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Political Paralysis in Morocco

This is the second article by Doga, a young Moroccan from Fez. His first post about the marginalization of Moroccan youth can be found here.

Clandestine immigration, poverty, the political indifference of the young, illiteracy, unemployment, exclusion, marginalization, and so on…it’s obvious that all these theories and negative images point to a society with a serious social fragility, which they ponder with question marks and exclamation points. The question concerning us here is to what extent Morocco’s political parties are responsible for these consequences, since they are the representatives of the Moroccan people?

I see that it is important to provide a short summary of the history of Moroccan politics. As you know, Morocco was under a French protectorate, and during that decisive period in our history, there was the National Movement that fought against the colonialists, and this movement gave birth to two political parties during the 1940s, namely:

  • the Independence Party (Istaqlal)
  • the Moroccan Communist Party

The role of these two parties was to defend the country against imperialism, and to demand independence. All the forces of the nation rallied around the two parties, but after our false independence (1956 and 1960) there were conflicts over power in both parties, especially in the Independence Party which represented the popular majority. The left wing of this party broke away to form a new party called the National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP).

The UNFP was the strongest party, because it represented workers and farmers along with merchants. Also belonging to this party were numerous members of the resistance and the Liberation Army who had refused to join the national army and police. But the merchant class leading the party set aside its objectives, which can be summarized as resistance to authoritarian government in Morocco. As a result, resistance to the governing system was finally taken up by high school and college students, who revolted on March 23, 1965. The repressive system responded to their revolt with force, firing bullets at the demonstrators [and killing up to 1000 of them].

Even the Communist Party retreated from its objectives, namely to unite the working class and the farmers, by transforming itself into a party that knew little of its supposed inspiration, Marxism. They even changed their name to become the Party of Liberation and Socialism (PLS). As a result of the failure of the two leftist parties to tackle the politics of dependency head-on, new leftist factions emerged. A Marxist movement developed at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s that later spawned underground organizations.

Because of ongoing conflicts within the political parties, there were always new parties forming. The UNFP gave birth to a party called the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), which in turn spawned three new parties, one in 1983 and two more in 2001. The PLS changed its name to the Party of Development and Socialism (PDS). Because of this splintering of forces, and the emergence of organizations that demonstrated against the authoritarian system, Morocco in the 1970s (the “Years of Lead“) had no stability, only repression, secret prisons, concentration camps and arrests. The Makhzen [power structure] used every available means to kill off the struggle. Unfortunately the Makhzen got the system it wanted, a cruel system of course.

Since as we have seen, Morocco’s political parties have known nothing but division and infighting, they have never managed to unite their forces. Indeed, if we were to remove their masks, Moroccan politics would be nothing but the protection of moneyed interests, with the political parties racing toward the central authority, held by the king. The Makhzen penetrates the parties in order to manipulate them. To guarantee their participation in power, the party leaders become a second authoritarian force in Morocco that reflects the first. They open their doors to rich men who want to run for office and have seats in parliament, so they can get the baraka [perks] of political power, make money and protect their ill-gotten gains.

It can be deduced from this that the main thing the political parties have accomplished for the Moroccan people is betrayal, causing the people to lose confidence in their parties, and in their country. It is enough to see and hear what goes on in the streets, to understand that the concept of politics, parties and power is connected to the concept of profit, corruption and climbing the political ladder, with the aim of building villas and palaces on the dreams of the poor. The political culture is simply a culture of interests, rather than a culture of patriotism.

The question we come to now is how, with these worthless parties, can we hope to achieve human development?

To understand the political situation in Morocco, we need to understand that the political parties that were in the thick of the fight for democracy in the past, are the same parties that currently have a total lack of democracy. Therefore, it is necessary to begin by regaining popular trust in the party agendas. For the moment, these mean nothing to anyone. Indeed, one of the worst things we can say about the parties is that they are willing to work with a constitution that doesn’t allow them to participate in political decision making. For example, the constitution doesn’t give a clear right to the parliamentary majority to name the prime minister. Article 24 of the Moroccan Constitution says plainly that “the king names the prime minister.”

Of course there are corrupt people who want the situation to remain as it is. No one who rose to power through corruption will be protected later by the people. He’ll need another means of support! And no matter what the outcome of elections, it won’t bring about a strong government, because strong government doesn’t exist in the constitution!

Plato said that “every people gets the government it deserves,” but we need to give the Moroccan people the chance to make the changes they seek. We need to put in place a democratic constitution, as an authentic opening for real change. We can’t speak of reforms without speaking of political and constitutional reforms. The problem in Morocco, as you can see, is that the questions are clear, but no one wants to answer them. Even the constitutional framework the government is currently using doesn’t justify the ongoing political paralysis. The problem is that we have always had a politics of arbitrary authority, of dependency. There is no logic to the legal system, no legitimacy.

Another question that I see as essential and obvious is this. Can we realize human development without freeing the media? The media are tools that play an important role in developing human thought and civilization. Insofar as their goal is to provoke greater transparency, they are an important source of inspiration for liberty and independence, which are things that humanity needs to feel. These tools can always be found in a democratic environment.

We can use these tools as a reference standard, to measure the extent to which our country has succeeded in gaining its independence, and has been able to achieve its human development. We can use this same standard to say whether our country is open and independent, or secretive and dependent. Sadly, the majority of Moroccan journalists use their pens to cover up the dirty secrets of politics.

Comments

Comment from Yassine Sakri
Time: October 25, 2007, 04:33

I totally agree with your beliefs and thoughts, i would rather say facts. The main problem that we have in Morocco is brainwashing. we will end up one day having a ” utopian world” as described in A BRAVE NEW WORLD.

Comment from eatbees
Time: October 29, 2007, 03:58

@Yassine — This post was written by my friend Doga a long time ago. I’ll pass on what you said to him; he appreciates the encouragement. If you haven’t already, check out the other posts he’s written here.

Comment from nawal sakri
Time: May 22, 2009, 18:46

you tore at my heartbeats when you mentioned the media, unfortunately it ‘s one major constitunet that is also politicised, not only that but framed and chained upon which restrictions are put
if the media was free, we consequiently wouldnt be in this vicious circle of i’d rather call it the unbroken chain of repetition
what kind of democracy when u cant criticize when u cant hope for a better future, when u cant breath!!!!
when u call for a society without social disparities!!!
when u which u could feel equal to the leaders who decide ur destiny and the destiny of every other moroccan

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