The Arab Spring: A new future for North Africa and the Middle East

The following is by Josh Glue, a Workers Party member in Hamilton, and was first published in the July issue of The Spark. It is adapted from a presentation given by Josh for the pannel discussion – the international situation– at the national conference of the Workers Party, Workers Power 2011, held over Queens Birthday weekend.

Mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square, Egypt, during February

Situation

Since the beginning of 2011, protests, uprisings and revolt have rocked the Middle East, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Algeria to Libya, Syria to Bahrain. Working people, as well as students, activists and professionals, have risen to demand democracy, often challenging decades of dictatorial rule from corrupt governments backed by Western imperialism and funded by oil wealth.

Protesting against crippling unemployment, systemic government corruption, rising food prices, and brutal repression, the people have spoken out for control over their lives, in many cases facing harsh state violence for standing up for their rights. [Read more…]

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.  [Read more…]