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(en) France, Organization Alternating Current OC #223 - LIBYA Completing the Revolution (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 25 Nov 2012 09:35:09 +0200


Recent events in the Arab world and North Africa, appointed by the journalists "Arab Spring", clearly showed, for nearly two years of movement, a "change" is possible in a society where corruption by sclerotic people want and pay the price, but also that "change" does not guarantee the satisfaction of popular demands, encompassed within the term "change." ---- Change has taken place in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria soon: change of regime or government, change of constitution, as change in the ruling families both politically and economically, and in speeches in the media with the opportunity to finally be able to give a clean sweep in 40 years of repression, humiliation and misery. These are popular movements and spontaneous that created the conditions for "change", the price has been heavy but the motivation to revolt did not fail and fail yet.

These claims are neither ambiguous nor opaque or unclear, they are clearly expressed: bread and air, work and freedom with all that goes with it, on the right to health, housing, education, transportation, information, etc.. This is not the first time that the Arab peoples are rising up to these claims and December 17, 2010 is a date among others. The magnitude of the events that took place in the Arab countries can not be explained by a single reason or under the light of a single point of view. Multiple factors, discussed in various analyzes published in the media and other areas of communication, such as the strength of the repression by the state and its ferocity against peaceful demonstrations, but also the strong desire of the population to freedom and democracy, denial of unemployment and poverty that affect a large part of the population, it may be sufficient to explain the explosion of anger and determination of the people want to bring down regimes installed in power for decades without explaining why the company has succeeded with the departure of executives and fall of regimes.

Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria Despite the complexity of Arab societies and the differences that may exist between Tunisia and Yemen, between Egypt and Libya, Bahrain, Syria, etc.., it is undeniable that the movement of were spontaneous and popular protest, largely inspired by the Tunisian revolt, with nuances for each country, where people have respectively a thousand reasons to rebel and seek to improve their living conditions. We first note the similarities and differences in the sequence of events and their outcome in Tunisia and Egypt, Libya and Syria. Thus, there is a relatively rapid departure of Ben Ali (Tunisia), Mubarak (Egypt). On January 14, a month after the outbreak of the Tunisian revolt of December 17, 2010, Ben Ali was already on a plane leaving for Saudi Arabia on Mubarak resists 18 days before throwing in the towel and go on leaving the keys in the army. Its side Gaddafi refuses to leave him and it took six months of intensive bombing of NATO planes and ultimately his murder October 20, 2011 for regime change in Libya. His alter ego, Bashar al-Assad in Syria continues to resist the fault of NATO bombers that are slow to respond to obvious geostrategic reasons.

Another similarity between the Tunisian revolt-ing and Egyptian-ing is in the form of peaceful popular movement, the strength of street protests, the peaceful occupation of public spaces in cities, strikes and work stoppages and multiple long-term in the country. In contrast to Libya, with the militarization of the protest, which took place in the early days, it is a minority of the population that continues the war against the regime until its fall. In Syria, there was the willingness and expressed early in March 2011 riots, act peacefully despite the fierce repression, seeing what happened in Libya and not wanting to experience the same thing. Despite this, September 29, 2011 was declared the official formation of the Free Syrian Army. Since that time it's war between two armies, one side free Syrian army supported and financed by Turkey, Qatar and the NATO countries and other Syrian army aided by the Iran and Russia. The balance of the war in Libya is estimated at 50,000 dead and we can count almost as Syria, not to mention the destruction of both countries and the proliferation of weapons at all street corners.

Political regimes A third important finding from these two blocks Tunisia and Libya-Egypt-Syria is the difference of political regimes. For the first two regimes are "democratic" facade with elected parliaments, political parties, relative freedom of the press and media, a liberal economic system supporting a savage capitalism concentrated in the hands of a few businessmen from the ruling families of Ben Ali and Mubarak or close to the regime. The political system in Libya is based on a totalitarian regime concentrating all power in the hands of Gaddafi and his son, military, economic and security that leaves no room for civil society to organize themselves into associations, unions or political parties. Syria is another scheme based on a historical party, the Baath Party who reigns over the fate of Syria since 1963. Assad family took the reins of the party in 1970 when General Hafez al-Assad seized power and remained there until his death in 2000. He was replaced by his son Bashar who decides at the time a liberalization policy, it will be the "Damascus Spring." Due to the nature of these two types of plans, Libya and Syria, the army is at the heart of the structure of the State, under the control of the two leaders. Unlike what happens in Tunisia and Egypt, where the army was a powerful institution, especially in Egypt, and relatively autonomous vis-à-vis political power. This is the fourth element that plays an important role in the events of 2011. The two totalitarian regimes have not allowed the emergence of social struggles, nor the formation of unions which explains the absence of a labor movement, even embryonic Libya and Syria. Add to that the majority of workers in Libya are migrant workers who have fled the country since the beginning of events to precisely Tunisia and Egypt to escape the bombing and war.

Social struggles differences discussed in these revolutionary processes show that the balance of power is not the same in both cases. Which accelerated the fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian is the involvement and the strong presence of male and female workers in the dispute. These plans have realized that they could not withstand millions of workers angry over the country and they remember the events of al-Mahalla al-Kubra in Egypt and in Tunisia Gafsa, two moments of paramount importance the class struggle which prepared for at least five years, the field of revolt. Gafsa region, located in east-central Tunisia near the coast tourism is a poor region of 330 000 inhabitants, underdeveloped and neglected, unemployment is the highest in the country, which does not benefit the financial fallout from the extraction of phosphate mining which is the main activity in the region. Since independence is a hotbed of revolt and protest and was the scene of an attempted coup failed in 1980 which resulted in the execution of 11 members of the commando. In 1988, after organizing a recruitment of workers whose results were rigged, a revolt broke out workers with strikes, arrests and trials and will result in an acute awareness of class struggle as workers understand that the struggle is the only way to get something of that State which occupies more distant comfort of tourists appalling conditions of work in the mining area. This move triggered a dynamic struggle that extends to other areas in the South where several strikes and demonstrations took place between other border areas with Libya, where thousands of people live more or less tolerated smuggling and very random function fluctuating relations between the two countries. The Tunisian working class is organized and structured in the powerful union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT), established before independence. This union is considered the only one in the Arab world was not created by the government, even if the independence he sided with the political establishment, it remains relatively listening to the noise the street and the workers' demands. During the events of 2011, when there was no clear position of the union leadership, however many locals called to join the demonstrations or strikes. It is clear that the balance of power has shifted in favor of the street, despite the repression and the stubbornness of the state, prompting the army to advise, or perhaps even forcing Ben Ali to his bags January 14, 2011.

Al-Mahalla al-Kubra, Egypt, is located 110 km north of Cairo and 120 km from Alexandria on the Nile Delta, this is a working town, headquarters of the Egyptian textile company which employed 27,000 workers in 2006. Since its inception in 1928 the state enterprise is at the heart of many revolts seen working conditions, housing, health and safety at work. Major strikes took place in 1947.1975, 1985 and 1986. The last major strike took place in December 2006 to require a year-end bonus in the amount of two months' salary in accordance with a decision of the Prime Minister and the introduction of a minimum wage. The strike was developed over two years until its peak in 2008 with the creation of dozens of committee support and solidarity with the people. It is in this context that we have developed the movement Kifaya (Enough!)-Egyptian Movement for Change was created in 2004 - and the group on April 6, name calling from 6 April 2008 for a general strike against price increases, cost of living and unemployment and in solidarity with the movement of textile workers. The strike turned into a riot in al-Mahalla al-Kubra harshly repressed by the police but he managed to break the taboo of fear and the myth of a peaceful Egypt, it is this opportunity, for the first time, the large portrait of Mubarak was torn and trampled by protesters. The estimated number of participants are strikes between 2006 and 2009 at least two million workers. During the events of 2011, the workers of al-Mahalla al-Kubra actively participated in demonstrations, strikes and rallies, especially during demonstrations on 25 and 28 January. We can conclude logically that the events in Tunisia and Egypt erupted in a context of social unrest and a background of working class struggles going on for years.

But by the fall of the political class, rallied late to protest, took control and gave a coloration bourgeois factory worker to revolt advancing political claims as regime change, the introduction of a constitution and institutional reform; these claims have taken the place of workers' demands for better living conditions, higher wages, lower unemployment, basic rights to health, education and housing, by overshadowing. We understand why the working class has not been able to make every effort to struggle for many years and is manipulated by left political parties have always been allies of power and have never supported movements strikes, or the workers' demands.

Saud, Toulouse.
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