A wave of demonstrations and protests, which is known as the Arab Spring affected a great number of countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, or Syria. They led to the downfall of several autocratic regimes. To some degree, this social upheaval affected Morocco. However, the political regime of this state was able to withstand this turmoil. The article written by Thierry Desrues is aimed at examining the peculiarities of the protest movement in Morocco.
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However, this work can also show why the Arab Spring did not undermine the monarchy in Morocco. In this case, one should focus on the attempts of the government to reach some compromise with protesters and the absence of a single alternative to the authoritarian regime. Additionally, it is important to remember that the oppression of protesters diminished the influence of demonstrations.
Finally, this movement was not supported by every member of the community. So, Thierry Desrues’ article can be important for understanding the nature of the political movement in Morocco. This source is also helpful for describing the long-term implications of the Arab Spring for this country. These are main questions that should be discussed more closely.
First of all, the author points out that the political system in Morocco can be described as a hybrid regime. On the one hand, in this country King Mohammed VI can be described as the main decision-maker whose authority cannot be limited or questioned. So, one can say that Morocco has an autocratic government. Such a situation could be observed in other African countries. However, at the same time, this system enables some participation of individuals in the public life of the country.
For instance, in 2005, the policy of reducing poverty was implemented by associative networks (Desrues 413). These local organizations had the authority to decide in which way the financial resources could be used. To a great extent, this policy was helpful for creating an illusion that people could take part in the political life of a country.
So, this is one of the issues that Thierry Desrues wants to explore in this text. It seems that this discussion can throw light on the complexities of the social and political life in this country. This policy helped the government to reduce the tensions within the society.
Furthermore, it is important to mention that the protest movement in this country was represented by very different groups. In particular, one can speak about leftist parties such as Unified Socialist Party, the supporters of student unionism, human rights organizations, Islamists, and many others (Desrues 415). In other words, they did not have a common political agenda. Many of them did not try to overthrow the political regime of the country.
Some of them only wanted to promote the rights of Amazigh people, while others supported the idea of gender equality (Desrues 418). Yet, they were not necessarily opposed to the form of government which emerged in this country. This is one of the reasons why they did not provide a valid alternative to the monarchical rule of King Mohammed VI. Overall, Thierry Desrues is able to identify the reasons why the regime could withstand this upheaval. Such an explanation seems to be quite feasible.
Additionally, the author of this article points out that Mohammed VI was able to respond to the political unrest in this country. Much attention should be paid to the constitutional reform which was carried out right after the protests (Desrues 418). For instance, this reform increased the authority of the parliament in this country. Moreover, these changes in the legislation were supposed to address the concerns of many people. One should pay attention to such problems as the discrimination against Amazigh people or gender inequality (Desrues 418).
It should be mentioned that in Morocco, monarchical rule still exercises strong influence over the legislative and executive power. However, this constitutional reform was perceived as the intention of the state to comply with the demands of the society. To a great extent, Thierry Desrues shows that the representatives of the political regime proved to be more flexible than other authoritarian leaders. This flexibility helped the government to avoid a possible downfall. This is one of the main arguments that can be put forward.
Apart from that, it is important to mention that the opposition to the monarchical rule was partly suppressed through intimidation, home visits, and arrests of people (Desrues 420). This strategy of the government prevented many people from joining demonstrations and protests. Nevertheless, it is important to remember the government did not try to escalate violence against the protestors. Apart from that, there were people who objected to the radical political transformation of Morocco.
They had confrontations with the protesters (Desrues 420). This is another issue that can be singled out. In this article, the author shows various members of the Moroccan society had different views on the development of the government. They did not support the idea of a radical change in the political regime. This detail is important for explaining the peculiarities of the Arab Spring in the country.
Very often, researchers speak about the so-called “Moroccan exception”, when they speak about the impact of political upheavals on this country (Desrues 422). As a rule, this term implies that the Arab Spring did not manifest itself very strongly in Morocco. However, one should not suppose that no goals were achieved. In particular, political activists were able to legitimize social and political change within the country.
This transformation is important for empowering the citizens of Morocco. Furthermore, this outcome can be regarded as a form of success because the Moroccan society was able to avoid such pitfalls as continuous violence or even military conflicts. It is quite possible that the gradual evolution of this society can contribute to the improvements in the lives of people. This is one of the details that should be distinguished.
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On the whole, the examples which Thierry Desrues provides can explain why the Arab Spring did not result in the overthrow of the monarchical rule in Morocco.
One should consider such factors as the hybrid nature of the political regime in this country; 2) the willingness of the government to make concessions to the public; 3) the absence of a single political agenda; and 4) the actions of the police force and the opposition to protestors. These are the main issues that can be identified. It is possible to say that Thierry Desrues’ article can be helpful for the examination of the political and social transformation in Morocco. This is why it should not be overlooked by the readers.
Desrues, Thierry. “Mobilizations in a hybrid regime: The 20th February Movement and the Moroccan regime.” Current Sociology 61.4 (2013): 409-423. Print.