On June 16, workers throughout Tunisia walked out in protest towards President Kaïs Saïed’s prepare to rewrite the constitution and slash very important subsidies that retain wheat and bread cost-effective for personnel. Wheat and grain price ranges have surged on international markets owing to rampant speculation, and now the NATO-Russia war in Ukraine that has prevented Russia and Ukraine from exporting their wheat.
A week just before the strike, Tunisian Finance Minister Sihem Boughdiri experienced documented that wheat subsidy expenses this year would increase 1 billion dinars to 4.2 billion dinars (€1.3 billion). This is 3.5 percent of Tunisia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the equal of the once-a-year budget of the Wellbeing and Labor ministries, she noted. Echoing the Intercontinental Financial Fund (IMF), which is contacting for “strict restricting of wage spending” and “better targeting of subsidies,” Boughdiri identified as for “gradual revision of subsidies for staple goods, but without at all eradicating them.”
In January 2021, ten decades right after a innovative uprising of the Tunisian functioning class toppled President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, youth came out in Tunis and nationwide to protest the absence of democratic legal rights and what have been currently then speedily-rising food stuff fees.
“People are hungry. They want revenge from the state. I will not lie about it, they want another revolution,” a person youth in Tunis explained to the push, though his close friend mentioned: “The police do not dare to come here. Even the Tunisian media doesn’t arrive below. No one listens to what we have to say.”
A trader bringing meals from the countryside to Tunis mentioned: “Everybody I spoke to [in the villages] was indignant. It is all age teams. Even little ones aged 10 are offended. … I see people of up to 10 customers who cannot pay for [the food prices]. They don’t even have 200 millimes for a baguette.”
This 12 months, inflation and, in unique, the explosion in foods selling prices is getting location all-around the environment, now accelerated by the NATO-Russia war. As the IMF and the Saïed administration get the job done to starve Tunisian workers by slashing condition subsidies that have so much prevented speculation in world-wide grain markets from earning bread unaffordable, anger and opposition in the working class are reaching explosive concentrations.
The Typical Union of Tunisian Labor (UGTT) forms, a longstanding pillar of the Ben Ali routine that now functions closely with Saïed and worldwide financial institutions, felt compelled to call a 1-working day strike for June 16. The doing the job course responded massively. Airports, mass transit, article places of work, vitality firms, ports, wheat, fuel and phosphate monopolies and other workplaces shut down on June 16. Absolutely 96.2 per cent of UGTT customers participated in the strike.
“Our wages are reduced and the price ranges are finding higher … and in the meantime, [Kais Saïed] is incredibly stubborn. He is creating choices by itself without the need of consulting us,” UGTT official Naza Zuhein told AP at a march of placing staff in Tunis, stressing that life in Tunisia has “become extremely hard.”
“We, as citizens, as public sector staff members, are burdened with a fantastic part of the charges of condition credit card debt,” complained yet another worker together with Zuhein.
When Saïed managed a deafening silence on the strike, refusing to make any general public assertion, his governing administration is plainly terrified of the mounting anger in the operating class. Mezri Haddad, an associate of Saïed who was also a shut supporter of Ben Ali just before his routine was toppled by the staff, denounced the strike as an act of treason: “The UGTT’s selection to start a basic strike is an anti-countrywide motion that has the character of large treason and a menace to nationwide stability,” Haddad reported.
Inspite of the mounting panic in the Saïed administration, US and world financial corporations are stressing that they ought to get the job done carefully with the UGTT forms as their only hope to impose starvation ailments devoid of provoking a new performing class rebellion. The Fitch scores agency wrote: “Passing political and economic reforms without the need of the UGTT’s backing would be difficult.”
In truth, nevertheless, what the last decade has conclusively shown is the personal bankruptcy of the Tunisian bourgeoisie and the UGTT, their failure to establish a democratic routine breaking the domination of imperialism about Tunisia, and the continuing discontent among workers and youth. Kaïs Saïed exemplifies this political bankruptcy. At first offered as an anti-corruption prospect, he suspended parliament previous 12 months and is making an attempt to establish complete rule above Tunisia.
Now even more than in 2011, when the uprising in Tunisia brought on a revolutionary battle in Egypt that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, the political crisis in Tunisia is specifically certain up with earth ailments and the international course struggle. After a ten years of reckless money-printing by the significant central financial institutions for bank bailouts of the tremendous-loaded, price ranges are exploding around the earth. And the NATO-Russia war in Ukraine is sowing the seeds of horrific famine in north Africa and internationally.
Africa over-all depends on Russia and Ukraine for 44 per cent of its wheat, and Tunisia exclusively is dependent on Ukraine for about 70 % of its wheat. Nonetheless, as Washington threatens to confiscate Russian greenback holdings in global banking companies, and Ukraine has mined its ports which are blockaded by Russian warships, it is unattainable for Tunisia and international locations throughout Africa to import desperately needed grain and foodstuffs.
These problems are driving developing strikes and protests by staff demanding wage increases and protection from mounting selling prices not only in Tunisia, but around the world. On Monday, one particular-day nationwide strikes will just take position in the Moroccan and Belgian general public sectors right after a a person-day strike yesterday in Italy. Spanish steelworkers and postmen and French truckers are likely out on strike as are airline and airport personnel across Europe.
The emerging struggle concerning the working class and the Saïed routine and its associates in the UGTT forms has crucial classes for workers not only in Tunisia but around the planet. The failure of the 2011 uprising in Tunisia to safe its aims was not due to the failure of the doing work class to battle. It struggled mightily, but it did not have a innovative internationalist perspective and leadership that would allow for it to take energy into its possess fingers following toppling Ben Ali.
In Tunisia, Saïed’s endeavor to set up a one-man dictatorship is ever more acknowledged to be certain up with deep-rooted financial challenges similar to social inequality.
“This strike is the end result of the collective failure of 10 successive governments, of the UGTT, of the IMF and the worldwide partners of Tunisia. The changeover toward democracy was not accompanied by any transform in the financial composition of the country,” Denison University economics professor Fadhel Kaboub explained to Arab News.
This confirms the assessment produced by the Intercontinental Committee of the Fourth International as the Tunisian revolution broke out in 2011. The decisive query, it discussed, was acquiring the innovative wrestle in Tunisia into part of an intercontinental battle of the functioning course for socialism and to carry down the capitalist procedure. This needed to start with and foremost, the ICFI wrote, the constructing of a Trotskyist revolutionary management in the doing the job class:
“Weak and dependent, tied by countless threads to overseas imperialism and indigenous feudalist forces, the bourgeoisie of countries this sort of as Tunisia is a thousand times far more fearful of and hostile to the groundbreaking force of the doing work class than it is to imperialism. … Without the need of the improvement of a revolutionary management, one more authoritarian regime will inevitably be put in to exchange that of Ben Ali.”
The rising struggles of the Tunisian and worldwide performing class towards inflation and the risk of earth war give this assertion renewed political significance.