We are the International Union of Socialist Youth. We are IUSY.
International, because it is the main concept that shows the global nature of our organization. Because we defend equality as a fundamental value that must be maintained between all and each one of the individuals that comprise the society. The mutual responsibility between human beings must be based on fraternal union. We assume that within one’s personal freedom, we all belong to the global community, where every member is a fundamental piece.
Socialists, because we strongly believe in defending the values that make the development of the society possible: solidarity, equality, freedom and democracy. Our flag raises these principles and we are confident that by working together to establish and protect them, we will achieve a better world for all. And we work with all our hopes, all our energy, because we have a long road before us and we are confident that we will achieve our goals through our efforts, because we are young, we have a program and we are moved by our firm ideals.
Yes, we believe in a better world and we know that it depends on all of us acting together in order to achieve it.
We in IUSY know that in order to change the world it is necessary that each individual takes a small part of collective responsibility, and we are convinced that together we can get the strength to achieve aims that a single person cannot achieve. We count on our ideals, and trace multiple paths to reach them with the help of all our partners: from Asia to Africa, from Europe to Oceania, and from America.
We like to make decisions, commit ourselves, learn and assume our role within the organizations we belong to and within the society. That is why we have decided to draft a manifesto that facilitates comprehensive understanding of our goals and ideals to anyone who wants to join.
Together we have drafted proposals that we offer to the world, trying to make it a better place to live: we want free citizens with equal opportunities, with the access to healthcare, education, housing, decent work, with the ability to fulfill their dreams and participate in building a better world where governments would ensure the welfare of their citizens, where those who abuse the weak are stopped, where justice is equal for all and ensures the protection of the society as a whole. We firmly defend human rights and work to build bridges that will make real and tangible the relation between all young people in the world who want to contribute to the construction of this project of peace, solidarity and social justice.
With IUSY we are together all over the world to change it!
Our Values – modern and timeless
Our values summarize the ideas of which principles should form the basis of social life and social development of our societies. They are the guiding framework for our concrete policy analysis and for developing policy solutions. These values are what we fight for all over the world – to make them reality in our concrete societal contexts.
The fundamental values of IUSY are those of socialism and social democracy: freedom, equality, and solidarity. In essence these three values can be summarized by the word “democracy”, as real democracy assumes and creates freedom, equality and solidarity at the same time
FREEDOM – for the realization of one’s own life
Freedom is a vague concept with many meanings and changeable implications. Ultimately it is about freedom for the individual to control one’s life and make one’s own choices. But it is not only about the “freedom to” something. There is a second part to the concept of freedom without which the first is rendered meaningless – the “freedom from”. Equally important for meaningful freedom is the freedom from oppressive poverty, from insecure living conditions, and from the market. Our socialist and social democratic concept of freedom is very clearly determined by the insight that different economic positions in society give different degrees of personal freedom. Without guaranteeing fundamental social and economic freedoms, the individual’s freedom becomes very limited, however strong the civil and individual freedoms are according to law. “Freedom from” is the condition that enables us to fully experience and enjoy our “freedom to”.
We must think these two parts of freedom together. The freedom of the individual is our starting point and our goal, but the route to this freedom runs through changes in society to enable everyone to fully enjoy one’s individual freedom. For the individual to be free we need to stand in solidarity. We need collective efforts and collective solutions. We need a society that sets the framework for this freedom and enables each person to enjoy one’s freedom.
There is always tension between the requirements for freedoms by individuals and the restrictions on individual freedom required to protect the freedom of others. It is therefore important to guard against the risks of overly emphasizing individual freedom and running risk that the strong end up oppressing the weak as well as overly emphasizing the demands of the collective community, thereby running risk that the individual’s demands are unconditionally subordinate to the group.
Democracy is the means for handling tension between the individual and the collective. Our aim is to create a free, tolerant democratic society where the people themselves and each individual can influence their future. We want to create a free and just society regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, social class, ethnicity or any kind of grounds on which people are discriminated. Without free humans a free and just society is not possible.
EQUALITY – for the same opportunities to build one’s own life
Equality and freedom depend on each other. If the value of freedom is taken seriously, it must naturally extend to everyone. Equality is the expression of the idea of everybody’s equal value and rights. It is from this understanding that our demand for equality is defined: it does not only mean that everyone must have the same opportunities and the freedom to build one’s own life and the same opportunities to influence one’s society but also refers to the equality of outcome.
Equality on the other hand does not mean that everybody must act and live in the same way. On the contrary, the demand for equality is a demand for plurality: People must be free to make their own different choices and to develop their own identity without being limited by the idea of how they should act and without running the risk of finding themselves socially disadvantaged because of their choices.
In today’s world different factors generate inequalities in society: economic structures, social patterns such as gender roles, discrimination based on factors such as ethnic background, disability or sexual orientation or any other kind of discrimination. Equality is ultimately about the distribution of power and wealth. Democracy is fundamental for the redistribution of power by assuring equal opportunities to influence the society in which we live. Universal and equal suffrage, freedom of speech and the right to influence debate are therefore as central in our demand for equality as they are for freedom.
Recognizing that human beings are born with unequal (power) resources available, we as young socialists believe in a social democratic system, which aims for the socialization of resources in order for them to live a decent life and enable them to take part and influence the society they live in.
SOLIDARITY – for mutual support in the strive for a better life
As human beings and as members of society we are all social beings with mutual dependence on each other. Solidarity is the practical expression of this insight. Solidarity is about responsibility to each other: we are at one and the same time donors and recipients. Solidarity is horizontal; it is about respecting other people. We all have a lot to learn from each other.
Solidarity is all encompassing and has no boundaries. Solidarity must apply to all victims of injustice. Solidarity must apply when the privileged have the opportunity and ability to assist the underprivileged. Solidarity must apply when we together take on injustice and oppression on a national and on an international level. Solidarity is about unity. Solidarity is about giving everyone the chance to have influence – especially under conditions that do not allow each individual to fully enjoy one’s freedom and that do not provide equal opportunities to everyone to influence one’s own life and society. Solidarity means to stand together and to mutually support each other when in need as well as when fighting for change in society. This is the only way to make a change. We socialists must act upon the principle of solidarity in order to create a free and just world.
DEMOCRACY – for a society of Freedom, Equality and Solidarity
We believe in a society governed by people through democratic measures. All human beings must have the access to actively take part in shaping one’s own future. Active citizenship is necessary to ensure a sustainable society where every voice is heard regardless of social class, gender, ethnicity, religion, ability or sexual orientation. Active citizenship is guarding against the forces, which oppose our aspirations for a better society.
Social democracy has at its core a broad people based legitimacy. For us democracy is not only the right to vote but also the right to participate in social, political and economic life and be empowered to co-determine history’s course. The freedom of association, freedom of speech and a free press are therefore indispensable features of democracy.
Forms of democracy may of course vary. However, it is only possible to speak of democracy if people have a free choice between various political alternatives in the framework of free elections; if there is a possibility for a change of government by peaceful means based on the free will of the people; if individual and minority rights are guaranteed; and, if there is an independent judicial system based on the rule of law impartially applied to all citizens. Individual rights and collective goods are fundamental to the values of socialism. Democracy is not fully achieved without the social entitlement to coverage of basic needs and the individual’s empowerment to freely participate in society.
In conclusion, political democracy is an indispensable element of a socialist society. Democratic socialism is a continuing process of social and economic democratization in all levels of life and of increasing social justice. Democracy and human rights are universal rights and also the essence of popular power and the indispensable tool with which people can control the economic structures and ensure their freedom from oppression.
Progressive ideas for an equal world
Global Democracy and Human Rights
Equality is the expression of the idea of everybody’s equal value and rights. As humans we are all born equal in dignity and with common human rights, regardless of social origin, gender, ethnic background, ability, religion, sexual orientation or abibility.
All human beings must have the access to actively take part in shaping one’s own future. Democracy is fundamental to this. Democracy is about equal opportunities to influence the society in which we live in. Active citizenship is fundamental to democracy where every voice is heard.
Only a society that respects human rights is able to fight the threats against democracy.
All equal – all different
Human rights are indivisible and universal.
They apply equally to all people everywhere in the world. So called religious, cultural or traditional practices discriminating and abusing human rights must be abolished. Neither oppression nor violence towards any human being can be excused. Economic, cultural and historical factors do not mitigate the basic rights inherent to all human beings.
No single right is more important than others. Human rights are connected and cannot be viewed isolated from each other – they are indivisible.
All kinds of discrimination based on social origin, gender, ethnic background, religion, ability, sexual orientation or abibility are a violation of the human rights.
The human rights of people under occupation are especially exposed to violation; therefore the respect for them should be paid special attention to by the international community.
Facing the persisting inequalities based on gender we cannot be ‚gender blind’, we must speak up. Inequality between men and women is the most pervasive form of oppression in human history. The reasons are not natural, but social, economic and cultural ones. The situation for the vast majority of women worldwide is still characterized by patriarchal traditions and structures on all levels of society. This finds its expression for example in a sex-specific education, persisting gender stereotypes and in a divided labour market.
More than two thirds of all people suffering from poverty are women. They have bad access to health systems and school education. Their income is lower, their working hours are longer, their access to the working market is limited and the social security systems often ignore their needs. Women are not represented in public life according to their numbers among the population – only one out of eight parliamentarians all over the world is female.
Women are confronted with sexual harassment, rape and violence, they have to face unsolicited pregnancies because of religious obligations, lack of education and information and restrictions to the access to contraception and in majority they have to bear the single responsibility for raising child and their family’s needs.
Gender equality is still far from realized. We support the struggles of women for equal rights and opportunities as well as self-determination everywhere in the world. In some countries there has been progress, while in others the struggle for equality is only beginning. Equality and justice for women is a crucial element of a just and peaceful world.
The reproductive rights of women, including the right of abortion, the right for planned parenthood and the right to contraception must be respected and implemented all over the world.
To make gender equality a reality we need legislation and positive action programmes which guarantee full equality between men and women – equal pay for work of equal value, equal access to all jobs, and equal access to education. We have to provide information and practical assistance, supporting a self-determined sexuality, including information and practical assistance in using and getting contraceptives. We need to guarantee the right over their own body for all women, for example the right to contraception and the right to abortion. In order to ensure equal opportunities and reduce dependencies it is important to support the better balancing of professional and so called private life for both women and men, for example through child care facilities, the reduction of working time, and other means. We need to ensure women’s equal participation in the social and political activities of every country. A guarantee for women’s representation at all levels of decision making is crucial in this regard.
The UN has played an important role in facilitating the emergence of a global feminist consciousness, which links the women of the South and the North. It is one of the basic aims of IUSY to work together – women and men from the South and from the North – for achieving self-determination, economic independence, new gender roles and non-violent relations. It is of major importance to involve also men into that struggle. Only in a society where both women and men are involved in the gender discussion, can true development take place.
Sexuality is a fundamental aspect of human personality and the basic needs of human beings include the need for love and affection. All sexual orientations are equally valuable and legitimate expressions of these needs. All people are equal in their fundamental human rights and have the right to equal treatment regardless of their sexual orientation.
It therefore constitutes interference with a very basic and fundamental human right for governments to control the kinds of sexual orientation which people may build their lives on and relations they form by their own consent. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of human rights. No distinction must be made between heterosexuals on the one hand and lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, intersexual, transgender, queer, asexual, transvestite or transsexual people in the content or application of laws. We want a world in which all violations LGBTIQA* people’s rights are criminalized and everyone’s human rights are equally respected regardless of sexual orientation or representation of gender.
IUSY supports every person’s right to their sexual orientation, without restriction by the preconceived ideas and values of society. IUSY supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in their struggle against legal restrictions and restrictions placed upon them by parents, legal guardians, or other adults, regarding the expression of their sexuality. Every individual should have the right to define or not define one’s own gender.
Our fight against the extreme right wing
Extreme right movements all around the world reject the equality of specific groups of people, often accompanied by the belief of superiority towards them. Populist and far right movements separate people by spreading hatred, social exclusion and scapegoating.
We strongly oppose the concept of multiple races and of predetermined incoherence between cultures. There are no homogenic cultures. Dividing lines between groups of the society are not cultural or ethnic ones, but social and economic ones. The ideology of extreme right-wing movements is based on racism, anti-semitism, sexism and homophobia.
These ideologies are often described as phenomenon at the margins but in fact we can find them in the whole society. This means that racism is in most societies becoming part of the political discourse and thereby seen as a valid political opinion. This leads to structural discrimination within institutions in society. These discriminations are often hidden and hard to identify but must be actively opposed in every possible way.
As social democrats we must never accept a shift in the political debate to be about hierarchies between groups but instead we must tackle the roots of the problems. We believe these include social injustice, inequality, unemployment and segregation.
As political organisations we will never accept legislation, which introduces or enforces right wing ideologies. We have to stand up wherever these extreme right wing movements show up and try to mobilise.
We believe that we have to fight extreme right-wing movements on several levels and IUSY will work together to create an inclusive, equal and multicultural society.
Defending the Rights of Indigenous People
IUSY recognizes the existence of indigenous peoples.
IUSY is concerned with the rights of indigenous peoples on a global level and gives a voice to their claims in order to ensure equality of intercultural development.
Defending the rights of disabled people
Discrimination of physical or mentally disabled people should end now. We must take action to ensure participation to public and private life regardless of physical or mental impairment. Accessibility is a human right.
Right to free education for all
Education is crucial for the development of a democratic and tolerant society. Equal access to free education for all is a precondition for equal opportunities and is therefore a core demand of IUSY.
Education is more than a tool to access the labour market, although there is a strong link between a good education and (young) people’s professional success. Education empowers people to emancipate themselves and live up to their full potential. Education also needs to make sure to pass on the values of human rights and communal responsibility. Education is the prerequisite for creating critical, informed and responsible citizens, who are the drivers of democracy.
One of the main challenges to ensuring equal opportunities for participation in social and political life is the inequality regarding access to knowledge and quality education. The tendency of turning education into a commercial service and yet another market commodity is prevalent and increasingly gains ground. The concept of further commodifying education is promoted by arguing for a further increase in the competitiveness of educational systems. Commercialized and deregulated education threatens the equality of opportunities. Welfare and social status of parents must not be the decisive factor for the educational success of children. Regardless if this is the result of the direct implementation of fees in education, or the result of more indirect methods, this correlation needs to be abolished.
Education must be treated as a basic right and a public good, not as a commercial service. Tuition free quality education must be guaranteed on all levels for all. In the struggle for equal societies and an equal world the right to education is a key issue.
In order to be able to educate oneself, the right to free information must be guaranteed as well. We reject any attempt to restrict freedom of expression of internet users citing economic or political reasons. The protection of copyright cannot be the excuse for abusing the privacy of internet users in search of protected content.
Global Democratic Governance
Despite the successes in democratization achieved in recent decades, there are still millions of people living in hunger, being exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights. While it has been more than fifty years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideas laid out in that document are all too often ignored. Individuals and communities worldwide face horrific violations of their basic rights.
Democracies must be understood as something that we continuously strive to strengthen and not a phenomenon, which is constant. To strengthen democratization in countries, we also have to fully implement democracy in our own political organization. Democratization must be understood as a process, which is initiated from the grassroots and not a process which is forced upon by external players, as a process shaped by civil society, not merely by political elites. All citizens have a responsibility for the society they live in.
IUSY is determined to support all democratic movements in their fight for human rights, for participation and against violence and oppression.
Strengthened global democratic governance is urgently needed to set in place the legal and political mechanisms essential for ensuring the implementation and respect of human rights as well as for creating the necessary social dimension on a global scale for every human to enjoy one’s inherent rights. Without social justice political freedoms are empty and incomplete.
The global community has a responsibility for ensuring social and economic development and human rights for every human being. The lack of a just world economic order that benefits the people of the world, especially in the southern countries, is a permanent threat to peace and security in the world and a main source of violations against human rights. The task of a fair worldwide distribution of wealth needs to be strengthened and brought to real action. A system of international taxes should be immediately applied for raising taxes on arms trade, carbon emission, and financial transactions. Introducing an independent source of revenues for the UN is an important step to finance its mission for global social development.
The global extension of democracy demands a new form of organising, which does not seek to merely reproduce the state model on a world scale or to revise the powers and functions of states at the international level. Global Governance with its system of rules and norms will complete but also restrict the sovereignty of national states in certain forms. However, these restrictions of sovereignty must be carried out by democratic and transparent means.
Increased global integration and must go hand in hand with increased regional integration, creating a culture of cooperation amongst all countries, creating the basis for Global Democratic Governance. Regional integration on any area does not only affect the countries directly involved but it politically and economically affects the whole global community.
Regional Integration processes must promote development and guarantee human rights for all people. Regional integration built on solidarity and cooperation represents the democratic alternative to asymmetrical bilateral agreements and to integration models neglecting the self-determination of peoples and uni-dimensionally focusing on economic interests.
We encourage the member countries of international organizations that have adopted instruments in favor of the rights of young people, such as the Iberoamerican Convention on Young People and the African Youth Charter, to ratify these instruments and adjust their national legislation accordingly.
We consider the United Nations as the only existing legitimate framework for global political regulation. The backbone of a democratic, human rights based, system of global governance must be a stronger and more democratic United Nations system. To cope with this task, however, there is a need for a deep reform of the UN and its politics.
The UN reform process must tackle issues such as:
- strengthening the General Assembly, being the most representative and democratic body of the UN at present;
- accompanying the General Assembly with a second chamber being composed on grounds of population and political divisions, in contrast to the national based composition of the General Assembly. Defining the model for its democratic decision making and defining its political boundaries;
- providing the UN with more executive power and by that contributing to the more effective implementation of its resolutions;
- improving the financial situation of the UN;
- widening the UN’s authority to prosecute violations of human rights and fundamental liberties and giving a full and executive mandate to the International Criminal Court;
- balancing the legally binding character of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly with regard to those adopted by the Security Council;
- reforming the Security Council with regard to its composition (regional and economic balance) and its procedural rules (undemocratic veto right);
- establishing new bodies providing permanent leadership on global economic, social and environmental issues, monitoring and coordinating the action of the various UN agencies such as the World Bank, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the regional development banks, as well as the activities of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
- making the UN administration at all levels more transparent and efficient;
- increasing the youth representation in the General Assembly;
As a corner stone of a developing global welfare system IUSY is promoting an international progressive tax. A system of international taxes should be immediately applied for raising taxes on arms trade, carbon emission, financial transactions and properties.
Peace and Security for safe and free development
Peace and Security are cornerstones in a free and democratic world where human rights always come first. Today human rights are violated and democracy is rejected in many places of the world.
There can be no development without security and no security without development. Although poverty is an important aspect in the internal logic of conflicts, there are aspects that are not reducible to economic issues. Racism, sexism, religious fundamentalism and supremacist ideologies are aspects that need to be understood on their own to grasp the mechanisms of war, terrorism and conflict in order to ensure a more peaceful and secure world. Many of today’s threats and crisis have their roots in the unjust distribution of resources, the lack of democracy or the absence of respect for human rights. Extreme poverty is a direct threat to millions of people and provides one ground for armed conflicts. Every country and its people must be given the opportunity for development; only in this way can we achieve a safer world. Economic and social development is a precondition for peace – and vice versa. Peace, security and freedom for people are a precondition for development. As long as millions of people live with the threat of armed conflict or have to flee from crises, all their energy is channeled to surviving and protecting themselves and their families. For the individual and for the community this perpetuates a vicious circle of conflicts, insecurity and poverty.
It is imperative for the United Nations and international community to commit resources towards post-conflict reconstruction in countries emerging from conflict to improve the living conditions of its population. This can be assured through international community support for security, justice and reconciliation; institutional development, and socio-economic development in these fragile states.
Human Security defines the issue of security from the perspective of individual humans in contrast to the traditional state centered perspective. Human Security brings a wider dimension of threats to peace and security to attention. It puts into focus the need for social development instead of uni-dimensionally focusing on ‘hard’ security solutions. Human Security recognizes that security threats to individuals are strongly associated with poverty and a lack of education, the lack of state capacity and various forms of socio-economic and political inequity.
The concept of Human Security needs to have a stronger impact on the policies for peace and security. Security policies must refocus and put stronger emphasis on individual security that is balanced with the right of national security and sovereignty. The implementation of the norm ‘Responsibility to Protect’ by the United Nations is an important step in this direction. This norm engages the international community based on the premise that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility, and by this puts people before the sovereignty of states. The Responsibility to Protect builds on three principles:
- A state has a responsibility to protect its population from mass atrocities.
- The international community has a responsibility to assist the state if it is unable to protect its population on its own.
- The international community has the responsibility to use diplomatic, humanitarian and other appropriate means to protect populations from these crimes. If it is clear that a State fails to protect its population, the International Community must be prepared to take collective action to do so, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
If the state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities and intervention by peaceful measures from the international community has failed, the international community has the responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions. Military intervention is considered the last resort. Military intervention needs to be avoided as much as possible. In case it can’t be avoided the authority to apply the last resort rests solely with a democratic UN.
The first step towards peace and security is the promotion of democratic societies, development, respect for human rights and minorities and fair distribution of resources.
Despite the complexity of each conflict, one can clearly identify some general causes of conflicts such as economic stagnation, unequal distribution of resources, undemocratic regimes, weak societal structures, oppressed minority rights, ethnic disputes, colonialism, religious and cultural intolerance, spreading of weapons and arms. These are important starting points to enter conflicts at an earlier stage and to take a more preventive approach in the striving for peace and security. We should increase international funding and efforts for conflict prevention. We must pay more attention to the conditions of peace than to the causes of war and increase and retain international observers in conflict zones. There is the need for the employment of early warning systems through researches and experts reports in potential conflict zone before the escalation.
The most effective, sustainable, and cost-effective security policy continues to be preventive conflict management broadly rooted in multilateralism. The development of a culture of prevention must include efforts to strengthen arms control regimes, to revitalize the UN as the world’s key conflict mediator, to bring non-military transformation pressure to bear on autocratic and crisis-shaken countries, and to further develop the international crisis-prevention infrastructure.
One of the big obstacles in conflict prevention has been the lack of willingness and ability of the international community to act in time. The focus must be on acting before a situation escalates into a violent conflict. The violation of human rights is an important signal almost always preceding violent conflicts. It is therefore important to strengthen human rights, revising international law and the mechanisms that can control and follow up the observance of the laws.
The lack of a just world economic order that benefits the people of the world, especially in the southern countries, is a permanent threat to peace and security in the world. The UN also has a responsibility for the social and economic development of every human. This mission has to be recalled and filled with life.
Global zero – Disarm now!
In a time of global social and economic crisis the expenditure for weapons is higher than ever before in history. After the end of the Cold War there had been hopes worldwide, that the world would become a more peaceful place with fewer conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear warheads. What we are witnessing is the contrary: While a small amount of large strategic weapons systems have been dismantled, the military expenditures all over the world has risen by more than one third. Never before has so much money been made by producing and selling weapons.
Global arms trade fuels and prolongs civil wars, terrorism and organized crime. Single economic interests continue to be valued higher than a peaceful world. The pure existence of millions of small weapons creates insecurity and fuels existing conflicts.
Initiatives for disarmament so far have all been insufficient in actually reducing the amount of weapons and largely remained political marketing stunts. This contributes to an on-going arms race between countries, negatively influences international relations, and takes funds away from fighting poverty or creating better education systems for the youth.
We continue to fight for worldwide disarmament, the continuous reduction of military expenditures and a ban on weapons of mass destruction as wells as international weapons exports to countries in conflicts, undemocratic states, or countries violating human rights. Less weapons will make the world a safer place and free huge amounts of funds for investment in economic and social development initiatives.
Attacking the roots of organized crime
The international community has to acknowledge that violent conflicts and the erosion of democratic systems are not solely national or regional in their character but globally connected and fundamentally based on the networks of organized crime and the war economies that fuel them. In the process of globalization and a globally operating economy, networks of organized crime have restructured themselves into flexible transnational units that are internationally linked and operate on a global scale. Therefore there is a responsibility of the international community to act jointly and create solutions to address the threat that organized crime poses to the security situation of individuals, communities and whole countries as well as to the fundamental conditions for democratic governance.
The structural conditions providing the basis for and perpetuating existing networks of organized crime must be put at the center of attention. The level of organized crime is strongly correlated to a failure of attainment of general material and social needs by the population. Socioeconomic inequality and material insecurity, absent or malfunctioning legal systems and the resulting mistrust in politics are at the core of the problem and open spaces easily occupied by groups of organized crime. These spaces of insecurity, state-retreat and mistrust have been widened even further by the neoliberal policies of the past decades.
The role of organized crime in the erosion of democratic governance is particularly virulent in zones of fragile statehood and marked by the undermining of political institutions and the replacement of social and protective functions by non-state actors. In a culture of protection by leaders of criminal organizations replacing functions of the state the socially excluded are part of the structures that perpetuate organized crime. The involvement of politicians, police and military in organized crime further undermine the trust into state institutions.
Prevailing responses to organized crime are mostly reactive and relying on traditional security tools thereby ignoring the root causes. Although traditional counter-drug strategies are recognized as failed by policy makers and security agents, policies remain unaltered.
The challenges organized crime poses to democratic governance and public security require new policy responses on the national, regional and global level that are based on the clear link between security and social development. It is crucial to approach the challenge from a more holistic understanding of security rooted in the concept of ‘human security’ that seriously tackles the factors of poverty, the lack of state capacity and various forms of socio-economic and political inequity.
Global governance for peace
Human security and sustainable development will only be successful if more democratic and effective institutional structures are created for the political governance of world society. In a world that has become more complex, in which the boundaries between domestic and foreign policy are becoming increasingly blurred, and world-political problems and action are closely interdependent and intertwined, it is essential to build trust-based networks at as many political levels as possible to reduce complexity and facilitate common action. This can be achieved most sustainably by means of stabilization and the construction of effective international organizations that reduce mistrust and alienation, and in which partnerships are based on rules.
Common Security is a core value of the United Nations and we strongly belief that only joint action can lead to a stable and sustainable security. The UN is the most important international institution for implementing a Common Security agenda and preserving peace and security in the world. It must be strengthened and endowed with the capacity, flexibility and authority to meet this responsibility. In order to strengthen the UN, there is the need of the enforcement of international laws; more power given to the General Assembly and restructuring of the Security Council.
It is a fundamental task of the international community to put a bigger effort into conflict prevention, but also to develop instruments for solving and managing violent conflicts. The use of smart sanctions as a method to pressure states that endanger world peace, security, and human rights must be further developed.
Progressive Economics for Social Justice and Sustainable Development
In order to achieve sustainable development and better living conditions for all, social and environmental sustainability need to be brought together. These two key goals have to be balanced and not to be played against each other.
Globalizing the economy without accompanying this project with the parallel globalization of democratic structures to rule the global economy is at the heart of this challenge. It is time to democratize the global economy.
Democratizing the Global Economy
The recent years have shown how strong the need for global democratic governance in the economical field is. It is crucial in this time of globalization to make sure that democratic governance is also applied in the global economic system. We need regulatory instruments to assure a market economy that works for people and not only for the financial system. We need a global economy that contributes to a global system of welfare for all.
The current global economic system rather hinders equality and people’s freedom. We need a global democratic system that is a driving force for equality. No state can do this by itself. It’s no longer a national question. It is a global question. Global governance, also in the economic sphere, is more needed than ever.
The current global economic system has proven that it is not self-regulating, and without regulation it is not sustainable. The global financial system has verged on collapse and the financial crisis with its devastating consequences for whole countries and the life of millions of people is still mainly tackled by short-term bailouts and rescue plans. This may mitigate the most immediate harms and keep the system from a total collapse, but will not be sufficient in order to change the fundamental causes of the global crisis of capitalism. We have to tackle the roots of the problem.
It is time for politics to step in. We need reforms and regulations to get the global economy working, not for profit of the few but for the benefit of the people. The market is a bad lord but a good servant. It is time for a global system of governance that includes the economic sphere and that guarantees just distribution and real co-determination; it is time to implement on a global scale the (societal) idea and a model that promotes the welfare of all – and not the wealth of a few.
We need a global welfare system that makes people safe and empowers them. We believe in human rights and democracy, we believe that all humans are equal. We need a democratic economic system reflecting and ensuring this. The role of the economy is to serve the people. Everybody must have the right to education, to have a dignified job and to be able to fulfill his or her dreams. Social justice is not a luxury – it is a basic right.
Our goals of welfare and progress for all have never been restricted to the national level. We fight for a fairer, more secure and equal world rooted in our internationalist tradition.
Today we face two inter connected challenges: an increasingly internationalized economy without the necessary global democratic structures and/or will to effectively govern it, and persistent conflict between and within national states.
We need a global welfare system that enables and encourages social development, and that thereby provides the foundations for global peace. With a globally working economic system we must put in place the political mechanisms, which enable us to shape and govern that economy. On the national level this has been the role of the welfare state. On the international level such mechanisms are yet to be built.
Global Economic Governance
A global system of governing the international economy and the financial system must be based on a framework of reformed international institutions that are more inclusive in their decision making and promoting economic and social development for all instead of just more of liberalization and market solutions.
The United Nations must take the lead also in the economical sphere. As the only truly legitimate body on a global scale the United Nations must be enabled to effectively deal with global challenges also in terms of economic security. The UN member states, organizations and agencies as well as its Secretary General have a vital role to play.
The present global economic crisis has given a renewed mission to international financial institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to the Basel Committee and other regulatory bodies such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB). This set of international institutions should be transformed and fully embedded in the United Nations system and accountable to the General Assembly. Accountability of the international institutions must be ensured by committing them to full transparency, including in the appointments of CEOs and directors. By accounting for their activities they fulfill their political responsibility towards the International Community and to the citizens, the stakeholders ultimately affected by their policies. Their mission must clearly be orientated towards economic and social development for all and their internal organization must become more democratic in order to be both legitimate and effective in implementing international economic governance.
The United Nations have to take responsibility for economic and social issues with the same institutional commitment as they do today for peace and armed struggle, embodied in the UN Security Council. It is time for a UN Economic Security Council.
Today, the Group of 20 (G-20) already works as a global coordinating body on economic issues. As the extension of the G-8 the G-20 is becoming the most important world economic coordination forum and today already takes on the role of a “world economic government”. Whereas coordination is certainly needed, these groups do not fulfill our requirements as bodies for economic governance; they only represent the strongest developed countries and actively exclude major parts of the world. An improved coordination body needs to be established that is fully integrated into the UN framework, drawing its legitimacy from and being fully accountable to the General Assembly.
(Re)regulating the international financial system
The ongoing financial crisis shows the results of the neoliberal economic and social policies of the last decades. The global economic system has proven that it is not self-regulating. (Re)regulation of the global financial system must be the most immediate lesson learnt from the still ravishing crisis and the starting point for putting in place an effective and more democratic system of governance for the world economy. It is time to make finance “work”. It is time to make it work again for the people.
A financial transaction tax marks an important first step in this direction. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to stop speculation and at the same time it represents a useful tool of redistribution by letting the financial sector bear a share of the costs of the on-going and any possible future financial crisis. If a global solution cannot be achieved in the short term, first steps are to be taken immediately on the regional level. National governments as well as regional networks need to implement financial transaction taxes on the corresponding levels.
To contain the risks of financial crises and make the banking system work for the people again we need a new order of banking practices: There must be a strict separation of business and investment banking.
The WTO played a central role in deregulating the financial markets via GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). In the agreements on financial services for example the limitation of trade with speculative derivatives is seen as a trade and investment barrier. For a structural change and reregulation of the financial markets GATS needs to be renegotiated and the WTO has to be fully embedded in the UN system and be accountable to the General Assembly.
For the containment of high-risk financial products there must be a possibility to ban financial products completely if the risk for the whole society is too big. There is an urgent need for increased regulation of hedge funds, private equity firms and rating agencies.
In order to balance the defining power private rating agencies exercise today, we need a public international rating agency embedded in the United Nations framework.
The fight against tax evasion and tax havens has to be taken seriously. The International Community has been agreed to start sanctions against tax havens from March 2010 on. But already the procedure of the OECD to identify tax heavens falls short in many points: we need higher standards and a strengthening of the review process. Countries and governments not complying with the standards need to be effectively sanctioned.
Sustainable Development and Climate Change
In our world today the question of successful economic development is irrevocably bound to the challenge of human-made climate change. The correlation between our predominant mode of economic activity and the accompanying destruction it brings on the means of livelihood for present and future generations is a key political challenge of our generation. We also need to remember the individual responsibility and making the change also in consumerism. Education for green lifestyle, ecological consumer choices and green socialism as a movement play a vital role in stopping the climate change.
The earth’s climate is changing because of the fast growing emissions of greenhouse gases and others. To halt climate change a strengthened system of global democratic governance is needed. Increased commitment and speed in the international climate change diplomacy is crucial to avoid effects of run-away climate change caused by so-called ’tipping points’ such as the melting of the Greenland and/or Antarctic ice caps. The industrialized countries of the Western hemisphere caused the vast majority of historic CO2-emissions and are still doing so today. At the same time they are less vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change due to geography, resources available, etc. The countries, which are most likely to suffer most, are the ones from the Southern hemisphere who contributed the least to present day emissions. Industries and/or corporations must be held accountable for the negative externalities they cause. Therefore the industrialized world has to take the lead and we all together have to do it now.
We need to find an exit strategy out of the use of fossil fuels for energy production and change the mode of production and consumption to a low- or no-carbon economy as fast as possible. We need to greatly increase the research, development and use of renewable energies such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and geothermal power. These can provide us with much more electricity, heating, cooling and fuels than we need. It has to be ensured however that biomass production for energy usage does not become a competitor for food production or lead to deforestation. Nuclear is neither a green nor a sustainable nor a save alternative.
We also need to work towards a global CO2 capping system based on equal per capita emissions. This is the only fair way of sharing worldwide responsibility for our planet. We recognize the importance of the current plans for emissions trading. However this instrument is based on mechanisms of the globalized financial markets – with all known anti-democratic and anti-progressive side effects. Therefore we push for strong government regulation of these carbon markets. At the same time we strongly encourage a global debate on possible alternatives like internationally agreed eco-taxes with tax corridors depending on the level of economic and social development.
We need to reduce the amount of natural resources used for the production of resources (ecological footprint) significantly. We must assure that all states take responsibility for sustainable development beyond their own borders. This means international cooperation, environmental protection, protection of global public services and trade systems with a true development goal. We need to find a way how emerging economies can contribute to the reduction of CO2-emission while at the same time not hampering their needed social development.
We demand that access to global public goods such as water, clean air, a stable atmosphere and clean renewable energy is declared a universal human right. The state should be responsible for ensuring this right. Access to resources such as water can be the reason for conflicts or the bridge to peace. International cooperation on managing and maintaining our natural resources is key for ensuring security as well as equal opportunities for all. At the same time as assuring access to these resources we must assure the protection of natural habitats and ecosystems. Indigenous practices can help establish functioning environmental protection regimes.
At present, progress in the field of agriculture is characterized by large-scale monocultures, moving small-scale producers and peasants from their lands. This model is sustained by the oligopoly over intellectual property for a variety of seeds that are of significant importance in food production, thereby generating a perverse market model, which establishes relationships of dependency for farmers, driving out especially small-scale producers. Moreover, the transnational cooperations holding the intellectual property for seeds are the same that provide the technology package that make the cultivation of these crops viable in the first place, thus deepening the dependency. In turn, the components of these technology packages – fertilizers and pesticides – have harmful effects on both the environment and human health.
Fighting for food sovereignty, understood as the right of each people to decide its own agricultural and food policies towards sustainable development, we reject the concept of food as part of market exchange. In order to ensure universal access to food as well as profitability of small-scale production we propose alternative models of mediation based on solidarity.
We young socialists and social democrats strive for a framework regulating the use of fertilizers and agro-toxics and ensuring the access to alternative seed varieties. We also support the struggle for holistic, sovereign, locally specific agricultural policies, avoiding price dumping for domestic food and speculation on prices of crops and land, understanding land and food as a fundamental right and not an object of speculation.
Developed countries subsidize farmers while developing countries tax farmers. Subsidies influence world prices, since they encourage farmers in developed countries to export more agricultural products than they would otherwise. Agricultural trade barriers and producer subsidies are therefore a major threat to many developing countries and their possibilities to develop their agricultural sector and labour market. Therefore we support abolition of agricultural subsidies and customs in the industrialized countries.
In order to sustain economic development and achieved social standards in the industrialized countries and enable the same economic and social development in developing countries our modes of production and consumption have to change significantly. We recognize the importance economic growth plays for generating the means for economic redistribution and increasing social standards for everyone. What we need is sustainable growth that contributes to the social welfare of all and is responsibly regulated, fully respecting the protection of natural resources and ecosystems. Green growth and circular economy provides new possibilities and generates investments in infrastructure. The transition to this new model of production must be based on the concept introduced by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC): “Just Transition” – a transformation towards a low carbon economy as an inclusive process where workers do not pay the costs of transition.
A changing climate threatens all world citizens and puts a heavy burden on the entire International Community. We have to share this burden in the sense of solidarity. Countries and actors with higher capabilities need to contribute a greater share and take over more responsibility.
The fight to end poverty has to be based on the principle that everyone should be free from hunger, marginalization, and uncertainty of the future. A risk-free and secure environment has to go hand in hand with empowering people through education and strengthening political participation.
An important cornerstone is the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) – end poverty and hunger, achieve universal education, gender equality, child and maternal health, combat HIV/aids, environmental sustainability and foster global partnerships.
For qualitative, long-term solutions to end poverty we have to go beyond these most immediate steps. The sustainability of the MDGs requires fundamental structural reforms, ensuring public and democratic management of the means of production as well as of the natural resources. Global social sustainability requires a long-term commitment of the International Community to redistribution of income, resources, wealth and knowledge.
Decent work – Decent life
In order to achieve sustainable development and better living conditions for all, it is not sufficient to create environmentally sustainable economic growth. Our economic model also has to be socially sustainable. A just distribution and re-distribution of existing (natural) resources and economic wealth in each country as well as internationally are a fundamental part of any sustainable economic model. Social and environmental sustainability need to be brought together and cannot be played against each other.
IUSY firmly believes that eradicating poverty, bringing about social justice and eliminating inequalities throughout the world can only be achieved when coherent and consistent efforts are made to bring about decent work for all.
International labour standards must be enforced more strenuously. We firmly defend the concept of decent work for all. Decent work means well-paid, stable, and dignified, safe employment. It is absolutely unacceptable that basic labour rights are violated in so many parts of the world.
Workers rights to organize must be protected through internationally enforceable guidelines. National and international rights observation standards for investment and loans should be created. The inclusion of child labour bans, worker protection and environmental justice must be realized.
IUSY supports a strategy of integrating informal economic activity into the formal economy in order to allow for the establishment of working social security systems, the inclusion of those active in the informal economy in these protective systems, and to ensure the enforcement of labour standards.
To effectively ensure decent work and decent life for everyone we need an integrated approach in which the rights of women, workers in the informal economy, youth and migrants are addressed.
In today’s world, women make up the vast majority of workers, which constitute the global economy. Although more women than ever are integrated in the formal economy, the labour market has still not adjusted itself to cater for the needs of women workers. The role of women in the global economy must be put in focus and strategies are needed that ensure the implementation of key international conventions aimed at overcoming the decent work deficit in relation to women’s employment and conditions of work.
In all parts of the world significant pay gaps exist for work of equal value between men and women. This is unacceptable and needs to be abolished in our struggle for equality. This can be done by greater transparency in income distribution and a system whereby government and trade unions fine those institutions and companies that have big gender pay gaps. Also, we believe in having quota systems implemented in order to make sure there is a stronger representation of women all over the workforce.
The international trade union movement is playing a key role in meeting the challenge of ensuring decent work for all. Representation of workers for all sectors of society and the labour market is imperative in this challenge. Thus the International Community must ensure that regulatory frameworks should incorporate the principles upheld by the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work to guarantee workers representation and rights at work. Strategies that include dialogue between the social partners on labour market and social policy issues have to be strengthened.
We unreservedly support the international trade union movement as an agent of social emancipation. The right to form trade unions and the right to join trade unions must be ensured worldwide.
Young people always bear the brunt of the costs associated with economic downturns. Youth unemployment is not only a problem in the present, but also complicates the future life chances of young people. Far too many young people still find themselves out of work or engaged in precarious work.
All around the world the youth struggles to find entry into the workplace. Unemployment for people under 35 is on an all-time high in most countries around the world, no matter if the country’s economy is doing well or not. Today almost half of the unemployed people in the world are young people who are more likely to be working long hours, on short-term contracts, with low pay and no social protection. The problem is truly universal however multi-dimensional. The chances to get a decent job vary greatly depending on age, gender, country of origin and/or training or academic background.
The conditions of access to the labour market are largely determined by prior educational outcomes. Inadequate education directly leads to an increased probability of unemployment or underemployment. Strengthening free public education is essential for improving the terms on which young people enter the job market.
The high rates of youth unemployment are also an individual disaster because for many it is not possible to lead a free and independent life, but depend on their family or are downright faced with poverty. Some of the most important elements of personal happiness, like founding a family, engaging in your society, or experiencing your own and other cultures are made challenging or impossible. At the same time this situation carries in it the seed for distrust in democracy and in many countries fuels radical, extremist movements.
Strategies must be sought which create decent jobs for young people, improve the transition from school to work, enhance skills, qualifications and access to education, ensure the quality of existing and new jobs, and shorten the time young people might find themselves unemployed. The youth guarantee should be expanded globally as a working protocol to diminish youth unemployment.
We, the youth of the world, want to do our part! We want to be active, responsible members of the societies that we want to shape in a progressive way! In order to do this, the economic systems and labor markets need to change fundamentally. Education has to play a much larger role everywhere and glass ceilings for entries into the labor markets have to be broken!
Migration – People in movement
IUSY stands for the free movement of all people. Today many are on the move or forced to move for a variety of reasons, such as hunger, economic malaise, war, poverty and so forth. Day by day people are in search of better living conditions, but do not find them because regional help is badly organized or not organized at all. We defend a vision of the world where no one should be obliged to emigrate on account of economic necessity.
The flow of migration has been fuelled by globalization. The movement of people has brought with it vast human rights violations and the need for an international rights-based framework in which migration can be managed. IUSY calls on the implementation of the outcome of the UN Commission on migration and relevant ILO Conventions, which will galvanize the freedom of movement of all people and ensure that it is devoid of exploitation. As part of this we must effectively combat human trafficking, put an end to the exploitation of women in the sex industry, and end the criminalization of the victims of human trafficking.
Differences in wages, working abilities and working conditions continue to drive vast migration flows and produce numerous instances of “brain drain”. Economic migration is a big part of global migration and often dominates the debates. In this debate the focus is too often on stigmatizing migrants. We want to shift the debate to focus on tackling the causes of migration. We fight for decent living conditions and decent work all over the world. This means strengthening the developmental aid to developing nations from the industrialized nations.
We must reform international trade agreements which currently allow capital to move, but do not ensure the rights of working people who move along with it. Especially in regional trade blocs this dimension needs to be strengthened.
Not all migrants leave their homes in search of employment. Numbers reported from NGOs show that more than 150 million persons live in countries in which they were not born. UNHCR estimates that about 22 million of them are refugees looking for asylum from war, armed conflict and ecological catastrophes. The majority of them, two thirds, are women and children or old people. Refugees escaping war or repression must come under the protection of well-funded and legally strong institutions.
The consistently under funded and inadequately mandated United Nations Commission for Refugees must be strengthened and given policing and enforcement powers in order to protect refugee populations from repression or negligence. Long term Refugees must be educated and integrated. This process must be funded internationally, so that refugees who, by no decision of their own are placed in rich countries have the same chances as those in poor ones.
Next to the millions of people moving within their region there are a few who petition western countries for asylum. Asylum seekers fleeing from war or oppression must come under the protection of well-funded and legally strong institutions. Long-term refugees must be educated and integrated. This process must be funded internationally, so that refugees who, by no decision of their own, are placed in poor countries have the same chances as those in rich ones.
As a first step, all obstacles to migration that are enforced through the system of ‘visa’ have to be abolished.
Youth for Change
IUSY strongly believes in the power of people to make change happen. It is on us to bring about the change for a more egalitarian society.
In an era where the interest of young people in politicians and politics in general is decreasing, we need to be determined to re-capture people’s unity in creating political solutions. The need to modernize political organizations to face challenges of an evolving world should be carried out to inspire and mobilize political action.
The famous statement, which says that the youth is the future, is true. But it fails to stress that we are also the present. We have to share influence in decision-making and responsibility with the generations that precede us under symmetrical conditions. This involves building bridges of dialogue and understanding, in which justice and intergenerational solidarity will prevail. It is essential to move to a paradigm in which we, the youth, will not only accept ourselves and will be accepted as subjects with legal rights, but also become important agents of social change.
It is clear, then, that only through the organization and activism not limited by borders we can make our proposals visible. We, the youth, need to make our voices heard and our participation in public affairs effective, both nationally and globally.
WE ARE YOUNG! WE ARE IUSY! WE ARE ALL OVER THE WORLD TO CHANGE IT!