Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Middle East

COSATU salutes Egyptian and Tunisian working classes

From the album Women of Egypt by Leil-Zahra Mortada.

By Bongani Masuku, Congress of South African Trade Unions international relations secretary

January 31, 2011 -- The African working class has come of age. With the massive revolutionary struggles underway in both Tunisia and Egypt against despots, the history of the continent has been rewritten.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the developments that have dramatically changed the political and class landscape on the continent, particularly in a region known for a false sense of stability and peace, yet brutally repressive against workers and the poor.

We also note that the big powers, particularly the US, invested a lot of resources into both countries, particularly Egypt, as the pioneer agent of their interests in that part of the world and the second-biggest recipient of US aid after Israel. The repressive machinery of Egypt has been built through the resources provided by the US, while that of Tunisia has been primarily through France.

Eyewitness Egypt: two interviews with Hossam el-Hamalawy

A protester carrying a banner addressed to Mubarak: “The people want you to fall”. Photo by Hossam el-Hamalawy/3arabawy.

Below are two recent interviews with Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist and socialist activist who produces at the 3arabawy website. The first appeared at Al Jazeera and the second at the Washington Post.

January 27, 2011 -- Al Jazeera via Socialist Worker (US) -- Mark LeVine, professor of history at UC Irvine, managed to catch up with Hossam el-Hamalawy via Skype to get a first-hand account of events unfolding in Egypt.

Why did it take a revolution in Tunisia to get Egyptians onto the streets in unprecedented numbers?

In Egypt, we say that Tunisia was more or less a catalyst, not an instigator, because the objective conditions for an uprising existed in Egypt, and revolt has been in the air over the past few years.

(Updated Feb. 5) Tunisian left parties declare: `The revolution must continue until it achieves its objectives'

The Workers Communist Party's Hamma Hammami. Photo by l’Humanite.

Introduced by Patrick Harrison

January 31, 2011 -- On January 27, Mohammed Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's "national unity" government, announced that 12 ministers linked to the former ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), would be replaced by independent figures in an effort to appease the mass movement that overthrew Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on January 14. Mass protests continue to demand that all members (and recently resigned members) of Ben Ali’s RCD party be thrown out of the government and for policies to fight the country’s crippling unemployment.

Since Ben Ali’s overthrow, a key demand of the movement has been the establishment of a government with no ties to the old regime. After Ben Ali’s overthrow, a unity government was formed that included former opposition parties — but only parties that were legal under the dictatorship. RCD ministers remained in control of the government.

Western powers line up against Arab democracy

Above: young woman protester in Egypt. "The protests have been led by educated young people frustrated by poverty and lack of political freedom."

By Tony Iltis

January 30, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Having started with a fearless uprising for democracy and economic justice that is sweeping the Arab world, 2011 is shaping up to be a decisive year for the Middle East. By January 14, the first dictator had already been overthrown: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak looks set to follow.

Protests inspired by the Tunisian revolution have occurred in several Arab countries, repeatedly in Yemen and Jordan. On January 28, the Middle East’s most populous country, Egypt, was rocked by riots after police tried brutally, but unsuccessfully, to end four days of protest against the 30-year-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak.

`All repressive regimes must go!' -- Asian socialists in solidarity with the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and the Middle East


Made with Slideshow Embed Tool.The Egyptian community in Sydney and their supporters held a rally in Hyde Park North on January 30, 2011. Photos by Peter Boyle.

Statements from the Socialist Party of Malaysia, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses) Philippines, Socialist Alliance (Australia), Labor Party Pakistan and Socialist Aotearoa.

* * *

Socialist Party of Malaysia solidarity statement with the People's Uprising in Egypt, Tunisia and the Middle East

Olivier Besancenot on Tunisia: `I know now that revolution is possible'

Photo: Photothèque Rouge/Akremi Mesbah.

January 26, 2011 -- Collective Resistance -- Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson for the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste, was in Tunisia earlier this week to find out about the revolution happening there. Here are his impressions.This interview first appeared in French on the NPA website. The translation by the Collective Resistance blog appeared on January 26.

* * *

How did this trip to Tunisia come about?

Tariq Ali on `The Palestine Papers': Total capitulation

Mahmoud Abbas with US President George W. Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Red Sea Summit in Aqaba, Jordan, on June 4, 2003.

Tunisia: Masses create people's power bodies in neighbourhoods and workplaces

Demonstration against RCD ministers, January 19. Photo by Nasser Nouri.

[During the uprising in Tunisia there have been reports of the formation of neighbourhood and popular self-defence committees in many parts of the country. Below are excerpts from a number of articles by the International Marxist Tendency's Jorge Martín, which offer some fascinating details of this important development.]

* * *

By Jorge Martín

The rise and fall of Tunisia's Ceauşescu

Socialist Unity, January 17, 2011 -- Picture sent by Twitter from Al Jazeera journalist Ayman Mohyeldin. Protesters hold up signs outside a trade union office saying “Protests must continue”, rejecting the fake “national unity” government.

[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

[This article first appeared on Seymour's blog, Lenin's Tomb. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.]

(Updated Jan. 24) Tunisia:`All Arab dictators are shaking on their thrones' -- Left and Arab voices on the insurrection


[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE. Scroll down for earlier reports and analysis. ]

UGTT demands dissolution of 'unity government'

Statement of the National Administrative Commission of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) issued on January 21, 2011 (first published in English on MRZine).

1. The General Union of Tunisian Workers is a national organisation necessarily interested in political affairs, given its history of struggle during the colonial epoch and the period of the construction of the modern state, considering the dialectical links among economy, society, politics, and culture in the process of development, but out task has become more urgent than ever.

New Anti-Capitalist Party on Tunisia: 'Ben Ali assassin, Sarkozy accomplice!'

Statement by the New Anti-Capitalist Party (Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste) France, translated by John Mullen for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

[This statement was released before the fall of Ben Ali. See "Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!".]

January 11, 2011 -- When Mohamed Bouazizi committed suicide by setting fire to himself after being harassed by the police his act became the spark which is now setting fire to the whole of the “miraculous Tunisia” of General Ben Ali.

(Updated Jan. 16) Tunisia's intifada topples tyrant: 'Yezzi fock!'

[For more on Tunisia in revolt, click HERE.]

On January 14, the BBC reported that the mass uprising in Tunisia had toppled that country's Western-backed tyrant after weeks of protests and government repression, which has cost the lives of dozens of Tunisians. According to the BBC:

Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power, amid widespread protests on the streets of the capital Tunis. In a televised address, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi said he would be taking over from the president. A state of emergency was declared earlier, as weeks of protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against Mr Ben Ali's rule. Unconfirmed reports say Mr Ben Ali and his family have left Tunisia. The reports suggest that the deposed president is looking for a place of asylum, with French media saying that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has turned down a request for his plane to land in France.

The articles below explain some of the background to the uprising.

The Flame, October-November 2010 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

Soubhi Iskander.

November 2, 2010 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

Turning the tide of oil in US and world politics

By Dan La Botz

October 22, 2010 -- The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico represents the latest in a series of atrocities committed by petroleum companies against the environment and against humanity. Yet, terrible and tragic as the BP spill is, it is merely a marginal event in the long and sordid history of the oil companies in US and world history. The petroleum companies have been at the centre of US politics for a hundred years, determining its domestic agenda, its environmental policy and its foreign policy. To be a US politician was to be baptised in oil. To be an admiral or a general was to be a warrior around the globe for the petroleum industry.

Foreign policy

By the 1920s, with the rise of the internal combustion engine and the automobile, and the conversion of the US Navy from coal to oil, petroleum became the most sought after commodity in the world. Oil became a strategic commodity, a necessity of modern life and modern warfare. From that time on, the oil corporations moved to the centre of US politics. President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet was known as the “oil gang”, and the cabinet-level corruption involved in the attempt of private parties and corporations to get at the navy oil reserves led to the Teapot Dome scandal, for which Harding’s administration is best remembered.

Palestine: BDS movement recalls anti-apartheid tactics, responsibilities and controversies

Apartheid Wall, near Jerusalem. Photo by Patrick Bond.

By Patrick Bond, Ramallah

October 13, 2010 -- On a full-day drive through the Jordan Valley late last month, we skirted the Earth’s oldest city and lowest inhabited point, 400 metres below sea level. For 10,000 years, people have lived along the river that separates the present-day West Bank and Jordan.

Since 1967 the river has been augmented by Palestinian blood, sweat and tears, ending in the Dead Sea, from which no water flows; it only evaporates. Conditions degenerated during Israel’s land-grab, when from a peak of more than 300,000 people living on the west side of the river, displacements shoved Palestinian refugees across into Jordan and other parts of the West Bank. The valley has fewer than 60,000 Palestinians today.

In defence of South African academics' successful call for a boycott of Israel

Drawing comparisons to South African apartheid policies: Israel requires Palestinians to carry identification documents that restrict their movement. UN photo.

By the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

Occupied Ramallah, September 30, 2010 -- PACBI welcomes the decision[1] on September 29, 2010, by the Senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) "not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form" and to set conditions "for the relationship to continue". The fact that the UJ Senate set an ultimatum[2] of six months for BGU to end its complicity with the occupation army and to end policies of racial discrimination against Palestinians is a truly significant departure from the business-as-usual attitude that had governed agreements between the two institutions until recently. 

The Flame, August 2010 -- Green Left Weekly's Arabic-language supplement

August 6, 2010 -- With the help of Socialist Alliance members in the growing Sudanese community in Australia, Green Left Weekly -- Australia's leading socialist newspaper -- publishes a regular Arabic language supplement. The Flame covers news from the Arabic-speaking world as well as news and issues from within Australia. Editor-in-chief is Soubhi Iskander is a comrade who has endured years of imprisonment and torture at the hands of the repressive government in Sudan.

“There are Arabic newspapers in Australia, but still all reflect the views of their editors and there is a great need to establish a progressive Arabic-language press which can frankly discuss the squalid condition of the Arab world due to submission and subservience to neo-colonialism”, Iskander explains. “At the same time, the Arabic-speaking communities in Australia need to read articles relating to the Australian government policy internally — articles which will unmask the pitfalls of these policies, and will expose the violation and the lies of the capitalist parties. The Flame, we hope, will be a powerful addition to Green Left Weekly.”

Why the left should support the boycott of Israel -- a reply to the US Socialist Workers Party

South African workers support boycotts and sanctions against Israel's apartheid state.

By Art Young

August 6, 2010 -- Socialist Voice -- When Israeli commandos attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters on May 31, 2010, murdered nine humanitarian aid workers and seized the cargo of badly needed supplies for Gaza, they touched off an international storm of outrage that continues to this day. The widespread anger has galvanised the international movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people, drawing in new forces and producing new initiatives.

Following the attack on the flotilla, Palestinian civil society issued an appeal to progressive forces around the world to redouble their solidarity efforts and to strengthen the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) against Israel. On June 7 the major Palestinian trade union federations appealed to dock workers to refuse to handle Israeli cargo. They said:

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet