Despite the fact that the Egyptian uprising’s inspiration has commonly been credited to the Tunisian uprising in January there has been little coverage of developments in Tunisia since the overthrow of the government there and the start of the transitional process. One of the recent developments that has been unfortunately less-reported is the development of a left coalition called the January 14th Front which is ostensibly-led by the Workers’ Communist Party of Tunisia. Attached below is a statement that they released on January 28th in which they made their demands clear to the government and the world. This is an important development for politics in Tunisia, and should serve as further inspiration for the Egyptian left, as this is an attempt to deepen the revolutionary process in Tunisia and ensure that it does not simply become hollowed out. I have also attached below the founding statement of the January 14th Front which outlines the goals of the Left in Tunisia in the coming months. Hopefully in the coming days more such statements will become available for distribution and people around the world will continue to support the Tunisian people’s struggle for a truly democratic and socialist Tunisia.
14th of January Front (trans. Raida Hatoum and Nadim Mahjoub)
While the Tunisian masses continue their sit-in at the Governmental Square at Qasbah (in the capital city), and tens of thousands of Tunisians have marched in Sfax, Tunis, Sidi Bouzid, Jendouba, Nabeul and other parts of the country, to bring down the government of “National Unity”, they imposed on us a modified government led by Mohamed Ghannouchi, with clear evidence of the interfering of USA Secretary of State Feltman.
This government is the continuation of the dictatorship and tyranny and was dictated by imperialist forces of America and European countries that have brought our country into what we are enduring now of unemployment, impoverishment and marginalization.
Therefore, the “14 January Front” declares the following:
1 – Rejection of the amended government of “national unity,” because it is against the people’s revolution and demands and aspirations.
2 – Rejection of all types of tutelage of U.S.A., European or others on the destinies of our people and our country.
3 – For the formation of a “provisional government” acceptable to the people, and that would result from a national conference to protect the revolution, and consists of:
• All political parties, associations and trade union organizations, human rights and cultural organizations and independent personalities, which sponsor the demands of the people’s revolution and struggle to achieve them.
• Representatives of the forces which were produced by the revolution in all areas of the country through the councils or committees or associations formed at the initiative of the masses.
• Representatives of Tunisian associations and organizations abroad, which has resisted the dictatorship and supported the revolution in Tunisia.
4. The mission of “The National Congress for the Protection of the Revolution” consists of drafting texts about the provision of complete freedom for the Tunisian people by repealing the laws that prohibit freedom and ending the implementation of the constitutional articles which negate freedoms and people’s sovereignty until the passing of a new constitution.
• The tasks of the “provisional government” are the following:
• The managing of daily affairs
• The dissolution of the appointed representative bodies
• The dismantling of the ruling party and its militia, the expropriation of its properties and calling to account the figures who were behind the economic and political crimes.
• The dismantling of the political police apparatus.
• Appointment of provisional officials in the diplomatic corps, the governorates, the delegations and the sectors to carry out the tasks of the transitional period.
• Preparing the election of a constituent assembly in an atmosphere of freedom. This assembly should represent all the vital forces in the country after agreeing on the type of representation in it (the use of proportional representation) in order to avoid exclusion.
• The constituent assembly undertakes the drafting of a new constitution for the modern, democratic and civil Tunisian republic that fulfills the Tunisian people’s ambitions of freedom, equality, social justice and dignity.
In declaring these stances, the 14 January Front warns the “national unity government” against pursuing any repressive measure towards the sit-in in Al-Qasbah and the protesters all over the country.
The Front calls for the continuation of the mobilisation, defending the masses and and all the democratic political forces as well as all the organisations, groups, associations and independent individuals to continue the struggle to achieve the objectives of the people’s revolution, in devotion to their martyrs and will.
Tunisia 28 January 2011
14 January Front (comprised by Workers Communist Party of Tunisia (PCOT), League of Left Workers, Uniting Nacerists Movement, National Democratic Movement, National Democrats, Baath Movement, The Independent Leftists, National Democratic Labour Party)
Founding Statement of the 14th of January Front (Tunisia)
As an affirmation to our involvement in the revolution of our people who are struggling for their right to dignity and freedom, whom their sacrifices resulted in dozens of martyrs and thousands of injured and detainees, and in order to complete the victory against the internal and external enemies, and in response to the ongoing attempts for plundering the people?s sacrifices, 14th January Front is formed as a political frame working on advancing our people?s revolution towards achieving its goals and to confront the anti-revolution forces. It includes the founding forces of political parties and progressive and democratic organizations.
The Front’s urgent tasks are:
1. Bringing down Ghannouchi current government or any government that includes symbols of the former regime.
2. Dissolving the RCD, the confiscation of its headquarters and property and Bank accounts as they belong to the people, and dismissing its members.
3. Formation of temporary force that enjoys the confidence of the people and the progressive forces of the civil society political, associations, unions and youth organizations.
4. The dissolving of the House of Representatives and the advisers council and all current false bodies, and the Higher Council of the Judiciary, and the dismantling of the political structure of the former regime, and to prepare for elections of a constituent assembly within a period that does not exceed one year, for the formulation of a new democratic constitution and a new legal system that will govern public life ensuring political and economic and cultural rights of people.
5. Dissolution of the political security and enact new security policy based at respect for human rights and the law.
6. Trial of all those who has been proven to loot the people’s money and/or commit crimes such as repression, imprisonment, torture and killings, whether by decision making, ordering or/and execution. Trial also of all of those proven to have taken bribes and misconduct of public property.
7. Confiscating the property of the former ruling family and those close to them and their associates and all officials who took advantage of their position to gain wealth at the expense of the people.
8. Providing jobs to the unemployed and taking urgent measures for their benefit such as issuing unemployment benefit system and social and medical security and improving the purchasing power of the daily-wage workers.
9. Building a national economy which services the people by putting the vital and strategic sectors under state control and nationalising the companies that were privatised and drafting an economic and social policy that breaks-up with liberal capitalist approach.
10. Guaranteeing public and individual liberties and primarily the freedom of demonstration and organisation, the freedom of expression and the press and the freedom of belief and the release of all those under arrest and declaring a general amnesty.
11. The Front salutes the support of the masses and the progressive forces in the Arab world and the world for the revolution in Tunisia and calls upon them to continue their support with whatever means possible.
12. Opposing normalisation with the Zionist state and criminalising it and supporting all the national liberation movements in the Arab world and worldwide.
13. The Front calls upon the masses and the progressive and democratic forces to continue their mobilisation and their struggle using all legitimate forms especially street protest until their objectives are achieved.
14. The Front salutes all the committees, the organisations and the forms of self-organisation of the masses and calls for the broadening of their actions in public life and the running of all aspects of the daily life.
Glory to all the martyrs of the uprising and victory the masses in revolt.
Tunisia 20 January 2011
The League of Left Workers
The Uniting Nasserists Movement
The National Democratic Movement
The National Democrats
The Baath Movement
The Independent Leftists
The Tunisian Communist Workers Party (PCOT)
The National Democratic Labour Party