Egypt’s working class and the question of organisation

By Hossam El-Hamalawy

, by Pambazuka

The nascent trade union movement in Egypt will need to develop political structures for the voices of the working class to be heard in electoral processes.

‘Who is the labour candidate in this presidential election?’ This is a question I have been asked frequently in the past few days. My answer is ‘no one’.

Despite the presence of left wing candidates in the race, including labour lawyer Khaled Ali, who by all accounts is the most experienced in labour organising among his counterparts (even when he repeatedly denies the accusation of being a ‘socialist’, and advocates a ‘strong private sector’ working hand in hand with a state-run public sector), neither Ali nor any other candidates can claim to speak for Egypt’s working class, simply because the working class does not have yet formal entities, organisations, parties, and unions that can claim their representation.

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