle East Report. URL accessed on 8 February 2011.
  10. A call from Egyptian socialists. Socialist Worker (US). URL accessed on 7 February 2011.
  11. Making the revolution permanent. Socialist Worker (US). URL accessed on 19 March 2011.
  12. Egypt's spreading strikes. Socialist Worker (US). URL accessed on 26 February 2011.
  13. New Leftist party being assembled in Egypt. Ahram Online. URL accessed on 1 March 2011.
  14. January Revolution generates a new Egyptian political map. Ahram Online. URL accessed on 8 March 2011.
  15. Solidarity message from Egyptian socialists. Socialist Worker (US). URL accessed on 1 March 3, 2011.
  16. Stack, Liam and Neil MacFarquhar; Amr Emam contributed reporting. Egyptians Get View of Extent of Spying. The New York Times. URL accessed on 10 March, 2011.
  17. Carlstrom, Gregg. "A first step towards prosecutions?", Al Jazeera, 6 Mar 2011. 

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