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‘Democracy is not given, it is taken’

(6 September 2011)

From Socialist Worker, 6 September 2011.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Ten years have passed since the tragic events of 9/11. While I sympathise with those who died in the US, I cannot but remember the countless atrocities committed by the US government in their name against Muslims and Arabs around the globe.

The US has tried to paint Arabs and Muslims as backwards, oppressors, terrorists – and with these slogans it has legitimised countless attacks.

In Iraq, millions of people are still stuck in an endless chain of violence and crisis.

In Afghanistan the war continues, and is flooding into Pakistan. And we have seen the 2006 war on Lebanon.

Palestinians are suffering more than ever at the hands of Israel, one of the most brutal regimes that has ever existed.

The democracy that the US promised to the Arab people meant nothing more than oil contracts, privatisation and increased spending on “security”.

The “will of the people” that the “liberators” never stopped talking about was crushed daily by the regimes that the US had planted or supported for decades.

But in 2011 the world has taken a sharp turn.

The masses of the Arab world are rising up against those same regimes that the US has for long described as “strategic allies and “pioneers of stability and democracy”.

From Tahrir Square to the streets of Tunisia, the squares of Bahrain and Yemen, and through Syria, we have learned that democracy and freedom is not given.

It is taken – by the will, unity and determination of the masses.

But this is only the start. The Arab masses know that the price of freedom is not cheap, and that the only way to guarantee the gains of their revolutions is by breaking and pushing out imperialism.

We need to trust the masses of the world – not the regimes and ruling classes.

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Last updated: 31 October 2014