In an article written in 1965, Joseph Hansen, a longtime leader of the Socialist Workers Party, offered a more sober look at what Nasser was doing. The land reform, he pointed out, left 80 percent of Egyptian farmers without any land. The farm cooperatives were headed by the landed aristocracy, which retained its hold over the peasantry.
By 1963 virtually all Egyptian industry was nationalized. But as Hansen pointed out, this did not make Egypt a workers state. “A workers state is based not only on nationalizations but, among other things, on the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, a reciprocal of the revolutionary consciousness of the leadership,” he wrote. “The great school for the masses in achieving this level is a popular revolution—a profound collective experience in mobilizing against the ruling class and its system in order to put an end to it and to consciously open up new historic possibilities.”