Political Observation - Tunisia's Protests Against Finance Law

 بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Political Observation - Tunisia’s Protests Against Finance Law

Tunisia has been living under the spectre of intermittent mass protests against the 2018 finance law. These moves were accompanied by a flurry of robberies and pillaging of public and privates property in addition to a series of arson attacks against police stations and local council buildings in some cities. The slogans hoisted during the protests and the ensuing acts of sabotage led to pointing the finger at the Popular Front in which the communist movement is deemed as its backbone. These accusations were lodged by the two main components of the Tunisian government, namely al-Nahda Movement and the Nida Tunis Party. Al-Nahda issued a communiqué on 4 January 2018 condemning the “repeated calls of some political groups” urging the citizens to “stage a host of protests to impose a suspension of the enactment of the new finance law and plunge the country in a state of chaos.”

As for prime minister Yucef Chahed, he accused, in a press release on 10 January 2018, the Popular Front and “corruption networks” of inciting the acts of violence and riots that had targeted a number of public and private institutions. Both al-Nahda Movement and Nida Tunis deemed the acts of the Popular Front as irresponsible even though it had voted for the finance law in parliament, it, however, took to the streets to call for a popular dynamism against the outputs of the finance law, especially the price increases. The followers of the Popular Front and the supporters of the “What are we waiting for” campaign are not likely to stop their protests, although the government would most probably not budge. The financial situation of the Tunisian government leaves it with little choice but to adopt and implement this law now that it has mortgaged itself to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On the other hand, the Popular Front will take advantage of these movements in order to get more votes in the upcoming municipal elections of May 2018. This is the key reason why al-Nahdha Movement and the Nida Tunis Party openly declare that the Popular Front is behind the looting, property damage and arson attacks that followed the mass protests.

Tunisia's current economic and financial policy will only lead to higher rates of poverty among the general population. This policy is part of the global capitalist system that is dominated by US major corporations and financial institutions which plan to leave the country drowning in debt and large loans to the point of defaulting on repaying the principal and interest. When the government reaches this stage of deficit, the US and its allies will come forward in their capacity as creditors and impose their conditions through which they will control the fate, wealth and sovereignty of the country. These conditions may include control of the country's mineral and underground resources, or establishing military bases or imposing political and military plans that serve their interests. Being fully aware of this, the Tunisian government would have taken control of Tunisia’s wealth of oil, salt and phosphate resources had it been sincere in its mission to protect public wealth. Instead, they are controlled by international companies, especially French, British and American corporations, without any real benefit to the state and its treasury.

Those entrusted with the care of the people should fight corruption in public institutions, seriously and comprehensively, in lieu of burdening the population with an increase in prices, especially with the significant decline in per capita income. This fight against corruption should not be only for the sake of an immediate return, as is currently happening in the country, where Chahed’s cabinet is just pretending to fight corruption in order to polish its image and settle old scores between Kamal al- Latif and Chafiq Jarraya.

In conclusion, the rotten capitalist economy of this country, which, on top of it being forced on a majority that does not believe in it nor its outputs, is imposed by a corrupt group that only cares about amassing more wealth with no regard to people living in misery. And I don’t only mean al-Nahda Movement and Nida Tunis by the governing cohort, for they are but a front to those wealthy families exerting economic and political influence on the government and representing an extension of the American and European elites, in their ideals, emotions, interests and plans.
People’s salvation in all aspects of life, including the economic one, can only be achieved by hard work and perseverance in bringing Islam’s just system to the government which will result in truly satisfying the needs of the people. In the era of Omar bin Abdul Aziz people couldn’t find someone poor or in need of his rightful share of the money of Zakat, however, the current system prevents the distribution of wealth from one class of people thus depriving the others…so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you.

26 Rabi al-Awwal 1439h
13 January 2018