Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Workers' Society: The El-Ghazl Factory, Mahalla, Egypt


Long before mass, popular resistance brought down the Mubarak regime, ushering in the doomed Islamist Morsi, I spent a glorious period in Egypt exploring at close quarters the work of the unofficial pro-union Centre for Workers & Trade Union Services CWTUS (http://www.ctuws.com/Default.aspx).

The leader of the Centre, Kamal Abbas (of whom I have blogged before) has been serially brutalised by the regime but nevertheless was party to the historic creation of official, independent new federation of Egyptian trade unions born in the aftermath of Mubarak and before Morsi (http://www.ctuws.com/Default.aspx?item=1287).

A distinct feature of Egyptian workplace activism that I was familiar with before my visit, but that I learnt more of in my time there, was that despite the official labour movement acting as a mouthpiece for Mubarak, there thrived a dominant, independent labour movement (of which CWTUS and other NGOs provided support) which bore bitter, constant state-inspired assault but which remained undimished helping to inspire the populist backlash rendered most vivid in Tahrir Square in 2011.

The filmmakers Cristina Bocchialini and Ayman El Gazwy have created a rich, vivid portrayal of this secular, working class movement bound within the lives of 'a workers' society' at the gigantic El-Ghazl factory in Mahalla, Egypt.

The strapline for the film is all you need to know of why you must watch this eye witness "insight on the cauldron of revolt where workers inspired an uprising".

To view the film click on this link: http://aje.me/yqr2zN

There is some helpful background historical material here: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/revolutionthrougharabeyes/2012/01/201213013135991429.html

In Solidarity


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