We, the undersigned, support the guiding principles and demands listed in this statement. We call on groups who want to express solidarity with the Arab revolutions to join our growing movement by signing this statement or keeping with the demands put forward herewith.
The long-awaited Arab revolution has come. Like a geologic event with the reverberations of an earthquake, the timing and circumstances were unpredictable. In one Arab country after another, people are taking to the street demanding the fall of monarchies established during European colonial times. They are also calling to bring down dictatorships supported and manifested by neo-colonial policies. Although some of these autocratic regimes rose to power with popular support, the subsequent division and subjugation of the Arab World led to a uniform repressive political order across the region. The Arab masses in different Arab countries are therefore raising a uniform demand: “The People Want to Topple the Regimes!”
For the past two decades, the Arab people witnessed the invasion and occupation of Iraq with millions killed under blockade and occupation, Palestinians massacred with the aim to crush the anti-Zionist resistance, and Lebanon repeatedly invaded with the purposeful targeting of civilians. These actions all served to crush resistance movements longing for freedom, development, and self-determination. Meanwhile, despotic dictatorships, some going back 50 years, entrenched themselves by building police states, or fighting wars on behalf of imperialist interests.
Most Arab regimes systematically destroyed the social fabric of civil society, stifled social development, repressed all forms of political dissent and democratic expression, mortgaged their countries’ wealth to foreign interests and enriched themselves and their cronies at the expense of impoverishing their populations. After pushing the Arab people to the brink, populations erupted.
The spark began in Tunisia where a police officer slapped and spat on Mohammad Bou Azizi, flipping over his produce cart for not delivering a bribe on time. Unable to have his complaint heard, he self-immolated in protest, igniting the conscience of the Tunisian people and that of 300 million Arabs. In less than a month, the dictator, Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, was forced into exile by a Tunisian revolution. On its way out, the regime sealed its legacy by shooting at unarmed protestors and burning detention centers filled with political prisoners. Ben Ali was supported by the US and Europe in the fight against Islamic forces and organized labor.
Hosni Mubarak’s brutal dictatorship fell less than a month after Tunisia’s. The revolution erupted at a time when one half of the Egyptian population was living on less than $2/day while Mubarak’s family amassed billions of dollars. The largest population recorded in Egyptian history was living in graveyards and raising their children among the dead while transportation and residential infrastructure was crumbling. Natural gas was supplied to Israel at 15% of the market price while the Rafah border was closed with an underground steel wall to complete the suffocation of the Palestinians in Gaza. Those who were deemed a threat swiftly met the fate of Khalid Said. 350 martyrs fell and 2,000 people were injured.
After Egypt and Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan exploded in protest. Some governments quickly reshuffled faces and ranks without any tangible change. Some, like Bahrain and Yemen, sent out their security forces to massacre civilians. The Yemeni regime used US-made chemical weapons on protestors, at the same time it opened fire on unarmed civilians. Oman and Yemen represent strategic assets for the US as they are situated on the straits of Hormuz and Aden, respectively. Bahrain is an oil country that hosts a US military base, situated in the Persian Gulf. A new round of US funded blood-letting of Arab civilians has begun!
Libyan dictator Qaddafi did not prove to be an exception. He historically took anti-imperialist positions for a united Arab World and worked for an African Union. He later transformed his regime to a subservient state and opened Libya to British Petroleum and Italian interests, working diligently on privatization and political repression. He amassed more wealth than that of Mubarak. In the face of the Libyan revolution, Qaddafi exceeded the brutality of Ben Ali, Mubarak and Ali Abdullah Saleh, blind-folding and executing opponents, surrounding cities with tanks, and bombing his own country. Death toll is expected to be in the thousands.
Qaddafi’s history makes Libya an easy target for imperialist interests. The Obama administration followed the Iraq cookbook by freezing Libyan assets amounting to 30% of the annual GDP. The White House, with the help of European governments, rapidly implemented sanctions and called for no-fly zones. These positions were precipitated shortly after the US vetoed a resolution condemning the illegal Israeli colonization of the West Bank. Special operations personnel from the UK were captured by the revolutionary commanders in Ben Ghazi and sent back.
We call for a united movement in support of the Arab revolutions for freedom. We oppose all military and economic measures taken by the US and European governments against Arab nations.
Demands of the Solidarity Movement with Arab Revolutions
1. We condemn the atrocities committed by the dictatorships’ security forces against unarmed civilians in an attempt to pull the protest movements into a state of civil war.
2. We demand a stop to US support, financing and trade with Arab dictatorships. We oppose US policy that has favored Israeli expansionism, war, US oil interest and strategic shipping routes at the expense of Arab people’s freedom and dignified living.
3. We support the Arab people’s right to sovereignty and self-determination. We demand that the US government stop its interference in the internal affairs of all Arab countries and end subsidies to wars and occupation.
4. We support the Arab people’s demands for political, civil and economic rights. The Arab people’s movement is calling for:
a. Deposing the unelected regimes and all of their institutional remnants
b. Constitutional reform guaranteeing freedom of organizing, speech and press
c. Free and fair elections
d. Independent judiciary
e. National self-determination.
5. We oppose all forms of US and European military intervention with or without the legitimacy of the UN. Standing in solidarity with the revolution against Qaddafi, or any other dictator, does not equate to supporting direct or indirect colonization of an Arab country, its oil or its people. We therefore call for:
a. Absolute rejection of military blockades, no-fly zones and interventions.
b. Lifting all economic sanctions placed against Libya and allowing for the formation of an independent judiciary to prosecute Qaddafi and deposed dictators for their crimes.
c. Immediately withdrawing the US and NATO troops from the Arab region.
6. We support Iraq’s right to sovereignty and self determination and call on the US to immediately withdraw all occupation personnel from Iraq.
7. We recognize that the borders separating Arab nations were imposed on the Arab people by the colonial agreements of Sykes-Picot and the Berlin Conference on Africa. As such, we support the anti-Zionist nature of this revolution in its call for:
a. Ending the siege and starvation of the Palestinian people in Gaza
b. Supporting the right of the Palestinian people to choose their own representation, independent of Israeli and US dictates
c. Supporting the Palestinian right to return
d. Supporting the right of the Lebanese people to defend their country from Israeli violations and their call to end vestiges of the colonial constitution constructed on the basis of sectarian representation
e. Supporting the right of the Jordanian people to rid themselves of their repressive monarchy
f. Ending all US aid to Israel.
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Al-Awda (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition), Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Bay Area United Against War (Bauaw.org), International Socialist Organization (ISO), Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Palestinian Youth Network (PYN), United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Nada Khader, ED WESPAC Foundation, Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; Labor for Palestine