Monday, 17 January 2011
La khowf ba’ad al-yowm !
I certainly hope that workers' councils will evolve in Tunisia, but I don't know if they will/can come out of neighborhood watches.
The mass movement of unemployed workers must continue to push - through both daily rallies and through conscious efforts at self-organization.
Wild cat strikes have long been a favourite of Tunisian workers, who would occupy the buildings of the main UGTT buildings to force the union to take up their grievances.
In the last two decades, many wild cat strikes prompted prolonged confrontation with riot police and the mukhabarat, who always managed to cordon off and contain the unrest (kids throwing stones, workers on indefinite strike, women camping in front of ministries) to certain
To escape from the terrible repression that inevitably followed such uprisings, many Tunisians workers were then forced to flee abroad and to try to make their way to "fortress Europe".
Those who were deported back to Tunisia were tortured by the regime.
Those who managed to remain in Europe joined the many Tunisian Socialist organizations in exile.
So there is a very strong tradition of workers' solidarity and a culture of voicing grievances in Tunisia. That's why the Ben Ali regime was so determined to stamp out any dissidence and that's why it was an extremely repressive police state. The Mukhabarat, the sinister Tunisian
secret police, was/is very skilled at containing dissidence and instilling fear. No wonder the slogan on the streets yesterday was :"No More Fear !" La khowf ba’ad al-yowm !
The tourism industry is/was a constant concern for Tunisian leaders. It is thought that 80% of Tunisian taxi drivers were/are Mukhabarat informers and a similar percentage of Hotel owners. The Mukhabarat also maintains/maintained an impressive network of informants throughout
Tunisia and extensively monitored all cell phone and internet-based communications.
The regime and the private interests that are closely intertwined with its very existence will now try to appease the crowds with promises of FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, and by coopting a few moderate left-wing opposition figures from the many political leaders in exile.
France supported Ben Ali to the bitter end, and will now put its weight behind an "interim" government, providing Tunisian troops with weaponry and funding. France previously announced it was ready to send military advisors and special units to "help any new Tunisian government cope".
The old CDR regime will probably have to change its name, despite the presence of a few hard-core "loyalists", but the same nexus of corrupt politicians and financial interests intends to continue dominating the country, with French help.
France's role in Tunisian history has always been pivotal and will unfortunately remain so (the entire Tunisian elite was and is still being educated in Paris). I really hope Tunisian workers (either employed or unemployed) continue to push hard and manage to overthrow
the whole establishment.
So far the homes of corrupt businessmen have been set alight, those notoriously connected to the Ben Ali family. The Army now seems to have stopped such outbursts.