The Tunisian revolution at a turning point
On the 6th February, class struggle in Tunisia entered a new stage with the murder of Chokri Belaid, the general secretary of the “Unified Democratic Patriots’ Party” (Wafad) and a spokesperson of the opposition, which gathered in the “Popular Front for the Realization of the Objectives of the Revolution”.
Since the first stage of the revolution threw Ben Ali away in January 2011, the Tunisian capitalists and the imperialist bourgeoisies have predominantly counted on the Islamists of the “Renaissance Party” (Ennahda), supported by the Qatari monarchy for replacing the dictatorship descended from Bourguiba-type nationalism, for defending ownership, for reconstructing the bourgeois State, for keeping things under control in relying on religion.
In Mali, the Islamists are so hated by the local population that the French imperialist intervention easily expelled them from the cities. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s government is confronted with the popular anger. The bourgeois government in Tunisia does not perceive oil incomes like the Algerian military regime and the Iranian clerical regime do. The preservation of the private ownership and of the imperialist rule inescapably leads poverty and unemployment to increase. In November and December, general strikes broke out in Sned and in Siliana. In the latter, the strikers were attacked by the police and by the Islamists.
The responsibility of the political assassination lies on the bearded men. Chokri Belaid had already been aimed several times by attacks from Islamist armed gangs, including on February 2nd during of his party congress. Henchmen for the “Leagues for the protection of the revolution” (sic), the armed wing of Ennahda, are competing with the Salafist gangs (Hizb al Tahrir) in attacks against mausoleums, universities, exhibitions, cinemas, bars, activists and premises of other organizations or of the Tunisian General Labour Union, strikers.
On the 8th of February, more than 40 000 people demonstrated in Tunis for the funerals of the leader of the Popular Front, against these fascist militias which recruit in the lumpen proletariat and in the former Ben Ali’s political police. In the entrance of El-Jellaz cemetery, where Chokri Belaid was buried, the mob was chanting “The people want the fall of the regime”, “The people want a new revolution”, and it took it out on Ennahda’s leader, Rached Gnannouchi, in shouting “Gnannouchi murderer!”. Police attacked the demonstrators.
As a result of such a massive popular reaction, the political crisis became stronger at the top of the bourgeois Tunisian state. On the one hand, a fraction of Ennahda, which supports the Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, reckons that the balance of power does not allow it to go now to a direct confrontation against the working class and the youth. As a result Jabali announced the dissolution of the government and the formation of a “technical government” before new elections. On the other hand, Gnannouchi and his followers refuse that decision and they think that it is time to put the workers’ movement down and to crush the revolution.
Against the bourgeois reaction grouped behind Islamism, the Tunisian working class and youth have just proved that they are not willing to be stolen the revolution they started, without the Islamists, against Ben Ali’s regime and against the imperialism, especially the French bourgeoisie, which supported it. The general strike initiated on 9th February by several opposition parties and by the UGTT was widely joined in the whole country, especially in the working class strongholds in Sfax, Gafsa, who were the spearheads of the revolution, where premises of the Ennahda party were assaulted and burned by young people, unemployed and workers.
Yet masses do not have their own perspective, because the UGTT, who isolated the strikes in late 2012, limited the struggle to a 24-hour strike, and the workers’ parties, trapped by the Stalinist legacy and by the “anti-imperialist united front”, are unable to draw an independent way from the bourgeoisie, whether it is democratic, clerical or Pan-Arabic. So the “Tunisian Workers’ Party” (PTT, former PCOT) waves portraits of Colonel Nasser and takes part in the Popular Front. The latter is a conglomerate of Stalinist, ecologist and Pan-Arabic nationalist parties which program is determined by the bourgeois wing. It assimilates the influence of Islamism to a foreign plot and it is opposed to the class struggle: “The unity of the Tunisian people is threatened by artificial pompous struggles, which are moved by foreign forces through local agents, which hide behind religion” (Political charter, September 28th).
It is essential to bring together advanced individuals in the UGTT, in the PTT… into a worker’s party, a party which does not fear to beg the question of the workers’ and peasants’ power, which relates the democratic issues to the world socialist revolution.
Pacifism, prostration to the bourgeois army’s leadership, endless arguments with the Islamists from all the parties in the Constituent Assembly are disorienting the working class, are paralyzing the revolution and, under the shadow of “dialogue” and “national unity”, are allowing the reaction to group together and to prepare murders.
No participation of the workers’ organizations in the “government of national union”!
Against the fascist attacks by the Islamists, militias for workers’ self-defense!
For secularism, for women’s equality, for all the demands of the workers from the cities and from the countryside!
For a workers’ and peasants’ government, based on committees and on people’s arming, that expropriates the capitalists for allowing an answer to the huge needs of the population!
For removing imperialism from Tunisia and from the entire region, for a socialist federation of Maghreb and of Machrek!
12th February 2013
Collective Permanent Revolution / Austria, France, Peru
Comité communiste internationaliste (trotskyste) / France