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Morocco: A Balance Sheet of Two Years of Struggle ag ainst the Dictatorship and Exploitation - ‘The Dictatorshi p of the Monarchy can be overthrown through the Class Strugg le’

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  • Cort Greene
    http://www.marxist.com/morocco-balance-sheet-of-two-years-of-struggle.htm Morocco: A Balance Sheet of Two Years of Struggle against the Dictatorship and
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 22, 2013

      Morocco: A Balance Sheet of Two Years of Struggle against the
      Dictatorship and Exploitation - ‘The Dictatorship of the Monarchy can
      be overthrown through the Class Struggle’

      Written by Editorial Board of the Communist
      Friday, 22 February 2013

      Two years ago, on February 20th, 2011, a wave of protests began
      against the Moroccan regime. Was it just about imitating the events in
      Tunisia and Egypt or do young people and workers from Morocco have
      their own reasons to take to the streets?

      Rabat, 20 February, 2011. Photo: MarocStounThe Tunisian and Egyptian
      revolutions which toppled some of the most notorious dictators in the
      region are a great source of inspiration for the Moroccan people in
      general and youth in particular. They show it is possible to overthrow
      these dictatorial regimes as a means of regaining our dignity and
      freedom. But it's not just about imitating the Tunisian and Egyptian
      revolutions. Morocco was known for its strong and combative movement
      even before the outbreak of the revolutionary events in Tunisia and

      The 20th February Movement represented a qualitative change in the
      protest movement in Morocco and an historic continuation of the
      uprisings of the Moroccan people. The Moroccan masses came out in
      various cities throughout Morocco in marches and uprisings and were
      met with repression and murder by the repressive apparatus of the
      dictatorial regime. The Moroccan masses know very well what they do
      not want anymore: unemployment, poverty, exploitation, etc. This has
      been shown in the economic and social demands that were raised (social
      justice, looters of public money to be brought to account and put on
      trial, etc.) during those protests. So the 20th February Movement, the
      protests and the uprisings by the Moroccan masses were not the result
      of imitating the events in neighbouring countries but primarily a
      result of public discontent and a rejection of the reality of tyranny
      and exploitation imposed by the dictatorial monarchy to serve the
      interests of the capitalists and imperialism.

      What were the components of the February 20th Movement and the protests?

      The 20th February Movement was composed of leftist revolutionary
      currents and some reformist currents, as well as the Islamic
      fundamentalists of ‘Justice and Charity’. More importantly, many young
      people without any political or organizational affiliation were active
      in the movement. Note that the Islamic fundamentalists have withdrawn
      from the 20th February Movement, confirming our analysis of the
      counterrevolutionary and antidemocratic nature of this group (see our
      article in Arabic المغرب: حركة 20 فبراير ومستقبل الثورة حوار )

      What were the demands of the February 20 Movement, and what is the
      position of the Marxists?

      The 20th February Movement demanded democracy in general and in vague
      terms, but it also included demands with a class character such as the
      immediate cancellation of the privatisation of strategic sectors and
      the return of confiscated land to the peasants, a compensation fund
      for unemployment benefits for the unemployed, jobs for graduates and
      other demands.

      The Marxists of course support the demands of the 20F Movement for
      reform but we do not consider them to be the be all and end all of the
      movement. At the same time we bring forward our own transitional
      demands and stress the working class character of the struggle against
      the tyranny.

      The 20F movement has seen changes since its inception. In your
      opinion what were the different stages of its development?

      During its first year it was initially able to mobilise thousands of
      young people. The movement was even able to achieve many concessions
      from the system. In this first stage the Movement also experienced a
      lot of internal crises, defections and expulsions, and mutual
      accusations between the components, against the background of many of
      the questions and issues.

      The second year was a period of decline where almost no meetings were
      held amid an atmosphere of tension. The number of demonstrations and
      protests fell in some cities to zero and in others the Movement

      The Islamists of the ‘Justice and Charity’ (Salafists) were also part
      of the February 20th Movement. What was their role?

      Since the beginning we made it clear that this group was a reactionary
      and fierce defender of private property. The fundamentalists are
      neither progressive nor democratic. If they participated in the
      movement at the beginning, it was because they were under pressure
      from their own rank and file on the one hand and on the other hand it
      was the desire of its leaders to use the movement to put pressure on
      the ruling class to allow them to have access to a slice of the cake.
      They were taking part for opportunistic reasons. When the movement
      faced repression, they were not to be seen. The only thing they wanted
      was to wrestle political gains for themselves, such as the right to
      form a political party. In reality, they never adopted the demands of
      the movement, they are not democrats, they do not oppose tyranny and

      What was the position of the labour and trade union movement in
      relation to the February 20th Movement? Were there any strikes and if
      there were, what were their demands?

      Workers actively participated in the demonstrations. Together with
      their sons and daughters (students and the unemployed, etc.) they
      formed the backbone of the movement. But their presence was still
      mainly unorganised without any politically conscious class slogans.
      The role of the leadership of the trade unions in this context was bad
      as they refused to mobilize the working class on the basis of clear
      demands. Neither did the union tops want to unify and centralise the
      economic and political struggle of the working class. Nor did they
      call for a general strike which would, if it had taken place, have
      settled the conflict with the dictatorship and the bosses in a speedy
      manner and with fewer losses of human life.

      The trade union bureaucracies are hostage to illusions about "social
      peace" and feared the revolutionary struggle just as much as the
      bourgeoisie fears it. This is why the regime made small concessions in
      the collective bargaining agreements between the unions and the state.
      Their aim was to neutralize the working class and separate it from the
      wider movement by accepting meagre wage increases in exchange for
      social peace. Those increases were a result of the general
      revolutionary upsurge in the country. But this does not mean that the
      labour movement did not go on strike and take part in other forms of
      protest as is shown by the strikes of the mine workers of Bouazar, the
      struggles of the miners in Khouribga, and other heroic workers'

      What was the reaction of the system to the 20F Movement?

      Most demonstrations of the 20th February Movement faced brutal
      repression in the full meaning of the word. It resulted in more than
      nine martyrs (in Al Hoceima, Safi and Bni Bouayach and Sefrou ...) and
      dozens of detainees, who are still languishing in prison, as well as
      an unspecified number of wounded. The regime also launched a campaign
      of slander and media lies against us and tried to break the movement
      with the help of it intelligence services and provocative elements

      The regime combined brutal repression with false promises, manoeuvres,
      biased media campaigns, and by using the clergy and the mosques. In a
      speech on March 9th 2011 King Mohammed VI announced a review of the
      constitution aimed at promoting a system of human rights and the
      democratic election of the government. The committee in charge of
      drafting the new constitution left the powers of the King untouched.
      The reforms were then approved in a rigged referendum in order to
      continue the status quo of the tyranny and the autocracy. So it
      wanted to portray the image of the King making some concessions. By
      directing the repression against the more radical wing of the
      revolutionary youth movement it hoped to split the 20F Movement. The
      constitutional reforms were also aimed at drawing attention away from
      the on-going struggle in the streets, factories and universities and
      channel it in the direction of debating the constitutional and legal
      ploys designed by corrupt academics.

      Did the arrival of the Islamists of ‘Justice and Development’ in the
      Government change the situation? What is their policy? Did the
      government succeed in responding to the demands of the masses?

      The Justice and Development Party (PJD) came to power accompanied by a
      lot of hope and promises. The PJD had the image of being an
      "opposition party" which "will bring the necessary reforms," etc.
      The official media contributed in the dissemination of these illusions
      by talking about "achievements of the opposition" and the "wise
      leadership" of the PJD. The party promised, for instance, that when
      they took power, the economy would grow at a rate of not less than 7%
      a year.

      But all of those hopes evaporated after the first days of their
      government. Food prices have risen following the decision to increase
      the price of fuel,

      Repression did not lessen. On the contrary movements and uprisings in
      several regions and cities were brutally treated resulting in the
      deaths of two students

      And things will get worse with the threat of the government to cancel
      the compensation fund that subsidises basic food products.

      The 20th February Movement has lost its momentum. Why is this in your
      opinion? Are there other forms of protest going on today?

      This decline was expected in the absence of a political alternative
      and a clear horizon for the young people involved in the struggle.
      This has temporarily benefitted the forces of counter-revolution. The
      situation in the whole Arab region after the overthrow of the
      dictators is also raising concerns amongst young revolutionaries.
      They are actively looking for an explanation and a way forward for the
      revolution. The reaction of the Egyptian masses against the government
      of Morsi and the Tunisian general strike and uprisings against the
      Ennahda-led coalition have given a renewed impetus. It is clear that
      the masses have a strong desire not to let their revolution be
      hijacked by reactionary forces. This is very positive and the
      revolution in Morocco will certainly benefit from it.

      So the current events in Tunisia (general strike, the second
      revolution) and Egypt (struggles against the government of Morsi) also
      affect Morocco?

      Of course they affect the political situation in Morocco. The young
      people and the working class in Morocco follow with great interest the
      course of events there. Each victory achieved by the Egyptian and
      Tunisian masses has a positive impact on the morale and awareness of
      the masses of the people in Morocco. The same happens with every
      setback. The most important lesson from the Egyptian and Tunisian
      revolutions is about the nature of the fundamentalist forces and their
      practices once in government. In the past this debate seemed
      theoretically "abstract", and illusions existed about the need to have
      broad alliances against the dictatorship, including the
      fundamentalists. Now the fundamentalist movements are being put to the
      test and that experience helps the masses to a better understanding of
      their reactionary nature.

      Despite two years of protests the regime is still in power. Some
      people draw pessimistic conclusions about the impossibility of a
      revolution in Morocco. What do you think?

      At first, I would like to make a distinction between two types of
      defenders of such gloomy thoughts. In the first category are the
      pseudo-intellectuals and ex-revolutionaries and "radicals". Those
      gentlemen and ladies are always pessimistic. They don’t need to
      analyse the objective situation. They have no confidence in the
      working class or in the revolutionary youth. Their role is to spread
      frustration and pessimism among the younger generation. At the
      slightest temporary lull in the movement they start sobbing, saying:
      "Did I not tell you? It is useless to struggle”. Those elements do not
      matter, and soon they will be pushed aside by the new wave of the

      In the second category are groups of young people who stood up to
      fight without a compass or perspective and experience. They fought for
      two years and made great sacrifices. And because of the lack of
      experience they believed that the revolution was like a continuous
      forward march to victory, without lulls, U turns and setbacks. But in
      the end they are surprised by the bitter reality, and got frustrated.
      Those youth, or at least the best elements of them, can learn correct
      lessons when assisted by the Marxists. They will learn that the
      revolution is at the same time a science and an art as Marx always
      maintained. And they will need to absorb revolutionary theory and
      build a revolutionary organization, and amongst them you will find the
      best leaders of the Moroccan revolution.

      How do you see the possibility of overthrowing the regime in Morocco?

      The system is actually very weak. There are crises at all levels. Its
      social base is weak and narrow. Their imperialist backers don’t give
      them unconditional support anymore as proven by the experience in
      Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc.

      For a long time the notables (the local and regional administrative,
      judiciary elite of pachas, caïds, chioukhs, mokkadem, etc.) formed a
      solid base for the continuity of the regime, but they no longer have
      the same strength as before. The urban middle class is constantly
      being eroded, and even joined some protest movements, or at least
      sympathised with them. The reformist parties have no ability to
      influence the street. And false promises about the reforms and the new
      constitution no longer have the same impact, especially since the
      masses are accumulating experiences every day in the light of the
      misery and exploitation and oppression. The strongest of all lies
      cannot resist the test of this reality.

      The repressive apparatus is showing signs of exhaustion and discontent
      appears from time to time amongst the ranks. Even the army is divided
      and witnessing a silent ferment. The first attempt to direct it
      against the movement would break it apart along class lines. This
      explains the delay in the use of the army, so far. The regime prefers
      to use thugs and gangs recruited from among the sons of the middle
      class and the lumpenproletariat, rather than relying on the army to
      repress the movement.

      All economic and political data indicate that the existing system in
      Morocco is immeasurably weaker than the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia,
      Mubarak in Egypt or Gaddafi in Libya. And thus overthrowing the
      dictatorship is not an impossible question.

      In order to bring down the regime in Morocco the following should happen.

      The working class should join the movement with independent demands
      and traditional methods of struggle: the general strike, armed
      uprising, etc.

      With a revolutionary party with a clear program and rooted in the
      trade unions, the schools and neighbourhoods, with the necessary
      credibility in the eyes of the masses, it would become possible not
      only to overthrow the regime, as has happened in Egypt and Tunisia,
      but also to bring the working class to political power.

      A few thousand organised Marxists, really rooted in the masses, could
      lead the revolution to success. This is what we can learn from
      history. This is not yet the case. But we are building those forces.
      The workers, as during the Paris Commune, have proven they can take
      power. What was needed to consolidate that power and generalise it was
      as Marx said ‘immediately attack Versailles and nationalize the
      central bank." So the role of the Marxists today is to raise the
      correct program, demands, methods and strategy. Again the Tunisian and
      Egyptian revolution are a clear evidence of what we are saying.

      What do you expect to happen in the coming months in Morocco?

      Our general perspective for events in the coming months is that of an
      intensification of the class struggle. This conviction is based on a
      scientific understanding of the political and economic situation in
      Morocco and the region and the world.

      The crisis of capitalism continues to worsen. There is no way out on
      the horizon. It is having a devastating impact on the system in
      Morocco. All indicators are in the red: unemployment has reached very
      high levels, one third of youth have no job, prices are on the rise,
      the working and living conditions are becoming unbearable. Last year
      60.000 labour related accidents were officially reported, including
      2000 lethal accidents.

      Dependence on foreign economic powers has increased. Last year exports
      covered only 47% of all imports. The trade deficit represents 24% of
      GDP. The public debt represents now 70% of the annual GDP. Servicing
      the public debt costs as much as public expenditure on education,
      health and investment! Three quarters of the income of the state comes
      from taxes on the working class, small peasants and the poor!

      The solution of the ruling class to get out of this crisis is to
      increase the attacks on the gains and the rights of the working class
      and the poor in general, which is what we are now witnessing in
      successive actions of the government.

      On the political side there is a strong attack on the few gains of the
      freedoms that have been achieved thanks to the bitter struggles over

      The attack on the pension fund and on wages, the attempt to impose a
      law restricting the right to strike, are all affecting directly the
      working class and its gains. It will push the working class to respond

      The ruling class, or at least part of the most stupid faction
      represented by the palace and the prime minister, has the illusion
      that they succeeded in weathering the revolutionary storm. They
      imagine that the situation is ‘back to normal’ i.e. back to the
      situation that existed before the 20th of February 2011. That is why
      they think it is time to go on the offensive. But the days and months
      ahead are bound to show how wrong they are. The wheel of history
      cannot be turned back. The genie of the revolution is out of the

      This is already visible in the renewed struggle on the campuses by the
      university students, the continued struggle of the ‘diplômés chômeurs’
      (the unemployed graduates) and in some uprisings such as in the
      popular neighbourhoods of Marrakech last year against price rises
      (المغرب - مراكش: جماهير حي سيدي يوسف بن علي يصنعون التاريخ فلنعمم
      التضامن ولنعمم النضال) and in the countryside (the struggle for a
      basic infrastructure and against the devastating effects on village
      women of the system of microcredits) or in the strikes in the hotel
      sector, agriculture, mining and in the justice department, amongst
      teachers and in the hospitals.

      This announces a new wave of struggle, a huge rebound, which poses for
      us Marxists new and greater political, theoretical and organisational

      Source: Marxy.com
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