By Adrien Welsh
At the end of May, Adrien Welsh attended the Tenth Congress of the Sahrawi Youth Union (UJSARIO), the youth organization of the Polisario Front which has been fighting for the national liberation of Western Sahara since 1973. This article is based on his remarks to the Congress which he made on behalf of the Young Communist League of Canada.
With both pleasure and concern, I note that the Young Communist League of Canada (YCL) is the only youth organization in Canada that supports the Sahrawi people’s right to self-determination and independence, as stipulated by the UN in the 1991 ceasefire agreements. This should not be the case, so we are working hard to make the Sahrawi people’s struggle known in the student movement and among young workers and young people in democratic and popular movements.
Rest assured that wherever we discuss Western Sahara, principled young activists always show their sympathy for the Sahrawi cause. This cause is all of ours, since it is about fighting barbaric and murderous imperialism as a global system and not as a policy specific to one country or another.
In the more than ten years since the YCL was re-established, dozens of young progressives from Canada have become aware of the Sahrawi cause. They are spreading the word and helping to popularize the struggle. The road may be long, but we are confident that others will follow these first steps.
Your struggle is universal, and your fight is an inspiration for the youth of the whole world.
We condemn Morocco’s occupation and illegal plundering of the natural resources of the Sahrawi people. We denounce the fact that until recently, Canada has been the main importer of Sahrawi phosphate stolen by Moroccan companies and we salute the resistance by the Polisario Front and its allies which has forced Canadian companies to review their sources. We are concerned that Canada is determined to sign a free trade agreement with Morocco, an agreement which we know will not benefit neither the Moroccan people nor the workers and youth of Canada, let alone the Saharawi people who are likely to be overlooked by it.
We denounce the treacherous “normalization” agreement between Morocco and Israel which was clearly designed by the Trump administration to reinforce the hegemony of Western imperialism. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with occupying powers standing in solidarity with one another with Western imperialism.
We demand the immediate release of political prisoners and call on Morocco to respect its commitments to the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) by holding a referendum on self-determination for Western Sahara within the next year. We are concerned that Morocco is adopting colonization tactics which, like those used by Israel, are illegal under international law.
The recent about-face by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who shamefully reversed his country’s longstanding call for a referendum in order to back Morocco’s plan for more autonomy to Western Sahara firmly under Moroccan control, makes Spain a colonial power allied to the Moroccan occupier. We welcome the Polisario Front’s courageous decision to break off relations with the Spanish government.
We recognize the Polisario Front as the sole legitimate representative of the Sahrawi people. We know that it seeks as much as possible to negotiate a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the conflict with Morocco and that a people’s decision to pursue armed struggle is never taken lightly. We salute the courage and determination of the Sahrawi people, the UJSARIO and the Polisario Front who have been forced by Morocco’s actions to take up arms again. It must be made clear to the whole world that Morocco’s army occupation violated the ceasefire agreement. Morocco is the aggressor and the Sahrawi people the victim.
In Canada, young people pay huge amounts of money to study and hope to find a job that allows them to live with dignity. Young workers are victims of job insecurity, poverty wages and two-tier retirement programs that discriminate against them.
As Western imperialism and its allies, including Canada, seek to secure the interests of its monopolies by actively attacking Russia through the escalating war in Ukraine, the first victims are the people of Ukraine, Russia and the world. Billions of dollars are spent on defending the interests of big monopolies and plundering natural resources on behalf of huge transnational corporations. This could instead be used it to create productive jobs that strengthen economic sovereignty as opposed to a capitalist-imperialist model where the only source of money is speculation and plundering the peoples of the whole world. These funds could contribute to the development of Western Sahara, Palestine and many other peoples.
We have more than enough production to provide decent wages. The problem is that the product of our work is taken by big business, the same companies which are plundering natural resources, communication routes and markets for their surplus and for violently dividing the world into zones of influence. For these companies and their political spokespersons, there are no human beings, only profits to be made.
The Sahrawi people’s struggle for their freedom is part of a universal struggle of the peoples of the world against their exploiters and oppressors. We recognize the Sahrawi struggle as an important step in humanity’s march towards its emancipation and towards the end of human exploitation.
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