After three months of protests last spring, the Algerian government of Abelmadjid Tebboune acted to crack down on the mass hirak (movement). The hirak had been built around the giant 2019 street actions that forced out the aging military-backed ruler, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after his attempt to win office a fifth time. The government’s repression included restrictions on protests, mass arrests, and a move to dissolve the Parti Socialiste des Travailleurs (PST, Socialist Workers Party, the Algerian section of the Fourth International) and the Union for Change and Progress, two parties that had backed the hirak and the movement for a democratic constituent assembly. The order against the PST was put into effect this month, when the party was outlawed and its offices closed down.
Socialist Resurgence calls for solidarity with the PST and the hirak, and an end to the repression. The following statement by the PST was issued on Jan. 23 and translated by International Viewpoint.
Our struggle among the workers and our people for freedom and social justice will continue!
In a context of increasing repression and against all odds, the Council of State yesterday, Thursday, 20 January 2022, ordered the temporary suspension of our party’s activities and the closure of our premises. This is a serious precedent against multipartyism and an intolerable additional attack on democratic freedoms in our country.
It should be recalled that this decision was made following the complaint lodged on 26 April 2021 by the Minister of the Interior. Using the pretext of the delay in the organisation of our congress, this abusive legal action was taken before the expiry of the 15-day deadline set by the formal notice that was sent to us on the one hand, and on the other hand, the day after the holding of our congress and the transmission of the relevant documents to the Minister of the Interior by means of a bailiff.
For us, this is a decision that reinforces the accentuation of the repression. Indeed, more than 300 political and opinion detainees are languishing in prison and hundreds more are being prosecuted. These are young Hirak activists and social networkers, journalists and lawyers, academics and community activists, opposition political leaders like Fethi Ghares and trade unionists like Kaddour Chouicha, and many others. It is also a question of making our party pay for its political positions and its resolute commitments in the Hirak, against repression and alongside the social struggles of the workers and the popular masses.
But this repressive escalation also constitutes a serious drift that weakens the capacities of resistance of our country in the face of external threats, and contradicts the humming of the official discourse on the imperative consolidation of an anti-Zionist and anti-imperialist domestic front.
For our party, the struggle for democratic freedoms, equality and social justice, which began in hiding in 1974 and continued from 1989 within the framework of the PST, continues. It is a historic struggle that several generations of activists of our current have embodied and sometimes paid with their lives. Today too, our struggle continues among the workers and among our people against repression, for the liberation of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and for the respect and consecration of democratic freedoms. A struggle for the effective exercise of popular sovereignty, including on economic and social choices. A struggle against liberal economic policies and against the stranglehold of imperialism and foreign powers on our national wealth and independence. A struggle for the election of a sovereign constituent assembly representative of the democratic and social aspirations of the majority of our people.
In these circumstances, our party is grateful for the national and international solidarity that has continued to pour in since the announcement of the decision to suspend the PST and considers it an indispensable lever against repression and authoritarianism.
A delegation from our party will go to the Ministry of the Interior as soon as the decision of the Council of State is confirmed in writing, in order to obtain information on the procedures to be undertaken to lift this unjust suspension.
The struggle continues…
The National Leadership of the PST, 21 January 2022
Photo: A protest in Algiers in April 2021. (Ramzi Boudina / Reuters)