[WSF-Discuss] Background on WSF in Maghreb

peter waterman p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Fri Apr 10 03:56:58 CDT 2009

       From CETRI in Belgium


  Why Social Forum ?

par *Kamal Lahbib*
/(22 octobre 2008)/

      Genesis of Maghreb Social Forum :

*From Rabat to Barcelona and From Bamako to Bouznika*

The first call for a North African Social Forum was launched by 
representatives of civil society Tunisian and Moroccan at the second 
edition of the social forum in Morocco in July 2004.

Since World Social Forum in 2005 at Porto Alegre, contacts between civil 
society actors of the three Maghreb countries and the Maghreb emigration 
in France have increased.

The initiative of organizing world Social Forum in 2006 in Morocco have 
failed (for essentially political reasons, particularly because of 
blockage of the Moroccan authorities with a pretext insufficient time to 
organize the event), setting up a preparatory session was endorsed. All 
those involved felt it was too early to organize the Maghreb Social 
Forum itself, partly because of organizational and political gridlock.

To better prepare for the mobilization of social movements and networks 
and adapt to the constraints imposed by states in the region, the 
initiators of this process are then made the choice to proceed in 
stages, organizing, before the Maghreb Social Forum, preparatory 
session, which took place in late January 2006 at Bouznika in Morocco. 
Based on the achievements of two editions of the Moroccan Social Forum, 
the goal of the Maghreb Social Forum is to live alongside local social 
forums, an open space for the confrontation of ideas and democratic 
debate to enable the development of concrete proposals articulated for 
effective action to bring about a "Maghreb peoples."

Organized at Bouznika, 27 to 29 January 2006, the Preparatory Assembly 
Maghreb Social Forum was a major step in the process of building this 
momentum. Done unprecedented in the history of social movements and 
civil society in the region, more than 600 alterglobalists from Tunisia, 
Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saharan civil society and North African 
associations in Europe and their international guests were given the 
opportunity to share in non-formal space and to reflect together on 
concrete initiatives to transform societies deeply in the Maghreb and 
win the bet of peace and democracy.

To conclude the event, representatives of all the dynamics present at 
Bouznika boarded of Rabat on the Bouregreg River in "pateras" 
circumstantial, in tribute to the thousands of young North African and 
sub-Saharan dead in the Strait, cut by despair for believing in a better 
future on the other side of the Mediterranean. In memory of these 
victims of liberalism wild, these beautiful breakaway "pateras the 
dignity" has paved the way towards the construction of another Maghreb : 
that of Peoples.

      The players Maghreb Social Forum : united around another Maghreb

*Towards a Maghreb of Peoples*

The project initiators,the Maghreb dimension is not a hollow concept or 
a vision. It is not only a story broken by the old colonial wars, but it 
is an economic necessity to face the offensive European and U.S. 
attempts to enter into bilateral agreements with countries in the 
region. The failure of the states in the region to achieve unity of the 
Maghreb regional conflicts and put us under an obligation to search for 
alternatives to create a space Maghreb peace, prosperity and democracy.

The Maghreb has become a gateway to the illusory and so-called European 
Eldorado. Aware that the association agreements and free trade 
established with the Maghreb countries have been conditioned to the 
participation of the latter’s policy of "outsourcing" of controlling 
migration flows and aware of the risk of increasing influx of 
sub-Saharan migrants who will remain for a long time in transit Maghreb 
with consequences for development of intolerance and xenophobia, 
participants at the Assembly of Bouznika have focused not only on the 
participation of migrants in the construction of A Maghreb peoples, but 
also on the need to defend the rights of migrants in host countries

A Maghreb with an international dimension

The approach of Moroccan Social Forum is an example to follow in 
expanding the dynamic in North Africa, Mediterranean, Middle East and 
the rest of the world. It is for the success Maghreb Social Forum five 
challenges :

    * Linking the local dynamics. The Maghreb Social Forum must be part
      of the momentum of Porto Alegre to establish an international
      movement of resistance to the global capitalism

    * The articulation South / South : open up and integrate the
      dynamics of the Horn of conflicts (Palestine, Iraq…)

    * The Maghreb is an integral part of Africa, is to renew ties broken
      by colonisation and local despots to enter the Maghreb in the
      major challenges of Africa : the struggle for dignity and
      equitable sharing of wealth And the fight against famine,
      fratricidal wars, mounted ideologies of identity, access to care
      and basic services…

    * Ensuring the presence of women in the Maghreb construction
      process. The challenge remains, however, about the willingness of
      women’s associations to be involved in the movement.

    * The challenge of social anchor and expanding the various social
      dynamics of the region

      The fragility of the process

Originally scheduled for May 2007, the Maghreb Social Forum was 
postponed to January 2008 at the invitation of the WSF for a global day 
of mobilization.

However, the Mauritanian government, which has resulted in a first time 
his agreement, he retracted and requested the postponement to a later date.

Given the arbitrary regimes in place and the limited spaces of freedom, 
the path is therefore long, tortuous and mined to achieve Another 
Maghreb. But our belief is that it is possible. Under this process, the 
Social Forum hosts in Morocco 25-26 and 27 January 2008 a demonstration 
Maghreb tour to Africa on the theme "March of social movements to a 
Maghreb between peoples and for a Better World".


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