On Feb. 20, Kamal Abbas, Egyptian union leader and prominent figure in the Jan. 25 movement, sent a message to the “workers of Wisconsin”: “We stand with you as you stood with us.”
Egyptian workers have long fought for fundamental rights denied by the U.S.-backed Hosni Mubarak regime. Kamal is right to invoke the solidarity that has long been the driving force of the labor movement worldwide, and to compare their struggles for labor rights and democracy.
The two are closely intertwined. Labor movements have been in the forefront of protecting democracy and human rights and expanding their domains, a primary reason why they are the bane of systems of power, both state and private.