The Middle-Eastern Movements

In recent months it can be seen that a movement is spreading throughout the Middle East in which people in collective uprisings are demanding fundamental and proper political change. From Tunisia to Egypt these movements have been serious and thorough in that the people have sought through justified demonstrations the rightful political change in their countries. We should show our support to these people in their struggle for change and democracy.

One thing in common is that these current movements can be seen as a rejection of their US backed authoritarian governments. The ‘special relationships’ some Middle-Eastern countries have with the US involve limiting the democratic rights of their people, mainly as these leaders do not wish to end their special relationship and so keep their grasp onto power for as long as they can. Clearly, from the US point of view, the main intention of these relationships involve the trading of oil which of course is no surprise. These movements are a clear sign that the people, in Tunisia and Egypt, are rejecting this relationship with the US in demand of having their country and their resources back for themselves.

Another common theme is that in these countries the people do not have the democratic right to chose who governs them. Both in Tunisia and Egypt the people do not have the right to vote. This clearly should not be accepted by the people as no country can be a democracy without a voting system in which the people elect and chose who they wish to be governed by. In Egypt they have had the same leader for many years, at least 20 or more, and this clearly cannot be in any democracy. Also, by having elections and the vote, politicians are directly accountable and responsible to the people were as in these countries those who hold the power have no accountability to their people and as such feel free to lead however the please. A democracy can only be so if the people who govern are elected and not appointed.

Here in the UK there have been many great struggles for democratic change. The biggest most recent movement in our history was the Suffragette movement at the beginning of the 20th Century. Women bravely campaigned for their democratic right to vote. Their cause was one won on the use of militancy and is therefore an example of how militancy is a justified means of bringing about change, as similar to demonstrations which have taken place in Egypt and Tunisia. In the 1980’s the miners used striking to resist Thatchers attempt to destroy working class communities through the closure of mining pits. Arthur Scargill and the striking miners is another great example of the people taking part in proper and principled struggles to resistance to governments in a common cause. Another famous movement in the UK was that of the Peasant’s Revolt. This was a heroic struggle for much needed reform for the poverty struck peasants in opposition to their enforced slavery, thankfully this revolt marked the beginning of the end for Serfdom in England. .

One other common aspect in these movements has been the use of the internet. Clearly this very blog is an example of how the internet is used by different people to promote principles and causes, whether it’s from single issue matters like climate change and voting reform to organising demonstrations and mass meetings. In Tunisia and Egypt the use of sites like Twitter and Facebook have helped the people organise and co-ordinate their struggle, similarly the use of video phones to record the battles between them and the army have been used to show the world their fight for democracy. In relation to blogging Tony Benn, in his book ‘Letters to my Grandchildren’, said the following:

“Blogging is growing at a fantastic rate and is virtually costless. It means that anyone can express their opinions on the internet and influence others; each blogger becomes a proprietor of his own newspaper without the influence of advertising (or the revenue it brings)”.

Clearly the internet is becoming a very useful tool for the people in all countries to bring about political campaign and movements.

We in this country need to show our support to the people in the Middle East, and all people in the word, in any struggle they undertake to bring about proper political change. The people in this country have used collective movements and demonstrations to bring about change, most recently the student demonstrations in opposition to the rising tuition fees and the G20 protests before then. From the movements in our history we have a duty to support these people in their quest for justice and democracy. Collective revolts are great in showing the power of the people in bringing about the end of immoral and corrupt governments. It may be that the people of this country need to take inspiration from these movements in maintaining our democratic rights and to resist all regressive policies this Coalition Government tries to implement.



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