The Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party (PCOT) is part of the international communist parties community, and although it has existed since 1986, it is only after the January 14th revolution that it was legally recognized. During Ben Ali’s reign, the PCOT was highly active and worked at defending the rights of the oppressed. But now that Ben Ali’s system has fallen, one might wonder what a party advocating revolution has to offer in this new setting. Recently, PCOT has been criticized for abandoning the communist doctrines, and rumors have emerged implying prospective alteration of the party’s name.
Tunisia-Live talked to Abed Jabbar Bdouri, the party’s spokesman, in order to find out where they stand. On the issue of changing the name of the party, Bdouri states that the issue “was brought up in the previous conference and we have decided not to make any changes since we’re currently too busy with the electoral campaign”.
From the beginning of the conversation, Bdouri insisted the party is Marxist-Leninist, but simultaneously, rejects the stereotypical forms of Communism arguing that the party’s “genuine cause is to reduce the gap between social classes and guarantee a fair distribution of national wealth, and that it is not about establishing a communist state.”
Bdouri explained that the party places itself on the left rather than the far-left. He also rejected the terminology of “proletarian dictatorship”, and says he doesn’t approve of using it interchangeably with the word “democracy”, contrary to what many communists do. In regards to the issue of Arab Nationalism – alluded to in the party’s political principles – Bdouri agrees on a Marxist-Leninist approach of the union rather than a Ba’athist’s. “The revolution can unite the Arabs… Since we are Tunisians we believe in Arab nationalism… We believe in our capability of forming a solid unity, thanks to… a common language, heritage and history. The unity of the Arab world depends on, and should revolve around, unifying the working class,” he added.
When asked about the party’s association with anarchist philosophy, Bdouri denies interference of the latter’s libertine disposition with the party’s foundation, stressing that the importance of order and regulations inside the party and state. Bjouri added that the USSR abandoned Communism in the 1950′s and that, despite Stalin’s criminal deeds, he “halted the expansion of Hitler’s sovereignty.”