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“He was internationalist to the core”

Monday 8 February 2021

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Lotfi Chawqui, our comrade, our friend, died on Friday, 20 November, 2020. Lotfi arrived in Grenoble in 1987, at the age of 20, with his friend Fadela for their first year at Sciences Po. A free couple who had met at the Descartes high school in Rabat, defying all family standards, curious, joyful, concerned and carefree.

Enthusiasm in the struggles

Lotfi quickly became a pillar of the group of young revolutionaries active in all struggles, whether trade union, political or internationalist. An excellent debater and already very cultivated, he often hosted student parties. Through the youth camps of the Fourth International he became known and appreciated far beyond Grenoble.

In Grenoble, he was already involved in all the struggles. He knew how to conceive the right movement at the right time. He was internationalist to the core but inserted himself into all campaigns with the same energy. Then he went back to Morocco for a while, where he was a leader of the movement of unemployed graduates. He also participated in the creation of Attac in Morocco.

Back in Grenoble, he resumed activity in the LCR (Ligue communiste révolutionnaire, then the French section of the Fourth International) with the same enthusiasm for the struggles of the moment with particular attention to youth mobilizations, but also the LCR campaign for the European parliament elections 1999 or for a “No” vote in the referendum on the European treaty [in 2005].

In the early 2000s, active in the global justice movement, Lotfi had made a major contribution to building a mobilization against imperialist interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was curious about everything, wanted everything, launched himself into all the campaigns with an infectious lucidity and enthusiasm. And he supported his Moroccan comrades in all their struggles through the Arab Spring and the 20 February movement. He leaves us about fifty articles and press releases. And two books.

At the national level, he made a strong contribution to the structuring of a collective intervention on international issues, generously sharing his contacts, his always concrete experience, his reflections and his writings on Morocco.

Analytical skills, simplicity and pedagogy

He was everywhere, but he remained concentrated. He had an ability to analyse situations that he knew how to summarize with simplicity and pedagogy. He firmly believed in the emancipation of our class, under certain conditions: the perspective of socialism, the break with the state apparatus, the strategy of mass self-organization. These three conditions had to hold together for revolutionary transformation to take place.

Finally, Lotfi made us understand concretely what it meant to be a foreigner in this “country of the declaration of human rights”. Fear in the stomach in demonstrations or crossing borders in the bus when we were going to demonstrate. We will never forget, during a rally in front of the ARC in Lyon, the look of hatred from one of the cops who said to Lotfi: “You, I saw you and I will remember”. Because he was going through all this and many other humiliations too, he understood very quickly and supported the revolts in the suburbs.

Lotfi happily loved life and everything in it, friends, children, wine, partying! And he loved his children Taori, Camil, Maya and Mathis madly. And Valérie, whom we loved before meeting her, so much had he spoken to us about her with tenderness and admiration. And who supported him so much in his final months.

As your Moroccan friends say: “May the earth be soft for you” Lotfi!

His comrades (from NPA, Grenoble)


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