We are women and men, militants and intellectuals, activists, artists and researchers from different social and cultural environments and diverse countries from across the Mediterranean, who are convinced that the Mediterranean is part of our common destiny. Since September 2014, we have worked together to create Maydan, a grassroots process conceived through a series of events – a forum within the last three editions of SABIRFEST and the 2015 World Social Forum – which focused on the concept of transnational citizenship in the Mediterranean.
WHY THE NAME MAYDAN?
Maydan means square in Arabic: the place where the popular will for liberation, justice and the struggle for quashed rights and freedoms by oppressive regimes and politicoeconomic injustices and unsustainability, is exercised. Maydan is also a meeting place, a place of dialogue and conviviality, where the peoples of the region can rediscover their common roots, practice citizenship, cultivate being welcoming and give hope for the prospect of a common future.
Maydan has the objective of promoting a network of organisations from civil society, and of those who work toward a new Mediterranean integration, through initiatives of various types and tools that are accessible to citizens. We decided to commit to drafting a founding declaration able to delineate the Mediterranean that we would like to see in the near future: the “Manifesto for Mediterranean Citizenship”.
WHAT HAPPENS AROUND US
In the last decade, Mediterranean nations and territories have been at the centre of numerous social struggles. Notwithstanding this, the numerous requests manifested against the old regimes of the region, as well as against socio-economic injustices and austerity measures, have often been betrayed and the lack of opportunities and prospects on all shores has widened the gap between institutions and the younger generations who have, at this point, lost faith in the political system and feel deprived of their future. The crisis has also exacerbated the process of stigmatising migrants whose flow has increased both because of the civil wars in Syria and Libya, as well as due to the deterioration of conditions in many African states. On the other hand, many social and political groups, along with individuals, are reorganising into identity-based entities, inspired by nationalism, authoritarianism and religious and cultural homogeneity, or they
are searching for their personal and social redemption through armed conflict.
As women and men of the Mediterranean, tied to human rights and social justice, concerned about the cultural and environmental legacy of the region, and committed to a common future in the Mediterranean, we assert the following:
A. We have extrapolated positive and negative lessons from the social revolts and protests started against austerity policies, the commodification of public goods and the erosion of social rights in many European countries, which then spread to the majority of countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean, and rapidly extended throughout the entire region – and we have observed, in solidarity, the new political groups whose platform of
demands are based on the anti-austerity movements of 2008 and those of the revolutionary movements of 2011;
B. We are inspired by the 1941Manifesto of Ventotene, written by a group of anti-fascist militants and intellectuals whose objective was a free and united Europe: that manifesto represented the source of inspiration in imagining a project for European integration for European peoples fighting against Fascism and Nazism;
C. We are closely looking at the Charter of Porto Alegre, the founding document for the World Social Forum, which stimulated the birth of strong social movements and civil societies in the region, and constitutes the platform of the anti-globalisation movements that mobilised against economic exploitation and colonialism.
THE AIMS OF THE ASSOCIATION
The Association is non-profit and follows objectives with civic, solidarity and social utility ends geared to members and their families, third parties or others, by carrying out the following while relying prevalently on the volunteer contributions of its members:
1. promoting and safe-guarding human, civil, social and political rights:
2. promoting a culture of lawfulness, peace among peoples, non-violence and unarmed self-defense;
3. cooperating to promote development according to Law no. 125 of 11 August 2014, and successive modifications;
4. organising and managing cultural, artistic or recreational activities of social relevance, also including editorial activities that promote and disseminate culture and volunteerism and general interest activities, according to the Articles of Association;
5. conducting scientific research of social relevance.
These initiatives are explicitly oriented toward promoting rights, freedoms and mutual respect between the peoples and nations of the Mediterranean particularly by:
• sharing the knowledge and cultures of the peoples and nations of the Mediterranean among members;
• promoting active citizenship;
• encouraging initiatives for democracy, rights, freedoms, human dignity and mutual respect throughout the Mediterranean;
• sharing experiences, know-how and ideas for cultural expression and citizenship rights in the Mediterranean;
• carrying out social, political and cultural initiatives in Italy and beyond;
• promoting initiatives geared at more in depth-examinations of themes present in the Articles of Association.
HOW WE OPERATE
The Association does not discriminate regarding economic capabilities, nor does it discriminate in any way regarding admitting members. Membership is personal and individual, and associates do not have the right to transfer their membership to any other person, for any reason.
The Association can hold fundraising activities, even in organised and continuative forms and through public solicitation or through the transfer or distribution of goods or services of modest value, utilising its own resources or those of third parties, including volunteers and employees – through donation requests to third parties, bequeathals and contributions of a compensatory nature – in order to finance general interest initiatives while respecting the principles of truth, transparency and appropriateness in its relationship with its supporters and the public.
Commercial activities are only permitted if they are conducted in a marginal or auxiliary manner and, in any case, provided that they are of a secondary nature with respect to the social scope of the Association.