The Arab Spring has amazed and inspired the oppressed people of the world. And it has struck fear into the big imperialist powers. These are the regimes that world imperialism has relied on, along with Israeli zionism, to keep the Arab masses down. Now the uprisings of the Arab working people have overthrown two local tyrants, Ben Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt, and are tenaciously battling Saleh of Yemen, Ghadafy of Libya, Assad of Syria and the monarchist princes of Bahrain.
The victories in Tunisia and Egypt were only partial and the Arab rebellions have run up against powerful obstacles. World imperialism, led by Obama and the U.S., seized the moment when Ghadafy had almost crushed the Libyan protests to stick its greedy hand into the fray. Assad is butchering the Syrian people, civil war looms in Yemen, and Obama's friends the zionists are shooting down Palestinians asserting their right to return at the borders of Israel. Indeed, the sanctimonious Obama even kisses the blood-drenched hand of the Bahrain monarchy as it prosecutes medical personnel for treating the protesters it has shot.
But the ordinary Arab masses, showing incredible courage, continue to fight.
The destruction of even part of the apparatus of the tyrannies that have ruled the Middle East is an important ethical and democratic advance. Only yesterday Egyptian workers could be instantly disappeared, tortured and murdered; in one sense this is their civil rights movement. But not only that. Just as, in the U.S., the civil rights movement and the Black rebellions cleared away some of the racist restrictions and oppression of the Black masses and led to a growth of workers' struggle in the auto plants of Detroit and among postal and other workers around the country, so too in Tunisia and Egypt the defeat of the tyrannies has cleared some ground for the advance of the workers' movement and for a flowering of political activism by the people. Since the 60s the Black workers in the U.S. have faced daunting setbacks, and the Arab workers, too, will face a difficult road, but the Arab Spring is creating some dramatic openings.
Mass battles against police and thugs and widespread strikes brought Mubarak down. And the downfall of his tyranny though the army remains -- has led to a ferment of ideas there, as the masses, now able to express themselves more openly, search for the way forward. Class issues will come more to the fore in the struggle over what is to come next. Socialist groups are openly producing and distributing literature. A new union federation in Egypt is not only trying to unite the workers more closely but is advancing ideas of eliminating capitalism and replacing it with workers' rule, that is, with socialism.
The struggles of the Egyptian and other Arab peoples has inspired struggle in many countries, sending sparks of encouragement to Greece, Spain, even to Wisconsin. They have also shown how bitter a struggle the workers must prepare for. Let us learn from these struggles and fan those sparks !
by Tim Hall <>
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