The Moorish Wanderer

Wandering Thoughts, Vol.15

Posted in Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Morocco, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics, Wandering Thoughts by Zouhair ABH on December 17, 2011

A few days back in Morocco are quite short to spend with one’s family and acquaintances – but hey, I suppose it’s great to be back anyway, even for a short time.

A few things to discuss perhaps (given a very busy schedule and burdensome workload inherited from the Fall semester, among others) that do not relate strictly to the main topics this blog usual posts about. Or perhaps it does: Parti Socialiste Unifié is organizing this weekend their convention, and well… I am very ambivalent about it all. At no time during the opening day was there any feeling that perhaps the strategic choice of backing up Feb20 all the way up (or down) instead of taking a step back and consider the bigger picture: PSU is there for a long time, the movement, clearly not. More on that, later.

I have also taken to watch some new TV shows as well – namely, Hart Of Dixie (yes, I know…) Boardwalk Empire and Pan Am (Yes, I know!) and believe you me, they are worth watching, really!

Hart Of Dixie was not my idea; I started listening to some Otis Taylor tracks (Ten Million Slaves is easily recognizable for those who enjoyed watching Public Enemies) and the trailer was interesting enough: a glossy, too-good-to-be-true freshly graduated New Yorker Doctor Zoe Hart (Rachel Bislon) finds out that her real father is one Harley Wilkes, a Doctor in Blue Bells, Alabama, in the heart of Dixieland. Hart needs to spend a year South of the Mason-Dixon line before she can move on with her future career as a cardio-thoracic surgeon. The show is enjoyable, it really is !

Boardwalk Empire is of another calibre however; but then again, that’s Martin Scorcese for you (he direct the Pilot). The show is set in Atlantic City N.J.  during the 1920s, at the height of the Prohibition Era. A special effort has been made for the costumes, the music, the hardware… and I don’t think words are enough to describe all the back-room politics that take place in Atlantic City. Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson, city treasurer and the mastermind of a large-scale bootlegging scheme that doubles as an efficient political machine (E. Thompson fits in the American political vernacular of local “party boss”) running on buying off loyalties and other allegiances to, say, get the New Jersey delegates behind Warren Harding‘s nomination for GOP presidential candidate. Great stuff to watch, already two seasons have been aired so far.

Last series is Pan Am, I’m still watching the earlier episodes, but it sure has a je-ne-sais-quoi flavour of Mad Men: both are set in the late 1950s- early 1960s, and gender relations are depicted with a great deal of realism.

Picture of the Opening Meeting at Cinema Royal - Rabat

But enough with the glamour: PSU is holding its convention this weekend, between Bouznika and Rabat, and from what I have read and listened to, and for all the goodwill displayed and the hopes aroused, we are still far away from building a strong left coalition. Why so? Because party leadership – outgoing and even the likely new- still do not understand that shackling the party to Feb20 with so much enthusiasm and with little strategy, even to influence Feb20 and induce them to be more amenable to our goals, is not a strategy, it’s standing on the sideways of political history.

Don’t get me wrong: I think the party belongs with the Feb20 movement, but let us face it: left-wing political parties and radical Islamist AWI are all competing for influence -not control- of an otherwise very heterogeneous organization (although the term “organization” is a bit of a stretch) and I blame the movement for making PSU leadership going gaga over the youth; I really do.

Because of them, the decision to boycott elections and the referendum has been of no sizeable political benefit in terms of party membership or standing among the mainstream Moroccan citizens. And instead of going for the issues that matter, taxes, jobs, crime, standards of living, education and local government, I was horrified to listen to some of the speeches given during the opening meeting for the convention, and two words kept coming back: “Nidal” & “Somoud“.

Get over it, those we seek to enrol in our grand scheme for social justice and democratic institutions are not interested in militant mumbo-jumbo, they want clear and detailed answers to well-defined and real problems.The only thing I find solace in is the unheard of -in Morocco- transparency by which the party runs its internal elections: deliberations are open for independent observers, and party finances are there for everyone to see. No other party -save perhaps for PJD- can and does so. Occasions like these reassure me in my political choices.

I did not attend the rest of party conference for many reasons, among which some urgent projects I had to hand out on a tight schedule, the fact that I have not seen my family in months, and finally because my small, temperate, reasoned voice has no chance to be heard. I hope the newly elected leadership will heed the call of moderations in words – something that does not surrender the party’s nihilism, and does certainly not mean that they have sold out to Makhzen apparatus, because it is high time we left-wingers had crossed over to the Moroccan electorate to get them interested in our scheme, and left behind an obsolete body of language.