Socialist Worker

How can 'Arab Spring' win fundamental change?

Issue No. 2249

It looked like the rulers across the Middle East and North Africa might fall like nine-pins in January and February.

Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak were brought down by struggles.

Yet the revolutions that came after these have not followed the same pattern.

In Libya, Colonel Gaddafi managed to hold onto enough of the security forces to retaliate against the revolutionaries.

Now, with Nato’s involvement, the aspirations of those who initially took to the streets in their millions may not be fulfilled—even if Gaddafi is forced out.

Elsewhere, we have seen historic mass protests, but increasingly they are being met with extreme violence from the state.

The ruling classes and their imperialist allies have regrouped and developed strategies to try to crush, absorb or divert the movements that threaten their power.

The struggles from below are still changing the face of societies. They cannot easily be contained.

They have the potential to bring down murderous regimes—whether in Syria, Yemen or Bahrain.

But victory is not inevitable. The core of the potential power of ordinary people is their collective strength. We saw that in Tunisia and Egypt.

The organised working class was central to the victory over Ben Ali—and it was mass strikes of millions of workers that finished Mubarak.

When Egyptian workers talk about getting rid of all the “little Mubaraks”, they mean uprooting the tentacles of the regime from every state structure and workplace.

The cameras may have left, demonstrators in Tahrir Square may only gather on Fridays—but the process of revolution in the most important country in the region has not halted.

This deepening of the process of revolution throughout the region is key to the future of “the Arab Spring”.

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What We Think
Tue 26 Apr 2011, 17:53 BST
Issue No. 2249
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