Today, when the people of Egypt are following the people of Tunisia, and rising up against the dictatorial governments that have support Israel and the USA in the Middle East conflict for over 30 years, we in LALIT recall that exactly one year ago, our member, Ragini Kistnasamy, was amongst the international protestors who broke the taboo on demonstrations that had so long been in force under Hosni Mubarak’s repressive regime. She was there in Tahir Square, facing up to the Police and plain-clothes officers that were intimidating the demonstrators. These demonstrations exactly one year ago were when the Gaza Freedom March was denied access to Gaza by the Hosni Mubarak Government. Then, there were also demonstrations on the same bridge that is now the site of demonstrations in Cairo.
We, in LALIT, at the time of our member’s participation in this political action exactly one year ago, learnt in depth about not only the situation in Gaza under siege, but the political situation in Egypt, which is now being challenged by the people of Egypt. A new kind of internationalism is being born, as the demonstrations and uprising have, in turn, spread across the Middle East, all in response to similar economic and political problems.
What this means is that the Palestinian question is also simultaneously being put on the agenda, under these new conditions.
Regimes that have bolstered Israel up for so long, each of them in its own specific way, are now all under siege to different degrees by uprisings of the people of their country. Everything in the world becomes fluid when the working masses begin to move, particularly when it is in a key area like the Middle East. There are now mass uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, constant rebellions in Algeria, huge demonstrations in Yemen, a new Hezbullah Government taking over in the Lebanon, and demonstrations in Jordan. There are even new movements amongst working people in Israel itself. The US occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan now seem more fragile. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has dropped her “proteze” like hot bricks, and is calling on them to “listen to their people”. Pity she and the US Administration have been financing Hosni Mubarak to the tune of billions of dollars of armaments every year for decades.
All this shows how quickly the balance of forces between the ruling class and the ruled changes, when the economic situation under capitalism enters systemic crisis. The Middle East’s economies are closely tied to the Euro zone, and with existing unemployment being high there already, the added problems with the crisis in Europe have shaken the political realities from the grass-roots upwards.
In Mauritius, when we contemplate our political organization in LALIT, suddenly all our members become aware that the degree of our organization before such an uprising, is what is the key to the success of such a revolutionary uprising. We need to strengthen our branches, and set up new ones in every town and village. The organization before such an uprising is crucial, and a pre-condition to swift setting up of democratic organizations that can mobilize people during an uprising, and be in a position to call for a Constituent Assembly, at which democratic organizations can thrash out a new form of State. Suddenly, all those who said that the independent political organization of the working class was “utopia” or “a waste of time”, or that “all politics is the same”, are exposed as being no more than pro-bourgeois ideologues.
LALIT stands in solidarity with the people in these uprisings against repressive bourgeois States. We note that the swift setting up of new interim national unity Governments, without proper regime change, is the work of the reactionary forces, supported by Europe and the US. We note that, on last Tuesday, 25 January, the headquarters of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) were attacked and vandalized in a number of cities, while in the capital, Tunis, the reactionaries are opposing ongoing strikes that are pushing for a proper regime change. One banner at the reactionaries’ demonstration reads: “UGTT, Get Yourself Back to Work!” This makes clear who was behind the “taper” who attacked all the UGTT offices. The UGTT is calling for the resignation of the current government, for the overturning of all the anti-democratic and dictatorial institutions of the old regime, and for a Constituent Assembly.
In Egypt, meanwhile, the army is trying to maintain itself in power, while the Cabinet has resigned and while a Vice-President has been nominated for the first time since the coming to power of Hosni Mubarak over 30 years ago, when Sadaat was assassinated. A secret services chief and an aviation chief are the new pawns, trying to maintain the army’s power without proper regime change, even as the police had on Sunday conceded the streets of Cairo.