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The Popular Democratic Movement for Change (HASHD)

HASHD is the Arabic acronym for The Popular Democratic Movement for Change, created in July of this year by a group of left-wing activists

by Yasmine Fathi, Wednesday 27 Oct 2010
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HASHD is the Arabic acronym for The Popular Democratic Movement for Change, created in July of this year by a group of left-wing activists. “Our program is one of ‘demands,’” explains one of the movement’s co-founders, Kamal Khalil. “We believe that if these demands are implemented, Egypt will achieve the social justice and democracy that are crucial for this country before it can move forward.” Khalil is a consultant engineer and veteran political activist. He came to politics nearly 40 years ago, as one of the main leaders of the left-led student movement of the 1970s. His relentless political activism since then has landed him in jail some 15 times. HASHD currently claims a membership of 150, and though it does include a number of workers, it is primarily made up of intellectuals such as long-time political and feminist activist Aida Seif El-Dawla, a professor of psychiatry. The new grouping is made up of leftist activists ranging from those, like Khalil and Seif El-Dawla, who became politically involved in the 1970s, to younger people who entered the political stage during the past few years of growing street protests, utilizing such novel forms of mobilization as text messaging and Facebook. HASHD activists have been heavily involved, along with a host of other leftist and Nasserist groups, in street activism against the renewal of President Hosni Mubarak term in office, or his being succeeded by his son, Gamal. This wave of activism began in late 2004 under the slogan "No to renewal, no to dynastic succession," then aimed at blocking either possibility in the 2005 presidential election. Having demonstrably failed in achieving their objectives then, the various groups are hoping to do so ahead of the presidential election due to take place next year. The group is also opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, by far the largest opposition force in the country, presumed by many to be the main viable alternative to the Mubarak regime. According to Khalil,. “The Brothers believe in privatization and free market economics, which will serve only a few of the rich and perpetuate the inequality that many of the Egyptians are going through today,” Khalil argues.

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