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“I know now that revolution is possible”

January 31st, 2011 · No Comments

“I know now that revolution is possible”
Olivier Besancenot gives his impressions on Tunisia
International Viewpoint
January 2011 – IV432

Olivier Besancenot, spokesperson for the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste was
in Tunisia earlier this week to find out about the revolution happening
there. Here are his impressions.

How did this trip to Tunisia come about?

It’s something I’ve never seen before. I’m part of that generation of
revolutionaries which has never lived the experience. It’s the first time
been through something like that in real life. I saw it with my own eyes. I
love this collective enthusiasm, it’s contagious and intoxicating. As I’m
speaking to you there are still thousands of citizens on the streets, in
clusters, hundreds of people who are describing the events on Facebook and
Twitter, trade unionists who are mobilised to demand the resignation of the
“new” government. The revolution is continuing here.

What is your feeling about this popular uprising?

Revolution is a complex process which moves ahead little by little and
creates its own path. The revolution is continuing because it has only one
goal: to get rid of this charade of a government. At the moment the Tunisian
oligarchy still has the country in its grip; the police are also controlled
by them as is every sector of the economy and that suits no one here. The
opposition wants to convene a constituent assembly to change the
institutions and move along a new road.

So, revolution isn’t a crazy dream? Does that give you any ideas?

Yes. I’m absolutely filled with hope (laughter). I know now that revolution
is possible, it’s there, under my eyes. No revolution resembles another.
There is no model. When people have tried to copy it has often ended badly.
I’m here to learn and to understand. I’m noting things about organisation,
the structure of the movement and it’s thrilling. We too really need a
social-democratic revolution.

You’ve met some of the opposition. Do you think they are ready to take

I’m not there to speak in the name of the Tunisian people – it has proved
that it does not need anyone for that – but one of the first things they
said was “it’s our revolution and we don’t want anyone to steal it from us”.
They didn’t expect that it would spread across borders.

And you?

I’d answer by quoting Ken Loach: “revolutions are always contagious.” What
happened in Egypt yesterday and has been happening for a few days in Algeria
is extremely important.

Do you hope to to go Egypt in the next few days?

I’m not a revolutionary tourist (laughter) and am not on a pilgrimage. I
came to Tunisia at the request of my comrades whom I’ve been in touch with
since the start of the movement. We had simply agreed that I would visit at
an appropriate time. I’m in touch with people in Egypt of course. We’ll see
what attitude we should take. However our job in France is to fight against
our own government and our own imperialism. It’s obviously not the right
that’s going to do that.

And the left?

The Socialist Party won’t do anything anymore. Let me remind you that a few
days ago Ben Ali was part of the Socialist International and that it was the
present government which covered his regime.

What do people in Tunisia think of France’s attitude?

They are very angry. Sarkozy’s excuses are waffle. No one here believes him.
I’ve explained that not everyone in France supported the government and all
its actions. I’ve heard the French media criticise the government’s
hesitancy but it’s much worse than that – it is active, concrete, economic
and financial complicity.

And are they asking anything from France?

They don’t have any intention of living in a dictatorship, that’s for sure.
They are not expecting anything from the French government. They have been
disappointed and will ask for nothing

-Olivier Besancenot is the best-known spokesperson of the New
Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), formed in 2009 following a call by the
Revolutionary Communist League (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR),
French section of the Fourth International). As candidate for the LCR in the
presidential elections in 2002 and 2007, he received 1.2 million votes
(4.5%) and 1.5 million votes (4.2%) respectively.


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