When Marxists engage in dialogue, they do so for change, not just for interpretation or understanding. In order for the dialogue among Marxists to set this goal, one must have as an orientation an essential question if answered, the practice will have progressed and they will have obtained tangible results in achieving the desired revolutionary change.
We must start from the fact that this dialogue is built on a material basis and is the result of the historical experience of the Marxist left in Morocco and throughout the world. This observation consists in the fact that the Marxist movement was able to answer two essential questions: a response which we consider as allowing the construction and planning of the future starting from the present. The two questions were those raised by the world communist movement since its creation by the great theoreticians Marx and Engels. The contribution was added to by the practical and healthy formulation of Lenin, the third proletarian teacher armed with Marxism and engaged in the accomplishment of the tasks of the socialist revolution.
The first question was whether the socialist revolution is on the agenda of the proletariat in all countries or whether its objective conditions have not yet been met?
The answer came from the founding teachings with foresight and without ambiguity or hesitation. This included the response in a document that has become one of the most important works of the world communist movement and is the Manifesto of the Communist Party. It is the first proletarian program emerging to accomplish the revolution and to take power after defeating the bourgeoisie. This was confirmed by the revolution of the Paris Commune, as the first experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In carrying out the tasks of the revolution, and in response to the above question, the communist movement has had multiple experiences with a diversity of contexts, realities of social structures and historical accumulations of the working class in all parts of the capitalist world. These experiences were subject to an objective evaluation and there were many lessons that Lenin formulated and have converged on the fundamental question for which the answers were a motor to take qualitative and giant steps in history of the world communist movement. The question was actually made up of two parts: where to begin? And what is to be done?
The reasons which justified these questions were linked to the demands of the struggle for the social democratic movement which had just emerged in a society coming from feudal society joining the ranks of the capitalist states that is Russia. Lenin, accompanied by a handful of activists, answered this complex question. The answer was able to put the Communist Manifesto to the test and reality with a creative methodology taking into account the nature of Russian society and the emergence of a stage in which capitalism went from its competitive stage to the stage of monopoly and the domination of finance capital, that is to say to the stage of imperialism and the division of the world. The response generated a new type of communist movement, the components of which were built by a new type of communist parties, which are the communist parties those aligned with the Leninist conception of their structure and program based on the realization of the socialist revolution, and its construction in one country or in a few countries on the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a new democracy at the service of the workers and its strategic allies, the peasants and all the laboring classes.
Today, the characteristic of the general situation is the aggravation of the crisis of the capitalist system. It sinks capitalism into its march towards its decadence and its fall, and with it the ruin of the environment, the earth and the destruction of the future of humanity.
Thus, globalized capitalism dominated by finance is experiencing a crisis whose extent can be compared to that of the two great crises of 1870 and 1929. This crisis can be explained by three series of internal contradictions which are the origin of deep dysfunctions of the contemporary economic system.
First, there is a growing divorce between the globalized economic space and the political space, which remains limited to the territory of the nation state. Globalized capitalism would need new forms of regulation and governance that the main international organizations have failed to bring about. Created in the aftermath of the Second World War, and dominated by the first industrialized countries, these organizations have failed to adapt to the new geopolitical configuration created by the rise of the emerging countries, in particular the B.R.I.C.S. (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Excess role of finance capital is the second source of vulnerability for contemporary capitalism. The exorbitant role played by the financial markets is the source of recurrent instability, as shown by the multiplication of financial crises since the beginnings of financial globalization in the last quarter of the 20th century (the impacts of the coronavirus crisis did not is only one of the visible symptoms). In addition, the domination of financial players, foremost among them the shareholders, has led to a distortion of the sharing of income and wealth, which has become increasingly unequal. The relative impoverishment of the middle classes in the advanced countries has greatly contributed to the over-indebtedness of households, which is at the origin of the international financial crisis which began in the United States in 2007. Finance capital has thus intensified inequalities and instability, which are the two great plagues.
Consequently, the socialist revolution has become inevitable, like the specter prophesied by Marx and Engels, in order to save humanity from the dark destiny that capitalism has for it. To achieve this revolution, the Marxist-Leninist militants find themselves forced to answer the following central question: how to move forward? They ask this question while recalling the historical and theoretical responses and the achievements of the world proletariat through the three pioneering experiences, despite the limits of their achievements and their relative failures: the Revolution of the Paris Commune, the Bolshevik Revolution and the Chinese Revolution
To answer this question, there must be a minimum of materialist structure (the structural time according to Mahdi Amel) and ideological structure (the time of intellectual production according to Marx) and of the political and ideological line. The question is for activists involved in the militant working class movement in their positions. Without these principles, discussion or dialogue will be separated from reality; it will be a contemplative, interested theory whose results are hypothetical.
To deepen this dialogue in order to answer the question: how to move forward?, it is necessary to clarify the theoretical orientation, which directs the process of progress and the movement in struggle, then we will review what will be the syntheses of the dialogue.
2- In response to a question: how to move forward?
Here, we approach the theory of contradiction and the question of the priority of the contradictions, then we define this priority in the list as we see it, and whose answer is considered to be at the heart of political and ideological orientation within world communist movement today on the one hand; and on the other hand, in the light of these answers, we will approach the current state of the social movement and the problems of the fronts and demands which create the conditions for the self-transformation of the objective political crisis into a revolutionary crisis in the Leninist sense.
First: the theory of contradiction and the question of the priority of the contradictions, then the matrix of basic contradictions:
Before detailing the nature of the contradictions, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the concept of contradiction (1).
This concept occupies a fundamental position in our practical life as activists involved in the process of societal change according to what we understand of the laws of class struggle that are unfolding before our eyes. When we examine the contradiction carried by the class struggle, we perceive a paradox happening in the case of the distinction between the abstract theoretical concept of contradiction and its embodiment in reality; it is transformed from abstract theoretical adiabatic perceptions to its proof in the complexity of reality. In this comparison with reality, it becomes a realistic concept immersed in specificities, and it is constructed by a jumble of heavy battles which almost hide the features of its face, and it is difficult to recognize its nature and to diagnose its veracity. In its amalgamation with the rest of the contradiction emerging in the arena of the class struggle, the spirit is in torment and in a metaphorical wandering like those of cats that wander at night: they are all black.
It gets worse when these contradictions are considered static, do not change and are not affected by the impact of history. This explains the turmoil and the inability to determine the nature of these contradictions and then one has the difficulty of providing mechanical evaluations devoid of dialectical meaning – to resolve them because all the typologies of contradictions are amalgamated into spaghetti, the one in the others; it is therefore difficult to deconstruct and organize them.
What is the most effective and surest way to diagnose scientific contradiction and not fall into the trap of the mechanical method of dealing with contradictions?
In our opinion, there is one of the most effective methods is that of organized work and collective thinking. When we look collectively at the contradictions and their effects on reality, our vision is vigilant and capable of better grasping this reality of the contradictions, and one’s attention is paid to the complexity of the situation, in particular when it is exposed to it in its movement and its dynamism and not frozen without movement. One of the advantages of this collective work which seeks to make the ideas mature through organized debate is that it leads to deducing the action from these contradictions and how to resolve them, and therefore to fixing practical action using the principles of democratic centralism, as a principle of solving problems. By this, we endow ourselves with the greatest guarantees of obtaining a more effective and rewarding plan than that fixed by a single person. This is why it is always preferable for us when possible to have organized teamwork.
To corroborate this organized and structuring collective reflection, and to provide it with elements of knowledge and theories, I would like to present some ideas on the question of contradiction as I see it in our practice of struggle.
All the theoretical research that has been conducted on the question of contradiction confirms that this concept, in addition to being a global concept for all aspects of life and of our world, is also of a special nature in its content and in its multiple forms. In this presentation we distinguish three types of contradictions:
- the fundamental contradiction,
- the principal contradiction
- the secondary contradiction.
If the fundamental contradiction determines the nature of the social or universal phenomenon, then the principal contradiction determines the nature of the dynamism or the dynamics of the struggle defined by the phenomenon which was based on the fundamental contradiction and by the dynamics of the conflict. The solution to this major contradiction allows one to progress in the resolution of the fundamental contradiction – by quantitative accumulations or even with a qualitative leap – and on the other hand, it occurs at certain times and in precise circumstances that the principal contradiction turns into primary or secondary contradiction. As for the secondary contradiction, it belongs by its nature to the category of major contradictions with the difference that in terms of intensity or preponderance, it is more nuanced and less important. However, this contradiction can go from the secondary stage to the stage of major contradiction.
Tell me how the organization deals with defining the nature and prioritizing of contradictions? I will tell you if this is a scientific approach and what is its identity.
When evaluating or judging a political organization, and if this organization deserves the name of an organization that operates in a scientific manner, it suffices to examine how it deals with contradictions. The area in which this method of dealing with contradictions is revealed is its ideological or intellectual reference and its political line. Ideological references allow us to define the contradictions, while the political line often shows the interdependence of these contradictions and the method to resolve the fundamental and the principal ones through strategy, while the tactic develops a plan to manage the contradictions and organize them in the short term, and it notes the need to preserve one’s orientation so that the organization does not depart from strategic challenges and priorities and priorities.
In addition to evaluating the functioning of the organization, whether it is scientific or not, the treatment of inconsistencies in the line of any organization also makes it possible to check out the true identity of this organization and to which political school it really belongs, and not its pretensions. This check up is of the utmost importance to us in Morocco, especially at this time when the question of the unity of organizations with the same orientation is raised in order to build the independent party of the working class. This monitoring facilitates the process of reconciliation and can dissolve some of the non-essential differences that exist for historical reasons or from accumulations of individual experiences. On the other hand, it is permissible to define the criteria for the fundamental differences which occur with other currents, and this will of course make the task of discussion and research on these points fruitful and effective in bringing together the differentiating tectonics and searching for plans of work on the articulation and the points of disagreement.
Before going over our opinion on the nature of the contradictions, we must refer to the situation in which the international Marxist movement finds itself today. This situation is the result of a historical process that this movement has known since its creation.
In the era of the founding leaders, two contradictory tendencies emerged, each one dealing with how to resolve the fundamental contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary tendency chose the path of the proletariat that is revolting in order to wrest power and establish a socialist society, while the revisionist tendency considered that the transition to socialism would be peaceful and gradual thanks to quantitative accumulations, so that workers’ power would replace the power of the bourgeois through elections.
Within each of these two trends, differences and tendencies have emerged. In the midst of the revolutionary tendency, when the experiment was launched towards the accomplishment of the proletarian revolution, and after the establishment of the first socialist experience and in the face of the evolution of the class struggle and the struggles of the peoples for independence and liberation, divergences appeared as to the determination of the nature of the contradictions or the question of their prioritization. There were differences on how to resolve the fundamental contradiction in socialist society and on the contradiction with imperialism. Through the responses elaborated, three main tendencies appeared, namely the Marxist-Leninist tendencies and the Trotskyist tendency, in addition to the revisionist branch which was reinforced in its positions within the international Marxist movement, whether in the socialist system or in the rest of the countries, in particular the Eurocommunists after the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party.
After the collapse of the Soviet experience and after the blows received by all revolutionary tendencies within the world Marxist movement, a period of hesitation and confusion prevailed, leading to the emergence of currents all claiming to possess of the truth and criticizing those who do not share their opinion or beliefs. What is aggravated by the fragmentation is the dominance of dogmatism and the absence of dealing with ideas and the appearance of leaders who were considered sacred and infallible, with their excess of reverence for texts and considering reference as sacred text regardless of its content. They made the speeches of leaders a sacred text even if it was a letter or an article dealing with a temporary problem or a trivial question that ended a long time ago. Such behavior with the authorities and leaders finds its deep reason in the distancing of these defenders from the problems of the class struggle in which they live. They include applying fundamental texts in a different context. These practices which are no different from those which Marx and Engels fought against, and which Lenin fiercely resisted.
We call for a new discussion of the foundations of this phenomenon, a re-examination of Marxist theory and stripping them of these excessive impurities. For this task to succeed, it is necessary to establish a permanent criterion allowing one to reconsider an objective process of sorting out the tendencies and the schools and to avoid this odious mode which prevails today in the division becoming pathological under any pretext or reason for declaration of division and difference. This fragmentation reflects an inherent need in the petty bourgeois, fleeing the responsibility for the struggle and investing in commitments by which they abandon their bourgeois mind sets and join the ranks of the proletariat with firm conviction by transforming themselves into simple soldiers in its ranks. It is the petty-bourgeois nature motivated by impulse for the sake of appearance and leadership, and therefore it dies by exhausting itself in the search for justifications and excuses, and it fights wars under shiny slogans using those stolen from proletarian ideals to manipulate them against everyone.
In the question of objective and real sorting out between tendencies, the notion of contradictions plays a fundamental role in terms of determining their nature and in terms of arrangement and methods to deal with them. This is why we propose to present a set of fundamental contradictions as they appear at the current stage of the development of class and international conflicts.
After capitalism triumphed in Western Europe and the peoples moved from feudal societies to capitalist society, where the capitalist mode of production is developed and reached a high degree of concentration, it sought with the greatest breadth to make a profit and carry off as much wealth as possible. In the course of its history, capitalism has gone through several stages of development to reach the highest levels, that is the imperialist stage, which is the stage of the decay of the capitalist system, and because of this evolution, the almost total control over all the peoples imbued with the effect of direct and indirect colonialism. This is how these subject countries went from societies which knew pre-capitalist models of production to societies in which the capitalist mode of dependency prevailed. At this stage of the development of capitalism, the conditions for the aggravation and explosion of contradictions have matured, which led to the first experience of the power of the proletariat in Russia after the overthrow of capitalism and the beginning of the construction of socialism in one country in 1917.
Today’s developments confirm the continuing decay of capitalism, but reveal one of the most dangerous contradictions, which is the danger of eliminating life on our planet, if imperialism is left free to achieve its brutal goals.
As for Morocco and in the context of external and internal developments, we can summarize the most important characteristics of social formation in the following areas:
- The history of Morocco was at its various stages marked by the collision of two different choices: the first is the desire to seek the strengthening of the proper legal identity of the tribes individually or collectively, in order to protect their interests and their development and to refuse to submit to the tutelage of an external power of one or another central authority, and all their exploitation, contempt and forced labor. On the other hand, the Makhzen [the king and his political and economic elite – translator’s note] and its clique, with its appetite for dominating and acquiring the most beautiful land, pastures and sources of water.
- One of the results of the colonial intervention was put an end to the subjective dynamism of the development of tribal society. Thus, the historic opportunity to mature the social transformations necessary for the transition towards this tribal society on the basis of the pre-capitalist production model has been carried out at a new stage in society. Thus, the colonial intervention had a decisive effect by blocking the natural growth of Moroccan social formation. And that changed the course.
- Colonialism used the Makhzen to penetrate into Moroccan society and affected all aspects of economic, social, political and cultural life. The new state was formed as the political authority of a bloc of classes made up of the comprador bourgeoisie and the big landowners, who seized the surplus value plundered from the working class and all natural resources, and on the other hand the different vulnerable and marginalized social classes were either exploited or left behind.
These are the characteristics of the social formation of our country and they do not differ fundamentally from the reality of other colonized or semi-colonized countries; which have waged a relentless struggle for liberation. But due to imperialist domination, none of these countries was able to make the transition to the stage of social progress, as happened in the countries of the center or exceptionally in Japan. All attempts by the local bourgeoisie have failed, and even their volatile nature and fear of the revolutions of their people has made them a bourgeoisie dependent on and partner of imperialism. The practical result of this situation has been the supremacy of a hybrid model of production under which these countries have remained at the lowest levels of material and cultural backwardness. The process of completing the tasks of liberation and construction of the national economy has passed from the tasks of the class that is revolutionary to the end, that is the working class.
In the light of these data on social formation in our country, we can present our analysis or concrete identification of the fundamental contradictions through which the process of accomplishing the tasks of emancipation and of economic, social and political progress in our country will be achieved, namely national liberation, democratic construction and the construction of a socialist society, and these tasks are not stages that are temporarily separate or isolated; they are rather closely linked and dialectically interdependent. The necessity of the leadership of the working class for this struggle demands that its ultimate objective is to realize the socialist project on the way to the construction of a communist society“ (see the political reference for the democratic approach. Rh for the third National Congress).
In the fundamental contradiction that exists between the labor power which produces surplus value and capital which exploits the labor force.
It is the fundamental contradiction of the “motive force of motive forces” as formulated by the thesis of the fourth national congress, and it is this contradiction between the labor force which produces surplus value and capital which exploits the labor force. Capitalist society was based on the production of commodities on a very large scale and is constantly expanding with a view to earning profits. Since the 16th century, the capitalist mode of production began to develop in Western Europe, from the simple cooperative to manufacturing. With the Industrial Revolution, it used simple and sophisticated machines, manufacturing was transformed into factories and then into large industrial complexes. The elimination of bondage of serfdom and the liberation of the rural labor force made it possible to make available a labor force far from its lands and deprived of any useful tool of production. Thus, the majority of the population was transformed into an army that had only its hands, against a minority that owns the means of production and all the wealth extracted from the process of social production. The majority, formed of a proletariat and a semi-proletariat, can only live by selling its labor power, which is at the same time the source of the wealth of the upper social classes.
It is this fundamental paradox, or “motor of motors“, which penetrates all capitalist societies of the countries of the center or the countries of the periphery, the societies of dependent capitalism.
In order to find a solution to this fundamental contradiction, the Marxist-Leninist movement has developed throughout its history the theory of the transition through the stage of national democratic revolution, which is the stage of the realization of the new state based on the resolution to the principal contradiction and which, without its solution, will not open the way to the construction of socialist society, and this principal contradiction is what exists between the popular classes as a whole, the working class, the poor and landless peasants, the workers in popuular neighborhoods, the petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie on the one hand and imperialism, in particular French imperialism, the Makhzenian system and its social base. The problem comes from the bloc of the ruling class and its societal extensions of parties and notables on the other hand. Consequently, the revolutionary strategy is to resolve this major contradiction under the leadership of the future Popular Class Front to resolve the fundamental contradiction under the leadership of the party of the working class and all the working classes (see theses of the fourth national congress).
Before continuing to review the rest of the fundamental contradictions seen by Marxist-Leninists, it is necessary to emphasize the fundamental differences that occur between Marxist-Leninists and the Trotskyist currents regarding the problem of resolving this fundamental contradiction. They agree that the solution to this contradiction goes through the socialist revolution, but they refuse to speak of the stage of the national popular democratic revolution, which they consider a revisionist proposition and state that Lenin had abandoned his thesis on the national democratic revolution and adopted Trotsky’s thesis on the permanent revolution, including Trotsky’s point of view on the current dictatorship of the proletariat without the alliance with the peasantry.
In the fundamental contradiction linked to the contradiction between the workers and the capitalists.
The basis and reason for the private property of the capitalists and the large landowners is to transform labor into a commodity and, by extension, to convert workers into paid slaves. One of the characteristics of the capitalist mode of production is to make production and labor a social process. The transformation of ownership of the means of production into joint ownership will allow the relations of production to correspond to the social nature of the productive forces. Thus, when private ownership of the means of production is eliminated and transformed into the common property of society, the condition for the liberation of the workers themselves will be fulfilled and the fundamental contradiction between the workers and the capitalists will be resolved when the ownership of the means of production will be transferred to the property of the society as a whole and the exploitation of one person by another will be eliminated.
The fundamental contradiction that exists between the oppressed peoples and imperialist countries
When the bourgeoisie extended its trade to the most remote regions of the world, it sought new markets and sources of raw materials. Through its establishment of the world capitalist market, it helped to subject all countries to the chain of capitalist production, which allowed them to broaden the process of exploitation. Thus began the scene of colonialism and dividing the world into spheres of influence. In all these countries, the different existing modes of production were subject to the control and force of the imposed mode of production, which is the capitalist mode of production, from which these peoples were subjected to the control of a handful of proxy bourgeoisies. To put an end to this direct control, wars of liberation were waged and colonialism impelled certain countries to gain an independence which was essentially formal independence, thanks to which these countries remained under the influence of imperialist societies and institutions. The era of imperialism is the era of the fundamental contradiction between the subjugated peoples and nations on the one hand, and the oppressed and imperialist on the other hand.
This contradiction is resolved by solving the principal contradiction represented by the victory or defeat of the local class forces which are the representatives on the national level of imperialism and its interests and institutions, or by resolving it through of the Alliance of Free Peoples, establishing relations of alliance and cooperation between them and progressing in the construction of a system of socialist countries.
The fundamental contradiction that exists between socialism and capitalism.
The development of the productive forces and their transformation into a social nature and their entry into contradiction with the form of private ownership of the means of production is what constitutes the gravedigger of capitalism analyzed by Marx and Engels after their publication of the Communist Manifesto. With the emergence of the stage of imperialism and as Lenin demonstrated, the task of the transition to socialism became important in the agenda of the proletariat, which the proletariat of Paris tried in the Paris Commune for 4 months, and the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 which lasted more than 70 years. Therefore, we consider that this fundamental contradiction has become a reality today and the possibility of its solution is also the task of the proletariat wherever it is found: in the countries of the center of the task being the elimination of the power of the bourgeoisie, the establishment of the power of the workers and the transition to socialism, and in the countries of the periphery, it is imperative to complete the task of establishing a national democratic and popular state on the path of building the socialism. It is the task of the proletariat and its allies in one country or in a limited group of countries, enriched by the failure of past experiences.
At present, the question of the construction of socialism has become a reality because the world proletariat has had a historical and practical experience, as has the process of construction of proletarian parties and organizations which have joined the struggle to achieve the revolution. But the reality of these parties and organizations is the fragmentation and poor coordination among them. Therefore, in order to resolve this fundamental contradiction, one must build a Marxist International which strives to accomplish the task of the socialist revolution and to provide all the means to defeat imperialism and capitalism wherever they are.
The fundamental contradiction between capital and the environment.
In his analysis of capital, Marx revealed that the limitless tendency which distinguishes it, which is its constant search for more profit and expansion; it does not stop at a limit or in front of an obstacle, otherwise it loses its soul which is the characteristic that makes it Capital. In its unrestrained quest, this requires the exhaustion of all the raw material reserves which abound in the earth, and the consumption of nonrenewable energy resources, in total disrespect for the environment, violating the need to preserve and protect the sources of life; because taking such measures constitutes obstacles but more so an additional cost limiting the profits and profitability that Capitalism does not want to bear. With each structural crisis, capitalism rushes to intensify the exploitation of the natural resources and plunges the people into poverty; and the need this constitutes additional reasons to resort to behaviors harmful to nature and the environment in general. Capitalism in its search for profit has become an enemy of nature and is leading humanity to its death. This is a fundamental contradiction which will only be resolved by eliminating the capitalist mode of production which, because of its greed and brutality, puts two options before everyone: either to eliminate it as capital or to put an end to life on planet Earth. On the other hand, as Marx pointed out, the work or the whole process of production takes place within the limits of nature. Consequently, socialism, in turn, is necessary to ensure that the process of production takes place in a way that respects nature, and for this reason socialism is the friend that protects nature.
The identification of the contradiction between capital and the environment as a fundamental contradiction states, on the one hand, that capitalism at its imperialist stage leads humanity to annihilation, and on the other hand, stressing that if the process of production takes place in nature, then this process of becoming a friend of nature must take place within the framework of new relations, controlled by people freed from want, the people of socialist society. It is the framework in which this fundamental contradiction can be resolved, contrary to what some believe, that socialism and capitalism are of the same type, and that they thus threaten the environment and life on our planet; just as the solution we have discussed is fundamentally incompatible with what some liberal technocrats and thinkers think when they try to rationalize production and exploitation, and it is enough to rationalize practices to keep things simple and for humanity to transcend the danger to the environment.
These are the fundamental contradictions that we see governing our world today. In the manner of its development and treatment, the identity of the Marxist organizations is clarified and its political and reference affiliations are circulated. We are very hopeful to organize the discussion and dialogue on the identification of these contradictions and the means of remedying them by presenting a conception of the principal and secondary contradictions linked to each of these fundamental contradictions. We also hope to provide an healthy and objective atmosphere to achieve formidable stages in the process of unification of the Marxist currents which agree on these determinations. To openly present the conflict with other currents which do not adopt the same limits. To make the debate clear and easy, we call for dedicating our energy inyo the methodology for identifying the contradictions, prioritizing them, their plans and methods to resolve them, including them in an ideological reference and a political line in its strategic and tactical aspects.
Second: the current status of the social movement, the major problems and the question of the independent party of the working class.
- Forms and content of the mass and class struggle and their separation.
With the movement of February 20, the mass struggle in our country passed to a new stage of its development, which requires a new analysis, new references and development of the tools and methodology of analysis.
The continuation of the same program is no longer able to understand the variables nor to devise methods of struggle and change. This is due to the growing emergence of new forms of protest based on marches, uprisings and pauses in which multiple social movements are stratified, class or professional, while the classic forms such as strikes or sit-ins under the leadership of trade unions, parties or professional associations have been absent or have relatively disappeared.
So This is a new situation in our country, how to deal with it? But before that, we must answer the question: is the state of our country isolated or is it a known phenomenon, how did it happen and what are the causes? How did it spread among us and why exactly at this time or under these circumstances?
These social movements are not specific to our country, nor to this moment. This is why we find many writings and theoreticians specializing in these social movements. It will be useful to study this diverse amount of intellectual output, as this will help to understand the practical uses of social protest movements.
In order to contribute to this debate which is taking place today, we think that we could start from certain basic concepts which are popular and which occupy a large place among certain theoreticians and activists of the social movements, such as: spontaneous – non-class – non-political – non-ideological.
There is neither time nor space to review all the stages of the social movements. and we will therefore focus on their current reality. What distinguishes the new form of these social movements is that they mix social movements which have undergone a process of organization and management by the political or union forces and the social movements which have not broken out at the outset followed from a previous action but which rather started spontaneously. Suddenly, some consider them spontaneous. In the current situation, we note and confirm that the dominant factor is the latter type of social movement.
To explain this situation, it is necessary to identify two main reasons: that the organized party and union forces are in a period of strong ebb and unprecedented retreat, but certain components have disappeared or merged into the current political system in place and became supporters of the Makhzen and its authority. The second reason is the retreat of progressive thought and at the heart of it anti-imperialist communist thought, favorable to the emancipation of the peoples. and Today it is rising from the ashes, but the effect and the accumulation of temporary defeats and the collapse of the socialist experience had a profound impact on the progressive forces and allowed retrograde currents or distinct identities to occupy the arena, and the states, the imperialist institutions and the reactionary regimes of the region helped them. This reality has had an impact on the political action of these forces and their reduced influence, and they did not succeed in framing the social movements, and even if they were implied in some of them, they do it while aspiring to remedy what happened or to revive their structures as parties or unions. This pushes them to try to take advantage of these social movements, which gives credibility to those who accuse them of taking advantage of them.
For this, we see the resumption of social movements which spontaneously break out and turn into a protest movement which takes a variety of forms of struggle and organization, and raises many global or limited demands and is often without central leadership. In order to limit the scope, it will be useful to address the most important features of the popular protests that have taken place since 2013 after the decline of the February 20 movement.
The first observation or data to pay attention to is that economic, social and political conditions have deteriorated to a large extent, which has shown that the system has become incapable of meeting the broad expectations of the masses. This means that the perspectives are closed and that all aspects of the crisis are due to the lack of work and the precariousness of what is available. There is a feeling of mistrust and marginalization among young people of all its classes, graduates or holders of higher degrees. Unemployment has become a plague which has struck the overwhelming majority of families, whatever their origin, both of the middle bourgeoisie and the workers. Together with this dilemma, the dilemma of poverty has appeared and eroded the purchasing power of all the popular classes due to the high costs – basic consumer goods and services handed over to the private sector; and due to the bankruptcy of social services and infrastructure, such as health care and education, which have exhausted the spending capacities of the people following the withdrawal of the state and public sector which have abandoned their duties and obligations and have conceded it or opened it up to the private sector.
In this context and these conditions, protest movements have broken out, letting citizens express their dissatisfaction and their rejection of poverty and misery. It is important for us here to stand at this point to distinguish between these protest movements and to observe the following statement: It will be impossible to analyze all of these protest movements as they are very numerous, so that the Ministry of the Interior provides fairly eloquent figures on the concerned social movements and for political aims, and of course it does so in order to make a political discourse extolling freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and demonstration, in order to justify its prohibition of certain specific protest movements. Despite this large number, one can distinguish two main types:
The first concerns movements that have broken out due to a specific cause through which the masses concerned have been affected by a limited problem; these have been banned or obtained promises (often broken) to put an end to them. This is the case of protest in a popular district, or among a social group with degraded social conditions or to a protest movement in a region such as Zagora, etc.
The second is that of protest movements that can transform themselves into social movements. They can in turn concern a village, a city, a region or a vast region. But what are the ingredients for protest movements to become a social movement? We ask this question to take advantage of the experiences of other peoples and not waste time in rediscovering the laws and social relations as well as the experiences of other peoples and so that we can also take advantage of their achievements and start to bring a rational contribution to these achievements. Next, it is the most important way in which we help convert protest movements into social movements and what they are. The functional elements required for this are provided, and here is a minimum of organizational factor, whatever its form, background or source.
In the analysis of the social movement:
The scientific reading of the scientific history of social movements has not been established independently of the conflicts taking place in human societies and can never be separated from them as long as these movements originally point to a conflict which signifies each conflict between individuals and groups in terms of values and interests, because conflict is one of the dimensions of the social movement in its form of protest based on rejection and the search for change.
Blumer (2) emphasizes that the social movement is a collective effort aimed at changing the character of stable social relations in a particular society. Social movements are, according to him, collective projects aimed at establishing a new way of living, and are based on a feeling of dissatisfaction with the dominant model, the desire to establish a new model “and the desire to establish a new model is the founding condition of any social movement that remains associated with continuous change.”
As a transformation over time, it is attached in a way that is not transitory in the structure and process of the social system, to find out what modifies or changes the course of its history.
Besides the obsession with change, another element that is no less important than the previous one is present in the definition of a social movement, which is precisely the element of continuity. The sociology dictionary of Gould and Culp confirms that these are the continuous efforts of a social group aimed at achieving common goals for all its members, so continuous action is what qualifies the practice of protest to belong conceptually to the social movement as an organized and non-transitory effort, in which reality is ignored and another is based on it. For this, François Chazel (3) stated that the social movement is a “collective act of protest aiming to adopt changes in the social or political environment”, because it is linked to “organized efforts deployed by a certain number of people to change or resist change in the society”.
The social movement presupposes a certain degree of organization in order to achieve the objective of change and transcendence, and this is what Guy Rocher (4) recommends, stressing that “it is a structured and specific organization, with a public objective which consists in bringing together individuals to defend specific issues” and this leads to recognize once again the delicacy of the positive issue and generator of the social movement: Each movement works for a specific cause, and it mainly protests for that cause. From this, one can conclude that the social movement does not acquire its structure and meaning apart from a minimum level of organization and clarity of the objectives and the condition of the question, and before the existence of a group framed by values and criteria around which a certain consensus is reached.
The definition of a social movement raises many differences, depending on the multiplicity of theoretical and methodological approaches and premises, but the difference does not seem to apply as to the definition of its potential characteristics, despite the overall discussion that has been raised about creation of a unified and clear concept of the social movement. Most definitions confirm that the question is linked to collective efforts aimed at individuals with specific objectives that they seek to achieve with a collective approach, and that the question also concerns the existence of socially acceptable standards and it is possible to achieve to a kind of consensus in this regard in the form of solidarity, absolute support or relative sympathy. Social movements are also characterized, for the most part, by a conscious organization of members, on the grounds that change presupposes a certain degree of awareness of needs and demands, in addition to the existence of a minimum level of organization in as a distinct characteristic of the social movement. The difficulties presented by the definition somewhat justify the widening of the circles of debate based on the consciousness that has been raised about social movements since the middle of the 20th century, and the fact that the attention of researchers in different sciences has tended to analyze the individuals and groups that manifest themselves and demand change, in the form of demonstrations, uprisings and a movement of rebellion.
Each social movement requires a minimum level of organization, with the resulting mechanisms and rules of behavior, management and expression, which are the fundamental determinants of the infrastructure for protest action. Likewise, we can never imagine a social movement without a framed discourse oriented towards the idea of protest, which discourse expresses the superstructure of the social movement, when money can be considered as a key question in the study of these movements, as is indicated by reflecting on the building and meaning that is attributed to it. (2)
So that our presentation does not turn into a study of the sociology of social movements, we refer to the fact that the sociological lesson organizes these social movements into four groups, namely:
- Theory of group behavior
- Theory of mobilization of resources
- The new theory of a social movement and
- The paradigm of action / identity.
Referring to the functional elements that make any movement a social movement, we build on what Charles Tilly found in a historical study. Charles Tilly is considered one of the most important analysts of social movements and he distinguishes three elements mentioned in his book: “Social Movements, 1768-2004” translated (into Arabic) by Mr. Rabih Wahba.
- Campaign: a sustained and organized public effort which dictates collective demands to the targeted authorities.
- Directory of the social movement: is a recruitment of possible combinations of the following forms of political action: creation of associations for special purposes, private meetings, public meetings, mighty processions, sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, advocacy campaigns, declarations in public media, brochures or political brochures.
- Presentation of resistance (waqf): The participants represent a set of unified general characteristics, namely: merit, unity, digital momentum and commitment to themselves and / or to their rank-and-file base. See Charles Tilly.
I mentioned these functional elements as translated by Mr. Rabih Wahba, and they should be translated in a way that is consistent with our concepts and our political discourse in Morocco, especially in the center of the left, and it this is why we understand the campaign element which is the effort that activists make to define the conditions and formulate the demanding program or organization of demands, while the second element relates to all the organizational forms that the protest movement will follow, from the creation of self-organization to methods of protests of the movement, including marches and demonstrations, etc.. As for the last element, it concerns the elements of immunization of the movement and the creation of strong mechanisms to ensure its continuity.
In order to test the availability of these elements in the movements underway in Morocco today, in particular in the Rif and Jerada, we see when they correspond to the extent of the identification, as if the movements and their leaders literally apply what we have experienced here, including the phenomenon of insistence on taking oaths by the leaders of the movement and their rules. Therefore, this part should be read from what some of them have done, accusing the movement of sliding into obscurantism and the Islamic State. Is this not something misunderstood? Not even the necessity, because it simply does not follow up on the question of the commitment and the guarantee of the unity of the movement and its real problems. If the critics understood this need, they could understand it and help the activists to find higher forms and solutions.
- Conclusions and considerations.
- The first conclusion.
The left does not pay enough attention to its duties to transform popular demonstrations into protest movements. Rather, it has adopted a false vision of these protest movements insofar as it did not attach any importance to the elements of the social movement, including the prior preparation of the list of demands, the realization of the mass aspect, the consolidation and strengthening of the movement. Its lack of interest in all these questions is the predominance of the concept of the struggle on behalf of the masses, and it is no longer influenced by the idea of going to a sit-in or demonstrations of no more than dozens of people.
- The second conclusion.
Some protest movements have succeeded in transforming themselves into social movements in the scientific sense, while others have not been able to succeed, such as what happened when Mi Fatiha set herself on fire in Kenitra or when 15 women died in Boualam near Essaouira. Wherever protest movements have turned into social movements, we find that the masses were more or less led by what we can call organized intellectuals, themselves former members or still members of left-wing organizations. While in the places we have mentioned, this factor was absent and the backwardness and domination factor of the idea of charity prevailed and the “benevolence” of the Makhzen, very active through its apparatus or its brotherhoods.
- Today’s social movements have become a structural fact and they are developing and will become the most important form of the class struggle to the point that some believe that the era has now become one of leadership of the middle bourgeoisie of the revolution or change, which is proposed by the theory of new social movements carried by of Alain Touraine (5) and others. Some consider that the forms of social movements go beyond the class nature of the protests, and with it the organization in its party form. These are conclusions and appeals that are not based on arguments and real documents, and its adherents who strive or continue to ponder over exaggerated concepts, obsolete organizational forms or old rhetoric will not be helpful. Firmness, courage and responsibility.
The first estimate: sharpening the weapon of the organization
As for the Moroccan experience, it was not the first time that the process of criticism by weapons had been imposed. I experienced this need in the mid-1960s of the last century and a group of activists led a process of criticism by weapons. The weapon of the organization led to the birth of the Marxist-Leninist movement in Morocco (concentrated in a document of the organization Ila al Amam (Forward): “The masks have fallen, so let’s open the way to revolution”. Even if a new organization was built to meet the demands of this period and to make its contribution to the class struggle in our country, its positive result was what was known from the development of the consciousness of our people and its achievements, of which the most important is the ongoing filtering and the growing isolation of the system of the mass of the ruling class, and in this, the dynamics of the movements of struggle has constituted the marrow substance of what we are witnessing today.
Today, it has become imperative to wage the criticism by the weapon of organization with the necessary audacity and principle.
The most important criticism to which we have been exposed is our accusation of political talking shops, and the most important manifestation of this criticism is the reluctance of young people to mobilize and voluntarily join our ranks.
This is a criticism that hurts us, and even a kind of underestimation of our efforts and the non-involvement of young people in our ranks, as well as a kind of ingratitude and lack of gratitude for our good training for many among them. This is all in the criticism, and there may be something deeper and deeper, but our reaction must be to accept the criticism and to some extent a form of denigration, because as revolutionaries with principles that we practice, and by necessity, the error is characteristic of those who involved in the field. We believe that it is the surest way to face this criticism instead of the other easy way, which is to form a front with all those considered political talking shops and to carry out a campaign of purification and conquest against the propagators of these theses and the fight against anarchism and the supporters of spontaneity.
On the contrary, we must listen to the criticism, analyze its motivations and consider in our thoughts and practice everything that concerns us.
Thus, I believe that the criticism of the left has many truths and it is the credibility of this criticism when we are exposed to it. It will be impossible to reject it completely, in detail and in totality. Whoever does this among us only closes the door to the development of our structures before him, and very quickly transforms itself into a real political talking shop, rejected by the masses.
Do we accept it because we follow the fashion and we have to water down popular sentiment and not face it? This, in turn, is one of the dangers not to be overlooked, since its opportunist reality will be exposed and the organization will also be turned into the bankruptcy of a political talking shop because it has lost the confidence of its members and the confidence of the masses.
To avoid these dangers, there is no need to consider the feelings that make us appear in the eyes of the masses and their spontaneous vanguard a political talking shop that does not differ from the others and explain why there are these dysfunctions and what are the solutions to overcome them. This is a new type, which is why I consider this process as a collective task because it pushes each member, whatever the areas of his fight, to reflect on his individual practices and his convictions.
In practice, we must further explain more among the militants with our theses on the four processes and their dialectical interconnection: the process of building an independent party of the working class and all the working masses, the process of building independent organizations of the working masses, the process of building the Popular Front for the popular classes and the process of building the Marxist International. Among them, we are building a revolutionary party which takes the view that the people led by its working class are the ones who will make the change and that nobody will be able to take their place in this historic mission, and that the line of this party is the line of the masses who educates him and from whom he learns, and which he can neither be built outside the class of incubator among the masses, and is the vanguard of the masses, the vanguard involved in the struggle at all levels. A party able to understand Lenin’s recommendation when he emphasizes the importance of the party’s relationship with the spontaneity of the masses: “the wider the masses spontaneously drawn into the struggle, the more urgent the need of such an organization.” (6)
When activists place this fact in evdence, they will be able to merge with the popular struggles and not let these struggles. They will also be able to help build independent organizations for the masses in neighborhoods and sit-ins. Unlike talking shops that seek to make use of these movements, they will be able to take a strong part in it in order to fight against all the harmful proposals that seek to isolate the masses or want to make use of them. Wherever the masses fight, there is the natural place for the militants.
The second estimate: in the strategic role of the workers’ party.
Despite the extreme importance of the social movements, they have, as mentioned above, an urgent need for supervision and to strive to achieve the functional elements so that the protest movements become social movements and in order to strengthen the protest movements themselves. They are only acquired by the party or by contact with one of its weapons. Then, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the social movements, left to their own dynamism, can fall into isolationism or dispersion and decomposition because of the ferocity of the confrontation which will be waged by the various repressive, political and ideological apparatuses of the state. In order to resolve all these dilemmas by networking the social movements, raising their level and mobilizing for them the national or international powers. The determined political party must be absorbed.
This is how the dialectical relationship between social movements and the party becomes clear. Thanks to this relationship, the dominant and glorifying discourse of spontaneity today, and the denial of the class truth of social conflicts are corrected. By connecting this healthy and dialectical relationship with these movements, the party can play its role as a pillar of the organization of the class struggle. Whenever the best ones are anchored in the ranks of the working class and the laboring classes, it can restore to union action its content of the workers’ struggle and take it out of the hands of the bourgeoisie and its subordinates, which will also reinforce the promises of the protest movements in the popular neighborhoods in small or large cities or in remote areas, from protest movements to massive social movements that have lists of demands and mechanisms of the struggle and of strengthening cohesion and unity of the masses in the areas of social movements with various fronts built by militant forces, thus creating nuclei of social fronts which aspire to radical change.
The original text written by El Titi el Habib.
Translated into French and reviewed by Mohamed Bentaher
(1) We do not want to repeat here all that has been written and said, but we would like to focus on a fundamental question in the question of contradiction. We consider the contradiction from the point of view of Marxist theory as a vision of the universe and of society and not only of contemplation, but of the theory of praxis, that is, the theory of changing the world. This theory maintains that the concept of contradiction occupies the position of the motor or the position of the axis around which the rest of the concepts and laws revolve around or which are formed; this is one of the laws of dialectics, if not their essence. Consciousness you belongs to the instructor, this is materialism, but when you see the primacy of consciousness over matter, you belong to the idealist school, and there is no third position or one in between. Of course, in each school there is a range of doctrines and schools of thought. And With such strength and inclusiveness, even science is determined by its contradictory nature, including science, humanity, including the economics, history, meetings, politics, etc.
(2) François Dubet – Sociology of social movements – Cairo University Conference – 2012
Presentation of a critical study of social movements entitled: “Sociology of social movements” by the Professor: François Dubet, prepared by the student Mahmoud Safi Mahmoud.
(3) Chazel, F. (2003). From power to challenge. Paris, LGDJ
(4) Guy Rocher – Introduction to general sociology, Montreal (Quebec), Canada, Éditions H.M.H., 1968-1969
(5) Alain Touraine – New spaces of freedom (with Toni Negri), Dominique Bedou, Paris, 1985; reissued in Paris, Lignes, with the afterword to the 1990 U.S. edition by Toni Negri, 2010.
(6) Lenin – What Is To Be Done?
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