Temporary blog of the CWI

Ethiopia. Common struggle against ethnic violence

Statement by Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden)

The new wave of ethnic violence in Ethiopia has to stop. In one week in October, more than 80 people were killed by mobs instigated by Jawar Mohammed.

The violence is another sign of the need for a united and democratic mass movement from below to overthrow the old regime that is still in power, but with a new face.

It is more and more clear that coming to power of Abiy Ahmed in April 2018 was an attempt from the ruling EPRDF and its main component TPLF to stop growing mass protests and discontent.

Their methods of mass repression – tens of thousands arrested and named as “terrorists” – and election fraud could no longer stop mass demonstrations and even strike movements. The strong economic growth of Ethiopia only benefited a small elite, plus multinational companies and foreign dictatorial states (China and Gulf states). The mass of the growing population still lives of subsistence farming. There are three million internal refugees.

New face, old regime

In April 2018, Prime minister Abiy Ahmed was presented as real renewer. Releasing political prisoners, inviting banned parties, the deal with Eritrea, mass meetings that promised real change. In the West – Sweden and Norway not least – he even was so praised that he received the Nobel Peace Prize, to be delivered on coming Monday, 10 December.

Economically, Abiy Ahmed’s politics are not going to solve growing problems – and not going to assist poor mass of the population that needs food and money. He wants to privatise Ethiopian Airways, Electricity, Telecom, railways and more. That is inviting multinational companies to rob Ethiopia and exploit workers even more. He has also connected stronger to Gulf States, especially be taking loans from the United Arab Emirates, with which he has strong links.

Regime change is not enough

In many demonstrations of Ethiopians in Sweden, against the EPRDF and against deportations of political refugees, we from Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna have explained that “regime change” is not enough. This is particularly the truth when the “new leader” comes from within the old regime. Abiy’s attempt now, to form a “new party”, the Prosperity Party, is just a new name for old parties, even the the TPLF has not joined.

Real change must come from below, from democratic organising of the working class and the poor. It need mass struggles, such as we see in many countries today. They are an inspiration for all oppressed. Dictatorships in Sudan and Algeria has been overthrown this year. In Sudan, there is strong distrust against the deal between some leaders and the military to share government.

Learn from Egypt and Tunisia

In Egypt in 2011, the military and the capitalist were left untouched after the overthrow of Mubarak. It gave general al-Sisi the possibility to establish a new dictatorship. The military and the old regime must be totally purged and punished, that is the lesson from Egypt. From the struggles in Tunisia, we can learn that trade unions can halt the worst counter-revolution.

Today in Ethiopia, democratic defence committees must be organised against the mobs instigated by Jawar Mohammed. Ethnic chauvinism and violence must be condemned. Addis Abeba belongs to all Ethiopians.

This is not going to happen from the regime. They rather excuse the violence as “fighting from both sides”. They also exploit the fear of violence in order to stop united protests.

Abiy Ahmed has failed, there is need of a new democratically organised party for workers and poor countryside population. To fight for real change of political and economic power, to secure rights for all ethnic groups. That demands an overthrow of the old regime, capitalism and imperialism in Ethiopia – for democratic socialism to be established.

A SOCIALIST PROGRAMME FOR ETHIOPIA

  • Stop all ethnic violence! Form democratic defence committees! Full democratic rights for all ethnic groups!

The movement and the struggle

  • For a new democratic and socialist party and movement for all oppressed, workers and poor farmers.
  • Unity in struggle of all workers and poor from all ethnic groups, against the common enemy: the regime, capitalism and imperialism
  • No to all discrimination, equal treatment of all
  • Local and regional autonomy for all, defend national rights for all

Democracy

  • Free all political prisoners
  • Freedom to political parties and organisations, free and fair elections to a genuine democratic constituent assembly
  • Politicians and elected representantives without privilegies, with the right to recal
  • For independent democratic fighting trade unions
  • For elected committees in all workplaces, villages, universities etc.
  • For the right of organisation, including meetings and demonstrations. Freedom for all religions.
  • Stop all censorship in media and internet, democratic access to printing, television and computers

The regime

  • Down with the EPRDF regime – prosecute government criminals, confiscate their property and wealth

Arms and military

  • Purge the military forces of all dictatorship supporters
  • All arms and troops under democratic control of committees of workers and farmers

Land

  • Stop all land grabbing – confiscate all land given to multinationals etc
  • Land reform to ensure farmers have land
  • Full compensation if land is used for roads etc – local power over decisions
  • State support to voluntary collective farms

Imperialism

  • Confiscate all imperialist property under democratic control
  • Appeal to workers globally for support against imperialism and capitalism

The economy and welfare

  • A plan for food to everyone
  • Fair distribution of the country’s resources
  • Stop all privatisations
  • For a democratic plan for the country: education, health care, infrastructure (water, electricity, roads)
  • Equal job opportunity, free education and health service for all, including disabled.
  • For a democratic plan of production and distribution of resources
  • For a democratic and socialist government