1952: Mustafa Khamis and Muhammad al-Baqri, Egyptian labor activists

On this date in 1952, Egypt’s revolutionary military government sent a gallows warning to the labor movement.

The towering political figure of the whole Arab world until his death in 1970, Gamal Abdel Nasser led a coup that toppled Egypt’s monarchy just weeks prior to the execution we mark here. (On July 23, 1952; it’s known for that reason as the July 23 Revolution.)

They had bold plans for their countrymen, these young officers: egalitarian land reform, pan-Arabism, release from the hated grip of colonialism.

But don’t mistake that for an invitation to present just any grievance.

the Free Officers were not willing to tolerate a militant, independent trade union movement. The armed forces and workers clashed in Kafr al-Dawwar, 15 miles south of Alexandria. On August 12 and 13, 1952, the 9,000 workers at the Misr Fine Spinning and Weaving Company conducted a strike and demonstration seeking a freely elected union (a pro-company, yellow union had been established in 1943), removal of several managers considered particularly abusive, and the satisfaction of economic demands. Despite the workers’ proclaimed support for the new regime, the army quickly intervened to crush them. A rapidly convened military tribunal convicted 13 workers. Eleven received prison sentences; Mustafa Khamis and Muhammad al-Baqri were sentenced to death and executed on September 7. (Source)

Nasserite Egypt quashed independent labor organizing in these early years, eventually banning all union activity outside of the state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation.

On this day..

3 thoughts on “1952: Mustafa Khamis and Muhammad al-Baqri, Egyptian labor activists

  1. I do not understand. Like during the French Revolution there was an intermediate period. The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 toppled King Farouk who resigned in favour of his infant son, Fuad II and left the country. General Naquib escorted him out and pitied the former King. A Regency was declared under an Egyptian Prince. The monarchy had almost no influence any more because Naguib and Nasser were calling the shots. They abolished the monarchy in 1953. Naguib became President but Nasser replaced him and kept him locked up for life.

  2. As a western teen i practically lived in Egypt during dictator Nasser’s final days. The people my aunt and I dealt were upper middle class, Copt and moderate muslim alike. They were critical about Nasser and said far more civil liberties had existed under the monarchy… And they remarked that Nasser had locked up the communists but let them be while he also locked up the Muslim Brotherhood and had them tortured to death. They did agree with these last actions only…And there is a problem with this date as the monarchy -in name only- was abolished in 1953 while the Revolution took place in 1952 so back to the drawing board! BIG MISTAKE!

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