1. The process of the Arab Revolution – marked by heroic struggles of the masses, partial victories as well as counter-revolutionary defeats – is the most important single class struggle event since the opening of the new historic period of capitalist decay starting in 2008. It has been an acid test for revolutionaries all over the world. We confirm the RCIT’s analysis and programmatic conclusions for the Arab Revolution as elaborated in our numerous documents in the past years. Understanding its lessons as well as adopting the correct program for the next period is crucial for revolutionaries in order to find their way through the coming stormy class struggle events.
2. Nearly four and a half years ago, the Arab Revolution started in Tunisia and soon spread to Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen. Its fundamental causes were the combination of:
i. The outrage of the popular masses after decades of impoverishment.
ii. The suffering from the tyranny of corrupt dictatorships which were all servile servants of imperialism.
iii. The defeats of the US as the traditionally hegemonic imperialist power (Afghanistan, Iraq) as well as of Israel as the crucial Western ally and the small imperialist state in region (Lebanon, Gaza Wars) – subsequently the Arab masses were encouraged by the visible weakening of the Western imperialist powers as the traditional backers of the Arab dictatorships.
iv. Finally the fostering of the struggle for liberation by the fundamental convulsions of the imperialist world order since the onset of the new historic revolutionary period in 2008.
3. While the workers and poor succeeded in some countries – at least temporary – to bring down the old dictatorships and achieving certain democratic rights, nowhere did they succeed in completing the democratic revolution, let alone to get rid of poverty and super-exploitation by the imperialist monopolies and Great Powers. This would only have been possible by making the revolution permanent, as Leon Trotsky – co-leader of the October Revolution together with V.I. Lenin – already explained nearly a century ago. Such a permanent revolution must bear the character of a successful social revolution – combining the struggle for democratic rights with the expropriation of the imperialist monopolies and the domestic bourgeoisie and the destruction of the old, capitalist state apparatus. Hence, it must open the road to the creation of workers’ and fallahin republics and the formation of a socialist federation of Maghreb and Mashreq.
4. Instead, the spontaneous popular uprisings of the Arab Revolution were soon hijacked by various types of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaderships. Some fostered the illusion that mass struggles can be victorious via peaceful mobilizations and organizing via social networks. Others propagated the orientation to parliamentary democracy and liberalism. Another trend was the orientation towards a combination of bourgeois democracy and a religious agenda (al-Ikhwan, Ennahda). What all these trends had in common was:
i. The refusal to smash the old state apparatus – usually dominated by the bureaucracy of the repression forces and closely aligned with the big domestic capitalists, as well as the imperialist powers.
ii. The acceptance of the ownership of the key sectors of the economy by private corporations.
5. The domination of the popular democratic movements by such bourgeois and petty-bourgeois forces ensured that they would fail to carry forward the revolutionary process. As a result, the initial revolutionary advances of the workers and poor – leading to the overthrow of Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gaddafi, and Saleh in 2011 – were derailed. In several cases they were contained by new bourgeois regimes. These regimes, while being forced to permit more democratic rights – reflecting the strength of the fighting people – prepared new attacks on the workers and poor on behalf of imperialism (Libya after Gaddafi, Morsi in Egypt, Ennahda in Tunisia, al-Hadi in Yemen). In Bahrain the popular uprising was smashed by the Saudi kingdom on behalf of imperialism in March 2011.