MEDITERRANEAN SOCIAL FORUM
Another world is possible
During the 90s, a new protest movement, intended to create alternatives to the neoliberal globalization model, has powerfully arisen in the public scene. A globalization that puts economic interests in front of those of people has come under strong criticism and has been loudly voiced around the planet by the makers of such alternative view.
In January 2001, the process of the World Social Forum (WSF) got started in Porto Alegre (Brazil) with the objective to generate convergences and build alternatives. Regional social Forums have been set up ever since aiming to decentralize the process and approach it to areas much closer to the citizens.
Accordingly, the Mediterranean Social Forum was set up in Barcelona, November 2001, inspired in the WSF Charter of Principles. It is aimed at becoming a space for a plural and transversal work open to different sensitivities, cultures, beliefs and peoples in order to articulate, at a regional level, communities from Mediterranean societies wishing to work collectively, reflect and generate specific alternatives to the currently ongoing process of neoliberal globalization.
The WSF International Council, held in Barcelona in April 2002, accorded to hold the Mediterranean Social Forum in Barcelona, after a long time working the MedSF will be 2005 June 16-19. From the Mediterranean Social Forum, we therefore propose to foster such a space so that everybody taking part in it may contribute to it by furnishing homologous movements coming from other shores of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Social Forum does not intend to become a representative body but a place for gathering, debate on the social movements and generate alternative proposals.
MEDITERRANEAN SOCIAL FORUM
Seven topics have been defined after the assemblies of Rabat, Naples and Pervolia:
- Democracy, citizenship and human rights for men and women
The issue of democracy and the definition of the type of democracy we want is crucial, considering the fact that in the Mediterranean area there are several dictatorships, in which freedom in the public sphere may be inexistent and, almost in all cases, it is being questioned. This topic includes the issues of political, economic and social rights, collective rights of the peoples, the right to self-determination, the defence of freedoms, the struggle against all forms of discrimination and exclusion, and the creation of conditions for a participative democracy.
- Conflicts, military occupations, militarism and peace
The decade-long existence of unsolved conflicts is a permanent source of unstable situations, which are worsened both by geo-strategic interests -and, therefore, solutions are often beyond the reach of the countries involved- and by intense militarisation. Special emphasis will be given to the present conflicts in the Middle East, particularly the rights of the Palestinian people, the complex situation in Maghreb, the unsolved conflict in the Balcans and the latent problem of many peoples whose rights are not being recognised. Two issues should be included within this topic: the role American imperialism plays in the Mediterranean area and the arms race carried out by certain countries in this area. We will try to overcome warmongering policies in order to advance forward towards a solution of conflicts through dialogue: we want a peaceful Mediterranean, without arms, without domination, without wars.
- Economic, social and cultural rights, and development models. Work and conflicts
Neo-liberal globalisation reveals itself both in the northern Mediterranean area and in the southern Mediterranean area, as the economic and social policies applied are based on the following phenomena: liberalisation, privatisation, deregulation and austerity. It articulates itself by means of two main axes: the creation of a free-trade area and the profit made out of the debt, which are policy guidelines of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. These policies have a devastating social impact on the peoples of the Mediterranean area, often under similar patterns: impoverishment and social exclusion, violation of the rights of workers, more precarious working conditions, unemployment, dismantling and liberalisation of public services… Within this context, it becomes a priority to claim the annulment of the debt of southern countries and to reconsider the Barcelona Euromed process.
The Mediterranean Sea is an area of exchange and migrations, and the cultures that coexist in it have been shaped and have evolved in the course of this process. It is becoming now a space of uncrossable barriers, where many people coming from the southern countries and fleeing from exclusion, due to the liberal globalisation, encounter death. We need to approach the issue of migrations by giving emphasis to the concepts of freedom of movement, struggle against the causes that motivate them, struggle against exclusion, recognition of equality of rights for immigrants as a goal (by treating them as citizens, both in their origin countries and in their host countries), and respect for the right of asylum and the rights of the refugees.
- Cultural diversity and transcultural dialogues
The Mediterranean sea is an area full of diversity, both in each of its countries and among them; this is why it is necessary to create processes of intercultural, interreligious, interlinguistic and identity-related dialogue, respecting the richness of diversity and learning how to value it from a non-hegemonic perspective, especially as regards information and communication.
- Development model and environmental sustainability
The current neo-liberal development model not only affects people, but it also produces a negative ecological impact: it seriously damages the environment and wastes resources, thus seriously affecting ecosystems and the region’s richness. In the Mediterranean context, the issues of pollution, energy resources, water and desertification, and food security pose the problem of having to search for any possible type of renewable-energy alternatives to oil (the sun is a good starting-point) and having to decide what kind of development we want.
- Women and the Mediterranean
In places where male chauvinist and patriarchal traditions meet, women are the first ones to suffer the impact of neo-liberal anti-social policies and, therefore, their contribution to the construction of the Mediterranean Social Forum may be a good chance to create bonds between northern and southern Mediterranean areas.
A partir de estos ejes surgirán las grandes conferencias. Se propone también añadir dos grandes conferencias más: soberanía alimentaria y zona de libre comercio.
PROPOSAL OF STRUCTURE FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN SOCIAL FORUM
CONFERENCES DIALOGUES SEMINARS EXPERIENCES (WORKSHOPS) MEDITERRANEAN ASSEMBLY OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
- Big rooms- General public- Aim: share views and analyses for the general public of the MedSF. - Topics derived from the 7 main topics. They become the fundamental axes of each main topic. - Proposal: one conference for each main topic, plus two other topics (rather political aims of the forum): Food sovereignity and free-trade area.- The International Assembly is in charge of the planning and its implementation - A space to develop a dialogue among the different banks of the Mediterranean on concrete groups: the youth, women, children, local representatives and civil organisations... - Organised and managed by the International Assembly, as suggested by the social networks and movements. - Summoned by Mediterranean social networks and movements and organisations. - A space intended to create opinion, to assess the current situation and to offer alternatives. - They derive from the main topics and from any sub-topic that may arise. - The International Assembly is in charge of implementing the proposals made in the final programme. - Self-summoned by social networks and movements and organisations that take part in the MedSF. - Aim: create a network and set alternatives for the building of a new Mediterranean. - Conceived as a space to share experiences. - From a local resistance and struggle towards a global resistance and struggle - “think global and act local”. - Conceived to have a smaller participation - A space to introduce the social networks and movements that take part in the MedSF. - To show the different realities of the Mediterranean. - Conceived to allow participation, encounter, exchange. - To be conducted on Sunday morning. - A plural space to coordinate initiatives and the agenda for future mobilisations.
Answers to some of the more frequent questions
Who takes part in the FSMed?
The FSMed is an open event and therefore all who wish to attend it may do so, as long as they respect the principles of the FSM. Of course, the people and organisations that have contributed in organising the event will be the main participants.
How is the FSMed organised?
There is an International General Assembly, which is the largest decision-making body. It has met four times: the first time in Rabat (3-4 May 2003), the II in Naples (4-6 July 2003), the III in Pervolia-Cyprus (26-28 march 2004) and the IV in Malaga (24-24 September 2004), the next one will be in Marseilles (14-16 January 2005). In addition, five working groups have been created: Technical Secretariat, Coordination International, Program, Enlargement and Logistics-finances.
Each population or geographic area organise themselves independently on a local level.
How do I use the FSMed mailing lists?
At website www.fsmed.info under the ‘Registrations/Links’ heading there is a link to each of the lists, where you can then subscribe/unsubscribe, read messages, modify your profile/language etc. If you have not already done so, please do! If you have any questions or need help, please contact us at email@example.com
How can I let you know that my organisations would like to participate in the FSMed?
Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying which type of participation you would like: promoter-organiser /lecturer/participant…
FÒRUM SOCIAL MEDITERRANI.
( Entitats adherides a l'assemblea promotora )