Tunisian fellahin resist land-grab

The farmers and agricultural workers of Tunisia's Jemna oasis have issued an urgent call for solidarity in defense of their communal property against a government-backed land-grab. The Jemna oasis historically belonged to the local farmers, until it was expropriated by French settlers and then by the Tunisian state after independence. ńįn the aftermath of the 2011 Revolution, the farmers successfully fought to recover title to the lands, organizing production collectively in a "solidarity-based micro-economy." The Tunisian state is now trying to re-expropriate the oasis to turn it over to local or foreign cronies, in what the farmers call a "counter-revolutionary attempt to maintain the capitalist order." Most recently, the government declared the Association for the Protection of Jemna Oasis to be an illegal entity. The Ministry of State Properties and Land Affairs, which leased the land to private operators before 2011, issued a statement threatening to cancel the call for tenders on the Association's' date harvest. It is now harvest season, when dates are sold to vendors and intermediaries through the Ministry's call for tenders. If pressure is not put on Tunis to issue the call for tenders, the harvest will be lost. The oasis accounts for some 10% of the arable land in Tunisia. (Lucha Internacionalista, UIT-CI, TunisiaLive, Oct. 10; Nawaat, Sept. 27)

  1. Mass suicide attempt in Tunisia

    A mass suicide has been attempted by unemployed graduates in Tunisia's western border town of Kasserine over the situation faced by the region’s long term jobless. News site Mosaique reports that 27 unemployed graduates swallowed toxic substances outside the governorate headquarters. Following the attempt, they were transported to the regional hospital where medical sources confirmed that 11 of the protesters had been discharged. However, one, a woman of unknown age, is considered to be critical and remains in intensive care. (TunisiaLive, Oct. 21)

    The incident of course evokes the December 2010 self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia's Sidi Bouzid, which sparked the Arab Revolution…