Western Sahara: A people always fighting for self-determination

In Madrid, Spain, the Sahrawis and solidarity activism once again won the streets for the freedom of Western Sahara. They criticized the government, its double-talk and supported the Palestinian people. The International Socialist League (ISL) participated in the demonstration.

By Flor Salgueiro

On November 11, the annual call of the State Coordinator of Solidarity Associations with the Sahrawi People (CEAS) and the Sahrawi Diaspora was held, with a Demonstration in Madrid under the slogan “International Law the way; independence the destiny.” As every year, the signing of the tripartite Madrid Accords though which Spain ceded Western Sahara to Morocco and Mauritania on November 14, 1975, was rejected again, and the decolonization process was aborted. To denounce the human rights violations suffered by the Sahrawi population in the territories occupied by Morocco, to demand the freedom of political prisoners and to reject the plundering of natural resources.

Excellent attendance

The action had a large participation despite the holiday and the political polarization that existed in Madrid around the inauguration and the amnesty. Around five thousand Sahrawis from Catalonia, Murcia, Asturias and other regions, and solidarity activists took to the streets again to support the demand for self-determination and demand that Pedro Sánchez reverse his position in favor of Morocco’s autonomy plan and that Spain undertakes its responsibilities as the administrative power of the Sahrawi territory. And, as it could not be otherwise, rejections to the Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip and the flags of Palestine waving in solidarity with its people were present. It should be remembered that the Alawi monarchy regime has committed the historic betrayal of the Arab peoples by recognizing the State of Israel.

Grateful and critical

As on previous occasions, in the march that started from Atocha the Sahrawis expressed their gratitude to all those who support them and sang: “Sánchez, pay attention, the Sahara is not for sale”, “Morocco guilty, Spain responsible!”, “Morocco murders, Spain sponsors!” and “Long live the struggle of the Sahrawi people!” Upon arriving at Plaza of Jacinto Benavente, an event was held with speeches by representatives of CCOO, UGT, PNV, PCE, IU, Podemos, Anticapitalista and our colleague Alejandro Bodart, coordinator of the International Socialist League (ISL). Yolanda Díaz, leader of Sumar, second vice-president and Minister of Labor of the Spanish Government, was present at the event, but she had a fleeting participation and did not even go on stage, since many people sang “Sánchez betrays, Yolanda reacts!” and the just unrest against Pedro Sánchez and the “progressive coalition” government was perceived with complete clarity. The representatives of Podemos and IU did speak and received recriminations from those present, mainly from the young and combative Sahrawis. The event was closed by Abdulah Arabi Delegate of the Frente Polisario para España and the final manifesto was read by the actor Willy Toledo and the actress María Guardiola, from the Association of Women Artists against Gender Violence.

Double-speak has its cost

The reformist leaders were able to experience firsthand the contradiction of verbally supporting the Sahrawi cause and at the same time remaining in the government that abandoned the historical position for self-determination to support the autonomy plan of Mohamed VI. Furthermore, none of the parties that negotiated Sánchez’s inauguration put as one of the conditions that he speak in favor of the self-determination of Western Sahara in order to support him. Electoral positions have less margin for success when there is a people fighting for their subsistence and who have been at war for more than a year since the Polisario Front resumed the armed struggle in response to the abandonment of the ceasefire by the Moroccan occupation.

Solidarity and consistent support

From Socialismo y Libertad (SOL) we participated in the Demonstration just like last year, with a delegation together with our Sahrawi comrade Chaiaa Ahmed Baba and other activists. On behalf of the ISL, Alejandro Bodart spoke at the event, expressing a forceful speech of support and confidence in the Sahrawi struggle for self-determination, of commitment to the continuity of carrying out international solidarity campaigns. He also referred unambiguously to the false affiliation of Pedro Sánchez as a “socialist”, the Moroccan occupiers, the imperialist complicities and in international organizations, the need to unite the struggles of brother peoples and to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The United Nations Mission for the referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has spent almost 33 years without guaranteeing the UN self-determination referendum for which it was established and, through actions, facilitating the invasive consolidation alongside imperialism. They cannot be trusted, nor any of the imperialist powers. The unity of the Arab and African peoples with the workers in the struggles and mobilizations points the way to triumph, in the perspective of the only fundamental solution against exploitation, oppression and plunder, which involves defeating imperialist capitalism and establishing socialism.