Earthquake ! For the broadest solidarity with the victims of natural disasters exacerbated by dependent and backward capitalism
The suffering of Moroccan workers has increased due to a strong earthquake, the extent of whose damage has not yet been revealed. The earthquake struck the Atlas Mountains and caused the disappearance of entire villages in the suburbs and countryside of Marrakech, Taroudant and Ouarzazate. The losses announced are limited in the towns, but the disaster particularly affected the villages, and the facts will appear with time...
So far, the death toll stands at nearly 2,500, along with those who have suffered injuries, most of which are described as serious. Of course, this is linked to a natural phenomenon, but its consequences are mainly linked to the type of society in which it occurs. The number of victims, both killed and injured, is linked more to social, economic and political factors than to the scale and force of the earthquake. This explains the high number of victims of earthquakes in dependent and semi-colonial countries, while it decreases in large industrialized countries. It also differs from one industrialized country to another, depending on the type of policies followed, the state of public services, and the way in which people's basic needs are met.
The earthquake struck the villages of the High Atlas at night, and those who remained alive in the viilages and small towns coped with the simple means at their disposal to save the injured. The state and its services only moved, as usual, tardively. The state was more aware than anyone of the misery and deprivation created by its policies, leaving people defenceless in the face of what was happening to them. Its most important action was propaganda, to market the image of a capable state, but it was an image whose reality the earthquake exposed to the world (an image that Covid-19 had already exposed) .
Morocco is not the well-off neighbourhoods of Rabat, Marrakech and Casablanca. Marrakech is not the city of international conferences and extravagant festivals. Ornate Marrakech is not real Marrakech. Morocco and Marrakech are rather what we are currently witnessing, a very fragile country facing the misfortunes of capitalism and “natural” disasters. A country exhausted by despotism, by its class policies and decades of rigorous and devastating neoliberalism.
The delay of the rescue teams, the weakness of their technical equipment and their human resources, the absence of medical aid, transport of the wounded and field hospitals, and the difficulty of the routes due to historical neglect, etc., strongly contributed to the high number of deaths, not directly because of the earthquake, but rather because of a policy of social marginalization and poverty in a specific region, like the High Atlas region.
We remember the 2004 Al Hoceima earthquake, the hundreds of victims and injuries and the destruction of homes that followed, as well as the promises and official propaganda that were exposed as false by the Hirak (popular protest movement) of the Rif which erupted after the crushing to death of the martyr Mohcine Fikri in November 2016. This movement forced the state to admit that it had not kept its promises and plans announced after the disaster, alongside very strong repression and severe penalties which were inflicted on the leaders of the movement for the crime of revealing state secrets.
What must be emphasized is that natural disasters, today more violent due to the great destruction inflicted by capitalism on the environment, can cause material and human losses, but they are only a revelation of the reality of economic and social ruin or of a class policy which destroys public services, the basis of any real strategy in the face of major disasters.
The violence of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and other disasters, droughts, fires, floods and viral pandemics, has become an additional danger that characterizes the era of capitalism in an extreme crisis. Intractable and destructive crises must be understood in the light of the continuation of the policy of privatization of public services and the subordination of economic policy to the interests of private capital. This is not linked to lagging technical capabilities, knowledge and expertise, but rather to the fact that crises themselves are a source of profit for capitalists, who enrich themselves from disasters. We have witnessed the appalling failure of rich capitalist countries in the face of massive fires, the Covid-19 pandemic or violent earthquakes...
Capitalist institutions will seize on this earthquake, as they have with other disasters, and strive to turn it into another source of profit. The imperialist and reactionary powers that support despotism will also endeavour to adjust their "support" in step with maintaining the governing of the country from the same perspective that keeps it dependent and backward and therefore vulnerable to disasters, whatever they may be, whether it is an economic or “natural” crisis. Global financial institutions, with all their might, will stand with their local ally, to make the earthquake another means of plunging the already stricken country into a trap of debt and dependency.
The popular sectors of different regions of the country have taken the initiative to show their solidarity with the victims of the earthquake. Humanitarian convoys are leaving from all directions towards Al Haouz and Taroudant, and this is something that must be supported by every worker and activist for a better future. But this aid and this popular material solidarity will not compensate for the political solidarity that is required.
We must fight to bring down the policies that have led our country to its state of incapacity and fragility, and to stop the transfer of our wealth, by stopping the payment of debt service as a mechanism for this transfer and also ending our submission to global institutions of plunder. It is also necessary to orient all policies towards the satisfaction of our human needs... Political solidarity with the disaster victims is today the most important duty in the face of incessant calls for a political consensus around the despotism, a consensus that has been attempted several times and has only led to ruin.
The earthquake is a natural disaster! Yes, but the inability to meet the needs of the populations is the result of a conscious policy that has led to the continued isolation of victims for decades: no roads, no hospitals, no emergency teams ... For the sake of our security, there is no escape from a social alternative that conflicts with the interests of Capital, because there is salvation only by eliminating its power and authority and paving the way for a society free from exploitation and despotism.
Almounadil-a, September 11, 2023
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