Malta’s Leftist Relief
IN HISTORICALLY POLARIZED MALTA, Moviment Graffitti has emerged as a voice of reason. Though founded in 1994 as an unapologetically left-wing, anti-racism NGO—Marxist in origin, its headquarters are still in the old offices of the now-defunct Maltese Communist Party—Moviment Graffitti has more recently gone to extreme lengths to campaign on a wide spectrum of issues.
James Debono, one of Moviment Graffitti’s founders, said that when the organization was launched, “there was a vacuum in campaigning for civil rights and leftist issues.”
Currently, the group’s staying power is in its ability to provide people with a safe space to bring forward community concerns and to find a sense of belonging among other engaged people. “Considering the high turnover of activists the organization has been through, the core principle we have, and the reason for our survival, is in a sense of belonging and a passion for ensuring equal rights,” he remarked.
“We have a range of issues that we deal with, while doing so from a leftist perspective, meaning from a perspective that believes in equality between people,” said Andre Callus, an active member, when asked to distill what Moviment Graffitti stands for. The organization holds meetings every two weeks which are open for all to attend, and where ideas are thrown out and discussed and decisions taken about what to focus on.
One such area is land and development. At 316 million square meters, Malta’s small size means that land management is an intense topic of debate. It’s also an area to which Moviment Graffitti brings its experience as a coalition builder, umbrella organization and forum for amplifying local voices vis-a-vis developers.
Recently, a group of hotel companies stirred controversy when they leased a parcel of land on a peninsula with the intention of attracting new tourism to the area. For Callus, “That is land belonging to the people, that the government wants to give away practically for nothing.”
This article appears in Are We Europe #4: This Is Not An Elections Issue