and I will raise it whenever I want to, however I want to. I do not work for or represent Bernie Sanders. I am a free-thinking Democrat and democratic socialist (substantially to the left of Senator Sanders, who is a conventional social democrat) who takes orders from no one. Critique is something people on the left have been doing since the time of Karl Marx. You are free to disagree with my critique, but I will not be intimidated from presenting it.
I have been studying the Western Sahara independence issue for several years. I initially became interested in the issue from the vantage point of phosphate ore’s importance to global food security. I am particularly focused on the issue of phosphate recycling potential. Phosphorus is a plant macronutrient that cannot be pulled from the air like nitrogen, and to the extent we do not recycle it, we have to use up the earth’s finite deposits of phosphate ore. Over the long term, not just looking at current production, Western Sahara and Morocco will be the key sources of phosphate ore.
But gradually, I became more interested in the human beings who live there or who have been pushed into Algeria behind a mined berm put up by Morocco on Western Saharan land. These human beings, approximately 500,000, are engaged in the same struggle for liberty and justice for all I am engaged in and the United States is supposed to be engaged in. Morocco has illegally occupied the land for forty years with the active support of the U.S. government. I support the Western Saharans’ right to self-determination, which includes the right to choose to be free and independent from Morocco.
Moreover, as a lover of peace and justice, I believe that anti-capitalist democratic internationalism is necessary to get at the root causes that prevent justice and engender hostility between people on this one fragile Earth we have to share. I wrote a piece last Sunday night that almost no one read, which is fine. I just do my best as a species being. Among other things, I pointed out the Clinton Foundation’s financial ties to the Moroccan state enterprise that steals from the people of Western Sahara. I used strong terms. I believe that Secretary Clinton’s policy and associated conduct and the Clinton Foundation’s taking money from this enterprise are reprehensible. While I recognize that the Clinton Foundation does some good work, just like Secretary Clinton stands for some good things, it needs to use clean not stolen money in its work.
The National Catholic Reporter questioned Hillary Clinton’s ties to Morocco in a piece that I cited. I also cited to words from Pope Francis that I feel are applicable to the situation. I also included short videos on the Western Sahara issue.
A couple of days later, I also wrote comments rebutting a piece that was done on Secretary Clinton’s “Great Day,” discussing her alleged foreign policy improvements from her prior stances. I see no improvement on her stance regarding Western Sahara and rather view her as waging a dishonest effort to ensure that Western Saharan independence never comes and that the land remains indefinitely a “part of” Morocco under the “autonomy” plan pushed by Morocco and the U.S.
I come to this issue in good faith, hoping that Secretary Clinton will change her policy position and support the referendum on independence. It should have happened decades ago. I also feel the Clinton Foundation should give back the money it got from the Moroccan enterprise that is plundering Western Sahara.
If you don’t want to hear these words from me, a dedicated member of the left, and wish to paint me as a pawn of the right, you are deluded. However, it is true that the mainstream political press is all over this issue and that it would be raised by the hypocritical right wing in the general election. Politico did a major piece on this subject three days after the National Catholic Reporter did. It quotes Bill Clinton in a way that is quite revealing from what Bill Clinton did not say:
That morning, Clinton had opened the public portion of the CGI conference by praising Mohammed VI and his government and subjects “for their commitment to human development and women’s rights, for cooperation and progress in the region and the world and for Morocco’s longstanding friendship to my family and to the United States.”
And he referred, though not by name, to OCP’s phosphate mining as a great success: “The Moroccans who are here will tell you that in the last several years, they have become the Saudi Arabia of phosphate. And what they have done with it to diversify their economy and to make it part of comprehensive strategies, instead of another example of a resource curse, is very impressive indeed.”
Neither Clinton, nor OCP’s CEO Terrab, who spoke on a panel about fertilizer, mentioned Western Sahara.
Unlike Bill Clinton, I will not ignore the elephant in the room, which is Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara and its refusal to permit an independence referendum. Unlike Hillary Clinton, I will not grease the skids for making the occupation, eventually in the form of Moroccan-approved “autonomy,” an option the people of Western Sahara cannot refuse.
Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation:
You are a hypocritical disgrace on this issue–so far. I hope and DEMAND that you change your ways. And if you don’t, I will keep pointing it out.
I’m going to work now so won’t be able to respond to comments until tonight. Have a nice day, seriously.
Note: This piece was first published at Daily Kos, where the comments were interesting. It puzzled some that I used such a strident tone to begin the piece, which seemed unnecessary. But as I explained, I had gotten a lot of grief from Clinton supporters when I had raised the issue recently, so I felt the need to precede the substantive information with the shield of the left’s obligation to bring honest critique. I also wanted to make it clear that the Bernie Sanders campaign, which I strongly support in the U.S. Democratic presidential primary, has nothing to do with my speaking out on this issue, which I have long cared deeply about.