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Why Social Forum ?

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 ».

Les opinions exprimées et les arguments avancés dans cet article demeurent l'entière responsabilité de l'auteur-e et ne reflètent pas nécessairement ceux du CETRI.