Morocco: The Communist League of Action and the revolutionary events in the Arab region – an interview

We are publishing this important interview with activists of the Communist League of Action, the Moroccan section of the IMT, on the revolutionary events unfolding in the Maghreb region, and the possibilities of these reaching Morocco, considering that the Moroccan regime has asserted that Morocco is an “exception”.

What are the effects of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia on Morocco? And what is the reaction on the Moroccan streets?

Morocco is not new to protests as the rebellious movement was strong even before the outbreak of revolutionary events in Tunisia and Egypt. These protests erupted because of the high cost of living, substandard housing conditions, low wages, sackings and the worsening economic and social conditions in general. However, the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in overthrowing two of the most notorious dictators in the region was a source of great inspiration to the Moroccan people in general and the youth in particular, as now it has become clear to them that there is the possibility of victory over these dictatorial regimes and how this would guarantee getting their rights and achieving their human dignity.

Now, we are noticing a significant increase in the attention of young people and workers to political issues and news events. They follow news about the revolution on television, and share this on the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. No one now gives any credit to the old saying that the era of revolutions is over and the possibility of the Arab peoples achieving a revolution is no more. The revolution is taking place before the very eyes of the young people and is no longer something relegated to the history books. So, they started trying to copy the youth of both Tunisia and Egypt. This is evidenced by the increasing number of different forms of protests and the number of protesters participating in them. Furthermore, there is the large number of participants in the demonstration of solidarity with the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt. Also, this is reflected in the level of support for the youth initiative of February 20.

Most importantly, the Democratic Labour Federation and significant leftist currents have expressed their willingness to participate in the February 20 protest.

Some talk about the exception of Morocco, the good administrative skills of the king and his popularity and the fact that he is the prince of the faithful as factors that will protect the system from a similar fate to that of Ben Ali or Mubarak. Is this true?

The "Moroccan exception"? It is a myth! All those countries that have experienced revolutionary movements were considered "exceptions". Tunisia was considered the "heaven of stability" in the region, and was recommended as an example to follow by the international institutions. Once the regime of Ben Ali fell the bourgeois media, everywhere, started saying that Egypt was not Tunisia and that Tunisia was an "exception”, etc. But soon the revolution started in Egypt and then spread to Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Iran...

What we are hearing now in Morocco from the ruling class about the "Moroccan exception" is more wishful thinking than reality. This "exception" reminds us of the analysis of the ruling class at the beginning of the global economic crisis when all the news outlets, from the highest to the smallest media mercenary, used all sorts of means to convince the Moroccans that the global economic crisis would not hit Morocco because "the Moroccan banking sector is separate from the global market, and Moroccan banking institutions in Africa are only for deposits...” etc.

All the arguments cited about the so-called “Moroccan exception” are not believed even by the most loyal people to the throne. In a live programme on the French channel "France 2" entitled "We and the Arab revolutions", a cousin of the Moroccan King, Hisham AlAlawi, said: "Morocco is probably not an exception... from the wave of protests that will reach all the authoritarian regimes". This has been repeatedly confirmed even by the U.S. Secretary of State.

In fact, the situation in Morocco is much worse than that in both Egypt and Tunisia! Morocco was recently ranked 130th out of 182 countries in a report issued by the United Nations Development programme, while Tunisia was ranked 81st in the same report. Also, youth unemployment in urban areas in Morocco is much higher than that in Tunisia. The corruption of the ruling family in Tunisia and their seizing of all sectors of the economy is comparable to the corruption of the ruling family in Morocco and their control over all vital economic sectors. The king and his family are the largest owners of land, mines, banks and shares in communications... etc.

Some also say that 60% of Moroccans are illiterate and do not have the basis and an educated middle class capable of carrying out a revolution. What do you say?

Yes, the illiteracy rate in Morocco is very high even when compared to the standards of the region, including Tunisia, Egypt and even Gaza. In addition, the middle class has been eroded to a large extent. We consider that the high rate of illiteracy (over 60%) is further evidence of the bankruptcy of the existing regime. After fifty years, it has not even worked on eliminating this obvious form of backwardness. It also is a further indication of the parasitic nature of the ruling class, which considers education a non-productive sector. Therefore, this is proof of the impossibility of achieving any measure of progress under the existing system and the prevailing capitalist class.

The erosion of the middle class and its sharp polarisation between a minority of rich and a vast majority of impoverished layers is another element that indicates the existing regime is losing all its support base within society, and that the camp of the allies of the working class is constantly growing. What is left of the middle class in Morocco has for the most part moved closer to the working class and the poor than to the bourgeoisie. Therefore, a revolution on the basis of concrete demands affecting this layer of society will lead them to revolt against the system.

But the pseudo-intellectuals do not understand anything about revolutions. They believe, for reasons unknown to us, that those who carry out revolutions are well-educated intellectuals, although the historical experience of the great revolutions shows us that those who carry out revolutions are the toiling masses, the illiterate and the poor. The French Revolution was not made by the pseudo-intellectuals and the children of the privileged classes, but was triggered by the poor and illiterate women of Paris who went out demanding bread and equality, and were joined by workers and the rest of the toiling classes. The same thing happened in the two Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 which were not started by the educated, but by female workers, housewives and illiterate workers. Indeed, the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions in turn, were not the making of the middle classes, but the making of the children of farmers, workers and the impoverished petty bourgeoisie (unemployed and marginalized) who then were joined by workers in strikes which hastened the toppling of the dictators, Ben Ali and Mubarak.

The engine of the uprisings and revolutionary movements in Morocco, the region, and the rest of the world, is the working class, poor peasants and impoverished petty bourgeoisie. The middle class has always been the social base of reformists and liberals. Those who must be particularly concerned about the absence of the middle class are the enemies of the revolution and not the revolutionaries.

Anyone who uses illiteracy and the absence of the middle class in Morocco to deny the possibility of revolution is like someone who uses dense clouds to deny the possibility of rain!

How is the regime dealing with the revolutionary wave sweeping the Arab world?

We believe it is not sound to talk about one specific way in which the existing regime is dealing with the revolutionary wave. If someone is standing on a fast railroad train that is about to hit him he has no time to think, all he can do is try to react. The young king preferred to visit France to go skiing, and maybe get some advice from his masters on how to protect his and their interests in the region in the event of a revolution in Morocco. As for the government, its first action in the wake of the revolutionary wave was promises to reduce the prices of basic goods, create thousands of jobs, and other "concessions" which makes us think that all dictators read the same book! These were the same measures taken by Ben Ali and Mubarak, and Abdullah Saleh after them!

In the meantime, the official media is treating this wave as ordinary news, trying to empty it of its revolutionary content, and giving it a chaotic character in order to frighten the Moroccan masses and, indirectly, prevent them from protesting. The intellectually prostitute newspapers are staging a proxy war against all those who are calling for a struggle against dictatorship in Morocco. For example, the February 3rd issue of the Evening newspaper, published an article on the front page under the title “Facebook Moroccans thwart the manoeuvres of Polisario and Algerian intelligence services via the Internet” which claimed that the Polisario Front are behind this call to protest on February 20, and that the day that was originally proposed was February 27 which is the date of the founding of the Polisario, and that the organizers had to cancel the February 27 protest after "exposure of their plan" and replaced it with the Day of February 20.

The state stands bewildered between two options. The first is to launch a brutal attack to abort the movements that have begun to emerge, as happened in Fez for example, which led to violent confrontations in which the students and youth of the slums surrounding the university were able to expel the police. The other option is that of surrounding the protests without provoking the angry crowds which threatens to lead the entire situation to an explosion. In addition, there has been a widespread campaign of harassment and threats against a number of bloggers and Internet users who have indicated their intention to participate in the protests to be held on February 20 to demand political reforms in Morocco.

Is the Moroccan revolutionary left ready for such events?

The revolutionary left in Morocco, mainly composed of some student organisations and labour unions, is still, unfortunately, weak and disoriented, and suffers mostly from lack of organization, absence of theory, and lack of programme. Most groups have ruled out a revolution in the foreseeable future which has led them to postpone debates on the revolutionary party and programme, and confine their activities to open work in associations, universities and trade unions. So far, this has rendered the left unable to intervene in an orderly and leading role in the events to accomplish the tasks of directing the socialist transformation of society.

But the outbreak of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions has awakened enthusiasm in the hearts of the left-wing revolutionary youth who had been waiting for these events for a long time, dreaming and reading about them and then to see them overnight become a real possibility. The events have ignited the spark among the revolutionary youth, especially left-wing revolutionaries, which is going to open the road to discussions within the revolutionary left on the necessity of the revolutionary party and the nature of the programme and the revolution in Morocco.

How do comrades of the Communist League of Action intervene in Morocco today?

We are proudly the only communist revolutionary movement which has a clear vision of what is happening in the region. We are, as an International and a section, the only ones who predicted the outbreak of this wave of revolutionary struggles and therefore we had done preparatory work, organisationally and theoretically. Our ideas are spreading and exerting their effects not only in Morocco, but all over the Arab world. With the beginning of the events in Tunisia, we followed the news of the revolution and wrote articles about it. These articles were read widely and had significant influence, to the extent that one talk show on Tunisian Television mentioned one of our articles. We have received numerous letters stating their agreement with our analysis of the situation in Tunisia and Egypt, including, for example, letters from activists and left-wing organisations in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, etc.

Practically speaking, although we are still a small organization in size and geographic outreach and the fact that our ability to influence events in the practical sense (i.e. leadership and direction) is still weak, we have always been involved in various struggles, movements and initiatives. We participated, along with the rest of the leftist movements and progressive associations in activities in solidarity with the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, and we published statements and distributed them, as our own abilities allowed us, particularly in Rabat, Fez and Tetoin etc. We have also formed a group on Facebook for Moroccan solidarity with the revolution in Tunisia, and it has been joined by many of the left-wing militants.

We also will be among the participants in the demonstrations of February 20. We have contributed to the establishment of websites calling for participating in this event. We have also issued a statement in this regard.

Website of the Communist League of Action: (Arabic)