Since the month of December, from Tunisia to Egypt, from Morocco to Algeria, even in Jordan and as far as Yemen, the Arab regimes, artificially installed by “90 years of western intrusion,” are suddenly threatened with being thrown out. The dictator Ben Ali, after a 23-year reign marked by corruption and injustice, fled Tunisia in shame. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled as a dictator for 30 years and who appeared to be ready to pass the baton to his son, had to resign in front in face of pressure from the street.
The largely working class youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria live in poverty and have bleak futures. Surviving on two dollars a day, even the educated are excluded; recent cost of living increases, as well as victimization by a rate of unemployment averaging close to 25%, caused them to take to the streets to finally unleash their anger against their rotten regimes.
After decades of watching the imperialist powers support the corrupt regimes which they opposed, including support of Israel’s policy of the destruction of the Palestinian people, and participating in unjust wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the Arab masses have taken to the streets. The youth of the Middle East, millions of which are working class, are accelerating the class struggle. The mobilizations have been spontaneous and sudden, which has spoken to those youth who want to live with dignity, with the right to work, with the right to house and feed themselves decently, and who also want to decide their own futures.
The youth have been chanting: Down with poverty! Down with corruption! We want to eat! We want to work!, and also a simple cry calling for “freedom and democracy.” The Arab youth, which represent today the majority of the population in these countries, wants bread, work, and the end of all injustices. They hope to throw out the deeply corrupt regimes, which exclude the immense majority of the population from democratic life, and which don’t serve the interests of the people but the interests of the imperialists. We join the calls of those who don’t demand a change in the facade of society, but who want to pursue a real revolutionary upheaval to the base of society.
The massively wealthy governments imposed and impose again on their people a life of misery, exploitation, and repression, which has lasted for decades. The Canadian state, like all its imperialist friends, had nothing to say about these impositions. It has waged war in Afghanistan and in Iraq under the same pretexts. For the imperialists, freedom is an elastic they stretch to suit their interests. One can see all the hypocrisy.
There are those who hope that this movement stops at the same place our bourgeois-democracies have: with elections, and some changes yes, but on the condition that the new leadership keeps the same policies in the service of the global imperialist system. These are the new rulers who continue to represent the minority in power, rather than power in the hands of all the proletarian masses.
Yet recently, in Argentina at the beginning of the new millennium, thanks to mobilizations in the street, the masses ousted no less than three successive presidents. Yet, today, it is still the bourgeoisie, and it is still capitalism which rules in Argentina. Despite the experiences learned in the course of the struggle, including the citizens committees and the cooperatives, the movement of the masses in Argentina suffered deeply in not having organization, preparation and direction, both in political and military terms. The movement shook society, without however succeeding in transforming it or taking power.
Today in Tunisia, as well as in Egypt to varying degrees, it is clear that no revolutionary force, communist or popular, was at the origin of the revolts. And no force seems able to grasp the revolutionary necessity of overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie. Nothing is therefore won, and it is likely that the bourgeoisie in power in Tunisia, but also in Egypt, will succeed in preventing the movement from changing society, at least for the time being.
But the present revolts and the great mobilizations occurring are likely to produce the conditions–one must hope–for the emergence of a real revolutionary political force, organized and prepared, which can draw the lessons and the limits of the present spontaneous movement. In a word, to those who believe that revolution is actually being accomplished in these countries, we say: it has only begun!
The revolutionary history of the proletariat and the oppressed masses is marked not only by victories, but also by painful episodes and bitter defeats in the struggle for liberation from the yoke of the bourgeoisie. These defeats or these setbacks are all experiences which must allow the masses, not only to launch a movement, but to transform the movement into real victories for the majority. It allows the proletariat to develop a revolutionary strategy; a strategy which absolutely necessitates the mobilization of the masses. But this mobilization is not sufficient to win.
History demonstrated that without a prepared strategy, without an organization of conscious workers and peasants, without a political and military organization of the masses, it is not possible to move the revolution forward. Even more, it is not possible to achieve a profound transformation of class relations in society without achieving power. The most advanced form that revolutionary strategy takes today is Protracted People’s War.
The daily demonstrations demanding the end of corrupt dictatorships have, of course, tremendous momentum. The momentum teaches all proletarians in all countries that the anger of the masses, when put into action, can be an immense force. This living demonstration must serve us as inspiration and reinforce our confidence: the masses have the power to shake the world! And they have done this often in history. At the other end of the world, in Nepal in 2006, the masses ousted King Gyanendra after days and weeks of strikes, some military. Most importantly though, was the Protracted Peoples’ War, organized and lead for ten years by the then Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
This experience of People’s War, first political but also military, the accumulation of forces, the mobilizations and the preparation of the masses exercising their popular power, is a totally different historical experience. It is this preparation, and the conscious organization of workers and peasants in a political and military force, which allowed the masses to take and exercise power in liberated zones, before even the fall of the king, and initiate profound transformations in class relations towards a classless society.
At the heart of this revolutionary strategy is preparation, the accumulation of forces, the creation of a Party, and the formation of a united front of the masses and of a people’s army. This strategy allowed the masses to seize a victory which, while it is still fragile–the bourgeoisie and imperialism will do everything to regain what they lost–created the conditions for a real transformation of society towards socialism.
As proletarians, even here in Canada, it is necessary to support with all our hearts these millions of young men and women who are taking to the streets in the Middle East to transform things and force the old reactionary regimes to fall! They show us, like at the time of the Commune, and Russia in 1905 and again in 1917, and China in 1945, or in Nepal, that the masses alone make history. And we will learn all the lessons from these moments and transform them into victories for the masses and the entire world.