Category Archives: Tunisia

Workers’ Party of Tunisia: Presidential Elections in Tunisia: A New Victory over the Islamist Plan

Tunisia

On Sunday, December 21, the Tunisian people elected the President of the Republic, in a scene never before experienced in Tunisia. Since the proclamation of the Republic on July 25, 1957, and the adoption of the Constitution of June 1, 1959, Tunisia has never experienced free, democratic and transparent elections. While the neo-colonial regime continued to hold elections at regular intervals, the results were known in advance since the only candidate presented was always elected by an overwhelming majority. Tunisians continued to engage in this farce even after the amendment to the constitution in 1974 that made Habib Bourguiba president for life. After the coup of November 7, 1987, General Ben Ali introduced modifications, but he himself chose his competitors from among those politicians who expressed their allegiance to him. This did not prevent him from receiving 99% of the votes. That is why the last elections were experienced with great apprehension and hope by the Tunisians, especially since they were the first presidential elections after January 14, 2011 [the date when Ben Ali was overthrown – translator’s note].

Let us remember that in the first round of the presidential elections held on November 15, 27 men and women presented themselves as candidates: most of them were in one way or another candidates of some faction of the bourgeoisie, wanting either to maintain their power or regain it. Opposing them and in a certain way against them, Comrade Hamma Hammami presented himself as representative of the popular classes and as bearer of their hopes of realizing the objectives of the revolution. His finishing in third place meant that the second round opposed representatives of the two candidates, the one as reactionary as the other, that is, the candidate of “Nidaa Tounes” Beji Caid Essebsi, former minister under Bourguiba and Ben Ali, and the undeclared candidate of the Islamist party, the Provisional President Moncef Marzouki. Even before the beginning of the campaign, the bourgeois media tried to present them as fundamentally opposed to each other and as bearers of two antagonistic social plans: the one presented as the standard-bearer of modernity, democracy and the secular state, and the other as the defender of the identity, of the religious state. But we know that this is nothing but good claims to conceal the true bourgeois class character of the two plans they bore.

Indeed, the “Nidaa Tounes” and “Ennahdha” parties are just political and organizational expressions (and not the only ones) of the interests of the big comprador bourgeoisie; whatever the differences between them may be, their essence remains the same. It is enough to glance at their economic and social programs to realize this: neoliberalism, the reduction of state intervention in the economy and in investment, increased privatization of public enterprises and state banks, lifting restrictions on the prices of consumer goods and services, elimination of the compensation fund, etc. Their massive vote in agreement at the Assembly of People’s Representatives last December 10 in favor of the Finance Act 2015 is a clear expression. This was a law that only the deputies of the Popular Front rejected, since it provides for anti-popular measures seeking to place the burden of the crisis on the popular masses alone.

What we have said about the two candidates largely explains the slippage experienced by their respective campaigns. At no time was there any question of confrontation of political or other programs. These are for the most part the representatives of people who have already been known. One who for decades was in the service of the dictatorial regime in its two versions (that of Bourguiba and that of Ben Ali), in which he held key positions, which made him partly responsible for the many hardships experienced by the Tunisians, such as repression and deprivation of freedoms while he was the Minister of the Interior, and especially since he never expressed the least regret or the least self-criticism for what happened. The other one for the last three years has been compromised with Islamism and the reactionary plan of the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia and elsewhere. The change that this human rights activist has undergone and which has made him a protector of the army and an objective ally of currents advocating and practicing terrorism was the focus of the criticism and attacks on him. The blunders he committed during his tenure have earned him the rejection of the whole of society. The latest was his speech of hate and divisiveness towards those who do not share his opinion or his politics who, according to him, are all pawns in the pay of the former regime.

Let us remember that on the eve of the first round, the chances of these two candidates were very uneven since at the legislative elections held a month ago, the “Congress for the Republic,” the party of Moncef Marzouki, received only 67,000 votes, that is, less than 4% of the votes while “Nidaa Tounes” received 37%. But the Islamist party, which did not submit an official presidential candidate, gave its vote to the outgoing president, after suffering a semi-defeat in the parliamentary elections; this allowed him to exert pressure on the winning party and better negotiate with it. As a result, Marzouki was promoted to the second round with more than a million votes, only 4 points from his opponent.

But a large majority of citizens who voted for “Nidaa Tounes” in the legislative elections, just to bar the way to the “Ennahda” reacted the same way in the second round of the presidential elections: they voted for Essebsi to prevent Marzouki from returning to the Carthage Palace. Thousands of people who would not have voted for either one or the other made that choice to put an end once and for all to the institutions that resulted from the ballot of October 23, 2011, which gave full powers to the Islamist party and to those who agreed to play the role of its stooge. So this is a protest vote much more than a vote of agreement with a program.

The liberal parties in parliament, the “Liberal Patriotic Union” (16 seats) and “Afek Tounes” (8 seats) as well as all parties claiming the Destourian spectrum (the former ruling party) called on their followers to vote for Essebsi. As for the Popular Front, considering that neither the one nor the other candidate was a product of the revolution, nor able to defend its objectives, and given the chaotic management of national affairs by the government of the troika and its president, the latter being the real but undeclared candidate of the Islamist party, called on the people to block his path, leaving the choice to the voters whether or not to vote for his opponent.

The official results announced today confirm the victory of Beji Caid Essebsi with 55.68% against 44.32% for his opponent, the outgoing President Moncef Marzouki, with a 60% voter participation and a massive abstention, especially by the youths. The Popular Front and of all the progressive forces of the country, for whom a new era of struggle is opening, have a lot of work to do.

Tunis, December 22, 2014

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4th National Congress of the Workers’ Party Held

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Under the central slogan “Loyalty to the Martyrs of the Popular Front and the fatherland; a Party at the service of the front and a Front at the service of the people,” the 4th National Congress of the Workers’ Party of Tunisia was held on June 25, 26 and 27. It is the second since the legalization of the party in 2011.

The opening session saw a massive presence of party activists, friends and supporters as well as delegations from the parties of the Popular Front and from democratic parties in the country. Also present were the ambassadors of Algeria, Cuba and Venezuela, along with representatives of the Tunisian General Union of Labour and the National Union of Tunisian Women and many NGOs.

In his inaugural speech, Comrade Hamma Hammami placed the Congress in its context by outlining the internal situation in the country, but also in the region, drawing attention to the dangers that threaten the Tunisians and their revolution due to the proliferation of centres of terrorism within the country as well as in the region. He considered that the country is at a crossroads, as the trend towards the consolidation of the gains of the revolution has become hypothetical and it was therefore necessary to prepare for all eventualities, even the worst. He made a harsh criticism of the transitional government, which is far from honouring its commitments to implement the provisions of the road map, based on which it was appointed.

Many speakers took turns in saluting the courage of the Workers’ Party in holding its congress in this pre-electoral context, where many other parties had preferred to postpone their own, for fear of internal quarrels that could undermine their unity.

Telegrams of solidarity from fraternal parties were read during the same session and were greeted by an ovation from the activists present.

Then the work of the conference took place behind closed doors for two days: 151 delegates took part, of whom 25% were youth, 20% women and 17% workers. Rich discussions took place in commissions and plenary sessions around two main themes:

1. The political situation and trends of its development and the tasks of the party.

2. The organizational questions in order to benefit from the experience of the past three years for a greater bolshevization of the party and a consolidation of its structures.

The general elections to be held in four months were the focus of debate in the political commission. Since the participation of the party is taking place within unitary lists of the Popular Front; delegates reviewed all possible scenarios regarding alliances with other democratic forces. And so that these elections can take place in conditions of peace, transparency and democracy, the delegates gave the leadership the mandate to work for the organization of a national conference against terrorism that would bring together all progressive and democratic patriotic forces hostile to the spread of this scourge.

At the organizational level, a detailed and thorough review of the three years of fighting under legality was drawn up. A critical analysis was made of certain activity related to either a certain liberalism or a certain sectarianism, and the congress proposed ways to fight to make our party an organization of a Leninist type, namely a vanguard party or vanguard organized detachment of the working class. The debates focused on a central issue, namely a greater rooting within the working class and the poorest popular strata, of which the party wants to be the spokesperson. Also, certain clauses of the statutes and internal rules had to be revised for greater harmonization of criteria for the recruitment of members, training of cadres and functioning of structures of the party but also for the general application of principles of democratic centralism.

Following the adoption of political and organizational motions, the delegates elected a new Central Committee of the party made up of 19 members including 3 women. It immediately proceeded to the re-election of Comrade Hamma Hammami as Secretary General. In its first meeting on Wednesday, July 2, the Central Committee elected the Executive Committee of the party.

From La Forge
Organ of the Communist Party of the Workers of France

July/August 2014

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Statement on the 20th Anniversary of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations

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In the 21st century the world continues to be divided. The contradiction between Labor and Capital in all spheres is the division that reflects the antagonism between labor and the increasing socialization of production on the one hand, and the capitalist character of appropriation that is increasingly concentrated in a handful of people on the other hand.

Scientific and industrial forces have emerged that were unimaginable fifty years ago; production has been mechanized to an extraordinary degree, technology, communications and computers have spread widely for social and individual use. However, everything carries its opposite with it, the despair caused by capitalism has reached very serious levels; the signs of decay have evolved parallel to the accumulation at a level that exceeds the final periods of the Byzantine Empire.

In 2008, the global crisis of capitalism, which many countries are still suffering from, is trying to make the broad masses of the exploited pay for the crisis, the masses who have experienced that capitalism is the social organization characterized by “poverty within wealth.” To make the popular strata pay for the crisis further aggravates the disastrous consequences of capitalism: the mechanization of the labor process, the increase of exploitation, including the decrease in real wages, the explosion of poverty and famine, injustice and inequality, begging, drugs, prostitution, etc.

It is impossible to accept, bear or ignore this division of the world and the growing discontent and exasperation that leads the exploited masses in various countries to rebel. This situation is evident in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, etc.

The antagonism between capital and labor is not the only reason for the division of the world. There is the contradiction between a minority of rich capitalist countries and imperialist States, and the backward peoples and countries, oppressed and exploited politically, economically and financially, which are the majority. The big imperialist States, which have created international organizations such as the European Union, the Free Trade Agreements, NATO and the United Nations, touted as the “international community,” plunder the natural resources of the oppressed peoples and do not tolerate the possibility of their self-determination. This is the case of Africa which they are exhausting, or the Amazon which they are destroying, or the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria. etc.

Another field of conflict and contradictions is the confrontation between the international monopolies and imperialist countries among themselves, which is expressed mainly in the formation and reformation of economic and military blocs, in the establishment of military bases on the five continents. In the dispute over who will dominate and plunder certain regions, the imperialist countries clash with each other harshly. To gain control of these regions, they incited national quarrels to obtain the support of the oppressed peoples. These internal struggles that are provoked and lead to military conflicts as has been seen in Ukraine and Syria, show that the imperialist confrontations are being aggravated.

In the 1990s the capitalists and their lackeys proclaimed “the end of history,” “the eternity of capitalism” and a “new world order”; they proclaimed a peaceful, prosperous society, without crises, built on a “self-regenerated capitalism,” based on a “capitalist globalization” that would be built “superseding classes and the class struggle.” However it is not prosperity but misery that is being aggravated. Instead of peace there is war and coups, the loss of credibility of the dictatorships that we have experienced in the past decades.

No, capitalism cannot propose to the workers who subsist on their labor power in the factories and offices; to the unemployed and the poor of the cities and the countryside, neither a job nor a decent wage, neither peace nor prosperity nor security in the future. To obtain all these it is necessary to encourage the workers and other working people to revolt and overthrow the power of capital.

From the struggle of the slaves against the slave masters, in all societies that have been the scene of class struggle, the struggle has been resolved by the seizure of power by one class of oppressors over another. Capitalism has developed the forces of production to such a degree that it cannot maintain itself without cutting or changing property relations. Moreover, capitalism continually develops the working class, increasingly socializing it. Thus it has created the social conditions in which the power of an exploited class can replace that of the exploiting class. This historical and social evolution determines the historic mission of the working class, the seizure of power to create a transitional period towards socialism with the aim of expropriating the expropriators, abolishing classes and relations of class exploitation.

The working class demonstrated against capitalist tyranny for the first time in the 19th century with the rebellions that took place throughout the European continent, and the seizure of power in France in the Paris Commune for a short period in 1871. Then there was the overthrow of the power of the capitalist class in Russia with the Great October Revolution of 1917, when it organized as the ruling class to build the Soviet Union and took giant steps for half a century toward the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.

We, the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations of the world, united in the International Conference (ICMLPO), on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of our Organization, call on the working class of the world, the oppressed peoples, the youth of all countries to unite against the international bourgeoisie and imperialism, and so to strengthen the struggle for liberation.

The world, divided between exploiters and exploited, between imperialist masters and oppressed peoples, is moving towards a new period of rebellions and revolutions.

Capitalism has nothing to offer the exploited masses; it has matured conditions more than in any other period of history, the prelude to socialism. Speaking of maturity, we must use that term both quantitatively and qualitatively for the working class and other working people, which are further consolidating their positions in order to strengthen their organizations in all countries if they draw upon their own experiences of both trade-union and political struggle, especially of the massive struggles in many countries.

Even if the revolutions have been manipulated in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, the future belongs to the working class and other working people of the world who are accumulating rich experiences in order to continue advancing.

The experiences of the revolutionary waves and of the national and social struggles of all countries of the world show that we can move forward to victory, and now with more strength and force. Our struggles for national and social liberation will take particular forms and will follow different roads depending upon the country; they will have an internationalist character by their content, being components of a single process of the world proletarian revolution.

All this demands from us the responsibility to consolidate and strengthen our unity and organization both nationally and internationally.

Socialism will win!

Long live internationalism!

Workers and oppressed peoples of the world, unite!

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF MARXIST-LENINIST PARTIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

May 1, 2014

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Joint Communiqué of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast and the Communist Party of Benin

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On 23 February 2014, a meeting was held in Cotonou between the PCRCI [Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast] and the PCB [Communist Party of Benin] related to the events organised by the INIREF [International Institute of Research and Training]-Benin for the celebration of the International Day of the Mother Tongue and the peoples of Benin.

The two parties exchanged views on the international situation and the respective national situations and identified the tasks they imply.

I. On the international situation

1) The global capitalist crisis began in 2008 and its effects continue to worsen the living conditions of the proletariat and the peoples of the world. This leads them around the world to wage different forms of struggle for their liberation.

2) The arrival on the world stage of new so-called emerging powers, whose known core is made up of the BRICS group: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, increasing the inter-imperialist rivalries with the multiplication of local clashes concerning domination; this constitutes the elements of a world war by proxy.

The first counter-offensive by the classical imperialist powers to stop the rise of the “emerging” countries was launched against Libya. They succeeded in regaining control with this counter-offensive, directed against China and Russia, as well as against the African peoples. At the end of the war France would have won 35% of Libyan oil. The second counter-offensive was against Syria; they have bitten the dust faced with the determination of the Syrian people but also with the policy of Russia and China. It is the same with the evolution of the situation in Iran.

II. On the African continent

1) Africa is the focus of all world contradictions: an abundance of untapped wealth, crying misery of the majority of the population, greed of the imperialists, cultural domination, military aggression against the peoples, installation of military bases in some countries to serve as Advanced Operational Bases such as Ivory Coast and Djibouti. The fight is fierce between the old powers and the new so-called emerging powers. This rivalry is the basis of all the conflicts of which the African peoples are the victims.

2) To protect its neo-colonial “backyard,” French imperialism resorts to the policy of direct military occupation of its former colonies. The military infrastructure of imperialism (French and U.S. – Africom – etc.) aim at criss-crossing Africa with assault troops through their military bases in Djibouti, Chad, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Sahel, Gulf of Guinea, etc. So from now on, Abidjan will officially serve as a rear base to attack the peoples of the sub-region.

The latest military intervention to date is the one taking place in the Central African Republic. Any excuse is good to intervene in the African countries: “Hunting a despot who refused to recognise the election results” for the Ivory Coast; “To help the Libyan people in revolt against the dictator Gaddafi” for Libya; “To fight the jihadists and restore the territorial integrity” of Mali; “To restore security and order and stop the massacres” for the Central African Republic. The tactics of imperialism are the same: To set a fire to give a pretext to intervene to put it out. However, we now know that it is the French intervention in Central Africa that is exacerbating the ethno-religious relations in the country disarming the Seleka and covering up the crimes of so-called Christian militias.

The PCRCI and PCB declare that French imperialism and its military forces are the only ones responsible for the current massacres of Central African citizens, particularly those of the Muslim faith and therefore for the ongoing genocide in that country.

The PCRCI and PCB denounce and condemn the military aggressions of international imperialism and particularly French imperialism, which is hiding behind the UN forces and behaves like a pyromaniac fireman to maintain its African backyard.

They pay tribute to all Africans who fell victim to the bullets of the French interventionist aggressors, whether in Libya, Ivory Coast, Mali, Central Africa, etc. And they declare them heroes and martyrs of African patriotism.

3) The PCRCI and PCB welcome the victories of the fraternal people of Tunisia under the leadership of the Workers’ Party and the Popular Front of Tunisia for Democracy against Islamist obscurantism, and for a democratic constitution.

They also greet the fraternal people of Niger who fought bravely against the plundering of the mineral resources, particularly uranium, which is the object of the AREVA group and for the sovereignty over its natural resources.

III. The situation in Benin and the Ivory Coast is characterised by the unchallenged domination of French imperialism whose monopolies control large parts of the national economies (ports, banks, energy, etc.).

1) In Benin, Yayi Boni, having ransacked the economy and finances of the country, aims to restore a fascist dictatorship of another age. It is against this that all the people are rising up to oppose him and establish the power of the workers and peoples. The PCRCI firmly supports the ongoing struggles of the Benin workers and youths in the struggles for their total emancipation and wish them a successful result.

2) In the Ivory Coast, under the false pretext of development after the disaster of the war period, the Ouattara authorities are confiscating the state media, stifling freedom, trying to ban student organisations and put in their place puppet structures. The Communist Party of Benin supports the struggles of the Ivorian people and the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast in their struggle against French imperialism and against the anti-democratic regime of Ouattara to liberate the Ivory Coast from neo-colonial dependency.

3) The Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast (PCRCI) thanks the Communist Party of Benin (PCB) and the INIREF-Benin for inviting it to the events for the commemoration of the International Day of the Mother Tongue and the celebration of the peoples of Benin.

The PCRCI and PCB send the proletariat, the peoples, the democrats and the youth the following call:

* NO TO MILITARY INTERVENTION AGAINST THE PEOPLES!
* NO TO FOREIGN MILITARY BASES OF AGGRESSION ON AFRICAN SOIL!
* IMPERIALISM OUT!

Cotonou, February 23, 2014

For the PCRCI: Yokore Gnagnon.
For the PCB: Philippe Noudjenoume

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ICMLPO (Unity and Struggle): Final Resolution of the 19th Plenary of the ICMLPO

In the Middle of the World, in an atmosphere of internationalist comradeship and solidarity, the members of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) met to share and discuss analysis and experiences. We arrived at resolutions that will contribute to the fulfillment of the historical role of the Marxist-Leninists, the revolutionaries, anti-imperialist and anti-fascist fighters, working class, oppressed peoples and youth.

On the International Situation

The Fundamental Contradictions of the Epoch Are Sharpening.

The international economic crisis that exists in some countries, particularly in Western Europe, and the economic decline of others are the clearest demonstration that the fundamental contradictions are sharpening: between capital and labor, between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations, between the imperialist powers and monopolies. It is a cyclic crisis that is developing on top of the worsening of the general crisis of capitalism that began a century ago.

The ideological and political struggle between the proletarian revolutionaries who are fighting for socialism, and reaction, liberalism and opportunism that are defending capitalism and imperialism is also deepening.

The imperialist countries are heading the economic decline, in the first place the United States, which has a zero industrial growth. In Japan there are further declines in the economy. Several countries of the European Union are facing a recession that is striking particularly Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland and is threatening France, Belgium and others.

The bourgeois economists themselves are saying that these countries will take many years to return to pre-2008 levels and start the recovery process.

The economies called engines of growth of capitalism, China, India and Russia are in a process of economic slowdown; this situation is accentuated in Brazil, which is declining steadily.

The dependent countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia are suffering the impact of the crisis on a smaller scale, due to the high prices of raw materials, natural resources and agricultural products; they are showing an uneven growth.

The monopoly groups, the imperialist countries, the local bourgeoisies and their governments are shifting the burden of the crisis onto the working masses, the peoples and the youth.

In all countries of the world, we see the increased exploitation of the working class under the pretext of increased competitiveness; in Europe there are massive layoffs of workers, reduced wages through blackmail, etc., an increase in job precariousness and labor flexibility under different names for the sake of maximum monopoly profit.

The migrants around the world are victims of this policy, and moreover they face discrimination, xenophobia and racism; they are placed as enemies of native-born workers who blame them for rising unemployment; they are a cheap labor force used by the capitalists for their greater accumulation.

In the countryside the conditions of life and work are worsening as a result of the pricing policy, of the free trade agreements that benefit the agribusiness monopolies. The agricultural businesses are developing hand in hand with the growing monopolization of the land, of the agricultural production and of the commercialization based on the super-exploitation of the workers in the countryside and the imperialist dependency imposed on the majority of the countries.

The youth is affected by the restriction of public education, converting schools into producers of cheap labor power in the service of capital; huge masses of young people, including university graduates, are joining the millions of unemployed.

While the large financial and industrial monopolies are still being fed by public funds, the social budgets, the money intended for public health, education, housing, social security, etc. are being diminished and cut back drastically; the years needed for retirement have been increased and in some countries the decision has been made to lower wages and increase the working day.

The crisis is of such a magnitude that imperialism and the governments are implementing increasingly brutal, aggressive, exploitative and repressive policies against the working and popular masses.

The Policies of Capital Are Becoming More Authoritarian and Repressive

Along with the economic crisis there is the political crisis of the bourgeoisie, expressed in the discrediting of the institutions, of politics in general, of bourgeois democracy and the political parties in particular.

One example of this reality is the high rate of abstention in elections in many countries, the loss of confidence in the traditional political parties of the bourgeoisie, including the reformist and social-democratic parties. In several countries this situation is leading to disenchantment, to the dissatisfaction of the masses, to the search for alternatives of change that are being covered by bourgeois options using the terms left, “democratic socialism” and “21st century socialism.” This also makes way for new reactionary forces, in some cases fascists, fundamentalists and populists that are demagogically presented as an alternative of change for the peoples.

Besides the loss of credibility of the national bourgeois institutions should be added the loss of prestige of the international agencies of capitalism and globalization such as the IMF, WTO, NATO, EU, UN, etc.

The masses have not advanced to the point where they can fully distinguish the parties that represent their interests. This is mainly due to the influence of reactionary ideas, to the ideological offensive of imperialism and the bourgeoisies so that they lose interest in the struggle for power and take up non-partyism, by which the ruling groups can continue to manipulate the masses and the power. It is also due to the presence and activity of different forms of opportunism and revisionism, and, of course, to the weakness and limitations of the revolutionary left.

Another manifestation of this trend is the involution of the so-called progressive governments, particularly in Latin America, which have shown their ideological and political limitations and in their capacity as administrators of the crisis they take measures that affect the people and criminalize social protest. In some cases they use the name of the left, of the revolution and of socialism to push forward their project of capitalist modernization.

In general, we are experiencing a process of growing authoritarianism, of the development of state terrorism in the exercise of bourgeois power, the denial of national sovereignty and the right to self-determination of the peoples, the restriction of civil and democratic liberties, the criminalization of social and popular struggle and the gradual abolition of the rights and freedoms of the people won through years of struggle.

The Struggle for a New Redivision of the World Is Sharpening

The inability of imperialism to resolve its crisis, the huge sacrifices of the peoples, of the working masses, forces it to seek other forms of solution. One of these is the preparation of new imperialist wars, the significant increase in the budgets for military spending, the occupation troops in the countries rich in natural resources and located in geostrategic areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Congo, Mali, etc. These are pushing forward new military aggressions.

This situation is particularly evident in Africa, a continent with vast natural and agricultural resources that imperialism is using to refine the technology and in order to try to get out of its crisis, and in the Middle East for the control and exploitation of the energy resources.

In these regions of the world the contradictions and rivalries between the imperialist powers and monopolies are evident. They show the tendency to a greater polarization between the United States and the European Union on the one hand and China on the other; Russia is joining the fight for its own interests, while the BRICS is projected as a new bloc for world domination.

In Syria a political and military conflict has been developing that involves the entire population, it has led to a reactionary civil war that is the pretext for imperialist and Zionist intervention. The weight of international public opinion, the particular interests of the various imperialist countries, the denunciation by democratic sectors and even by several governments and individuals, among others, has momentarily halted this intervention. The U.S. was only able to get France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to join in this war of aggression. We emphasize that in this conflict British imperialism does not support the U.S. after several years of being its unconditional ally.

At the same time this showed a more active role for Russia on the diplomatic and military level, which in fact turned it, together with the U.S., into the arbiters of the conflict in Syria, ignoring the peoples and workers who will have to subordinate themselves to the plans of the foreign forces. The principle of self-determination of the peoples is once again being mocked and trampled upon by the imperialist countries.

The economic crisis, the super-exploitation of the working masses, as well as the politics of imperialist war and plunder is greatly increasing the forced and massive migration of millions of human beings who leave their country fleeing war, violence and misery and are looking for a better future. In this effort they are finding the borders closed, hundreds die in the crossing and, if they succeed in reaching their destination they are the object of the most cruel oppression and exploitation; they are abused and mistreated by the very imperialist powers who have caused the ruin of their countries.

The events in Syria, other events in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the expansion of the Chinese economy are sharpening the inter-imperialist contradictions. China is gaining ground by an aggressive export policy, by important investments in the dependent countries, by holding U.S. Treasury bonds (it has become the largest creditor of the U.S.); moreover it is working to enhance its military apparatus.

It is no accident that the United States has made a priority of the Asian region as a strategic area in which it is concentrating its military force to maintain its position of supremacy.

The Response of the Workers, Peoples and Youth Is Growing Significantly

Imperialism and the bourgeoisie are placing the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the workers, peoples and youths in all countries, both imperialist and dependent.

But these people are not remaining passive; they are developing their struggle and organization. In this regard there stand out the continuing and important battles of the working class and youth in Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Tunisia, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Colombia, Chile, Greece and Spain, among others.

The anti-system actions of broad sections of the youth and the middle strata in various regions are joining the struggle of the workers, struggles that have gone beyond economic demands.

In recent months there have been gigantic waves of the masses who have accelerated and protested against the establishment; although they do not have a revolutionary direction they open the perspective of a new situation, they encourage the progressive and revolutionary forces.

In short, in all countries, the peoples are showing their discontent, they are protesting and looking for a way that leads to the solution of their serious problems.

An important struggle of the workers, peoples and youth against dictatorships and tyranny has taken shape in North Africa and the Middle East; in Tunisia and Egypt the struggle of resistance against imperialism and reaction is growing despite all the resources used to try to placate the struggles and divert them from their revolutionary path. Forms of this reactionary process are the utilization of Islamic fundamentalists, as well as coups and direct military interventions.

The ICMLPO is part of the workers and peoples who are fighting for their rights, for their social and national liberation. We are taking up our obligation to be where the battles are waged; we support them so that they may head towards their final objective. In particular we support the struggle waged by the people of Tunisia, by our fraternal party and the Popular Front to achieve the objectives of the revolution and people’s power.

The Tasks of the Communists in the Present Situation

In these stormy waters of the class struggle, it is up to us to develop policies and tasks that respond to the following questions: What is the social force that is able to defeat imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reaction? Who should lead the large and small waves of struggle? What kind of society do the workers need to replace this dying system?

To provide an answer to these questions it is necessary to consolidate, develop and build the Communist Party as the vanguard party of the working class, which is deeply and permanently engaged in the crucible of the struggle of the masses, in all cases, whether organized or spontaneous; we must work to unify these struggles and direct them towards the social revolution.

We intend to strengthen the mobilization and organization of the exploited and oppressed masses in all areas, using all forms of struggle and organization that correspond to the concrete situations.

It is of fundamental importance to foster the unity of the working class and the peasantry, as well as of all sectors oppressed by capitalism and other pre-capitalist forms of exploitation, under the leadership of the working class and its Party. We emphasize the need to highlight the best efforts to clarify the question of the popular front as well as to push forward the work of building it in concrete conditions.

We must pay special attention to work with the youth, who are bursting out vigorously in the social and political fight, to work to give them a revolutionary direction, and to work among the working women and women from the popular strata who constitute more than half of humankind, who suffer the effects of layoffs, job insecurity, etc. and have a great revolutionary potential.

In the discussion on the work with working women and women from the popular strata there we emphasize the need to build a broad movement of democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary women with its own objectives.

At this time our efforts are directed to organizing and strengthening popular fronts as a necessary tool to link and mobilize the broad masses against the plans of imperialism and reaction. Fronts and coalitions that will form around a programmatic unity that defends the interests of the working class, the working masses and the peoples.

The lessons of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of our parties teach us that we must fight to the end against all manifestations of sectarianism, of deviations from the right or left, maintaining firmness in principles and flexibility in tactics.

To fulfill the tasks it is necessary to fight ideologically and politically against imperialism and the bourgeoisie, as well as against the positions and practices of the collaborators and conciliators, which affect the workers and people by revisionism, opportunism, reformism and other forms that confuse and divert them from the goal of the social revolution as well as of the popular democratic revolutions.

We must organize a major offensive on what the left, the social revolution, socialism and communism mean. We must widely disseminate the proposals that we communists have in different realities, confronting what capitalism and its representatives have done to the workers, especially today, when they are trying to eliminate a century of social and democratic gains.

In 2014 it will be 20 years since the ICMLPO launched its proclamation to the world, its commitment to forge the unity of the international communist movement, to contribute decisively to making Marxism-Leninism into a material force of the workers and peoples to defeat imperialism and capitalism and establish socialism and communism as a society of full freedom and prosperity for the peoples.

The ICMLPO is fulfilling its role with determination, with important results that are still insufficient. Today we reaffirm our revolutionary commitment to consolidating and broadening it to ensure an internationalist, revolutionary leadership for the struggles of the working class, the popular masses and the oppressed peoples of the world.

Ecuador, October 2013

Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia (PCOT): Popular Front (Political Draft)

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From Unity & Struggle No. 25, Spring/Summer 2013

Tunisia

For decades our people have suffered under a anti-popular and anti-patriotic despotic police regime.

Politically, by the individual power and domination of the Destour Party, through its different forms (the Neo-Destour, Destourian Socialist Party, the Constitutional and Democratic Concentration), over all forms of political life, by the violation of freedoms and human rights.

Economically by mortgaging the economy and the country’s wealth for the benefit of the colonial powers and their allies, the local capitalists.

Socially by the marginalization of the popular strata, by poverty, unemployment and corruption. These evils reached their maximum under Ben Ali, particularly with the intervention of his family, his collaborators and the political and economic mafia in all structures of the State and society.

The Tunisian people, with their patriotic, revolutionary, democratic and social forces, have never ceased to struggle against the dictatorship and oppression since the establishment of the Desturian regime. The Tunisian people have had hundreds of martyrs, thousands of prisoners in heroic combat, of which the main ones are the poor peasants’ movement in the late 1960s; the movement of students and youths in February of 1972; the fight of trade unionists and workers, crowned by the general strike of January 26, 1978; the revolt in the mining region of 2008, and throughout this period other national struggles of solidarity with the Palestinian people, with Iraq, Lebanon and other Arab countries in their struggle against Zionist aggression and the imperialist powers.

These struggles led to the revolution of December 17, 2010 in Sisi Bouzid, which allowed the popular masses to overthrow Ben Ali on January 14, 2011. He was a symbol of despotism, of collaboration with imperialism and of corruption, at the cost of hundreds of martyrs and thousands of wounded in the various regions of the country. During this uprising, the people demanded the end of the despotic, exploiting regime and had sold out to foreign interests, and for its replacement by a regime of freedom, equality and dignity, which would ensure employment and social justice, objectives that they desired during all those years of struggle.

The people managed to topple Ben Ali, as well as his heirs, the two governments of Ghannouchi; they managed through popular struggles and in particular the “sit-ins” in the Kasbah I and II, to obtain results, specifically those concerning civil liberties, the dissolution of the RCD [Constitutional Democratic Union) and of the two chambers of deputies and advisors, the abolition of draconian laws (the law of parties, of associations, of the press, etc.) and the suspension of the constitution of 1959. They contributed to the demand for a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. However, most of the objectives of the revolution, particularly those relating to the economy, social and patriotic objectives, have not been achieved under the successive governments, including the current government resulting from the elections of October 23, 2011. This has led the people to continue the struggle for social and political change worthy of their ambitions.

From the elections of October 23, there has emerged a constituent assembly dominated by the troika under the direction of the Ennahdha movement. Approximately eight months after the coming to power of this alliance, it is clear that it is leading to a quick burial of the objectives of the revolution of our people and laying the groundwork for a return to a dependent, despotic and corrupt regime, under a religious mantle.

The unity of the Tunisian people is being threatened by contrived doctrinaire struggles, instigated by foreign forces through their local agents who hide behind religion. The freedoms won by the people – at the cost of their blood – are also threatened by the government and the criminal gangs, attributed to certain Salafist currents that act with impunity. The democratic reforms demanded by the revolution in the spheres of information, justice, administration and secondary institutions are being pushed into the background. These are spheres on which the dictatorship rested to repress the people and control society. The government is eluding its obligations to take care of the wounded of the revolution and to bring to justice the murderers as well as those guilty of oppression and corruption; it is trying to attract them as collaborators.

The Ennahdha movement, which dominates and controls the alliance in power, is working with the complicity of its partners in taking over the State institutions and imposing its dictates and establishing a new dictatorship that would liquidate the achievements of the revolution, as well as the historical achievements and the civilization of the Tunisian people in all areas: social, cultural and educational, and particularly those of women.

In the economic sphere, the government is following the politics of Ben Ali that has impoverished the people. The wealth of the country continues to be monopolized by local and foreign minorities. The government continues under the orders of the international financial institutions and continues with the unjust treaties and agreements. The privatization of wealth (mines, oil, etc.) continues, like that of the public institutions, to benefit foreign capital. Nor are they even protecting Tunisian lands ceded to western companies and those of the Persian Gulf, which heralds a new agrarian colonialism at the expense of the poor peasants and the agricultural workers. To all this must be added the government’s incompetence in managing daily affairs, the administrative chaos and bureaucratic hegemony, which threaten to plunge the country into a real cataclysm.

This disastrous politics has serious effects on the lives of the working and popular classes and strata, effects that grow day by day, with unemployment, regional inequality, deterioration of services (water and electricity shortages, accumulation of garbage throughout the country, deterioration of municipal and hygienic services, etc.). These phenomena are inherited from the old regime and were one of the causes of the people’s revolution, but the fact is that in reality they have increased with the present government, which has changed nothing in economic policy and is unable to take urgent measures to limit the adverse effects on the lives of citizens.

The government’s foreign policy continues to be subjected to international capitalist powers. It is clear that they are trying to integrate Tunisia into the Turkey-Persian Gulf Axis under the leadership of the U.S. The objective of this Axis is to liquidate the struggle of the Arab masses, liquidate their hopes for liberation, promote divisions in their ranks and sabotage their unity, in order to ensure U.S., Western and Zionist colonial rule over the region… Our country is going through a real crisis, which it can only get out of with the continuation of the struggle of the Tunisian people, a national, democratic, social, cultural and environmental struggle, to achieve the full realization of the objectives of the revolution and the establishment of the power of the people. This will be possible if an end is put to the disunity of the revolutionary, national, democratic and progressive forces, that of the parties as well as of the associations and organizations of the youth and independent personalities. A common alliance within the popular front represents an alternative for a genuine government that overcomes the false duality that tries to oppose “two poles.” These are actually united to maintain the same economic orientations achieved by the liberal media subjected to the foreign spheres, although one is covered with a “religious” mantle and the other with a “modernist” one. In this way they try to hide the contradiction between the forces that want to achieve the goals of the revolution, and those that are trying to auction it off.

This alternative is based on a political Charter that represents the common denominator in the political and national fields, based on the following principles and values of all the national and popular forces that are firm in the struggle for the realization of the objectives of the revolution for which they work. This Charter is based on the following principles and values:

1. The national and democratic question

Building a republican, civilian and democratic system to serve the people and that:

• Carries out a real independence for the country.

• Is based on the principle of the sovereignty of the people, with election to all institutions of power at the national, regional and local level, with the ability to control them, hold them accountable and even remove them.

• Separation of powers with the necessary balance.

• Ensure the independence of the judiciary according to internationally recognized criteria.

• Ensure the neutrality of the State toward the political parties and forces and their democratic management.

• Ensure civil and individual liberties, particularly freedom of thought, creation and expression, as well as of the press, information and its dissemination; freedom of organization, movement, protest, demonstration and strike, and ensure the material conditions for these.

• Full and effective equality between men and women in all areas, protection of women’s achievements; promotion and consolidation of the Personal Status Code and fight all forms of discrimination and physical and moral violence against women.

• Separation of religion and politics, guarantee freedom of conscience and worship and its practice, combat all forms of political manipulation of religion, of places of worship, of religious, educational and cultural institutions as well as labor and social institutions, and prohibit exploitation for sectarian or partisan ends.

• An independent and national foreign policy, on the basis of support for the national resistance in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as support for all movements of national liberation and social emancipation in the Arab homeland and the world; support for the Arab revolutions and the struggle against foreign intervention, criminalization of all forms of normalization of relations with the Zionist entity and racist movements; work for Arab unity based on the principles of freedom, equality, dignity, social democracy and justice .

2. The economic and social problem

To build a national, independent, balanced and consistent economy, which ensures the people’s sovereignty over the wealth of the country, ensures an efficient growth for all regions and rests on a just distribution to meet the people’s basic needs in the material and moral spheres, means the following:

• Revision of agreements detrimental to the interests of the country and its independence.

• Nationalization of strategic sectors and guarantee of their democratic and efficient management.

• Nationalization of confiscated businesses and provision of handing over businesses to foreign capital.

• Promotion of a domestic industry according to the country’s needs, its abilities and capacities.

• Cancellation of the debt based on a thorough study of the loans contracted by the overthrown dictatorship.

• Establishment of a fair and transparent tax system.

• Land reform for the benefit of the poor peasants and small farmers.

• Guarantee of the fundamental rights to dignified work, decent housing, of free, quality public education, and free health care.

• Guarantee of trade union freedom and the right to strike

• Guarantee of the right of all citizens and future generations to a healthy and balanced environment, favorable to health and without waste, struggle against pollution and concentrating efforts on renewable energy.

3. The problem of culture and education

The guarantee of the freedom of creation in all its forms, artistic, cultural, intellectual and scientific, as well as ensuring the adequate frameworks.

• Ensure academic freedom and the promotion of independent scientific research.

• Establishment of a democratic, popular and unified education system.

• Ensure the supremacy of the Arab language, its protection and promotion and ensure its teaching both in official and administrative areas, without opposing the learning of other languages.

• Work to maintain the roots of our people in their national identity formed through a historic process, continuously enriched and developed in a fruitful interrelationship of Arab-Islamic elements of civilization and of the progress of humanity; fight against attempts to erase their national and patriotic identity and against forms of cultural domination, fanaticism and intolerance.

• Disseminate the value of reason, progress, citizenship and human rights.

• Overcome individualism and promote social values and relations and those of solidarity among the people.

The signatories of this document believe that the main objective of the Front is to complete the revolutionary process and establish the power of the people through all possible forms of struggle, including elections. Thus they affirm their willingness to respond positively to the national and popular initiatives in line with the orientations and tasks of the Front.

Tunisia, September 2012

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Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR): Imperialism Wants a New War in the World

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From Unity & Struggle No. 25, Spring/Summer 2013

Brazil

To satisfy its thirst for profit, the powerful war industry in the U.S. and other countries want another war in the world, whether it is against Syria or Iran, or against both countries at the same time. To do this, the gigantic propaganda machine of capitalism spreads lies and hides the fact that the CIA made agreements with Al-Qaeda to organize attacks against Syria.

Syria is not a socialist country and, therefore, it is not democratic. The principal law of the country’s economy is profit and those who rule and govern are the class of the rich. The elections are manipulated, those who fight for a revolution and real socialism are persecuted and there are numerous cases of corruption in the country. Those with money, the rich families, manage to resolve their problems, but those without, the vast majority of the population, suffer to even get a job.

Despite having socialism in its name and program, the Baath Party (Arab Socialist Renaissance Party) in practice does not defend the scientific socialism of Marx and Lenin, even though in its constitution in 1963 it was a progressive party, it nationalized oil and the land and adopted measures against foreign plunder of the country. But since the 1980s, it has become an instrument in the service of the privileges of a few hundred families and private groups. Consequently, several multinationals have ever more businesses in Syria. For two years the Italian multinational arms company, Finmeccanica, has been among the suppliers of the Syrian government. Finmeccanica is the eighth largest supplier of the Pentagon and also produces in association with the U.S. company Lockheed Martin.

As a dependent country, Syria is greatly suffering the consequences of the present capitalist economic crisis. This is aggravated by the fact that since the 1990s the government has adopted a series of neoliberal reforms that allow for the penetration of foreign capital, it has eliminated the welfare programs and reduced public investment by 50%. Large tracts of land in the city have been privatized and given to large enterprises that raised prices of real estate, forcing thousands of families to live on the outskirts of the cities and to form slums. Today, the country has a large number of unemployed youths, inequality is increasing greatly and poverty is growing. This led to the fact that, in March of 2011, amid the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the youth took to the streets demanding social and political changes in the country.

It was under these circumstances that the imperialist countries began to operate, sending mercenaries who had been in Iraq to Syria to organize attacks and recruit those dissatisfied with the regime in order to form an army. Even the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda was used by the CIA and is an active member of the so-called Free Syrian Army. Also, the reactionary Turkish government of Tayyip Erdogan bombed Syria at the service of the imperialist strategy, fulfilling the role of provocateur seeking to accelerate the new imperialist war.

But it is not to put an end to capitalism nor to corruption much less to uphold human rights in Syria that the United States, France, Britain and Germany want to bomb Syria and overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad. Incidentally, it is enough to note what occurred when those countries took over Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq after the military interventions of the imperialist countries to see what will happen to Syria in a NATO attack.

Indeed, none of these countries has become more democratic or less violent after the wars of which they were victims. On the contrary, today in Libya, in various public buildings the flag of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda waves, the one that is accused of carrying out the attacks on the Twin Towers in the United States, which killed more than 3,000 U.S. citizens and which last September 11 led an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. In Afghanistan, between January 1 and June 30, 2012, 1,145 people died and 1,945 were injured due to attacks. Women and children made up 30% of the victims.

If the imperialist powers had any respect for human rights, the United States would not have financed and aided the military coup in Honduras, tried to overthrow the government of Hugo Chavez and would not continue to support and maintain the bloody dictatorships in Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The defense that Russia and China made of the Syrian government has nothing to do with respect for the self-determination of the peoples. Let us recall that these two countries were favorable to the criminal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and that they supported the various economic sanctions against Syria and Iran, depriving millions of people of food and medicine.

The old lie repeated

Furthermore, to justify a new imperialist war, the United States and other imperialist powers are repeating the same argument (or rather, the same lie) used against Iraq: Saddam has chemical weapons of mass destruction, or against Libya: Gaddafi is massacring the civilian population.

Therefore, the main reason raised by the United States and its allies to pressure the UN to approve the attack on Syria and use its deadly war machine made up of military satellites, nuclear weapons, submarines, drones, intercontinental missiles and millions of armed men deployed in over 1,000 military bases in about 50 countries, is that Syria has “powerful chemical weapons that can be used against the population.”

Look at what the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, on September 28, when he was asked by the U.S. media about chemical weapons depots in Syria: “U.S. intelligence reports state that the arsenal is in secure locations, but some of them have been moved. It is not clear when the weapons were transferred, nor whether that movement took place recently.” The story goes on to say that the U.S. believes that Syria has dozens of chemical and biological weapons depots scattered throughout the country.

In late August, President Barack Obama declared: “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also with all the other fighters, the red line would be when we start to see a whole bunch of chemical weapons being moved and used. That would change our calculus.”

There has never even been an international mission to Syria to investigate whether or not the country has chemical weapons. And now, not only that the country has them, but that they are transferring them from one place to another.

But how can one give credit to a government that has already lied so many times? Let us recall some of them: it said it would not drop atomic bombs on Japan and it dropped them; it said it would not use biological weapons against Vietnam and it used them; it said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and that was a lie. It says Iran is producing nuclear weapons, but so far, despite various inspections by the IAEA it was not able to find a single nuclear weapon in the country; however, according to the Pentagon the U.S. has 5,113 nuclear weapons and Israel has several hundred.

Moreover, what has mainly appeared about Syria are lies and disinformation. On September 28, U.S. and French news agencies made the following report: “Yesterday was the second consecutive day of bombings in the capital (Damascus). Two organizations of anti-Assad activists announced that several bodies were found in a suburb south of the capital. Apparently, the deaths were caused by forces loyal to the dictatorship.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 40 bodies, including women and children, were dumped in the suburb of Thiyabiyeh. The leader of the organization, Rami Abdul-Rahman, stated he had no details about the deaths. Other groups opposed to Assad, the Local Coordination Committees, estimated that a total of 107 bodies had been found, that many of the bodies showed signs of execution and some of the victims were beheaded. The numbers indicate one of the worst massacres of civilians since the start of the uprising. (O Globo, September 28, 2012).

Note that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had no details about the 40 deaths. The other said there were 107 deaths. Was it they did not learn how to count or that they did not have time to fix the numbers? And who are the real murderers?

Crimes against the Syrian people, murders and executions are not uncommonly practiced by the so-called rebel forces of Syria. Look at what the Brazilian Ambassador Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, head of an independent international panel investigating the situation in Syria, said unexpectedly: “there are reasonable grounds to establish that anti-government forces of that country are perpetrating assassinations, extrajudicial executions and torture”.

Paulo Pinheiro also denounced the fact that the use of children under the age of 18 years by armed opposition groups is increasing, that these forces do not identify their members with real uniforms or insignia to distinguish them from civilians. Crimes committed by these elements, such as kidnappings, torture and ill-treatment of captured government soldiers, were also rejected by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

Concluding, Pinheiro criticized the government for carrying out indiscriminate attacks, such as air strikes and artillery shelling of residential areas. He also opposed the application of sanctions against Syria, because they constitute a denial of the fundamental rights of the people of that country, where according to the UN there are 2.5 million people who need humanitarian assistance. The specialist reiterated the need for a political solution in Syria, stressing that “there is no possibility of a military solution” (Correio do Brasil, September 22, 2012).

This is the truth.

Why imperialism wants war?

Nevertheless, the big bourgeois media want to convince people of the need for another imperialist war; they spread more and more lies, reminding us of Hitler’s propaganda minister, the Nazi Joseph Goebbels, who stated: “a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”

Actually, what is behind the war that is developing in Syria, which has killed 25,000 Syrians, are the interests of the imperialist powers in controlling a country that produces oil and natural gas – Syria produces 380,000 barrels of oil per day and has reserves of 2.5 billion barrels and 240 billion cubic meters of natural gas; it is located in a strategic region of the Middle East and borders on Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Moreover, Syria is forced by circumstances, since part of its territory, the Golan Heights, has been occupied by Israel since 1967; it is a country that has supported the fight for a Palestinian State and has almost 500,000 Palestinian refugees on its territory.

Thus, the replacement of the current Syrian government by a government subservient to the domination of the U.S., France and England in the region, besides ensuring the monopolies in these countries control over the oil and gas, would also weakens Iran and the struggle of the Palestinian people and would facilitate the political control of the Middle East. In short, this is a war to secure the interests of the multinationals such as Exxon (U.S.), General Dynamics (U.S.), Raytheon (U.S.), BAE Systems, EADS (Europe), Finmeccanica (Italy), L-3 Communications (U.S.) and United Technologies (U.S.).

In fact, there are various proofs of the presence of CIA paramilitaries in Syria; the government has denounced to the UN the presence of 60,000 mercenaries acting in the country paid by the imperialist powers.

The so-called Free Syria Army receives a lot of money and weapons from Britain, France and the U.S. According to the BBC, the British news agency, the British government gave more than $7 million in “medical supplies and communications equipment” to Syrian armed groups. France, which held Syria as a colony until 1949, defended, through its Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius that “Syrian liberated areas under rebel control will receive financial, administrative and medical assistance.” The French Foreign Minister promised aid of 5 million Euros (12.8 million reales) to the opponents.

On September29, the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, announced more than $30 million in assistance for food, water and medical services and more than $15 million in “communication equipment” to the unarmed political opposition.

Now, despite the fact that the UN adopted sanctions against Syria – the Syrian government is recognized by that organization and by hundreds of countries – this intervention violates all international laws and shows that imperialism long ago threw the principle of peaceful coexistence among countries and respect for the self-determination of nations into the garbage bin.

These, therefore, are the reasons why one more imperialist war is on the way. This situation places before all free men and women who do not want or accept a world dictatorship of capital and the enslavement of mankind by a handful of imperialist countries governed by a half dozen banks and monopolies, the question of what to do to stop these genocides and prevent new wars from being unleashed by capitalist powers. Such powers, immersed in a serious economic crisis, see their salvation in increasing the exploitation of the workers, seizing the wealth of the people and dominating the world. In the words of Che Guevara: “Capitalist imperialism has been defeated in many partial battles. But it is a significant force in the world and one cannot expect its final defeat without the effort and sacrifice of all.”1

Luis Falcao,  PCR CC

1 Che Guevara, Speech at the Economic Seminar of Afro-Asian Solidarity, 1965

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Enver Hoxha on Africa

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Africa is a mosaic of peoples with an ancient culture. Each African people has its own culture, customs, way of life, which, with some variations, are at a very backward stage, for well-known reasons. The awakening of the bulk of these peoples has only recently begun. De jure, the African peoples, in general, have won their freedom and independence. But there can be no talk of genuine freedom and independence, since most of them are still in a colonial or neo-colonial state.

Many of these countries are governed by the chieftains of the old tribes who have seized power and rely on the old colonialists, or the US imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. The methods of government in these states at this stage are not and cannot be other than a marked survival of colonialism. The imperialists are ruling most of the African countries again through their concerns, their capital invested in industry, banks, etc. The overwhelming bulk of the wealth of these countries continues to flow to the metropolises.

Some of the African countries have fought for that freedom and independence they enjoy today, while the others have had it granted without fighting. During their colonial rule in Africa, the British, French and other colonizers oppressed the peoples but they also created a local bourgeoisie, more or less educated in the Occidental manner. The leading figures today, have also emerged from this bourgeoisie. Among them there are many anti-imperialist elements, fighters for the independence of their own countries, but the majority either remain loyal to the old colonizers, in order to preserve the close relations with them even after the f ormal abolition of colonialism, or have entered into economic and political dependence on the US imperialists or the Soviet social-imperialists.

The colonizers did not make large investments in the past. This was the case, for instance, with Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. However, the colonizers drained the wealth of all these countries, seized large tracts of land, and developed a proletariat, by no means small in number, in some special branches of the industry, such as in the extraction and processing of raw materials. They also drew large numbers of workers to the metropolises, such as to France, for instance, but also to Britain, as a cheap labour force which worked in the colonizers mines and the factories.

In the other parts of Africa, especially in Black Africa, industrial development remained more backward. All the countries of this region were divided up, especially between France, Britain, Belgium and Portugal. Great underground riches, like diamonds, iron, copper, gold, tin, etc., were discovered there long ago, and industry to mine and process minerals has been set up there.

In many African countries, large, typically colonial cities, were built, where the colonizers lived a fabulous life. Now, on the one hand, the local great bourgeoisie and its wealth is growing and developing there, while on the other hand, the impoverishment of the broad masses of working people is increasing still more. In these countries a certain degree of cultural development has been achieved, but it has more of a European character. The local culture has not developed. It has generally remained at the stage reached by the tribes and is not represented outside them, in the centres with towering sky-scrapers. This has come about because, outside the large centres, were the colonizers lived, stark misery and extreme poverty existed, hunger, disease, ignorance and ruthless exploitation of the people, in the full meaning of the term, reigned supreme.

The African population remained culturally and economically undeveloped and continuously diminished in numbers, declining because of colonial wars, the savage racial persecution, and the traffic in African negroes, who were sent to the metropolises, the United States of America, and other countries to work like animals in the plantations of cotton and other crops, as well as in the heaviest jobs in industry and construction.

For these reasons, the African peoples still have a great struggle ahead of them. This is and will be a very complicated struggle, differing from one country to another, because of the state of their economic, cultural and educational development, the degree of their political awakening, the great influence which the different religions, such as the Christian and Moslem religions, the old pagan beliefs, etc., exert on the masses of these peoples. This struggle becomes still more difficult since many of these countries are actually under the domination of neo-colonialism combined with that of local bourgeois-capitalist cliques. The law there is made by those powerful capitalist and imperialist states which subsidize or control the ruling cliques, which they set up and remove whenever the interests of the neo-colonialists require or when the balance of these interests is upset.

The policy pursued by the big landowners, the reactionary bourgeoisie, the imperialists and the neo-colonialists is intended to keep the African peoples in permanent bondage, in ignorance, to hinder their social, political and ideological development, and to obstruct their struggle to gain these rights. At present we see that those same imperialists who used to lord it over these peoples in the past, as well as other new imperialists, are trying to penetrate into the African continent, by meddling in every way in the internal affairs of the peoples. As a result of this, the contradictions among imperialists, between the peoples and the bourgeois-capitalist leaderships of most of these countries, and between the peoples and the new colonizers, are becoming more and rnore severe every day.

These contradictions must be utilized by the peoples, both to deepen them and to benefit from them. But this can be achieved only through resolute struggle by the proletariat, the poor peasantry, by all the oppressed and the slaves, against imperialism and neo-colonialism, against the local big bourgeoisie, the big landowners and their whole establishment. A special role in this struggle devolves upon progressives and democrats, the revolutionary youth and patriotic intellectuals, who aspire to see their own countries advancing free and independent, on the path of development and progress. Only through continuous and organized struggle by them will life be made difficult for the local and foreign oppressors and exploiters and government impossible. This situation will be prepared in the specific circumstances of each African state.

British and US imperialism have not given to the peoples of Africa any freedom. Everybody can see what is happening in South Africa, for instance. The white racists, the British capitalists, the exploiters, are ruling there, savagely oppressing the coloured peoples of that state, where the law of jungle prevails. Many other countries of Africa are dominated by the concerns and capital of the United States of America, Britain, France, Belgium, and other old colonialists and imperialists, who have become somewhat weaker, but who still hold the keys to the economies of these countries.

In irreconcilable struggle against the revisionists and other opportunists, against all the lackeys of the bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Castroite, Khrushchevite, Trotskyite, <<three worlds>>, and other such views and practices, they have worked out a correct political line and accumulated sufficient experience in the struggle to put this line into practice, becoming the bearers of all the revolutionary tradition of the past, in order to use it and develop it further to the advantage of the workers’ and liberation movement, the preparation and raising of the masses in revolution.

The revolutionary situations existing today make it essential for these parties to maintain the closest possible contacts and consult with one another as frequently as possible, to be able to gain the maximum benefits from one another’s experience and co-ordinate their stands and actions on the common problems of the struggle against the reactionary bourgeoisie and imperialism, against Soviet, Chinese and other brands of modern revisionism, and on all the problems of the revolution.

Now that the peoples have awakened and refuse to live any longer under the imperialist and colonial yoke, now that they are demanding freedom, independence, development and progress, and are seething with anger against foreign and internal oppressors, now that Africa, Latin America and Asia have become a boiling cauldron the old and new colonialists are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to dominate and exploit the peoples of these countries by means of the previous methods and forms. They are quite unable to do without their plunder and exploitation of the wealth, the toil and the blood of these peoples. That is why all these efforts are being made to find new methods and forms of deception, plunder and exploitation, to dispense some alms, which, again, do not benefit the masses, but the bourgeois-land owner ruling classes.

Meanwhile the question has been made even more complicated, because Soviet social-imperialism long ago began to penetrate and entrench itself more and more deeply in the former colonies and semi-colonies, and because social-imperialist China has begun to make feverish efforts to get in there, too.

The revisionist Soviet Union carries out its expansionist interference under the guise of its allegedly Leninist policy of aid for the peoples’ liberation struggle, posing as the natural ally of these countries and peoples. As a means to penetrate into Africa and elsewhere, the Soviet revisionists employ and spread slogans of a socialist colour in order to deceive the peoples who aspire to liberate themselves, to liquidate oppression and exploitation, and who know that the only road to complete national and social liberation is socialism.

The Soviet Union also involves its allies, or better, its satellites in its interference. We are seeing this concretely in Africa, where the Soviet social-imperialist and their Cuban mercenaries are intervening on the pretext that they are assisting the revolution. This is a lie. Their intervention is nothing but a colonialist action aimed at capturing markets and subjugating peoples.

The intervention of the Soviet Union and its Cuban mercenaries in Angola is of this nature. They have never had the slightest intention of assisting the Angolan revolution, but their aim was and is to get their claws into that African country which had won a certain independence after the expulsion of the Portuguese colonialists. The Cuban mercenaries are the colonial army dispatched by the Soviet Union to capture markets and strategic positions in the countries of Black Africa, and to go on from Angola to other states, to enable the Soviet social-imperialists, too, to create a modern colonial empire.

Under the cloak of aid for peoples’ liberation the Soviet Union and its mercenary, Cuba, are intervening in other countries with armies equipped with artillery and machine-guns, allegedly to build socialism, which does not exist in either the Soviet Union or Cuba. These two bourgeois-revisionist states intervened in Angola in order to help a capitalist clique seize power, contrary to the aims of the Angolan people who had fought to win their freedom from the Portuguese colonialists. Agostinho Neto is playing the game of the Soviets. In the struggle against the other faction, in order to seize power for himself, he called in the Soviets to help him. The struggle between the two opposing Angolan clans did not have anything of a people’s revolutionary character.

The fight between them was a struggle of cliques for power. Each of them was supported by different imperialist states. Agostinho Neto emerged the winner from this contest, while socialism did not triumph in Angola. On the contrary, following the intervention from abroad, Soviet neo-colonialism has been established there.

Social-imperialist China, too, is making great efforts to penetrate into the former colonial and semi-colonial countries.

An example of how China intervenes is provided by Zaire, a country ruled by the clique around Mobutu, the wealthiest and most bloodthirsty clique on the African continent. In the fighting which flared up in Zaire recently, the Moroccans of the Sherifian Kingdom of Morocco, the French air force, and China, too, all rushed to the aid of Mobutu, the murderer of Patrice Lumumba. The assistance given by the French is understandable, because with their intervention they were defending their concessions and concerns in Katanga, and at the same time, protecting their men, as well as Mobutu and his clique. But what do the Chinese revisionists want in Katanga? Whom are they assisting there? Are they helping the people of Zaire who are being suppressed by Mobutu and his clique and by the French, Belgian, US and other concession holders? Or are not they, too, assisting the blood-thirsty Mobutu clique? The fact is that the Chinese revisionist leadership is assisting this clique not indirectly, but quite openly. To make this assistance more concrete and more demonstrative, it sent its foreign minister, Huang Hua there, as well as military experts and military and economic aid. Thus, it acted in an anti-Marxist, anti-revolutionary way. China’s interference has exactly the same features as that of King Hassan of Morocco and that of France.

The Chinese social-imperialists are interfering not only in the affairs of that country, but also in other affairs of the peoples and countries of Africa and other continents, especially in those countries into which they are striving to penetrate in every way, in order to establish economic, political and strategic bases there.

Enver Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, Excerpts from “The Peoples’ Liberation Struggle – a Component Part of the World Revolution”

Labour Party (EMEP): About the developments in Turkey

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How can anyone interpret the ongoing widespread massive demonstrations launched on previous week? The Turkish Spring? A public upheaval? Or a coup attempt ignited by the nationalists?

To make a realistic interpretation,one must consider the latest political incidents in Turkey. Definitely, it is not just one spark which glinted the fire.

AKP Government,the most loyal ally of US and Western Imperialism in Middle East ,an important actor of the Greater Middle East Initiative and the most devoted executor of Neo-liberal politics;and its policies were found extensive protests for years.  

The policies such as disposal of public property to multinational institutions and to local tycoons,massive dismissals, the reorganization of the working life  against workers outsourcing, union-busting, restriction of social rights, lower wages,increased exploitation of labor in the name of increasing performance evoked insurgency everyday in factories and institutions.

On the other hand,the ignorance and the assimilative policies on Kurdish people, massive detentions caused tremendous repercussions .

The urbanite bourgeoisie were disturbed by the religious based practices and the statements of the AKP Government.Implementation of compulsory religious education in secondary schools,re-arrangement of the education system  according to religious references requested,the increase in the number of religious schools,the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which employs a huge army of clerics to arbitration,restrictions for  the sale of alcoholic beverages and smoking,replenish of the  bureaucratic cadre by the religious sections called the pro-AKP.

AKP, by creating high interest rates and selling the public domain to foreign capital at very low rates,provided a flow of hot money and tried to attract the share capital which refrain from investing their money in the Middle East or in the Western banks and companies.So that the AKP government was more successfull so far as Europe and US in slurring over the wolrd economic crises.  

But,lately, the hot money money flow from abroad has been decreased.AKP government tried to avoid the economical predicament  by implementing a construction campaign so called “Urban transformation”.The most valuable areas in big cities were expropriated,multi-storey  structures builded on public domains and sold for extreme prices.Growing traffic problem, destroying of green spaces and the prejudiced policies in  which AKP followers filled their pockets,lead to a widespread discontent. 

The Syrian policy of AKP government unplugged a great dissatisfaction amongst people.The monetary aid supporting the radical islamic organisations and groups and deploying these groups on Syria border caused lots of issues.The radical islamists became a menacing power for the Alawite majority on the border.harboring the radical islamists impaired the trade and the economy in the area.

The bankruptcies and the unemployment has increased.Besides,the negative effects of 5 million dollars spent on Esad opposers has become to emerge.

In these circumstances, Prime minister Erdoğan announced that a Shopping mall would be builded in Taksim Park.The Shopping mall would be constructed as a caserne. Artillery Barracks during the bourgeois revolution in 1908,known as the headquarters of reactionary forces,and the center of the uprising AKP,resuscitating the barracks,is advocating the March 31, 1908 reactionary uprising and also wanted to take revenge of the 1908 Revolution. Barracks project revealed as such for a substantial portion of the population.In addition, Taksim environmental sectors also disturbed about the fact that almost no green space would be left in the shopping center. Erdoğan’s intention to change the city landscape without the consent of such majority,led the way to an uprising to his dictator-like policies.

A month ago, on May 1st demonstration in Taksim AKP government banned a distance of twenty miles from the entrance to thwart  and  mass transport to the zone is stopped, they cut off the access to the city’s Asian and European parts the whole day, and the masses were subjected to attack, gas and water cannons.The precautions taken by the AKP government has aggrieved all the people in İstanbul and the tourists.  Taksim Gezi Park,resistance began.Business machines,taking action to demolish Taksim Park attracted thousands of people to Taksim Gezi Park. Late at night,after the main mass had left the park,the police forces attacked a small group sleeping in tents.The tents were burned by the police, the activists were beaten and exposed to pepper gas.

Now, again, the same method is used  to terminate  the action in Gezi Park.This latest attack,exasperated  a very wide range of masses and tens of thousands of people departed to Taksim. When the working hours ended,the number of  the masses accumulated in Taksim reached one hundred thousand. Dense gas and water cannons used in  the police attack.Despite the censorship promoted by the bourgeois media,by the efforts of social media and a few revolutionary and democratic organ the events  has  been transferred to the public. Actions spread to Ankara and Izmir. People not leave the streets until dawn.In İzmir, Ankara and İstanbul the clashes between the police and the activists had become tough.Baricades have been built.During the clashes,some youngsters have died in Ankara, İstanbul and Hatay.Tens of thousands of people have been injured and been arrested. Our Party’s youth branch administrator in Ankara have also been injured and arrested. 

Most of the protesters were composed of youngsters and women.The football team supporters also participated the demonstrations by putting off the challenges between them.The most used slogans of the actions were “Resignate Government” and “Resignate Tayyip”. The masses participated to the demonstrations were often unorganized.

Our party,all revolutionary and democratic parties, greens, environmentalists, chambers of physicians, engineers and architects rooms, public sector workers’ unions, the Alawite, intellectuals and artists, lawyers,nationalist groups all composed the secular sections which agree that the AKP government was slowly building a religious law system.

Our Party, participating the demonstrations with all its cadre and organizations,tried to attract the labour, proletarian and the unions to the action. Fasten on the formation of  the administrative instruments of the actions and to refine the targets.

Summoned for the Kurdish problem ‘s democratic and populist solution,abolition of restrictions on freedom of press,expression and association,the rights of the  Alewite,for return of usurped rights of the working class and laborers, removal of the election  threshold, to determine and  punish those responsible for the massacres as Roboski and Reyhanlı, providing the police from gas-spraying of demonstrators,for the prohibition of dismissal of cities,prohibition of  destruction of green spaces for rent by looting and an end to logging. Called for general strike and resistance.

Summoned to the people to organize and struggle.Today, Public Laborer Union (KESK) and Revolutionary  Labourer Unions Confederation are installing a general strike. The events in Turkey this week, has similar and different aspects from the processes experienced in Tunisia, Egypt or other Arabian countries.The similarities are; wide masses saying” This is enough” and invading the streets and the  resolution for struggle.The differences are the organisational level for the masses and the demands.For the last five years, similar actions took place not only in Arabian countries or in Turkey,also in European countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain,France and England; and in some Latin American countries.Common ground for all is masses rebelling against the repression and the  exploitation of capitalism.

It is clear that the people revolting against the ruling class for their own rights and freedom will be strengthen by the international solidarity and the unity.

Labour Party (EMEP)

Turkey,

4 June 2013

www.emep.org

en.emep.org (English)

Source

Declaration of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations

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With African hospitality, together with the workers and people of Tunisia, we Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations of the ICMLPO have taken up the debate on the international situation, the policies of imperialism, reaction and the employers; the development of the struggle of the workers and peoples; as well as the problems and perspectives of the struggle of our parties.

We confirm the existence of a deep crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system, which is developing in an unequal manner in different countries, affecting particularly, in a negative way, the working class, youth and peoples.

In spite of the neoliberal measures to ‘get out of the crisis,’ pushed by the monopolies and the ruling classes, that are trying to make us think that in this way we will definitively overcome it, reality is stubborn, the effects of the crisis continue.

U.S. imperialism is intensifying its wars of aggression, maintaining its imperialist troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are continuing their ferocious attack against the Libyan people, the threats against Iran and other peoples in order to take control of their wealth and occupy strategic positions. They openly support the military occupation by the Zionists in Palestine. The imperialists of the European Union, despite their own specific interests, fundamentally act as allies of the United States in their confrontation with Russia and China.

The attempts of U.S. imperialism and the European Union to control Syria threaten to lead to a direct military aggression in the name of NATO. Such a situation could fan the flames of a regional war, which could even lead to a new general conflagration.

We Marxist-Leninists decisively reject the imperialist intervention, we uphold the defence of the principles of self-determination of the peoples. The problems of Syria must be resolved by the workers and peoples of that country.

As all the contradictions sharpen, inevitably the interests of the imperialist powers clash, some to preserve their zones of influence, others that look for their place in a new redivision of the world; the Western imperialist powers try to maintain their rule unharmed and their areas of control, while on the other hand the emerging imperialist powers try a to occupy a place of greater leadership and territorial control in the world. This confrontation among the imperialist countries progressively leads to clashes, sometimes diplomatic ones, other times violent ones, but they always take the form of aggression and plunder of the dependent countries and greater exploitation of the working class.

China is becoming the greatest exporter of capital to the dependent countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in search of raw materials and the extension of its markets, as well as an aggressive competitor in the market and investments in the U.S. itself and in the imperialist countries of Europe. Russia is strengthening its economy, its capacity and energy resources, as well as its military power, playing an aggressive role in the new redivision of the world. The positions of Russia and China in the Security Council opposing the military intervention in Syria have nothing to do with the national sovereignty and the rights of the Syrian people; they correspond to their own interests in contending for hegemony with the Western imperialist countries.

The working class and people show themselves in mobilisations, work stoppages and the general strike, mainly in Spain, Greece and Portugal among others, in defence of their rights and in opposition to the measures of capital that seek to place the weight of the crisis on their backs.

In North Africa and the Middle East the revolts of the peoples against tyranny, in defence of freedom and democracy, are continuing. The revolutionary processes opened up by the workers and peoples in Egypt and particularly in Tunisia continue to raise the perspective of a change from the regime of oppression and for their definitive liberation.

In Latin America the struggle of the peoples and the workers in opposition to the looting by the international mining monopolies and in defence of national sovereignty and the environment and nature are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people.

The fights of the workers, youth and peoples against the effects of the crisis, condemning capitalist imperialist rule, take place at different levels, in all the countries and regions. These struggles affirm the confidence of the working class on the path of struggle, they clarify the nature of capital and reaction, they unmask the positions of social democracy and opportunism, and, at the same time they show their limitations and weaknesses to stop the offensive of imperialism and reaction, of the employers and the governments at their service. It is up to us proletarian revolutionaries to give an ideological, political and organisational response. We take up our responsibility to involve ourselves in the organisation and fight of the working class, youth and peoples, to find the communist initiative and courage to lead those mobilisations consistently and above all, to show them the certain course of the revolution and socialism.

The strengthening of our parties, the affirmation of their links with the masses, the task of placing our programme in the street, within the reach of the fighting masses, putting ourselves at the head of the struggles, promoting and strengthening the Popular Front are the general orientations that arise from this Conference. The contribution of each party has been enriching and shows that Marxism-Leninism is being strengthened in the world, all of which places an extraordinary responsibility in our hands, to which we will know how to respond decisively.

The sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism, the imperialist aggression and the danger of a new general war, the accelerated development of the productive forces created by the scientific technical revolution, the development of the struggles of the workers, youth and peoples, raise new challenges for our parties and organisations; we must find in the course of the class combats new forms of organisation and struggle.

The liberation of the workers and peoples must be the work of the workers and peoples themselves and the unwavering responsibility of our parties and organizations.

YES it is possible to change this world

Marxism-Leninism is our guide

ICMLPO

Communist Party of Benin 
Revolutionary Communist Party – Brazil
Communist Party of the Workers of Denmark
Communist Party of Labour of the Dominican Republic
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of the Workers of France
Organisation for the Construction of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Platform of Italy
Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)
Annahji Dimocrati (Democratic Road of Morocco)
Organization Revolution of Norway
Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist)
Party of the Workers of Tunisia
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta

From En Marcha
Central Organ of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
#1601, November 23 to 29, 2012

Teargas as thousands protest top opposition leader assassination in Tunisia (PHOTOS)

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Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid has been shot dead outside his home, prompting thousands of Tunisians to protest in the capital and across the country, torching ruling party offices in several towns and chanting “the government should fall.”

(FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES)

In Tunis thousands of people flooded the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, close to the tree-lined boulevard, where violent anti-government protests were raging two years ago, when the so-called Arab Sprig was ignited.

Flocking to the Interior Ministry office, protesters were chanting “The people want the fall of the regime!”

Security forces cordoned off the area.

As an ambulance carrying Belaid’s body was driven in front of the ministry, hundreds of mourners crowded around the vehicle.

Calls for a second revolution were heard from the crowd. The protesters were chanting “We are all Chokri,” “O Chokri, O martyr, we will follow your path,” and “Terrorism, bullets, Tunisians are fearless”.

Police responded to mass gathering in Tunis with teargas and warning shots. One officer has already lost his life in a violent clash with the people. There have also been reports that an ambulance was teargased.

Further protests have erupted in more than 12 towns and cities across Tunisia.

Rubber bullets and tear gas were also used to contain the crowds in Sidi Bouzid, central Tunisia, the birthplace of last year’s revolution.

A local man placed the number protesting at “more than 4,000” in Sidi Bouzid, according to Reuters. He said that many were “burning tires and throwing stones at the police.”

Some 200 protesters attacked the police station in the central town of Sidi Bouzid. Police had to fire teargas to force the crowd back.

Angry crowds set fire to or vandalized HQs of the ruling Ennahda party in the capital Tunis and in several cities around the country.

Amid raging mass protests, the Tunisian opposition has announced in a statement the suspension of its membership in the constituent assembly. It has also called for a general strike on Chokri Belaid’s funeral.

Four opposition parties have followed in their steps and announced the suspension of their membership in Tunisia’s constituent assembly as well. They have also joined calls for a strike to protest the assassination of the prominent leader.  

Later Tunisian prime minister said he was going to dissolve government and form a national unity cabinet consisting of non-partisan technocrats.

myriam ben ghazi tweet

Two men on motorbike killed Belaid – Interior Ministry

Chokri Belaid, 47, who was leader of Tunisia’s Democratic Patriotic Party, was killed as he was leaving his house in Tunis, the country’s capital, according to the county’s Interior Ministry. Belaid reportedly took four bullets to his head and chest. Shortly after the shooting, Belaid was rushed to a nearby medical clinic, but the injuries proved fatal.

There have been reports about “three men in a black vehicle” had been present at the scene. However, the latest statement from the Interior Minister said that killer of Chokri Belaid is believed to be a middle-aged man on a motorcycle that was ridden by an accomplice, Reuters reports. The Interior Ministry said after the shooting the attacker and rider sped away.

No responsibility has been claimed so far, but protesters and supporters of Chokri Belaid, who had recently formed a coalition in opposition against the Islamist-led government, blame members of the ruling Ennahda for assassinating country’s prominent opposition leader.  

The Ennahda has said it had nothing to do with the assassination of Belaid, Reuters reported. 

Forensic inspectors examine the car of prominent Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid, who was shot dead outside his home, in Tunis February 6, 2013. (Reuters / Zoubeir Souissi)
Forensic inspectors examine the car of prominent Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid, who was shot dead outside his home, in Tunis February 6, 2013. (Reuters / Zoubeir Souissi)

The Ennahda came to power following the 2011 revolution when Tunisia’s long-ruling leader was ousted. The Islamist party has been widely accused of seeking to monopolize power. 

“Ennahda bargains and claims to want to expand the coalition, but refuses to cede any of the key ministerial portfolios sought by opposition,” an anonymous Western diplomat told AFP. The country has been waiting on a ‘long overdue’ cabinet reshuffle.

Belaid recently spoke out against alleged attacks by the Islamists, targeting his party’s members, stating that, “a group of Ennahda mercenaries and Salafists attacked our activists.” The attacks reportedly occurred as a party meeting drew to a close last Saturday.

There have been tensions over the role of Rashid al-Ghannushi, the so-called ‘spiritual leader’ of the Ennahda Movement, which is currently the ruling party in Tunisia. In October 2012, clashes took place in the southern city of Tataouine, during which the coordinator of Nida Touns political party, Lofi Nakd, was killed. Tunisians suspect that Ghannushi might have been behind such radical actions against political opponents.

The fact that his son-in-law is the country’s foreign minister could also be fanning the flames of protest. 

“The fact that the members of the family of the spiritual leader of this Islamic ruling movement have prominent positions of power is one of other things that makes even people who supported the general tendency say “all we are seeing are revolutions to get rid of the Ben Ali family only to replace it with a new ruling family,” professor of international relations at Bilikent University in Turkey, Mark Almond told RT.

A picture taken on December 29, 2010 shows Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (AFP Photo / Fethi Belaid)
A picture taken on December 29, 2010 shows Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (AFP Photo / Fethi Belaid)

‘Assassination of Tunisian revolution’

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has condemned the suspected politically-motivated assassination, labeling the death of Belaid “the assassination of the Tunisian revolution,” adding that, “by killing him they wanted to silence his voice.”

Tunisia’s President Moncef Marzouki canceled a foreign visit following the news to return home. He denounced the“the odious assassination of a political leader who I knew well and who was my friend”.

Asma Belaid, Chokri’s wife, told reporters his death is a catastrophe for Tunisia and their family.

French President Francois Hollande has expressed great concern over the escalating political violence in France’s ex-colony.

“This murder deprives Tunisia of one of its most courageous and free voices,” Hollande’s office said in a statement.

Protests have also been spotted in Paris near the Tunisian embassy, AFP reports. Some protesters even managed to get into the building.

Two years ago Tunisia was the first country to overthrow its leader, following uprisings throughout the country, in what came to be known as the Arab Spring. The country has been gripped by social and religious uncertainty following the introduction of subsequent free elections, yet has managed a smooth transition to democracy up until this point.

“There hadn’t been too much of violence, but unfortunately with these deep disappointments with the failure to make life better (life has got worse) and the sense that a trajectory that takes many people in Tunisia away from what they wanted,” said Almond.

Tunisia is fast becoming a microcosm of the Middle East, where the dichotomy between an Islamic regime and the predominantly secular opposition is magnified – especially after this recent assassination, believes political analyst Danny Makki. He claims that in the current era, the Arab world is so completely politicized that even a minute change can spark hatred and mass outrage.

And because Tunisia’s current Islamist regime is supported by Salafists, it has strong links to other Muslim Brotherhoods, further widening the country’s ideological rift. President Marzouki, for instance, is a firm supporter of the so-called Syrian Jihad. “[Belaid’s] assassination was committed by people with close links to the government, though they deny it”, Makki told RT.

He adds that the move to dissolve the coalition could be to dissuade further unrest, but whether it will work is unclear as “there is a stigma attached to the Muslim Brotherhood government, whose policies are incompatible with the liberal, outgoing nature of Tunisians – this is a problem within itself.”

Makki told RT that the latest events are testimony to the backwardness of the Arab Spring in Tunisia and the Brotherhood’s inadequate leadership, which has no tangible political policies or social and economic programs.

Screenshot from YouTube video / MegaBigpoopa (posted 6 Feb 2013)
Screenshot from YouTube video / MegaBigpoopa (posted 6 Feb 2013)
People surround an ambulance transporting the body of Tunisian opposition leader and outspoken government critic Chokri Belaid on February 6, 2013. (AFP Photo / Feithi Belaid)
People surround an ambulance transporting the body of Tunisian opposition leader and outspoken government critic Chokri Belaid on February 6, 2013. (AFP Photo / Feithi Belaid)
Tunisian people shout slogans during a rallye in front of Interior ministry to protest after Tunisian opposition leader and outspoken government critic Chokri Belaid was shot dead with three bullets fired from close range, on February 6, 2013. (AFP Photo / Feithi Belaid)
Tunisian people shout slogans during a rallye in front of Interior ministry to protest after Tunisian opposition leader and outspoken government critic Chokri Belaid was shot dead with three bullets fired from close range, on February 6, 2013. (AFP Photo / Feithi Belaid)
The body of Tunisian opposition Chokri Belaid (top R) arrives amidst tens of thousands of protesters as they demonstrate on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Anis Mili)
The body of Tunisian opposition Chokri Belaid (top R) arrives amidst tens of thousands of protesters as they demonstrate on Avenue Habib Bourguiba in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Anis Mili)
Tunisian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration after the death of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid (pictured on flag), outside the Interior ministry in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Anis Mili)
Tunisian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration after the death of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid (pictured on flag), outside the Interior ministry in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Anis Mili)
A police officer fires teargas to break up a protest during a demonstration in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Zoubeir Souissi)
A police officer fires teargas to break up a protest during a demonstration in Tunis February 6, 2013.(Reuters / Zoubeir Souissi)

France in Mali: The longue durée of imperial blowback

The present intervention in Mali, however necessary and well-intentioned it is, may produce its own blowback [Reuters]

The present intervention in Mali, however necessary and well-intentioned it is, may produce its own blowback [Reuters]

The current crisis in Mali is a product of French colonialism, and their intervention will sadly create more blowback.

The dispatching of French soldiers to beat back rapidly advancing Salafi militants in northern Mali represents the convergence of multiple circles of blowback from two centuries of French policies in Africa. Some date back to the beginning of the 19th century, others to policies put in place during the last few years. Together, they spell potential disaster for France and the United States (the two primary external Western actors in Mali today), and even more so for Mali and the surrounding countries.

Only two outcomes, together, can prevent the nightmare scenario of a huge failed state in the heart of Africa spreading violence across the continent. First, the French-led assault on the north must manage to force most of the Salafi fighters out of the populated areas presently under their control and install a viable African-led security force that can hold the population centres for several years. If that weren’t difficult enough, French and international diplomats must create space for the establishment of a much more representative and less corrupt Malian government, one which can and will negotiate an equitable resolution to the decades long conflict with the Touareg peoples of the North, whose latest attempt violently to carve out a quasi-independent zone in the north early last year helped create the political and security vacuum so expertly, if ruthlessly, exploited by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib (AQIM) and its allied radical groups.

The first and largest circle of blowback returns to French colonial policy in North and West Africa, which was responsible for the creation of most of the states that are involved in the present conflict. France began deliberately to colonise large swaths of West Africa at the start of the 19th century, gaining control of what today is Mauritania and Senegal by 1815, followed by the invasion of Algeria in 1830, Tunisia in 1881, French Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and the French Sudan (which would become Mali) – in the 1890s, Niger in 1903-4 and Morocco in 1912.

Carved from colonialism

It is impossible to know how the map of Africa would have evolved without European colonialism to shape it. What is sure, however, is that the European “scramble for Africa” that dominated the 19th century – and in which local rulers played a willing part whenever it served their interests – ensured that European powers would create the territorial foundation for modern nation-states whose borders bore little correspondence to the ethnic and religious geography of the continent. Mali in particular was composed of several distinct ethnic, linguistic and what today are considered “racial” groups. Its brief and ill-fated union with Senegal at the time of independence in 1960 highlights the artificial foundation of the region’s states and their borders.

The lack of consideration for local ethnic, religious and cultural dynamics and the colonial imperative to arrogate as much territory under one rule as possible created a situation in which states with areas over twice the size of France and population groups which had little historical or cultural reason to live under one sovereignty and had few natural resources of comparative advantages to support themselves, were nevertheless forced to do just that; first, under foreign rule, whose main goal – whatever the “civilising mission” proclaimed by Paris – was to extract as much wealth and resources as possible and enforce control by whatever means necessary, then under postcolonial indigenous governments whose policies towards their people often differed little on the ground from their colonial predecessors.

Indeed, even those countries which secured independence peacefully were structurally deformed by foreign rule and the establishment of states with borders that did not naturally correspond to the political and cultural ecologies of the regions in which they were created. As epitomised by the plight of the Mali’s Touareg communities (who are spread across the Sahel much like Kurds are spread across the countries of the Fertile Crescent), most states in West, North and Central Africa wound up including significant populations who were different from, and thus disadvantaged by, the group who assumed power. At the same time, post-independence governments were riven by corruption and narrow loyalties, with leaders who were most often unwilling to pursue or incapable of pursuing a truly national, democratic vision of development.

In such a situation, religion, which might have played a positive role in shaping morally grounded public spheres and economies, became marginalised from governance, while slowly taking hold in a toxic form among many of the region’s most marginalised peoples.

Supporting the wrong team

If France’s colonial history created the structures in which the present crisis inevitably has unfolded, a more recent set of policies constitutes the second circle of blowback; namely, France’s unreserved support for the Algerian government in its repression of the democratic transition that began in 1988 and was crushed in 1992. As is well known, rather than allow the Islamic Salvation Front – a Muslim Brotherhood-inspired group not that different in its roots and outlook than its Egyptian or Tunisian mainstream Islamist counterparts – to take power after its clear electoral victory in the first round of the 1991-92 parliamentary elections, the Algerian military cancelled the next round and began a crackdown that quickly exploded into a civil war between the military government and radical Islamist groups.

Faced with the choice of allowing a new, Islamist political actor take the reigns of power, France, joined by the US, chose to support the Algerian military, with whom it had retained close relations. In allying with an authoritarian, brutal and corrupt government the French, and the West more broadly, became party to a vicious conflict that saw the emergence of a dangerous terrorist group, the GIA (Armed Islamic Group), quite possibly controlled at least in part by the military itself, and the subsequent bloody decade-long civil war that cost the lives of well over 100,000 civilians.

The GIA in turn was the kernel out of which another group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, and then al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghbrib, emerged. These groups focused their attention on North Africa for much of the last decade, but gradually moved more deeply into the Sahelian regions linking Algeria to Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Morocco.

Had France and the West not given unreserved support to the Algerian military, it is highly unlikely that these groups would have been created, never mind grown to their present position (a similar argument could of course be made about the main branch of al-Qaeda, which is so many ways was a direct product of unceasing US support for some of the most corrupt and brutal regimes in the world, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan).

As in so many other cases, France and its Western allies chose stability over democracy. In so doing it inevitably, if ironically, set the stage for the present chaos in which its troops are being forced to fight.

Supporting the wrong team… again

The third and most recent circle of blowback stems from France’s longstanding support for Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Specifically, French President Nicolas Sarkozy offered strong support for Ben Ali at the start of the crisis, specifically including, as foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie described it, “the savoir-faire, recognised throughout the world of [French] security forces in order to settle security situations of this type”. The French president’s words embarrassed his government once the protests picked up steam to the point of creating a “crisis of credibility” that necessitated Sarkozy’s “admission of mistakes” in supporting Ben Ali against the revolutionaries.

So strong was Sarkozy’s embarrassment that when the Libyan crisis erupted, France took the lead in pressing for Western military intervention to force Gaddafi from power in order to absolve itself of its Tunisian sins. Yet it was precisely the launching of NATO’s air war and military support for the Libyan rebels that led to the exodus of well-trained fighters and significant weapons stocks from Libya into Niger, Mali and other parts of the Sahel in the wake of the crumbling of Gaddafi’s state. The chaos and spread of weapons generated by the Libya war put crucial numbers of men and arms into play in northern Mali at a particularly dangerous moment in the country’s history, when long oppressed Touaregs, who’d been recipients of Gaddafi’s largesse in the past (and some of whom in fact fought for Gaddafi), were once again primed to rebel against the central government.

This situation became even more ripe for chaos with the unexpected and apparently unintended military coup against the country’s soon to be retired president, Amadou Toumani Touré, in March, 2012, which created an even bigger power vacuum throughout the country.

The blowback’s blowback

Here we see decades, and indeed centuries, of French and broader European and American policies coming together to produce maximum chaos. This in turn was strengthened by the blowback from longstanding local conflicts, from the hostility of Mali’s military leadership to the extremely poor rank and file conscripts (which prompted the protests that sent the President to flight in March, 2012) to the inability of the broader Touareg rebel movement to set aside its tradition of violent resistance and embrace a younger generation of activists, who were advocating a revolutionary movement that was much closer to the soon to erupt Arab Spring than to the violent insurrection for which Touaregs had long been known. Almost a year later, the army has lost control over the majority of the country, while Touaregs have been largely sidelined from the revolt they started by Salafi groups aligned with al-Qaeda.

What is most interesting in this regard is that the present blowback had significant advance warning and should in fact have been anticipated by French and Western policymakers in the planning of the Libyan war. North Africa experts, such as Sciences Po political scientist Jean-Pierre Filiu, were pointing out already in 2010 that al-Qaeda in the Maghrib and other salafi fighting groups were moving away from their focus on Algeria and towards developing a strategic presence, and even “new theatre” in the Sahel, with the ultimate aim of destabilising those countries.

These jihadis “now represent a serious security threat in northern parts of Mali and Niger”, Filiu explained, because of numerous kidnappings, smuggling and other illicit activities the recruitment of a “new generation” of fighters from the many poor communities of the region. This reality of clearly increased operations by radical Islamist groups in northern Mali, coupled with the increase in Touareg agitation and Gaddafi’s well-known use of various nomadic groups as mercenaries, should have raised loud alarms among French and Western policymakers in the lead up to the decision to enter for Libyan civil war.

Indeed, on the US side, the American Ambassador to Mali warned already in 2004 that Mali is a “remote, tribal and barely governed swath of Africa… a potential new staging ground for religious extremism and terrorism similar to Afghanistan under the Taliban… If Mali goes, the rest goes”. This warning was made just as the US military was deepening its military presence across the continent, culminating in the creation of AFRICOM in 2008.

Given the clear attention being paid to the Sahel in the last decade by French and US policymakers, we can only assume that either they were utterly incompetent in failing to understand the inevitable results of Western military intervention in Libya, or saw that as a win-win situation, providing a new theatre in a strategically rising area of the world in which US, French and Western militaries could become increasingly engaged (and in so doing, keep rivals such as China further at bay).

Either way, just as previous African interventions generated the blowback that helped create the present Malian crisis, the present intervention in Mali, however necessary, well-intentioned and even wished for by the majority of Malians (to the extent the wishes of Malians can even be determined that clearly), will no doubt produce its own blowback, which will claim the lives of many more Africans, French, American and other Western citizens.

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International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO): On the International Situation

The most significant development in the world capitalist economy, since the last meeting of our Conference is undoubtedly the intensification of the symptoms that prove the trend toward a new recession in all fields, after a certain rise in the second quarter of 2009, followed by a period of stagnation. Despite the trend towards a rise in the second quarter, world industrial production shrank 6.6% in 2009 and rose 10% in 2010. The industrial production of June 2010 exceeded its previous level before the crisis of 2008. But starting from the first quarter of 2011, the growth lost momentum and fell to 0.4% in the last quarter of that year. In 2011, world industrial production declined by half (5.4%) compared to the previous year. In the first quarter of 2012, after a weak rise, the growth declined. The growth was 1.8% in the first quarter, 0% in the second and 4% in the last quarter of 20l2. All the data show that, despite fluctuations, a decline persists that began in the first quarter of 2011, which led to zero level in the middle of this year [2012] and is heading for a new period of decline.

Industrial production in the European Union, which is a larger economic power than the U.S.; in Japan, which is third largest world economic power; in India, one of the largest economies in Asia, have had consecutive declines in the third quarter of 2011 and in the first two quarters of 2012 compared to the same period last year. Industrial production in Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, has also entered into decline in the last two quarters. North African countries like Tunisia and Egypt, and other countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Peru, are in similar situations.

The rate of growth of industrial production in China, in the first and second quarters of 2012, was 11.6% and 9.5%, while it was 14.4% in 2010 and 13.8% in 2011. The downward trend continued in July, 9.2% and in August, 8.9%. China, which grew by 12.9% and 12.3% in the crisis years (2008 and 2009), was, along with India, one of the factors that prevented a further sharpening of the crisis and that allowed the world economy to enter into a new period of growth. The situation in that country has changed considerably. Now it is a country that is accumulating stockpiles in the steel industry, which is facing a slowdown in the construction sector, which has important holes in the financial sector. Those countries that saw lower growth rates despite the stimulus measures to revive the domestic market, are now unable to play the same role as before. The industrial production of Mexico and the Confederation of Independent States (CIS), including Russia, continues to grow. However, while the industrial production in the major countries and the volume of international trade are falling, for these countries also, a decrease is expected.

Unlike simple commodity production, a more rapid growth in the production of the means of production, compared to consumer goods, is a condition for expanded reproduction. But with the capitalist mode of production producing for an unknown market, with the sole purpose of obtaining profits, a consistent development of the two sectors is impossible and this is one of the factors that makes crises inevitable. In the last three years, as well as before, these two sectors have not developed consistently. In the first sector, demand has fallen, the volume of growth has fallen, stockpiles are accumulating and capacity utilization has fallen. In 2010 and 2011 the steel industry, an important component of the production of means of production, grew faster than the consumer goods sector. According to data from the World Steel Union, the growth rate in production was 15% in 2010 compared to the previous year, but in 2011 the figure fell to 6.2%. In January raw steel production saw a sharp drop to 8%, and it has stayed at 0.8% in the period from January to May of 2012. In August of 2012 raw steel production fell 1% in relation to 2011. In the same period, raw steel production rose 3.3% in Japan (a significant increase if one takes into account the major fall due to the tsunami) and 2.6% in India. It has fallen by 1.7% in China, 3.8% in the U.S., 4.4% in the EU, 7.1% in Germany, 15.5% in Italy and 3.8% in the Confederation of Independent States (CIS). The iron stockpiles in Chinese ports reached 98.15 million tons (an increase of 2.9%) belonging to the steel complexes. And stockpiles of Chinese coal are at their highest level in the last three years.

In manufacturing, a very important element of the production of the means of production, production and demand have declined in many countries. This decline has been one of the reasons for the cooling of industrial production in Germany, for example. In the capitalist mode of production, the agricultural sector, by its level of development and its technical basis, is always behind industry. Agricultural production is largely affected by the natural conditions, climate changes, droughts, storms and other natural catastrophes. Agricultural production is increasingly under the control of the monopolies and the speculative maneuvers of finance capital. In 2010 world agricultural production, including the production of cereals, has shrunk due to various factors such as bad weather or the expansion of plots reserved for bio-fuel production. On the other hand, in 2011, agricultural production has progressed thanks to better weather conditions, and also to increased demand and higher prices due to speculation. For example, wheat production increased by about 6%.

In 2009 the volume of world trade has declined 12.7%. According to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO), that volume registered a growth of 13.8% in 2010, and only 5% in 2011 (according to figures from the CPL, the growth was 15.2% in 2010, and 5.8% in 2011). The volume of world trade has grown by 0.5% in the final quarter of last year, and by 0.9% and 0.5% in the first and second quarter of 2012 respectively. During the first two months of the third quarter (June and July), the volume of world trade recorded a negative growth of -1.5% and -0.2% compared to the previous months.

World industrial production reached and surpassed the pre-crisis level of 2008, in June 2010, while the volume of international trade did not surpass this until November 2011. If we compare the data of July 2012 with the level reached before the crisis of 2008 (that is, April 2008), we see an increase of 9.5% in world industrial production and an increase of 5% in the total volume of growth in world trade.

The data on the increase of the volume of world trade is one of the most important that shows an evolutionary trend, although it does not exactly reflect the volume of growth of world trade. These data show that for the last three years, the world capitalist production has increased rapidly and that the capitalist world is once again facing the problem of overproduction, which is the source of all its crises. Decreased production, closing or reduction in work capacity of enterprises, rising unemployment and poverty; needs in abundance and the restriction of markets are the inevitable consequences of overproduction. The sharp slowdown in world industrial production has been shown above. The events in North Africa and the austerity measures taken in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc., are factors that are aggravating this process and its consequences.

Towards a New Financial Crisis

The crisis of 2008 broke out as a financial crisis, at the same time as the crisis deepened in other sectors, such as industry and trade, it developed with contacts in the finance sector with serious consequences for the following period. The most destructive consequences for the monopolies and the eventual collapse of the financial sector were avoided by transferring of billions of dollars into the coffers of the monopolies by the capitalist States. This rescue operation was only possible by accepting a debt to financial markets with very high interest rates, and the issuance of money into the markets. The end result is an extreme State debt, an increase in the debt and interest burden, a rise in the price of gold and the loss of value (devaluation) of almost all currencies.

Countries at different levels have entered a vicious circle that has elements of new currency and financial crises, in which they can finance their budget deficit, their debts and interests, having to borrow again. The capitalist world began a period of growth starting in the second quarter of 2009, with the weight inherited from the 2008 crisis. However, this period of growth has enabled recipient countries to breathe a little, turn the wheel that was on the verge of suffocating them. The growth of the world economy stopped and even lowered the price of gold for a moment. In some countries, such as China that had a significant growth rate, the ratio of the public debt to GDP decreased. But in other countries, such as Japan and the U.S., a substantial debt has continued, even during the period of growth of the capitalist world economy. The U.S. public debt represents the sum of $16 billion (the debt of Germany, which grew until the second half of this year, is 8 billion). Other capitalist countries are in a similar situation. The increasing debt is almost the condition of financial sustainability and economic growth. And this is the path that is leading directly to a new financial crisis that may profoundly affect all sectors of the economy.

The highly indebted countries have not been able to achieve a period of growth after the financial crisis and the fall in world industrial production that took place between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009; this period has led to a financial crisis that has affected the other sectors of the economy that has led them to bankruptcy. The first example of this process was in Greece, where the weakness was such that the industry, very weak, was largely liquidated when it joined the EU. After the 2008 crisis, in 2009, the economy of this country did not grow, and by the end of the year it was on the verge of bankruptcy. This country, followed by others such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, etc., has not been able to get out of the crisis and stagnation. However, important differences should be noted in its debt in relation to the GDP.

Austerity measures never seen before, except in times of war or crisis as deep as 1929, have been imposed on the indebted countries. The result of these measures has been to impoverish the people, destroy the economy and reduce the internal market and foreign trade. These austerity plans have been applied (despite the opposition and struggle of the working class and peoples) under the control of the creditor imperialist powers, the international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and European Union, and above all with the support of the collaborator monopoly bourgeoisie and its representatives, these enemies of the people. They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign banks, completely betraying the national interests. The national pride of the people, their right to sovereignty and independence have been trampled upon. A country like Britain that had a strong financial sector, but since mid-2011 has seen its industrial production and its economy reduced, has been forced to march along with the countries implementing austerity measures.

The significant decrease in the volume of growth of world industrial production, which began in the second quarter of 2011, is developing the elements of a new international financial crisis and is contributing to the degradation of the situation of the highly indebted countries. They failed to enter a period of growth parallel to the process of growth of the world capitalist economy following the crisis of 2008-2009. While the debate over the future of the Euro and the European Union is sharpening, the communiqués on the economic trends of the advanced capitalist countries and the indebted countries have sown confusion in the stock markets, barometers of the capitalist economy. Although world industrial and agricultural production and the volume of international -trade have exceeded the highest level before the crisis of 2008, the indices of the most influential stock markets remain below that level.

Although we are not yet experiencing the outbreak of a financial crisis of major proportions, everything makes it appear that the process is advancing towards such an eventuality. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (FED) has announced that it will not raise interest rates and that it will start a process of purchasing bonds for an amount of $2,000 billion dollars, at the rate of $40 billion per month. Japan has announced a similar measure and has begun a program of buying bonds to the tune of $695 billion.

Germany has had to relax its rigid policy towards the indebted countries and the European fund for the intervention in countries facing difficulties has increased. China, along with measures of revival that it has already applied, announced a new investment package to renovate its infrastructure. The price of gold is rising again. In 2008, the intense intervention of the capitalist States began after the outbreak of the crisis. Now, however, the capitalist States have gone into action before the shocks and bankruptcies at the same level as in 2008 start in the major capitalist countries and worldwide. However, these interventions, which can have some influence on the process of development, cannot change the orientation and the inevitable outcome.

The Sharpening of the Inter-Imperialist Contradictions and the Growing Danger of Conflicts

Uneven, unbalanced development is the absolute law of capitalist development. This process after the crisis of 2008 was not balanced, it deepened the antagonistic contradictions in the evolution and development of the relations between sectors, countries, regions, production and markets, etc. The industrial production of the advanced capitalist countries, including the U.S. and Japan, except Germany (ignoring the high level of 2008), did not reach the level of 2005. Germany, which has exceeded the pre-crisis level and has had a growth in industrial production of 11.5% in 2010 and 9% in 2011, has consolidated its position within the European Union and the Euro zone. Without separating itself from the bloc led by the United States, it has penetrated into new markets, new fields of investment, sources of raw materials, basing itself on its economic and financial strength, and above all, on its technical superiority in the industry of machine construction.

As in previous years, China, both because of its industrial production and its economy in general, was the country that had the most significant growth among major economies. It has modernized and increased the technical basis of its industry, and it continues to reduce the difference in its level of development with the other imperialist powers. Russia is going through a similar process. For the United States and its allies, these two countries, one considered as a vast market and production area with a trained and cheap work force, and the other a solid country, appear today as their main rivals to fight against.

The inevitable result of the change in the balance of power is the great demand for a piece of the pie by the emerging forces, using all means to get it and a new redivision of the world according the new balance of power. The recent development of the world economy is another factor that exacerbates the contradictions and the struggles among the major imperialist powers. Last year in the Middle East, in Africa and the whole world, the rivalry and struggle to expand their sphere of influence has accelerated. The production of weapons, the arms race is intensifying. China and Russia have renewed the technical basis of their arms industry. According to a report by the Congress of the United States, arms sales by these countries have tripled in 2011.

China, which increasingly needs more raw materials, energy and fields of investment for its growing economy, and Russia, which is slowly recovering, are intensifying their expansionist desires and their efforts to get their piece of the pie. Therefore, it is a top priority for the U.S. and its allies to prevent China, a young imperialist power in full development, and Russia, from achieving new markets in the field of energy and raw materials. When the Obama administration states that beginning next year the priority strategic objective for the United States will be Asia, and that the deployment of the U.S. military will be renewed according to the new situation, this is merely affirming that reality. The crisis of the archipelagos shows the level of tension between Japan and China; Japan has declared its intention to improve its military capability. The military maneuvers in the region have intensified.

The consequences of the change in the balance of power in the world have been clearly visible since last year. Russia and China were forced to accept Western imperialist intervention in Libya, even though that intervention was contrary to their interests. The intervention ended with the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, the near collapse of the country, the destruction of its economy, the degradation of working and living conditions, the transfer of the country’s wealth into the hands of the Western imperialist States, etc. Russia and China lost a good part of their positions, including their oil agreements. After the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Mali has been dragged into war and divided. But the main objective is Syria. The attempts by the Western imperialist powers to topple the Syrian regime and put in a puppet government to fully control the country are intensifying. The United States and its allies have mobilized all their forces within Syria and outside of it in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They are stirring up the religious contradictions, they use and manipulate the popular discontent towards the regime and they try to prepare the ground for a military intervention as in Libya. Meanwhile Russia is arming Syria, strengthening its military base located in that country and sending more warships to the Mediterranean.

To bring down the Syrian regime, put in place a puppet government, dominate the oil-rich Middle East, control the eastern Mediterranean, block the expansion of China and Russia in the region and expel them as they did in Libya, to encircle Iran, weaken its influence and liquidate its closest allies, are very important objectives. Syria is the only country in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean where Russia has a military base. This small country has become a place of intense struggle between Russia and China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. The Middle East is a powder keg on the verge of religious conflicts.

Contrary to what they did in Libya, Russia and China are opposing a military intervention that would alter the balance in the Middle East and result in the domination of the United States and its allies over Syria. But they have left the door open for a possible compromise that would guarantee their interests and renew the Syrian regime which is having more and more difficulties to survive.

As the case of Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Libya show, the imperialist interventions that have had the support of the liberal “defenders” of freedom and democracy, of the pseudo-socialist parties that emerged from the former revisionist parties, have resulted in increased military budgets at the expense of the workers, in the destruction of the productive forces of those countries, in many disasters, the impoverishment and decline in all social aspects. The aspiration of the peoples for the right to sovereignty and national independence, democracy and freedom has never been the concern of the occupiers. Their objective was to further prolong their system maintained by the defeat inflicted on the working class in the middle of the last century, a defeat that guaranteed their super-profits, the expansion of their spheres of influence and the weakening of their rivals. The imperialist powers, which are using all means to achieve this goal, do not lack in demagoguery and low maneuvers to disorient the people’s anger.

Now a period of sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions is beginning, which economic-financial and political-military interventions will multiply. It is increasingly important to fight against such intervention, to develop the united fight of the workers and peoples, in both the advanced and backward countries,.

Organize the Resistance of the Workers in the New Stormy Period

The army of unemployed is growing on the world level, especially in countries in total-debt crisis, in the countries in which the economy is declining, stagnating or is in crisis. In Greece and Spain, unemployment has reached 25%. In these countries, unemployment among the youths, including college graduates, reached 50%. In the Euro zone in the second quarter of 2012, the level of unemployment reached 11.2%, according to official figures. In countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where manufacturing has fallen from 9.6% to 7.5% in the first quarter of this year (2012), the number of unemployed continues to grow. In South Africa, the most developed country on the continent, the unemployment rate exceeds 25%.

In the current period, in almost all fields, from education to health care, drastic measures have been taken, the retirement age has been delayed and pensions have fallen. The gains of the working class worldwide are targeted for cuts or elimination. While direct taxes on the workers are increasing, no measures are taken to disturb the local and international monopolies, when even within the framework of this system one could increase taxes on the banks and the local and foreign monopolies. Wages continue to fall, etc. Many countries are suffering from a process of absolute impoverishment.

In recent years practices have been imposed worldwide such as sub-contracting labor, precarious and part-time work, an increase in the age for retirement, etc. In Germany, for example, one of the most developed countries in the world that has had significant growth rates in industrial production, according to the Federal Administration of Statistics, 15.6% of the population lives below the poverty line, a figure that rises to 26% among the immigrant population.

Last year, on a world scale and in each country, the workers and peoples movement has developed with various demands, in different forms and also at different levels. The struggles carried out in those countries with a “debt crisis” have been outstanding for their broad social base, for their responses and the experiences gained. The miners’ strike in South Africa, the youth movement and the strikes in Chile, the popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, etc. are powerful examples of the workers and peoples struggles.

Starting with Greece, Spain and Italy, in various countries with a “debt crisis,” strikes, general strikes and huge demonstrations have taken place. In Greece and Spain, hundreds of thousands of people have expressed their anger in front of the parliaments on the days when these were voting for austerity measures. But the workers and peoples movement, despite some more advanced attempts, has remained within the framework of peaceful demonstrations, general strikes of one or two days and limited resistance. The strikes of long duration, the resistance or occupation of factories, have been limited to one enterprise or one sector.

The austerity measures have affected not only the proletariat and semi-proletarian masses of the cities and countryside; they have also affected the petty bourgeoisie and non-monopoly bourgeois strata. Even the less dynamic strata, the traditional base of the bourgeois parties, have been mobilized given the current situation. The social base of the struggle against the bourgeoisie in Power and against imperialism has expanded, to the point where in some dependent countries the mobilization has taken the character of a movement of the whole nation, except for a handful of monopolists. The conditions are maturing for the working class and its revolutionary parties, as representatives and the vanguard of the nation, to decide to organize and advance the movement and the united front of the people.

But despite the great movement, the groups of international finance capital and the local monopoly bourgeoisies have not given in (except in the recent delay of the austerity measures in Portugal). They have decided to implement these measures even at the cost of demeaning the image of the parliaments and weakening their social base. However, the masses are realizing through their own experience the impossibility of repelling the attacks with one or two day strikes or through peaceful demonstrations. Sharper forms of struggle and unlimited general strike are beginning to be considered by the more advanced strata.

It is clear that the bourgeoisie in Power, with their hostile character towards the people, is assuming a position of national betrayal. The traditional parties of the bourgeoisie and parliaments have lost credibility and the mass support for those parties is weakening (especially toward those in government that are implementing austerity measures). The social basis of monopoly capital is weakening. Among the masses who have felt their national pride hurt by the imperialists, the discontent, anger and will to struggle against the major imperialist powers, beginning with the United States and Germany, against institutions like the IMF or the EU, and against the local monopoly bourgeoisie that is collaborating with them, is developing.

The trade union bureaucracy and reformist parties and social trends are following a backward line of “least resistance,” not only in their forms of organization and struggle, but also at the level of political demands and platform. Clearly, this attitude is contributing to weakening their influence among the workers. The attacks and harshness of the social conditions are also affecting the lower strata of the labor bureaucracy and aristocracy and are sharpening the contradictions within their ranks.

The struggles in the countries with “debt crisis” are being developed on a program of protest against the bourgeois governments and parties, against institutions such as the IMF and the EU that are imposing draconian measures and they are demanding their withdrawal. At first this was natural and understandable in the context of a spontaneous movement. But the inability to go beyond those narrow limits is one of the major weaknesses of the movement. This weakness can be overcome with the work of agitation that shows the masses the way out of this difficult situation in which the people and the country find themselves, denouncing the social forces that are an obstacle to that way out. This work of agitation is reinforced by putting forward appropriate demands, slogans and forms of struggle among the masses.

Especially in Greece, certain small groups (that also have weaknesses) have proposed relatively advanced demands and platforms. But the forces capable of influencing the movement are not even concerned with organizing the work necessary to promote the fight on all fronts. The absence or great weakness of a revolutionary class party, has been felt strongly, as it cannot influence the movement.

Linked to the evolution of the world economy, the period that is beginning will be one of further degradation of the living and working conditions for the workers and peoples, a period of intense economic and political attacks, of discontent, anger and militancy among workers, as well as sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions and conflicts. We must draw lessons and conclusions from the recent developments and the historical experience of the working class and peoples; we must advance, renewing our work and reorganizing our parties.

Tunisia, November 2012

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Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan): Condemn the Despicable Assassination of Chokri Belaid in Tunisia!

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Chokri Belaid, a popular, prominent, and tireless fighter for the freedom and independence of Tunisia was assassinated in front of his house on the morning of February 6, 2013. Comrade Chokri was the general secretary of the United Party of Patriotic Democrats (PUPD) of Tunisia and a leading member of the Popular Front, a coalition of democratic and left wing forces including the Workers’ Party (PT) of Tunisia.

The criminal assassination of Chokri Belaid is one among a series of repressive acts and barbaric attacks against the activists of the Popular Front that have been carried out for a while with the backing and support of the Tunisian government led by Ennahda Islamic Party. As Comrade Hemma Hemmami, the spokesperson of the Front and the leading figure of PT stated: “The government as a whole is responsible for this crime”.

The barbaric assassination of Comrade Chokri Belaid reminds us of the gradually increasing offensive acts of the reactionary forces of the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran, soon after they took power, against the advancement of the Iranian Revolution and against the secular and radical left forces in Iran.

Chokri Belaid strongly opposed the “elected” government of Tunisia dominated by the Ennahda Islamic Party, the Party that was put in power through conspiracy, deception, election rigging, and imperialist backing.

The assassination of Chokri Belaid is a vile act that stems from, on the one hand, the weakness and sagging power of the present reactionary rulers in Tunisia and, on the other hand, the advances of the Popular Front. The democratic and revolutionary forces in Tunisia are extending and deepening their influence among the labourers, toilers, deprived masses, and intellectuals. They are holding high the banner of their national-democratic revolution. This has frightened the regime and decaying forces. The assassins not only have targeted Comrade Chokri and PUPD, but also have targeted all democratic and left forces, the trade unions, the women organizations, all secular and progressive institutions. All these forces were and are under the offenses of the dark and reactionary forces backed by the Ennahda movement.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) strongly condemns the assassination of Chokri Belaid and expresses solidarity with his immediate family, with the United Party of Patriotic Democrats, and with the United Front. We call on all revolutionary and progressive forces of all lands to condemn the reactionary regime of Tunisia for this despicable act and other ongoing criminal offenses against the people of Tunisia.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) supports the struggle of the Tunisian people for the continuation of their revolution. We support the Popular Front, the force that is fighting for deepening the revolution and establishing a national and democratic order. We continue to expose the criminal Islamic regime of Tunisia headed by Ennahda, a regime that is backed by imperialists and the remnants of Ben Ali regime.

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) supports the call by trade unions and the Popular Front for general strikes, for dissolution of the government, and for the formation of a new democratic constitutional assembly.

Long Live the Tunisian Revolution!
Down with Imperialism and Reaction!
Long Live International Solidarity!

The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan)
February 7, 2013

WWW.Toufan.org
Toufan@toufan.org

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Tunisia’s ‘unfinished revolution’ — interview with Workers’ Party militant

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By Peter Boyle

November 16, 2012 — Green Left Weekly — Abdel Jabbar Madouri (pictured above) has been a militant in Tunisia since his early secondary school days. He was jailed three times (in 1987,1993 and 2002) because of his political activism. After every arrest, he was tortured and then sentenced to more then 12 years in jail. Madouri spent four years in hiding during the Ben Ali regime. He was also deprived of the right to work or to obtain a passport.

Madouri is also novelist and member of the League of Free Writers and some of his novels were banned by the dictatorship. Today he is member of the national committee of the Tunisian Worker’s Party and is editor of its newspaper Sawt Echaab(People’s Voice).

Green Left Weekly interviewed Madouri by internet with with the assistance of and translation from Arabic by Tunisian journalist Haithem Mahjoubi.

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The sacrifice of the young Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi opened a new wave of popular revolt across the Arabic countries and beyond to Spain and eventually the whole world through the Occupy movement. But how much has been gained by the revolution in Tunisia? Is the democratic space still opening up?

We can say that this revolution has achieved certain aims such as the abolition of the ex-ruling party (though elements of it still operate freely but with little public support), freedom of expression and media and also the dissolution of the hated secret police, if only in a formal way.

The revolution also achieved for the first time a democratic election despite some failures and lack of transparency and equal opportunity in the election campaigns. The election of the constituent assembly was one of the goals that people fought to achieve, unfortunately, the Islamic Ennahdha coalition exploited the revolution win a majority in those elections.

Many of the tasks of the revolution remain unfinished because of the strength of the forces of counter revolution seeking to circumvent the revolution. Among these unfinished tasks are the enforcement of accountability; an investigation and end to corruption in government institutions; a purge state agencies, bringing those responsible to account for crimes against the people – especially putting on trial those who murdered the martyrs of the struggle – and redress for their victims.

What has been achieved by the one-year-old Constituent Assembly? And did the workers’ movement and the left have much input into its decisions?

More then a year after the election, the Constituent Assembly has still not drafted laws that reflecting the demands of the revolution. With the majority of assembly members, of representatives, Ennahdha is able to pass laws for its own benefit. This has made it clear to the people that this is no revolutionary government but a government of a new dictatorship working against the completion of the tasks of the revolution.

The people’s rejection of this government can be seen in the growing demonstrations and sit-ins in public squares and in the streets in front of government offices.

So the revolutionary process is moving slowly along with the transitional to equality.

Amnesty International says there have been some reversals of the democratisation. Protesters, activists and journalists have been attacked. What is the situation for freedom of political expression and organisation?

The Ennahda government has used the Islamic fundamentalist Salafist militias to attack independent journalists so that it dominate public media and put its loyal supporters and allies in charge of the main media institutions. It has refused to put to into practice laws guaranteeing media freedom and establishing an independent commission for information.

So, journalists are still fighting for independence and freedom.

What is the state of the trade union movement? How strong is your party in the trade union movement? Is there a problem with corruption and co-option of trade union leaders by the capitalist parties and the state?

The General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) is the biggest union in Tunisia. The UGTT has been organised since 1952 and is playing a very important role in fighting the government’s plans.

It is true that this union suffered from corruption during the Ben Ali regime, but after the revolution it has regained its integrity, energy and a leading role social and political struggles in cooperation all with other popular organisations.

The Worker’s Party is is very strong in the UGTT. The trade union movement is working with the newly formed Popular Front, which was launched in October by 12 political parties that are all active in the UGTT.

The constituent parties of the Popular Front are left-wing parties and progressive nationalists that participated in the revolution and suffered repression under former dictatorship.

The Popular Front is the now largest political force apart from the ruling Ennahda and the “Tunisia Appeal” party, which represents the remnants of the old regime.

How much danger does Tunisia face from the religious fundamentalists?

Islamic fundamentalism remains part of the political landscape of Tunisia and occasionally expresses itself through attacks on bars, artists and police. Some fundamentalists have been killed in clashes with the police.

But the popular resistance has led to the isolation and decline of the influence of the fundamentalists. The recent manifestations of Salafist violence is due to growing government complicity with these groups.

There have been some recent significant strikes in Tunisia. Can you explain what this was about?

We’ve been organising several workers’ campaigns to claim three main things. First, the passing and implementation of the laws to regulate working conditions which remain precarious for most workers. Second, wage increases to keep up with the rising cost of living and better working conditions, especially working hours and occupational safety. Third, regulation of employment and dismissal of workers in public institutions.

Can you explain the recent protests about women’s rights in Tunisia?

Since it came to power the current government has tried to circumvent the demand for women’s rights, especially in relation to polygamy, the regulation of the minimum age of marriage and gender equality in rights and duties. But its attempts have failed because of the resistance from civil society, including the women’s associations which are very strongly engaged. Still the struggle women’s rights in Tunisia remains strong challenge.

Will the elections promised for June 2013 satisfy the popular will in Tunisia? How well do you expect the left to do in this elections? What are the prospects of a new revolutionary upsurge?

The revolutionary forces are aiming to be influential in next June’s election and to use these elections as an opportunity to achieve the demands for which the people revolted.

Our most important goal is providing employment, freedom and ending our country’s dependency on the great imperialist powers.

It is certain that the left led by the Popular Front will be active and influential in this election. According the last opinion poll, the Workers Party had 6% of the vote and is in the fourth place. But it is expected that the Popular Front would get more than 15% of the vote in the coming elections.

Because of the deterioration of the living conditions of the Tunisian people and the government’s inability to deal with these situations, a second revolution in Tunisia is also expected. The Popular Front is ready for this eventuality and prepared to lead such a revolution to achieve its goals.

What is your party’s view of the developments in Libya and Syria? Are the imperialist powers beginning to successfully manipulate the “Arab Spring”?

The imperialist powers are collaboration with reactionary regimes in the Arabic region especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia and they have succeeded in thwarting revolution in Syria by converting it from a popular uprising to a devastating and dirty civil war.

In Libya, the situation looks somewhat different, especially since the Libyans began rebuilding state institutions. But the Libyan revolution needs to make a lot more struggle to achieve Libyan people’s demands.

The imperialist powers are working hard to control the situation in the countries of the so-called “Arab spring” so they are aiming to find help customers in the area especially after the coming to power of Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt and their collaboration with the imperialist-Zionist agenda. In the other side, there are the ongoing revolutionary processes and the parties that lead them in both these countries.

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