Tunisian left organises

Submitted by Matthew on 2 March, 2011 - 12:43

Loumamba, an activist in the Ligue de la Gauche des Travailleurs (Left Workers’ League), spoke to Ed Maltby

There are around 100 in the LGT; it was re-founded recently. Our major implantation is in grassroots unions organising in education, the post, phosphate mining, petrochemicals.

There is a struggle within the revolution between a moderate current and a radical current. We are co-ordinating this latter current, which has been mobilised by radical left activists and which has existed for a long time.

Popular committees still exist in towns and villages and they are protecting the gains of the revolution.

It is as if we are in the period before the formation of the Kerensky Government. Mohamed Ghannouchi [prime minister, who resigned on 27 February, after this interview] and his lot are part of the old regime. There are liberals and bourgeois democrats in the government, but the masses are not represented in the government.

The situation in the [left] Front of 14 January is dynamic. For the moment the politics which dominate it are the politics of the Marxist left. The nationalists, Nasserites, Ba’athists and others have come over to us. We have not changed our position. We have made a common front with them to fight fundamentalism in the past.

The programme of the Front is for the elimination of the remnants of the old regime, for a “government of national salvation”; for a constitutional council; and a programme of struggle against poverty and unemployment. If the masses follow us we want to deepen this political process towards socialist or anti-capitalist politics.

In local committees each LGT activist intervenes as a militant of the LGT and not as a militant of the Front.

Ennahdha (the Islamists) are an imminent threat. They attacked a red-light district. They have killed a Christian priest. They have attacked a synagogue. A demonstration of about 5,000 was organised in response. A counter-demonstration for Islamism of about 100 took place.

Ennahdha present themselves as moderate partners for the new liberal Tunisia; they say they accept democracy, but their activists are doing something else.

They are not strong enough to crush the workers’ movement. They are not as strong as in Egypt. They have a presence in the UGTT, but they are not dominant.

They could not take power in elections — but perhaps they could do well with alliances. But I don’t know who with. Perhaps with the remnants of the RCD or the liberals.

No-one in the Tunisian left has illusions in the Islamists as a progressive force.

If we only succeed in transforming the bourgeois dictatorship into a bourgeois democracy, then that is a failure.

The army does not play a political rôle in Tunisia and never has. There is no threat of an army takeover.

The army will take up a position within bourgeois democracy. In a confrontation between the workers’ movement and a bourgeois democracy, we know which side they will be on.

• More: www.workersliberty.org/world/tunisia

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