Organize Committees of Action! For a General Strike and Popular Insurrection to bring down the regime! For a Workers and Poor Peasants Government!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 9 March 2019, www.thecommunists.net
1 We are witnessing the beginning of the Algerian Revolution. Since 22 February, tens of thousands of people have demonstrated every day against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term. Mass demonstrations – including a student strike – have taken place in Algiers (where protests have been banned since 2001), Oran, and Constantine, as well as other towns and cities. The people are chanting slogans like "Hey Bouteflika, there won't be a fifth term", "Al-shaab yureed isqat al-nidham!" (“The people want the downfall of the regime” – a slogan chanted many, many times since the beginning of the Arab Revolution 8 years ago!), “This is a republic, not a monarchy”, and “The people refuse Bouteflika and [his brother and adviser] Said”. Even the prestigious National Organization of Mujahideen – veterans who fought alongside Bouteflika in the 1954-1962 war of independence against France – has called on people to join the protests.
2. The 82-year old Bouteflika is an ailing dictator who took power in 1999. He suffered a stroke in 2013 and has not spoken in public since then. He spends most of his time in hospitals in France and Switzerland. Algeria has been a capitalist, military dictatorship since 1991 when the army command cancelled an election that an Islamist party was poised to win. A decade of barbarian repression followed in which an estimated 200,000 people were killed as the security forces crushed the insurgency. Today Bouteflika is a senile puppet for his brother, Said, and a handful of powerful generals.
3. The protests have been triggered – like all the other instances of the Arab Revolution – by the combination of rising poverty and inequality, as well as, an agonizingly corrupt dictatorship. Half of the population is under 30 but more than a quarter of those are unemployed. The country remains a capitalist semi-colony dependent on the imperialist world market. Oil, gas, and related products make up about 30% of Algeria’s gross domestic product, while accounting for approximately 95% of the country’s exports. When mass protests erupted in 2011 – as part of the Arab Revolution – the regime was able to pacify them through a program of state social policies. This included subsidizing basic food items, wage increases, and the creation of employment opportunities within the public sector. However, with the price of oil steadily declining since 2014, the regime’s room for such maneuvers has become significantly more limited.
4. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly welcomes the beginning of the Algerian Revolution and sends its warmest greetings to the heroic workers and students! We say: Victory to the Popular Insurrection! Forward to the second wave of the Arab Revolution! The events in Algeria confirm the RCIT’s assessment that – combined with the ongoing liberation struggle in Syria; the mass protests in Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Iran and Lebanon – we are witnessing a renewed upswing of the revolutionary process in the Middle East.
5. The RCIT states that the crucial, immediate task is that workers, students, and poor peasants must organize themselves in committees of action at work places, neighborhoods, universities and villages. Such committees need to discuss and decide on the next steps of struggle and on the demands of the movement. They should elect delegates who should meet for a national congress. The movement should take a forward step and launch a nation-wide, indefinite, general strike. It should appeal to the soldiers and police not to shoot at the people but rather to turn their weapons around against the generals. It should call upon the trade union federation, UGTA, to fully support the movement. Likewise, it should call for a boycott of the sham elections scheduled for 18 April. Furthermore, it is urgent to create self-defense committees in order to fight back against any repression.
6. Such a nation-wide general strike and regular mass demonstrations should result in a popular insurrection and the overthrow of Bouteflika and the whole ruling elite. It is crucial to replace not only a senile dictator but to smash the entire ruling elite – i.e. the capitalist army command that is closely interwoven with the wealthiest sectors of the bourgeoisie.
7. The RCIT calls for the creation of a workers and poor peasants government based on popular committees of action. The insurgent people should convoke a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly. Such an assembly, controlled by the popular councils and guarded by popular militias, should discuss the political future of the country. A workers and poor peasants government should expropriate the rich and the multinational corporations and plan the economy on a socialist basis. It should also grant full national and cultural rights to the Berber people. Likewise, it must oppose all of the imperialist Great Powers including the U.S., France, China or Russia. It must additionally support the popular liberation struggles in Syria, Palestine, Tunisia, Jordan, Iran, Yemen and other countries and work towards spreading the revolution to the entire Arab world and throughout the rest of Africa.
8. The RCIT sends its warmest greetings to the courageous activists of new organizational initiatives like Tous Contre le cinquième mandat or Mouwatana. However, we urge activists to unite in a revolutionary party – in Algeria as well as internationally – based on a program of socialist liberation and solidarity with the struggles of workers and oppressed in other countries. Join the RCIT in tackling this great task!
* Build committees of action at work places, neighborhoods, universities and villages! Elect delegates for a national congress!
* Create self-defense committees!
* Organize a general strike! Victory to the popular insurrection!
* Boycott the elections!
* For a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly!
* For a workers and poor peasants government!
* Forward to the second wave of the Arab Revolution! Long live the socialist world revolution!
* For a revolutionary party as part of a revolutionary world party!
International Secretariat of the RCIT