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Tunisia: a social and democratic revolution is underway!

The popular masses of Tunisia have made their dramatic entrance onto the political stage! After 29 days they have managed to bring about a social and democratic revolution and dispense with the dictator Ben Ali! This is a great victory! This is a great day for all of us, which we want to share with all those who fight the global capitalist order! Most importantly, we have recovered our dignity and pride, which had long been defiled and derided by the dictatorship. Now we have to build a new Tunisia that will be free, democratic and social.

But the counterrevolution is already fighting back! Ben Ali has fallen from power but his regime, albeit destabilized and weakened, is trying to retain key positions. The Destourian State/Party is still there, along with its capitalist social and economic policies.

The regime was cited as an examplary ‘good pupil’ by international financial institutions, exploiting the labouring masses for 23 years to insure returns to insatiable global capital while garnering profits for a few families organized in mafia-like clans around the president. It has been dismissed, which is what we want!

We reject the current attempt to confiscate our revolution through the proposition of a government of ‘national unity’ by means of which the illegitimate regime might somehow stay in power.

At the same time the fallen government unleashed heavily armed militias, including Ben Ali’s personal guards, who are trying to instil panic in the country’s major cities, including Tunis and its suburbs. Groups of ruined and starving people are also taking advantage of the current chaos to help themselves in stores such as Carrefour and Géant. Plundering bands have established themselves along major roads and make all movement dangerous. It has become difficult if not impossible to obtain access to basic commodities such as bread, milk or medicines.

The regime, which demobilized police forces both in the cities and in the countryside, is benefiting from the chaos and the fear it feeds within society so as to impose its own solutions. The ceasefire, and the presence of only limited armed forces, who have never had to face this kind of situation before, only makes the fear worse, since the militias attack during the night!

Citizens are trying to organize their own defence everywhere, often in coordination with elements of the armed forces; thousands of ‘people’s committees for the defence of citizens’ have been set up to protect the population.

Only through the constitution of a provisional government, without any representative of the Destourian regime, in charge of preparing free and democratic elections under a new Election Code for a Constituent Assembly can Tunisians regain control of their destiny and enforce just and fair order in their country. If the people strive for a better life, destiny must acquiesce!

Tunis 15 January 2011


Fathi Chamkhi

Photo : licence creative commons - gwenflickr