All eyes on Tunisia

A working class revolt has broken out in Tunisia. Trade unions, professional organisations and millions of poor and oppressed people have faced off with the armed thugs of dictator Ben Ali, and after weeks of protests, strikes and clashes he has been driven from power. The dictator fled to Saudi Arabia, but the people are still on the streets, demanding the complete destruction of his political party, the corrupt regime he and his family led, and the creation of a new and better Tunisia.

At this point events are moving very quickly and it is uncertain where the movement will go. There is no mass revolutionary socialist party in Tunisia, and there are a wide variety of demands being raised. Whether the movement will succeed in destroying the old state apparatus and establishing the political and social power of the working class remains to be seen. However, several things are clear. This is an inspiring uprising of the oppressed which demonstrates the power that the working masses have when they act collectively and without fear. The Tunisian uprising will send a shockwave throughout the Arab world, and already people in Egypt, Jordan and throughout the Middle East are demonstrating in solidarity with the Tunisian revolt, while also calling for a similar movement in their own country. Tyrants throughout the Arab world have reason to be afraid. 

Another recent and very significant development is the emergence of splits in the police ranks. Thousands of policemen have joined the protests, and are marching through the streets wearing red armbands as a symbol that they have thrown their lot in with the people’s movement. State forces are now refusing to use violence against the demonstrators, and as the ability of the ruling class to command and exercise violence against its own people vanishes anything can become possible.

Nobody knows what will happen next in Tunisia, but what we know for sure is that the oppressed people of the world now have concrete proof that they do not need to shut up and put up with their oppression. Revolution is possible – revolution is necessary. Solidarity with Tunisia!

Below are a number of articles that shed some light on the situation in Tunisia.

http://kasamaproject.org/2011/01/18/awtw-on-tunisia-we-are-not-afraid-we-are-not-afraid/

http://libcom.org/news/insurrection-north-africa-story-so-far-17012011

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/01/2011115135046129936.html

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2011/01/2011122133816146515.html

http://www.marxist.com/insurrection-tunisia-future-of-arab-revolution.htm

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Comments

  1. It is the what next that will be of interest. In Iran the over throw of the shah was accomplished by the people but the religious groups were more organised so the people lost to another dictatorship.

    If any revolt for the people is to succeed it cannot be spontaneous.

  2. //If any revolt for the people is to succeed it cannot be spontaneous.//

    Can you elaborate on that point?

  3. Jason Froch says:

    I believe what Kiki’s saying is that if people overthrow a regime without any idea of what is to be built after it then the movement is likely to be lead by whatever past semi-official leadership most effectivly mimics the demands of the masses. If the revolt was not clearly revolutionary in nature then the people will suffice with an opposition party or semi-political group, for instance the trade-union or religious leaders.

    The most obvious historical example I can think of is the February revolution in 1917 Czarist Russia. That was a clearly *revolutionary* revolt with the social composition of the ruling class changing (the aristocracy to the bourgeoise). The first government formed after that revolution was the Cadet and Menshevik coilition with 14 (I think)Cadet ministers and 1 Menshevik.

    I believe some of the questions Kiki is asking is: (i) is this a revolutionary revolt–will liberal democratic reforms be enough or will the political revolution demand a social and economic revolution as well? and (ii) is there any revolutionary group in Tunesia which has the authority to challange bourgeois rule–is there sufficently large organisation of competent Marxists and/or Anarachists?

    If the revolutionary groups are not cohesive enough to lead the masses then there is going to be no force to challange the reactionary… reaction which is going to follow, i.e. another dicatorship Kiki mentioned.

  4. Thank you Jason that is exactly what I meant. People rush on to the streets throw stones the government backs down the leader goes only to be replaced by his friend who meets some demands. People go home with a few more loaves of bread and the old system continues.

    If you want change you need an organization in place with actual practical ideas on how to improve or change the system and leaders to focus the people. You can never predict the point at which the people will support you or the system falters but these opportunities appear and you need to be able to step up to take advantage of them.

    One hard choice is when to co-operate and when to stand apart although is is probably better not to co-operate with the old guard as they will just use you to maintain the system.

    The key is to see the opportunity.

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