The People’s Socialist Coalition Party holds first general meeting

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CAIRO: The People’s Socialist Coalition Party, under formation, held its first general assembly meeting Friday at the Journalists’ Syndicate to present its program, guidelines and activities.

The party members said that a socialist ideology would achieve the balance between freedom, democracy, social justice and human dignity — the main pillars of the January 25 Revolution. Public ownership would be the main pillar of the economy, they said.

The conference was headed by Ibrahim El-Essawy, economist and former member of the leftist Tagammu Party.

He presented the party’s main activities since its founding meeting on Feb. 26. The committees’ efforts were channeled into two main directions: setting up the party and coining its stance on current events.

“The party focused on spreading its ideas and goals in various areas in Egypt through holding conferences and meetings,” El-Essawy said. “We divided Egypt into three main parts: Delta, Upper Egypt and Greater Cairo.”

According to El-Essawy, the party is currently preparing educational booklets explaining the principles and ideologies of socialism. It may also launch a website and a newspaper. They are currently in the process of selecting a headquarters.

El-Essawy said that funding remains an obstacle — currently, the sole source of funding is donations by members who prefer anonymity.

“I deeply thank all who contributed to the party’s funding and we are in search of a permanent source,” El-Essawy said, urging members to donate to help meet the party’s current needs.

With 900 members so far, the party hopes to reach the minimum 5,000, required for official registration, with at least 300 members from 10 Egyptian provinces, as stipulated by the amended political parties law.

El-Essawy left the floor to Mohamed Al-Agaty, who presented the draft program divided into five main objectives reflecting the party’s strategy for each: political (towards building a new democracy), economic (the human before the profit), social (humans are the foundation of development), cultural (towards a creative and free society) and foreign policy (Egypt’s contribution towards a free and fair world).

“This is just a preliminary draft of what we believe to be the most important objectives and it is still open to modification and discussion,” Al-Agaty said.

Bassam Sabry discussed the points of disagreement among members regarding the party’s principles, which included the government’s economic role with regards to public versus private ownership, the role of foreign direct investment in Egypt, and the relationship with Israel vis-à-vis upholding or canceling the Camp David accords.

Abdel Ghaffar Shukr, vice president of the Arab African Research Center and political and economic development consultant, explained the party’s stance towards the current political situation. Shukr condemned the draft law on protests and the political parties’ laws, urging the government and the army to hold a dialogue with all stakeholders before issuing any decrees.

The party called for a civilian council that includes a military representative to rule the country based on the recent constitutional decree.

“The government should announce a time frame to meet the demands of the people,” Shukr said. The party also demanded allowing the establishment of independent syndicates.

Sherif Hatata, a writer and a physician who was attending meeting, voiced his dissatisfaction with the current program in terms of content and wording. Several other attendees echoed Hatata’s sentiments.

“I disagree with the program on several points and have written an alternative one, which I submitted to the party’s secretary,” Hatata told Daily News Egypt.

The party organized a celebration in Tahrir Square on Sunday to mark Labor Day.


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