ALGERIA: “We Don’t Need a Pharaoh!”
(shouted by soccer fans at Blida Stadium)
Nov. 27 — Abdelmadjid Tebboune, former head of government and one of the five candidates endorsed by the regime to run for office in the presidential election on December 12, did not travel to Adrar or Tizi Ouzou, which had been scheduled as campaign stops. At his final destination, Bainem, there were only a few FLN militants waiting for him. He gave up the plan to hold a rally in what would have been an empty room, sending his campaign director in his place — a director who ended up quitting his job before the end of the day.
This anecdote highlights the extent of the rejection of the December 12 presidential election through which the regime — which has been rejected for the past nine months by millions of Algerians in the streets — seeks to gain legitimacy. In a series of cities across Algeria, young people and students have decided to protest every evening between now and December 12. Strikes, rallies, and sit-ins have continued uninterrupted.
The protests are taking place everywhere, including at the soccer stadiums. At the Blida Stadium, more than 30,000 fans spent their time, before, during, and after the Algeria-Zambia match, shouting, “No to the Presidential Election! We Don’t Need a Pharaoh!”
The regime now has only the use of force and repression at its disposal to enforce its roadmap: journalists have been fired, the media have been brought under tighter control, demonstrators have been arrested left and right.
In recent weeks, the rejection of the regime has taken an increasingly social-and-economic-justice course, as workers’ strikes are spreading. The adoption of the Hydrocarbon Law was welcomed by the multinationals Exxon and Total, which are the main beneficiaries. Moreover, according to the Minister of Energy himself, the text of the law was written by the largest foreign companies. According to the Minister, everything has been done to motivate “foreign investors.”
This law opens a process of recolonization of the national economy. The workers of Sonatrach — a State-owned hydrocarbon company — are especially targeted. They have understood the threats and have expressed their opposition to this law. The illegitimate National Assembly also adopted a 2020 Law on Finances that attacks frontally the workers’ and national conquests of November 1, 1954 [the date of the outbreak of the Algerian Revolution against French colonialism — editor’s note]. By adopting these laws, the regime has followed “to a T” the directives of the International Monetary Fund.
In this situation, the militants of the Organizing Committee of Internationalist Socialists of Algeria (COSI) have supported a call issued by militants of all political backgrounds that addresses the leaders of trade union organizations and political parties that claim to represent the workers. The call states in part:
“We are convinced that we must stand up firmly to the regime and reject all its projects. That is why we appeal to all trade union organizations, parties, and organizations claiming to promote workers’ rights and democracy to forge their unity and call to reject actively the presidential election scheduled for December 12 by organizing the boycott of the election through boycott committees in all factories, workplaces, universities, and districts of major cities and municipalities. We also summon them to issue the call for, and organize, the general strike to put an end to the regime, and to convene and elect the Sovereign Constituent Assembly. ”
— reprinted from Minbar El Oummel (Workers Tribune), Issue No. 44