The Future of Radicalism in Morocco: Tribunite or Policy-driven Alternative?
This is a bit excruciating for me. As the idea started forming in my mind, I thought it would sound and look like I have abdicated what I hold to be my core, inner beliefs. To be more precise, this is not about abdicating principles, but rather how the Radicalism trademark in Morocco might have been pushed further to the left, too much to my liking, because of the hardened position taken by Feb20. I do not disparage the risks and the police harassment they endure, but this is not the only way to get the word out an active opposition is alive and kicking.
The referendum was the starting point: I belong to this crazy group of people who thought (or still thinks) that a deep constitutional reform is the way to bringing genuine democracy into Moroccan institutions and society. The assumption upon which the whole gamble plays on is that absolute political power will create some seismic moves in every political party, topple down the old-guard in favour of some fresh new faces, and eventually piece together the political spectrum into a couple of large parties instead of the existing myriad. This is so because in that context, politicians would be genuinely held accountable by the public; On the other end of those reforms, the Monarchy, while losing all executive and judiciary power, would retain the honorary function as the unifying symbol of this nation. Or so the story went.
After the referendum however, this fig-leaf was blown away because any political organization pushing for a constitutional reform right away after a referendum very few mainstream organization gainsaid. A more methodological state of mind would command to re-direct energies into more “popular” issues: purchasing power, income inequalities, Amazigh issues, Gender equality, Education, Security, Crime, whatever topic considered to be a bread-and-butter issue with the electorate. So far the prevailing sense among the Radical Left and those of similar loyalties gravitating around the Feb20 Movement is to keep the focus on figurehead issues, emotionally appealing but ultimately isolating the movement and confining it into an active but small nucleus of activists, like AMDH’s for instance.
And that’s where the excruciating part comes in: Am I still to be counted among the Left-wing Moroccan Radicals? I guess the “Confused” part was doing just fine, but I now feel more estranged than ever toward my party, let alone the whole political field. I disagreed on the Referendum and Elections boycott, I have been reviewing some of the proposals displayed in the 2007 Manifesto, and there goes the “fig-leaf” analogy: as long as the Radical Left (including, with a broad definition of reformism, Annahj) keeps aiming at global changes instead of looking for real issues, their credibility, as a matter of fact their whole brand of fresh politics is watered-down with perceived idealism, or worse still, elitism.It is a bit strange to conciliate seemingly contradictory notions of the Left being Tribunite and Elitist at the same time; but the fact of the matter is, this is the danger: a couple of days ago, PADS party has issued a statement stating its court action to declare November 25th General Elections to be unconstitutional. This is the perfect example of populist/elitist argument that does not appeal to real issues, and at the same time gives comfort to the very people the statement is supposed to frighten; the shot was to high, too much aimed at the moon that it actually backfires in terms of image and credibility: “PADS? why these Leftists are interested only in remote matters nobody cares!” or so goes the line.
To put it simply, many at the Radical Left leadership are rekindling with their youth, and instead of building alternatives for the ongoing politics, they have just got to relive the dream that fell short in the 1970s and 1980s. What makes it worse is the new generation of activists, all with noble intentions and high principles, but not necessarily ready -or geared for it- to play Point Counter-Point on specific issues, is pushing the old guard to engage in a more confrontational strategy. It might indeed fire up the strong supporters, but it leaves out the Silent Majority and all of the semi-sympathetic groups that do not see benefits in taking to the streets every Week-ends.
What is to be done then? Well, we need a narrative to attract the broadest possible spectrum around a precise consensus. The trouble is, the least common denominator needs to be defined within the established system; There’s Radicalism and Radicalism, and my brand is the latter: keep the Monarchy as the form of political regime, and shuffle up the rest; in the eyes of many who might disagree, the brand of radicalism is insured, and it does not attract much hostility from less ideologically motivated opponents. The narrative needs to stress issues designed to mollify social conservatism predominant across Moroccan households; The idea that improving standards of living can lead to a more progressive social mindset should be the centrepiece of the Radical discourse. Civil Rights can only be enjoyed with a good meal, a decent home and an interesting job. But this is not enough, it remains too abstract for everyone to adhere.
There is a population in this country working just as hard as everybody else, yet it pays commensurately more taxes, loses on its purchasing power over the last decade. The middle/median class is the perfect group of people the Radical Left should be embracing by providing policies designed to strengthen its income, future, security and standing in society. I suppose all of the Radical Left-wingers are Marxists, so perhaps it is a good time to leave out the philosophical trolling, and go for policy proposals that go to what shapes up social interactions and structures, the economy itself. In simple words: “It’s the Economy, Comrade.“