‘The fight for democratic freedoms’: Al-Munadilah Current on press repression in Morocco

From Hicham Benohoud’s ‘La salle de classe‘ series.

Below is a statement from Al-Munadilah Current (the ‘Militant’ Current), on the increased repression of journalists and the wider press in Morocco (of which the group is a recent victim).

Against this, the Current proposes a unification of the disparate progressive (specifically, ‘worker and popular’) forces in the country.

The original title is: ‘For a Workers’ and Popular Struggle for the Freeing of Political Prisoners and Popular Movement Detainees, and the Fight for Democratic Freedoms!’. It was published by ahewar.org, who we thank.

––

The arrest of journalist Omar Radi on July 29 confirms that the state itself appreciates the dangers of the current social situation to the interests of the ruling class, as the owners and looters of Morocco’s wealth and the exploiters of its working class. [1] 

Having created a social powder keg via its neo-liberal policies, the state no longer tolerates any opposition to or any exposing of social and economic reality, as this would only further open the door to popular protests. 

The press and particularly the electronic press is under severe monitoring, with the state immediately stamping out any sparking of mass struggle. It pounces upon those calling for protests via social media, with the recent arrests of the Jerada youths just one example. 

Restrictions on the freedom of the press and of opinion are only one element of the repressive arsenal that the state is developing, the most important of which is the “Regulatory” bill, one that effectively repeals the right to strike. [2]

The state has used the Covid-19 crisis to tighten its repressive grip, and it will continue to resolve the crisis in favour of the bourgeoisie, unless the workers’ and popular struggle prevents it from doing so. 

After all the blows faced by journalists – and many of them remain in prison – only a militant untroubled by detention, even death, can hope to write honest journalism in Morocco. 

But, if truth be told, nothing more is expected from a ruling class whose political system is based upon the oppression of the majority, in order to further the economic interests of the minority, one that owns the bulk of the economy. 

Decrying the state’s so-called encroachment is futile, as is pondering over its failure to adhere to its constitutionally-mandated obligations, and the various calls for a “second historical reconciliation” following the ruse  of the “fairness and reconciliation” process, et cetera. [3]

What’s needed now is to build the struggle for democratic freedoms and encouragement of the bursts of resistance from the base of society, as due to the pressures of a deteriorating social situation. There is no doubt that the strengths of the militant working class is the sole foundation on which this struggle can and must be built: On the one hand, it has a position in the economy and society that enables it to disrupted the spheres of production, transportation, and administration; and on the other, it is the class most able to bring together the oppressed into a united, fighting force – one for all victims of tyranny and capitalism. 

Yet the state of the working class’ organised forces is deplorable after decades of “social partnership” policies which, as continued by the unions’ leadership, have destroyed both organisation and consciousness – hence as we see them today, unable to protect even the simplest of freedoms, that of expression. Therefore, it is obligatory on all working class militants to unify efforts to replace “partnership and dialogue” with the defence of interests of the working class and the oppressed with a strict class logic, and to organise wage-earners and further develop our tradition of solidarity. 

In addition to this, wider society’s continuous deterioration requires developing co-operation with militant movements in both rural areas and impoverished urban neighbourhoods, and with other social groups affected by the absence of democratic freedoms, for a united struggle against both political tyranny and economic oppression.

All the popular movements seen in Morocco since the second half of the 1990s, up to the recent and heroic Movement of the Rif, the boycotting of several consumer goods, and the youth struggles in education, medicine, nursing, and engineering, show the inherent power of struggle – though the majority of those campaigns were outside ‘traditional’ organisations. This fact obliges us to adopt an organisational flexibility, and practice both the logic of the unity of struggle, and democratic self-management.

We in the Al-Mounadilah Current demand the unification of struggles towards: 

  • The liberation of Omar Radi and all imprisoned journalists 
  • The freedom to all political prisoners and militants of popular movements
  • The freedom for all victims of the repression of democratic freedoms 

And, we affirm our condemnation of the use of women and gender minorities (and their demands) as means to settle scores with political opponents. 

We call for the spirit of a united struggle and democracy to prevail whilst conducting these struggles, so as to expand and consolidate their ability to achieve their given aims. 

4 August 2020

[1] On the gender politics of Radi’s case, we can only defer to the judgement of the Moroccan feminist collective Hounna Moustaqillat (‘We’re Independent’, the pronoun in the feminine), whose statement statement on the case can be found here

[2] See ledesk.ma’s short, 15th September report (Ar) on a Rabat rally against the law. 

[3] The Truth and Reconciliation-type process, initiated in the mid-2000s and focused on the ‘Years of Lead’, i.e., much of the rule of Hassan II.

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