[DEBATE] : WSF Expansion Commission on Morocco IC Meeting
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Thu Apr 23 08:00:13 BST 2009
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *R. Bolini* <bolini at arci.it <mailto:bolini at arci.it>>
Subject: [Ic-liaison] expansion on morocco
To: WSF International Council's Liaison Group <ic-liaison at focusweb.org
<mailto:ic-liaison at focusweb.org>>
As active members of the Expansion Commission of the WSF we would
like to share some issues related to the IC meeting, to be organised
The IC and the Expansion Commission has, for some time, been seized
with the necessity to support and promote the WSF process in the
countries of the Arab region. Such a concern has flowed from the
understanding that any global alternative to the present neoliberal
system must take into consideration the pressing issues related to
the Arab region. Specifically, the region faces the problems related
to the continued hegemony of oppressive regimes in many countries,
corruption, war, occupations, international, regional and local
conflicts, violation of human and democratic rights, and religious
and political fundamentalism that affect people and citizens. The
region also faces the continuous onslaught of neoliberal conquest by
enterprises, transnational corporations and governments located in
developed capitalist countries in the West.
In the region, democratic, progressive and forces aligned to the Left
of the political spectrum have had to struggle for their just demands
under very difficult conditions. In many countries their activities
are termed illegal by the government and activists often suffer very
severe repressive actions. Braving such hurdles, social movements of
the region, in the past few years, have successfully initiated the
process of the Maghreb Social Forum. Moreover, during the Global Day
of Action in 2008, many activities and large mobilizations of people
were organized in countries of the Arab world belonging to the
Machrek region, including in Palestine and Iraq.
Some of us had the opportunity to be part of the Maghreb Social Forum
process, which organised the first Forum in Morocco in July 2008. It
was a very important event, attended by a large number of activists
from all over the region. An important portion of the discussions at
the Forum was devoted to a dialogue for peace from below, that
involved progressive activists from Morocco and those from the
occupied regions of Western Sahara. It was the first time that such a
dialogue could be organised in Morocco.
We in the WSF process have had past experience of dialogues between
Palestinians and Israeli anti-occupation movements. The dialogue
between movements in Morocco and Western Sahara is still at a very
early stage. Strong feelings of nationalism, both at the level of the
government and even at the level of many peoples movements, have till
now hindered attempts to promote such a dialogue. This has been
further compounded by repression against democratic and progressive
movements in the region.
This is precisely the reason why the initiation of a dialogue from
below, for a just peace inside the Maghreb Social Forum, is such an
important process. A democratic Morocco is of vital interest not only
for the people of Morocco, but is a fundamental condition for
addressing the just demands of the Saharawi people.
As we mention earlier, the WSF process has started to progress in the
Arab region as a consequence of the Maghreb Social Forum process as
well as the interest and involvement generated in the Machrek region
around the activities of the Global Day of Action. Many international
networks aligned to the WSF are also contributing to the development
of the WSF process in the countries of the Arab world.
The Expansion Commission has debated the necessity to take the
processes forward. A strong belief that has emerged is that
South-South processes are much better equipped to built solidarity of
movements in the region, than processes that are guided from the
North. The initiatives by the Maghreb Social Forum process to promote
expansion of the WSF process in the entire Arab region is a very
important step in that direction.
This was the background to the proposal to organise an IC meeting in
Morocco. Further, the seminar involving movements and people from the
Arab region that is proposed to be organised just before the proposed
IC meeting, provides an opportunity to involve many new organisation
from the Arab region in the WSF process. It can be a very important
occasion to make new contacts, involve new actors, and sharpen our
collective understanding about the situation in the region.
Substantial interest has already been generated around the proposed
seminar in Rabat. For example, at least six organizations from Iraq
will attend the meeting, representing a new process aimed at building
the Iraq Social Forum which involves more than fifty different social
The organizers of the seminar in Morocco are able to support, thanks
to international funds raised by them, more than forty guests from
countries of the Arab region. We sincerely hope that the tenor of the
discussion we are having on this list will not destroy the
expectations and hopes of so many social movements who live and
struggle in extremely difficult conditions.
We are sure that, just as was the case during the Maghreb Social
Forum last July, the dialogue from below for a just peace in Morocco
and Western Sahara will have a proper space in the meeting. Moreover,
it will be a major opportunity for many international movements to
commit themselves on this issue. We are clear that all discussions
will be held in the background of our firm commitment to solidarity
with the Saharawi people as well as support to the democratic and
progressive social forces in Morocco.
Some of us have worked very closely with Saharawi organizations in
the refugees camps. We would sincerely urge them to consider the
occasion of the IC meeting in Rabat not as an action against their
struggle, but as a political step towards building better conditions
for achieving their rights.
All of us have had the occasion to know the IC meeting organizers in
Morocco. We have no hesitation in saying that they share completely
our commitment to democracy and peace. Many of them have actually had
to pay high personal costs in the form of prison terms and
persecution as a consequence of their commitment to democracy and peace.
We understand and respect the fact that there exist differing
perceptions regarding the issues outlined, such as the one proposed
by COSATU. But we would submit that we need to carefully evaluate the
complex situation in the Arab region. Such a complex situation, would
need nuanced responses that may need to go beyond conventional
reactions. Simultaneously, we need to work towards narrowing our
differences on complex issues, so as to be able to collectively
address our prime concern of expanding and deepening the WSF process
across the world, including in the Arab region. We would like to
submit at the end, that the benchmark to our positions on the
organising of the meeting in Morocco should be premised on the answer
to one question: does our action disarm or promote the just struggles
in the Arab region, and specifically the just struggles of both the
Moroccan and Sarahawi people for peace, justice, rights and democracy.
Thank you for your attention
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