Fu’ad Mursi (1925-1990), the author of the text printed here (an English excerpt translated from an Arabic-language monograph), was an Egyptian economist trained in Alexandria and the Sorbonne. While in Paris, he joined the French Communist Party. Back in Egypt, he in 1949 co-founded al-Hizb al-shuiu‘i al-misri, or the Egyptian Communist Party (ECP).
Born 27 years after a communist party had first been opened in the country, the ECP, also known as Rayat al-sha‘ab (The People’s Banner) after the title of its organ, was the smallest, most clandestine, and most intellectual communist group then operating in Egypt. It favored a two-state-solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, was opposed to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), and in 1958 initiated the merger of Egypt’s communist parties (under the condition that Jews would be excluded), a story told e.g. in Joel Beinin’s Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965 (1990). Nasser’s regime, which from the start had a difficult relationship with domestic communists, turned to open repression in 1959, locking up many party members in brutal desert prisons until 1964. The next year the party dissolved itself under pressure from the regime, which, however, also co-opted some individuals. Mursi was one of them.
Moreover, after Nasser’s death, Mursi early on continued a government career under the new president Anwar Sadat (1918-1981). In 1971, he became director of the state Industrial Bank and member of the Central Bank board, and in 1972 Minister of Supply and Domestic Commerce. The following year he resigned, however. Still a Marxist, he disagreed with Sadat’s policy of economic opening, infitah. While prepared from 1971, this policy became official in 1974—a story whose classic treatment is John Waterbury’s The Egypt of Nasser and Sadat: The Political Economy of Two Regimes (1983) and whose social dimension is told by Relli Shechter’s The Rise of the Egyptian Middle Class: Socio-Economic Mobility and Public Discontent from Nasser to Sadat (2019).
The text printed here reflects a key component in Mursi’s analysis of the infitah. He diagnoses a cooperation between private Egyptian capitalists—who were now on the rise again after the decline of Nasserite state capitalism (aka socialism)—and foreign capitalist colonialism that, while not any more occupying Egypt, again wishes to exploit the country