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(Updated Feb. 6) International left in solidarity with the Arab revolution


Socialist Alliance local councillor Sam Wainwright addresses a rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, Western Australia, on February 5, 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.

February 4, 2011 -- Most trends in the socialist left internationally have rallied to offer solidarity to revolutionary upsurge in Egypt, Tunisia and the wider Arab world.

Below, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal publishes various solidarity messages and statements sent to it from around the world. Already published at Links are statements from the Socialist Alliance (Australia), Socialist Party of Malaysia, Partido Lakas ng Masa Philippines, the Labour Party Pakistan, Socialist Aotearoa, the New Anti-Capitalist Party (France) and COSATU, as well as reports of solidarity actions in Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and South Korea. See also Fidel Castro's article on dictator Mubarak's likely fate.

Published statements below by the Fourth International; the South African Communist Party; Die Linke (Germany); the International Socialist Tendency; Scottish Socialist Party; and the World Federation of Trade Union. [Note publication does not necessarily imply endorsement.] Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal will publish more statements and reports of solidarity actions here as they come to hand.

* * *

S.Arutchelvan (Arul) from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), on February 4, 2011, addresses a crowd of 5000 people who marched to the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur in solidarity with the Egyptian people.

Malaysia: Thousands march in Kuala Lumpur in solidarity with the Egyptian people

February 4, 2011 -- In spite of being a holiday in Malaysia, thousands of people gathered at the KLCC Mosque and later walked 3 kilometres to the United States embassy at Jalan Tun Razak. The police at first tried to contain the gathering at the mosque but failed to stop the group from matching on.

Led by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party's (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS) Muhammad Sabu, Syed Ibrahim from the campaign against the Internal Security Act and S.Arutchelvan from Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), the crowd estimated around 5000 people walked towards the US embassy. Along the way they shouted anti-Mubarak slogans and called on Mubarak to get lost.

At the embassy, numerous leaders gave speeches, while a memorandum was handed to the US representative at the gate of the US embassy, accompanied by heavy police presence. The memorandum was read by S.Arutchelvan (Arul), PSM secretary general. Among other leaders present were Salahuddin Ayop, Shamsul Iskandar, Dr Nasir Hashim, Cikgu Azmi and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Muhammad Sabu called on Hosni Mubarak to leave Egypt. Cikgu Azmi spoke for the need for a change in system in the entire region, while Arul called on the revolution to spread. But the most important call was the one asking Hosni Mubarak to step down.

The demonstration today focused on the US embassy because it is felt that the US is the master behind the throne of Egypt. It was the US that kept people like Mubarak in power for 30 years in spite of corruption and bad governance.

As the program ended and while the crowd was dispersing, Malaysian police attacked the people from behind. They shot water cannon and arrested about seven people. It was an uncalled act of violence. In comparison, the Egyptian army seems to have more tolerance to peaceful assemblies.

Dr Nasir Hashim, PSM chairperson, said that the police action was to create chaos so that peaceful assemblies are marred with arrests and violence. Malaysia's Prime Minister has called on the Malaysian people to learn from Egypt on the question of instability. It is clear that the Malaysia ruling party is equally worried about what is happening in Egypt. At the rally, many people called on all corrupt regimes to go. 2011 seems to be a year to watch.

Statement by the Bureau of the Fourth International

The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events. In ordinary times the state, be it monarchical or democratic, elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business -- kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists. But at those crucial moments when the old order becomes no longer endurable to the masses, they break over the barriers excluding them from the political arena ... The history of a revolution is for us first of all a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny. -- Leon Trotsky, preface to History of the Russian Revolution.

January 31, 2011 -- The situation as with any revolution is changing from hour to hour. Any evaluation will undoubtedly be overtaken by events within a few hours or days. But already we can say that the Tunisia and Egyptian people are writing the first pages of the revolutions of the 21st century. They are sending shock waves throughout the Arab world, from Algiers to Ramallah, from Amman to Sana’a in Yemen. These revolutions result, within the particular historical conditions of this society, from the crisis that is shaking the world capitalist system. The “poverty riots” are combined with an immense mobilisation for democracy. The effects of the world economic crisis combined with the oppressive dictatorships, are making these countries the weak links in imperialist domination in the current situation. They are creating the conditions for the opening of processes of social and democratic revolution.

Demonstrations, strikes, mass meetings, self-defence committees, mobilisations by trade unions and civil associations, mobilisation of all the popular classes, “those below” and “those in the middle” who are swinging over into insurrection, “those above who can no longer rule as before”, convergence between parties from the radical opposition against the system, these are all the ingredients of a pre-revolutionary or revolutionary situation that is today ready to explode.

It is today the turn of Egypt to see hundreds of thousands of workers, young people and unemployed stand up against the dictatorship of Mubarak.

In Tunisia, a bloody dictatorship was cut down. It was the focus of the hatred of a whole society; the popular classes and especially of youth. The Ben Ali regime, its repression, its corruption, a system supported by all the imperialist powers, France, the USA, the European Union, had to be thrown out.

It is this same movement that is sweeping through Egypt today.

There are, of course, historical differences between the two countries. Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world. It has a decisive geostrategic place in the Middle East. The structures of the state, the institutions, and the role of the army are different there. But it is the same basic movement that is affecting the two countries.

The Tunisian masses could longer stand an economic system -- “a good pupil of the world economy” according to Mr. Strauss-Kahn -- which starved them. The explosion of the prices of basic foodstuffs, unemployment of almost 30%, and hundreds of thousands of trained and qualified young people without jobs constituted fertile ground for the growth of a social revolt that, combined with a political crisis, led to a revolution.

There were dramatic price rises for all essential products, including rice, wheat and corn, between 2006 and 2008. The price of rice tripled in five years, passing from approximately $600 per ton in 2003 to more than $1800 per ton in May 2008.

The recent increase in the price of the grain is illustrated by a jump of 32% recorded during second half of 2010 in the compound index of food prices.

The big rise in prices of sugar, cereals and oilseed products took world food prices to record levels in December, exceeding those of 2008, which had started riots throughout the world.

At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are demanding the lifting of all tariff barriers and an end to all food subsidies.

The recent speculative rise in food prices encouraged a worldwide development of famine on an unprecedented scale, which is hitting a series of countries in Africa and the Arab world.

Egypt has also experienced the effects of this explosion of food prices. The economy does not create enough jobs to provide for the population’s needs. The neoliberal policies implemented since 2000 have caused an explosion of inequalities and the impoverishment of millions of families. Nearly 40% of the 80 million Egyptians continue to live on less than two dollars per day. And 90% of the unemployed are young people under 30.

The other remarkable thing is that the Egyptian national trade union federation – led by members of the government – has partly withdrawn its support for the government in the two weeks since the Tunisian insurrection. They wanted price controls, wage rises and a system of subsidised distribution of foodstuffs; the people not being able to obtain basic necessities such as tea or oil. That the union leaders should demand this is unprecedented because they have been convinced neoliberal supporters. That is the impact of the Tunisian events.

In Tunisia, this revolution has deep roots. The current social movement is the result of a cycle of mobilisations and movements which draw their strength from the history of the struggles of the Tunisian people and its organisations, in particular, many associations for human rights and democratic freedoms and trade unions like many sectors of the UGTT (General Union of the Tunisian Workers):

  • the fight of certain personalities for freedom of expression and to travel in 1999
  • the high school students’ movement in 2000
  • the mobilisations against the war in Iraq in 2001
  • the second Intifadah in 2002-2003
  • strikes and demonstrations in Gafsa in 2008
  • Ben Guerdane in June 2010
  • Sidi Bouzid, which at the end of 2010 opened up the way for the revolution.

It is a historical movement that started with this combination of social revolt and overthrowing a dictatorship but which today seeks to go further. It is a radical democratic revolution that has anticapitalist social demands.

Ben Ali had to flee, but the essence of his gangster system stayed in place. The force of the mobilisation has constrained the former Ben Ali supporters to leave the government gradually but, as we are writing this statement, the prime minister is still the Ben Ali supporter Ghannouchi.

The revolution wants to go further: “RCD out!”, “Ghannouchi out!”, behind these demands, it is the whole of the political system, all the institutions, all the repressive apparatus that should be eradicated. It is necessary to finish with the whole Ben Ali system, and to establish all democratic rights and freedoms: right of free expression, right to strike, right to demonstrate, pluralism of associations, trade unions and parties; abolish the presidency and install a provisional revolutionary government!

Getting rid of the dictatorship and of all operations that want to protect the power of the ruling classes means today opening a process of free elections for a constituent assembly. This process must be based on the organisation of committees, councils, coordination and popular councils that have emerged from the process if it is not to be confiscated by a new oligarchic regime.

In this process, the anticapitalists will defend the key demands of a program breaking with imperialism and capitalist logic: satisfaction of the vital needs of the popular classes -- bread, wages, jobs; reorganisation of the economy on the basis of fundamental social needs -- free and adequate public services, schools, health, women’s rights, radical land reform, socialisation of the banks and key sectors of the economy, broadening social protection for unemployment, health and retirement, cancellation of the debt, national and popular sovereignty. This is the program of a democratic government that would be at the service of the workers and the population.

At the same time, whether it is to organise the defence of the districts, to drive out RCD leaders of state administration or big companies, to reorganise the distribution of the food substances, workers and young people are organising their own assemblies and committees. The most combative sectors and most radical must support, stimulate, organise and coordinate all these self-organisation structures. They are something to build on to establish a democratic power of the popular classes.

In Egypt, at the time we are writing this statement, the country is in a state of insurrection. In spite of bloody repression, the waves of mobilisation of the people develop. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. The party office of the ruling NDP and symbols of the regime have been attacked. The hatred for the Mubarak system, the total rejection of corruption, and the demand for satisfaction of vital social demands against price rises have provoked and stimulated the mobilisation of all the popular classes. The regime is vacillating. The army leadership supported by the USA has tried a “self-managed coup” putting Omar Suleiman, head of the secret services and pillar of the current regime, alongside Mubrak as vice-president. The army is strained. There have been scenes of fraternisation between the people and the soldiers but faced with the determination of the Egyptians the army leadership could also choose confrontation and harsh repression. The demand of the millions in the streets is crystal clear: Mubarak must go, but it is the whole dictatorship, the whole repressive apparatus that must be brought down and a democratic process with all rights and freedoms set in place. The call for a day of mobilisation on February 1 is the next step.

In Egypt too, it is necessary to finish with dictatorship and to found a democratic process with all the rights and fundamental democratic liberties.

The current movement is the most important since the 1977 bread riots but here again it has deep roots. For the last 30 years Mubarak has maintained a dictatorial regime, imprisoning and murdering his opponents, suppressing any independent expression of the social movement and political opposition. The electoral masquerade of November 2010, entirely controlled by the NDP which won more than 80% of the seats, is the latest example. In the last few years there have been important strike movements particularly of the textile workers of El Mahalla, general strikes and demonstrations and protests by different social categories, big anti-imperialist mobilisations against the military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004, marking the disavowal and isolation of a regime that is held up only by support of the USA and the European Union.

Egypt is, with Israel and Saudi Arabia, one of the three pillars of imperialist policy in the region. The USA, Israel and Europe will do everything they can to prevent Egypt escaping from their zone of influence and will do everything they can to oppose a revolutionary development of the protests.

The Tunisian revolution set the Arab world ablaze. It is also for a whole generation their first revolution. Everything can change today with the rising of the Egyptian people. The mobilisation will undoubtedly have repercussions through the region, in particular encouraging the Palestinians despite the shameful statement of Mahmoud Abbas.

We have to build a solidarity wall around the revolutionary processes which developing in Tunisia and Egypt, supported by active solidarity with the mobilisations throughout the Arab world. We cannot ignore the possibility of bad blows from the repressive apparatus of Ben Ali, or the threats of his friend Gaddafi. Also, if the regime decides on confrontation the Army leaders could unleash bloody repression.

Faced with the deepening of the revolutionary process, the Western powers and the ruling classes will try to take back control by breaking this immense hope.

The Tunisian and Egyptian people must be able to count on the whole of the international labour movement, on all the global justice movement. In the trade unions, associations, the left parties, we must support the fights of these peoples and the revolt thundering through the Arab world.

Live the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions!

Solidarity with the fights in the Arab world!

[Text from Socialist Resistance.]

SACP: In solidarity with the struggling people of Tunisia and Egypt

February 2, 2011 -- SACP -- The South African Communist Party (SACP) welcomes the political revolts and developments in Egypt and Tunisia and elsewhere, and strongly condemns the brutal responses by the collapsing regimes of dictators; in the case of Egypt we appreciate the restrain of the military force.

These developments increasingly point out the correctness of our party’s shared strategic analysis with many of the forces in the Africa Left Networking Forum: “the crisis facing Africa, including Tunisia and Egypt, remains its deepening marginalisation and impoverishment within the global imperialist system, the failure over many decades of a variety of elite-based neo-colonial agendas on the one hand, and the degeneration and in several cases, the collapse of more radical national democratic revolutions led by former liberation movements on the other.”

We observed that “at the heart of revitalising the African revolution (part of which is currently underway in Tunisia and Egypt) is the task of creating the conditions (i.e. the social, economic, democratic and organisational space and capacity) for the key national democratic protagonists – the working class, the peasantry, the mass of urban and rural marginalised (many of them youth), together with patriotic middle strata in the state and civil society – to become the key motive force of re-radicalisation, not just in theory but in practice”.

It is imperative therefore as part of this ongoing class analysis, which the SACP will more comprehensively debate in its forthcoming Politburo and Central Committee meetings, that we fully support the popular aspirations of the people of Tunisia and Egypt to seize power by mobilising progressive strata, students, youth, women, in alliance with working people against the reactionary dictatorial state, to support its  complete revolutionary overthrow and the transformation process towards broad social, political and economic change.

While much of the analysis of these developments is reductionist and not located in the long range, strategic class character of Tunisian and Egyptian societies, it is important to appreciate these developments as being uniquely shaped by objective historical factors in the generalised crisis of development over many years.

The origin of the Egyptian crisis – the absence of popular democracy and participation for instance – can be traced back decades ago, from right-wing public policies in the social, political and economic domain, in which many of the sovereign political and economic functions were completely abandoned by the state to the service of bourgeois ideological forces backed by imperialism.

Our party also welcomes the massive strategic backlash suffered by the neoliberal character of media reportage on these developments, in which opportunistic consensus by a promotional lining-up of capitalist oriented successors is forged from the back door.

These agendas must be defeated by increasing the tempo of alternative reporting, which thus far has provided a much sober description, that what the people of Egypt and Tunisia are demanding, constitutes not a neoliberal stabilisation, but a complete rupture with dictatorships, in which people insist on complete over-haul of the ruling capitalist class and its machinery.

We should remain alert to the mechanisation of imperialist forces to propel such revolts only to spill the victory like they did in some of the areas in the former Soviet states which today yearns the socialist system.

The SACP also notes that these revolutions are not immune from reversal and counter-revolutionary ambitions, in which they can be subverted and turned into sectoral mobilisation for reactionary ends. It is thus important that the revolutionary tasks of current social, political and economic mobilisation, goes far beyond tinkering with the superficial, but addresses the class character of the current states and its apparatus.

Central to these revolutions is the dismantling of the repressive machinery of the Tunisian and Egyptian states and forging a unifying strategic platform to address popular aspirations of the working people, by transforming political power, meetings peoples basic needs for quality jobs, food, shelter, to defend workers, women struggles and the rights of young people to education and decent jobs.

Our party will also join in solidarity demonstrations and continue the debate on the character of these revolutions.

Socialist Party USA statement on Tunisia

By the Socialist Party USA International Commission

January 31, 2011 – Tunisia has become the latest hot spot in a global wave of popular rebellion against failed economic policies, corruption, and despotism. Ongoing protests throughout the country – called the Sidi Bouzid intifada by Tunisians in reference to the city where the protests began - were sparked by the selfimmolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a twenty-six year old street vendor. Like many, he suffered from underemployment and police violence. The rebellion went largely unnoticed by the international commercial media until the Tunisian dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14th, ending 23 years of autocracy.

The International Commission of the Socialist Party USA salutes the people of Tunisia in this important step toward liberation. The ousting of Ben Ali shows that tyrants cannot rule over a population that refuses consent. In particular, we recognize the central role played by working people. While students and the middle class also went into the streets, it was workers, organized by the General Union of TunisianWorkers that gave the emonstrations structure and tipped the balance of power toward the protests. Through concerted mass action, the working class of Tunisia proved to have the power to overthrow a seemingly invincible authoritarian regime and make history. The revolt has inspired popular struggles throughout the region and the world. Already protests have rocked Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and other Arab states.

The Tunisian struggle continues over the nature of a new government. Mobilizations in the street are continuing in protest against a proposed “unity government” which maintains many officials from the old ruling party. Protesters are demanding a new democratic constitution before elections. Removing the dictator is not enough; the entire dictatorship must go.

Behind the scenes, economic power brokers are working to preserve neo-liberal relations with foreign interests, and insulate themselves from democratic forces. Recent revelations from Wikileaks have exposed how French and US diplomats were well aware of the corruption and human rights violations of the Ben Ali regime, yet maintained uncritical friendly relations. A truly democratic alternative for the people of Tunisia that is independent of economic and diplomatic imperialism will be served best by connecting to the international socialist movement.

The International Commission of the Socialist Party USA pledges to share Tunisia's story, and to pressure our government to respect Tunisian sovereignty. We extend our solidarity and seek greater ties with the movements in Tunisia of unionists, women, youth, and socialists. The liberation of Tunisia from Ben Ali's personal dictatorship brings us one step closer to ending the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, warding off aggression against Iran, and ending the occupation of Palestine.

IST statement on the Tunisian Revolution

By the Coordination of the International Socialist Tendency

Januray 27, 2011 -- IST -- The importance of the victory of the Tunisian masses is not limited to the successful overthrow of Ben Ali, ending 23 years of dictatorship. The Tunisian Revolution refutes the arguments that had been disseminated by many right-wing intellectuals over the past few decades that the Arab masses are incapable of achieving revolutionary change, and that the times of revolution are over.

The wide popular anger that took over the whole of Tunisia has reaffirmed that the masses make their own history and that class struggle is alive all over the Arab world. The Tunisian Revolution has also struck a hammer blow to the chain of alliances dominated by the United States, but also orchestrated by lesser powers such as France and Britain, that keeps the Middle East and North Africa subject to Western imperialism and allows Israel to oppress the Palestinians with impunity.

The revolution has toppled a regime with close links to Israel that was hailed by Western governments and the World Bank for loyally implementing neoliberal “reforms”. The Tunisian masses have terrified the Arab ruling classes. One Arab state after another has hastily introduced material concessions to try to avoid any escalations of popular anger against them and prevent the revolution from spreading.

In Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan and many other Arab countries, people are starting to question their realities in a much clearer form. Protests have taken to the streets in support of the Tunisian people but at the same time calling for the fall of the Arab rulers and regimes. Revolution is no longer a literary concept we study in history books. It has become, thanks to the strength and determination of the Tunisian masses, a possible and reachable future. We can see the effect in the mass demonstrations that have swept through Egypt, challenging the Mubarak dictatorship.

Many try to paint the Tunisian Revolution as if it were one of the “colour revolutions” that have strengthened Western power or present it as strictly limited to public freedoms and personal liberties. They forget that the spark for the uprising came from those who could not find jobs, came from those who worked day and night but could not earn enough bread for themselves and their families. Most importantly they try to hide the fact that the main slogan of the revolution was “Bread, Education and Freedom”.

That said, the battle in Tunisia has not ended, but has only just begun. The old regime of Ben Ali is still in power and is still trying to consolidate the state under its rule, relying on a relatively intact police force and on the “official opposition”, which has for the past decades helped to legitimise Ben Ali’s oppressive regime and is now trying to manipulate popular anger to gain power.

Now the old guard of the regime, along with this “official opposition”, are trying to propagate the idea that the uprising was completely spontaneous. This disregards the role that the trade unions and the far left and other progressive forces have played in solidifying the resilience and in pushing ahead the resistance of the masses against Ben Ali’s regime.

But the Tunisian masses have managed to respond quickly to these attempts by organising more demonstrations and protests demanding the dissolution of the ruling party. Popular committees have been organised all over the country to protect the neighbourhoods from the state militias and to stop the attempts by Ben Ali supporters to create an atmosphere of terror.

We therefore believe that it is essential that the revolutionary left all around the world stand in solidarity with the Tunisian Revolution as the struggle against the remnants of the old regime continues. We call upon the Tunisian masses not to accept less than the full transformation of their country, and completely to break with the old regime, to refuse to accept to the promises of the current government and to keep on fighting until all their demands are met.

It was the masses who toppled the tyrant, and ended a history of oppression and exploitation, and it should be up to those masses to take power and to organise their society based on their needs and not on the needs and the desires of a bunch of opportunist politicians who never dared to challenge Ben Ali and his policies.

Ben Ali’s old guard will only reproduce the same system that the uprising set its mind to defeat and to eliminate. It will continue to enforce on the Tunisian people policies that had long been used to criminalise the Tunisian masses and to distance them from their brothers and sisters and comrades in the Arab world, above all the ties with the Israeli terrorist state, and the overwhelming control that the French imperialist state has had over culture and education in Tunisia.

The remnants of Ben Ali’s regime will try to use all the power they have to try to defeat or isolate the mass movement that took to the streets. They will rely on international support from Western powers and from the Arab regimes in the region, who would be most willing to help the Tunisian regime to restore order for fear that the revolutionary tide would spread to their countries.

So we call on the trade union leaders, who assumed a great role in coordinating the uprising, the revolutionary and far left, and all progressive forces in Tunisia, to continue on the side of the masses, and to continue to sustain and support the revolutionary transformation that is taking pace and shape, and to gather the utmost support for the ongoing battle for freedom from oppression and exploitation.

The transformation will require not simply a thoroughgoing purge of the state and the implementation of the broadest possible political democracy. It will demand a break with capitalism in order to carry through an economic and social programme radically to improve the material situation of the Tunisian people. Sustaining such a revolution will require active solidarity by trade unionists, socialists, and anti-capitalists, not just in the region, but all over the world.

So, on behalf of the International Socialist Tendency, we stand hand in hand with the Tunisian masses and in full support of their demands and their desire to continue their heroic revolution, and to smash their exploiters and their oppressors. History tells us that the future can only be won through struggle.

Whither Egypt? Reform, repression or revolution?

By Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party co-spokesperson

January 31, 2011 -- It began in Tunisia, then spread to Algeria within hours before reaching Yemen in the East and settling in the most important revolt of them all in Egypt. The January 2011 uprising of the Arab masses has been fermenting for a long long time. Millions across the region bravely faced down their hated security services and brutal regimes. The scenes are reminiscent of those beamed around the world 20 years ago from Eastern Europe. The revolt of the Arab peoples has the potential to be just as earth shattering.

We've seen nothing like this before there. Not on this scale. The raw voice of the people with all its confusion and political divisions is nonetheless agreed on one thing, change has come and the dictatorships have to go.

But what changes are being sought and which won? These revolts are economic, social and political in character. The standard of living across the region is falling dramatically as food and other basic necessities cost more and more. The social conditions in Egyptian society for example with 12 million people living in Cairo alone have been hellish for many many years. The issue here is not whether or not to fight for change but how.

If the dam burst in Tunis it became a tsunami by the time it reached Cairo. The scent of democracy is in the nostrils of tens of millions in dozens of countries.

President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, fearing the enormity of this unprecedented political revolt, was forced to make unparalleled changes to the Egyptian constitution within minutes. So much then for the oft-repeated line of political reactionaries the world over that "things cannot be changed overnight". Revolutionary moods seldom stand on ceremony. Mubarak realised this entirely and within hours installed a prime minister to listen to the demands of the protesters. This despite the fact Egypt has had no such position before. In turn his manoeuvre was treated with contempt by protesters sensing his weakness. Their boldness was further encouraged when they learned he had appointed Sulieman, his hated head of security services, to the post. He also gave new powers to his former air force chief. Mubarak has gambled on the loyalty of the military and at same time challenged his critics to a waiting game. He hopes the protesters run out of steam. The stakes are high on all sides.

Of course the other remarkable feature of this piece of history, watching it from the comfort of a Scottish armchair, is the response of British and US Imperialism. Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton both insist the people have "legitimate grievances".

No, really? Could this be the same countries who have done more than any other in the world to bolster Mubarak and assist his brutal military dictatorship. Where does he get his guns and instruments of repression from Mr Hague? Now that [British Prime Minister David] Cameron and [US President Barack] Obama see the writing on the wall they change horses, flash their "democratic credentials" and speak about the "legitimate grievances of the people" before warning Mubarak not to put down the revolt.

The hypocrisy of these people! Mubarak has been a hated dictator for 30 years in Egypt. Yet he simply could not have survived to repress the Egyptian people without US and British complicity. In return for his backing of Israel's maltreatment of the Palestinians for example or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Mubarak was showered with privileges by the US and Britain such as the latest military hardware with which to suppress his own people. This is well known in Egypt and it is therefore little wonder they express such hatred for his British and USn "handlers".

What happens next depends on the political balance of forces, the decisions of the leaders of the key parties and the strength of will on both sides. Mubarak will not stand down voluntarily, he will have to be removed. Equally if the protesters lose momentum he will survive. The political struggle is not just between the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand and the West's preferred standard bearer Mohammed El Baradei on the other. There are many other forces out there seeking to direct the political unrest and frustration and seeking to improve the lives, standard of living and political rights of tens of millions.

One thing can be said with certainty the sands have shifted in Egypt now. The radical mass protests of the past seven days have changed Egypt for ever.

Die Linke: On the situation in Egypt and the protests in other Arab states; EU has to give up double standards

Declaration of the executive committee of Die Linke

January 29, 2011 -- On its meeting in Berlin the Party Excutive Committee of Die Linke was concerned with the situation in Egypt, Tunisia and the Middle East. Thereto following declaration was adopted.

Die Linke appreciates explicitly that the people in Egypt and Tunisia are in revolt against authoritarian and undemocratic structures and wishes these democratic movements success. These protests are the hope for many people worldwide.

The German government has to appeal to the Egypt government, that no more violence is exercised on demonstrators. The police must not be deployed further against the population. The foreign ministers of the EU states have to speak up for the personal integrity of the former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, el-Baradei and for the immediate repeal of his house arrest.

The European Union and also Germany have supported the undemocratic regimes with their politics in the Arab states for years. The German government permitted in 2009 weapon exports of 77.5 Million euros for Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship.

Between the North African states and the EU there is close cooperation, for example between the security forces of North Africa and the European Union agency for external border security FRONTEX with the aim of stopping refugees from the region south of the Sahara from passing to Europe.

Germany and the West see Arab dictatorships as allies in the so-called war against terrorism and as a guarantee for access to the oil wealth in the region. Because the authoritarian governments in Tunisia and Egypt are seen as a fortress against Islamism, eyes were kept shut concerning imprisoned oppositionists and media censorship.

Die Linke demands an end of these double standards towards the Arab states. Democracy and human rights must not be subordinated beneath the interests of the German economy.

For too long the EU has ignored the political and social developments in countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. But the protests could be foreseen long ago regarding the social situation in these countries.

World Federation of Trade Unions: Solidarity with the people of Egypt and Tunisia

January 31, 2011 -- World Federation of Trade Unions -- The WFTU expresses its fraternal solidarity to the people of Egypt, who are struggling for DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM and JUSTICE.

The working class of Egypt is leading this struggle and we wish them success in their targets. We demand from the government of Egypt to immediately stop the murders and arrests of demonstrators.

The international public opinion condemns the policy and tactics of the USA, trying to control the developments and to place their new tools, their new puppets in the leadership of the Egyptian state.

We demand a stop to intervention of the imperialist in the internal affairs of Egypt. The people of this country are the only ones responsible for deciding for their present and their future.

The revolt of the people of Egypt, regardless of the outcome, comes to prove that the people are the real protagonists of history.

Statement on Tunisia

The spark that burned the dried branches of the Tunis people’s rage was the self-burning of 26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, on December 17, in Sidi Bouzid. The young man made his tragic decision when the authorities confiscated his vegetable bench. This news was the cause for a popular outburst, continuing for weeks now in Tunisia and resulting in the departure of the Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the repeated resignations of various members of the ruling party.

Tunisia is one of the wealthiest countries of Northern Africa. A recent IMF report mentions that in 2010 the country’s GDP growth reached 4%, compared to 3.1% in 2009, and that its economic growth reached 4.8%, that the sectors of technology of computer science and the industry of hydrocarbons reached 16% and 13%, and that the average annual per capita GDP is estimated on 8254 dollars, one of the most “acceptable” in the region.

According to this report, Tunisia is the “most competitive economy in Africa” and holds the 40th position internationally.

Based on the directives of the IMF, Tunisia implemented over the last 20 years a political program that included: the privatisation of public enterprises (more than 160 have been completely or partially privatised), the selling or renting of large acres of land to private owners. 12% of the state income comes from tourism, making Tunisia “Northern Africa’s Switzerland” as the media said, with six contemporary commercial ports and seven international airports!

This also resulted in the personal enrichment of Ben Ali himself and the members of his family.

The Tunisian government was fully supportive of the “war against terrorism” that the USA government launched, promoted the business with US multinationals and is a very important partner of the European Union and especially France (72.5% imports from the EU and 75% exports to the EU-France).

This growth goes hand in hand with the complete lack of freedom, the persecution of progressive people and every other voice of contradiction, the poverty, the high unemployment rate, the social injustice and the high prices of the daily essentials. 55% of the population is under 25 years old, but the unemployment in the young people reaches 30%. One of every two young people is unemployed, although most of them are postgraduates or have master degrees.

The example of Tunisia proves that the growth and the competitiveness does not go hand in hand, it is against the popular strata’s and the working people’s progress and wellbeing, it is against their social and working rights. The USA and EU bear huge responsibility for the reality that the Tunisian people are facing today.

For 24 years, the Tunisian people were living in a big fear of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and different forms of abuse. So far, Tunisians got rid of a dictator but they are still suffering another dictatorship, stronger and more aggressive: the big capitalists, the multinationals and the power of the international financial institutions especially the World Bank, the IMF and the European Investment Bank.

The self-burning of the young person was the cause of the outburst of the people’s rage which was growing underneath for many years. This struggle is fair, promising and hopeful. It proves, until now, that it does not stop in front of “maneuvers” and actions that are only targeted to appease the people’s rage, without bringing real change in their reality, this struggle does not accept the “monopolies’ democracy”, the remaining of the former governmental members in the government. Despite the police bullets and the many dead and wounded persons the determination of the demonstrators is not waned.

This struggle will not be satisfied with nothing more than the fulfilling of the people’s demands for “Dignity, Bread and Freedom”, they ask for real solutions.

The World Federation of Trade Unions stands on the side of the struggling Tunisian people, demands the fulfilling of all their demands, the immediate release of all the arrested, the cessation of the state violence.

The WFTU calls its member-organisations and friends to express their solidarity with Tunisian people and their struggle for decent work, social and trade union freedom and rights.

The call and the slogan of the 16th World Trade Union Congress for a struggle “against the capitalist brutality, for social justice and a world without exploitation” embraces the class-oriented, trade union movement we need today.

 

 

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POLICE VISIT PSM'S SECRETARY GENERAL'S HOUSE

Kajang, 6 February 2011

Four policemen led by Inspector Faizal Abdullah from the Cheras Police District handed a notice for investigation as well as wanted to record a statement from S.Arutchelvan on his involvement in the recent Solidarity demonstration for Egypt at the Kuala Lumpur US embassy.

The officer with another three policemen all in plain cloths handed a 111 CPC notice which requires Arutchelvan, PSM Secretary General to be questioned on the recent demonstration at the US Embassy. They arrived at his residence at Kajang in a police car and inquired with his neighbors before entering the house compound. The Police officer also threatened that he will get an arrest warrant if Arutchelvan does not give his statement today.

Arutchelvan refused to give any statement to the police because the 111 notice did not specify any date or time he is required to give his statement. He dismissed the notice as defective and as an attempt to harass and threaten those who let the successful demonstration the other day. The policemen insisted that he was acting lawfully but in reality, such notices require for the police to state the time and venue they want the statement recorded. Going to somebody’s private residents and demanding a statement to be recorded is a form of harassment and high handed police tactics.

It seems the Malaysia state is worried that such a huge numbers of people have participated in the Egypt solidarity rally in spite of being a long holiday. It seems that now they want to create fear and try to stop further mobilization on this issue. The Malaysia Prime Minister has cautioned Malaysian to learn from Egypt on the issue of chaos if demonstration goes on but has yet to support the call for Hosni Mubarak resignation.

Not to be cowed by the police action, S.Arutchelvan with PSM members lodged a police report at the Kajang Police Station against the policemen who came to his house. The report lodged at 9pm denounces the police for harassment, misuse of power and mala-fide. The Kajang Police recorded a statement from Arutchelvan and agreed to investigate the complaint.

Released by - PSM Hq

International Bureau
Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

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