Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Tossing Out the Tyrants:
What's Next for the Unfinished Revolutions?
By Monica Hill
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, April 11, 2011
Insurrection thundering out of North Africa and the
Middle East has quickened the hearts of rebels everywhere.
not possible to predict whether the fearless protesters in 20 or more
countries can transform revolt into revolution. It depends on whether
radical workers parties can chart the course to socialist democracy in the
coming months. If so, the outraged masses will have tools to defeat
Right now, every victory, leap of consciousness, new
leader and anti-capitalist organization is a giant stride forward.
Conditions defy settling for reform.
The gap between the haves
and have-nots throughout North Africa and the Middle East is far too wide
for mere reform. A tiny few control the wealth — be they kings, colonels,
ayatollahs or “elected” businessmen — while masses strain against
relentless poverty, corruption and callous governments. Hardest hit? The
youth, who are a majority of the populations and heavily unemployed. And
the women, Muslim and Christian, who toil in vast “informal” economies to
feed their children, while combating feudalistic barbarities against
themselves. Police-state repression is pervasive and well armed with
costly weaponry purchased from the USA.
Imperialism has played no
small part in causing and sustaining these putrid conditions. Since the
discovery of oil in Iran before World War I, Western colonial powers made
certain they controlled oil production and transport in the region.
Through military invasions and genocidal occupations, looting natural
resources, forcing treaties, re-drawing borders, and installing arbitrary
new states and puppet monarchies, Europe created territorial colonies that
fueled the affluence and power of its industrial ruling class.
After World War II, the United States became top-dog imperialist over an
evolved economic colonialism, now administered by the U.S. and European
bankers through the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Neoliberal
economic policies over the last three decades — supplemented by outright
wars — have reduced resource-rich developing countries such as Iraq and
Egypt to debt-laden dependency. The global economic meltdown in 2008
further enriched big business and deepened misery for employed and
unemployed workers in the Arab world, as everywhere.
East and North Africa, with their immense oil reserves and strategic
position between Europe, Asia and Africa, have been pivotal to the
continued reign of the USA. For decades, it has allied with dictatorships
in the region to keep a lid on popular rebellion. Now those lids are
When Tunisians roared “Enough!” last December, they
ignited widespread rebellion. They revived the defiance of Iranians who
took to the streets over a year ago against tyranny. They fired up
Palestinians whose West Bank and Gaza rulers tried to clamp down on
Heading for socialism.
The waves of protesters
in country after country know that ejecting tyrants is not enough. “The
regime’s head has been cut off,” said a Tunisian trade unionist and
history teacher, “but the beast is still breathing.” Many Egyptians know
their military cannot be trusted. Libya’s rebel civilian army is wary of
supposed deserters from Gadhafi‘s army, whom they only take weapons and
Many protesters are young, jobless men and women
with nothing to lose, enraged at police brutality, political corruption
and lack of personal freedom, eager to spread the insurgency. Young
Tunisian demonstrators in the impoverished town of Kasserine contacted
Algerian youths — via Internet — on how to stage their own revolt in
Many of the street militants are experienced
rank-and-file labor activists, often also conducting strikes. Others have
lived through nationalist revolutions that settled for capitalist
“democracy,” which then turned into police states in Egypt, Tunisia,
Algeria, Libya, Palestine, Iran, and Iraq.
upsurge verifies the concept of permanent revolution, a key Marxist theory
that comes from studying earlier revolutions — successful and failed. It
teaches that today, even democratic rights are not possible without a
socialist revolution. Why? Capitalism, which requires profit above all
else, is incapable of providing the basic rights and needs of working
people because they’re not profitable. Decent jobs, ethnic and religious
equality, secular government, women’s emancipation, freedom from
imperialist and police brutality, universal education and voting rights,
free speech and the right to unionize — these democratic demands require a
whole new kind of society.
Revolutionary parties a must.
Protesters on streets and rooftops in the last months are in fact
competing for state power against forces determined to go backward.
Material conditions and history vary widely from country to country. But
everywhere, revolutionary workers parties are necessary to seize power.
They teach the lessons of history, train and provide professional
organizers and labor leaders, popularize political goals, and take a lead
in planning campaigns.
The Egyptian Left is already forming new
parties and coalitions. The same is surely taking place in other
countries, though little information is available. This process must
continue in order to complete what’s begun. Demonstrators are targeting
army and police stained with blood and crimes against the people. In
Tunisia they have dismantled the regime’s despised secret police. In
Egypt, they’re raiding state security police offices for torture files.
Notorious police stations are being burned down in several countries.
In Libya a volunteer civilian army battles Gadhafi’s soldiers and
mercenaries. In Egypt rank-and-file workers build unions and federations
independent of the regime, and conduct strikes. Volunteers everywhere
fight, care for wounded, stoke protests, and debate what to do next. In
many towns and cities, protesters are setting up committees to run
workplaces, neighborhoods, schools.
Women workers and
demonstrators are demanding that their issues and leadership not be sold
out as in earlier revolts. Equal rights for immigrant workers will be
needed, as well as agrarian reform in countries with a landless peasantry.
Nationalizing banks under workers’ control and canceling debts to
imperialist bankers is no doubt on agendas.
These great strides
need a democratic, accountable revolutionary party to carry through such
historic fundamental changes.
Role of U.S. radicals.
corporate media and its handlers are desperately trying to figure out how
to stop the revolutions, feigning “concern” while they do it. Here in the
U.S., revolutionaries have a special responsibility to expose our
We should call on the international labor
movement and anti-imperialist countries to provide humanitarian aid and
arms to the embattled pro-worker forces resisting tyrants and mercenaries.
We must explain why supporting intervention from empires is like asking
the Tea Party to help public workers in Wisconsin.
U.S. and other
imperialists — Hands off North Africa and the Middle East!
military intervention or aid to Arab dictators!
All power to North
Africa and the Mid East workers!
Free political prisoners!
This article was also published by the Freedom Socialist newspaper,
Vol. 32, No. 2, April-May 2011
Contact Monica Hill at