Maghreb seminar: No to colonial agreements

10 January 2018 - 10:30am

The Maghreb seminar proclaims: “No to colonial agreements, for the defence of people's sovereign right on their agricultural, food and environmental systems.”

In December, ATTAC Morocco, a member of the global network for the abolition of illegitimate debts (CADTM), organised a seminar in Agadir, Morocco with the participation of activists from Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, to discuss the devastation caused by free trade agreements in the Mahgreb – and the movement for a radically different future.

Also present was Hamza Hamouchene, War on Want’s senior international programmes officer for North Africa and West Asia (NAWA), who says:

“This regional gathering was a very important event for two reasons:  a) it was truly grassroots and succeeded in bringing together agricultural workers, small farmers and fishermen as well as activists from four countries in North Africa; and b) it was able to link issues of food sovereignty, trade justice and neo-colonialism together, therefore offering a structural analysis of the issues at hand.”

The NAWA programme

The North Africa and West Asia (NAWA) programme is a new initiative at War on Want that aims to platform the voices of our partners in the region, giving emphasis to resistance and social justice struggles. Our areas of work include: natural resources and extractivism; land and food sovereignty; as well as worker’ rights.

Check out the following summary, or read the full declaration.

The assembly affirmed:

  • That so-called ‘free trade’ agreements and the debt system are the two faces of imperialism. New colonial agreements in the interests of multinationals, to pillage the lands of indigenous peoples for profit.
  • Support for the struggles of peasants and small fishermen in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and other countries, against the theft of agricultural land by corporate and real estate speculators.
  • Absolute rejection of all technology-based capitalist ‘alternatives’ in the agriculture and fishing, which deplete resources and energy, destroy biodiversity, pollute the environment and harm public health.

The assembly writes: “We are convinced that the peoples’ food sovereignty is closely linked to their right to self-determination at the political, economic, social, cultural and environmental level. It is equally linked to a rupture with the imperialist centres and international financial and commercial institutions, and also to the struggle against regimes and governments that implement these policies in favour of global and domestic capital.

Food sovereignty is the antithesis of the productivist capitalist food system, which is responsible for the destruction of natural resources and a climate chaos that threatens the lives of millions of people. It is peasant agriculture and subsistence fishing that feed humanity and preserve the environment, rather than the intensive, industrial, commercial and chemical agriculture promoted by capitalism.”

A radical call to action

The assembly called for deeper regional and global solidarity in struggle against the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, “which enslave people through the debt system.”

It also advocated innovative experiments in popular farming “to break free from food dependence” and voiced support for the resistance of the Palestinian people as well as the families expelled from and resisting eviction from their territories in Maraba, Brazil.

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