The World Social Forum in Tunis (26-30 March 2013)...

“The success [of the Forum] depends on the participation of social movements”

Interview with Mimoun Rahmani, Maghreb Social Forum

20 March 2013 by Sergio Ferrari , Mimoun Rahmani

The success of the next World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunis depend fundamentally on the ability of social movements to appropriate open space and give a true transformer content. This is the main thesis of Mimoun Rahmani, an active member of the Maghreb Social Forum, which, as such, has participated in several preparatory meetings in Tunis 2013.

 “The region of the Maghreb / ​​Mashreq, mainly Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, was the scene of major uprisings in recent years. This is an ongoing process, unfinished, which will require us time and struggles ...”said Rahmani, a leader of ATTAC Morocco and the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) the same country.

In this sense, the convening of the Forum, to the end of March, in the Tunisian capital, where between 30 and 50 thousand participants are expected to meet - according to estimates by organizers - “may have a significant impact if social movements are present the most dynamic in the region, those actors revolutionary process.”

A challenge which is not a foregone conclusion, given that many of these social actors frontline “have very specific agenda of priorities and, in addition, many suffer financial constraints to move,” said Rahmani.

For this reason it is particularly important that can be achieved on the promise of the organizers of the WSF 2013, to devote a percentage of the budget to facilitate this participation. According to Rahmani, a total budget of about one and a half million euros, was planned originally, allocating 15% to the solidarity fund to promote participation :
“We realized assemblies preparation of the WSF in July and December ... And we see that NGOs predominate. But the end of 2012, there was a low participation of social movements.”

The biggest challenge reiterates Rahmani, is “how movements mobilize who actually struggled, how they are involved. Especially youth movements, the unemployed, students, peasants ... that exist in the region but do not have the resources to move. And who does not clearly identify the WSF as a means to catalyze their real fighting.”

Thinking behind the leader of ATTAC Morocco, is a recurring theme in the space of altermondialiste Forums : That of “political content”. Although programmatic axes are provided extensive and interesting, the challenge is to “give political content in the Forum.”

Thus, “some sectors have expressed the need for a forum with discussions, lectures but also concrete actions on the ground, holding shares in public places; protests outside the Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

of Tunisia ... engage people, create Forum areas close to the people and not in isolated areas difficult to access.”

Not to mention, insists Rahmani, “the explosive situation in the Maghreb, and many other parts of the world, is the result of a hegemonic system, based on structural adjustment Structural Adjustment Economic policies imposed by the IMF in exchange of new loans or the rescheduling of old loans.

Structural Adjustments policies were enforced in the early 1980 to qualify countries for new loans or for debt rescheduling by the IMF and the World Bank. The requested kind of adjustment aims at ensuring that the country can again service its external debt. Structural adjustment usually combines the following elements : devaluation of the national currency (in order to bring down the prices of exported goods and attract strong currencies), rise in interest rates (in order to attract international capital), reduction of public expenditure (’streamlining’ of public services staff, reduction of budgets devoted to education and the health sector, etc.), massive privatisations, reduction of public subsidies to some companies or products, freezing of salaries (to avoid inflation as a consequence of deflation). These SAPs have not only substantially contributed to higher and higher levels of indebtedness in the affected countries ; they have simultaneously led to higher prices (because of a high VAT rate and of the free market prices) and to a dramatic fall in the income of local populations (as a consequence of rising unemployment and of the dismantling of public services, among other factors).

and free trade agreements that have impacted catastrophic for the people.” The importance of the WSF Tunis will be linked to the ability to “reconcile and unite the struggles. In a strategic location such as North Africa, close to Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East in turmoil,”he concludes.

Translation : Liliane Fazan

Sergio Ferrari, collaboration releases E-CHANGER, cooperation and solidarity NGOs active in the WSF. With the support of the FEDEVACO and Geneva Federation for Cooperation.

Sergio Ferrari

Journaliste RP/periodista RP

Other articles in English by Sergio Ferrari (9)

Mimoun Rahmani

is a member of ATTAC / CADTM Morocco and representative of the International CADTM Network in the International Council of the World Social Forum.



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