Protests in Morocco

Submitted by Matthew on 30 March, 2011 - 9:34

The ideologues of the Moroccan regime were convinced that Morocco would escape the wave of struggle which is sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

This pretence of Moroccan exceptionalism was based on the one hand on a broad spectrum of trade union, and political and youth organisations, which create an illusion of pluralism; and, on the other hand, on the King’s false announcements of “democratic opening-up” and political and social reforms.

The struggle of the youth, organised around the “20 February Platform”, threw all of these calculations. It proved that the masses of Morocco, the workers, peasants, the poor and the students, had long been waiting for the signal to come out into the streets.

The demands of “20 February” didn’t even reach the level of minimal democratic demands, but the Moroccan regime reacted with violent repression, arrests and even murders when faced with 70 Moroccan towns which came out into the street. This repression created a determination among the youth.

Over the course of the demonstrations, the authorities have changed their strategy, using two levers.

The first lever is the print and audiovisual media, which has presented the struggling youth as hooligans, as “atheist Marxists” or “Islamists”, in order to divide the movement. The second lever is the King’s declarations. He has promised to change the government, a concession which was dismissed by the 20 February movement.

The phosphate workers of Khoribga, the Tangier car workers, and then the refuse workers in the north of the country have joined the movement. Panic-stricken, the King was forced to announce his support for a consitutional change, and to set up a committee to oversee the change.

This announcement proved to the people that the movement represents a real opposition force. This encouraged the movement to call new demonstrations, on 20 March, raising the level of demands: constitutional-parliamentary monarchy, dissolution of the government and parliament, abolition of the current constitution, and, above all, the election of a Constituent Assembly.

Economic demands such as increased wages, unemployment benefit, nationalisation of public services (which are often under the control of big imperialist multinationals) are also brought to the fore, at the same level of importance as the prosecution of the corrupt judiciary.

The revolutionary Marxists are playing an important role in this movement with the aim of radicalising it and pushing it towards the maximum programme of our class — socialism.

For us this is only a beginning, and we have great need of international support.

• Over the last week, a major movement has blown up in the education sector in Morocco.

In the capital, Rabat, teachers struck for better wages and conditions. The strike culminated in a four-day occupation of the Education Ministry. The occupation was broken by the police, who cleared out the strikers and beat one teacher so badly that he died of his wounds on 27 March.

On 28 March teachers and teaching unions in Morocco declared a three-day national strike to support the Rabat teachers.

Since 23 March, students in 70 colleges across Morocco have been striking and demonstrating. The students demand free public education; improved quality of teaching; the right to work after graduation; they demand the resignation of the Education Minister, as he is corrupt.

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