Saturday, 16 January 2021

A “brief reply” on the revolts in North Africa

  • Category: Texts
  • Published: Wednesday, 22 June 2016 23:21

A German-speaking reader has asked us to “explain very briefly” our position on the “revolts in North Africa”.  Here is our “brief reply”.  We remind readers that we have devoted numerous articles to this issue over the past two years.

We consider that the economic crisis has sparked off the social movements occurring in North Africa.  The economic crisis did not come unexpectedly (in fact strikes and revolts have been happening in Tunisia and Egypt throughout the past few years) and is an integral part of the general crisis that capitalism is going through all over the world. Of course the crisis is becoming evident in every national segment of the bourgeoisie, according to the characteristics of individual states (“emerging” China is one thing, “powerful” North America is another, and “Old France” yet another, etc. etc.).  In countries located between North Africa and the Middle East, the crisis is making itself felt intolerably, with a rise in the general cost of living and especially in staple foods.  We therefore believe that the initial protagonists of the struggles were proletarians and the proletarianized masses (in their condition as the “class in itself”), inspired by economic factors, by hunger.

However, their energies have been used by the petit-bourgeoisie, in particular the urban and intellectual sectors.  These petit-bourgeois strata have taken advantage of the social agitation to deviate proletarian energies against the symbols and representatives of the régimes which, from decolonization up to the present, have controlled the States in this area.  From that point onwards, the proletariat has been under the sway of political and economic interests in conserving capitalism: it is used as a mass to be manoeuvered for one faction or the other, preparing, in the name of a more or less mature representative democracy (whether inspired by Islam or appearing as secular is of little importance), to replace the staff of the old regime. The proletarians and proletarianized masses have been promised, as usual, a smattering of welfare state.  Just how vain these promises are is demonstrated by the wave of flights and migrations, which have become more marked in correspondence with these waves of uprisings.     

Another factor that has been unleashed against these proletarian masses has been the intervention of the stronger imperialist States, which have taken advantage of the unstable situation, supporting the “rebels” in general and one “faction” or the other in particular, to recommence “sharing and dividing amongst themselves” this important area, rich in raw materials.  This is an intervention (quite evident in Libya and in Syria, though always with the due distinctions), which has an anti-proletarian function:  to deviate energy in a nationalist direction and prevent the merest possibility of a tiny seed of united proletarian front from sprouting, even if only at the economic level (i. e., defending material living conditions).

We also have to remember that the situation is in any case dynamic and that the real problems (those of hunger and lack of work) cannot be solved but only postponed (the latest events in Tunisia are proof of this).

We have no particular “illusions”:  we do not expect the proletarian and proletarianized masses alone to set first the economic struggles and then the social and political ones of our class moving again.  This recovery of the struggle will not be linear and progressive, either in this area or elsewhere:  there will be peaks and dips, explosions and implosions, advances and retreats, in areas far vaster than North Africa…  In this perspective, we have to work to restore the World Communist Party, which will be the only organ able to give perspective, continuity and a final objective to the reactions that the dynamics of the crisis could set off.

 International Communist Party

Il Programma Comunista

Kommunistisches Programm

The internationalist


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