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No to the repression of social demands in the name of resistance to Salafist violence!

Statement of the Ligue de la Gauche Ouvrière (Workers’ Left League)

Thursday 21 June 2012, by LGO

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Salafist violence has gone through a qualitative metamorphosis during the recent events in terms of degree of organisation and synchronisation of actions in several places and regions, and in terms of the breadth of the terror and violence, which targeted the regional offices of the UGTT trade union federation, the Democratic Patriots’ Movement and the Republican Party in Jendouba after the popular success of the general strike in this combative wilaya. The violence did not spare the public institutions and enterprises, striking courts, police stations and officers and civil protection equipment for which the bill will be paid by the poorest.

As we have indicated on other occasions, we stress that these groups continue to terrorise and intimidate citizens because they have been given the green light by the government and have enjoyed its security and judicial protection for months. The coincidence of the last wave of terror with the radicalisation of protest movements throughout the country and the failure of governmental visits in most regions led us to question the use of these groups and the interest the government has in making the En-nahda movement thus appear as a moderate current. We pose also the question of the interest that the En-nahda government has in denigrating the popular struggles in the marginalised regions and exploited sectors who demand the right to employment, dignity and liberty, and setting up false battles between believers and non-believers — battles which have nothing to do with the decisive causes for the population, namely regional and social justice, local democracy, unconditional civil liberties, and which moreover threaten the right to protest and pursue the revolution by using the emergency law to smother the revolutionary process.

This government has confirmed its absolute failure at all levels in a climate of successive scandals including the latest, the leaking of the baccalaureate examinations, in an attempt to damage the credibility of republican teaching and to prepare the ground for the return to medieval forms of education and the gradual elimination of progressive modernist improvements in Tunisian education. Before its failure, the government, as usual, wishes to blame the “far left”, accused of extremism and of being responsible for these events, to shirk its responsibilities as a government and its duties in the area of protection of citizens and public enterprises and institutions. And also to mask its economic, social and political incapacity to manage this stage. It assimilates the terrorism of religious extremism, which terrifies citizens and ravages public enterprises, with the positions of the revolutionary left, which denounces the neoliberal policies of the government and the bourgeois opposition, supports popular demands for employment, dignity and freedom and demands a just regional development, social justice and the liquidation of the “authoritarian heritage”. But the government tries desperately to do political damage to the components of the revolutionary left, as a radical opponent to its neoliberal economic policy inherited from the previous era.

As we have said in the past, our unconditional support as the revolutionary left to freedom of artistic creation does not mean support for low grade “artistic” works of mediocre “aesthetic” taste aimed at provoking popular feelings, and we believe that these practices remind us of what happened with previous films destined for foreign distribution and Zionist ceremonies for which the revolutionary left is in no way responsible. However, that does not justify the attacks made on public and individual liberties and does not absolve the government of being implicated at several levels in providing a political, security and legal cover for the violence of the Salafist groups and encouraging them to terrorise citizens with a view to strangling the margins of public and private liberties, and manoeuvring against youth, women and children.

This failed government should go, and the UGTT should take on its historic responsibilities to form a popular and workers’ government opposed to neoliberalism!

June 13, 2012