Revolutionary Liberation Gospel

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All Out Support for the Tunisian Revolution

Since December 18th, 2010, the Tunisian people have been in struggle against their local dictatorship and have successfully accomplished the taking over of the country, ousting the dictator Ben Ali and dissolving the political police. The RCD; former Tunisia ruling party, was also dissolved and it assets liquidated and redistributed to the people. Political prisoners were also mass released. The people elected a constituent assembly from among their members. But by this time, there has been a succession of transitional governments as the people struggle against the re-establishment of the dictatorship and a possible insurgence of Islamist extremists, both of whom they are opposed in principle. The struggle is based on economic duress and the desire for true democracy. Since the revolution, some people have complained about the loss of tourism, one of the main drivers of the economy. But as revolutionaries, we are not interested in tourists, but active participants in support and struggle for an egalitarian world run by the toiling people themselves. This revolution has inspired many other Muslim countries all around the Middle East. However, many of these are not as advanced as what is going on in Tunisia and some, such as Syria next to Israel are in a state of violent repression by the state and police firing on unarmed people in the back. The struggle is far from over and the Tunisian people need our all out support. Tunisia is located in N. Africa just to the west of Libya were the US-Britain imperialist adventurists are wrecking havoc in order to steal the resources of Libya from right under the people. Tunisia stands at a dangerous cross roads where these imperialists would like to either stage a base to watch over the region or suppress the people from Libya's western border with Tunisia. Undoubtedly, the US has to be concerned over the developments going on not so far away fron Tripoli where they are attempting to remove one puppet and instal another.

The revolt against tyranny, rising prices and impoverishment began in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. The people overcame heavy censorship and police repression to ensure that their uprising did not go unnoticed or get silenced. Protesters took to the streets with "a rock in one hand, a cell phone in the other," according to Rochdi Horchani, a relative of Mohamed Bouazizi who helped break through the media blackout. Since the same day of the self-immolation by fire of the 26-year-old street vendor that triggered riots causing the Tunisian leadership to flee the country, family members and friends used social media to share the news of what was happening in Sidi Bouzid with international media. Unfortunately, the corporatist media has by and large kept this out of the news, focusing on debts and austerity instead. However, the intrepid youth broke though this blackout by using the internet services like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. We have been in direct communication with one of these youth who has called for our support and now we are calling on yours to that same end! These services also engage in censorship, but enough has gotten out to piece together what is occurring. Sporadic protests occurred since Mar. 2010, but it began in earnest on December 18th.


On December 17, 2010, he and Ali Bouazizi, a cousin of Mohamed Bouazizi, posted a video of a peaceful protest led by the young man's mother outside the municipality building. That evening, the video was aired on Al Jazeera's Mubasher channel. Al Jazeera's new media team, which trawls the web looking for video from across the Arab world, had picked up the footage via Facebook. Tunisian media, in contrast, ignored the growing uprising until Nessma TV broke the silence on December 29, 2010

Aside from a solid core of activists, most Tunisians did not dare repost the videos on Facebook or even to "like" them, until president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's final hours. Such was the nature of the repression of the political police, that most people wished to play safe. Even if a muted majority did not actively share news of the protests online until mid-January, Tunisia's 3.6 million internet users, fully 1/3rd of the population, one of the highest penetration rates on the African continent, according to Internet World Stats were able to follow news of the uprising on social media thanks to a solid core of activists.

Throughout the uprising, Tunisian protesters relied on Facebook to communicate with each other. Facebook, unlike most video sharing sites, was not included in Tunisia's online censorship. Non-internet users kept abreast of the protests via satellite news channels including Al Jazeera, France 24 and, playing catch-up on its competitors, Al Arabiya. The hashtags on Twitter tell the tale of how the uprising went from being local to national in scope in short order: #bouazizi became #sidibouzid, then #tunisia.

The Tunisian authorities via the political police in the region tried every means possible to thwart the flow of videos. There were engineered internet and power outages in Sidi Bouzid and neighbouring towns.

On January 3, a string of web activists were struck by a systematic, government organized "phishing" operation aimed at wiping out their online dissent. This is a clear and present warning for the rest of us who use such services of like activity hear in the heart of the imperialist beast. We have already seen the passage of an executive order in congress to deal with the N. American situation. One of the chosen devices is to raise the issue of child pornography rings as an excuse to shut down net communications. Bloggers, web activists and a rapper who had published a song criticizing the government on YouTube were arrested on January 7th, 2011. In spite of the attempts to silence them, people went to extreme lengths to make sure their videos were posted on the web. Ali Bouazizi still has a black eye where political police struck him in retaliation for his videos.

Dhafer Salhi, a local lawyer who witnessed Mohamed Bouazizi's act of self-immolation, said he asked the head of police to meet with the young man's family that day to try to defuse the anger on the street.

"I told [the head of police] that if you don't get [the Bouazizi family] in, the country will be burned," Salhi said. "He refused, by arrogance and ignorance."

Frustrated by the lack of accountability by officials, Salhi became an active participant in the protests. The lawyer then used Facebook to organist protests, sending out invites to his friends. He was one of the web activists targeted by the Tunisian authorities in the phishing operation. They managed to hijack his Facebook account, but Salhi simply created a new account. These are solid lessons for us to use before the net is just switched off. In that event, we will have to twitter, work, educate and organize locally, which should be one of our main planks.

The protests that erupted in Sidi Bouzid were indeed spontaneous, yet they were marked by a level of organization and sophistication that appears grounded in the sheer determination of those who participated in them. The Sidi Bouzid branch of the UGTT was engaged in the uprising from day one. While the national leadership of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) is generally viewed as lacking political independence from the ruling class, its regional representatives have a reputation for gutsy engagement. This is one organization that has to be closely watched closely in the event that they could betray the revolution and the working class.

"The major driving force behind these protesters is the Sidi Bouzid union, which is very strong," said Affi Fethi, who teaches physics at a local high school. For Fethi, it was when police killed protesters in nearby towns including Menzel Bouziane and Regueb that the regional protests became a nationwide uprising. "The person who helped this revolt the most is Ben Ali himself," he said. "Why didn't he make [the police] use rubber bullets?" The answer to this question is found in the fact that they rulers really don't care what happens when a protest like this gets full blown. They will pull all the stops in their counter attack and the people need to be ready and supported.

Everyone that has been interviewed agreed that no opposition party, to the extent that independent parties existed under Ben Ali's rule, was involved in co-ordinating the early protests, or even in offering moral support. Grassroots members of some opposition movements did, however, play an active role as individual activists (Ali Bouazizi, is a member of the Progressive Democratic Party).

Students, teachers, the unemployed and lawyers joined forces in Sidi Bouzid and neighbouring towns, braving torture and arrest. Nacer Beyaou, a student, said the uprising was about freedom and employment, demands that any transitional program to a single world planned economy under socialism is built from. The people of Sidi Bouzid feel their region is neglected, he said, and suffer from "abject destitution". Yet now that the political momentum has moved to the capital, many locals fear that their region is once again being sidelined.

"They've forgotten about us completely. There's not a single minister from Sidi Bouzid," the student said. Summing up the combination of poverty and humiliation that many people in Sidi Bouzid say pushed them to rise up in protest, another man put it this way: "Every day I ask my father to give me one dinar [70 cents], and I'm thirty years old." A sign of the uncertainty that many are feeling here, the man was forthright in his political views, but said he preferred not to give his name "in case Ben Ali comes back"; a danger we recognize, especially since the US and Britain are right next door in Libya.

Now that the politicians in Tunis have taken over, he said it was like sitting back and watching the theatre. With the initial euphoria that came when Ben Ali fled the country fast fading, the question here is whether or not there will be any tangible political and economic gains for Sidi Bouzid in the "new" Tunisia.

But from an inside source in Tunisia, we have learned that the revolution is still going strong. At this point the inside source is telling us that the people have created a “...dignity and freedom revolution we the Tunisian people want to live in a country that respects its people we do no longer want a ruthless dictator to rule us we want a parliamentary system so to not allow any one else to become a dictator; also we asked government to dissolve secret police” and “Yes US will intervene but let us hope it will intervene in a good way, to help us weaken extremist Islamists for example :::!!!“ We have already seen what the US is capable throughout history in any country that does not toe the line regarding cooperation with imperialist designs. From the Jacobin revolution, to the Russian, the Korean the Vietnam and in Iran. It matters little the nature of the revolution if it threatens US hegemony and access to resources. The wish for US intervention when war rages next door in Libya is a potentially hazardous desire. We say US stay out of Tunisia! Self determination for the Tunisian revolution and the Tunisian toiling people. The greatest support you can show for this revolution is to work together to make one in your own country. Spread the revolution! We want revolution in all countries! We call for a world wide united humanity under one planned economy, an egalitarian democratic peoples' governance where all the resources and production is shared in common in a collectivist society. This will be all that is needed to stop the Tunisian revolution from being crushed in its infancy.

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