11 January 2012
The Arab Thought Forum held a panel discussion to discuss a draft study on social movements. A number of important issues were raised including the need to reformulate the terms of relationships between social movements, grass-root economic activity, civil society and civil institutions, as well as NGO’s, trade unions and their relationship with social movements. Other issues discussed include, a need to focus on the relationship between grass-root social movements, and economic programs imposed on Less Developed Countries; the unclear explanation of the study on the collapse of social movements and the link to the emergence of NGOs and external funding; the inflation of Palestinian security forces and the budget spent on development of these devices is not a reason for, but rather a manifestation, of the problem which requires analysis.
Other issues raised include; the need to take into account the historic Palestinian experience since 1918 and review important social movements such as the Druze Iniative Committee Against Compulsory Conscription; remarks to the study included the importance to note that specificity of the Palestinian condition, that it is not just social movements but liberation movements that occur. Other issues related to internal Palestinian politics, social and economic issues, tribal affairs in Palestine, the influence of foreign aid and financing, social class, as well as dimensions related to different communities of Palestinians both in Palestine and the diaspora.
The discussion was led by Nassr Yacoub and Hanadi Zgheyyer and was attended by a number of important figures in this line of research, including, Khalil Nakhleh, Jad Ishaq, Alaam Jarar, Nathmi Al-Ja’abe, Rawan Mustafa, Ghada Abu-Rabee’, Tahseen ‘Alawneh, Shadi Khawaja, Waleed Atallah, Isam Aqel, Zuheira Kamal, Najih Shahin, and Abdrahman Abu Arafeh.