The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Revolts in the Arab World Continue to Expand

Mar 7, 2011

After Tunisia and Egypt, the protests against dictatorial regimes are spreading. In Libya, after more than two weeks of fighting and ferocious repression, Gaddafi’s power seems limited to a certain region. In a little more than two months, the revolt has affected almost all the countries of the Arab world, sparing for the moment – perhaps – Syria, Saudi Arabia and some emirates, but for how long? Even in Iraq, devastated by war and imperialist occupation, similar demonstrations to those in North Africa and Egypt have taken place.

From Morocco to Jordan, from Yemen to the sultanate of Oman, the populations fight autocratic powers, anachronistic monarchies, and corrupt dictators who accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor, whether native born or immigrant.

The revolts are spreading thanks to the similarity of the social and political situation, the crying inequalities, the stifling of freedom and the denial of democratic rights.

Behind the dictators are the imperialist powers who dominate the world economy, the big corporations who pillage their wealth and starve their populations. The economic crisis that they caused weighs particularly heavily on the poor of these countries. In all these countries, there are impossible increases in the price of bread, sugar and oil. The youth, increasingly skilled and educated, are unemployed. The poor peasants are deprived of land and turned into paupers. The local and international companies continue their exploitation of textile workers and miners. Imperialist “order” resting on local dictators can only sow ferment and popular revolts.

In the past, the Arab world has known revolts and deep upheavals. In the two decades following World War II, direct colonial domination was rejected and the regimes established by the European powers were brought down in several countries. These upheavals, in which the popular masses often participated, benefitted only a small layer of the national bourgeoisie, which sometimes merged with the state apparatus. Today, these layers are opposed to the working classes in revolt. Colonial domination no longer masks the national class antagonisms.

But there are many obstacles for those who aspire to more than surface change. The aspirations of the exploited for more liberty and more rights, even when confused, are different from the changes the bourgeoisie and the notables want. Getting jobs and eating enough requires upheavals that the privileged layers don’t want. But the more the movement hardens, the more conflicts are expressed, the more the working classes can learn. So long as there is a movement, there’s hope for a “springtime of the Arab people.” The exploited who hope for change must not be deceived by those who present themselves as alternatives to these hated regimes.

If, in the course of the movement, consciousness ripens so that the poorer classes find their common interests; if the working class of the Arab countries again finds the road of struggle; if some of the rebellious youth seek the causes of poverty and social inequality and thus discover the ideas of revolutionary communism, then all hopes are permitted.