The developments are too rapid to have much considered to say but it seems clear that there are new features to this uprising.  The role of Wikileaks in showing that the US diplomats didn’t view the political economy of the place much differently than the people in the street.   Nor is this a “colour revolution” of the type from the mid 2000s — it’s not that organized or branded.  And for the first time in a long time, a decision for European and Arab governments about government legitimacy in their own backyard — and how to handle graceful retirement for the former incumbent.  At least two imponderables: the reaction of overseas Tunisians, who would have been forgiven for wondering if things would ever change, and the spillover to Egypt, where some of the political features are similar and succession is already, obliquely, in the air.

1 thought on “Tunisia

  1. “…Perhaps the greatest fear among the political elite is that the social explosion in Tunisia and Algeria will ignite similar protests in Egypt—the giant of the region. Its population of 77 million is more than twice that of other North African countries and it is much poorer than either Tunisia or Algeria. Some 44 percent of the population live on less than $2 a day and free market economic measures have widened the gulf between rich and poor. Last year there were significant political demonstrations against the long-running state of emergency.”

    “The concessions that have been made have little substance. Even as Ben Ali was promising to release prisoners, the leader of the Workers’ Communist Party of Tunisia, Hamma Hammami, was abducted from his home. No one should have any faith in the good intentions of corrupt regimes, which have consistently maintained their rule by police state methods. Instead, every effort should be made to spread the protests internationally. There is no reason to confine them within borders that were the arbitrary creation of colonialism.”

    The social explosion in Tunisia and Algeria and the murderous response of both governments demonstrates once again the inability of the national bourgeoisie to secure genuine liberation from imperialism, or to even begin to meet the democratic and social aspirations of the workers and peasants. Instead, Tunisia has remained closely tied to France, its former colonial master, and is run as a fiefdom of the “First Family”. Algeria, which gained its independence through a bitter liberation struggle led by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), has ended up as a no less repressive and exploitative regime. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may still invoke the memory of past struggles, but only so as to legitimise the bourgeoisie’s monopoly over the country’s oil and natural gas wealth while the people starve….”–Ann Talbot


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