It has been two months since the glorious revolution of January 14. In this period the people have made important gains thanks to their struggle and sacrifices.
After bringing down the two governments of Ghanouchi, the Tunisian people were able to impose their demand for a constituent assembly, the dissolution of the ‘Democratic Constitutional Union’ and of the political police. They also won great progress in freedom of expression, organisation, meetings and demonstrations. But despite all this, the revolution has only gone half way and great dangers hang over it, dangers that grow day by day.
Power is not in the hands of the people who rose up against tyranny, exploitation and corruption, it continues in the hands of the reactionary forces, which, through the provisional presidency and the transition government, are trying to take control of the revolution and to reduce it to a simple whitewashing of the old regime. Mbaza and Beji Kaid Sebssi are not controlled, they have refused to recognize the ‘National Council to Safeguard the Revolution’ to avoid any control; on the contrary, they have set up a consultative authority whose members they themselves have appointed.
Mbazaa and Beji Kaid Sebsso have accepted the election of a constituent assembly but it is they who have set the date of the elections without taking the interests of the people into account. On the other hand, the dissolution of RCD* has not prevented its reconstitution under the guise of new parties and organizations linked to them, such as the “National Union of the Tunisian Woman.” It has been shown that the dissolution of the political police has been just a pure formality because they continue to exist; they carry out repression and torture, surveillance, tapping telephone calls, blocking the Internet… Some of their most notorious people are occupying high positions in the Ministry of the Interior, those responsible for murders and tortures have not been bothered in the least.
Threats as in the times of the old regime have reappeared, under the pretext of the ‘fight against violence and disorder.’ The police have repressed ‘sit-ins’ in the Kasbah and in Mahdia. Speeches that distort the aspirations of the citizens about security, to the detriment of social and political problems, are multiplying with the aim of turning aside the revolution.
In spite of the suspension of the Constitution, the laws against liberties are still in effect: those against the press and on associations, parties, meetings and demonstrations. Those laws must be repealed and be replaced by decrees that guarantee liberties, to avoid serious problems for the people.
The administration continues to be under the control of the members of the tyranny and corruption of the ‘Destour’,** and they dominate various governmental posts. They have renewed the old practices that oppress the population; they marginalise the Committees to Safeguard the Revolution on the local and regional level and try to eliminate them.
The economic and financial situation is similar; those responsible for robbing the people, the accomplices of the criminal gang, continue in power as if nothing had happened. The justice system, undermined by corruption, has also not changed, as the Magistrates Association confirms. The media are still under the yoke of the henchmen of the Ben Ali regime and continue to function in the same way. There has not been any advance in the plans to prosecute and condemn the representatives of the tyranny and corruption, including those who assassinated the martyrs of the revolution in Sidi Bouzid, Menzel Buzaiane, Regueb, Thala, Kasserine, Tunis and other regions. Members of the circle close to Ben Ali have returned and are continuing their provocative activities.
In the economic sphere, the transitional government has not shown any will to take urgent measures, in this decisive period, to benefit the popular classes. The majority of the population, particularly in the marginalised areas, feels that there has been no change in their situation, which is very critical. Unemployment and the high cost of living continue, the public services are being cut back and the government has not shown any will to face these difficulties.
The government is not making any concessions to the revolution; it does not even condemn the minority who carried out looting while relying on the despotism.
The government continues with the budget decided by the dictator Ben Ali last December, giving priority to paying back the foreign debt incurred by the old regime, and to finance its gigantic security apparatus. In spite of its provisional character, the government has not hesitated to incur new foreign debt, nor has it taken any measures to lower the prices of products and services under control of the monopolies of the members of the ruling gang. The families of the martyrs have not been compensated, and no measures have been decided in favour of the impoverished regions.
The government justifies its attitude by its provisional character under the pretext of ‘not having a magic wand’ to fix these problems…
However, it is the government that is preventing the prosecution and judgment of the gang that plundered the public money and confiscated public property. Besides, what is stopping them from suspending the repayment of the debt for some time, and using this to solve the problems of the people, as has been done in other countries? Why are the prices of basic foods, water and electricity not lowered? Why has it not eliminated the tax on television? Why does it not give any aid to the inhabitants of Sidi Bouzid so that they can provide electricity for their wells? Why does it not implement the proposals of the teachers to hire the unemployed with advanced degrees?
The Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia emphasizes the dangers that threaten the revolution, because it assumes its responsibilities. The people have the right to use all legal means to defend their revolution and their gains, to confront the dangers that threaten them, they have the right to fight against the government that restricts their liberties and tries to reduce their activities to debates in the ‘high authority.’
This period demands that the revolutionary process be deepened in order to obtain its objectives:
1. To maintain the National Council to Safeguard the Revolution, both as an instrument for control of the provisional presidency and watch over the transition period.
2. To postpone the election of the Constituent Assembly until after the summer, to allow the people to vote conscientiously, and for the political forces to prepare themselves well.
3. To prevent the ringleaders of the RCD from organising themselves into new parties.
4. The effective and transparent dissolution of the political police and the prosecution of the torturers, murderers and looters.
5. To clean up the public and semi-public administration by eliminating corruption and the representatives of the repression.
6. To clean up the judicial institutions and allow the magistrates to choose their Superior Council.
7. To clean up the news media, getting rid of the elements of the regime that was eliminated.
8. To repeal the repressive laws and respect the rights of the people to freedom of expression, meetings and demonstrations.
9. To immediately arrest the murderers of the martyrs and those responsible for crimes against the people, to judge the representatives of the old regime, to confiscate their property and their fortunes deposited abroad.
10. To suspend payment of the foreign debt for three years, and to use that money to create jobs and develop the marginalised areas. To refrain from incurring new loans that undermine the independence of our country.
11. To lower the prices of basic consumer products, of water, electricity, gas and the elimination of the tax on TV.
12. To urgently compensate the families of the martyrs and the victims of repression and looting during the revolution and during the events in the mining river basin, in Ben Guerdane, etc.
Communist Party of the Workers of Tunisia
March 31, 2011
* The party of the dictator Ben Ali.
** Destour: Former party established in Tunisia in the 1920s that later
split into the ‘old’ and the ‘new.’ The ‘New Destour’ led the struggle
for the independence of Tunisia, headed by Habib Bourgiba.
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