The Spark

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

Tunisia:
The Population Remains Mobilized

Mar 7, 2011

In Tunisia, repeated demonstrations in the capital as well as in other cities and villages demanded and gained the resignation of Prime Minister Ghannouchi and other members of the administration put in place after the overthrow of the dictator Ben Ali. But all of them had been in power with Ben Ali, and obviously represented the hated old regime in the eyes of the Tunisian demonstrators and for a large part of the poor population.

The new interim president chose as the new Prime Minister el Sebsi. El Sebsi is not likely to lead a policy in the interests of the poor. He is a former minister who, from 1965 to 1969 under former President Bourguiba, was in charge of repression. In 1990 -1991 he presided over the Tunisian National Assembly under Ben Ali. When such men come to power, it’s proof why the mobilization must continue.

The demonstrations which led to the resignations of these officials came after the most important rally since the fall of Ben Ali. For three days, the demonstrators occupied the center of Tunis, although police repression left several dead and dozens wounded. Yet hundreds of thousands of demonstrators remained mobilized because, despite the fall of the dictator, the demands of the population are in no way satisfied.

There is no chance that the “commission for reforms” established by the interim president will find solutions to problems like those of the youth, the workers, and the unemployed of the mining basin of Gafsa, who for two years denounced the corruption of the authorities and their repression. Unemployment, the lack of job security and the high cost of living continue to weigh on millions of poor people. Blue-collar workers, poorly paid white-collar workers and educated youth without a job surely won’t be satisfied, and rightly so, by the promise of elections next July.

The bosses as well as many notables, those considered the Tunisian elite, are content with the fact that Ben Ali and some members of his clique no longer exercise power. They aspire to what they call a “smooth” transition under the leadership of professional politicians, whether or not these men collaborated with the old regime. But that isn’t going to satisfy the popular masses, who since December mobilized to get rid of the dictator. The people are demanding that their interests be taken into account and satisfied.