The recent turmoil that describes the present-day Europe originates not by accident in the Mediterranean, which is now increasingly becoming a geographical centre of this new and uncertain world. Being indebted as Greece, hit by austerity measures as Spain or Portugal, devastated by internal conflicts and refugee flows like the Middle East or a place of unfinished or unsuccessful modernization like Northern Africa, the whole Mediterranean appears to be transformed into a new social, cultural and economic order. For sure, in the last decade the Mediterranean was home to and a starting point of wars, crises and revolutions that added to the political and economic fragility of the region, but also to unsustainability of life under current conditions of debt and poverty, thus erasing the potential for modernization, let alone the emancipation dreamt about during the short five years of the Arab uprisings. Now, the whole Mediterranean not only appears as highly militarized region with strong geopolitical and securitized discourse, but also as a political system with eroded democratic standards and devastated secularism, which leads to the emergence of various oligarchic structures that take the opportunity to constitute themselves as political powers, turning thus the Mediterranean to graveyard of humanity and generating almost irreversible losses.
However, the Mediterranean appears as a new space, a new social eco-system that requires reorganization. It also requires all shores, European, Asian and African, and multiplicity of perspectives. Still being the birthplace of many progressive ideas, the Mediterranean is once again confronted with declining secularism, violent regimes and devastating migration flows. In the bigger picture, we recognize at least two important needs which must be addressed: first, the need to open up the space for a transnational debate on the future of the Mediterranean, and to set the ground for homegrown alliances that would exercise trust and solidarity beyond the aspirations of their political elites; and second, the citizens’ inherent need to invent and produce alternative ways of cooperation beyond conflicted or predatory nation states.
In accordance with these needs, Subversive Festival is launching the Mediterranean Forum with the aim of bringing together progressive social forces from different Mediterranean societies in order for them to enter into a collective exercise of building a new transnational initiative that would respond to evident needs for identifying necessary changes in the following decade, to bring the power back to citizens who don’t want to be divided by boarders nor geopolitical interests.