The social movement in Tunisia has developed into a revolution. No longer is the mass of workers, poor and youth simply content with the ouster of the dictator of 23 years, Ben Ali – they want a government that represents the interests of the majority of the population and not the rich servants of the foreign banks and corporations.
Behind the scenes, the ruling establishment has tried to con people into getting out of the streets and submitting to the rule of a new provisional unity government. But quickly, seeing the same faces of the old ruling circles, the masses of Tunisia have rejected the false promises of the new government of the same old rulers and returned into the streets.
Now the elite are trying to select new people to protect the old regime, hoping that the masses of Tunisia won’t notice. We’ll see how long this puppet show will be able to last.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian masses are rapidly developing their own networks and bodies of organization to carry out and defend the interests of workers, students, and the poor. One of the most important of these is the newly formed neighborhood militia. As the old regime tries daily to organize whatever repressive forces it can pull together, they are now being met with the armed organization of the people, block by block.
The people of Tunisia have now organized themselves into armed groups, patrolling their neighborhoods 24 hours a day with makeshift arms and guns if the have any. These armed groups see themselves as the defense guard of the revolution. And some of the bottom rungs of the army are refusing to carry out the orders to break up mass rallies and are joining the side of the revolution.
It is still too soon to tell where this will lead, but what’s clear is so long as the mass of workers of Tunisia can build their own organizations with their own leadership, reject the puppets the old regime tries to impose, then the power of the ruling elite will continue to crumble. In the words of Tunisian youth, “The government must be overthrown. They are like a cancer, which needs to be cleaned out, not a shred can be left behind.”
Meanwhile, what began in Tunisia has been quickly spreading to neighboring countries in the region, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Libya, Sudan – countries where a tiny elite are in power, supported by a brutal dictatorship, amidst mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness.
The largest explosion has happened in Egypt, where people have lived under the brutal dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak for thirty years. Similar to Ben Ali, Mubarak has been a lackey of U.S. domination in the region, opening up the country to the exploitation of foreign companies, carrying out U.S. military interests throughout the region. The U.S. has supported Mubarak’s regime since it began, providing about $1.2 billion dollars in military aid every year. Right now as millions of Egyptians fill the streets demanding an end to Mubarak’s government, they are being met with tear gas, rubber bullets, live rounds, and tanks – all of which read in bold letters, “Made in the USA.”
Millions of workers and youth have been protesting, calling for the ouster of Mubarak’s regime. The regime has sent in the police and the army, closed down the internet, arrested journalists, killed hundreds of protesters, and rounded up thousands, subjecting them to torture. But so far, all of these tactics have only emboldened the population and brought more people into the streets. Neighborhood guards, like those in Tunisia, have already been organized and there are signs of the rank and file of the army disobeying orders and joining the side of the Egyptian masses. All signs point to the masses deepening their movement.
All of these movements are just beginning and still have a long way to go. But people everywhere can witness the powerful forces unleashed when the masses of workers and ordinary people become organized together. We can take down dictatorships, fight against the arms of ruling regimes, and together, we can “clean out the cancer” that is the rule of the banks and corporations – and begin to run this world in our own interests.