Egypt, Tunisia: Turn Popular Uprisings into Workers Revolution
An aging dictator toppled in Tunisia, another is tottering in Egypt: North Africa and the Near East are in turmoil, Washington is worried, Wall Street has the jitters. The world’s eyes are glued on Cairo as battles rage back and forth in the squares of the Egyptian capital and on the bridges across the Nile. With U.S. troops still occupying Iraq and bogged down in a losing war in Afghanistan, suddenly a new spectre is shaking the imperialist world order: revolution by the wage slaves held down by the modern pharaohs. But even the fall of Arab satraps of the U.S. empire will not bring democracy for the downtrodden and oppressed masses until the stranglehold of imperialism is broken. The key is to forge a revolutionary leadership to mobilize the working masses in the struggle to bring down the dictatorship of capital.
For almost a month, unemployed youth and workers in Tunisia demonstrated and struck against police terror. Then on the evening of January 14, only a few hours after thousands of protesters braved police clubs and tear gas in the streets of the capital, Tunis, word spread from cellphone to cellphone that President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali had fled to Saudi Arabia. Signs calling for “Ben Ali dégage” (get lost) were replaced by one proclaiming (in English), “Game Over.” In 27 days of protest, they had driven out the tyrant who had ruled Tunisia with an iron fist for 23 years. More than 200 were killed by the regime, but the paralyzing spell of fear of repression was broken. The news raced across North Africa and the Near East at Internet speed: for the first time ever in this region dominated by imperialist-backed regimes, an Arab autocrat had been brought down by the Arab street. Presidents, kings, sheiks and emirs worried that “Tunisian fever” could spread. Millions of their long-suffering subjects hoped it would.
[Read the complete article at the Internationalist Group site]