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Background on Organizing Partners
Al Marsad - the Palestinian Social and Economic Policies Monitor
Al Marsad is a research, policy and advocacy civil society organization who in just five years has achieved policy changes which have positively impacted over one million Palestinians, including via our landmark Social Security National Campaign. Our role is to examine and monitor social and economic policies in Palestine in order to ensure the protection of the economic, social and civil rights of all Palestinians, including the most marginalised. We achieve this through a combination of evidence-based policy studies and a platform for social engagement, working alongside other Palestinian and regional NGOs to press for more equitable social and economic policies. Al Marsad has founded two coalitions: 1) Social Security National Campaign that was launched in April 2016 and consists of thirty members; 2) Palestinian Coalition for Economic and Social Rights that was launched in January 2017; sixty members from civil society organizations, community based organizations, and unions joined since then. This initiative is led by a number of active CSOs, their main goal is to advocate for and create awareness on priority social and economic issues to ensure inclusion of the most marginalized and vulnerable in national policies and programs.
We are attaining results and social impact by building connections between different actors and establishing dialogue and collaboration. We conduct research, produce position papers and reports, carry out analyses and share
knowledge and advocate for change in support of the most marginalized.
Union of Agricultural Working Committees
Preamble on Social Movements in Palestine
Social movements act as a vital mechanism and serve as a proactive platform to discuss different societal issues through organized efforts towards realizing civil, social, economic and cultural rights and advocate against occupation practices that hinder Palestinians from realizing those rights and access to natural resources. Keeping in mind that the approaches adopted by the Palestinian government overlook the importance of social movements roles in attaining and promoting steadfastness and national struggle for liberation despite the deteriorating situation of political parties. In Palestine – similar to other parts in the world – these movements played a key role in the absence or deterioration of the role of the state or political parties.
Some of them actually laid the foundations of global socio-political solidarity such as the case of solidarity with Gaza and the calls for breaking the siege. Many Palestinian social movements were active under the complex condition of settler colonialism and distorted economy. Social movements played a substantial role in the defense of the Palestinian question at local and international levels. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is a major social movement involving activists from all around the world and demonstrates an example of cross-continental ideas and movements. We also find several Palestinian youth groups influenced by the events in the Arab area, namely the Arab Spring. They combined their efforts to struggle for historical rights of the Palestinian people and their social claims of freedoms and halting all forms of exploitation along with reinforcing the notion of national sovereignty. At the international scene, social movements are instrumental in shading light on cases of abuse, corruption, and social inequality in the era of globalization and dominance of major corporations and states lead by colonialist and neo- liberal methods.
The importance of the conference:
This conference is considered to be the first conference to tackle the importance of social movements and particularly the Palestinian social movements on such a wide level, especially that the conference will provide a forum for networking among scholars, researchers and social movements’ activists at domestic and global levels. This will most defiantly work on forming a foundation that leads to networking, coordination, cooperation and exchanging expertise in the sphere of social movements. Moreover the conference is an attempt to draw the features of the future of the Palestinian social movements more clearly and positively, considering that it will have greater and more sensitive role in the national struggle for liberation and in achieving social justice and defending all sorts of rights.
Aims of the conference:
1) Strengthen the relations between different social movements and reinforcing collaborations between them on the national and international level by creating a platform for networking and interactions between actors in this sphere.
2) Documenting the experience of the Palestinian social movements and build upon it.
3) Shed the light on social movements as a tool for economic, social and political change. And the challenges these social movements face in action.
4) Examine and analyze the intellectual and theoretical approach that social movements build their actions upon.
5) Submit suggestions and recommendations on the importance of social movements and their role to realize the aspirations and address the concerns of the people.
Conference’s Main Thematic Focuses
I. Conceptual Themes:
This theme will focus on the conceptualization of social movements and the contexts that lead to their development most particularly with the escalation of neoliberal policies and structural adjustments. This theme will particularly address:
· The intellectual and theoretical approaches that were applied during the emergence of social movements.
· The socioeconomic changes that stimulated the development of social movements and the structures of different social movements.
· The role of knowledge production, critical research, social networks and coalition building, and proactive investigations in advancing social movements and realizing social change
· The interlinkage between social movements and political parties, the level of influence social movements can enact on political parties’ directions, the contexts and circumstances that lead to the transformation of social movements into political parties.
· Social movements and affiliations with existing governing authorities (do social movements aim to accede to the authority or help a particular political party take over?
II. Practical Themes: Real-Life Experiences
The Social Movements’ National Role in Combating Hegemony and Colonization
· Role of social movements in realizing society’s priority socioeconomic goals: this includes combatting exploitation, commoditization and monopoly imposed by the current economic schemes, as well as countering economic practices that widen the economic gap among individuals, social groups, and rural and urban areas, etc.
· International models and success stories: presentation of experiences of social movements from around the world and their successes in achieving the goals of the people they represent.
From Knowledge Production to Social Engagement:
· Proposing alternatives to activate social movements and endeavor to achieve these purposes.
· How can joint action be encouraged, sharing tools and successful struggle methods
· From local to global and from global to local.
Terms of Participation:
Organizers will invite social movements and activists from around the world to participate and register to the conference by either submitting a paper or attending discussions that follow presentation of papers.
1. Participation may be via submission of an empirical research paper or global and local models and sharing their experiences. For submitting research papers, you are kindly requested to send an abstract of no more than 500 words with the title of your intervention and the problem discussed. The abstract should also provide a briefing on research methodology and key ideas together with five key words and a brief bio of author or profile of international and local social movements and their experiences no later than 20th June 2018 at 16:00.
2. A written paper that does not exceed twenty (A4) papers. Papers written in Arabic should be set at Simplified Arabic as a font size (12). Papers written in English should be set at Times New Roman size (11).
3. Taking in consideration research fundamentals, scientific integrity, documentation, and language.
4. Providing research abstract.
5. Papers provided for the conference should not be published or presented previously and the conference committee will choose which research papers will be presented.
6. Papers and research presented in the conference will be published by Al Marsad and UAWC in a special edition that will be set by the conference committee later.
Conference Organizers: Al Marsad - the Social and Economic Policies Monitor; and Union of Agricultural Work Committees
Date and Venue: Palestine – Ramallah – Tuesday, 8-9 August 2018
Languages of the Conference: Arabic and English
Correspondence Address: All abstracts and applications should be sent to the following emails:
· Kifah Zuhour of Al Marsad – The Social and Economic Policies Monitor at email@example.com
· Omar Tabakhna of UAWC - Union Of Agricultural Work Committees at firstname.lastname@example.org