Tunisia: 14th January Front proposes a National Congress for the Defence of the Revolution

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By the 14th January Front*

February 14, 2011 -- The Tunisian revolution is the first of the 21st century. Its shock waves have shaken dictators and Western governments. But it has yet to overturn the ancien regime, and the neocolonial state apparatus that supports it. As an expression of popular unrest it has been fed by the anger of a diverse classes, at least until January 14, 2011. Since that date there has been increasing polarisation between the forces who back the revolution and those of the counterrevolution.

Those on the latter side are attempting to safeguard their constitution and its institutions. With the collaboration with liberal fringes of the democratic movement, Western agents, Islamists and the leftovers of the ancien regime, they are trying to stem the social movement. The provisional government of "national unity" is peopled by former members of Ben Ali’s power structure. This includes a prime minister (from 1999), Mohamed Ghannouchi, who was the architect of neoliberal policies dictated by imperialist financial bodies.

Apart from three ministers from the democratic movement, who have done all they can to give legitimacy to the government, the rest of the cabinet consists of “neutral technocrats” claiming to serve democracy. Educated in France, in the elite grandes écoles, they have been recruited by Hakim Karoui, a former aid to Jean-Pierre Raffarin (French prime minister, 2002-2005). The sole objective of the government of national unity is to suffocate any attempt to create real political and social democracy.

By contrast the revolution is backed by the 14 January Front. This unites the radical anti-capitalist left, Arab nationalists and left-wing independents. Two other tendencies equally refuse to join thegovernment of "national unity": le Congrès pour la république (CPR) and the Forum démocratique pour la liberté et le travail (FDLT). The momentum set off by 14th January Front continues, embodying hope (8000 people attended its February 13 meeting in Tunis). The 14th January Front has developed a commonsense of direction with the growing numbers of  local and regional committees and  the most combative trade union and civil society organisations. For the 14th January Front political possibilities are opening up for serious and deep-rooted changes.

We propose a National Congress for the Defence of the Revolution. This should be the expression and voice of popular committees, and of all the political forces, trade union and social, which have emerged from the struggle. This constituent assembly should work out a democratic constitution expressing the people’s wishes for national and social emancipation. It should break with the country’s position of dependency. It should reorganise the economy, by socialising the banks and cancelling the dictatorship’s debts, on the basis of the needs of the popular classes, above all those of women.

[This statement appeared in French at the website of the New Anti-Capitalist Party. This translation is taken from appeared from Tendance Coatesy.]

* The 14th January Front consists of:

Workers Communist Party of Tunisia (PCOT)

League of Left Workers

United Nasserist Movement

National Democratic Movement

National Democrats

Baath Movement

The Independent Leftists

National Democratic Labour Party