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Elections to renew the façade of despotism: building a workers’ and popular relationship of forces that liberates our people

Thursday 16 September 2021, by Al Mounadil-a

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After 60 years of talking about democracy, under various successive names, like “constitutional monarchy”, “democratic process”, “Hassanian democracy" and “democratic transition”, no one dares claim that Morocco is a democratic country other than the official media and liars who have benefited from this system of political and social oppression, and “intellectual” flatterers. The working class, for its part, has known from this democracy only unemployment, repression of strikes, expulsion of trade unionists, poverty wages and exploitation comparable to slavery.

For 60 years, the majority of Moroccans have lived under a regime of disguised political oppression, a multifaceted suffering resulting from the nature of the social economic system imposed, the system of capitalism dependent on imperialism.

And here we are today reliving the same political process, with various elections, local and national, which will be followed by the formation of a façade government, with crumbs of power on paper that will be taken away from it de facto, thus continuing the same despotic regime.

This political process, falsely called democracy, takes place within the framework of the 2011 constitution, which enshrines the individual character of power (Title III on royalty, Articles 41 to 59).

The 20 February Movement described it as the constitution of despotism, which is the same as the 1962 constitution of absolute power, with updated language according to the internationally recognized dictionary, while being fraudulently imposed like its predecessors.

The policy applied in Morocco, detrimental to the majority of its population, is not set by “elected institutions” or by “the government emanating from parliament” which instead have the role of masking the real regime with these two local and foreign components and serving as a shield protecting this regime from popular anger by placing responsibility on government and parliament (and all institutions) for policies decided by others: the monarchy, the bosses and the institutions of foreign capital.

With the 8 September elections, the state is repeating the same process of domestication, renewing the mask that deceives the working classes on the possibility of improving their living conditions.

The context in which the elections are taking place is the culmination of the process of the defeat of the liberal bourgeois opposition, the capitulation of the trade union leaderships, and the recuperation of the majority of civil society organizations. It also heralds the acceleration of the pace of capital’s offensive to invest in all areas and expand its profits by relying on public finances, “structuring” the public sector and reforming the “administration” to remove all obstacles to its growth. This is what is included in the so-called “development model report”. This class offensive will take place in the name of the “national development pact”, which consolidates the “national consensus” with the participation of the trade union leadership which is immersed in conscious cooperation to pass plans against the interest of the working class without resistance, and at the same time by the development of a huge arsenal of repressive laws and a massive modernization of the entire apparatus of repression of democratic freedoms.

Experience confirms that the struggle for democracy presupposes the mobilization of the working class, and its leadership of all oppressed popular layers. However, the political consciousness of workers and their class organizations in Morocco is today at its lowest level, because of the history of the political domination of non-working class forces, and the impact of this on attempts to build a workers’ party.

The forces now affiliated with the working class, from a reformist or radical position, are divided into two categories when it comes to elections:

 Those that call for participation in elections on the basis of the realisation of democracy and the improvement of living conditions by working in existing “democratic”" institutions. It is the same line that has dominated for decades and has ended in manifest bankruptcy without any lessons being learned. This perspective corrupts the consciousness of workers by sowing the illusion that it is possible to achieve democracy and improve the social situation without eliminating despotism and the structure of capitalist society.
 Supporters of a boycott on the grounds that the “parliament” and other “elected institutions” have no real authority, and the laws that frame the electoral process that are tainted by manipulation... As for this perspective, it makes the vanguard of the working class miss the opportunity to exploit these bourgeois institutions for widespread agitation and the mobilization of the strength of its backward layers who still believe in the illusions of changing their situation using the institutions of the regime.

If a workers’ party faithful to the interests of its class existed, it would follow the approach of using elections as a platform to confront the lies of the bourgeoisie and to educate the backward layers of workers with a political consciousness. And if it manages to enter an institution through elections, it will engage in the struggle within it alongside the workers’ and popular struggle in the streets in order to build a relationship of forces that will lead to democracy and resolve the social question.

Be that as it may, workers’ and popular struggles in the workplace and in the streets remain the main lever of any real struggle for political emancipation and social justice.

The real state of the organizations of workers’ struggles today, the very weak political consciousness of the organized part of the working class, the intervention of forces with a bourgeois project and their control of the existing organizations of struggle isolates the working class from the effective practice of class politics. Former UMT general secretary Mahjoub ben Seddik once said: “The workers have nothing to do with politics, they fight for bread”. [1]

This situation requires a work of political consciousness raising, on a class basis, which confronts the domination of the ideas of the ruling class and raises the consciousness of workers and their organizations of struggle, mainly their own party, to the level of the ability to effectively boycott the institutions of bourgeois democracy, even if they are complete, that is, to replace them with the democracy of workers’ and popular councils.

On this path, we must fight for an elected Constituent Assembly with full powers to draft a democratic constitution to rebuild the country on the basis of the interests of the majority, not the interests of the despotic minority that owns the economy. A completed democracy is in profound contradiction with the interests of the bosses. It gives the working class the power to decide what it deems appropriate for its subsistence: it will choose permanent work instead of fixed-term work and subcontracting enterprises, wages that guarantee dignity rather than wages that change with the falling productivity of the worker, and a system of free and high quality public services (health and education) instead of paid services, that is, as a last resort, a democracy in the interest of labour and not favouring capital.

The Al Mounadil-a current works with this vision, to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of national sovereignty (freedom from dependence on neo-colonial forces), popular sovereignty (the realization of democracy) and social justice (the overthrow of capitalism).

7 September 2021


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[1The UMT (Union Marocaine du Travail) is Morocco’s oldest trade union federation.