Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
You should have tried reading them - after I did the work you might have done before making your claims. Your little media conspiracy theory collapses :-)

But they also seem to underscore the growing confidence of workers whose activism in recent years -- despite a ban on strikes and the formation of independent unions -- served as a critical root of the revolution. The workers' role grew in the days before Mr. Mubarak stepped down, as strikes involving thousands of workers spread across the country.

The recent strikes build on what labor organizers contend was their critical role in the uprising that toppled Mr. Mubarak: a grass-roots mobilization that seemed to find its own steam without the help of Facebook or Twitter or any kind of a national labor network.

One labor organizer and 20 of his colleagues, using cellphones, spread the word of a strike to a textile mill in Alexandria and a chemical factory in Aswan. The health technicians' union reached out to steelworkers. Fliers were distributed all over the country last week by organizations like the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt and Ms. Refaat's group.

One flier said: "Three hundred young people have paid with their lives as a price for our freedom. The path is open for all of us."

That labor leaders could organize strikes on the spur of the moment should come as no surprise, they say. They developed tight bonds over "many years of meetings and joint struggle for our rights," said Muhammad Abdelsalam al-Barbari of the Coordinating Committee for Labor Freedoms and Rights. "It was natural during the protests to ask around about what labor action is being taken here and there."


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 06:43:20 AM EST
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Sorry, but I've read plenty of similar stories in the early days of the uprising without this information, which I learnt from other sources (you should have quoted the key parts). I wasn't claiming conspiracy, just standard ignorance and laziness. It looks like the NYT has finally figured out what was going on - they usually do, eventually (though I would still be curious to know what fraction of the coverage this represents).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 06:53:00 AM EST
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First the unions are "ignored", refute that and it's "They don't deal with it in the right way", refute that and it's "It's too late and not enough" - just keep setting the barriers higher and you'll be "right" in the end without having to do any research yourself - what was that about "laziness" ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 08:21:38 AM EST
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Not so much laziness, as finding other things a lot more interesting. For example, more details about the trade unions, their internal politics, and so on. If anybody has detailed information, it would be interesting to discuss it here: I've managed to find very little (I've tried the Egyptian press using Google translate, but I don't know where to even begin to search). After following them for the first week or so I have absolutely no interest in watching the  MSM catch up with the facts.

But as for the MSM, with, I admit, very superficial knowledge of what they've been writing for the past week or so, your sarcastic "too late and not enough" actually contains some truth. Too late, since most people form their opinions from the initial coverage. Not enough: where are the background stories on the individuals involved? (This time I'm serious - if the NYTimes has such stories I really would like to see them). How many people even here are aware of the scale of things? Close to a third (I seem to recall 28%) of the workforce unionized. Literally thousands of labour protests over the past few years. The quotes you give don't really give a feel of the scale (I apologize if this is elsewhere in the article - not laziness this time, but the lack of a login and password....). It just struck me that the amount of time wasted on a unclear conspiracy theory concerning Gene Sharp (not the discussion of the institute itself which is very interesting, but the specific accusations in the case of Egypt) was completely out of proportion compared to the more important issues.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 09:33:08 AM EST
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As predicted, while accepting that while it's true that  the unions were not "ignored", as alleged, nor were they necessarily presented as less significant than the facebook people, you DO now add to the requirements: "Too late, since most people form their opinions from the initial coverage. Not enough", oh and not quite the right "feel" for you.

Well I didn't research this exhaustively, but the earliest one of those I cited, Published Feb 9th, before Mubarak left, has this, but I'm sure this isn't enough and it could have been even earlier, even fuller, a better "feel", etc. But then the NYT IS MSM and not in the business of fulfilling the most exacting requirements of those of us on the left;  

Even protests that were not directly against Mr. Mubarak centered on the types of government neglect that have driven the call for him to leave power.

Protesters in Port Said, a city of 600,000 at the mouth of the Suez Canal, set fire to a government building, saying local officials had ignored their requests for better housing. And in one of the most potentially significant labor actions, thousands of workers for the Suez Canal Authority continued a sit-in on Wednesday, though there were no immediate suggestions of disruptions of shipping in the canal, a vital international waterway.

Increasingly, the political clamor for Mr. Mubarak's ouster seemed to be complemented by strikes nationwide. While many strikes seemed to focus on specific grievances related to working conditions, labor leaders suggested they were energized by protests against Mr. Mubarak.

Rahma Refaat, a lawyer at the Center for Trade Union and Worker Services, said, "Most of those on strike say that we have discovered that the resources of our country have been stolen by the regime."

The protest against the Suez Canal Authority began Tuesday night and was staged by about 6,000 workers. In Helwan, 6,000 workers at the Misr Helwan Spinning and Weaving Company went on strike, Ms. Refaat said.

More than 2,000 workers from the Sigma pharmaceutical company in Quesna began a strike while about 5,000 unemployed youths stormed a government building in Aswan, demanding the dismissal of the governor.

Postal workers protested in shifts, Ms. Refaat said. In Cairo, sanitation workers demonstrated outside their headquarters.

In Al Ahram's lobby, journalists called their protest a microcosm of the Egyptian uprising, with young journalists leading demands for better working conditions and less biased coverage.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Feb 22nd, 2011 at 05:45:00 PM EST
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