Canadian Youth

Canadian Youth: Condemn Harper’s Free Trade Agreement with Morocco

Young Communist League, Central Executive Committee

February, 2011

In late January, Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to Morocco where he met with King Mohammed VI to discuss a free trade agreement between the two countries. This agreement has the ignominious title of being the first of its kind between Canada and an African country, and follows on the heels of the Harper Conservative's shameful free-trade deal with Columbia's dictatorship. It is not surprising that the first country chosen for such an agreement would be one like Morocco; a staunch ally of US imperialism, a Kingdom devoid of democracy, and a colonial power.

We draw to the attention of the youth and student organizations of Canada that, since Morocco's decolonization from fascist Spain in 1975, Morocco has held Western Sahara as a colony, brutally suppressed its people, and deprived them of the economic benefits of their own land and resources. They have been embroiled in a struggle with the Polisario Front, Western Sahara’s national liberation movement, since day one, supported by the United States and CIA. This struggle took the form of armed conflict up until 1991, when a UN sponsored cease fire led to a transition towards peaceful means. But the promises of the UN sponsored cease fire have never been kept. A referendum on the independence of Western Sahara has been sabotaged at every turn, and today the fight for independence is beginning once again to heat up.

Late last year 15,000 youth from 156 different countries gathered in Tshwane, South Africa for the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students, the largest anti-imperialist gathering in the world.  The Final Declaration of the 17th WFYS demanded that Morocco immediately respect the right to self-determination of the Sharawi, end the blockade of the occupied territories, allow international observers and media in to Western Sahara, release all political prisoners and dismantle the wall which divides the territory.

We also note that the Polisario Front is recognized as the representative of the Western Saharawi people both by the people themselves, and by the United Nations. Over 50 countries recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, including full diplomatic relations with Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Vietnam, DPR Korea, Palestine, South Africa, and Mozambique.

The Harper Conservative government claims to be “neutral” in this conflict. This attitude effectively means support for the Moroccan occupation since it fails to recognize the rights of the struggling Western Saharawi people, the legitimacy of their state, and their grievances and condones the actions of the oppressor nation.

It should be no surprise that the ultra-right Harper regime expresses no qualms in dealing with the un-elected King of Morocco despite his disregard for democratic, civil and worker's rights. After all, this same government continues to unconditionally support the genocidal and racist apartheid regime of Israel. It continues to support the dictatorial Mubarak regime of Egypt, another ally of imperialism in the region.

It seems that the Harper Conservative government's sycophantic cries about “human rights” and “democracy” only apply when aimed spuriously at countries which are charting a path separate and apart from imperialism and its interests, such as in the case of socialist Cuba, Venezuela, and others.

Harper’s own distain for democracy and human rights has been proven time and time again -- in prorogues, the extension of the occupation troops in Afghanistan, the vicious suppression of dissent during the G20, attacks on women’s rights, and more.

The Young Communist League condemns imperialism, and its neo-liberal, free trade agenda. We condemn the Canadian governments complicity in the colonial occupation of Western Sahara and the brutality inflicted upon its people by the Moroccan state. We call for all progressive and democratic youth and student organizations across Canada to condemn the Canada-Morocco free trade agreement and fight for a foreign policy based on peace, solidarity, and disarmament. Harper and the Conservatives must be exposed for their support of anti-democratic regimes at the polls and in the streets!

Oppose Free Trade with Morocco!

Solidarity with the People of Western Sahara!

Long live the Polisario Front!

Long live the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic!