This past Saturday, 17th December, marked the first anniversary of the Arab revolution. On this day, one year ago, Mohammad Bouazizi, a young Tunisian fruit vendor, driven by desperation, poverty, and anger, set himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid. The revolutionary wildfire that began after his death — first in southern Tunisia, then the entire country, then erupting across the entire Arab-speaking world—marked a turning point in human history.
One year later, it is clear that the revolution is by no means is over. The objective situation has never been as favourable for the revolution as now; however, a revolution is not a one act drama. The carnival atmosphere that transcended the early days of the revolution is being replaced by a more serious acknowledgement that more is needed to solve the main contradictions.
Mohammad Bouazizi has been recognized as the first martyr of the Arab revolution. His short life, a story of daily struggle against unemployment, poverty, misery and an oppressive and corrupt state apparatus can be recognized by millions of young Arabs.
Being the sole provider for his family of 9 since the age of 16, Bouazizi struggled to make a living as a fruit vendor. Having all job applications rejected, he even tried to enlist in the army, but to no avail. According to friends and family, local police officers had targeted and mistreated Bouazizi for years, including during his childhood, regularly confiscating his small wheelbarrow of produce; but Bouazizi had no other way to make a living, so he continued to work as a street vendor.Six months before his attempted suicide, police sent a fine for 400 dinars ($280) to his house—the equivalent of two months’ of earnings.
On 17 December, 2010, he had contracted approximately US$200 in debt to buy the produce he was to sell. A policewoman confronted him on the way to market, alleging he did not have a vendor’s permit—which is not even required by law. But Bouazizi did not have any funds to bribe the officer. She returned to take his scales from him, but Bouazizi refused to hand them over. They swore at each other, the policewoman slapped him, spat in his face, confiscated his electronic scales, and tossed aside his produce cart. Then, with the help of her colleagues, they forced him to the ground where they beat him up.
Publically humiliated, Bouazizi went to the local municipality and demanded a meeting with an official. He was told that the official was in a meeting. He then bought a can of gasoline and returned to the municipal office. While standing in the middle of traffic, he shouted “how do you expect me to make a living?” He then doused and set himself alight with a match.
Accident and necessity
This act of desperation was not isolated, but actually one in a wave of self-immolations that had swept through the Maghreb in the previous years. Bouazizi’s death sparked the Arab revolution, not due to any exceptional trait in Bouazizi, but because the millions of workers and poor throughout the Arab world, who were suffering under the same conditions, could no longer tolerate their plight.
In fact, what they are unconsciously revolting against is the capitalist system, which is no longer capable of giving the most basic concessions to the masses. The totalitarian regimes of the region are themselves merely an expression of the contradiction between the high development of the productive forces and the aspirations of the masses to use this to develop and raise their living standards on one side, and the organic incapability of the system to develop society and reach those possibilities on the other.
During the boom years at the end of the nineties up until 2008, an increasingly small ruling minority, together with their masters in Europe and United States, were hauling in billions of dollars in the Arab world. Ben Ali, Gadhafi, Assad and Mubarak—all leaders of the counter-revolution against the colonial revolution of the post-war period—were all praising the wonders of capitalism. Treating their countries like their own private fiefdoms, they were overseeing an all-out sale of the state-owned industry that for the majority of the countries was the crown jewel of the national-democratic revolutions.
Capitalism was indeed in a boom during that period, but for the masses it had nothing to offer but increased exploitation and at best, increased debt. The Arab countries have the highest unemployment rates in the world; according to the UN, 40% of the people here live for less than $2 a day.
The heroic youth of the Arab world have put themselves at the forefront of the revolution and shown immense self-sacrifice. The reason is not hard to imagine; the Arab youth do not have much to lose. More 60 per cent of the 350 million Arabs in the world are under 30. A great majority of these have slim prospects of finding jobs or building a prosperous future. Youth unemployment is about 40% and in some regions it reaches 80%. The BBC reports that in 2005, there were 700,000 new graduates in Egypt, but only about 200,000 jobs for them to fill.
On top of the daily day struggle for existence, the heavy suppression of democratic rights and the colossal scale of corruption weighed like a mountain on all social relations. Before the Arab revolution began, a thick fog of depression, pessimism and desperation covered the streets of the Arab world.
These are the real reasons for the eruption of the Arab revolution. But for bourgeois empiricists this is a closed book. For them history is nothing but a chain of random events. We, along with millions of workers and youth, honour the memory of Mohammad Bouazizi. Yet in objective terms, we understand that he was an accidental figure, preceded by innumerable men and women who in one way or the other lost their lives to the totalitarian regimes who have long ruled over the Arab world. The conditions for revolution were ripe had been prepared by a whole period of capitalist development. By the time Bouazizi committed suicide, the kindling was already ready, and only a spark was needed to set it ablaze.
What has been achieved?
Once on the move, the revolution was unstoppable. There is no need here to go into all details of the revolution, which have been analysed extensively elsewhere. However, it is important to take note of its main achievements. Initially, it swept across the whole of the Arab world in a colossal show of force. In less than a month, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s dictator for 24 years, was overthrown by an uprising of the masses and the mobilization of the working class. For the first time in modern Arab history, a dictator had been overthrown by a popular revolution. This event sent shock waves throughout the Arab world, showing the way forward for the masses in all countries.
The depressed atmosphere had left the streets and millions of young men and women, workers and poor, full of confidence, had filled the void. Less than a month later, the second dictator had been overthrown, this time in the largest and most important country of the region. The whole situation in the Middle East and North Africa had changed. Enormous oppressive machines, that only weeks ago seemed all-powerful, were collapsing, or at the very least, reduced to mere spectators as the masses demonstrated their power on the streets.
The ideas that have been put forward by western media for decades—that the Arab masses are backward people who inherently seek to live under some kind of medieval religious dictatorship—were completely exposed. On the contrary, what the world witnessed was the pathetic and hypocrite nature of the western capitalism.
Those who for years had been complaining about the undemocratic nature of the Arabs were suddenly lined up behind the same dictatorships they had been condemning in public for years. Barack Obama’s television appearance, in which he, in so many words, did his best not to call for the fall of the Mubarak regime, was the most pathetic example of many.
The Arab revolution truly drew the class lines in society, not only in the Middle East, but across the world. Two camps came more clearly into view. In the first, you had the totalitarian regimes of the Arab world and western capitalism, which was manoeuvring to stop the tide of the mass movement; on the other, you had the exploited masses, united across religious, national and ethnic lines, standing up against oppression and misery.
In light of these events, the so-called theory of the “clash of civilisations” was exposed as 100% false. This idea, put forward by Samuel Huntington, argued that the time of class struggle was over, and that in the future, the “clash of cultures” would decide the course of history. This unscientific and reactionary idea had been one of the pillars of bourgeois ideology in the last two decades.
The revolution swept all these ideas and prejudices aside, shaking the bourgeois rule to its foundation. But its most important achievement was to plant the idea of mass revolutionary action in the minds of millions of workers and poor around the world. Here at last was a tactic that actually succeeded in toppling the hated dictatorships!
The revolution achieved more in the course of a few weeks than all the NGOs, reformists, or their terrorist counterparts in the Middle East have achieved over the whole of the last 40 years.
For decades, the leaders of the desperate Palestinian masses have channelled the struggle for independence into the path of terrorism without achieving anything but the strengthening the Zionist state in Israel. But all these tendencies were decimated overnight by the great sweep of the revolution.
The “reformists” and NGOs, who for decades were petitioning for crumbs off the table of the Arab rulers, were reduced to childish Utopians caught in the past. Immediately after the first mass eruptions all the hardened dictatorships were suddenly softening up.
In Jordan, in an attempt to appease the masses, King Abdullah has promised some “reforms”, particularly on a controversial election law. The Prime Minister also announced $550 million of new subsidies for fuel and basic products such as rice, sugar, livestock and cooking gas. He also announced a wage rise for civil servants and security personnel.
In Syria, the government announced subsidies and aid for the poor. Teachers have been granted interest-free loans for laptops, while some public officials were charged with corruption in the city of Aleppo. In addition, two million government workers were granted a 17 per cent pay raise in a desperate attempt to hold off the rising tide of discontent.
Kuwait’s emir, Sheik Sabah al Ahmed al Sabah, ordered 1,000 dinars (£2,260) in grants and free food coupons for every Kuwaiti. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has promised about $93bn (£60bn) for more government sector jobs and services. Qatar has announced pay and benefit hikes of 60% for public employees and up to 120% for some military officers.
But more important than anything, the masses—especially in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya—have affirmed democratic rights that the old regimes would never allow. Although not officially implemented as laws, freedom of speech, organisation and assembly have been de facto established in these countries.
The attempts of Egypt’s SCAF to declare strikes as illegal during the spring completely fell apart since no one was paying attention to the laws and decrees in this respect.
One could argue—although there is still a long way to go—that some degree of democracy has been achieved in the countries where the revolution was victorious in its first phases. But democracy for the masses is nothing but the means to an end. Democratic rights are not worth the paper they are written on if they do not lead to a better quality of life. The worker who has fought for a voice and an organisation will use these tools to organise and demand a higher wage from his boss. This is exactly the process we have been witnessing.
Although on the surface everything has changed, it is equally true to say that objectively speaking, nothing fundamental has yet changed. The old state apparatus is still intact, and the economy is still dominated by the rulers who were thought to have been defeated. However, this is a powder keg just waiting to explode again. The economic situation has not improved. In Egypt, for example, affected by the world economic crisis and the instability that has followed the revolution, the economy is in decline.
Demand for Egyptian workers declined by 54 per cent in October compared to the same period last year, according to the Labour Demand Index. According to official data, Egypt’s unemployment rate rose to 11.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, its highest level in ten years – an increase from 8.9 per cent the year before.
On the basis of these realities, the workers and poor have mobilised again and again since the beginning of the revolution. In Egypt, in September alone, between 500,000 and 750,000 went on strike. Amongst those, the teachers, who played a significant role, demanded the sacking of the minister of education, investment in public education, a minimum wage for teachers of at least 1,200 Egyptian pounds per month, a school-building programme, and permanent contracts for fixed-term and supply teachers.
In Tunisia as well, the working class and the youth feel confident and are organizing through direct revolutionary action to achieve their aims.
Recently, the Union of Unemployed Graduates (UDC), who played a key role during the revolution, held its national meeting in Sousse with the participation of 500 people, representing thousands from all over the country. A joint demonstration with left-wing trade union activists managed to gather over 10,000 in Tunis on August 15, demanding jobs, social justice, and punishment for those responsible for the old regime.
The future is not going to be any more stable, not even in the countries where the dictators have been overthrown. On the contrary, exactly because the masses are confident in their own power, while the main contradictions have not been solved, the future will bring even more turmoil and yes—more revolutions.
The state and the revolution
After the initial phases of the revolution, during which all countries were more or less following the same path, the movements developed somewhat differently.
In Egypt and Tunisia, the revolution won initial but incomplete victories relatively quickly. A mood of euphoria spread amongst the masses, who had at long last broken the shackles of decades of oppression. They thought that Mubarak and Ben Ali’s downfall was enough to guarantee a stable development of society. Thus, the revolution left the old state apparatus intact.
Today this same apparatus is proving to be the biggest single obstacle for the revolution in both these countries. In Tunisia, there have been continuing clashes between the masses and the state apparatus, which is still in the hands of the men of the old regime.
In Egypt the situation is very similar. The army chose to turn against Mubarak, not because of the revolutionary spirit of the SCAF, but because they had no other option. If they had openly gone against the revolution, the military high-command would probably have lost control of the army. At best, they would have faced a civil war with no guarantee of winning. Instead, they chose to put themselves at the head of the revolution in order to derail it, and in order to prevent the dissolution of the state.
Today, the role of the SCAF is becoming clear to most Egyptians. While the top generals may also have a somewhat independent agenda, their main role today is the defence of the interests of old regime and Egyptian capitalism. Since the revolution, more than 12,000 revolutionaries have been incarcerated in military prisons and a systematic suppression of protests has taken place. During the last week of November, more than 40 were murdered and several thousand injured as the army tried to clear Tahrir square.
The state is not an impartial body of individuals who represent the whole of society. Marx and Engels explained many times that the state, in the last analysis, is nothing but “bodies of armed men” in defence of the property of the ruling class. The Egyptian and Tunisian workers are learning this lesson the hard way. Although the old dictators are gone, the state remains in place.
The bourgeois state—which represents the capitalist minority—must be replaced with a workers’ state representing the majority. Such a state would be based on democratically elected, accountable, and recallable committees of the workers in the factories and popular neighbourhoods, linked up at every level throughout the country.
In Suez, the state collapsed completely for four or five days after the fall of Mubarak. As in Tunisia earlier, revolutionary committees and armed checkpoints were established to defend the people. This shows yet again that soviets—i.e. workers’ councils—are not an arbitrary invention of the Marxists, but emerge spontaneously in any genuine revolution.
In Syria as well, revolutionary committees have sprung up across the country and are organising the general strikes and the on-going armed insurrection.
This poses the central question, that of the state. The old state power has been brought to its knees by the revolution. It must be replaced with a new power. There is a power in society that is stronger than any state. That power is the revolutionary people. But it must be organised. In both Egypt and Tunisia there were elements of dual power in the revolutionary committees. Entire cities and regions were taken over by these committees.
In Tunisia, the revolutionary organisation of the people went even further than in Egypt. These bodies, in many cases organised around the local structures of the UGTT trade unions, took over the running of all aspects of society in many towns and cities, and even in whole regions, after expelling the old, RCD regime and the local authorities. For all the talk of “chaos” and “lack of security” on the part of the ruling class, the fact is that working people organised themselves to guarantee order and safety; but this was a different type of order, a revolutionary order.
In Egypt, following the collapse of the police force on January 28, people stepped in to protect their neighbourhoods. They set up checkpoints, armed with knives, swords, machetes and sticks to inspect cars that were coming in and out. In some areas, the popular committees virtually took over the running of the town, even organizing the traffic. Here we have the embryo of a people’s militia—of an alternative state power.
As the revolution develops and sharpens in the future, these elements will arise again. An urgent task must be to link them up together on a regional and national basis and then to take power. Allowing the old state apparatus, the den of the counterrevolution, to continue its existence, only means allowing the old regime to manoeuvre and regroup in order to strike back at the revolution.
Libya and Syria
While the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia succeeded relatively quickly in overthrowing the dictators, the process took another route in Libya and Syria. One of the reasons for this was the intervention of the working class in the movement. In March, 2011, we wrote:
“In Tunisia, mass demonstrations forced Ben Ali into exile and overthrew the ruling party. That convinced many Egyptians that their regime might prove equally fragile. The problem was that Mubarak refused to go. Despite all the superhuman efforts and courage of the protesters the demonstrations failed to overthrow Mubarak. Mass demonstrations are important because they are a way of bringing the formerly inert masses to their feet, giving them a sense of their own power. But the movement could not have succeeded unless it was taken to a new and higher level. This could only be done by the working class.
“This reawakening of the proletariat was expressed in a wave of strikes and protests in recent years. This was one of the main factors that prepared the Revolution. It is also the key to its future success. The dramatic entry of the Egyptian proletariat on the stage of history marked a turning point in the destinies of the Revolution. That is what saved the Revolution and led to the overthrow of Mubarak. In one city after another the workers of Egypt organized strikes and factory occupations. They drove out the hated managers and corrupt trade union leaders.
“The revolution moved onto a higher level. It turned from a demonstration into a national insurrection. What conclusion must be drawn from this? Only this: that the struggle for democracy can be victorious only to the degree that it is led by the proletariat, the millions of workers who produce the wealth of society, and without whose permission not a light bulb shines, not a telephone rings and not a wheel turns.”
While some regimes can be overthrown by mere street demonstrations others cannot. Even in Egypt and Tunisia, the main deathblow came through the organised intervention of the working class in the form of a de facto general strike. The lack of such direct participation by the organised working class has been the main weakness of the Syrian and Libyan revolutions.
It should also be noted that both of these regimes had a different character than the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. Most importantly, both regimes had a certain social base due to their “left” leaning history. Gaddafi, as a result of his anti-imperialist rhetoric and the fact that the regime, which posed as “socialist” for a time, nationalizing the majority of the economy, and with vast reserves of oil and a small population, was able to provide a relatively high standard of living, health and education for the majority of the people.
In Syria as well, the Ba’ath regime built a certain social base. The Syrian regime in the past was based on a planned economy modelled on that of the former Soviet Union, which allowed for significant economic development in the 1960s and 1970s.
This, along with the fact that the workers didn’t come out as an organised force in the Libyan and Syrian revolutions, meant that the revolutions seemed to stagnate for a long while.
In Libya, the hijacking of revolution by the NTC and the imperialist intervention also pushed a significant layer of the masses into the hands of Gadhafi. But after months of civil war, the uprising of the masses in Tripoli caused the collapse of the regime. In Syria, we have not reached the same stage yet, but it is clear that the rule of Assad is over. The question is merely when and how. If the present movement is defeated, the regime might survive temporarily, but it will be a regime in severe crisis.
The immediate perspectives, however, are not for a defeat of the revolution. In fact, as these lines are being written, a general strike is developing in Syria spreading into the heart of the regime in Aleppo and Damascus. At the same time, the uprising continues across the country, and an increasing number of soldiers are defecting from the Syrian army. The regime was planning to focus all its forces on Homs in order to isolate it and break the neck of the revolution. But instead, it is being run over by the masses who correctly rise in defence of the revolution, but who also see the necessity for giving a death blow to the regime. So far, the strike movement has not yet touched on the main industrial plants and complexes—a development that is vital for the success of the revolution.
A call has been made for the revolutionary committees to take over all streets, starting from the small and continuing to the highways, in order to prevent the troops of the regime from moving. If this call materializes, power will in effect be suspended in mid-air waiting for someone to grab it. Eventually, the Assad regime will fall, but the question is: Who will follow?
The question of leadership
Whereas all the aforementioned revolutions have taken seemingly different paths, they all face the same question: what comes next?
Some so-called Marxists, who are in fact echoing the ideas of our old friend Samuel Huntington, are terrified by the threat of counter-revolution in the Arab world. They complain of the rule of the SCAF and the electoral rise of political Islam throughout the region. Some of them, who are actually the most consistent ones, have gone so far as to exclaim that the revolution should never have taken place.
This shows their utter ignorance of the laws governing the movement of the workers. The rise of forces such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the SCAF, more than anything else, is a reflection of the main weakness of the revolution—the lack of a clear revolutionary leadership.
The process that we are witnessing today in Egypt is one that we observe in all revolutions. Initially, the workers have power within reach or even actually in their hands, but they don’t know what to do with it. In the Russian and Spanish revolutions this process could be seen many times. Trotsky explains this in his foreword to The History of the Russian Revolution:
“The masses go into a revolution not with a prepared plan of social reconstruction, but with a sharp feeling that they cannot endure the old regime. Only the guiding layers of a class have a political program, and even this still requires the test of events, and the approval of the masses. The fundamental political process of the revolution thus consists in the gradual comprehension by a class of the problems arising from the social crisis—the active orientation of the masses by a method of successive approximations.”
The Russian workers, after overthrowing the tsar in February, had power in their hands, but they did not know what to do with it. Therefore, it slipped out of their hands and was taken by the provisional government. Having missed this opportunity, demoralisation spread through the masses, and in the months of July and August, reaction ruled over Russia, forcing the Bolshevik leaders to go into hiding.
However, beneath the surface, a new revolution was being prepared. The masses, who initially had great illusions in the provisional government, learned through their own experience that it could not even satisfy their most basic demands or provide the most basic forms of democracy. The Bolsheviks, through patient explanation, managed to connect their programme of socialist revolution with the movement of the masses. They explained that the Russian masses could only achieve their demands if they took power into their own hands.
In the Spanish revolution, the same situation was seen not once, but many times. The workers would rise again and again to defeat the counterrevolution. On many occasions, power was in the hands of the working class, but again and again, the leaders of the revolution would betray the movement and hand power to the bourgeoisie. The difference between the Spanish and Russian revolutions was that there was no Bolshevik party in Spain. The Marxists in Spain, due to their own mistakes, did not manage to build such an organisation in time, and thus lost the opportunity to help show the masses the path to victory.
In the Arab revolution, a similar process is taking place. In the absence of a truly revolutionary leadership, the movement will necessarily take a number of detours and learn through painful experience, through trial and error. The lack of strong workers’ organisations means that many workers have illusions in the Islamists or the liberals.
But this does not necessarily mean that the counter-revolution will be victorious. On the contrary, power in the hands of the bourgeois today in Egypt is a guarantee for future uprisings and revolutions. Why? Because the bourgeois will not be able to satisfy the aspirations of the masses.
Our good friends then point to the Iranian revolution of 1979, which was hijacked and defeated by Khomeini, as an example of why the revolution should not even be attempted. But what they forget to mention is that the defeat of the Iranian revolution only came after 4 years, in 1983. During those years, the workers had many opportunities to take power. The main obstacle was the Stalinist leaders of the revolution and the fact that no alternative leadership existed to take the movement further to its logical conclusion.
Today, the balance sheet in Tunisia and Egypt is as follows: The masses came out of the revolutions last spring with immense confidence in their own forces and with a deep mistrust in all established political forces. But at the same time, the lack of leadership means that a certain disorientation prevails along with the question what now? In other countries, the old rulers still remain officially in power, but they are resting on an infinitely small social base, and as such, are only surviving at the mercy of the revolution. Whatever initiatives they try to implement are met with stiff resistance from the masses
To claim today that the revolution has been defeated in Egypt, Tunisia or even in Libya is to display a completely distorted understanding of realities of revolution.
To think that the masses, who have tasted freedom, will just lie down and accept a counterrevolution without a struggle is pure delirium. On the contrary, with the present balance of forces, the counterrevolution would have very slim chances of succeeding in any kind of open standoff.
Our friends who see nothing but the dark forces of the Muslim Brotherhood forget the fact that the rank and file members of the organisation, at several points during the revolution, have stood in a 180 degree angle with the leadership. In the last week of November, this contradiction was displayed in the clearest form as thousands of ordinary Brotherhood members came to Tahrir in a lethal clash with the army, whose attacks on the people massed in the square was being backed by the leadership of the Brotherhood.
Even in Libya, where the counter-revolution is perhaps the strongest at present, any counter-revolutionary force that assumes power will at some point have to settle scores with the masses, who are confident and mobilised.
It would be a mistake to ascribe “supernatural” powers to the Islamists and other counterrevolutionary forces, which somehow allegedly allow them to stand above society and the class struggle. The main point to understand is that these forces are all different shades of bourgeois parties who all defend the rule of capital. But as long as they defend the rule of capital, they must accept the logic of capitalism. They must therefore defend the crisis of capitalism, which at present does not allow for even the smallest and most basic concessions to the masses.
If all this had happened ten years ago, they might have been able to consolidate some form of bourgeois democratic regimes. The boom in world capitalism would have given them some margin for manoeuvre. But now there is a profound crisis on a world scale. This is both the reason for the revolutionary ferment and the reason why it cannot easily be brought to an end. The capitalist system cannot offer anything to the masses. It can’t even provide jobs and a decent living standard in the USA and Europe. How can they hope to do it in Egypt?
What is to be done?
What we have witnessed in the last year was only the beginning of a protracted period of revolution and counterrevolution. The extreme weakness of the bourgeoisie on the one hand, and the lack of a revolutionary leadership with a mass base on the other, will prevent the revolution from reaching a rapid conclusion. Instead, what we are going to see is a series of unstable regimes succeeding each other.
We will see weak Bonapartist regimes like the SCAF regime in Egypt, but they will not be able to consolidate their rule. Before the last chapter of the revolution can be written, many more battles will have to be fought and many victories and defeats experienced.
The key to the whole process will be the working class. The workers have already shown glimpses of their strength. Due to their relationship to the means of production, the workers can paralyse any regime. But the strength of the workers is two-sided.
Not only are the workers the strongest force to bring down the old regime, but through their instinctive gravitation towards collectivism, they are also the most important element for the building of the future society. The strengthening of the organisation and political level of the working class will thus remain a crucial task for the revolution.
In the end, this comes back to the question of leadership. The main weakness of the revolution is the lack of a real mass revolutionary Marxist current, rooted in working class and the youth. Had such a leadership been present power could have been taken many times until now. There are no laws that exclude the possibility of building such a force in the heat of a revolution, but it is clear that we must have a sense of urgency in regards to this question.
The revolution has inspired millions of people around the world. It is merely enough to ask any individual if they can remember how the world was just 12 months ago. In the last year, mass movements have erupted in dozens of countries. Many of them have been directly inspired by the Arab revolution. In Madison, Wisconsin, hundreds of thousands took the streets with slogans like “fight like an Egyptian!” In Spain, Greece, and also in the world-wide Occupy movement, the occupation of central squares is a clear reference to the Arab revolution. Even in Israel, hundreds of thousands have been on the streets with signs such as “revolution until victory!” This yet again proves the underlying class nature and generalisation of the process.
In all corners of the world, the same process is going on, the process of the world crisis of capitalism. Similar processes lead to similar results. Thus, the Arab revolution is in a sense not an isolated Arab event at all, but the beginning a world revolution against the capitalist system, which is no longer able to provide even the most basic necessities for the majority of the earth’s population.
In this article we have only touched on the main countries of the Arab revolution. The fact is that all over the Arab world, with this or that peculiarity, the same revolutionary process is developing.
Many victories have been achieved and we must be aware of these victories. But we must also understand that the revolution is far from over. None of the main contradictions have been solved, and as long as the capitalist system continues, they will not be.
Mohammad Bouazizi was the first martyr of the revolution. But countless other men and women have since given their lives to defend it. The only way to honour their memories and ensure that their deaths were not in vain is to take the revolution to the end, to its logical conclusion – that is, to uproot the system which is shackling humanity from reaching its potential and replacing it with a socialist society.
Of course the future will bring defeats, there will be big defeats. But through those defeats the workers and youth will be steeled and on those defeats even bigger victories will be built. The army of revolution has never been larger, counter-revolution has never been weaker and the working class has never been stronger. There is neither time nor reason for pessimism. Our slogan must be:
Forward – Revolution untill final victory – Thawra Hatta’l Nasr!