Despite reports yesterday I didn't think that France would let Ben Ali in for the same reason, at different levels, that the British government refused the Bolsheviks offer of safe passage for the Romanovs - contagion. There's plenty in the press and on libcom about how this will affect "the Arab region", its despotic governments, etc, and this is obviously an important factor - there were reports of demonstrations against rising prices in Jorday yesterday. But this is also important for Europe, for the heartlands of capital. It is also a significant blow against the imperialisms of France, Britain, Germany and the US, all of which have backed the Tunisian mafia to the hilt.
Unlike Algeria, where unrest has been rumbling for some time, Tunisia has been relatively quiescent and the courage of the mainly working class contingent, men, women, boys, girls, all generations in the uprising has to be applauded. This is another welcome development. On the news last night an "expert" on why the uprising took place listed half-a-dozen reasons the majority of which applied to every country in western Europe and the United States.
The Tunisian state has been greatly weakened and looks like resorting to some sort of democratic facade. Its unions are not so openly integrated into the state as Algeria's apparantly and the Tunisian Communist Party has called for "democratic change".
There is no doubt about the spontaneous nature of this uprising and it's one more expression of the fight back of the working class.