A delegation of members of the preparation committee of the Iraqi Social Forum, participated in the meetings of the Follow-up Committee of the Mashariqi/Maghribi Social Forum, and the International Council of the WSF, from December 14 to 18, 2013 in Morocco, Casablanca. There was wide international and regional participation.
Meeting of the Follow-up Committee of the Mashriqi /Magaribi Forum 14-15/12/2013
This meeting brought together all social movements from the countries of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Libya, Palestine, and Yemen, in addition to Iraq, and members of the Mashriqi /Magaribi Forum. They hold meetings on a regular basis at the invitation of the Forum Secretariat, based in Morocco, to discuss the mechanics of developing Forum work, the social development movements in the region and ways to improve them, especially building bridges to connect social movements that share the goals and aspirations of the Forum.
The first day of the meeting was devoted to the interventions of the participating delegations, which focused on the most important political developments in the countries of the region and the identification of the tasks undertaken by the active social movements in these countries. This was especially important for those countries that witnessed political changes and democratic transition. Priority was given to discussion of the status of political Islam in those countries.
The Iraqi social forum representatives were given an opportunity to speak about the political situation in Iraq, which suffers from unrest and successive crises due to an escalation in violence and ugly sectarian discourse, often due to government policies and practices. The Iraqi delegation discussed the challenges facing the social movements of Iraq and their struggles to consolidate the values of democracy and social justice in Iraq. They were also asked to talk about the Iraqi Social Forum: preparations that took place beforehand, the reaction to it from Iraqi citizens attending the event, and cooperation between government authorities and the preparatory committee of the forum.
The second day was devoted to discussion of the regulatory situation of the Mashariqi/Maghribi Social Forum and the work of the Follow-up Committee of the forum planning future research activities and events within the region. Among the activities that were agreed upon are the establishment of a special forum for women, another for immigrants and displaced persons, and a third for young people. Also, it was decided to establish an opened Maghreb Forum to the Mashriq. Everyone emphasized the need to support the Baghdad Marathon in 2014.
Meeting of the International Council of the World Social Forum 16-18/12/2013
Attended by representatives of many social movements from around the world, the International Council of the World Social Forum was convened to discuss a number of topics, including the nature of the current situation and the challenges facing the world in light of the growing number of poor people, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few people, the prevalence of violence and wars in many countries, and the growing radical movements seeking to destroy one another.
An important topics discussed during the meeting was where it is possible to hold the next session of the World Forum. There were three proposals – Tunisia, India, and Canada. After long discussions, it was decided to hold the next Global Forum in Tunisia in 2015, in order to support the struggles of the social movements in the region and to confirm the achievements made in the previous session.
In additions, participants reviewed social activities and issues in various countries around the world. The Iraqi delegation highlighted a number of important issues during the discussions, including violence, extremism and sectarianism, which they stressed must be condemned and reduced. They also described how migration of some minorities in the region was dramatically increasing, and the development of a “brain drain” caused by migration from the South to countries in the North countries. Finally, they offered a brief review of the work of the Iraqi Social Forum.
On the sidelines of the meetings the Iraqi delegation met with a large number of activists from Arab and other countries; during these meetings the ways of increasing cooperation between social movements in the region was discussed. Activists were invited to visit Iraq, to identify possible joint activities to initiate in the future.