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Dossier on Tunisian Revolution from ILC - 27 Jan 2011 (Articles published in Informations Ouvrieres, weekly newspaper of the Workers Party in France)

Dossier on Tunisian Revolution from ILC - 27 Jan 2011 (Articles published in Informations Ouvrieres, weekly newspaper of the Workers Party in France)

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Published by B. Ross Ashley

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Published by: B. Ross Ashley on Jan 28, 2011
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05/20/2012

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TUNISIA -- APPEALS FROM COMMITTEES TO DRIVE OUTTHE REGIME AND FOR A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLYPresentation
No, the Tunisian Revolution is not a matter of "jasmine," as the major mediawould have us believe. It is the work of the working class ... farm workers, youth,precarious workers, civil servants, the unemployed -- of an entire exploited andoppressed people.Ben Ali, the dictator, has fallen, but it is the regime of Ben Ali's party, theRassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique (RCD), that must leave.Everywhere, the protesters continue to chant, "Dissolve the RCD!"In many cities and many neighborhoods, the people formed committees todefend themselves against abuses. Those committees have since expanded innumber and broadened their scope, beginning to take over the tasks that hadbeen performed by the municipalities.In cities such as Kasserin, the mayor, officials and police -- who were allsubservient to the RCD and had crushed the population -- have fled. The city'speople's committee replaced them in power. In this movement, because of their experience and traditions, many UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers)activists and leaders are in these committees.No, the revolution in Tunisia is not a matter of "jasmine." It is the struggle of apeople for their emancipation. Therefore, we repeat once again: "To the Frenchand U.S. governments, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and EuropeanUnion: Hands Off the Tunisian Revolution!" --
Lucien Gauthier 
* * * * * * * * * *TESTIMONY
"The defense of the revolution requires the ouster of theRCD, its dissolution and the return to the people of all stolen property." 
-- Fathi* a resident of Kasserin, interviewed on Jan. 21, 2011
Question
: Can you describe the situation in the city today, which was one of thefirst to have started the fight to drive Ben Ali from power and to seek an end to
 
his regime?
Response
: First, what affected us the most is the high number of gunshotvictims. There were more than 50. The police fired at close range at the head or the heart, but the people resisted with stones and sticks. Cops were killed andwounded. At one point, the army came between us and the cops. We welcomedthem with joy. The same thing happened in several cities, such as Regueb. BenAli sacked his military staff after this.After the withdrawal of the special forces, the city could turn and function withoutthe presence of the state apparatus, which had also fled. At Kasserin, we havebeen in a situation of permanent, open general strike for 15 days. It was theUGTT activists that pushed for the formation of a committee that has, in fact, aregional character and makes decisions in the absence of the administration.The union activists are the backbone of the administration of the population, butthey don't try to to direct things. It's the local committee, which is basically astrike committee, that makes all the decisions. What is certain is that the RCD isno longer wanted; no one wants to see their faces anymore. What is thestrongest thing is the huge degree of solidarity that exists here.During the most difficult days, the bakeries distributed bread for free and we alltook to the street to chase off Ben Ali's police.
Question
: How have you reacted to the return of "opponents" to the regime?And isn't calling today for a presidential election counterposed to calling for aConstituent Assembly?
Response:
There is great mistrust amongst the population of all political parties.We do not want to be taken over by someone who is looking to benefit hiscareer. That is why the visit by Moncef Marzouki [a Ben Ali opponent whoreturned from exile in France -- Ed.] was not well-received by the people. His tripwas staged in conjunction with the Islamists. He came to see Kasserin, but leftimmediately because we refused to go along with his political plans.Why should he be president? To repeat the same thing but with moredemocracy? In Kasserin, our committee is demanding a Constituent Assemblybecause it is through this means that the people can retain control of therevolution.
Question
: And now, what are the people's expectations?
Response
: There will be a march of the Kasserin committee to Tunis, along with
 
all the other committees in Tunisia.The defense of the revolution requires the ouster of the RCD, its dissolution andthe return to the people of all stolen property. As soon as the Kasserincommittee's appeal was adopted, the people flocked to get a copy of the leaflet,to the point that traffic stopped. Everyone wanted a copy of the leaflet. In 23years, we never talked politics much. No Tunisian will accept a step backwards.---(*) The name of the interviewee was modified for security reasons.* * * * * * * * * *
TWO DOCUMENTS: Declarations by the Committees of Kasserin andSiliana
,
Two Cities in the Interior of Tunisia1) Declaration of the Regional Republican Committee for the Protectionand Supervision of the Revolution of Kasserin
(excerpts)The blood of martyrs has run on our nation's soil in different regions, particularlyin the Kasserin region, which has witnessed the fall of half the nation's martyrs.We must take note of the fact that the enemies of the revolution are both insideand outside. They are attempting to confiscate the revolution of our people,thereby trampling upon the blood of our martyrs, by creating a new regime onthe basis of all the forces of the old regime. They want to seize the gains of our people and to continue to serve imperialism, Zionism and the reactionary Arabregimes.We affirm that it is imperative to take a stand against all maneuvers that seek toundermine the aspirations of our people for freedom.This is why the fighting youth, who are the flame of this revolution, together withcomponents of civil society have created a Republican Committee for theProtection and Supervision of the Revolution.The committee works to:- Recognize the moral and material rights of our martyrs and to honor their 

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