At the end of 2019, a new “wave of rebellion” with similar scenes exploded across Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Guinea, a newly frustrated Catalonia, Egypt and Iraq, Sudan and Algeria, which had previously been unaffected by the Arab Spring.. Indeed, this wave is similar to the previous ones in terms of mass mobilization and police violence. This time, however, this wave erupted for reasons unlike any other in different countries.
In Guinea, the masses rebelled against Alfa Konde, who was to declare his presidency for another term by introducing constitutional amendments. In the month-long subsequent protests, twenty people died.
Although the masses in Lebanon went out on the streets mainly due to the government’s failure to resolve the economic crisis, it soon turned into a rebellion against Hezbollah, which has established repressive domination everywhere.
In Algeria, which was unaffected by the first wave of Arab Spring, large mass protests that began simultaneously with the Yellow Vests movement in France have not yet ceased. Buteflika, who participated in the 1999 controversial presidential elections as an independent candidate, was elected with 73.8 percent of the vote, as other candidates were forced to renounce their candidacy. Buteflika was a candidate for “victory”. He won the 2004 elections with 85% of the vote, the ones in 2009 with 90.2% of the vote, and the 2014 elections with 81.5% of the vote. Being the longest-serving president in Algerian history, Buteflika had also been the honorary president of the FLN (National Liberation Front) since 2005, and the Minister of Defense since 2003. When Buteflika announced that he would run for the fifth time in 2019, large-scale protests spread across Algeria. Having given up his candidacy on the advice of the army, Buteflika wanted to nominate his brother, Said. The protests targeted Said, who was later arrested by the court.
A development that can be considered a delayed continuation of the Arab Spring has recently taken place in Sudan. After widespread riots, Omar al-Bashir, the thirty-year-old dictator and one of Erdogan’s dirty partners, was overthrown and imprisoned in a coup d’etat. However, despite the fact that the regime did not change, the rebellion grew in the autumn of 2019.
In Iraq, both Sunnis and dissident Shiites rebelled against the pro-Iranian government. Trump, who remained makeshift at the Syrian table, turned his attention here (I don’t understand this sentence). The demonstrations that began in Baghdad on 1st October turned into a rebellion in the southern parts of Baghdad, calling for the government’s resignation and early elections. The rebels set fire to government buildings, party offices in many Iraqi cities, and the Iranian consulate in Karbala.
The Catalans took to the streets after the prison sentences of pro-independence politicians were declared. In 2017, the parliament of the semi-autonomous Catalan region decided to hold a referendum on independence from Spain. The Spanish government declared this referendum illegal and put pressure on the Catalans not to vote. Only 43% of the Catalans voted in the referendum. Thereafter, Spain suspended direct Catalan autonomy for seven months and established direct rule. Spain disbanded the Catalan parliament, called for early elections, and started the judicial process by arresting Catalonian politicians who wanted independence. In October 2019, the Supreme Court sentenced nine pro-independence politicians for 9 to 13 years in prison.
In Ecuador, The IMF-approved austerity measures implemented in October 2019 by Moreno, who was elected in 2014 with the hope of establishing 21st-century socialism , hit the workers and locals most. The protests that erupted as a result of these measures also targeted Moreno’s practices against the opposition. The masses attempted to invade the parliament and took police officers hostage. Moreno had to step back.
There was a time when anti-globalist movements and almost all the left movement in Bolivia looked at Morales with hope. He was socialist and, of course, did not dare to abolish representative democracy. The masses took to the streets under the leadership of the American opposition, which fetishized representative democracy. Morales was re-elected as president after the October elections. Masses protested the October elections for three weeks. Following the demonstrations, on November 10, 2019, the army and police requested Morales to step down and arrested 38 members of the Election Board. Morales then stepped down and defected to Mexico. There were also protests in La Paz and surrounding areas, as well as celebrations of the coup against Morales.
In Chile, the market policies of the supposedly leftist government were the cause of the revolt. In October 2019, high school students’ demonstrations against raise in the public transport prices soon spread to other segments who protested free market policies. The Chilean government responded to the rebellion by launching tanks on the street. Although the government withdrew price raises on October 19, the demonstrations had already turned into an uprising that demanded the government’s resignation. Curfew was imposed and military-led violence continued to rise, leading to 15 deaths, 173 injuries, and over 2,000 people being detained. The violence initiated by the government in the streets turned into operations in the houses. All this was not enough to suppress the Chilean people. More than 1 million people participated in the protests nationwide. On October 26, President Sebastián Piñera announced that he had asked the ministers to resign and lifted the curfew.
Gasoline scarcity in Haiti was the cause of the rebellion, which started in 2018 and flared up again in the fall of 2019. The fact that the millions of dollars in aid that the Haitian government had received to compensate earthquake damages never reached the public was another key factor behind the rebellion.
The unmitigated instability and misery in Ethiopia turned into a rebellion with the arrest of a dissident journalist serving as the trigger.
In Hong Kong, residents who were not willing to join the Central Chinese government and wanted to maintain the British mandate took to the streets. They came out to protest the social inequalities that did not emerge with this turn.
The activities of the Yellow Vests, which have been going on for a year in France, have been weakened incomparably since the European elections. Still, the protests remain a constant, and police violence has weakened but not diminished them. It would not be wrong to say that the same reasons lie behind the fact that a candidate who claimed to be an outright leftist in the United States became a presidential candidate, as also happened in England. In other words, more and more left-wing candidates start to take the lead in recent times, being used in these centers to reduce the tension of the street.
Both the abundance of popular uprisings and the fact that these uprisings remained at the helm of imperialist interventions resumed the debate on the question of leadership. Although it is unclear what is meant by leadership, an increasing number of people have entered this debate. However, this is a problem for remote geographies and distant scopes. In light of these developments, a belief that an uprising is lacking in Turkey is strengthened.
In Turkey, the opposition groups, who want to get rid of Erdoğan, look at these developments with envy. They pray for a similar wave of rebellion at home. As if the Gezi Uprising did not take place a few years ago, and tens of thousands did not attend Berkin Elvan’s funeral, and a wave of rebellion did not begin on October 6-7, these groups ask why people don’t take to the streets in Turkey.
The real question to be asked is how the people who revolted at every opportunity, participated in protests and rallies, and raised opposition to Erdoğan everywhere until a few years ago, became silent. The real responsibility for this silence lies with the left that stands against any revolutionary development. As long as this factor is ignored, it is inevitable to lay responsibility at the public’s door, grieve at the objective conditions, and look at the insurgents on the other side of the world with envy. Those who can see that deficiency is subjective, not objective, and aim to overcome it, will embrace the struggle to form a revolutionary party more decisively.