Tali`a al-`Ummal Collection
Total size 0.24 m.
Consultation Not restricted
Tali`a al-`Ummal (The Workers' Vanguard) was founded in 1945 in Cairo as one of the communist organizations that came about in Egypt at the end of the Second World War; one of its founders was Raymond Douek.
Collection of Raymond Douek consisting of statutes, a programme, some Central Committee resolutions, a manual for cadre training, bulletins, pamphlets, leaflets and copies of periodicals, including copies of al-Fajr al-Jadid, Majallat al-Damir, Kifah al-Sha`b, Al-Nashra, Majallat al-Hadaf, al-Muqawama al-Sha`biyya and other periodicals 1945-c. 1956.
Inventory made by Roel Meijer in 2000
The name Tali‘a al-Ummal (The Workers' Vanguard) was only adopted at the beginning of the 1950s. In the early 1940s it was called the ‘Organization' (al-Munazzama) by its own members. In September 1946 the group temporarily adopted the name of al-Tali‘a al-Sha‘biyya li-l-Taharrur (Popular Vanguard for Liberation). In this period it numbered twenty-five to thirty members. In the years 1945 and 1946 the group was also known by the name of its most important publication al-Fajr al-Jadid (The New Dawn). With the merger with another communist faction in 1949 it adopted the name of al-Dimuqratiyya al-Sha‘biyya (Popular Democracy), while it changed its name to Hizb al-‘Ummal wa al-Fallahin al-Shuyu‘i al-Misri (The Egyptian Communist Party of Workers and Peasants) in 1957, before merging with the Communist Party of Egypt in November 1958.
Founders of the Workers' Vanguard are Yusuf Darwish (b. 1910), who belonged to a Qarait Jewish family who had lived in Egypt for a long time. He obtained a degree in Commerce in France and in 1934 he received a degree at the University of Cairo. Raymond Duwayk ( 1918-198?) came from a family that originally lived in Aleppo, while Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d ( 1919-1989) came from a Jewish Turkish family that migrated to Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century. Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d was born and raised in Alexandria where he visited the French lycée. After having learnt Arabic, he studied engineering at the Cairo University, graduating in 1942. Later members of the group had their roots in the trade union movement: Muhammad Yusuf al-Mudarrik (1902-1977), Taha Sa‘d Uthman (b. 1916), and Mahmud al-Askari (1916-1987). In 1946 the group numbered about twenty-five to thirty members. The low number of its members was in line with its policy to remain secret, and does not reflect its influence in the trade union movement and its support and influence among the Egyptian intelligentsia.
Throughout its history The Workers' Vanguard held two congresses: its founding congress in 1946 and the congress in 1957 when its name was changed to The Egyptian Communist Party of Workers and Peasants. Despite the regular change of names its organizational structure remained the same. From 1946 to 1957 the policy-making body in the organization was the central committee, formed first by Ahmad Sadiq Sa'd as secretary-general (1946-1948), followed by Ahmad Rushdi Salih (1948 to 1951), and finally Abu Sayf Yusuf (1951-1957).
Tali'a al-‘Ummal had its origins in the organization Partisans for Peace, which consisted of two sections, one in Alexandria and one in Cairo. The Partisans of Peace was founded in 1935 to oppose Italian aggression in Ethiopia and consisted of different foreign nationalities and minorities living in Egypt: Greeks, Italians, Armenians, British, Jews. The organization was bilingual (Arabic and French) and organized lectures and meetings. Although its European orientation was underlined by its involvement in the Spanish Civil War, in 1936 it began to pay greater attention to Egyptian affairs and started to support the Egyptian struggle for independence. It called for membership of Egypt of the League of Nations in The Hague and supported the abolition of Capitulation Rights during the Conference of Montreux in 1937.
In 1935 several members of the Partisans of Peace established an independent study group, La groupe d'études (Jam‘at al-Buhuth). It was led by Paul Jacot des Combes, and included the future leaders of the Workers' Vanguard, Yusuf Darwish, Raymond Duwayk, and Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d. The purpose of the group was to study and debate Marxist classics. Special attention was given to books on peasants written by Karl Kautsky, father Henry Ayrout and Yusuf Bey Nahhas. In regard with the growing Zionism in Palestine and the position of Jews in Egypt, the group also became interested in Otto Hiller's Le fin du judaisme, a book that influenced Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d when he wrote Filastin fi makkalib al-ist‘i mar. Lectures were held by Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d and others on capitalism in Egypt and the workers' movement. In this period most of the members remained foreigners, although numbers of Egyptian students grew. At the beginning of the 1940s this group founded the Jama'at al-Shabab li-l-Thaqafa al-Sha‘biyya (Youth Association for the Popular Culture) with literacy projects in different neighborhoods in Cairo, such as Bulaq and Mit Uqba.
In 1942 this group merged with Munazzama Haraka Tahrir al-Sha'b and established the Lajnat Nashr al-Thaqafa al-Haditha (Committee for the Dissemination of Modern Culture). Besides organizing lectures it published the magazine al-Usbu‘ (The Weekly) from 1943-1944. In this period Raymond Duwayk also established the Publishing House Dar al-Qarn al-‘Ishrin (Twentieth Century Publishing House) and co-operated with Salama Musa in 1944 in publishing the weekly al-Ahd al-Jadid (The New Age). In addition, they worked together with Trotskyite group of the poet Ramsis Yunan and Lutfallah Sulayman. An important new member in this period was Ahmad Rushdi Salih who worked for the Egyptian Radio. Together with him the group founded its most famous and innovative journal al-Fajr al-Jadid (The New Dawn) in May 1945. With this journal the group remained associated, even after the publication was banned by the government in July 1946.
In the 1940s the Workers' Vanguard did not find the time suitable to establish a communist party. It showed this policy by keeping its communist character secret and by working together with leftist organizations which partly supported its policy. It found an important ally in the Wafdist Vanguard, the left-wing of the Wafd. Members of the Workers' Vanguard wrote for its newspapers al-Wafd al-Misri, Rabitat al-Shabab (1947) (League of the Youth), al-Bashir (1951), and participated in its student movement and other activities. An important field of activity of the Workers' Vanguard was its relations with the trade union movement. The group was influential within the Shubra al-Khayma Mechanized Textile Textile Workers' Union (SKMTWU) which was led by Yusuf al-Mudarrik and Mahmud al-Askari, the general secretary, and Taha Sa'd Uthman. All three played an important role in emancipating the trade unions from the patronage of the traditional political parties and the social elite of Egypt. During World War Two the SKMTWU booked impressive successes in receiving equal pay as non-Egyptian workers, in the release of jailed workers, and in the support of the Wafd government against owners of the textile mills. Partly as a result of the activities SKMTWU labor unions were officially legalized in 1942. Despite attempts of the Wafd to reassert its control over trade unions when it came to power after 1942, the successor to the SKMTWU, General Union of Mechanized Textile Workers in Shubra al-Khayma in Cairo (GUMTWSKC), increased its independence and asserted the right of workers' to strike. The new leadership recognized the Egyptian workers as a distinct class with separate interests and goals. After trade unions had been recognized by the Wafd in 1942, they published the first independent trade union paper, Shubra. In this period Yusuf Darwish became legal counsel for the GUMTWSK, thereby strengthening the link between the communist movement and the trade union movement.
Directly after World War Two Mahmud al-Askari,Taha
Sa'd Uthman and Yusuf al-Mudarrik were involved in sending an Egyptian
representative to the founding congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions
(WFTU). Its program was: 1) Enactment of comprehensive labor legislation,
including the legalization of trade union federations, a forty hour week, a
minimum wage, a week day off, comprehensive social insurance; 2) Extension of
the right to unionize agricultural laborers; 3) Recognition of the right to
work, education, and medical care for all; 4) Opposition to domination of the
economy by monopolies; 5) Evacuation of imperialist armies of occupation from
all countries; 6) Abolition of the remnants of reaction and fascism and the
establishment of true internal democracy in Egypt.
Despite some dispute among the Egyptian delegates, Yusuf al-Mudarrik was recognized as the official representative of the Egyptian trade union. Upon his return to Egypt the Workers' Vanguard tried to launch him as leader of united trade unions in Egypt. Around the same time the Workers' Vanguard decided to organize The Workers' Committee for National Liberation (WCNL) as a political organization of the working class. As a legal and public organization it launched the weekly organ, al-Damir (The Conscience). In the ensuing confrontation with the government the WCNL declared a general strike in Shubra al-Khayma, In January 1946 all three trade union leaders were arrested.
The confrontation between the workers' movement and the government ran parallel with a nationalist upsurge against the policy of the government towards Great Britain. Student strikes and demonstrations led to the merger of workers' and student movement in the National Committee of Workers and Students (NCWS) in February 1946. The Workers' Vanguard was severely handicapped during this period because its trade union leaders were arrested. The NCWS called for a general strike on February 21 when a crowd of 40,000 to 100,000 rallied at the Opera Square in Cairo. Although the immediate results of the NCWS was limited, it did inject in the Egyptian nationalist movement a new radical element that spelled the end of the control the Wafd exerted over the trade union movement.
However, both the trade union movement and the student movement encountered harsh repression in the summer of 1946. Most of the leaders of the communist movement were arrested and their publications, among those of the Workers' Vanguard, al-Damir and al-Fajr al-Jadid, were suppressed in July. In the period 1947-1952 the Workers' Vanguard continued to be involved in the trade union movement, the nationalist movement, and maintained its contacts with the left-wing of the Wafd. It kept its distance from the problems most organizations of the communist movement had with unification.
Although the Workers' Vanguard welcomed the new regime when it took over power on July 1952, it considered the regime ‘fascist' after it had suppressed the workers' strike in Kafr al-Dawwar near Alexandria in August 1952. It only started to support the regime after the Bandung Conference in April 1955 and especially after the Suez Canal crisis in 1956. Abu Sayf Yusuf expressed the support of the Workers' Vanguard for the regime in the left-wing daily newspaper al-Masa'. During this period the Workers' Vanguard established two publishing houses: Lajnat al-Thaqafa al-Sha‘biyya (Committee for Popular Culture) in 1953, and al-Mu'assa al-Qawmiyya lil-l-Nashr wa al-Tawzi'(The National Foundation for Publication and Distribution) between 1956 and 1958.
The collection of the Tali‘a al-Ummal has been donated by the daughter of Raymond Douwek, Nadia Douwek, to the IISH in September 1999. The collection covers the period 1945-1957. It contains resolutions, statutes, and programs of the organization, publications issued for the larger public, leaflets, pamphlets and other material.
Manual for cadres
- Program and introduction to the basic ideas of Talica al-cUmmal: Nahnu wa siyasatuna. 1946/1947. 1 cover. 5 pages.
Unification and strategies of the communist movement
pamphlets, tracts and minutes concerning the unification of the communist
movement in Egypt.
- Pamphlet containing the program of the Front of Egyptian Communists: Jabhatuna, nidaluha - siyasatuha - mawqifuha min intihaziyya. 7 November 1947. 7 pages.
written in response to a leaflet issued by the Egyptian Communist Organization:
Radd cala al-Munazzama al-Shuyuciyya al-Misriyya alladhi wazacathu fi shahr
- Pamphlet issued by the Central Committee on strategy: al-Risala al-siyasiyya. October 1952. 4 pages.
- Internal document on organization and strategy under the military regime: Khattuna al-Tanzimi. December 1953. 9 pages.
- Minutes of the negotiations concerning the unification of Talica al-cUmmal, the Communist Party of Egypt and the Unified Communist Party of Egypt: Muhadir al-tansiq. September 1956. 5 pages.
Propaganda and information
pamphlets, and petitions containing analyses of the general political and
economic situation in Egypt.
- Pamphlet on the current situation: al-Mawqif al-siyasi, sadd al-isticmar - intisar shacbi - munwarat qadima - intihaziyya kha'ina. 21 January 1947. 5 pages.
- Pamphlet against the Nuqrashi government: al-Mawqif al-siyasi. Baqa' al-cahd - ittisac al-haraka - al-hujum cala al-hukuma - tawdih al-shacarat. 1947.
- Pamphlet with an analysis of the political situation: al-Hala al-hadira. 11 January 1948. 5 pages.
- Pamphlet containing an analysis of the Wafd and the general political situation: Muqaddima al-mawqif min al-Wafd. August 1948. 12 pages.
- Leaflet denouncing attempts by the Egyptian government to sign a military defense pact with Great Britain: Li-yasqut al-hilf al-caskari, hilf al-khawna acada' al-shacb. September 1948.
- Leaflet denouncing British imperialism: Filastin al-khawna ‘acwan al-injlis al-mustacmirin. 15 December 1948.
- Leaflet denouncing the military regime: Bayan ila al-shacb al-Misri min Talica al-cUmmal. March 1954.
- Pamphlet issued by the Central Committee of Talica al-cUmmal concerning the international situation. February 1955. 8 pages.
- Pamphlet with an analysis of the Egyptian political situation: al-Haraka al-wataniyya al-Misriyya fi marhala al-intisar cala al-isticmar wa al-rajaciyya. September 1955. 14 pages.
- Open letter of Talica al-cUmmal to the Prime Minister: Min Talica al- cUmmal, khitab maftuh ila ra'is al-wuzara'. November 1955. 5 pages.
Preparatory and National Committee of Workers and Students
and leaflets of the Preparatory and National Committee of Workers and Students
(al-Lajna al-Tahdiriyya al-Lajna al-Wataniyya li-l-cUmmal wa al-Talaba).
- Leaflet denouncing Anglo-American imperialism: Yasqut al-isticmar al-Anjlu-Amriki. 14 November 1951.
- Program of the National Committee: Barnamij al-Lajna al-Wataniyya, taqaddamuhu al-Lajna al-Tahdiriyya. [November/ December] 1951.
- Leaflet of the Preparatory Committee, signed by Hasan Sidqi (Fu'ad I University), Ibrahim cAli (Petrol workers) and Muhammad cAbd al-Ghaffar (Shubra al-Khayma workers): Bayan min al-Lajna al-Tahdiriyya. [November/December] 1951.
- Leaflet against imperialism: Kawwanu al-Lijan al-Wataniyya fi al-masanic wa al-ihya' wa al-mucahada. December 1951.
- Leaflet issued by the Preparatory Committee of Workers and Students for the release of political prisoners: Ifraju can al-Masjunin al-siyasiyyin. 9 December 1951.
- Leaflet issued by the National Committee of al-Zahir Secondary School: Tasqut ahlaf al-caskariyya. December 1951.
- Leaflet issued by the Preparatory Committee: Nadilu li-waqf al-inqilabat al-rajciyya. [January] 1952.
- Leaflet issued by the General National Committee warning against sectarian strife: Nida' - ahdharu al-fitna. 18 January 1952.
- Leaflet issued by the Preparatory Committee of Workers and Students, signed by Ibrahim cAli. January 1952.
- Programme of the National Committee for the Azhar district: Barnamij al-Lajna al-Wataniyya bi-Hay al-Azhar. January 1952.
- Leaflet issued by the National Committee of Workers and Students of the district Hada'iq al-Qubba: Bayan min Lajna al-Wataniyya bi-Hada'iq al-Qubba. January 1952.
Publications concerning the student movement.
- Leaflet issued in commemoration of the announcement of the British Protectorate over Egypt in 1914: Dhikri iclan al-Himaya. 18 December 1946.
Workers' and peasants' movement
clippings, leaflets and pamphlets concerning workers' and peasant activities of
- Pamphlet analyzing the situation and history of the peasants: al-Mas'ala al-fallahin. 14 February 1947. 6 pages.
- Pamphlet analyzing the history of the Egyptian workers' movement: al-Haraka al-cummaliyya. 13 August 1947. 14 pages.
- Pamphlet concerning a workers' strike in Shubra al-Khayma: Infijar cummal Shirka Misr li al-Ghazal wa al-Nasij. September 1947. 4 pages.
- Leaflet concerning Egyptian participation in the international conference of trade unions of 1947. 6 June 1947.
- Pamphlet concerning the role of the workers in the liberation of Egypt: al-Tabaqa al-camila wa al-siyasa. 1948. 8 pages.
- Leaflet denouncing the forced membership of the trade unions established by the military regime: al-Ishtirak al-ajbari. January 1953.
- Pamphlet concerning the incorporation of trade unions under the military regime: Mashruc li-tanzim al-niqaba. June 1953. 3 pages.
- Leaflet calling for the organization of independent trade unions: Nida' raqm wahid ila muwazzafi al-dawa'ir wa al-tafatish bi-Qatr al-Misri. June 1953.
petitions and other publications concerning peace activities.
- Pamphlet written by Fu'ad cAbd al-Muncim: Li-madha nahnu min ansar al-Salam? June 1951. 32 pages.
- Pamphlet written by Mahmud Muhammad al-cAskari concerning the Marshal Plan and the Point Four Programme: Mashruc Marshal, wa al-Nuqta al-Rabica. al-Tariq li-saytara al-isticmar al-Amriki-al-al-sayyid al-jadid. 1 August 1951. 19 pages.
- Pamphlet of the Partisans of Peace: Mawqif Majalla al-Katib min haraka Ansar al-Salam. 1951. 43 pages.
- Pamphlet written by Muhammad Yusuf al-Mudarrik: Min ajli mithaq salam bayn al-khamsa al-kibar. 1951. 15 pages.
petitions and other publications concerning political prisoners.
- Leaflet concerning political prisoners: al-Hukuma muqabbala cala nashar jara‘im al-waba' al-Mumayyit bayn al-mucatiqilin fi al-tawr. October 1949.
- Petition demanding the release of political prisoners and the abrogation of laws restricting the freedom of speech. 1951.
Pamphlets issued by or concerning al-Talica al-Wafdiyya (The Wafdist Vanguard).
- Pamphlet concerning the position of Talica al-cUmmal towards the Wafdist Vanguard: Mawqifuna min al-Wafd. 14 December 1947. 10 pages.
- Two pamphlets containing the programme of the youth movement of the Wafdist Vanguard in Awlayla. 1947.
- Pamphlet issued by the Wafdist Vanguard against the American Point Four programme: Bayan min al-Talica al-Wafdiyya can ittifaqiyya al-Nuqta al-Rabica. September 1951. 5 pages.
- Leaflet concerning the negligence of the spread of cholera: Inqadhu al-shacb min al-kulira! 2 October 1947. 1 cover.
- Leaflet concerning the spread of cholera: Qarar al-Lajna al-Markaziyya fi-ma yakhtasu bitasha wiba' al-kulira. 6 November 1947. 1 cover.
- Excerpts from newspapers of international communist parties: Mukhtarat min al-sihafa al-shuyuciyya wa al-cummaliyya. February 1954. 3 pages. Publications.
the cultural and political organ of the Workers' Vanguard: al-Fajr al-Jadid,
Majalla al-Thaqafa al-Hurra.
NB. Name changes into al-Fajr al-Jadid, Majallat al-Taharur al-Qawmi wa al-Fikri after No. 13. 1945-1946. 1945: No. 1, 16 May; No. 2, 1 June, No. 3, 16 June; No. 4, 1 July; No. 5, 16 July; No. 6, 1 August; No. 7, 16 August; No. 8, 1 September; No. 9, 16 September; No. 10, 1 October; No. 12, 1 November; No. 13, November; No. 14, 6 December; No. 15, 16 December; 1946: No. 16, 11 January; No. 17, 19 January; No. 18, 23 January; No. 19, 30 January; No. 20, 6 February; No. 21, 13 February; No. 22, 20 February; No. 23, 27 February; No. 24, 6 March; No. 25, 13 March; No. 26, 20 March; No. 27, 27 March; No. 28, 3 April; No. 29, 10 April; No. 30, 17 April; No. 31, 24 April; No. 32, 1 May; No. 33, 7 May.
the cultural and political organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Majallat al-Damir,
Sahafiyya al-Siyasiyya Usbuciyya cIlmiyya Ijtimaciyya.
NB. 1945: No. 271, 26 September; No. 272, 3 October; No. 273, 10 October; No. 274, 17 October; No. 275, 24 October; No. 276, 7 November; No. 276, 14 Novembe; No. 278, 28 November; No. 279, 5 December; No. 280, 12 December; No. 281, 19 December; No. 282, 26 December. 1946: No. 283, 9 January; No. 19, 24 June.
of the organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Kifah al-Shacb.
- 1947: No. 1, 22 February; No. 2, 9 March; No. 3, 9 April; No. 4, 1 May; No. 5, 14 May; No. 6, 1 June;
- No. 7, 12 June; No. 8, 30 June; No. 9, 7 August; No. 11, 15 September; No. 12, 25 September; No. 13 October; No. 14, 21 October.
- 1947: No. 15, 1 November; No. 16, 15 November; No. 17, 18 November; No. 18, 11 December; No. 19, 20 December; No. 20, 28 December. 1948: No. 21, 8 January; No. 22, 18 January. 1948: No. 23, 28 January.
- 1948: No. 28, 5 April; No. 29, 17 April; No.?, 17 July; No. 31, 28 September; No. 32, 8 October; No. 33, 28 October; No. 34, December (?); No. 35, 27 December. 1949: No. 36, 10 January; No. 37, 24 January; No. 38, 7 February.
the internal organ of the Workers' Vanguard: al-Nashra. Lisan al-Tanzim
al-Dakhili li-Talica al-cUmmal.
NB. Some entitled al-Wa'y mulhaq thaqafi li al-Nashra. Lisan al-Tanzim al-Dakhili li-Talica al-cUmmal. 1951: No. October. 1953: February; 28 March; October; November; November (?); December (?); December 1954: January; February; March; June. 1956: February.
the internal organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Kifah
NB. 1948: 10 May; 1, 14 and 25 June; 10, 23 and 31 July; 6, 14 and 20 September.
the internal organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Sirac al-Shacb. Sahafiyya al-Kifah
NB. 1948. 1 cover. 1949: Nos. 2-3,; 1947/1948 (?); November (?); No. 11 (?); No. 10 (?).
- Copies of the organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Sirac al-cAmil wa al-Fallah. Nos. 10-11. 1948. 1 cover.
of the organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Majallat al-Hadaf.
- 1947: 16, February; No.?, 23 April; No.?, 23 May; No. 9, 21 June; No.?, 28 August; No. 10, 4 October; No. 11, 1 November; No. 12, 18 November; No. ?, 29 December.
of the organ of the Workers'Vanguard: al-Muqawama al-Shacbiyya.
- 1951: No. 4, 10 July; No. 5, 24 July; No. 7, 27 August; No. 8, 9 September; No. 10, 10 October; No. 11, 24 October; No. 12, 9 November. 1952: month?; July?
- 1953: 10 February; 27 February; June 1953; 9 March; 21 March; 9 April; 30 April; 24 May; July; No. 6, 31 October; 9 November; No. 11, 14 November; No. 12, 30 December. 1954: 1 May; 7 May; 29 May; 21 June; 11 July; July.
the organ of the Workers' Vanguard: Al-Ra'y.
NB. 1951: No. ?, 5 September.
the organ of the Workers' Vanguard; Al-Ard. Majalla Fallahiyya.
NB. 1954: No. 1, July.
the organ of the Workers' Vanguard: al-Jabha al-Muttahida.
NB. 1954: No. 1, February; No. 2. date?