The upsurge in class struggle on all continents that characterised 2011 began with uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that rapidly spread to other Arab countries, becoming collectively known in the West as the “Arab Spring”. The “Arab Spring” uprising has inspired movements across the world, including the indignados in Spain and Occupy Wall Street in the US, as well as the Occupy movements in Australia.
The uprisings challenged the West’s claim to be the bringer of democracy in the region and exposed the link between Western-imposed neoliberal economic policies and political tyranny.
Despite generally opposing the uprisings, the West, led by the US, has also tried to influence their outcomes, promoting particular groups or individuals. The means used have ranged from providing money and resources to providing weapons and military advisers. The Western imperialist ruling class has attempted to use its control of the global media to appoint spokespeople for the uprisings, with differing degrees of success in different countries.
In Libya, the Western powers in NATO staged a direct military intervention and some Western leaders are calling for military intervention in Syria. The death toll in Libya is over 30,000 and, despite the fall of the old regime, still rising. This death toll is significantly higher than that in any other “Arab Spring” uprising and mostly of those killed after March 18, when NATO intervened to “protect civilian lives”.
The Socialist Alliance:
- Fully supports the mass uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East and recognises that these are directed both against political tyranny and the poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity crated by Western-imposed neoliberal economic policy;
- Recognises the uprisings as the start of a revolutionary process and rejects the mischaracterisation of revolutions as complete once a dictator is overthrown;
- Condemns the support given by the West to tyrants in the Middle East overthrown by the uprisings (such as Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubrak in Egypt) and those still clinging to power in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iraq among other countries;
- Supports uprisings against neoliberalism and tyranny even in countries whose tyrants have had antagonistic relationships with the West;
- Condemns all Western interference in the uprisings, including distribution of money, and use of the global media, while at the same time recognising that the presence of overtly or covertly pro-Western elements in a movement does not characterise that movement;
- Recognises that the “Arab Spring” movements are heterogeneous and that Western-promoted spokespeople in the global media should not automatically be considered representative;
- Opposes all Western military intervention in the Middle East;
- Demands the removal of the Western military forces in the region, such as the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain, where it props up the absolute monarchy; and
- Continues to support older struggles for democratic rights in the Arab world, such as the Palestinian national struggle against Israeli apartheid and Western Sahara’s national struggle against Moroccan occupation.
To this end, Socialist Alliance will:
- Continue to publicise, support and explain the uprisings through Green Left Weekly, LINKS and other media;
- Campaign against Western military intervention in the Middle East, including organising and supporting protests;
- Campaign against Western political, economic and military support for tyranny in the Middle East and for neoliberalism, including organising and supporting protests;
- Organise and support protests in solidarity with the “Arab Spring” uprisings;
- Work with Arab migrant and student communities in Australia to support the uprisings. However, this should not include endorsing calls for Western intervention; and
- Work with Arab migrant and student communities in Australia to oppose Western intervention. However, this should not include endorsing support for “anti-Western” tyrants.