The world we live in is shaped by the disruptive forces of the capitalist search for ever greater profit and the struggle of imperialist states to rule the world, but also by class struggles of the exploited and the fight for liberation waged by the oppressed and wretched of the earth. The web site RedMed firmly takes its stand on the side of the exploited classes and the oppressed peoples, religions, women, youth and others that struggle for emancipation.
Not long ago, at the turn of the 21st century, the mighty of the world, the capitalists and their ideologues were jubilant in declaring that the new millennium signalled the end of history and the perpetual domination of capitalism and so-called “liberal democracy”. Class struggle was a thing of the past. If any social contradictions survived, these had to do with people’s “identity”, most often said to be independent of one’s material circumstances, simply invented by the free-floating subject. Otherwise, the markets were deemed to be able to solve all the problems that humanity faced. Capitalism was advancing like a Juggernaut, with no obstacles in sight in the way of triumphant globalisation.
Only ten years later we find ourselves in the midst of the deepest economic crisis that the modern world has witnessed since the Great Depression of the 1930s, a series of wars and civil wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Georgia, Libya, Syria and counting, immense uprisings of the Arab masses in various countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and ever sharpening class struggle in its purest form on the European continent, especially in its southern periphery. The world has gone in exactly the opposite direction of the predictions of the pundits of capitalism!
The web site RedMed is, first and foremost, an appeal to the workers, youth, intellectuals, women, oppressed nations and all the downtrodden of the Mediterranean region to cast off the yoke of the lies and myths of capitalist ideology and start to think with our own brains, see things through the eyes of the exploited and the oppressed, so as to be able to right what is wrong in this world and fight for a better one.
But why the Mediterranean region? Because a spectre is haunting the Mediterranean, the spectre of revolution! This is a process that is unfolding under our very eyes.
This process started in Greece, in December 2008 as a spontaneous revolt on the part of the youth, but also of a radicalised section of the working masses, in reaction to the cold-blooded murder of the young Alexi Grigoropoulos by the police. This revolt lasted for a full month, laying bare the deep tensions within Greek society.
The Greek December was followed by the Tunisian December and January, this time of 2010-2011. The working youth of Tunisia, ranging from countless unemployed graduates down to the most downtrodden layers of the interior of the country, rose in reaction to the death through self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi, a graduate street vendor who had been humiliated by officials. The youth, supported by sections of the trade union movement, demanded jobs, dignity, and a voice in the running of their country. This was clearly a revolution moved by class grievances. And in less than a month it brought down the seemingly omnipotent dictator Ben Ali.
The Tunisian December-January was immediately followed by the most powerful of all the revolutions of recent times, the January-February revolution of Egypt. The spectacular demonstrations of Tahrir Square, accompanied by rallies in other cities of Egypt and a mighty strike movement in early February, led to the ouster of Mubarak in a matter of eighteen days!
The relay was then taken over in February, March and April by a host of Arab countries, from Yemen in the south to Syria in the north and from Bahrain in the east to Morocco in the west. Masses rose everywhere in an unstoppable onslaught, demanding decent socio-economic conditions and a say in the running of their respective countries. None were as successful as Tunisia and Egypt, but many made the once complacent kings and sheikhs, the emirs and dictators, the oil barons and capitalists of the Arab world shiver with fear.
May was Spain’s turn. The M-15 movement led to the occupation of a main square in each major city of Spain (most notably the Puerta del Sol in Madrid, and the Catalunya in Barcelona) by the indignados, rightly indignant in a country in which youth unemployment has reached the mind-boggling level of 55 per cent! The Greek working class and masses, meanwhile, had already started their successive waves of general strikes and demonstrations against the dictates of the Troika and responded at this stage positively to the appeal by the indignados of Spain by occupying Syndagma Square, a place that became as emblematic for Greece as Tahrir was for the rest of the world because parliament was there and was put under siege by the masses every time there was a memorandum of the Troika being deliberated upon and voted in parliament.
Imperialism had to resort to a war (in Libya), fan the flames of a civil war (in Syria), send local occupation forces by proxy (in Bahrein), develop intricate diplomatic initiatives in order to oversee so-called “orderly transition” (in Yemen), bribe the masses with subsidies worth tens of billions of dollars (in Saudi Arabia) or absorb the mass movement through constitutional reform (in Morocco) in order to fight the forest fire of the Arab revolution. It even tried to come to terms with the long-hated Muslim Brotherhood and a similar movement in Tunisia (Annahda) so as to consolidate emerging governments and thus to prevent the revolutionary process from getting out of hand and growing over into permanent revolution (for which the services of Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the pro-imperialist Islamist movement of Turkey and current prime minister, were used).
But just as everyone committed to “stability” and capitalist gluttony sighed with relief, hoping the Arab masses had finally returned to their homes, revolution erupted once again in Egypt (against the shameless appropriation of dictatorial prerogatives by the Muslim Brotherhood in power) and in Tunisia (against continuing unemployment and misery). The Arab revolution is, the masses seemed to declare to the rest of the world, well and alive!
As for the southern periphery of Europe, all indications promise the deepening of class struggles. The euro is under extreme stress and if even one country exits the common currency, Europe will as a whole be, in all likelihood, plunged into turmoil. Even the future of the EU itself is threatened, with disintegration looming large in the horizon. All this necessarily implies an economic crisis of unprecedented proportions and consequently a fight to the death, so to speak, between the major classes. Above and beyond the very radical forms class struggle that have recently taken place in several countries (especially Greece and Spain), a first glimpse of what may come in the future was witnessed on 14 November 2012, when even the ETUC, an extremely bureaucratised union structure that works as the labour bureau of the EU, had to declare a Europe-wide general strike, observed, it is true, very unequally in the different countries of Europe. 14 November remained far below the potential represented by the combativeness of the European working class, but was emblematic, nonetheless, of how the workers’ movement, once having shed off the yoke of the union bureaucracy, should move in the future, bringing the formidable forces of the European working class together in an international and internationalist struggle.
The dynamic of the Arab revolution, in part a consequence of the economic hardships created by the world economic crisis, and the dynamic of the working class movement of southern Europe, a direct response to that crisis, have together created a revolutionary basin around the Mediterranean. RedMed (short for “Red Mediterranean”) aspires to respond to the needs and worries of the organisations and revolutionary militants who are involved in this revolutionary dynamic. We hope to discuss the potentials and the problems of the revolution in the countries of the Mediterranean and find the way forward to bring down the governments that safeguard the interests of the capitalists in the region, bringing the working class, the dispossessed and the oppressed into power.
We are with the Arab masses against the old and new Mubaraks and against the imperialist-Zionist alliance! We are with the working people and youth of Greece being consumed by the social cannibalism put into practice by successive Greek governments under the diktat of the Troika! We are with the workers and youth of the Euro-Mediterranean countries to which Greece is showing their future! We are with the workers, the women and the youth of Iran against the ferocious capitalist dictatorship of the mullahs! We are with the Palestinian people in their heroic fight for self-determination and the right of return to their homes (awda). We are with the Kurdish people dispersed into the territories of four different states (Iran, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria) and oppressed to the degree of being denied its existence, but nonetheless resolutely fighting for national emancipation. We are with the workers and youth of Turkey, who are being threatened with the same kind of economic ravage witnessed in the Euro-Mediterranean countries in the near future.
We believe that the exploitation and the oppression to which the great majority of the people of the region are subjected can only be overcome through the victorious revolutions led by the working class of the region. And the revolution can only be victorious if it wins internationally. That is why we call all like-minded people of the south and the north of the Mediterranean to join hands with us to fight together with the capitalist governments in each of our countries and to crown this common struggle with the construction of an international revolutionary organisation fighting for workers’ power. Our struggle will only be victorious if we can march towards the Socialist Federation of the Middle East and North Africa and the United Socialist States of Europe.