II. The State of the Revolutionary Process

6.            Later, in July 2013, the Egyptian ruling class led by General al-Sisi and supported by all imperialist powers overthrew the Morsi government and installed a bloody dictatorship. The reason for this was that the bourgeois-Islamist Morsi government reflected a certain equilibrium: on the one hand the al-Ikhwan government ensured the continuation of power by the ruling class; on the other hand it had to make certain concessions to the popular struggles as reflected in the relative liberty – compared to the times of Mubarak before and al-Sisi later – to demonstrate and strike, the militant mass protests at the US embassy in September 2012 and at the Israeli embassy in November 2012 as well as the easing of the isolation of the Gaza. Sooner or later the Egyptian ruling class and their imperialist masters had to resolve this instable equilibrium in favor of a bloody dictatorship. The coup d’état of 3 July 2013 represented a strategic defeat for the Egyptian working class and oppressed. Shamefully most petty-bourgeois democrats, liberals and centrists failed to oppose the coup and, worse, some like the left-liberal secularist Tamerod movement, the Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi, the Egyptian “Communist” Party, the pseudo-Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialists (IST) and Alan Woods’ IMT even hailed it as a “Second Revolution”! Authentic Socialists in Egypt have to fight against the military dictatorship and join the numerous mass protests. While we politically oppose al-Ikhwan, we defend them against the state terrorism. The RCIT calls for the independent organizations of the working class and the oppressed (independent trade unions, factory committees, women’s movement, new workers party) in order to fight for democratic rights and to advance the struggle for workers power.

7.            Yemen is currently one of the key countries of the revolutionary process in the Arab world. After the first popular uprising in 2011, a second wave of mass protests – against dramatic price rises as well as against the al-Hadi government – started in August 2014 which in the end succeeded in driving out the government. While the subsequent conflict contained the danger of a sectarian divide between Shia and Sunni, the Saudi war of aggression which began on 25 March revitalized the revolutionary process. In fact it has opened a new phase of the Yemeni Revolution. Socialists supported the Yemeni Revolution in 2011 as well as the popular uprising against al-Hadi and fought for an independent program of the working class. While socialists couldn’t support any side in a sectarian conflict, the assault by the al-Saud Gang is a thoroughly reactionary attack which makes the defense of Yemen an imperative duty for the international working class and the oppressed. We critically support the national defense struggle led by the Houthi movement. The latter is a petty-bourgeois Islamist Shia movement which emerged in protest against the support of the Saleh dictatorship for the US imperialist drone war being conducted in Yemen since 2001. It participated in the 2011 revolution as well as in the mass uprising beginning in August 2014. We sharply condemn the Houthi’s present dangerous coalition with the Saleh forces. We call for a program of independent class struggle for the workers and fallahin. The RCIT Yemen denounces the leadership of the ex-Stalinist Yemeni Socialist Party which accommodates itself to the Saudi Kingdom and opposes any authentic struggle for a workers and fallahin republic. We also criticize the joint statement of the Revolutionary Socialists (IST Egypt), Ligue de la Gauche Ouvrière (Mandelites in Tunisia) and other groups which fail to take the side of the Yemeni national resistance against the Saudi aggression. (Statement from 2 April 2015)

8.            In Syria the Assad regime reacted to the peaceful democratic mass protests in 2011 with a wave of massive terror. This inevitably led to civil war and the militarization of the liberation struggle. Assad tried to drown the revolutionary masses in blood and received in this enterprise massive military support from Russian imperialism, as well as that of regional allies like the regimes in Teheran and Bagdad and the Lebanese Hizbollah movement. While Bashar al-Assad has fortunately failed in to crush the revolution, he succeeded in transforming the struggle into a civil war and in helping petty-bourgeois Islamist forces gain influence among the popular masses. This has led to a massive weakening of the local committees which originated spontaneously during the mass struggle. Given the lack of revolutionary leadership, many fighters against the dictatorship join Islamist organizations which appear more militant and less corrupt than various pro-Western outfits. However, these organizations – often following a Salafist orientation – suppress any attempt for independent mass organizations and foster a sectarian policy directed against non-Sunni groups. They are currently the main obstacle inside the liberation struggle against the Assad regime. Authentic democracy and social justice can only be achieved if they are replaced by a revolutionary leadership. The Syrian civil war is significantly influenced by the rivalry between the imperialist powers – most importantly between the US and Russia. Bashar al-Assad is strongly aligned with Moscow. Western imperialism has wavered between looking for a way to get rid of Assad – preferable by a coup d’état from forces inside the Baathist state apparatus – and of finding a compromise with him as the lesser of two evils (i.e., when compared with the Islamist rebels).

9.            In Tunisia, the popular uprising in December 2010 and January 2011 succeeded in overthrowing the Ben Ali dictatorship. However, as in many other countries, the working class failed to smash the old state apparatus and to expropriate the big capitalists and land owners. The Ennahda government worked hard to stabilize the country in the interest of imperialism and the native bourgeoisie. It used religious phrases in order to make the popular masses believe that it was not a regime working for the interests of the greedy rich. During its rule, two prominent leaders of the progressive opposition – Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi – were killed most likely at the hands of Salafist reactionaries. However, the Ennahda government was not seen by the majority of the native bourgeoisie and imperialism as their preferred puppet regime, since under its rule the state apparatus could not exercise the same full executive power as in the days of Ben Ali. Therefore the ruling class started a campaign against Ennahda and finally succeeded in bringing the old guard of Ben Ali back to power via the pro-imperialist, bourgeois Nidaa Tounes government. Characteristically, the opportunist Ennahda party has joined this government as a junior partner. Shamefully, a significant number of the Tunisian left – mostly coming from the Hoxhaist tradition and influenced by bourgeois nationalism in the tradition of Nasser and Saddam Hussein – supported Nidaa Tounes in their power struggle against Ennahda. This reflects the deep roots of the Stalinist popular front strategy, i.e., the policy of subordinating the working class in an alliance with a faction of the bourgeoisie. Characteristically the main left alliance – a coalition of reformist and centrist workers parties with petty-bourgeois nationalists – is called Front populaire pour la réalisation des objectifs de la revolution (al-Jabha). The RCIT Tunisia opposes such political alliances with non-working class organizations. We call for the creation of a new workers party – something which could begin with an initiative by various left-wing parties and radical sectors of the UGTT trade union federation, based on a revolutionary program.

10.          In Libya the unfinished revolution in 2011, the failure of the working class to take power, and the desperate attempts of Western imperialists to install a puppet regime have resulted in an open civil war. The US and EU, as well as the reactionary Saudi kingdom and the Egyptian regime, support the pro-imperialist pseudo-government led by General Haftar based in Tobruk which has many ex-Gaddafi forces in its ranks. The Western imperialists as well as General al-Sisi try to use the emergence of the reactionary Salafist-Takfiri Daash to justify a foreign military intervention. The government in Tripoli is led by bourgeois Islamist forces called Fajr Libya (“Libyan Dawn”) and represents many rebels who oppose both the Western imperialist intervention and the continuing influence of the ex-Gaddafi forces in the state apparatus. In this situation socialists must mobilize the working class and the oppressed masses to defend Libya against any aggression by the imperialist powers, as well as against reactionary lackeys like the Egyptian military dictatorship of General al-Sisi and the Tobruk-based forces of General Haftar.

11.          All in all, the Arab Revolution has suffered a number of significant defeats and open counter-revolutions. The counter-revolutionary dangers are particularly acute since the plans of the Saudi/Egypt-led reactionary alliance of kings and dictators to form a joint military force of about 40,000 elite troops, backed by jets and warships, manifests their desire to intervene in the entire region against popular uprisings and to finally crush the Arab Revolution so that they can return to the old, pre-2011 order.

12.          However, the revolutionary process is not over as can be seen not only in the ongoing popular struggle against Assad in Syria or against General al-Sisi in Egypt, but also in new heroic struggles of the masses like the victorious Palestinian defense of Gaza against the Zionist killers in July/August 2014, or the mass uprising against the al-Hadi regime in Yemen in the autumn of 2014, and the current Yemeni people’s national defense war against the al-Saud gangs’ aggression.