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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2013

Tunisia: Political assassination provokes renewed workers' struggles

For a revolutionary government of workers, youth, the unemployed and the poor!

The assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, MP for El Shaab (People's Movement part of the Popular Front opposition), has triggered a new mass movement of workers and youth in Tunisia.

Under mass pressure, the main union federation, the UGTT, called a one-day general strike on 26 July.

Clearly, the revolution is not over in the country which sparked the Arab spring over two and a half years ago, when the uprising saw the end of decades of dictatorship.

Since then, however, the situation for the workers and poor has deteriorated, as capitalist governments have driven through austerity measures dictated by the IMF.

The Socialist is printing extracts from a leaflet distributed on the day of the general strike by supporters of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) in Tunisia, one of whom, Rezgui, told us: "The strike was absolutely solid. And 50,000 people gathered for the funeral.

The town of Sidi Bouzid [in central Tunisia, where Brahmi was MP, and where the Arab spring erupted] has proclaimed self-rule, with 'democratic committees' being set up to defend and organise the area. The same is true of Gafsa, further south.

There have also been further mass sit-ins, with tens of thousands - even official figures say 25,000 - protesting in front of the national assembly building on 28 July. Security forces and the army are now encircling them.

"They are demanding that the government resigns and that the whole 'constituent assembly' is dissolved."

Rezgui added: "Although there are many examples of mass struggle, strikes and the formation of committees organising working-class and poor people, there are also some dangers in the situation, especially if a lead is not given.

"What is needed, above all, is the call for an indefinite general strike to bring down the government, and to move towards linking up the democratic committees and areas which have declared self-rule."

The following text is an edited translation from a leaflet distributed by CWI supporters in Tunisia.

Two and a half years after the fall of President Ben Ali, the situation for the masses has gone from bad to worse and anger is brewing across the country.

The assassination of Mohamed Brahmi is a new catalyst for the fury of workers, youth and revolutionary masses, whose willingness to topple the Troika regime (the governing coalition) is at fever pitch.

The Popular Front gathers under its umbrella many revolutionary activists, trade unionists and young people who aspire to continue the revolution all the way and for the coming to power of those who serve the interests of workers and to end the exploitative capitalist system.

However, its outlook is toward reaching compromises with political forces alien to the struggles of the workers, the poor, and all those who carried out the original revolution.

The Popular Front has called for the formation of a 'National Salvation' government which will see the possibility of agreements with representatives of the wealthy classes - who want to end the struggle of the popular masses and the working class.

The CWI believes that the strength of the Tunisian trade union movement and the weight of the Popular Front should instead be placed in the interests of the struggling masses, in order to build a power that is democratically controlled by action committees at all levels of society and across the country.

The coming days will be decisive as to the future of the revolution, which is at a crossroads.

But the situation is fraught with danger. The risk of demobilisation, and the absence of clarity in how to extend and organise actions in the following days, can only benefit those who are against the revolution, whether they use demands for "democracy" or in the name of religion.

The CWI has called for the formation of revolutionary committees in workplaces, universities, schools and popular neighbourhoods to organise the movement collectively and democratically, and according to the will of the mobilised masses.

Such committees should also be responsible for self-defence to prevent violence by the forces of repression and reactionary militia.

These committees could be channelled into a revolutionary government in the interests of the workers, youth and oppressed, and could be supported by the UGTT and activists in the Popular Front, the Unemployed Union (UDC) and social movements.

The Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) is the socialist international organisation to which the Socialist Party is affiliated.

The CWI is organised in 45 countries and works to unite the working class and oppressed peoples against global capitalism and to fight for a socialist world.

For more details including CWI publications write to: CWI, PO Box 3688, London E11 1YE.


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