Below is a tribute to one of the great revolutionary writers on Moroccan society and politics, Lotfi Shawqui, who passed away on 23 November.
Lotfi leaves us numerous articles on the country and the wider Arabic-speaking region, in addition to two books (the second published only weeks ago) and third, unpublished book project. Almost fifty of his articles can be found on Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières’ website.
We thank Minbar al-Taḥadī (منبر التحدي) for their permission to translate the following remembrance.
Al-M offers our condolences to Lotfi’s family, friends, and comrades.
Today our comrade Lotfi Shawqi (or Amin Nasser; just two of the aliases he used to publish his books and essays) has left us.
Lotfi grew up in Rabat, raised amongst a family of radicals. Following his education at the Lycée Descartes in the same city, he left for France and the Sorbonne to pursue further studies. His political activism began with the Revolutionary Communist Youth in France, and continued through the Revolutionary Communist League.
After his return to Morocco in the mid-1990s, he joined the Revolutionary Marxist Current and participated in the founding of the ‘Solidarity for a Socialist Alternative’ grouping. He was one of the editors of the latter’s political bulletin, Solidarity.
He plunged headlong into the social struggles of the Rabat-Salé region with the National Association of Unemployed Graduates, the Unified Committee of Textile Workers, and the Youth Workers branch of the Moroccan Labour Union, and played a major role in the founding of both Attac Maroc and the Moroccan Social Forum.
After his return to France, he participated in the founding of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA), and was an active member of both the Africa and Maghreb committees. He was an active part of the Forum of the Mediterranean Left, which aimed to build left-wing alliances across the two shores. He played a key role in the merging of the Solidarity for a Socialist Alternative grouping with the Marxist Bloc, which led to the formation of the Democratic Liberation Current.
As the revolutionary wave spread across the Arab world and Maghreb, Lotfi helped found several 20 February Movement groups in France and across Europe.
He also participated in the founding of the Revolutionary Alternative and Emancipations [تحرريات] websites, and was one of the latter’s most prominent writers and activists. From France, he was one of the outstanding organisers of awareness campaigns and international solidarity with the social struggles (and political detainees) in Morocco.
Among his most important articles in the international press are:
– ‘For a Revolutionary Alternative in Morocco’
– ‘Morocco: the Coming Revolution’
– ‘A break with the Makhzan, a Break with Capitalism?’
– ‘The Dynamics and Contradictions of Revolution in the Arab World’
– ‘Predatory Capitalism’
His books are:
– (2011) Abraham Serfaty: Itinéraires politiques d’un militant révolutionnaire. 2011. La Courte Echelle/Transit.
– (2020). Défis Marocains, Mouvements sociaux contre capitalism prédateur. 2020. Syllepse.
Before his passing, Lotfi had prepared his contribution to a collaborative book with Aziz Muhab, titled Class Struggle in Morocco: for a Class or Movementist Party?
Lotfi’s partner is gathering donations for Défis Marocains to be translated into Arabic.