Category Archives: Tunisian Workers’ Party (POT)

Tunisian Workers Communist Party Changes Name to Tunisian Workers Party

Tunisia’s eminent communist political party, the Tunisian Communist Workers Party (POCT), has officially changed its name to Tunisian Workers Party (POT). POT decided to omit the word “communist” from their title following a series of discussions that have been ongoing since February that concluded with a general referendum within the party.

“Our goal is to avoid the stereotype most Tunisians would think of when hearing the word ‘communist’,” said Mohamed Mzam, a representative of POT. Mzam stated that the name change came as a response to, “numerous admirers of the party who were suspicious about our ideology.”

Mzam explained that programs and agendas of political parties are more important than their ideologies. “Tunisians should focus on what a political party is committed to offer them on political, social, and economic levels,” he said.

Additionally, POT has participated in discussions concerning the formation of a coalition of progressive, leftist, political parties and independent politicians. “We held a meeting on Sunday during which nine parties announced that they’ll join the front. We, the coalition, aim at representing a political alternative to the two major political poles: Ennahdha and ‘pro-Dostouri’s [supporters of ideology the party of Tunisia’s first president Habib Bourguiba],” Mzam added.

Hama Hammami, the secretary general of POT, told Mosaique FM radio that the Wafa movement – consisting of former members of the Congress of the Republic (CPR) – might join the coalition as well. “Both POT and the Wafa movement have a lot in common. We share similar political history with opposition and oppression by the previous regime,” Mzam reiterated.

Source

Tunisian Youth Arrested in Morocco to be Released

Nineteen year old Tunisian, Aymen Bhiri, will be released today from Moroccan police custody reported Radio Kalima. He was arrested for participating in an unemployment protest on Saturday in Casablanca.

Bhiri, a member of the Tunisian Communist Workers Party (POCT), was in Morocco to meet with friends and activists there, according to Mohamed Mzem, a representative from POCT.

Mzem was concerned about Bhiri’s status in Morocco, as the Moroccan authorities had promised to release him yesterday. “They had promised they were going to release him ,but nothing happened,” said Mzem.

POCT members have been active in calling for Bhiri’s return to Tunisia. “Some members of the party protested in front of the Moroccan embassy in Tunis over the kidnapping of Bhiri,” added Mzem. It was only this afternoon that Moroccan authorities finally announced their decision to release Bhiri.

Source

Young Tunisian comrade kidnapped and expelled by the Moroccan secret services

On 1 July, the young Tunisian Ayman Elbahri, a member of our party PCOT was kidnapped by the Moroccan secret services outside the headquarters of the Democratic Way, in the heart of Casablanca. Ayman, who had participated in Sunday’s march called by the Movement February 20, regularly visits Morocco to support the struggles at home and in solidarity with the movement of unemployed graduates.

This Monday morning, the Democratic Way comrades still no news of Ayman. The night before, many young people the February 20 Movement of Democratic Path of PADS … gathered outside the Wilaya At Amne to demand the release of militant young Tunisian.

Finally, on Tuesday we learned that our comrade was eventually released and expelled from the country, although there is free movement agreements between Morocco and Tunisia. Our fellow Moroccans are reporting these facts, based on these agreements.

Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party: Statement

Please note this translation is done by Google from the original Arabic and will not be of high quality.

— E.S.

Statement
June 12 (June)

Found in recent acts of violence and vandalism, arson and intimidation of citizens carried out by groups of bearded announces affiliation of the current Salafi in different regions of the country of Tunisia, and targeting these criminal acts, public and private property and caused a state of terror and chaos, especially areas of Sidi Bouzid, Jendouba … All under the pretext of “defending Islam and the holy places” and as “addressing the law violators.”

Has handled the “troika” of the ruling with this business, despite the condemnation of the immense popularity with what caused disruption and confusion on the interests and demands of citizens, Petrakh blatantly depth of discontent in the political circles and civil society, despite the language of intimidation used by some authority figures (such as: “Has space “- Noureddine Beheiri -,” We will implement the law on any act of violence “- broad -,” We will come who are involved in the atonement “- President equitable Marzouqi) in order to ward off and remove the charge of complicity of power with this trend, which has become loose hands and completely out of law unchecked and that the testimony of all.

Having taken these actions oriented Ascending serious since yesterday under the pretext of “defending the sanctities” and “fight the unbelievers” in reference to the incident exhibition fees to “Alabdlah,” This has coincided escalation with the lawsuit inflammatory explicit launched by “Ayman al-Zawahiri,” the fighting and the Declaration of Jihad against the whoever does not accept application of Shariah espoused by al-Qaeda.

Has started since the time of burning and destruction of many institutions, each of the “Mr. Hussein”, and “Jendouba” and “Marina” and “neighborhood solidarity” to affect the headquarters of political parties (Communist Workers Party of Tunisia, the movement of national Democrats, the Republican Party …) and the headquarters of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, centers and areas of security (Alsajuma, Sousse, Hay Riad, dizziness Hicher …).

And the Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party condemns explicitly acts of violence and vandalism, looting, arson and expresses its solidarity with all affected parties and citizens and institutions, to assure care for the general national public opinion as follows:

– To stir up the call to the fighting between the Tunisian whatever Motaha Whatever the cover and the subsequent acts of violence, arson and sabotage can not in any way serve the interests of the Tunisian people, representing a serious threat to unity, but can only serve the interests of constituencies and parties hostile to the revolution , you want to pay the people of Tunisia in the maze of violence and fighting and serving foreign agendas that stand against the people’s liberation from all forms of plunder, exploitation and subordination.

– These repeated actions which are based most often on the pretext of “defending the religion and sanctities,” has been associated with – always suspiciously – a growing popular movement and the social and the escalation of the licit movement demanding goals of the revolution in dignity and social justice, taking on dimensions most dangerous as it is located employment religion and manipulate the feelings of Muslims and the involvement of Bmekdsat people in the conflict raging between the forces of the government to circumvent the Revolution, both within and outside the government.

– Held responsible head of the government, which seeks in all shapes to impose its hegemony and to continue to circumvent the demands of the revolution, seeking to criminalize all motionless my demand and certified speech inciting against all opposers opinion employee which in many cases, religion and religious institutions, deliberate inaction in dealing with this file and in the truth of the Tunisian about the fact that these groups are suspicious outlaw Almsemsrh and religion to justify acts of terrorism and criminal in the right of citizens.

– Open calls for serious and independent investigation on the violence and vandalism, arson and perpetrators held accountable and reveal their links and their funding sources. (Financiers).

– Calls on all democratic forces and civil to unite in the face of this blatant threat to the security and freedom of citizens of the country and the unity of real substance to achieve the objectives of the revolution.

It also goes the Labour Party to the general public including young people Salafi and invite them to not to be drawn behind these calls for fighting and rivalry between the sons of one people, because the interest of the Tunisian people in his unit on the basis of completion of tasks the revolution and against all the forces of counter-revolution internal and external that you want to return the country to the rule tyranny.

Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party
Tunisia 12 June 2012

VI Congress of Emek Partisi

From En Marcha
# 1562 January 5 to 13, 2012

Resolution

We support the peoples who have rebelled for their rights and their freedom; we condemn the imperialist conspiracies against Syria and Iran.

Throughout 2011, the Arab peoples of North Africa and the Near East have risen one after another. They do not want to be victims of the consequences of the hegemony of monopoly capitalism nor to be subjected to poverty and unemployment, and they rejected the repression of the autocratic dictatorships that safeguarded such hegemony. The despotic regimes that have lasted for 30 to 40 years have been the main reason for the disorganization of the oppressed masses and have served as an obstacle to their attaining consciousness. The peoples who have risen up have achieved some victories but they have not been able to reap important fruits of this struggle, such as for example to achieve their own political power. Therefore, these reactionary bourgeois forces supported by Western imperialism have maintained or have tried to maintain their hegemony through the strengthening of their pillars with new collaborators, seeing that their hegemony was in difficulty.

The Arab peoples, who have risen up, have realized their potential and have tasted certain victories, which is why their struggles have still not been repressed in any country except for Libya. Despite their low level of consciousness and organization, the peoples are carrying forward their uprisings with an effort to try to overcome their weakness, and they insist on opposing the attacks by reactionary forces that have been organized especially by elements of political Islam, which has become more moderate and pro-American in almost all those countries.

We understand that the communist parties and organizations that are signing this document, gathered at the Sixth Congress of the Party of Labor of Turkey, express our pride and solidarity with the struggles of the masses of the people, not only in the Arab countries of North Africa and the Near East, but also in Europe, from Spain to Greece, and in Latin America, from Venezuela to Ecuador, for their social and popular rights and freedoms; as well we proclaim our support for the just struggle of the Palestinian people against the Zionist imperialism of Israel.

However, we are aware of the fact that our main weakness is the inadequate level of consciousness and organization of the peoples of the world, with a view to any process of struggle. The imperialists and their collaborators take advantage of this weakness in their efforts to renovate the weakened bases of their hegemony and to repress those struggles through ideological penetration and infiltration in those struggles of the peoples that imperialism claims to support, manipulating these struggles towards their own interests and eliminating the popular features of these struggles.

Western imperialism, which maintains hegemony in its hands and tries to strengthen its position in relation to the ascending imperialist powers, not only aims to reinforce its hegemony in the countries under its influence through the repression of the popular struggles, but also tries to establish its hegemony by extending its influence on the peoples and their struggles and using them as a tool in countries such as Syria and Iran, which have not yet been subjugated.

We do not support the regimes of either Assad or Khamenei. However, we stress the fact that the imperialist powers are intervening with the support of the reactionary forces in the region such as Turkey and the Saudis, in the name of support for the so-called “opposition” in Syria and Iran under the pretext of the struggle for “democracy” and “repression of the dictators”; these policies have nothing to do with the right of self-determination of the peoples or the democratic and social aspirations of peoples. We are opposed to imperialist interventions – economic as well as political and military – for whatever reason, whether they are called by their obliging collaborators or not, and we condemn such policies that only lead to war, bloodshed and suffering.

We call on the peoples of the world, especially the peoples of Syria and Iran, to be alert to the interventions and imperialist tricks such as those that have taken place in Libya, to show solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of the region and to support the fight against imperialism and its reactionary forces.

Ankara, December 2011

Communist Party of Albania
Communist Party of Benin
Party of Labor of Belgium
New Party of Cyprus
Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of Spain (ML)
Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece
Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia
Emek Partisi of Turkey

Source

Joint Statement on the situation in the Middle East

January 16, 2012

Support the people who have risen up for their rights and their freedom! We condemn the imperialist conspiracies against Syria and Iran!

During 2011 the Arab people in North Africa and the Middle East stood up, one after the other. They did not want to be exposed to the consequences of monopolistic capitalist hegemony, as unemployment and poverty. They said no to oppression from the autocratic dictatorships that have watched this hegemony. But the 30-40 year-old despot regimes has been the main cause of the disorganization of the oppressed masses and has also prevented them from developing their awareness. The people who stood up have won some victories, but could not reap the real fruits of their struggle, to be able to form their own political power. At the same time, these bourgeois reactionary forces, supported by Western imperialists, preserved or try to preserve its hegemony by strengthening the power base with its new partners, although this hegemony has encountered certain difficulties.

The Arab people who stood up realizing their potential and tasted victory, and their struggle has not yet been turned down in any country, except in Libya. Despite the low consciousness and organization continues their people revolt and tries to overcome their weaknesses. They insist on resisting the reactionary forces that have reorganized themselves, especially through the advent of political Islam, which has been moderate and pro-American in almost every country.

“We oppose all imperialist interventions, whatever pretext”

We, the undersigned revolutionary communist and working parties that meet the Turkish Labor Party 6 Congress, expressing our pride and solidarity with the peoples’ mass struggles, not only in the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East, but also in Europe, from Spain to Greece, and in Latin America, from Venezuela to Ecuador, who are fighting for their national and social rights and freedoms, and we declare our support for the Palestinian people’s just struggle against imperialism and Israeli Zionism.

However, we are also aware of the fact that our biggest weakness is the inadequate consciousness and organization level of the world’s people, whether to rebel or other fields. And the imperialists and their collaborators exploit this weakness in attempts to renew the decaying basis of its hegemony and suppress the fighting by infiltrating the ranks of the people they claim to support, by manipulating these games in their own interest and remove them from their popular content.

The western imperialists, who have world domination in their hands and trying to strengthen its positions in competition with the rising imperialist powers, has not only aims to strengthen its domination in the countries that traditionally have been under their influence by suppressing the people’s struggles but they are also trying to establish its hegemony by influencing people and their struggles and use them as lifting rods in countries like Syria and Iran, as they have not been able to force the knee.

We support either Assad or Khamenei regime. But we also underlines the fact that when Western imperialists intervene with support from the reactionary forces in the region, the Turkish and Saudi reactionary forces, under the pretext of “democracy” and “dictator’s repression” has such a policy has nothing to do with people’s right to self or with people’s social and democratic aspirations.

We oppose all imperialist interventions – economic, political and military – whatever pretext, whether they are invited by the cooperative lackeys or not, and we condemn such a policy, which only brings war, blood and tears.

We ask all people of the world, and particularly the peoples of Syria and Iran, to be on guard against the imperialist interventions and traps in the style of the Libyan example, to show solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of the region and to continue the struggle against imperialism and the reactionary forces .

Ankara, 20.12.2011

Albania’s communist party
Benin Communist Party
Belgium’s Labour
Cyprus’ new communist party
Ecuador’s Marxist-Leninist Communist Party
Spanish Communist Party (Marxist-Leninists)
Organization for the reconstruction of Greece’s Communist Party (Anasintaxi)
Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party (PCOT)
Turkey’s Workers’ Party (Emek Partisi)

Source

On the occasion of 26 anniversary of establishment of the Workers Party: Continue the struggle to achieve the goals of the revolution for freedom, social justice & national dignity

January 2

Today salutes the Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party of the 26 anniversary of its founding. On 3 January 1986, corresponding to the second anniversary of the uprising of the glorious bread, the Labour Party was born from the womb of political and social struggle against the system of employment and tyranny and persecution, as enshrined in the Constitution Party defunct on our people for decades.

The cessation of the Labour Party since its inception to the workers and the working and the people at large in the face of dictatorship. And was due to various types of oppression that cost him the martyrdom of one of the best of its militants, Comrade Nabil Prcaa, and dozens of trials and hundreds of prisoners, men and women who have been subjected to the worst kind of torture, displacement and deprivation of basic rights including the right to work, whether in the era of Bourguiba’s or Ben Ali. But that did not deter the Labour Party for steadfastness and not to compromise the interests of the people refused to recognize the coup, November 7, 1987 with blessing the majority of political forces at that time and continued defamation Bcanutatorath and Amalth circuits colonial and antagonism to the interests of the people of flagrant corruption and violation of the blatant liberties and human rights and participants from advanced positions in all political moves, popular and social to overthrow him and honor of the initial position of the MDC is not appeasement of tyranny and to cooperate with him or “try to repair it,” but the struggle revolutionary against him and the building of democracy on the ruins and not to bet on foreign powers to get rid of it but to go to the Tunisian people and work in the ranks for the uprising popular braided to overthrow the regime and the repressive apparatus and solve the election of a constituent assembly enact a new constitution lays the foundation for a democratic system for the people to achieve freedom and social justice and national dignity.

The events have confirmed the positions of the Labour Party. Have resulted in accumulations that have been achieved through the struggle of generations of Tunisian men and women, which was among the plants major student uprising and youth in February 1972 and the uprising unions on 26 January 1978 and bread riots in January 1984 and the uprising of the mining basin in 2008 and the uprisings of young people and families Jbeniana and Skhira Ben Guerdane in the summer of 2010, to the outbreak of a general popular uprising, triggered the first of Sidi Bouzid in the December 17 2010 and swept all the regions of the country and forced Ben Ali to flee on 14 January 2011. Attended the Labour Party and his youth (the Union of Communist Youth of Tunisia) and his current union (left associative democracy) in the revolution of the Tunisian people from advanced positions and contributed Manadilath and its militants in the framing of popular movements and sectoral various actors in the armed political slogans rooted and consolidated and the mouthpiece of the substantive demands of the people and draw plans devoted to the field. Has cost the party tens of detainees – including the Secretary-General – who were not released until after the flight of Ben Ali.

The Labour Party continued to struggle after the fall of Ben Ali was at the forefront of political and social movements and popular in order to complete the tasks of the revolution (trachea 1 and 2, a sit-Pardo, 1 …).

The revolution is not over, despite the election of a constituent national assembly and the appointment of a new government, the popular demands brought by the revolution has not been achieved mostly private and social and economic demands on the operator and the regional balance and social justice. The new coalition government continues to emphasize to continue the same economic and social choices of the former regime will not be eager only to send messages reassurance of the Chambers of capitalism foreign and domestic has not received from the working class and segments of the working poor and only call for austerity and threatening letters to deal Space with its actions legitimate for operating and improving the conditions of working and living. Instead of declaring that the “coalition” concrete actions to improve people’s conditions and its purchasing power and operation of his youth and the protection of Chgalih inactivated forms of precarious work and the collective expulsion he wants to download the implications of the economic crisis and protect the interests of the community Almstthreyh local and foreign.

Work on progress in achieving the goals of the revolution through the formulation of a progressive democratic constitution and the alleviation of the crisis on the social strata and classes of people need to fight for the immediate and concrete demands the following:

1 – approved minimum wage industrial and agricultural standard is 400 dinars a month.

2 – age grant unemployment estimated two-thirds of the minimum wage per month for each act out of work until receiving a job with the treatment and free movement.

3 – to freeze prices of basic consumer goods (cereals and their derivatives, vegetables, milk, medicines …) and the cost of electricity, water, gas and communications for two consecutive years at least.

4 – state intervention directly to the investment in order to create new jobs and the continent, especially in those that are disadvantaged and more unemployment.

5 – Increasing the grant university to 100 dinars, dissemination and enable all needy students, both girls and boys from the public right of residence at least three years of the study period.

6 – Review of the labor laws and control mechanisms in the direction of Cgalin protection from arbitrary eviction and precarious forms of work and the violation of their professional and social.

7 – to protect individual and public freedoms of every violation, whether state or groups of satisfaction and other pending enactment of a new constitution which guarantees and protects these freedoms.

8 – freeze the payment of external debt and its services for 3 years to ease the debt burden on the state budget and revenue guidance for the public investment.

9 – Adoption of a special tax on large fortunes and recover Fees Almtkhaldh tax owed by companies and institutions and the reduction in state expenditures and control the imports of luxury.

10 – the foundations for the rapid development of transitional justice and accountability of the killers of the martyrs and symbols of tyranny and corruption in the former regime and to ensure the immediate treatment of the wounded in order to preserve their lives and maintain their dignity.

11 – stand in front of all forms of prejudice to national independence and whatever emanating from the address of each direct foreign intervention, or by (Qatar …) in the affairs of the Tunisian people and their revolution.

The Labour Party will continue, as it was for six and twenty years have gone by, with the Tunisian people and to his part in defending the revolution and move it forward until a full investigation of its objectives.

Long live the Communist Workers Party of Tunisia
Long live the Revolution of Tunisia

Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party
3 January 2012

Source

Tunisia: Interview with Communist Workers’ Party (PCOT) leaders

Ted Walker interviews Samir Taamallah, Chrif Khraief and Jilani Hamemi

November 26, 2011 — Al-Thawra Eyewitness, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author’s permission — I first met with Samir Taamallah, a former political prisoner and member of the central committee of the Communist Worker’s Party of Tunisia (PCOT), in Tunis on October 4, 2011, to discuss the October 23 Constituent Assembly election and Tunisia’s ongoing revolutionary struggle. The first part of the interview took place before the election. The follow-up interview part took place after the results were known.

* * *

How is the election campaign going?

Samir Taamallah: We are still in the beginning of the campaign – opening offices in all regions, getting together the essential means of a campaign; these things are not easy for a party without major financial support like ours! We are working in communities, printing flyers and posters, distributing as much of our material as we can with few resources. In addition, we are also profiling ourselves on the internet – through Facebook, Twitter, our website.

What issues have you been campaigning on?

We’ve mainly been campaigning on three fronts – the political, the social and the economic.

On the political side, the issue is how to write the constitution and how the new parliament will be formed. We are struggling for the new constitution to defend freedom of thought and belief, individual liberty, gender equality and the right of employment. On this front, we are also looking for a change with Tunisia’s foreign relations, especially its relationship with Israel.

On the social front, we are fighting for essential services to be made available to all citizens – free health care, free education, free housing – as well as for fairer income levels to address inequality. Right now we are calling for an increase in the minimum wage to around 400 dinars a month to keep up with inflation.

On economic issues, we are part of the campaign to suspend debt service payments, and to channel this money towards investmentment in Tunisia. At least in the short term, we need to cancel these payments if we are to develop our economy. We are also encouragining Tunisian investment for the needs of our country, not for profit – we are not against investment, but we want it to be done in a reasonable way that benefits the people. Under Ben Ali, all capital was directed and exploited by the regime – everyone who wanted to start a business competing with the regime’s favoured monopolies would have problems with the government.

Do you think the election will address the problems facing Tunisia?

That depends on what happens after the election. There are two possible outcomes from this election – either the government of interim president al-Baji al-Sebsi will stay in power and continue working as it has, or we will build a new government chosen by the Constituent Assembly. The PCOT is fighting for the latter course. We believe that only a new government can make real immediate inroads into the structure of the old regime. We believe that the Sebsi government is putting obstacles in front of the process of democratic transition, for example, the possibility of referenda, which are being discussed right now, which will take more time to organise and delay a real transition to democracy.

The PCOT stands for a transitional justice. We believe that there can be no democracy without getting rid of the structures of corruption and all figures from the former regime being judged in a fair way. For this to happen, we need a new government to form.

What were your personal experiences of repression under Ben Ali?

I am a member of the national leadership within PCOT. In 1994, I was sentenced to five years and three months in prison – but I was not imprisoned. I remained underground, constantly moving from place to place, and in that way I stayed safe from the regime.

Then in February 1998, I was again judged and this time sentenced to nine years and three months. As with the first time, I lived underground; I was eventually imprisoned in 2002, along with [PCOT leader] Hamma Hammami and Abdel Jabbar Mandouri. In the same year, we were released from prison, and we continued the struggle.

We never changed our minds or made concessions to the regime, despite the Ben Ali regime’s persecution. We faced beating, threats, everyday fighting with the police – this was the common experience for every communist militant in Tunisia before the revolution.

In your opinion, will the revolution of January 14, 2011, keep going?

The PCOT sees a revolution not just as a moment but a progression of events over time. We consider the election as just a crossroads between revolutionary forces, which want to pursue the revolution until it creates the popular awareness of the meaning and value of freedoms as a right, and the counter-revolutionary powers, which include the former members of [Ben Ali’s] Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD). Each member of the central committee of the RCD has formed their own party; they are working in the same way to go back to the past and renew their power.

Other counter-revolutionary powers include the transitional government, which has made fictitious concessions to calm down the population. For example, the decision was made to dissolve the political police of the State Security Department; yet it is well known that all members of the bureau were found new jobs one by one and are still working.

We believe that the Sebsi government is struggling against the revolution – putting obstacles in the way of justice, undermining our independance, maintaining the regime’s media. The government is ruling beyond its mandate and is illegitimate. For example, the old judicial files for the Trabelsi family or other regime figures are not being pursued and they are being allowed to flee the country one by one or only pursued for small crimes – but not for murders or drug trafficking.

Parties using money to buy votes are also acting as counter-revolutionary powers; they can lead the revolution in the wrong path by using its slogans, for example, “Give your vote to the revolution”. Those who buy your vote today will sell you tomorrow.

We believe that the counter-revolutionary powers are negotiating with the population, giving some rights against security and political stability. But they are not making the kind of deep social and economic change the revolution was fighting for, change that we need in order to start on a new basis. For example, the violent conflicts between the clans in the south are being empowered by the counter-revolution giving them political capital, with help of the political police, as a way of undermining the revolution. People’s energy is being channelled into fighting a fake problem which has never existed in Tunisia in order to push the revolution from its path.

Tunisians are very aware of this situation, but still have a peaceful temper, and are willing to give the interim government a chance to step down and for the Constituent Assembly to move the democratic transition forward; but if the election doesn’t deliver real change they are ready to make another revolution. The consciousness of Tunisians is strong; so far, all these attempts against the revolution have failed.

Are elections the only way forward for Tunisia’s revolution?

From the beginning, we wanted to form a national revolutionary government made up of parties, associations, independents – but other powers refused. The Higher Independent Election Committee is a fake body set up to counter this idea and instead channel the revolution into protecting the status quo.

We’ve reached the point where elections, if transparent, honest and fair can really help the success of a democratic transition. The PCOT is willing to give the elections a chance and see the outcome.

We are willing to not return to the beginning point of the January 14 uprising, but to look forward to the revolutionary struggle. The new generation of Tunisians are no longer afraid of anything. Fear was the main way by which Ben Ali stayed in power, but that is now useless.

* * *

The following questions were answered by Chrif Khraief and Jilani Hamemi after the October 23, 2011 election. The response to the first question comes from a statement by Hamma Hammami. A more detailed statement by the PCOT on the election result was released on October 29 (the original Arabic can be read here. It has been translated into English by The Moor Next Door). For more details on the results of the Constituent Assembly election, see the infographic here.

* * *

How do you feel about PCOT’s results in the election? Do you feel the campaign was successful in raising the issues that you wanted to?

Hamma Hammami: Some newspapers consider that the election of October 23 was extraordinary and unique, furthermore, perfect; this is clearly an exaggeration. We have to avoid blind optimism for the election’s results, and instead consider it with more criticism.

There were many complaints against some lists, and I don’t think the judiciary system would be rude in taking positions in their affairs. But despite our criticism, the PCOT isn’t asking to re-run the election or to cancel it, however we have some remarks.

First, the reduced number of participants in the elections: according to the ISIE, only 48.9% have voted! Such statistics are worrying and their impact on the political future of the Constituent Assembly would be important, because the constitution doesn’t reflect the opinion of the majority. To heal this problem, the PCOT is calling for the constitution, once it is drafted, to be presented to the people in a referendum. Thus, the Tunisian population can accept it or not.

Second, political money (money invested by parties in their electoral campaign) was a significant factor in the results. No one can deny that there obvious differences between spending an average 25 dinars per elector and spending 500 dinars.

Third, the use of religious rhetoric in mosques and public areas directly and indirectly influenced people. The biggest failure is that people who should have reacted against such attempts to influence voters didn’t, and behaved just as passively as they did under Ben Ali regime. It’s just like there were hidden powers that wanted to divide atheists and religious people.

Fourth, the poor role played by the media, especially the public media, meant that it didn’t help people distinguish, choose and understand what the constitution does and its content means.

Fifth, there were mutual attacks between parties which sometimes reached a very pitiful level.

Sixth, many infractions of electoral rules were noticed in polling stations, confirmed by a wide number of observers.

To conclude: no one can deny that the Tunisian election was manipulated by international actors (most notably US and European ones) which are aiming to limit the Tunisian revolution to minor reforms and modifications and want to sustain the former system, and maintain former pro-capitalist economic, political and social policies. This foreign intervention was facilitated by the transitonal government and some parties, because during the election campaign there were many people travelling in and out Tunisia and we there were many assurances from different parties that Tunisia would maintain the old political and economic policies.

How does PCOT evaluate its own participation in the election?

Chrif Khraief: We estimate that our participation was very weak, and we’re not satisfied because three seats in the assembly doesn’t reflect the real weight of the PCOT on the streets. No one can deny the historic role, the historic activism and the big impact of the PCOT in building the revolution. We are looking critically at ourselves all the time for the purpose of going forward and overcoming our weaknesses and improving ourselves.

It’s true that the PCOT has learnt revolutionary activism and have always done it very well, but we’ve never learnt or experienced electoral campaigning. We conducted a clean electoral campaign in which we focused on our program and proposals for the constitution and the transitional government and we relied on our activists’ energy and motivation, mainly young ones, but we’ve suffered from our weak implantation in cities and countryside, which negatively impacted on transforming our political reputation into an electoral power. And we lost many voices by changing our name “PCOT” to “Al Badil (Revolutionary Alternative)”; many people didn’t recognise us on polling day.

We made a big mistake when we didn’t organise a supervisor for each polling station, which allowed some parties to use the opportunity to influence people. We’ve also faced the electoral campaign with very modest material means and we relied on campaign funding given by the authorities, which reached us very late in the campaign. Additionally, our candidates were the target of a very rude campaign of attacks because of our principles and integrity; some parties spread many rumours against us which didn’t allow us reach our target result of 10%.

Although our results are not satisfying, we’ve learnt a lot from this experience, we actually know our weaknesses and we are more convinced than ever of our principles.

Do you feel like the new government will make any deep social or economic changes? Will it pursue real justice against the former regime?

Chrif Khraief: We don’t believe that the new government, with its current composition, is willing to make radical and real changes on the social and economic fronts. Even before the first sitting of the Constituent Assembly, government members are reassuring the world that they would carry on the same way as the former regime. This is especially true regarding economic policy; they have stated they will pay foreign debts and they still sustaining the market economy that led to political dictatorship, economic regression and social inequality.

On the social front, the Constituent Assembly has shown no interest in poor people and disadvantaged interior of Tunisia, which were neglected for a long time under Ben Ali, and that was one of the reasons behind the protests and strikes. And given the lack of judicial reform, even if the government makes decisions, they would be fake because we can’t exercise real democracy when the agents of the former regime are still active, the judiciary system is still not fair or free, the media is still not free, the administration is still corrupt and people involved in torture and corruption are still free. We can’t talk about real justice without talking about accountability and giving back esteem to the victims of Ben Ali.

There have been major strikes in the tourism, transport and other industries since the election. Have PCOT members been involved in or supporting these actions? What role is the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) taking in the revolutionary struggle?

Chrif Khraief: The PCOT was not behind those protests, but it’s supporting them and forever will! We will insist that the government realise the promises it gave just after the revolution — like cancelling interim work wages, subsidising those worked on a fixed wage, adopting transparent standards of recruitment.

Workers are, at present, split into two groups. There are revolutionaries who aim to concretise internal democracy within the General Union of Tunisian Workers, and defend workers against capitalists and bosses. This includes democrats, left, syndicalists and others. This was always present in the brightest moment of the UGTT: the strike of January 26, 1978; the bread revolution of 1984; legitimacy fights of 1985; support for Iraq in Gulf War of 1990; the Redeyef and Oum Laarayes uprising of 2008. But mainly and above all, these workers were involved in the revolutionary movements that led to the downfall of Ben Ali on January 14, 2011.

All activists of this kind are going to have an assembly in December to pursue the path of revolution and to install a real democracy and to pursue defending workers’ rights.

[The second kind of workers] are the bureaucrats who represent the counter-revolutionary power (bosses’ syndicate) that wants negotiations to fail … rather than making the union a tool of worker’s independence and power. These bureaucrats are the ones who supported Ben Ali until the last moment and treated revolutionaries as troublemakers.

What do you think about the #Occupy protest movement that has been growing around the world and which saw an Occupy Tunis protest on November 11?

Jilani Hamemi: The #Occupy protest movement that began in Wall Street is a logical consequence of the collapsing capitalist system. In fact, the capitalist system has passed through many crises through its history, but they are getting closer and closer … And now, the Occupy protest movement is giving hope that we can change this capitalist system to a communist one. This movement is tagging its origin to the “Arab spring” and it’s materialising into a similar revolutionary struggle against miserable life conditions.

The capitalist system is now making every effort to absorb the street’s anger and make frequent interventions – but these have not worked so far, because the people want real change: a minimum guaranteed industrial wage, a guaranteed yearly income, the right of work, the right to free education, of public health care, the cancelling of debts, and even the cancelling of many countries foreign debt, such as Tunisia’s. They are demanding a new society based on democracy, equality and freedom.

That’s the real way of struggle. We have to hold on to reach our objective. The struggle won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible for us to win. But we must remain critically aware of the movement’s weaknesses.

Source

PCOT: On the first anniversary of the outbreak of the revolution: Continuous process to achieve the goals of the revolution

December 16, 2011

On this day of the year Alvart spark off the revolution sparked by the Tunisian Martyr Mohammed Bouazizi of Sidi Bouzid. The flames spread quickly this revolution to include all areas of the country and ends to drop Ben Ali on 14 January 2011, forcing him to escape unscathed after a dictatorship as long as 23 years.

Have revolted the Tunisian people, and fell from the ranks of hundreds of martyrs and wounded, in order to put an end to suffering from the tyranny and exploitation of obscene, unemployment, poverty and marginalization, corruption and dependency, for Tunisia a new state where sons and daughters their freedom and their rights and dignity in a democratic system reflects their will.

Here it is after a year of the outbreak of the revolution is still an ongoing process to achieve the goals of the revolution and to confront all attempts to circumvent them by successive governments since the overthrow of Ben Ali. These governments associated with the old regime did not achieve the fundamental reforms of political, economic, social and cultural rights, which people want to get out of more than half a century of tyranny.

While the election, such as the National Constituent Assembly to demand an investigation of the demands of the revolution, the results of these elections did not dispel fears of large segments of the population. The ruling coalition led by the new “Renaissance Movement” has given so far, through his conduct in the Constituent Assembly and outside, signs do not confirm that we are moving towards the final pieces of totalitarianism, but threaten his return with a new service to the interests of minorities reactionary foreign and domestic.

The Tunisian people the freedom While most deadly of economic and social conditions have not changed, but worsened in recent months, which explains the proliferation of protests and sit-ins, which are sometimes taken violent forms and sometimes exploited by some elements of the deviant acts of sabotage and commit robberies.

Nothing in the statements of the leaders of the ruling coalition’s new, who kept the program on the same choices of the former regime of unbridled capitalism and subsidiaries, which promises to address a serious and deep for this situation but there are intentions to load the people once again the consequences of crises did not create the title “austerity” or “sacrifice” to save the country without prejudice to the interests of the owners of large wealth who Ngoloa in the era of Ben Ali.

The Communist Workers Party of Tunisia, who occupied since its inception in 1986, front row in the resistance to dictatorship and to defend the interests of classes and groups toiling and poor, and participated actively in the revolution and confronted, and still all attempts to circumvent them, and meet him for the blood of the martyrs, announcing this momentous occasion to continue struggle in order to:

1 complete functions and a state of revolution, civil law, democracy and modern investigated by the Tunisian people in which the political and social liberation and national levels.

2 – Adoption of a new constitution guarantees individual liberties, public and dedicated gender equality and the sovereignty of the people on the state and resources of the country and its resources.

3 – achieve dignity for all citizens and enable them to work right in the tar, health, education and coverage of social and environmental sound.

4 – try the killers of the martyrs and accounting symbols of tyranny and corruption and the establishment of transitional justice which offers all guarantees of a fair trial.

5 – Edit the national decision of the dependence of the colonial and Zionist circles and reactionary.

6 – to work directly on the freezing of prices of basic materials and the reduction in the prices of other materials is considered to antitrust Belkma and manipulation of people and interests.

7 – Adoption of a formal grant of the idle to work and enable them to transport and treatment gratis.

8 – Adoption of the programs of the immediate areas of impoverished and marginalized groups within the country and the capital (neighborhoods).

9 – dissemination of the grant (with lift in value) and housing for the children of university classes and the poor.

10 – suspension of payment of the debt for three years.

11 – recovery of the looted money from home and abroad.

12 – Adoption of a special tax on large fortunes.

13 – the reduction in state expenditures and control the imports of luxury and unnecessary.

Long live the Revolution
Long live the people of Tunisia

Tunisian Communist Workers’ Party
December 17, 2011

Source

Qatari Regime “An Enemy to Tunisia and Arab World”: Hama Hamami Communist Workers Party of Tunisia (PCOT)

Hama Hamami Leader of Communist Workers Party of Tunisia (POCT) , claimed yesterday (i.e 19th October 2011 –editor OA) that ”The Qatari regime is an enemy to Tunisia and the Arab World,” referring to Qatar’s alleged involvement in the guiding of democratic uprisings of 2011 in North Africa and the Middle East.

Qatar’s role in the “Arab Spring” has been a source of controversy among politicians and citizens across the Arabic-speaking world.

Many have claimed that the tiny Gulf emirate has been promoting its agenda through its television channel Al Jazeera, while others have claimed that Qatar has broader motives for backing and supporting Islamist parties.

The Tunisian Islamist Party Ennahda, whose historic election victory solidified its hold on the largest share of seats in the Constituent Assembly, was accused of having affiliations with, and accepting financial aid from, Qatar.

The extent of political and economic Qatari involvement in Tunisia’s affairs has been a large point of contention in Tunisia since the revolution. Hamma Hamami, leader of POCT, stated that Qatar is playing a dangerous game, and is only serving its own agenda. He also added that Qatar is an agent of USA and Israel.

“Qatar is playing a dangerous role under the umbrella of USA; it is a government that serves America’s agenda, and also has direct relations with Israel. Qatar’s intentions are not patriotic,” Hamami said.

Hamami also asserted that Qatar is attempting to guide moderate Islamic parties, which are popular in Qatar, toward the political choices of the USA.

“Qatar is conditioning popular Islamic parties to serve American and Western interests, and they are managing to achieve that end through the messages that Ennahda is sending to America and Western society. Ennahda is basically assuring the west that the relationship between Tunisia and the West will not change. I do not have concrete proof but this is my political analysis.”

Hamami also referred specifically to Al Jazeera, claiming that during the electoral campaign the network was 90% pro-Ennahda.

When asked about Qatar’s support for Tunisia economically, he said that Tunisia does not need financial aid as much as it needs a, “political economy.”

“Tunisia is a self-sufficient country that is rich with natural resources – it is not about having money. A good example is Libya: The country was rich but they were living in awful conditions,” he added.

“The revolutions were authentic, but the USA wants to orient these new democratic movements in their own direction,” he added.

Samir Dilou, an Ennahda member who is rumored to hold the post of the Human Rights and Transitional Justice Minister (and to be spokesperson of the upcoming Government) disagreed with Hamami.

“I respect what he said, but I do not agree with him. It is his political opinion and it lacks any concrete proof.”

He added that Tunisia’s relations with Qatar are no different from Tunisia’s relations with other Arab countries.

“Our relations with Qatar are nothing but friendly, just like any other Arab country. We want what’s in our nation’s best interest, and if that involves having economic relations with Qatar, or any other Arab country, then we will not be against it. We welcome all Arab investors.”

When asked about Al Jazeera being Pro-Ennahda, he replied,”We actually protested against Al Jazeera before because some of its broadcasts were anti-Ennahda. We respect media but Al Jazeera is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.”

Source

PCOT: Money and religion were used to manipulate elections in Tunisia

The election result “gives a misleading picture and do not reflect the party’s role and influence through their participation in the Tunisian revolution.” Hamma Hammami, secretary general of PCOT the press conference in Tunis on 29 in October.

TUNIS (TAP) – “Violations and infringements committed in the election campaign and on the day of the Constituent Assembly election impacted considerably on the credibility and transparency of elections,” said Secretary-General of the Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party (PCOT) Hamma Hammami.

Speaking at a news conference held on Saturday in Tunis, Mr. Hammami said the PCOT won three seats in the precincts of Sfax 1, Kairouan and Siliana, adding that the results “are deceiving and do not reflect the weight of the party and the level of its participation in the Tunisian Revolution.”

He also believed necessary to review the first multi-party elections in Tunisia and shed light on shortcomings and infringements recorded so as to “draw lessons and make sure they will not take place in the next elections.”

“Poor turn-out, suspicious funding of some candidate tickets in the elections and the partiality of several public media impacted considerably on the results of the election,” he underlined.

Moreover, the Secretary-General of PCOT denounced the use of religion in mosques and public spaces for political purposes and the launch of large-scale smear campaigns against several revolutionary forces including the PCOT.

These acts, he said, were aimed to “divert the public opinion from fundamental issues and direct its attention to ideological conflicts to break its unity.”

In this regard, Mr. Hammami expressed hope that the progressive and left forces in Tunisia draw lessons from this experience and close ranks to prepare for the next events, denying that his party had received any request for coalition in the Constituent Assembly.

The chairman of the legal committee of the party’s election campaign Habib Ziyadi said the PCOT filed appeals in the precincts of Zaghouan and Gafsa, mainly for violations committed by Al-Aridha (Popular Petition) and the “Free Patriotic Party,” infringement in counting in the precinct of Ariana and mistakes made in counting votes in Sidi Bouzid.

Source

PCE (M-L) Hamma Hammami Interview

PCOT headquarters

March 5, 2011. Tunisia

HAMM: About the events in my country we say we are half way to the revolution, that is, the revolution continues. On January 14 the people overthrew the dictator after a month of heroic struggle, we got rid of the dictator, but not the dictatorship that remains in reconstitution in the judicial bodies in the puppet parliament and the Senate, the state apparatus and all police, in short, all the bureaucratic apparatus. The Tunisian people have not been spared the social and economic suffocation exercised by a minority of comprador. That is, after the removal of Ben Ali, the government continued composed of elements of the apparatus and the party of the dictator, the government was extended with some reformist and liberal members of the opposition essentially two games, the former party revisionist had become a reformist party and came to work with Ben Ali and the other a pseudo-liberal party called the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

Members of the two parties involved in the self-styled government of “National Union.” That government tried to sabotage the revolution and reduced to a mere liberalization of the regime, by patching of some reforms. Faced with this situation, the town continued with the revolution, the fight continued with slogans like “do not want just to” large ” [2] Ben Ali, but is also awarded the dictatorship, we want to change the political system, build a new democratic regime … ”

So the struggle continued against the government of “National Union” led by former Prime Minister Ben Ali, Gannouchi. But the government could not resist the pull of popular struggle and fell about two weeks after the escape of Ben Ali.

The prime minister himself, Gannouchi, formed a new government, which were not part of some members of the old regime, and were replaced by other secondary. It was essentially a reactionary government tried to cover up with some reforms. A level of popular struggles, it made some areas of freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration. It was possible to bring down several officers, both national and local and regional, and across the country are succeeding in establishing people’s power centers, the “Assembly to safeguard the revolution.” These new powers are popular organizing more and more, and managed to impose some demands to the government. But real power remained in the hands of the reaction, responsible for Ben Ali regime. But, as Lenin said, in the revolution the key issue is power. Therefore, while the power is not in the hands of people can not say that this phase of the revolution is over.

And indeed, as you have seen, the continuous struggle against reaction that seeks to preserve the old regime “liberalizing.” In this maneuver, it must be said loud and clear, involving U.S. government, France, the European Union itself, trying to stop the movement, so that, as Sarkozy’s government, this movement does not exceed the bourgeois framework.

Moreover, the revolutionary movement, popular, radical and wants a democratic republic, in this context, the confrontation between popular movements and the provisional Government was accentuated, and launched the slogan “dégage, government, dégage” shouted slogan until the last corner of the country. The objectives of this phase of the struggle, were threefold: To overthrow the interim government, convening a constituent assembly, and move the democratic republic, parliament. These concentrations were multiplied slogans and rallies. The government was forced to make concessions, but managed to stay. It should be stressed that the reaction has tried to exploit weaknesses. If the revolution has not yet completed, has been due to lack of awareness and decision, which left us half way, with a weak government and a popular movement that drags weaknesses. We are in a more or less influenced by power. It’s a situation as you have pointed out, Comrade Marco, reminds us a bit 1917.

There is a political unit within the popular movement, they shout the same slogans, which can be summarized as “freedom and national dignity.” Unit slogans are left Tunisia, unity among our party, the TCO, and other leftist forces. It should be emphasized that the actions undertaken, there has been no sectarian slogans, religious, for example, or of a partisan nature. Always seek unitary political slogans, socio-economic and anti-imperialist.

I must say that the efforts of our Party and other opposition parties, for more than six years, have created a Committee for Freedom and Rights. Is a group in which there are liberals, Islamists, independents, and of course our party. Until late 2005, when the left was proposing something, Islamists boycotted it, and when the proposals came from the Islamists, it was the left that boycotted. That is, there was a clear division. After 2005, we achieved a common work around the axis of freedom for the political forces work together to reflect on the differences with the Islamists, women’s rights, freedom of conscience, on the design of a system democratic, or a regime based on popular sovereignty.

With the Islamists came to a very important result with commonalities that led to a democratic platform on the right of women, freedom of conscience, and created an intellectual and political climate favorable.

Since 2008, with the demonstrations in the mining area of ​​Gafza, ideological tensions subsided within Tunisian political opposition, to make way for agreements on political and socio-economic problems, in the revolt in the mining, all left opposition, all, including Islamists, supported the motion. From then on all issues of the Tunisian political scene, were reached with the Islamists, the liberal reformers, and so on., Which helped create a favorable climate.

A weak point has been the lack of a nationally unique address. It has been much speculation about the spontaneous nature of the revolution, but it was really something spontaneous in the sense of a lack of awareness or a total lack of organization. This revolution took a very broad popular character, and in each region and locality were political activists, trade unionists, human rights fighters … who have led and participated in the fighting, as did our party. There was a degree of awareness, organization, which has enabled the movement to resist repression, which has enabled the movement to find each time the appropriate instructions and forms needed. But again, at the national level that has been on the lack of a firmly established political force, and this applies to us and the other forces, as we are concerned by the severe repression suffered in recent years that we were hit hard.

Despite the efforts that our party has done to bring together the democratic opposition, there was a lack of will to achieve a common work in the country, a gap that has remained almost until the fall of Ben Ali. They were people of liberal and reformist forces, which relied more on measures to reform the Ben Ali regime in the revolutionary movement. The two most representative of the reformist parties continued until the last day without reporting to Ben Ali and continued to refuse to reform the penal code, which led to the democratic opposition forces not to sign the petition.

At the same time the revolution began to overcome their own weaknesses, for example, on the initiative of our party to launch from the first day the slogan of “constitution of a National Assembly,” for all local and regional parts of the system were escaped, the police fled, the National Guard as well. So we have launched the slogan be everywhere Popular Committee, and these assemblies, committees, etc. They took the security in their hands to deal with criminals and bandits, and the forces of counterrevolution.

In another area, the revolutionary movement has forced in practice left to join. With the collapse of Ben Ali, the revolutionary forces of the nationalist left and join in the “Front January 14.” Front brings together the forces that confront the Government, in varying degrees, political parties, nationalists, trade unions, then join us for the creation of the National Council for the Preservation of the Revolution. Since then, despite many problems, concessions had to be done, discussions, etc.., Discouraging the common work, it was possible to combine the forces of revolution and progress was made together and brought down the second provisional government. The government first called itself the “national unity” and it was not, was a government of Ben Ali a, so to speak. The 2 nd government, provisional, was an attempt to preserve, through reforms, essential aspects of former Prime Minister of that government, Mohamed Gannouchi, was against the creation of the Constituent Assembly, to the claim of the Constitution, but just about moments before he resigned, Gannouchi said: “This country needs a constitutional assembly” … He resigned after making a reaction save time to regroup, which they have done in the last month, those active forces of the counterrevolution, consist essentially of old party members Ben Ali, the political police and militia in the pay of the oligarchy, who have committed terrorist acts against civilians, acts of vandalism to terrorize the people and let them know that “or us or anarchy.”

This provisional government showed tolerance towards those counterrevolutionary groups, and when he had the arrests of some of his men, did the police let them go. They wanted to terrorize the population, suggested that there was a danger of military intervention, even from abroad, or beaten by Islamist or leftist forces … all with the purpose of terrorizing the people. That government had the clear support of the United States, whose representatives have come to Tunisia several times, also was supported by the European Union promised a large aid material, and particularly the government of Sarkozy, in addition to the governments of Spain, Zapatero, and Italy with Berlusconi. All of them supported Ben Ali to the last day.

The United States, perhaps more intelligent, they began to express some reluctance when captured that government could not maintain that his time was short. As I said, that government did allow time to reorganize counter-revolutionary forces again, despite this, the popular forces we get rid of the 2 nd interim government.

We are now in a new phase in which the forces of revolution we eliminate all vestiges of the dictatorship. This new phase has just begun with the appointment of another Prime Minister Beji Kaied Sebsi, who has promised to submit to the will of the Tunisian people, to elect a Constituent Assembly elections to be held on 26 July this year.

Ben Ali’s party has been legally dissolved, which is also a victory of the people. The Constitution no longer applies, have been recognized, authenticated, legalized political parties and organizations, and hopefully it is the TCO [3] in the coming days. Many of the former officials will be judged. The government is forced to make concessions, but remain elements of the dictatorship are still there, as the political police, administration, judiciary, which must be radically changed.

The  Sebsi Government is rushing to prepare for the elections to the Constituent Assembly, but not in a democratic setting, away from people without the direct involvement of the forces of revolution. The fight now, then, will deliver in this area. The revolutionary forces must prepare for the elections to the Constituent Assembly in a truly democratic environment, for which there is to dissolve the political police [4] , to repeal the existing laws, and when provisionally, pending a new structure for the country, determined the Constituent Assembly to take concrete action on the administration of justice, also on the media apparatus, to ensure democratize the process to the Constituent Assembly.

As to the disposition of forces, we can say that the revolutionary are mobilized, it is very important. The revolutionary forces are united, but we fear, though still unclear, a split within the National Committee for the Safeguarding of the Revolution, between the revolutionary forces and democratic and reformist forces that seek a compromise with the current government . Anyway, we will continue with our tactics to conserve and advocacy, to strengthen the structures that emerged from the revolution, both nationally and in the face January 14 and in the towns and regions with the revolutionary Assemblies, to strengthen them while popular, and prepare for elections to the Constituent Assembly.

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Message to the Congress of the Workers’ Communist party of Tunisia by M-L group “Revolution”


Dear comrades of the Workers’ Communist Party of Tunisia (PCOT)

After years of suppression, imprisonments, torture and martyrdoms of many courageous cadres, the PCOT has won ever more respect and authority among the Tunisian workers and youth. The party and its leadership, where comrade Hamma must be mentioned in particular, has played an important role in the Tunisian uprising and the ousting of dictator Ben Ali last winter. We are proud to belong to the same international movement as the PCOT.

Your Congress is taking place at a time when the Tunisian uprising is at a serious crossroad. The internal and external cronies of Ben Ali, the imperialists who backed the old regime, are desperately working to put an end to the revolutionary process and to bring things back to the imperialist and neocolonial «normality». The cowardly NATO-bombing of neighbouring Libya and the imperialists’ active infiltration and utilization of the Benghazi «rebels» is for sure a warning to the other peoples in Northern Africa, threatening them to obey the imperialist «New world order».

We hope and believe that the Tunisian workers, youth, women and peasants will not yield to the imperialist plots, and that they will continue and fulfil the revolutionary national and democratic process they have embarked upon. The stronger the influence and leadership of the PCOT, the more certain the victory will be.

If there is anything we can do in our country in the way of practical solidarity with the PCOT and the Tunisian revolt, we will respond as best we can with our very limited resources.

Wishing you all success in the proceedings of the congress, which most certainly will give new energy and mature guidance to the working peoples of Tunisia.

Long live the Tunisian example!
Long live the PCOT!
Long live proletarian internationalism!

Our revolutionary fraternal greetings,

Marxist-Leninist Organization Revolusjon – Norway

Oslo, July 22nd 2011

Studies X: ‘Ethics’ & Performance

The translation below is an excerpt from the Tunisian Communist Workers Party pamphlet “On Secularism,” by Hamma Hammami other sections of which has been translated elsewhere on this blog. This excerpt was posted on the PCOT’s website on 27 October, 2011.

It is interesting that this was posted so close to the election; it appears to reinforce convictions in the rightness of the leftist perspective as non-communist forces gained on the party, especially in the Islamist tendency (who are mentioned explicitly; in PCOT literature الظلاميون ’obscurantists’ is often a euphemism for Islamists). The re-publication of this excerpt on the site can be seen as a part of the party’s reaction to the electoral environment in general; communist tendencies in most Arab countries today are non-conformist in that they are the opposite of dominant opposition and political forces which are accommodating of political Islam and religious views (which are vastly more popular), the market liberal economic consensus (especially among non-Islamist factions) and the predominant view of religion in society which is usually conservative and comfortable with having religion used as a core pillar of collective (including national) identity. It focuses on the changing nature of socially acceptable behavior and political ideas.

‘Ethics’ from ‘On Secularism’

LINK: http://www.albadil.org/spip.php?article3938

From: PCOT

Date: 27 October, 2011 (Originally 18 March, 1988)

History demonstrates the fact that there are many ethics. Ethics are sophisticated and their contents change across ages. There is a morality about slavery, feudalism, capitalism and socialism. It is the pattern of production that changes values such that what was acceptable yesterday is rejected today and what was ‘good’ yesterday is ‘evil’ today and so on. To simplify the matter and bring it closer to the mind of the reader let us cite examples from daily life.

An informed worker knows very well that a worker that breaks strikes and demonstrations his accomplices, ‘honest’ and ‘fair’ and his high moral character by some while in the eyes of his colleagues he is a traitor and a ‘pimp.’ The worker who participates and is active in strikes is known as ‘confusing’ and of ‘of a miserable sect’ to authorities but is seen as a bold and brave defender of justice in the eyes of his comrades.

On the other hand, women who are submissive, humiliated, docile and who accept for themselves all order of injustice is a righteous woman and ‘a daughter of the family’ in eyes of the patriarchal mentality of the reactionaries while a smart, liberal woman who lifts her head and struggles relentlessly for her rights is seen as ‘reckless’ and ‘bad’ and ‘poorly educated.’

Thirdly, we all know as well that many of the bearded ones who demonstrate piety and devotion are loons and thieves in hiding.

These three examples show that moral precepts are not just held by the community but vary according to class locations. Overall, a sound moral victor is always one with ethical precepts of justice, freedom and solidarity and the rejection of exploitation and oppression which are held by the downtrodden classes who do not have interests they need to defend by means of misinformation and fabrications.

The importance of secularism in relation to ethics is to remove the veil of the religious who hide behind them more than just thieves and wickedness and aggression and exploiters and subject morality to criticism and change in accordance with the requirements of economic, social and political progress. And this is the greatest fear of the obscurantists and other reactionaries, who are always in need of stereotypes especially ones taken from the menu of the unknown, in order to terrorize the poor and the oppressed.

This site is a good incentive for progressive forces to move forward, unafraid of difficulties, as a beacon in the constant search for truth because the truth alone is revolutionary.

– From the pamphlet ‘On Secularism,’ by Hamma Hammami, Tunis, 18 March, 1988

Source

Studies IX: The PCOT and Electoral Performance

Below are translations of two communiques (originally in Arabic) from the Tunisian Communist Workers Party (PCOT). The first is a campaign statement in advance of the Constituent Assembly election in October, the second is a post-election statement explaining the party’s view of the elections and its performance. This is a ‘far left’ party which won three seats in the Constituent Assembly.

The PCOT was certainly in the ‘secular’ column insofar as the polarization between religious and secular parties was concerned and the party probably suffered, as has been noted, from its atheism/secularism and generally unabashed communism. Its rhetoric on religious issues has been laid out on this blog previously.

The party has historically had a hardline on religious matters and one can see this even in the translations below where campaign tactics involving houses of worship used by its opponents are compared to the behavior of the old Ben Ali regime. Its ideological tracts include harsh invectives against Rachid Ghannouchi and Islamist political philosophy and personalities in general. Some of these are rather nuanced, for instance its stance on the hijab (it ran candidates for the constituent assembly who themselves wore hijab). It also made an effort to appeal to religious voters by distancing itself from a stance against religious practice and religious people during this past summer. Being a communist party of the Enver Hoxha variety calls up certain connotations for many Tunisians and others. (they ran candidates under the name al-badil ath-thawri or Revolutionary Alternative, leaving out ‘communist’).

A party that declares itself committed to democracy and human rights but also has to explain its view of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its opinion of Marx or atheism is bound to face challenges in a country where many people are observant Muslims (it is worth mentioning that the PCOT was relatively less hostile toward the religious set during the campaign than the PDP, for example).

But there is a constituency for such a party in Tunisia and its members have gained some credibility from non-communists for having been rather harshly treated and detained under Ben Ali. Hard secularism proved less advantageous in October’s election and the overall results do not point to an Islamist take over and it is likely Nahdha and the center left and left wing parties in the new Constituent Assembly will have to compromise rather than impose narrowness on one another.

“Statement of the electoral list of the Revolutionary Alternative”

LINK: http://www.albadil.org/spip.php?article3875

AUTHOR: PCOT

DATE: 1 October, 2011

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

Facing the 23 October polls to elect the National Constituent Assembly which was called for by the people’s rebellion and imposed by the transitional authorities in order to make a final break with dictatorship and lay the foundations for a democratic republic to be achieve the goals of the revolution and launch a new phase in Tunisian history, enriched with the blood of the martyrs.

The founding team of the National Council will be the sole legitimate authority in the country after 23 October and its first task will be the drafting of a new constitution for Tunisia and secondly the appointment of a new government for the conduct of the affairs of the county until the election of new governing institutions and accordance with the provisions of the new constitution, terminating after the transitional period and should not in any case go beyond that.

Your voices will be crucial in this election to the NAtional Constituent Assembly and its members must be in the service of the revolution and work to meet the expectations of the Tunisian people and so that enemies of the revolution, from the leftovers of Ben Ali and his “mafia” to the reactionary parties and forces hanging around the authorities, will not be able to control the Council and use it to circumvent the revolution.

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

The Workers Party, which has struggled since its inception in 1986 for the people to have a free and democratic Tunisia and participated in the overthrow of Ben Ali and continues to struggle to complete the tasks of the revolution, leads you in this carrying along with this name the name of ‘The Revolutionary Alternative’ and as its logo the hammer (the symbol of Worker) and sickle (the symbol of the Farmer).

The Workers Party promises you if you choose from its lists it will act as custodians of the blood of the martyrs and steadfast defenders of your interests in the Constituent Assembly and will work to translate into the new constitution your hopes and ambitions and to speed up the Council’s appointment of a new government to take the necessary actions to response to your urgent demands.

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

The Workers Party wants to bring you a democratic republic based on:

  • The principle of citizenship and equality among members of society;
  • Full and effective equality between the sexes in the family, society and public life;
  • Ensuring individual and public liberties and protection from abuse, whether from the State or any other group;
  • Respect for the inviolability of the human self from the inviolability of his home and his private life and the criminalization of any violation of it;
  • The principle of elections to set up all governing institutions;
  • The referendum as an instrument of direct democracy;
  • Respect for Islam as the faith of the major of the people and all other beliefs and convictions and ensuring the appropriate conditions for their free exercise and peace of mind without the intervention of the police and administration and without the use of the State by any party or group to justify oppression, exploitation or segregation between citizens and to undermine the unity of the people;
  • A civil state in the State and its legislation and authority;
  • The political system best suited to our country, at this stage, is the parliamentary system, the adoption of proportional representation, blocking the door to control by an individual or party yet again, where the community has a regime of “governors” and “authorized” and “deliberate” should end up with tyranny being replaced by regionalized councils and village assemblies subject to accounting and control;
  • Justice and the independence of the judiciary can be achieved only if the conditions are set according to international standards, and that management cannot work unless it is eased in by the community and subject to the control of citizens and elected officials assure its neutrality from the parties;
  • Security and stability rely not on repression but on respect for people’s freedom, rights and dignity and the security forces must work in service of the citizenry and the soldiers in service of the country and the people, not in service to the rulers;
  • A Constitutional Court is necessary to monitor the law and respond to abuse;
  • The foreign policy of the Tunisian revolution should be based on: resistance to colonialism, Zionism and reaction and should support the just cause of the Arab peoples and of the peoples of the world as a whole and the criminalization of normalization with the Zionist Entity by the National Constituent Council;

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

Political democracy is meaningless without social democracy as the Tunisian people revolted against poverty, unemployment, marginalization, exploitation, corruption and regional inequality while raising the banner of social justice. And the Workers Party does not see a way to achieve this justice without out a radical economic change toward an economy in the service of the people and not in the service of local and foreign minorities whose only objective is the accumulation of profits.

The essential goods of the country should be, under the constitution, the property of the people with investments in improving training methods and individuals, hand-in-hand, without discrimination and the land of Tunisia should not be relinquished to any foreign company and that private property should have a social function.

The right to employment and education and fair and human treatment for the children of the working class and the poor free of charge and the right to adequate housing and transportation and culture and sports in a healthy environment and to social security should be constitutional rights. Care for those with special needs (disabilities) and for the needy and the elderly should be a made a constitutional duty of the state and society in order to avoid discrimination.

The strength of youth should take pride in their community and provide it with all the material and moral conditions to achieve this.

The family is the fundamental nucleus of society and the state should work to release it from physical burdens and change it into a morality based on love and mutual respect.

The Tunisian emigres are a part of Tunisia and should refrain from dealing with them as a source for the provision of hard currency and the state should pick up their cases and defend their moral and material interests and strengthen their ties to their country of origin.

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

The founding National Council will appoint a new government to handle the affairs of the country until the election of the governing institutions. The Workers Party will, if it wins your trust and its candidates are elected, push the government to proceed with the processing of files in all seriousness on the political and social emergency:

  • To establish transitional justice and accountability for the former regime and killers of the martyrs;
  • Purge the security services, judiciary, administration and media and re-organize it on a democratic basis;
  • Take urgent action for the benefit of disadvantaged areas;
  • Activate a general amnesty and accelerate the compensation of families of the martyrs and victims of repression;
  • Take concrete actions for the benefit of the people, bring down prices on basic consumer goods, increase private-sector wages and raise the minimum wage;
  • Adopt the granting of unemployment benefits and the free movement of labor and the bringing the idle to work and removing …
  • Retrieve money smuggled by Ben Ali and his gangs during the fascist era;

Oh Voters! Oh Voters!

The revolution proceeds towards completing its tasks and putting an end to decades — even centuries — of oppression and humiliation. Take your future in your hands and do not give an opportunity to the enemies of the revolution and know that the Workers Party and its comrades are with you on your journey until the final victory!

“Statement on the Constituent Assembly Elections”

LINK: http://www.albadil.org/spip.php?article3882

AUTHOR: PCOT National Leadership

DATE: 29 October, 2011

This evening, Thursday 27 October, 2011 the “Election Commission” announced the preliminary results of the National Constituent Assembly elections. The Nahdah Movement came in first place, followed by the Congress for the Republic, Ettakatol, and al-Aridha . . . and the Tunisian Communist Workers Party received only three seats in Sfax, Kairouan and Siliana.

The Workers Party has gone to the door to participate in these elections, the first of their kind after the revolution that is open to all parties, intellectual and political currents, but it cannot on the on hand record that this election despite being marked by several impurities should stand defended by the truth and move away from the wooden language inherited from the era of Ben Ali and know only the glorification of ‘standing’ while hiding the facts from the people.

  1. The turnout did not exceed, according to official figures provided by the Supreme Body for Elections, 48.9 per cent, which means that the majority of voters (3,867,197 of 7,569,824 voters) did not participate, which represents a major weakness and the causes of this should be sought for in the political and social climate during the year of the elections.
  2. Money played a dangerous and dirty role in these elections, starting with the work the all too familiar “publicity policy” and acts of bribery, which was widespread in the form of “gifts” and “charitable and social services” which continued until the day of voting without an effort to put a stop to it by the Supreme Body.
  3. Because media, including the public media, has remained in the hands of agents of the former regime, the disposal of bias for the benefit of some parties at the expense of the others did not help the general public understand the stakes raised by the Constituent Assembly election and sometimes marginalized or blocked off issues in an ideological maze.
  4. The recruitment in mosques and public places made the election not free, for example, most of the speeches on Friday 21 October, 2011, only two days before election day led to tacit or open calls to vote for certain parties over others which it was claimed represented “religion” or that its followers “prayed” . . . which reminds us of the same methods used by Ben Ali.
  5. The tactics associated with some campaigns led to excessive distortions — despicable and backward — against the forces of revolutionary democracy, including our party, using accusations of blasphemy, swearing and cursing, and the various reactionary, anti-revolutionary forces participated against the interests of the Tunisian people, for the the bases of these campaigns was the goal of distracting attention from the real axes of political, economic, social and cultural conflict, tearing at the unity of the people on the basis of ideological fabrications.
  6. The many violations committed against the ballot, including by many workers at polling stations, included violations in the use of cars and buses to transport voters, especially those not “registered voluntarily”, the continuation of the campaign on polling day in front of stations in various ways, and incitement of voters toward one party or another, and [parties] providing voters with food and drinks at poling stations . . . These violations violated the principles of an electoral democracy, a certification of several monitoring bodies, observers and independent reports, affecting the integrity of the Constituent Assembly election and its transparency and they influenced the results in one way or another. The attempt by the Supreme Body to minimize their importance is not at all convincing in hiding the deficiency of this body in addressing these violations and abuses.
  7. The lack of an announcement of the results on time and the postponement of this more than once raises more questions about the transparency of these elections. Over the next few days we need to be shown some of the reasons for these delays.
  8. The Tunisian Communist Workers Party contributed to the election and was the first to advocate the election of a Constituent Assembly to break with the regime of tyranny. The Workers Party ran a clean campaign financially, morally and politically by focusing on programs and proposals and relied on the dependability of the energy of its activists who were faced with smear campaigns on a large scale in the media and brushed it off. The results the party obtained are weak, and do not reflect its influence and presence in the field and its history of struggle and its contribution to the sites of progress in the Tunisian people’s revolution against tyranny and dictatorship. While these results are important due to the climate of the year in which the elections took place, which we discussed, and the organs of the party will assess the reasons related to this [performance] and ways to overcome.
  9. The Workers Party, regardless of these results will continue to fight relentlessly for the workers and the working class and for other classes of people in order to complete the tasks of the revolution and bring about national, democratic and popular change. The Workers Party gained supporters and convinced them of its program, positions and credibility, which will be a solid base for launching a new and winning bets in the future.

The Workers Party salutes all those who stood by its side on the occasion of this election and who voted for the party, the people and their children, and promises them that its representatives in the Constituent Assembly will defend them will all its strength and the message they carry with them!

– The Tunisian Communist Workers Party National Leadership, Tunis 29 October, 2011

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