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TUNISIA -- APPEALS FROM COMMITTEES TO DRIVE OUT

THE REGIME AND FOR A CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY

Presentation

No, the Tunisian Revolution is not a matter of "jasmine," as the major media
would have us believe. It is the work of the working class ... farm workers, youth,
precarious workers, civil servants, the unemployed -- of an entire exploited and
oppressed people.

Ben Ali, the dictator, has fallen, but it is the regime of Ben Ali's party, the
Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique (RCD), that must leave.
Everywhere, the protesters continue to chant, "Dissolve the RCD!"

In many cities and many neighborhoods, the people formed committees to


defend themselves against abuses. Those committees have since expanded in
number and broadened their scope, beginning to take over the tasks that had
been performed by the municipalities.

In cities such as Kasserin, the mayor, officials and police -- who were all
subservient to the RCD and had crushed the population -- have fled. The city's
people's committee replaced them in power. In this movement, because of their
experience and traditions, many UGTT (General Union of Tunisian Workers)
activists and leaders are in these committees.

No, the revolution in Tunisia is not a matter of "jasmine." It is the struggle of a


people for their emancipation. Therefore, we repeat once again: "To the French
and U.S. governments, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and European
Union: Hands Off the Tunisian Revolution!" -- Lucien Gauthier

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TESTIMONY
"The defense of the revolution requires the ouster of the
RCD, its dissolution and the return to the people of all
stolen property."
-- Fathi* a resident of Kasserin, interviewed on Jan. 21, 2011

Question: Can you describe the situation in the city today, which was one of the
first to have started the fight to drive Ben Ali from power and to seek an end to
his regime?

Response: First, what affected us the most is the high number of gunshot
victims. There were more than 50. The police fired at close range at the head or
the heart, but the people resisted with stones and sticks. Cops were killed and
wounded. At one point, the army came between us and the cops. We welcomed
them with joy. The same thing happened in several cities, such as Regueb. Ben
Ali sacked his military staff after this.

After the withdrawal of the special forces, the city could turn and function without
the presence of the state apparatus, which had also fled. At Kasserin, we have
been in a situation of permanent, open general strike for 15 days. It was the
UGTT activists that pushed for the formation of a committee that has, in fact, a
regional character and makes decisions in the absence of the administration.

The union activists are the backbone of the administration of the population, but
they don't try to to direct things. It's the local committee, which is basically a
strike committee, that makes all the decisions. What is certain is that the RCD is
no longer wanted; no one wants to see their faces anymore. What is the
strongest thing is the huge degree of solidarity that exists here.

During the most difficult days, the bakeries distributed bread for free and we all
took to the street to chase off Ben Ali's police.

Question: How have you reacted to the return of "opponents" to the regime?
And isn't calling today for a presidential election counterposed to calling for a
Constituent Assembly?

Response: There is great mistrust amongst the population of all political parties.
We do not want to be taken over by someone who is looking to benefit his
career. That is why the visit by Moncef Marzouki [a Ben Ali opponent who
returned from exile in France -- Ed.] was not well-received by the people. His trip
was staged in conjunction with the Islamists. He came to see Kasserin, but left
immediately because we refused to go along with his political plans.

Why should he be president? To repeat the same thing but with more
democracy? In Kasserin, our committee is demanding a Constituent Assembly
because it is through this means that the people can retain control of the
revolution.

Question: And now, what are the people's expectations?


Response: There will be a march of the Kasserin committee to Tunis, along with
all the other committees in Tunisia.

The defense of the revolution requires the ouster of the RCD, its dissolution and
the return to the people of all stolen property. As soon as the Kasserin
committee's appeal was adopted, the people flocked to get a copy of the leaflet,
to the point that traffic stopped. Everyone wanted a copy of the leaflet. In 23
years, we never talked politics much. No Tunisian will accept a step backwards.

---

(*) The name of the interviewee was modified for security reasons.
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TWO DOCUMENTS: Declarations by the Committees of Kasserin and


Siliana, Two Cities in the Interior of Tunisia

1) Declaration of the Regional Republican Committee for the Protection


and Supervision of the Revolution of Kasserin

(excerpts)

The blood of martyrs has run on our nation's soil in different regions, particularly
in the Kasserin region, which has witnessed the fall of half the nation's martyrs.

We must take note of the fact that the enemies of the revolution are both inside
and outside. They are attempting to confiscate the revolution of our people,
thereby trampling upon the blood of our martyrs, by creating a new regime on
the basis of all the forces of the old regime. They want to seize the gains of our
people and to continue to serve imperialism, Zionism and the reactionary Arab
regimes.

We affirm that it is imperative to take a stand against all maneuvers that seek to
undermine the aspirations of our people for freedom.

This is why the fighting youth, who are the flame of this revolution, together with
components of civil society have created a Republican Committee for the
Protection and Supervision of the Revolution.

The committee works to:

- Recognize the moral and material rights of our martyrs and to honor their
memory by bringing their killers to justice and giving their names to squares and
public places.

- Defeat the ruling party (RCD) and all its structures, including its militia, and
freeze its assets, and restitute to the people all the goods and property that were
stolen from them; and to prosecute all those responsible for the political,
financial and administrative corruption.

- Recognize the poorer regions, especially Kasserin, providing them the right to
development and the equitable distribution of wealth for the creation of jobs.

- Fight any propaganda that distorts and obscures the reality of facts in all
regions, particularly in the region of Kasserin, and which attempts to sow hatred
between regions.

- Establish a Government of National Public Salvation, chaired by a nationally


recognized, independent personality, known by all for his/her integrity. This
government will be composed of people who are not involved in the political,
economic and social worlds of the ruling party.

The government must guarantee the election of a Constituent Assembly for the
purpose of adopting a new Destour [Constitution -- Ed,] that breaks with the old
regime. Long live the revolution of the Tunisian people! Glory to our martyrs!
Long live the fighting Tunisian people!

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2) Call by the Siliana Wilaya [Department] Committee to Protect the


Population -- Siliana, Jan. 16, 2011

(excerpts)
We are aware the the mobilization of our people is the reference point for
revolutionaries and free people in the Arab world and, more generally,
throughout the world. Our revolution is a fulcrum in the struggles of all peoples
against tyranny and corruption. We call for combat to continue against any
conspiracies being hatched against our revolution that aim to take advantage of
the blood of our martyrs.

We declare that we reject the appointment of M'bazza, as we reject the decree


that would allow [Prime Minister Mohamed] Ghannouchi to form a national unity
government based on an illegitimate constitution and an unrepresentative
assembly.

We declare that any unity with the murderers of our people and those who are
corrupt is an act of sedition against the revolution of our people. It will be a vain
attempt to put our people down. We call upon all forces to take their proper
place in the ranks of the citizens and assume their historical, political and moral
responsibilities.

Given the administrative vacuum in the Wilaya [Department -- Ed.] of Siliana,


following the flight of the majority of the regional and local officials who are in the
RCD and who will be called to account before the court system, we will conduct
an election that will create:

- A local assembly to protect the revolution and to conduct business.

- A regional assembly for the protection of the revolution, to conduct business,


and to direct the affairs of the city and of its (Wilaya); and to establish
coordination nationally until the adoption of a new Destour that guarantees the
rights of all national sensitivities and produces the election of a representative
popular parliament. The parliament will establish the responsibilities and duties
of the elected assemblies in consultation with the base.

Long live the struggle of our people headed down the path of freedom and
dignity!