All power to workers in Algeria!
Despite demonstrations that had already marked the announcement of the fourth mandate of Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2014, the cliques of the FLN and the army, unable to agree on a replacement, believed that they could quietly renew the operation in April 2019 by reusing the quasi-mummy of a sick old man, incapable of any initiative. All traditional supports of power got ready for that. On the one hand, the “presidential alliance” of the FLN, RND, MPA and TAJ parties; on the other hand, on February the 1st, 2019, the leadership of the UGTA labour union confederation and the employer organisations FCE, Cipa, CNPA, CAP, Unep, AGEA and UNI, together, declared in Batna, in an appeal to build a “strong popular front”: « Bouteflika is our candidate to the presidential election». The clever use of the fear of a return to the years 1990, which combined the terror of the Islamists and that of the police, causing tens of thousands of dead in the la population, should suffice to discourage any serious opposition.
However, as soon as Saturday February 16, a week after the announcement of the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the first spontaneous demonstrations occurred against that fifth mandate. Then, on Friday February 22, tens of thousands of demonstrators gather, still spontaneously and using social networks, despite the ban on demonstrations. Students, women, unemployed, workers of all kinds are at the forefront. Since, despite the appeals for calm by the power, despite arrests, despite threats by all supports of the government, demonstrations keep happening and amplify in the whole of Algeria, but also in many countries, notably in France. Journalists refuse censorship.
Soon, beside the watchword “No to the fifth mandate”, placards and banners target the whole regime: “Power, clear off”. The caciques of the FLN, the bosses and generals who confiscate the oil rent without developing the economy, who monopolise the greatest part of the wealth produced by Algerian workers and farmers, manoeuvre: they file the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika while promising to shorten his mandate and to organise new presidential elections within a year. Even though the pro-government journal El Moudjahid sees “in no way a manoeuvre, but a pragmatic response …”, this obviously fools no one. The fight is thus waged between this reviled regime and the immense majority of the Algerian population. To win, clear perspectives are needed:
To protect demonstrations, notably to prevent arrests:
Security squad of demonstrators, self-defence of demonstrations!
To paralyse the government and to prevent it from preparing bad moves, one must demand from all labour union leaderships (UGTA, CSA, COSYFOP …) that they break with the Bouteflika government and any bourgeois party or candidate, that they should immediately call for:
General strike for the fall of the regime!
In order to defeat the power, to finish with that regime, it is necessary to have the general strike of enterprises and administrations, to create elected committees in enterprises, administrations, universities, neighbourhoods, villages, etc.
In the face of the regime that has at its disposal the army, the police, many medias, etc., centralisation of all committees with elected delegates having a mandate to unify the fight of workers and youth, and to provide the movement with a political leadership candidate to the power of workers and youth.
The demands are numerous, among them, the immediate rise of wages, of retirement pensions, of social benefits and their indexation to the cost of life, work for all with a decent pay, all democratic freedoms, control on all accounts of enterprises, accounts of administrations, on all wealth produced and their use! And many other demands put forward by workers, farmers, youth, women, the Kabyles.
Which government can satisfy them?
The working class should take the lead of the movement and orient it. But it has itself the greatest difficulty to chart a solution between the fraction in power and the Islamist fraction of the bourgeoisie. The PAGS, the former Stalinist party (heir of the PCA, which rejected independence) exploded in 1993, its main fragment, the MDS, does not even proclaim socialism; the PST (born of the FLN at the time of Ben Bella) is disoriented by the disappearance of the PAGS; the PT had concluded a popular front with the FLN and the Islamist FIS in January 1995 and never spoke out against the four mandates of Bouteflika.
The weakness of the labour movement can save the Algerian bourgeoisie. If the State does not succeed in staying the course of the mobilisation of the masses, some fractions already prepare the coup afterward, either by setting up an Islamist despotism (from the Muslim Brotherhood such as the MSI to Islamic fascists such as Daesh), or by reorganising the actual regime: “all political partners gather around a table and redraw a new republic that will answer the ambitions of society and be able to address challenges to which we are confronted …” (El Moudjahid, 5 mars).
Islamism, as shown by Iran and Turkey, preserves capitalism and the inequalities that it generates, with more hypocrisy in society and more oppression of women, youth, communists and homosexuals. The “new republic” that the “democratic” fraction of the bourgeoisie holds in store, is a cosmetic change destined to preserve the bulk of its powers and the sinecures of its servants. By no means, a new republic established arm in arm with the participation of those who have hitherto gorged themselves, will satisfy any of the essential demands of workers and youth.
It is a lure to which adapts the watchword of “sovereign constituent assembly” put forward by various opposition political forces, not only the FFS, but also the MDS, the PT and the PST. It is by the way the method used by the Tunisian bourgeoisie to stifle the revolutionary movement that had forced Ben Ali out of power, by dissolving it in endless discussions of the sovereign constituent assembly equally called for by all opposition parties (those nostalgic of Arab nationalism, reactionary Islamists, workers’ organisation). The result: none of the essential demands of the Tunisian masses has been satisfied and the Tunisian bourgeoisie has regained the full control of affairs.
In order to satisfy all demands, for the control of produced wealth, of their use, for the development of the country on behalf of the immense majority of the population, workers, youth, farmers, etc., one cannot rely on a government of the Algerian bourgeoisie, neither the present one, nor another one disguised differently. Workers themselves must take the power that escaped them in 1962, expropriate big enterprises, enact workers’ control on accounts, develop production in order to satisfy needs, and not for pour the profit of a few.
No to the fifth mandate! Down with the government! Out with the regime! Respect democratic freedoms! Total separation between the State and religion, secularism!
All power to workers! Workers’ and farmers’ government! Socialist federation of Maghreb!
These are the perspectives upon which the vanguard must organise itself in order to build the revolutionary workers’ party, essential to help masses to overcome obstacles.