Tunisia’s New Opposition in Le Monde Diplomatique.
Le Monde Diplomatique carries an important dossier on Political Islam after the ‘Arab Spring’ this month.
It is available in English.
This is one of the main articles
Tunisia’s new opposition by Hèla Yo
Tunisia’s biggest union, the UGTT, with its strong nationalist roots, is acting more and more like an opposition party. In its standoff with the ruling Annahda Party, political rivalry is to the fore and pressing economic issues have been sidelined.
In August, ten months after the election that brought the Annahda Party to power (1), farmers, construction workers and the unemployed were demonstrating again in Sidi Bouzid, where Tunisia’s “dignity revolution” started. The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) supported their action. On 14 August it called a general strike, demanding regional development measures and the release of young unemployed people arrested during demonstrations violently put down by the police. The local Annahda office advised the UGTT’s members and leadership to refrain from any involvement in politics and preserve their independence.
In the text there is this significant analysis,
The opposition consists mainly of centrist and neoliberal organisations including the Parti Démocratique Progressiste (PDP) and Afek Tounes, which have merged to form the Parti Républicain, and a coalition of former members of the RCD and of other “democratic” organisations, who have rallied around former prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi to form the Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) movement, which last year accused the UGTT of “sowing anarchy”. There are also far-left parties such as Al-Watad (Movement of Democratic Patriots) and the Tunisian Workers’ Party (formerly the Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party).
Read the rest on-line Here.
I have one point however.
The French version of the article uses the term “libérale’ not neoliberal, which covers in this case both political liberalism and – to a degree – economic liberalism.
We should remember that in economic terms, which is the normal meaning of neoliberal in English, the ruling party Ennahda is definitely neoliberal.
Not only does it have close ties to the pious Islamist bourgeoisie, and, the equally observant financiers of Qatar, but its economic policies, resisted by the UGTT, indicate this clearly.
Though culturally few would regard the Party as basically liberal-minded, for all its recent (US inspired, it is alleged) crack down on the Salafists.
We note this attack on Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia)(L’Appel de la Tunisie (نداء تونس)
Le 18 octobre 2012 le coordinateur du parti à Tataouine, également dirigeant régional de l’Union tunisienne de l’agriculture et de la pêche, meurt en marge d’affrontements entre ses partisans et des manifestants proches d’Ennahda. Selon un représentant du parti, il est mort après avoir été tabassé alors que le porte-parole du ministère de l’Intérieur assure qu’il a été terrassé par une crise cardiaque. Béji Caïd Essebsi dénonce le lendemain le « premier assassinat politique depuis la révolution »
Eight arrested over Tunisia opposition figure death
(AFP) – 3 days ago
TUNIS — Eight people have been arrested over the death of an opposition party official last month during a protest by supporters of Tunisia’s ruling Islamists that turned violent, his family said on Monday.
“They arrested eight people yesterday (Sunday),” said Fethi Naguedh, the brother-in-law of Lotfi Naguedh, who represented the Call of Tunisia party in the southern town of Tataouine, where the violence took place.
The official TAP news agency confirmed the eight arrests, citing police.
The interior minister said Naguedh died of a heart attack when his supporters clashed with those of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda outside his office on October 18.
Officials from the opposition party, however, say he died after being beaten by protesters from the League for the Protection of the Revolution, a grouping close to Ennahda, who attacked his office.
Among those detained on Sunday was Said Chebli, who heads the Tataouine branch of the League, said Naguedh, adding that according to the autopsy, his brother-in-law had been hit 59 times with blunt objects and weapons.
Call of Tunisia’s leader Beji Caid Essebsi branded Lotfi Naguedh’s death a “political assassination,” and President Moncef Marzouki condemned what he referred to as a “lynching.”
Tunisia has been plagued by violent social unrest since the mass uprising that toppled the former regime in January last year, with the country’s state of emergency, which has been in force then, recently extended to January.