Civil Society and Political Change in Morocco (History and by James N. Sater

By James N. Sater

Taking Morocco as its concentration, this publication seems on the political swap within the kingdom considering that 1990. It areas specific emphasis on key themes, reminiscent of civil society, human rights and reform, as very important concerns for realizing the advancements within the modern center East.

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In spring 1909, el-Kettani left the city of Fes for the Middle Atlas to start a revolt and a holy war against the French. 24 Religious dissent These three historical examples illustrate the limits of religious dissent and the role that the ‘ulema played in establishing public spheres. Its role was neither purely integrative nor purely oppositional, and it served to protect neither 32 Civil society under the ‘old system’ (until 1984) individual nor group rights from the monarch’s intervention. In two of the three examples, the resistance and political force represented by an individual ‘alim resulted directly from the political trouble that the absence of clear sovereignty had brought.

After analysing the general features of Moroccan political life after independence (neo-patrimonialism, inter-elite conflicts, and associations becoming hostage to political parties and state interests), I will use three examples (the 1962 plebiscite, early human rights activities, and the use of religion by the state) to illustrate that organizations of civil society were weakened. This weakening resulted from the fact that they absorbed the power struggles that were taking place in the political field (the monarchy and those opposition parties issued from the Nationalist movement).

The ‘ulema tried to have him executed in 1896–7, on grounds of heresy. After the occupation of Casablanca and Oujda that followed the signing of the Acts of Algeciras, el-Kettani was the only ‘alim, who challenged the Sultan’s attempts at justifying the French presence in Morocco. However, it was the Sultan’s brother, Hafidh, who assembled a crowd in Marrakech, far away from Fes, on 16 August 1907. He asked the crowd to choose another Sultan who would be able to defy the Christian invaders. On being chosen himself and a new bay’a issued, the ‘ulema of Marrakech was forced to sign it.

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