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Interview: Lucile Daumas von Attac Marokko

Das Interview führte Christoph Mayer vom Koordinierungskreis von Attac Deutschland.

How do you consider the relationship with the European attacs?

There is a strong link with all European attacs, although the relations should still be enlarged at the European and world level. We experience real solidarity from European Attacies. For example, there was a demonstration taking place in Berlin against the repression against the social movements in Morocco. Now we have this common project, the ENA, where people from attac Maroc are in the preparatory groups. Actually it is not so important that especially attac Maroc will be present at the ENA, but that the Arabic Revolution will be a broadly discussed topic. The emancipation of the people in the Arabic world is as important as the ´68-movement in France, and it will also have an impact of the social movements in Europe.

Is attac Maroc participating at the ENA?

Four people from attac Maroc would like to participate at the ENA, but only 8 flight tickets for Attacies from the “south” will be financed. It is not yet clear, who of us will be coming. I most likely will.

How is the financial situation for attac Maroc?

Financing is a big problem in attac, not so much for attac Rabat but, for example, for the group in Fès [a big city in the north of Morocco]. Attac groups, like the one in Fès, can disappear for financial bottlenecks. Two reasons explain why we have money problems: First, people who become a member of attac Maroc only pay a small subscription, because they just cannot afford to pay much. Second, we are very suspicious to ask for financial supports from international foundations, and the ones we ask are very few and not very generous with attac. From German foundations, small amounts of money are received. The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, for example, does not fund any projects in Arabic Africa. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) gave a small amount of money for the academy that attac Maroc organized and once for travelling to the WSF. We applied for further financial support from FES this year, but the answer was negative. Some international flights are financed by the CADTM [committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt] or the European Attac Network.

Who participates in the 20th February movement?

Everybody can be part of the movement. There is a 10-points declaration, which says that the movement is open for everybody. Etiquettes do not exist. It is a broad spectrum of groups participating, although everybody speaks for himself and nobody participates as part of an organization. A large majority are young people; especially students form a large proportion and are actively involved, while unions only participate passively. They sign certain calls but they do not participate in demonstrations. Attac Maroc is a small actor in the movement, but we have our role. We argue, for example, in favour of the cancellation of external public debt and against private monopolies on public goods and services. In Egypt and Tunisia the movements stood up for political liberty, the main claims are at the political level and for jobs and social demands, but until that moment they are not anti-globalization and anti-liberalization movements. I do not know if it will succeed, but we want to strengthen those aspects in the Moroccan democratic movement.

What role do the Islamic groups play in the movement? Do their demands go together with those of a democratic movement?

Actually, most of these groups are much more democratic than the leftist parties in Parliament. Although it is just not possible to homogenize the Islamic groups in the movement, one can say that they are the strongest critics of the constitution, as they are sceptical about a king being the leader of the Muslim fellows. They are also radical in their claims, demanding that the king may not steel the richness of the country [he does so by being the main owner of the holding company ONA which controls most of Morocco´s tourism, business and industry.] Generally, they do not want to separate themselves from the rest of the movement and have the same slogans like the other demonstrators. The only critical thing I see in their performance is that women and men go for separate. But when I once mixed in among the men, they did not react badly.

What is attac Marco’s and the movement’s attitude towards the Monarchy?

Officially, attac Maroc has no position on the monarchy (yet it surely has a position on democracy). The monarchy itself is not attac Maroc’s main issue. Attac Maroc supports the 20th february movement and its claim for a “popular democratic constitution”.

What demands does the movement have?

Just to name a few, we demand

  • A new constitution
  • Parliament elections
  • A new government
  • Freedom to the political prisoners
  • The maintenance of Public Services
  • Media freedom
  • An independent judiciary

What these demands show is that, as in Egypt and Tunisia, it is important for us to not only replace the political leaders but to change the political system!

Has anything changed since the beginning of the protests?

On the 9th of March the king held a speech announcing that he will establish a commission that revises the constitution. But the people want an elected constitutional commission, which creates a new constitution. The parties do not support us with our demands. There were satisfied, when the King announced certain changes, but we are not! One big thing that has been achieved with the movement is that people now have the courage to demonstrate and to express their demands. On the 20th of February about 300 000 people attended demonstrations, there were about 600 000 people attending demonstrations on the 20th of March in 80 cities throughout the country. Everyday, there are lot of smaller demonstrations. People lost their fear, despite the repression! They demand a republic, something that nobody would have dared six months ago. There are demonstrations every day by different social groups like the railway employees, the postal workers, the teachers, unemployed people etc. Moreover, the newspapers today use free language and report much more critically than they did in the past [but lately, the director of the newspaper Al Masae has been put in jail until to a trial, which is very unusual for “press delicts”].The result of this new gained self-evidence of freedom of expression is that there are lively public debates about democracy at a lot of places in society today. In small towns, where it is easier to meet, people are writing down and expressing their concrete demands to the local authorities and then are waiting in the streets until they get an answer.

Are attac Maroc and other activists/activist groups exposed to political repression?

As part of the protests some activists were put in jail. They were not members of attac Maroc but belonged to friends’ groups that are closely linked to attac Maroc, for example, student groups and the unemployment movement. In generally it is not easy for us to work politically. Attac Maroc had to lead a two year long campaign for recognition before receiving legal status. If civil society organizations want to organize a public congress, the authorities have to be informed. If they do not respond within 6 months, one is allowed to organize the event, but without being funded by public money. Another example, that showed how difficult it is for people to organize themselves, was the organization of the 20th February demonstrations, which were organized by about 20 people. The police closed the desks, where those people met to organize the demonstrations. They anyhow succeed to organize the demonstrations, especially via the internet.

What is attac Maroc’s point of view on the military intervention in Libya?

My personal opinion is that I do not have one. The Attacies in Rabat think that the intervention is very dangerous. It allows imperialism to put its feet in the region. And I agree with that. But we cannot ignore that people had asked for that. Thus we demonstrated in front of the Libyan embassy to show our solidarity with the people in Libya. When Gaddafi came to Power, he built up a welfare state. But recently, he and his sons became very cleptocratic. Schools or hospitals in Libya are becoming worse and worse. Now, we have a surreal political situation: there was this spill-over from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and suddenly the people in Lybia had a gun in their hand. The protests were not organized, and it does not make sense to analyze the structures, because they have just appeared. Surely, we cannot say that this is a clear political movement and the committee in Bengasi is definitely not left wing, but we understand the people’s longing for freedom and, therefore, we are in solidarity with them.

Hier geht es zu einer art marokkanischem Indymedia: