Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Workers Party [Algeria] manifesto

Emergency Manifesto Issued by Workers Party (PT) on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Algerian Revolution

On the 1st of July 1962, after seven and a half years of war, the Algerian people proclaimed their national independence with a 99.7% "Yes" vote in the referendum organised to decide the status of Algeria.

But if this proclamation opened up the path to a process of re-appropriation of the main attributes of national sovereignty in the economic and military fields, paradoxically in the political field the one-party system that was set up,confiscated popular sovereignty, hampering the historic step to effective national emancipation.

50 years later, the sovereignty and the integrity of the Algerian nation are, at present, at the heart of what is at stake.

Indeed, especially since the NATO military intervention in Libya, the Maghreb and Mashriq region has now entered a highly turbulent zone with the dislocation of nations on the agenda, following the US GMO [Greater Middle East] plan, under the guise of the "Arab Spring" Š. a reactionary concept that denies the existence of nations and is used as a pretext for foreign interference and foreign military intervention.

While the greatest uncertainty hangs over Egypt, and Syria plunges further every day into a civil war orchestrated from abroad, while the threat of foreign military intervention looms nearer, the Sahel region, already devastated by the SAPs [Structural Adjustment Plans] and famine, is from now on, also concerned by these destructive plans. With this policy the big Imperialist powers are trying to impose a military presence in this region and to pillage the peoples' resources and riches. As the presidential elections approached, Mali, the first victim of the Imperialist war in Libya, has descended into chaos. Its territorial unity is undermined by an armed rebellion in the mineral-rich North.

Our country shares a 2,500 km border with Libya and Mali; these dangerous developments are a direct threat to it.

Foreign pressure is exerted on the State to implicate our country in the turmoil of the tribal war decomposing Mali.

Our country is now encircled by chaos, because, in addition to the disintegration process in neighbouring Libya and Mali, Tunisia, to the East, it is also trapped in a dangerous deadlock because the revolution that broke out at the end of 2010, chasing out Ben Ali, is faced with a domestic counter revolution and Imperialist interferences aimed at avoiding any break with policies serving international capital interests.

No to Imperialist war!
No to foreign interference!

The Workers Party (PT) considers that today's priority is to reinforce the nation's immunity. This requires reinforcing the nation's social fabric through solving social problems, in particular, the unemployment and casual job situation suffered by young people, in getting ahead of the housing crisis, in completing the peace and national reconciliation process, by clearing up all the national tragedy records and installing true democracy, thus getting rid of any pretext for foreign interference.

Our country is now more fragile

For not only are all the above-mentioned problems still very clearly raised, but last 10th of May, about 70% of the registered voters in Algeria -- according to official figures -- expressed, by abstaining and by their spoiled ballots, their mistrust of the polling and therefore of the legislative framework upon which it was founded, as well as the institutions in charge of its organisation.

This mistrust, showing clearly that the one-party system is massively rejected, is a real alarm signal.

From the point of view of democracy, the overwhelming majority of the people are not represented in the new National People's Assembly / APN (the FLN and the RND together do not add up to 8.5% of the votes of the registered voters). The question of the people's political representation, the foundation of democracy, still remains unanswered.

What's more, on the 10th of May 2012, the most crooked election procedure since 1997 was organised; a prefabricated vote violated the universal rule of "one person, one vote". The three pillars of Statehood, i.e., army, judiciary and administration were implicated in this procedure, totally discrediting the State authority.

The results that were publicised consecrate the maintenance of the status quo; gone with the sweep of a hand are all the commitments and promises of the President of the Republic concerning a transparent vote, political renewal and the setting up of indisputable institutions.

With the 208 seats offered to the FLN, a party in full crisis, to stop it from imploding, it is a full force return to the one-party system, a full stop to the profound, majority aspiration for a democratic change as expressed in the vote and by those abstaining from voting.

The PT's positions are a source of disturbance

The Workers Party placed at the heart of its election campaign the defence of national sovereignty, combined with the fight to uphold the interests of the majority of the people through a break with the SAPs, with the Association Agreement with the EU, as well as with privatisation and casual labour through suspending negotiations with the WTO. Also front and center was the call to institute democracy via of a Sovereign Constituent Assembly that breaks with the one-party system. For these positions, Workers Party was the object of a brutal offensive on the 10th of May 2012, an offensive that deprived the Workers Party of dozens of seats. In doing this, a brake was put on the momentum which the PT's election campaign had given rise to, with massive mobilisations calling for the setting up of popular committees to address the National Assembly.

The PT having thus been sanctioned, the prospect of the Second Republic that could establish true democracy, breaking with the outdated one-party system, is brutally postponed.

The 10th of May elections: a dangerous turning point

The situation is serious because these elections, which have exposed the country to foreign blackmail and therefore to interference, have revealed a very advanced, Egyptian-style state of political decomposition with dirty money mixed up with politics.

Because of this, the new National Popular Assembly, seeing the nature of the elections, is already devoid of any credibility and what's more constitutes a true danger for the Algerian State, while political democracy is under threat as never before as the crises dislocating the main parties, show.

Where is our country going?

This 10th of May 2012 the failure of the whole process of political reform initiated by the President of the Republic was consummated, a process biased from the start.

So the possibility of seeing a process of Constituent Assembly emerge, allowing the sovereignty of the people to express itself, is once more scuttled, this Assembly being unable, by its nature, to be its vehicle.

It remains that the failure of the political reforms confirms, that only a Constituent Assembly, associating the people in the drawing up of the Constitution, through free debate, can save the Nation and immunise it against domestic and foreign dangers by opening up a democratic solution.

For on this 50th anniversary of National Independence, our country's natural resources, its national reconstruction market and foreign currency reserves are coveted and are the target of foreign pressure. This pressure is relayed within the country by part of the bosses (the FCE), who with pledges to the Transnational Corporations, advocate cancelling the 51/49 rule, re-establishing privatisation and State disengagement and extending deregulation in labour relations.

The danger is real because political parties, among which the FLN, the FFS and the Islamist parties have supported the FCE.
If its objectives were achieved, their consequences would plunge our country into the horrendous crisis that is shaking the global capitalist system, particularly devastating most of the European countries.

The situation is serious

For while the greatest uncertainty hangs over the sovereignty measures and socio-economic gains consecrated in the 2009 and 2010 LFC, Members of Parliament of FLN, along those of independent and small parties, having already announced their intention of revising these measures to "encourage foreign investments", i.e. satisfy the transnational companies, the NPA, devoid of all legitimacy, is supposed to debate on the revision of the Constitution.

With the Bill on hydrocarbons also planned to be amended, it is the material basis of the Nation that is in danger of being undermined by an NPA infested by a strong presence of persons linked to business community and dirty money. For who can assure us that Article 17 of the Constitution defining the collective property of the nation and the nationalisation of hydrocarbons will not be undermined?

It is the fate of the Nation, the future of coming generations that is at stake

The main Imperialist forces (US, European Union, French, British, Spanish, Š) the UN and Qatar unanimously saluted the 10th of May 2012 prefabricated election result, proving once again that their positions are dictated exclusively by military and economic interests that they seek to attain.
What do they expect from our country in return?
For, that's what it is all about.

We warn workers:

Their rights and gains are under threat, because the labour legislation draft prepared by the former Minister of Labour to be submitted to this NPA contains felonious, reactionary provisions.

Aimed at extending casual labour and harnessing the right to strike, such a policy direction, also defended by the FCE, constitutes a threat to union organisation and therefore to their very existence, with the objective of lowering labour costs, exposing workers to exploitation.
For these reasons, the leadership of the UGTA [General Union of Algerian Workers], in firm opposition, has refused to endorse the project that represents an intolerable regression in total contradiction with the elementary bases of democracy, with workers' aspirations. Indeed, since January 2011 in effect, and even during the election campaign, workers' and youth's struggles have been on-going in the country, precisely against casual labour, for improvement in purchasing power, for a review of status and compensation regimes Š etc. i.e., against all deregulation of labour relations.

And the mobilisations continues with strikes, sit-ins and rallies Š in spite of the half-vacant government situation created by the 10th of May elections.

For not only have the measures obtained for the increase in wages not affected all sectors, leading to inequalities, even to inadmissible discrimination, but speculation on the price of staple goods, resulting from the deregulation in trade with the suppression of the State monopoly, continuously erodes purchasing power.

What workers are waiting for, is the effective solution to social problems, which requires a new social and wage policy involving the repeal of article 87 B and thus a break with deregulation imported by the SAP (Structural Adjustment Plan).

The protection and improvement in purchasing power require, as well as indexing wages and pensions on living costs, the restoration of the State trade monopoly in order to fight effectively speculation and the informal sector.
 
The PT calls on worker, unionist and youth (tomorrow's workers) vigilance, so that, with the support of the resistance of trade union Confederation leadership defending social and unions rights, all attacks targeting labour standards and guarantees can be defeated and the general extension of indefinite-term jobs within the framework of a true social reform, corresponding to the needs of the working masses, can be imposed.

On this 50th Anniversary of National Independence, we declare:

No. The government must not give way to pressure from abroad that is trying to drag the country into the turmoil of military intervention in any country whatsoever. It must not support any Imperialist war of occupation and pillage, any war, picking Nations to pieces along tribal lines. It must not support any form of foreign military intervention.

No. The government must not deliver up all or part of our currency reserves to the IMF, which has put forward this request. Priority must be given to investing in kick-starting industry and agriculture, in improving purchasing power, in eradicating misery and social disparities resulting from all forms of precarious existence. Priority must be given to national reconstruction.

No. The government must make no concession within the framework of negotiations for entering the WTO and must not speed up the process. For such an entrance would liquidate our industry, our agriculture, banks, the services; it would force our country, which has paid a heavy tribute with the SAPs imposed by the IMF and World Bank in the 1990's, to share the impact of the crisis with the countries affected.

No. The government must not step down on sovereignty measures with the 51/49 rule, on national preference, on the State's right to pre-empt, on the support to agriculture and industry etc..
We assert the following: no Algerian attached to the interests of the Nation can accept the undermining of socio-economic gains, nor can he or she accept that policies not corresponding to the needs of the Nation be dictated from abroad, policies serving the interests of a minority and of international capital, reproducing the sinister period of the SAPs, which largely destroyed the economic potential of the country.

Quite the contrary, it is time for emancipation concerning the Association Agreement with the EU. It is time to look for the conditions for ensuring staple goods and medication security.

It is time for re-enforcing productive forces, production capacities, for an effective national preference, for restoring customs barriers so as to have the basis of a viable economy.

It is time to speed up the process of reopening the closed EPEs, time to renationalise groups that were sold off cheap.

It is time for a break with what remains of the SAPs, with the dual aspect of the political economy of the country, time for a real kick start to industry and agriculture.
It is time to draw up a national development plan based on the system of regional compensation, even of the positive discrimination rule for the Wilayas in the South, in order to consolidate citizen equality within the Republic.

Our country must not sink into the turmoil

At a time when the crisis of the capitalist system is devastating Europe, leading to horrifying advances in barbarism, when our region is turning into Somalia and when shattering US State Department and EU reports on the state of Human Rights in our country confirm that the election frauds of the 10th of May are used for foreign blackmail, we assert: our country must not sink into the turmoil.

It is urgent that a solution be found to the coming crisis

The President of the Republic is accountable to the Nation for protecting the country from foreign blackmail, from interference in domestic affairs. He has the powers needed for deciding on the measures for improving the political climate, for dissipating the growing anguish, for spurring a true process of political reform giving voice back to the people, so that they can debate freely and seriously on the nature of the institutions they need for exercising sovereignty and therefore on the Constitution.

The President insinuated the 8th of May 2012 that he might not stand again for President in 2014. This rendezvous already seems most perilous for the Nation, taking into account the regional context and the beginnings of instability and conflict that appear on the national horizon. The President of the Republic is responsible for prescribing the resolution to socio-political problems, generated by the national tragedy and the SAPs, for clearing up the political climate, totally polluted by money, the practices and affairs of the one party system, so that elections take place serenely in complete sovereignty and so our country emerges unharmed.

Our country must live in unity with its two linguistic components,
its territorial integrity and State sovereignty

1.5 million Algerians gave their lives for Algeria to regain its freedom, for the Algerian people to recover the whole of its territory, the natural riches hidden in its soil, for the people to get an independent State.

The martyrs of the revolution have therefore bequeathed to the Algerian people a sacred amana (legacy).

So beyond the difficulties and the complexity of the situation resulting from global and regional developments and from the 10th of May 2012 elections, only the united mobilisation of the majority is capable of preserving the Nation and opening up a prospect for the Algerian people.
The PT celebrates this month of June the 22nd anniversary of its foundation. This is more than two decades of uninterrupted and several times victorious combat, in defence of the Nation and its sovereignty, in the service of the interests of the working people, of youth, for peace and democracy.

Again today, because these same questions are still of fundamental importance and because our country is going through a pivotal period, the PT concentrates its forces on coming up with the political instruments capable of helping achieve the national revival that will save the Nation, its sovereignty and therefore its territorial integrity.

In view of this, the PT declares that it is ready to unite in action with any party, any union, in defence of the nation, of its sovereignty, of socio-economic gains. It submits this Alarm Manifesto to workers, young people, to the retired, to women, to administrators, to the disabled, to peasants (fellahs), whether they voted or not the 10th of May 2012. It proposes that they discuss this document, that unity be forged, using all democratic possibilities to group together in popular committees of unity to debate on the political solution capable of achieving the socio-economic and democratic aspirations of the majority of the people without foreign interference.

This is indeed the condition for the Algerian people to link up again with their historic march so as to complete the work of national emancipation by achieving all the objectives of the Algerian revolution.

Long live National Independence!
Long live a free and sovereign Algeria!
Long live the Workers Party!

-- Algiers, the 26th of June 2012
 The Political Bureau of the Parti des Travailleurs (Workers Party)

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