Al-Awda NY recommends the following article by Palestinian Arab writer Adel Samara to its supporters as an incisive and important piece on the Tunisian revolution. It is republished from Kana’an Online:
The Popular Protection of the Revolution…NOW
A Condition for Victory and Future Socialist Arab Choice
Adel Samara – Occupied Ramallah
18 January 2011
The Tunisian people opened the New Year in a historically and marvelous revolutionary way. There is no doubt that it is the revolution of the poor, exploited, and the politically and socially oppressed. This is the class essence of a real revolution which raises the following questions:
First: What are the components of this people’s revolution? Who are those who flood the streets? Are they other than workers, peasants, students and middle class? If these are not class components, are they “mob” and “vagabonds”? To use the classical Arabic terms (‘Aawam and Ghawgha’a).
Second: Against whom did the revolution take place? Was it against Bin Ali alone? Or against his ruling party? Or it is against a class and an alliance of social classes and fractions which have their local structure of mafia, parasitic comprador, bureaucrats and merchants? This structure has its deep relations and most importantly, interests with foreign companies, mainly French and US. Those companies suck the surplus produced by Tunisian working men and women.
Third: Even if those who flood the streets did not raise political/class slogans, this does not negate their class reality, even if their political class consciousness was not highly crystallized. But, it is the opposite, it confirms that the dictatorial regime succeeded in pre-empting and hollowing (Arabic term (Tajweef) the class consciousness of the popular classes through a total elimination of all forms of opposition especially political parties (the Arabic term Tajrif). The aim of the dictator is not only to extend his rule but it is more, i.e. it is to subjugate the masses to the belief that if they revolt and the regime collapses, they will stand on the brink of chaos since there is other potential political party to lead them. The most dangerous social situation is when there are no political parties to guide, lead, and educate the classes especially in the moment of Intifada.
The Tunisian popular classes might not raise slogans against capitalism, or for women emancipation, but this does not negates that they are against capital and for women emancipation. Actually, women were in the center of the mass on the streets. The most marvelous moments of the revolution is that it weakens the power of capital and patriarchy. Only when people control the streets and factories, man can’t order his daughter to stay at home. Let’s remember the lesson of the betrayed first Palestinian Intifada.
As for slogans, every moment produces its slogans. Slogans develop from angry shouting in the beginning to protest to freedom and finally culminate in toppling the regime. That is why, in our early articles about the revolution in Tunisia, we were just encouraging people to occupy the streets and later the slogans progressed to uprooting of the regime and occupation of factories.
Mission not Accomplished Yet
Until this moment the struggle continues. The counter-revolution is still holding power even when the prime minister resigning from the ruling party. It is still not clear whether the army is protecting security forces or the rest of the regime. What is called a “patriotic army” is vague. There is no evidence that the dictator did not put on the top of the military his own supporters! It is possible that the army did not intervene brutally because the main ministerial posts are in the hands of the old Guards, and because there is no strong party to fill the gap. Accordingly, we must be aware that the army might be still the last resort for the regime as a party and classes.
It is not clear yet if the US and France gave Bin Ali the command, not advice, to leave. If this is right, it means that the US amending its commands to its agents. The opposite was the “advice” of H. Kissenger few years ago to the Algerian regime to kill 500 people in the first day of the Intifada which will be enough to stop it, as he stated. The response of the Algerian regime was killing even more than what Kissinger recommended.
Because the mission still not accomplished, masses shouldn’t leave the streets, but they must occupy factories. They must strengthen popular committees, neighborhood committees to protect their homes and properties. This will be the best preparations for a long strike and civil disobedience if the army will support the remnants of the former regime. These activities are the main components of people’s power.
It is the power, authority of “Popular Protection”, the model which was developed in the first Palestinian Intifada against the Zionist Ashkenazi Regime (ZAR) of Israel. The power of Popular Protection is the only force that is able to confront the counter-revolution’s steeling of revolution either through inheritance or coup de etat. Only with this power the masses will the masses be always ready to move and defend its revolution. This will be the best means to test the army’s readiness to protect the masses when they move towards the presidential palace. This power must be from the three main and oppressed currents, nationalist, Islamists and socialists. During today’s transformation, we must be aware of all of those who call for calm because they want nothing to be changed, i.e. they are satisfied with the sneaking of Bin Ali!!
Who is the People’s Enemy?
Again, if the revolution is not be against a class or class coalition, even against internal and external classes, then whom is it against? First and foremost it is against the ruling class coalition, but it is also against Arab comprador ruling classes and against the ZAR and the ruling classes in the Capitalist west. It is against this structure of sucking surplus on the world scale including Tunisia as the point of confrontation today. Every one of those enemies interferes is his own way. The ZAR interfere through gangs of killing, Arab regimes through the bitterness by Gaddafi, the imperialists for sure by sending secret police expert terrorists and NGOs to buy and bribe, and by their media which remained silent until the collapse of Bin Ali. As for western media it is enough to refer to the racist and dirty headline of the Paris Le Monde: “Even Arabs revolt”.
The Arab Nationalist Dimension
The last century and millennium ended while the Arab nation is pulled between Arab Homeland after the destruction of Iraq, on the one hand and the direct resistance which weakened the economic base of the empire of blood, on the other. More than million Iraqis have been massacred by the US and its tails looking for more oil. The world astonished by the resistance of the Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin against the Zionist army with its military and racist machine. Lebanon is led by Hezbollah defeating the Zionist army and Gaza everlasting resistance to surrender to the same army.
Today Tunisia opened the New Year with a popular revolution.
The point here is that Arab Homeland, Arab nation is involved in a defense war against western capitalist continued aggression. This aggression started when western capitalism was in its stage of colonialism, through imperialism and today’s globalization, and it will never stop as long as capitalism is there. The defeat of imperialism, Zionism and Arab comprador is the contribution that we must deliver to humanity. This will never be achieved without the joint democratic alliance between Arab left, nationalists and Islamists. Only this civilized and responsible front is able to deliver.
Tunisian revolution is a direct confirmation of the absolute divorce between the latent popular nationalism (in Arabic al-Sha’abi) and the official nationalism of the ruling regimes (al-Rasmi) as contradictory camps. That is why two attitudes are crystallized towards Tunisian revolution:
- The masses start learning their own lesson.
- And the rulers are trying the same.
This means that what is coming is a pan-Arab social struggle. It seems that it is imperative. We must bear the duty so as to help humanity to destroy tyranny of capital and to prove that the cradle of civilization is the savior of civilization.
The Myth of Tunisian Miracle
During the 1980s a lot of rhetoric was repeated that Tunisia was a miracle before the multinational corporations swept away the surplus and left Tunisia going to places of cheaper labor. In the 1990s a lot of Foreign Direct and Indirect Investment (FDI) occupied Tunisia and destroyed its local industries and agriculture a step which led to a deep sucking of the surplus and an increase of unemployment. Many Western conventional and even leftist economists praised the so-called Ivory Coast miracle in the 1980s, but we see today where it ended! Samir Amin was the only thinker who negated that manipulation.
Bin Ali’s regime played the role of trickle-down economy, privatization, corruption and resort to collect higher tax. The regime campaign against the masses was based on the belief that the society is politically dead. It based its policies on the equation of absolute separation of economics from politics.
The main development which the regime failed to consider is the emerged and expansion of the hundreds of thousands of graduated youths whose education and knowledge encouraged them to protest. This phenomenon of graduated youths is a tradition achieved by Nasserism in Egypt which enabled the youths of the middle class to study freely. This “Nasserism Spectrum” is the main threat to the comprador rulers. While this spectrum supported the Islamists in Egypt, it became a form of populism leading the revolution in Tunisia.
Finally, it is still early to predict where Tunisia is going. The regime did not collapse yet, and the counterrevolution is maneuvering between police terror, manipulation and conspiracy. To guarantee the victory of revolution the three main currents must listen more to the masses to lead the revolution and to establish the revolutionary power in parallel and against the new false government. This alternative is the only way to protect the revolution and continue forward until the reactionaries give up and comply with all people’s demands, i.e. to evacuate the palace.
Today, the Arab Homeland is open for different alternatives. Tunisian revolution must continue and be protected to achieve freedom, people’s power, democracy, development and socialism.
 This is the only meaning of Gaddafi’s poor and bitter statement that Al-Zain is the best for Tunisia!
 What the people had discover, and might discover even more, of the Zionists terror in Tunisia is a clear confirmation that it is against Arab nation. Accordingly, the contradiction with the ZAR is antagonistic.
 Some fake Marxists, like Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine Hawatmeh group, start agitating against Tunisian Islamists. This is the best example of the opportunistic left which looks for the blessing from the imperialist westernized left. They are unable to differentiate between fundamentalism and revolutionary Islamists on the one hand and they unable to understand that the democracy which the WEST is arguing for shouldn’t be denied in one place and accepted in another. Let the masses decide!
 As a nation under fire, under several invasions, colonialism, settler colonialism, unequal exchange…etc, the Arab nation is divided into nationalism of popular classes which fights for unity of Arab peoples, freedom, development and socialism, on the one hand and nationalism of ruling classes which is externalized and dependent on the West, repressive and opposed to the unity of our nation.
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