‘The Militant’ on Moroccan teachers’ protests against fixed-time contracts.

Teachers in Morocco continue to organise against short-term contracting in public education, as introduced in 2016. Approximately one quarter of school teachers are now without a permanent contract. 

Al-Munadil/ah published a thorough criticism of this shift in 2016, with a focus on the international pressures to “free” the education sector: the new contracts are part of the “implementation of set of covert and overt agreements [since 1995], some with the EU and others with the US, within the framework of so-called free trade agreements (…) a restructuring of the educational system on a new basis, one more compatible with the needs of local and global capital”. Later, in March 2019, the progressive news-site Le Desk provided an overview of the mass, national campaign against that implementation. 

The immediate prompt for the following article was the violence of the police (and plain-clothed “thugs”) against a renewal of teachers’ protest over the last weeks, images and videos of which were widely circulated. The original title is: “No to the oppression of teachers on short-term contracts: uniting struggles is our way to counter state aggression”.  

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On 16 March 2021, the Moroccan state, with typical violence, prevented short-term contracted teachers from organising rallies in Rabat, as part of its aggressive strategy to wreck employment contracts – a programme to reverse the gains of decades of bitter struggle. [1]

After the failure of its efforts to block teachers’ travel, remove them from coach stations, and pressure hotels to refuse them rooms, the state cordoned off the rallies’ starting points and violently intervened to disperse demonstrators. 

The militancy of this section of public-sector workers has dispelled the state media’s illusions, exposing official claims about gains in freedom, democracy and social rights. 

Repressing the various education workers’ groups is part of a wider strategy [هدف] to generalise similar contracts across public-sector employment, after all its catastrophes in the private sector. The contracts attack promotional and pension gains, and even the very possibility of unionisation in the public sector. The state aims to repress wage-workers in education as an example to all workers and the popular masses, forcing all into subordination and silence. 

The state’s awareness of the very severity of the economic crisis and resultant social disasters – of its inability to make concessions that might relieve the situation – is what drives it to so severely attack the same victims of its policies: preventing the flow of their anger onto the streets, blocking the transformation of silent, individual suffering into a collective, organised, urgent force. Thus it exploits the health crisis to impose a permanent ban on all forms of protest, whilst overlooking the gatherings of (recruited) supporters of its policies. 

The state will not be moved by helpless tears over the fate of freedoms – nothing will be effective except shifting the balance of power through militancy, developing on current fights via solidarity and unity both sectorally and nationally. Today, the education sector is at the forefront of trade union resistance, the struggle of short-term contracted teachers in particular. This demands a gathering of all the forces in the sector currently divided across employment categories and establishing a militant strategy that draws on prior lessons, in particular the unification of demands and democratising of struggles both via elected strike committees and through general groups that transcend trade-union distinctions – a unified, democratic horizon for both state and private-sector employees. The basic aim is halting [the state’s current] aggression, and imposing improved social conditions in a way that further develops the capacity for struggle. 

A 2021 teachers protest. Photo courtesy of almounadila.info

We in Al-Mounadil/ah Current condemn any stifling of freedoms, the criminalisation of social struggle, and the oppression of the victims of a bourgeois politics that attack social gains and violate even the most basic rights. We emphasise again the necessity of rising above narrow, factional thinking – of rising above the fanaticism of trade union affiliation – and for the prevailing of the working class’ shared interests. There is nothing outside this perspective except further social decline and a collapse into the horrors of capitalism. 

No to the Repression of Short-term Contracted Teachers!

No to the Criminalisation of Struggle! 

More Unity, More solidarity! 

Al-Mounadil/ah Current

18 March 2021

[1] Literally, ‘teachers of the imposed [المفروض] contract’. 

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