Jordan: Mass Protest against IMF-imposed Austerity Package
For an indefinite General Strike to Bring Down the Government of Prime Minister Hani Mulki!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 04 June 2018,www.thecommunists.net
- Jordan is hit by a wave of mass protests. In response to the reactionary austerity policy of the government of Prime Minister Hani Mulki, the trade unions called a general strike on 30 May. This strike was very successful with a massive participation of the workers and small business people. Since then, spontaneous protests take place on a daily basis – in Amman, the capital city, Ramtha, Maan as well as other cities.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has put a stranglehold on Jordan, as it does with so many other countries of the semi-colonial world. Currently, Jordan’s public debt is about 94% of GDP. Not satisfied with the millions of US-Dollars it already squeezed out of the Jordan, the IMF demands further attacks on the living conditions of the popular masses. Even now, unemployment, according to official estimations at 18.5%, and poverty are widespread.
- Last month, the government proposed an income tax draft law, yet to be approved by parliament, aimed at raising taxes on employees by at least 5% and on companies by between 20% and 40%. The measures are the latest in a series of economic reforms since Amman secured a $723m three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
- This shows once more the character of the IMF as an executive organ of the imperialist banks and corporations in West and East. It can not be reformed but must be smashed by an international revolution of the working class and the oppressed.
- While Prime Minister Hani Mulki insists on enforcing the bill, many members of Jordan’s parliament obviously fear the consequences of the protests. A majority of 78 out of parliament’s 130 representatives are opposed to the income tax law. However, until now, King Abdullah II backs the government and calls on parliament to lead a “comprehensive and reasonable national dialogue” on the new tax law.
- These are the most important protests in Jordan since years. The workers and poor are raising slogans not only demanding the withdrawal of the bill. They also call increasingly for the downfall of the government. They chant slogans like: “We are here until we bring the downfall of the bill… This government is shameful“, “Our demands are legitimate. No, no to corruption“, “The ones raising prices want to burn the country” and “This Jordan is our Jordan, Mulki should leave“.
- The importance of the latest wave of mass protests goes far beyond Jordan. The Kingdom is a key ally of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. Except Egypt, it is the only Arab country which officially recognizes Israel and entertains “normal” diplomatic relations with it. If the protests continue and escalate, they could open a pre-revolutionary situation. This could become an important factor to accelerate the sharp contradictions in the Middle East. As we have pointed out in numerous documents, the current situation in the region is characterized both by the unashamed aggression of the imperialist Great Powers (Russia against the Syrian people, the U.S. against Iran) and reactionary dictatorships (Assad in Syria, Sisi in Egypt, Khamenei/Rouhani in Iran, etc.) as well as important class struggles and liberations wars (Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Tunisia, etc.)
- Socialists in Jordan must fight against any popular illusions in the king. Neither should they spread any trust in the trade union leadership. They should call for the formation of action committees in the workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities in order to organize the workers and oppressed. Such committees should organize the struggle and pressurize the trade unions not to give in. Socialists should call the trade unions and popular organizations to organize an indefinite general strike to stop the bill and to bring down the government.
- Furthermore, socialists should explain that the mass protests in Jordan are part of a regional process of class struggles and liberation wars. They should call for active solidarity with the struggles of the brothers and sisters in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc. For an Intifada in the whole Middle East!
- Most importantly, socialists need to advance the construction of a revolutionary party nationally and internationally. Only such a party can give the necessary leadership for those struggles. Only such a party can transmit the socialist program to the masses. It is therefore the central task of all consistent revolutionary forces to focus on building such a party. The RCIT urges all revolutionaries in Jordan to fight together for the founding of such a party.
* Victory to the Jordan masses! Down with the IMF-dictated rise of income taxes! Down with the government of Prime Minister Hani Mulki!
* Organize an indefinite general strike! For the formation of action committees in the workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities!
* For a workers and poor peasants government!
* Link the mass protests in Jordan with the popular struggle in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc. For an Intifada in the whole Middle East!
Bureau of the RCIT’s International Secretariat
Many more articles on the Middle East can be read on our articles on our website at: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/
Our latest general analysis of the situation in the Middle East is summarized in Chapter V of Michael Pröbsting’s recently published book: World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, February 2018,https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2018/.