Leaders of the Socialist International and its member parties from all continents took part in the XXI Congress of the International in Paris. These are excerpts from some contributions
Issue 3-4 / Volume 48, 1999
Outgoing President of the Socialist International
All social democrats share the same basic values of peace, democracy, liberty, social justice and solidarity, which constitute today, as in the past, a beacon to guide us.
These values have always been at the very heart of the socialist struggle. More than ever before they continue to be of current relevance and constitute the basis of our meeting here in Paris.
But, my dear comrades, it is also true that we have changed. And it is thanks to our ability to adapt to change that we are today the world’s leading political organisation.
Our identity lies fully within the core of the debate at the Paris Congress. I believe this debate is necessary. Socialism would be threatened more by an inability to respond to change than by adapting to it, although it clearly can be a subject of debate. [...]
For most of our member parties, the political struggle continues to be defined in terms of the differences between left and right, between progressive and conservative forces. We know where we stand.
There are other debates, centred on the past. The Socialist International has always been on the side of democracy, of human rights, of the rule of law. It has forever led the fight against inequality and worked for the development of the Welfare State, notably in Europe. We should be proud of our history in support of freedom and our struggle for equality.
In reality, our debate centres on modernism.
I believe socialism is undoubtedly modern. But I do not believe that modernity must necessarily be socialist.
Let us be quite clear. There is a modernity we all share.
- Yes, we believe that the market economy, that is to say open competition, is in itself a generally efficient instrument for the creation of wealth, a stimulus to private initiative and a reward for work and effort.
- Yes, we agree that the left is not, in principle, in favour of excessive growth in public expenditure but should be rather more attentive in ensuring efficiency.
- Yes, we consider the left should be interested both in the new technologies and in the new businesses of today.
- Yes, we know the left finds its support not only among the more deprived and the working class but also within the middle classes which participate in their diverse ways in growth and progress.
In short, the Socialist International should not refrain from going beyond the concept of redistribution of wealth but must also be involved in its creation.
Nonetheless, I am fully of the opinion that true modernism does not simply end here.
To recognise the merits of the market economy does not mean accepting its growth without constraints: that is the meaning of Lionel Jospin's formula 'yes to a market economy, no to a market society'. All goods and services are not, and neither should they be, simple merchandise: in our view work, culture, education and health are not trading goods.
A recognition of the merits of the market economy also does not imply our acceptance of its unregulated development: today's modernism actually lies in devising new regulations.
This holds at international level, by way of a single example.
In the field of trade, we need transparent institutions and social as well as environmental regulations: therein lies the challenge that awaits future negotiations at the WTO.
In the financial area, we need to fight banking and fiscal paradises, off-shore centres or speculative funds.
In the economic area, we must coordinate our policies so as to encourage growth, development and progress.
Indeed, the SI has submitted proposals along these lines: the reform of the role played by the IMF and the World Bank, a reduction - partially accomplished - of the debt accrued by the poorest countries, a consolidation of the UN's role and the creation, within the UN, of an Economic Security Council.
But true modernism goes still further.
True modernism means struggling in defence of growth without inequalities. We must never resign ourselves to a world in which the assets held by a few hundred individuals are larger than the annual income of almost half the world's population.
We must not simply accept a world in which several hundred million men and women live in the direst poverty, lacking food and water. On the dawn of the twenty-first century we refuse to let this situation continue.
For this reason we have come together within the Socialist International. For this same reason we are convinced that modernism lies not in a passive stance, but rather in the exercise of will.
A will for political action, the will of citizens, of those militants directly involved in the struggle towards a world more fair and just and a more humane society.
Dear comrades, henceforth you face an absorbing challenge, that of offering every human being those conditions and opportunities for development that will allow them a free choice on their future. Democratic socialism has placed the human being and shaping the destiny of humankind at the heart of its work.
A rejection of the workings of fate, of misery, of injustice, of oppression, of fundamentalism of any sort, has through the years defined our identity, and comprise the foundation of our values. They have all transcended our struggle, thus providing a universal nature to our identity.
Tomorrow, when I leave the presidency of the Socialist International, I will quote León Blum's words from 1941, written in the darkest depths of horror, and drawn from his great work ‘A l’échelle humaine’: 'When man is confused and loses heart, he need only think of Humanity'.
First Secretary of the Socialist Party of France
It is for my party and for myself an immense honour to welcome the Congress of the Socialist International here to Paris, which is not only a great gathering of progressive forces, but the only political movement organised and structured on a worldwide scale. The last time such an event was held in France was in 1900. Jean Jaurès represented my party and I admit following him is not easy. But what a path has been covered in a century by our Socialist International, whose strength has been considerably reinforced in these last years.
I would like to pay tribute to the role of Pierre Mauroy who, since 1992, has made our organisation more open, with forty members joining us, while remaining firm to our principles, as democracy must be the first rule in our parties and also in our countries when we assume power.
I also wish to congratulate Dolors Renau for her election to the presidency of Socialist International Women which reminds us of the needs for professional equality and parity in political bodies, including our own. It is true there is still much to do.
Our International, despite its more than venerable age, 110 years, has never flourished so well: more than 140 parties and organisations belong to it on every continent. And a great number of us play a major role in the government of our countries.
The decade which is ending has allowed the socialist movement to obtain undoubted successes. Pierre Mauroy recalled them: The fall of the Berlin wall which finally put an end to the confrontation we had to communism in its totalitarian version; Apartheid has at last ended in South Africa and it is with pride that we welcome here today Nelson Mandela’s ANC; In the Middle East, peace is returning, thanks to the victory of our friends in the Israeli Labour Party and it is with joy that we will hear Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat on this Congress platform tomorrow, confirming that they are together in the same international organisation; In Europe, we have registered a number of great electoral victories which have changed the political and above all the economic circumstances in our Union of fifteen nations; And this socialist wave is beginning now to spread elsewhere, notably in Latin America, with the victory of our friend de la Rúa and with hopes for Tabaré Vázquez and Ricardo Lagos.
The dynamic nature of our International, our electoral success, our presence in important places of power, clearly confirm the well-founded choices which remain ours, but they also place us before our own responsibilities.
Since we have become by our union a major political player in the world on the question of globalisation it is incumbent on us to translate our ideas concretely into reality, so that politics and democracy remain meaningful.
This Congress, our Congress, must be one where we rehabilitate politics. The socialist movement is not just a doctrine or a critique of capitalism, however justified. It is not a protest or resistance; it is a will to shape our common destiny.
We must therefore accept collectively, and this will be the objective of our Congress, three challenges for the world.
The first is that of globalisation itself.
Felipe González in the remarkable report he has written for our Congress has pointed to the intensity of the changes which are taking place before our eyes.
The technological revolution, notably that of information, added to the expansion of the market all over the planet, overturns the configuration of capitalism and the traditional forms of state intervention to control it. From that major consequences flow: the first is the changing size of the economic actors, the multinational companies; the second, the preponderant place of the financial economy; and there is also the growing uniformity of the modes of production, the modes of consumption and even of culture; added to this the deepening of inequalities in our countries and among our countries; with the rise also in significant risks to the environment and even to peace as we have seen in recent months; in this context everyone has realised the loss of effectiveness of nation states without the international institutions being able to make up for this.
These therefore are the stakes: the number of ruptures on the one hand and the need to fix rules, forms of regulation in order to gain mastery over this new age of capitalism.
We have to make at this century’s end the same effort of intelligence and ambition that previous generations made in a different world, that of the industrial society.
The more the world becomes globalised, the more it has need of rules. They must be founded on our values: democracy, a mastering of the market, solidarity, the protection of the environment and cultural diversity.
Our role consists therefore in bringing these principles to all the international organisations.
And first and foremost to the UN whose legitimacy and missions must be strengthened; the recent crises, notably in Kosovo and in Timor have demonstrated that and have made this principle of "humanitarian intervention" prevail, which must now be in the forefront of our interventions. This supposes that the UN should permanently have at its disposal military means of intervention.
Likewise, we must actively support all that encourages an international system of justice allowing for punishment, and therefore the deterrence, of crimes against humanity, and we have a recent example with the case of Augusto Pinochet.
This will to regulate must equally be reinforced with regard to the international financial system. Everyone knows that there is no spontaneous balance achieved in markets. Everyone knows the wide-reaching effects of recent financial shocks and speculative bubbles. But we must ensure by our intervention a greater transparency, that prudent rules are applied, that fiscal havens are abolished, that international financial transactions are subject to taxes in order to limit speculative movements and introduce under the aegis of the UN an Economic Security Council whose task would be in fact to avert financial and monetary crises and to ensure coherence among the different national and international players.
Finally, regulation must focus on trade issues. The negotiations at the World Trade Organisation will be an important event. Socialists must demand that the fundamental rights of peoples be respected in a world which must undoubtedly become more open but which must, by its very balance, guarantee social rights, protect the environment, ensure food safety and preserve cultural identities.
Such is our mission in the current process of globalisation. To be militants of progress on a worldwide scale.
Chair of the Global Progress Commission
In New York the Congress did me the honour of making me the Chair of a Commission which we have called "Global Progress" after its principal idea. A Commission to debate the renewal of the ideas of the Socialist International in the face of the challenges of the new era.
The Commission has worked with fourteen people from various continents and with the support, I would point out, of the Secretariat, of the Presidency, and of the Parliamentary Socialist Group of the European Parliament. I have looked at Latin American, African, Asian, North American and, naturally, European realities in regional meetings but also in thematic meetings on concrete problems and challenges, with people from our organisation, but also with intellectuals, experts, the business community, technology experts and with those heading international financial organisations, and so on.
The fruit of these debates is summarised, it is almost sad to say, on a CD rom. An enormous worldwide debate captured on this little revolutionary instrument. This is what has been distributed, respecting what has strictly been the work of the Commission, but also allowing me the opportunity to participate in other fora which have personally enriched me, not being strictly fora of our family, or if you prefer, of our ideological tribe.
From the start I undertook to give a global dimension to this debate, taking into account the make-up of the Socialist International, with its impressive growth during the terms in office of Willy Brandt and Pierre Mauroy, as well as the size of the problems to be tackled.
The summary, therefore, reflects the opinion of people bearing responsibilities in various regions, with different identities and with equally differing priorities. We have to take into account that the challenges facing what we call emerging countries, or what we consider countries plunged into poverty and on the margins of this globalisation, are of a scope and a gravity much greater than those which are faced by highly developed countries, such as those of Europe.
If I had to give you just one conclusion from the experience I have had of chairing the Global Progress Commission, I would say to you, echoing Willy Brandt, that we have the best opportunity in the history of our International, the best in our history of already one hundred years.
This International of democratic socialism is today more than ever the instrument to take on the challenges of the technological revolution, of the globalisation of information, of the economy, of finance, of environmental problems, of the flows of migrants, of the full incorporation of women, of security, and of peace. All international challenges as never before; all generating a growing interdependence as never before.
Since our birth at the dawn of the first Industrial Revolution, we wanted a movement which would project our values universally. Now the Technological Revolution which shortens time and distance in communications between human beings, allows problems of food production to be solved, and disease and the erosion of the ecosystem to be combated, taken with the disappearance of the communist model, puts into our hands, in your hands, under our responsibility, the humanist, progressive response to this change of era. Our original reason for being, comrades, is today more possible than ever because the challenges have become worldwide and interdependent and the instruments to address them can and must be so too.
If the reviled job of politics has any use it is precisely to harness the impressive technological advance that is taking place for the betterment of the living conditions of human beings, men and women, young and old. No other human task can be a substitute for it, although we must bring in all those who want to work with us for the same objectives, be they from the worlds of culture, economy, research, non-governmental organisations, or from a civic commitment to the community.
The Declaration, that is going to be submitted for your deliberation, claims the central role of politics on the local, national, regional or global levels. After an analysis of the challenges and opportunities that the new era offers, the response must be based on politics more than ever.
Whether that be to guarantee a new international order of peace and security that substitutes forceful confrontation between cultures and national identities with dialogue, accepting the values of others, exchanging experiences and demanding respect for universal human rights, it must come from politics.
Whether it be to seek rules of governability in the face of the financial crises which continue to occur with dramatic consequences for the countries affected and with the risk of the contagion of the whole world’s financial system or of seeking new equilibrium in trade flows and spread of technology, we will need to have a political response.
Whether it be to guarantee a social dimension to the global economy in each nation and among different territories.
Whether it be to incorporate women in all levels of responsibility which we must share equally.
Whether it be to improve the conditions of the ecosystem and preserve biodiversity.
Whether it be to find humanitarian responses to the flow of migrants or to combat hunger, ill-health and lack of skills.
We are talking of values for a human being which demand a political response. A mere market response is not just insufficient, it is unimaginable.
And within the political response this organisation carries at its core the principles to ensure this answer is one of humanism and solidarity and increased justice and freedom for men and women in all corners of the planet.
In the Declaration that we are going to discuss we are working for all these objectives firmly and with the conviction that we will agree on responses that are more human, but also more sustainable in the face of global challenges.
The Declaration contains, furthermore, a proposal of a way of working to continue the task, if you agree, starting with a platform that develops this global orientation, at the beginning of the year 2000, including coherent regional responses from Africa, Latin America, Europe and other regions of the world, with their priorities in a coherent global platform.
To this we must add the contribution of women, as well as the proposal specifically about the incorporation of women in the tasks of progress and development in the twenty-first century.
I suggest, finally, that we work on the theme of cultural identity and the challenges of globalisation because I believe that there lies the key to peace in the next century. Within each one of our nations whose cultures and identities are ever more diverse and among the different nations of the planet.
I suggest that we advance in the study of the flow of migrants and that we bring our ideas up-to-date on the environment and the new technologies which could help to preserve it in the future.
If we do so, we will achieve a coherence and strength which will allow us to respond to the hopes of so many people who look towards this old and new social democratic movement that the International represents.
The method of open debate has been very useful, but in the changing reality we live in, this debate has to continue.
Prime Minister of France
Democratic socialism remains a fertile idea for the new world we live in.
On the eve of the twenty-first century, in spite of, and perhaps also because of its interrogations, social democracy commands attention for the strength of its values, the timely nature of the questions it is asking and the answers it proposes to the problems of the world. Therein lies its modernity.
While it is no longer a system, socialism is a set of values, a vision of History, a culture.
The twentieth century was the century of systems and ideologies. Some contained within themselves the negation of human dignity. Others were a murderous perversion of a sincere idea, and ended up in a totalitarian system. These systems crushed the values. Their ideologies stifled the ideas. Those times are past. I am not sorry. I see in that neither "the end of History" nor the end of politics. I see the possibility of a renewal of ideas, of a regeneration of the political struggle.
As a system, clearly, socialism no longer exists. And to start with, as a system of production. As far as the creation of wealth and the allocation of resources is concerned, the superiority of the market over centralised planning has clearly been demonstrated. But we must not as a consequence turn the market into a value. The market is an instrument, an efficient and precious one. But it is only an instrument. It needs to be regulated. It must remain at the service of society. In itself, the market creates neither meaning, nor direction, nor project.
For us, the market - even regulated, even controlled - does not eliminate the demands of the social contract. It is the society of citizens which, through discussion, through political action and through democracy establishes itself and chooses its values and its course. We refuse the merchandisation of societies. Health is not a merchandise. The works of the mind are not merchandise. The work of men is not merchandise. The natural environment is not merchandise, a store we can draw on without limit.
Likewise socialism is no more a doctrinal system. The claim to be a scientific explanation of the world was affirmed by Marxism, before disappearing. But socialism was there before Marxism. It remains, for millions of women and men, a political and ethical horizon. At the same time we must rediscover the useful side of the method of Marxism: the critical analysis of social realities, and therefore of capitalism. We must continue to think through capitalism, in order to challenge it, to control it and to reform it.
Socialism is no longer a doctrinal system but democratic socialism seeks answers to the most essential aspirations of women and men. Social justice, individual development, collective control of their destiny.
We are, dear comrades, the most capable of meeting the fundamental issues of the new world.
The world has changed and will continue to change. But it is people who change it. And we can perfectly well continue to understand it, and control it, if we want to. Present changes should not intimidate us or disarm us. True, we live in times of technological revolutions. But this is not the first time. Electricity, the telephone, the aeroplane: each of these inventions caused a major upheaval. The same thing is true today, even if changes change...
The fact remains that this world has its own particular characteristics. It is more open, but also more unstable. The globalisation of trade of all kinds accelerates the production of wealth; it also increases inequalities, among economies and within each of them. It increases possibilities open to individuals, but it also exposes them to new risks.
These changes lead us to question ourselves about our identity.
This is normal. Socialism has always been a questioning. To be a socialist is to refuse to accept things as they are, set in the so-called "nature of things".
Our internal debates are not only legitimate, but necessary. Socialism has been debating since its existence. This Congress is still providing proof of this. And so much the better. As I see it, this is a sign of the vitality of our thinking and of the fraternity that is ours.
Each of our movements seeks modernity, in their own ways. With their references. With their national history. With their political culture. Which is as it should be.
I would like to share with you my conviction that democratic socialism is modern, because its values are adapted to the questions posed by the modem world.
Globalisation? What better answer can there be than being internationalist and defending universal principles. Present day individualism? Our humanistic approach, mindful of the development of the person, takes it on board. Attachment to the community? It can find support in our desire to preserve collective identities and to give greater depth to citizenship. Concern for efficiency? This is in line with our will to organise and regulate. The need to dream? It lies at the heart of our desire for progress, enlightened by our references to utopia.
All these values, which are aspects of modernity, are constituent parts of our political identity.
To be socialist is to think and act on a world scale. To be socialist is to be internationalist. It is to lean on the strengths and richness of nations, and also of the international organisations, in order to master the problems of the world. Gathered together in an International, sharing the same values, we have learnt to place ourselves at that level, without losing sight of the history of each of our peoples. Also the Socialist International is this place able to welcome in its midst Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, both of whom I warmly salute, and the ANC, who, with Nelson Mandela, defeated apartheid and established democracy in South Africa.
To be socialist is to feel permanently challenged by the problems of the world. Hence our engagement, with force when necessary, in the service of the law, of peace, of human dignity, as in Kosovo and East Timor. That is why, in international bodies, my Government defends a demanding vision of international society.
To be socialist is to work for more organisation and regulation.
For us, globalisation cannot be reduced to free trade in goods or services. For us, globalisation is the realisation that humanity has a common destiny. It is the quest for solidarity among the actors of a unified world. Globalisation implies taking into account and protecting cultural diversity; social demands which guarantee that by work one can live with dignity; environmental standards mindful of the needs of future generations.
Chair of the Social Democratic Party and Chancellor of Germany
First and foremost I would like to apologise that I will not be able to be with you for long, the reason being that I shall meet with Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin this afternoon, as you were just informed, for the celebrations in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is no doubt that without the policies and the very personality of Gorbachev, a reunification of Germany would not have been possible and therefore neither the unity of Europe. I think that we are greatly indebted to him and you will no doubt understand why I have to leave the Congress earlier than planned.
Not just Mikhail Gorbachev but also the men and women of the former GDR brought about the fall of the Wall with great courage and conviction in a peaceful revolution. The desire for freedom and their demands for democratic and social rights proved to be stronger than a system of state oppression. More than any other day, this day - 9 November — symbolises the process of German and European unification following half a century of division.[…]
I will start by stating that we, the member parties of the Socialist International, share the basic values that have traditionally united us and continue to do so in today’s realities; but we do differ in the way in which we translate these values into practical policies in our countries. This was true when Willy Brandt was president of the Socialist International, and it will continue to be true in the future, I believe. Because social democracy and democratic socialism are not dogmatic doctrines. Differences in the historical development of our parties and differences in terms of the political, social and economic conditions which prevail in our countries have brought about a variety of national approaches and methods of political action. And it is precisely this, in my view, which has made us so successful worldwide. This diversity is not a weakness but a strength and we are proud of this, and rightly so.
What are the issues that concern the SPD and myself here at this Congress and beyond? Dear friends, they are our common values.
"Freedom and social justice, solidarity and responsibility: these are the values that our policies are based upon". This is part of a motion that will be put forward by the SPD executive at the Berlin national party convention, and will no doubt be passed.
"We still feel committed to liberty, equality and fraternity — the three principles of the French revolution." This is a statement taken from the paper drafted by our French friends in the context of the social democratic programme debate.
"Fairness and social justice, liberty and equality of opportunity, solidarity and responsibility to others — these values are timeless. Social democracy will never sacrifice them". This is not written down in the Godesberger programme nor in a political programme, but forms the central part of the document that Tony Blair and I published in June this year.
All of us could add countless other quotations to these admittedly European examples. Because one thing seems to be absolutely clear - and there is thankfully no argument amongst us - that our common values will continue to apply in the twenty-first century without qualification. Our values are neither obsolete nor outdated. But we have to keep reviewing the instruments that we want to use in order to make our values prevail whenever there is a radical change in conditions.
On this basis, we have to reform our society, our economy after sixteen years of conservative government that brought nothing but stagnation to our country and its people. And in a quick changing world, and Lionel mentioned the key issues, stagnation means falling behind. We cannot afford this in the interest of our country and its people, but as one of the strong economies of Europe and indeed of the world we cannot afford this in the interest of solidarity with others. […]
We want Europe to be a market, but not just a market. Europe has to grow into an area not just of economic interaction, but also of social and cultural interaction. This is why together with our fifteen partners in the European Union we work tirelessly so that Europe does not end at the eastern frontier of Germany or the western frontier of Poland. This is also the lesson from the Kosovo crisis and its still unsolved consequences that we are duty bound to integrate all reform-minded Eastern European countries as swiftly as it is possible for us and them into the European Union. This is for political and economic reasons and especially in order to secure the peaceful development of the continent.
In addition to which, at the G8 summit in Cologne, we were able to show that we do not only speak or think internationally but we also act in the international spirit. Under our presidency, and I am very grateful to Lionel Jospin for mentioning this, we have secured debt cancellation in favour of the poorest countries against considerable opposition, albeit perhaps not far reaching enough but nevertheless it is respectable. And I am extremely grateful to the French government for having not only promised, but actively provided its support from the beginning.
Perhaps, dear friends, this shows that we attach great importance as German social democrats to the reform of our country in the way described, in order to prepare it for the next century. But that we are not just concerned about ourselves, not at all: we want to make a contribution as European Germans, as German Europeans, to ensure that this continent can present itself as economically efficient and socially fair and could become a European model for a middle way between the Manchester capitalism on the one hand and the exploitation, I think especially of Asia in this context, of the many by the few, on the other.
Under the leadership of social democrats and democratic socialists we might create a European model which in the next millennium could set an example for others. I sincerely wish for this and I hope that the SI, that we all, can make a contribution to this debate.
Leader of the British Labour Party and Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
My friends, this gathering of the Socialist International comes at a very important time, because there is a debate underway rightly about how we progress in the future. And that debate about the left is in my view this: whether we are able to set out a vision for the left that can combine our traditional emphasis on social justice with the necessities of the new economy of the twenty-first century; whether, in other words, we can stand for fairness and for enterprise together. My case is that we can and that we must. What is more, we have an extraordinary opportunity to renew our base of support amongst the people, because globalisation means that we need international solidarity more than ever and it means that we will only succeed economically today if we succeed socially and we can win the economic as well as the social battle for the future.[...]
Some will talk of social democracy, some of democratic socialism. Some of the centre left, some simply of the left. What I say is it is the debate itself that is important, not the labels. So what is this debate?
In reality the debate today is no longer about whether we modernise but about how and how fast we can do it. My case is straightforward. We must stay true to our values but we have to re-discover fundamental radicalism in applying those values to the modern world and jettison outdated doctrine and dogma that stands in our way. And I do believe that in history the left will always win when it stands not just for justice but when it catches the future as well. And we must take on therefore forces of conservatism, left and right, who resist change that is necessary. We are modernisers but for a purpose: to create a society of fairness and enterprise for all.
Now my friends, I believe that the key to changing the world lies in first understanding it. I am constantly struck by the sheer pace, scale and force of change: economic, technological and social. Global financial markets that move with frightening rapidity as we saw last year in the Asian crisis. Technology that means our children’s lives are already light years away from our own youth. We estimate for example that in this new economy around two-thirds of the new jobs, certainly in developed countries, will require computer literacy. Whole industries will come and go and be re-shaped. Many more people will work in small businesses. We are going to work, shop, communicate and learn in a completely different way. And then with that economic change, comes the social change. Ask any of our citizens the big issue in their society, I bet they will say, virtually whatever country is represented here today, it is crime and the link between crime and drugs: there is a sense of loss of community identity; family instability and breakdown. There are huge changes taking place in culture and art and the new digital revolution, those changes will only accentuate.
It is going to get faster in the next ten years, probably than in the last ten years.
So our task is how do we cope with this change: do we resist it - which is often the gut instinct of the old left - and the danger there is we become conservatives of the left, protecting vested interests and bureaucracies and old ways of working, protecting them often in the name of social justice but actually if we fail to adapt, sometimes causing injustice.
Or secondly, we can let change just happen, laissez-faire. That is the doctrine of the right today. And, as ever if we take that course we will help the few to prosperity at the expense of the many.
What I have called the third way, but in reality is simply a modernised social democracy, is that we on the left and centre-left, we become the champions of change, managing change in a way that overcomes insecurity and liberates people, equipping them to survive and prosper in this new world.
Why is that true to the roots of the left and centre-left? For this reason, because as managers of this change, we believe in a role for the collective, for people together, whether through Government, through the local community or informal and formal methods of solidarity. Because we cannot manage this change or equip our people for it unless we do it together, unless we do it in partnership. And so what we are about therefore is setting out a new role for Government, for collective action, for solidarity - not as a controller, but as an enabler. Our goal is empowerment. It is using the power of all to advance the power of each. Not uniformity; but putting it within the power of each of us to fulfil our true potential.
And I believe that we can do so today, with one great advantage denied our predecessors. The third way is not about splitting the difference between conservatives and social democrats, it is about modernising social democracy in a way that liberates the potential of every individual. Now we on the left have always fought for "opportunity for all" on grounds of social justice. But now, in this modern world, we can do so for reasons of economic necessity as well. Because today in our countries it is human capital, not land or machinery or physical capital that is economically vital. If we waste the talent of any one person, we waste the talent of the nation. Unemployment is of course morally wrong but it is also today economically inefficient. Ignorance and poor education are of course morally wrong but they are also a barrier to wealth today. So we can put our values into operation in a new world which actually is reinforcing the arguments of the left, because today fairness and enterprise, social justice and economic efficiency go together.
But we can only do this and make that message a reality if we are prepared to tear down the barriers that hold people back. And if we have learnt one thing from the twentieth century - and how wonderful it is to see here today representatives from Eastern Europe, from countries that were in dictatorship before and are now democracies - how wonderful it is to see you here, but if we have learnt one thing from the twentieth century, it is this: yes, those barriers holding people back can be the vested interests of capital hoarded in the hands of a few; but they can also be the vested interests of bureaucracy and the state also. So wherever these forces of reaction and conservatism, left or right, impede human progress and potential, we have got to be the ones with the courage to overcome them.
Fernando de la Rúa
President-elect of Argentina
I am here now as President-elect of my country. I am fully committed to Latin America, to Central America, to the Caribbean and to the entire region. We are aware of a reality ever more complex and distressing.
We are here now also as full members of this International. I would like to highlight the diligent and committed work of President Mauroy, who opened the International to the developing countries, giving a clear sign of geographic plurality, which is so important today when the balance between public and private forces no longer exists. Enterprises and markets have changed that dimension, the State and the political parties have not changed and confronted with this imbalance, it becomes necessary to develop our strength, building also a global space for politics.
In this framework, the influence of the International in terms of equality and solidarity is fundamental. Collective solidarity and individual responsibility in a world where figures are very alarming, 1.3 billion people live on less than $1 per day, 110 million of these people live in Latin America. There are 850 million people who are undernourished, 500 million chronically malnourished, 200 million children who are malnourished. One billion illiterate people in the world. Due to lack of proper healthcare systems, 17 million people die every year of curable diseases.
Faced with this situation we need to act because the answer is not to be found in the market. If we find answers in the political message, we need to take concrete action to have a fairer world and more solidarity in this world.
Latin America is a region full of imbalances and it wants to take part in development and progress. Recently I met with President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to reaffirm our common will to give more capacity to the Mercosur and to extend this economic community to other countries of Latin America. In this way Latin America can carry weight and have a presence allowing it to take its place and to defend the rights of their peoples.
This principle of collective solidarity and individual responsibility should be extended, I think, to the international level. There are new players in the world. The multinationals which operate in a different way. The mobility of capitals which is such that finances dominate our daily reality. The need to avoid speculative movements and the importance that international institutions support development and progress. And that in countries with a sense of individual responsibility, just as people must, the States must be the guarantors of fairness and responsibility in the administration of the finances and of respecting the ethical values of politics. This is fundamental for the fight against corruption and will bring a clear austerity to such measures.
In Argentina, I have drawn up a policy which coincides with some of the things that have been said here. I defined it as a ‘new way’, this concept of the ‘third way’ had not been disseminated in the world yet. The ‘new way’ meant to unite social and economic development and, moreover, it means that we need to reaffirm that there is no durable economic growth without social development. To have real economic development, for it to be sustainable, it is necessary to affirm policies to extend education and health policies, and to fight actively against poverty. Active policies for employment on the part of the State, for developing small and medium-sized enterprises, for defending competition of the market so that everyone can produce and work.
The ‘new way’ means that we have to leave behind the old schemes of the absent State, of making savings by cutting the funds for social programmes, abandoning social issues, handing everything to the market forces, as if they were a deity who will solve everything.
We believe in a State which is responsible, active. A State for the people. A State which takes care of competition in the market but still defends social equality as a base for development and which defends furthermore the ethics of politics which are necessary to engender the political dimension based on the trust of our people. The people do not believe in politics when there is corruption, when there are lies, when there is indifference, when the politics is only serving itself. The commitment of politics is to be at the service of the dignity of human beings.
In Latin America, I repeat, we want to be part of a world which will be more egalitarian and for this we are asking not for help but for rights. We want to be part of a freer and more open world trade and I hope that the meetings of the World Trade Organisation and the policies of States will gradually do away with decisions that lead to discrimination or to exclusion, such as agricultural subsidies. The principles of a world of solidarity and fairness must be translated into actions. When discrimination exists the ones who are stronger impose the rules and this results in less healthcare for our children, more exclusion for our people, more poverty for a sub-continent already suffering the consequences of discrimination.
Argentina is, at this point, opened to everyone. It has defined its electoral process in the spirit of change, for solidarity and equality, to defend peace in the world. To this effect we will take part in peace missions under the auspices of the United Nations. The defence of human rights, women’s equality, defence of the children, the disabled and the elderly. And the defence of the implicit principles on the international agenda: the environment, the fight against drug trafficking, against terrorism, against the new forms of racial hatred, neo-racism, that we see looming on the horizon, and the fight against hunger, exclusion and poverty.
I want to finish, dear delegates, telling you that this is the new way that we are beginning in my country. Economic development is only possible if we have social development, access to employment, improvement of the health and education systems, if we fight against poverty and exclusion, and help the disabled, the poor and the most vulnerable.
This is the concept of equity and solidarity which inspires this meeting and which must be reflected in effective programmes of political action, with a State able to undertake the task of remedying these imbalances.
Convinced of the mobilising power of ideas, I would like to finish by stressing the need to think in universal terms. Each one of our countries has its own public agenda. But, if we share the same values and strive to make them a reality, we must identify the tools that are required in the present historical circumstances for the defence of human dignity.
This is how I understand the profound message of this Congress, the struggle of the International and the cause of our forces who have entrusted us with the responsibility of government.
Leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister of the Netherlands
Democratic socialism is saying its farewell to the twentieth century and the circumstances are utterly different from those when our Socialist International was founded. Never before have so many social democratic parties taken part in government in Europe and beyond. Never before have we been so interdependent - our economies, our politics, our cultures.
We live in an era of progress and great opportunities, though not without risks. We live in an era of globalisation and increasing integration and cooperation. We cannot shut our eyes however to the fragmentation that is also taking place. Fragmentation within regions and countries not participating in the global economy, and with people marginalised within society. Preventing and combating exclusion must be our primary task at all levels, nationally and internationally.
Our future lies in encouraging participation by countries, by social groups and by individuals in the many endeavours before us. Opportunities are offered by modern technologies and also by communication technology. An economy based on these technologies offers great potential for meaningful employment and higher quality services. To unleash this potential we have to ensure widespread access to skills and knowledge. The best possible education for everyone, access to information, tailor made training and structural labour market reforms, these are the new roads to equal opportunity and individual emancipation.
Our political contribution is indispensable to achieve this. In Europe we have chosen the path of shared sovereignty. Politics of shared responsibility in shaping a common future. The people of the European Union member states have come a long way since the ravages of the Second World War. In the years to come we will witness the enlargement of the European Union. The ideal of an undivided, democratic and peaceful Europe is drawing ever closer.
In the Netherlands, the social democratic movement has proven it can take on the task of renewing and reinforcing the welfare state, by restoring the balance. The balance between the rights and duties of citizens, the balance between public services and room for private initiatives. The balance also between collective solidarity and individual responsibility.
Crucial is in my view the combination of economic strength and social cohesion. Because empowerment is a fundamental task of our politics. To give the people the power to make their own choices and give direction to their own lives.
This is also our guideline internationally. If people in developing countries are to be freed from poverty and oppression, we must also assume our responsibilities across borders. Three issues are at stake here: opening our markets, international finance and good governance. At the WTO negotiations for example, we Europeans can fulfil our responsibilities to developing countries by opening our markets to them and creating better opportunities for trade. The architecture of international finance must be improved and enhanced. Banks and other financial institutions must be held responsible for respecting rules and regulations set by central banks and governments. At the international level the IMF should be better equipped to support central banks and governments in all countries in these tasks. Good governance is an essential condition for economic development, social cohesion and individual opportunity. The demands a modern society makes on the quality of its government are high, governments must provide education, healthcare, safe streets, law enforcement, high quality infrastructures and protecting the environment. Governments must regulate and work with the private sector. In less developed countries these demands are more urgent and more difficult to meet.
A global market is not the same thing as a global society. International solidarity remains essential between all parts of the world, especially with regard to those lagging behind. In Africa for example, a continent of diversity, where democratisation and development contend with grave difficulties and human tragedy, the very consequences of globalisation threaten to push Africa even further into the margins. Concerned partners in Europe and all over the world must ensure that this does not happen. Just as the twentieth century was the age of decolonialisation, the twenty-first will be the age of globalisation. Africa must share fully in the benefits. We need solidarity based on empowerment and development.
President of the Democrats of the Left and Prime Minister of Italy
Ten years ago with the fall of the Berlin Wall, a long post-war period came to an end. Many believed that those events marked the 'end of History', 'the end of Politics' and so ‘the end of the Left’. But this was not the case, that breakthrough liberated millions of people from oppressive regimes and gave back to the groupings of socialist, progressive and democratic forces a perspective of unity that the Cold War had blocked for many years.
In different continents, the Socialist International was able to extend to forces, movements and parties that had different histories and identities. The end of global confrontation enabled the democratic left to go as far as areas which during the course of the twentieth century its values had hitherto not penetrated with such momentum and the radicalism of those times.
This Congress is a sign of a major success, but also of a great responsibility.
We are faced by globalisation and the challenges it brings and in this context we are the only major global political movement. We are the only, or at least the main, opportunity for politics, for organised women and men to guide development and to find a response to contradictions, to direct modernisation in the service of human beings, their rights and needs.
That is why being proud of our results so far achieved is not enough. That is why we should be able to face courageously the challenge of current problems, of the search for new answers, new frontiers, for new, courageous points of contact among different cultures and experiences.
Just consider the ways in which in the course of these years, and dramatically in recent months, human rights have been at the forefront of our concerns in the world arena. Coming into conflict with the principle of national sovereignty, that for many years was a pillar of world order. We felt the dramatic nature of this conflict and yet we understood that faced with the need of protecting the most basic rights of peoples, the old rules of international law were no longer valid.
Certainly such a strategy does raise the crucial issue of who decides. Which institutions? And where is international legitimacy and rule of law located? These are new major problems and I think the Socialist International should have the courage to clearly say that it is possible nowadays to develop an international rule of law. This is a concrete objective, a concrete perspective that we should fight for - not a utopia.
Of course this does require international institutions with powers, resources and the necessary means to perform the task of guaranteeing human rights and international legality. So strengthening the sovereignty of international bodies is a condition for crisis prevention and avoiding the dangers of permanent tension and conflict.
Certainly this requires such bodies, starting from the United Nations, to be reformed and reinforced so that they can gain full legitimacy. At the same time it is fundamental that political, economic instruments, not just military means, are reaffirmed, because that is what is needed to solve the root causes of conflict. In short what is needed is to disseminate a common culture and will towards crisis prevention and defence of the values of human rights and democracy.
Here is where politics recovers its central role.
Because today we do have the historical and political conditions for a global agreement of the values and principles of international law and of a new world order.
The Cold War did not just split the world into two military blocs, but there was also a split in terms of principles as well. East and West had different founding values.
The end of that world has enabled us to think and act on the basis of common values and principles. Hence we now have the possibility of a synthesis between the values of freedom and democracy, and those of equality and solidarity.
This is a radical change, a different way to see the problems of the planet and the way to solve them. This is not to be translated into a sole model of society - quite the opposite, globalisation should not force cultural, historical and religious differences into uniformity, they exist and represent a form of wealth. Starting from the most basic of differences, that of gender.
In the course of the century women were the protagonists of a unique and extraordinary battle for liberation. Today in many parts of the world women are now fighting to assert democracy and equality of rights against age-old abuses and discrimination.
So the challenge for us is to ensure that the values which world politics are united on are the values of the democratic left, the progressive values of social justice, of solidarity, of defending and valuing the environment, of coexistence and tolerance among different religious, ethnic and national groupings.
On this basis then each entity will tackle the problems of globalisation, finding the solution that is best suited to them.
For us Europeans, there is above all the challenge of competition, the global market and the need to renew a welfare system which is now more cumbersome and less capable of responding to the needs of the weakest.
On the contrary in Africa, in so many parts of the south of the planet, the problem is certainly not to reform the welfare system - they have never had a welfare system there. The problem is laying the foundations, ensuring the right to healthcare, to education, to employment, to welfare protection.
So there are different problems and priorities, but we have a same basic vision. Keeping united the values of democracy, a dynamic economy, social cohesion and solidarity. That is the frontier of globalisation.
We cannot forget that the neo-liberal revolution won in Europe in the eighties and in the United States because the majority of citizens were convinced that social and welfare rights were an obstacle to modernisation and development.
It is up to us to show that a dynamic economy can coexist with a modern system of social and welfare rights, open to new generations, to women and to the poor. A system that does not just defend the historical achievements of the world of labour but expands further.
In such a framework the role of Europe will be essential. A fundamental issue is understanding what is our responsibility in this process. The responsibility of European socialists and labour. Behind the creation of a single currency, of a common Parliament and government, there is a heritage of civilisation that the historical left was able to consolidate.
Our responsibility not only vis-à-vis Europe but in the world is that of supporting and guiding the process of European unity. But the condition to perform this task is the unity of European socialism.
Leader of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement and Prime Minister of Greece
There is a feeling of perplexity and self-doubt among democratic socialists. The question that occupies many is this: in what sense do we the democratic socialists and the conservative liberals differ? Our macroeconomic policies have these common themes. The central policy reference is in both camps the market. The "line in the sand" that used to distinguish capitalists from socialists - state ownership of the means of production - no longer has much relevance. Income redistribution policies such as tax policies are hard to convey, inspire little and their impact is not particularly evident. "Third ways" are applied in different countries, in a different way. The differences between the "flexible and effective state" and the "weak liberal state" are to most citizens hard to discern.
Despite all this there is still a very fundamental difference between social democrats/socialists and neo-liberal conservatives. The latter are for unregulated competition which, both on the national and global level, creates growing inequalities and social disorganisation; whereas the former are for the type of regulated competition which combines economic productivity with social solidarity. It is precisely this difference - the extent of competition, the rules of the competition, the aims of the competition - which may enable democratic socialists to pursue effectively a set of goals which concern directly all citizens - goals such as the deepening of democracy and the improvement of the quality of life.
In order to promote our values of liberty, equality and social solidarity, we now need to focus the confrontation with conservatives also to other domains and other topics, beyond economic issues, to issues that are nevertheless defining for citizens and freedoms.
A first domain of concern is that of institutions, of democracy and politics, those functions of society, that promote and ensure participation and freedom.
It is a well-known fact to all of us that the behaviour and reactions of an ever-larger segment of the population are increasingly determined by mass media. Public opinion is to a large extent managed and guided. What is our response to this phenomenon? Uncertain and hesitant. The concentration of power is steadily increasing and democracy is in danger of becoming just an ornamental cover for an authoritarian society whose protagonists are not democratically accountable.
Another much-discussed issue is civil society. The central element of a civil society is the link between individual initiative and collective responsibility. Citizens are today increasingly free but also increasingly irresponsible towards others and towards society as a whole. The behaviour of citizens depends on the way that the education system, and society at large, deals with individualism, solidarity, and social work. The ideology of individualism continues to dominate and dictates that social responsibility is a weight to be jettisoned in order to succeed socially and professionally. The humanitarian ideology of socialism plays second fiddle in shaping our society.
The education system is an important tool for establishing freedoms and reversing existing balances. After decades of government by socialist parties social barriers continue to endure. They are the result of how open to all children or restricted the education process is, and the result of the quality of schools and teachers. They are also the direct result of the extent to which we are willing to confront corporatist mentalities and attitudes that attempt to precondition and "freeze" life in a given framework.
A second domain to which we must turn is that of the quality of life, the quality of our rights, the extent to which both the human and the physical environment in which we live advances our values and especially advances human development. There are many counter-examples here. Some result from the fact that an increasing number of fields of human endeavor fall under the prerogatives of the market and thereby profit becomes a defining factor in human relationship even where it did not use to be. Violence on TV ensures better ratings. Violence also sells more children's toys. As a result our children not only get used to violence but also seek it in the real world. We stand hesitantly in front of such phenomena.
We also stand hesitantly in front of phenomena that relate to the protection of consumers, the protection of our health. Whether mad cows represent a danger, whether industrial oils can be used in stockbreeding are questions that were largely debated on the basis of whether they involved gains or losses for companies and economies. Our citizens feel unprotected because the voice of reason that demands absolute protection with no compromises is seldom heard by those responsible.
I have drawn these examples from our daily lives. There are others that relate to important characteristics of the world we live in. Our cultural identity, our cultural behavior, the image and understanding that we have through culture is becoming homogeneous, restrictive, and identical in an increasing number of countries. Globalisation opens up new opportunities for many but also destroys or pushes towards oblivion cultural elements that express the sensitivities of some. But for us socialists, bringing out the distinctiveness of people was and continues to be an element of freedom.
First Secretary of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces and Prime Minister of Morocco
Our country, Morocco, like other developing countries, faces a double challenge.
On the one hand we must continue to act to resolve the classic problems of development, notably in the spheres of the fight against poverty and exclusion, illiteracy, education, health and basic infrastructure.
On the other hand we want to take our place in the new society of the twenty-first century. We are determined to build it with women. To this effect our Government has drawn up a national plan for the integration of women in social and economic development.
Socialists must therefore bring a vision of sustainable development within globalisation and the information and knowledge society. For our part, we want to contribute fully to this new vision.
We reaffirm firstly that development and democracy are objectives which are indissociably bound together.
We must then continue to clarify the links between the market and the State in a society of justice, solidarity and progress. We rely on the mechanisms of the market economy to spur productive activity and generate growth and employment. We consider that the private sector and national and international private investment are fundamental vectors of economic growth.
Thus we say no to the administered economy but equally we say no to doctrinaire neo-liberalism. Socialism must deepen the relationship between the individual and the collective in a vision which rests on democracy, freedom, solidarity and responsibility.
In this framework we think that the State has four fundamental functions: strategic anticipation; economic and social impetus; regulation; and, social cohesion. So the State in its role as strategic vector allows, within a framework of dialogue and partnership, the preparation and execution of strategies for durable development in the society of the twenty-first century. The State, as a force for impetus, urges and encourages those areas and sectors which have economic and social responsibility. The State as regulator guarantees a clear and stable environment for the social and economic players. Lastly, the State as guarantor of social cohesion sees to preventing any break between those who can take their place in the new society and those who risk being excluded from it.
This society of solidarity demands an international environment which is more balanced in regard to North-South relations and a fairer and more humane world.
If the establishment of large regional groupings has had important effects, they still need to be reinforced and consolidated, notably in the countries of the South.
A more just world entails the relief of the burden of debt on the countries of the South and an increase in their role in international trade and the world economy. In this context, socialists must be vigilant to ensure that people’s fundamental interests are respected in the "Millennium Round" of the World Trade Organisation. A new world, a world that is more stable but less unequal and more committed to solidarity calls for a new framework of global regulation, which means the reform and reinforcement of international institutions to that end.
In this spirit, a controlled globalisation committed to progress is not limited to the expansion of free-trade areas and to the laws of the market. It needs a renewed concept of international relations based on cooperation, partnership and co-development. At this stage, we believe it is necessary to seriously relaunch the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, along the lines of the Barcelona Conference.
More globally, socialists must promote at a regional and world level, a new vision of hope, tolerance, peace, opening and exchange between peoples at all levels.
In this framework, we reaffirm our support to the peace process in the Middle East with the full implementation of the Oslo accords and the right of the Palestinian people to a national state.
Our constant commitment to democratisation and the fundamental reference in our action to the ideals and values of socialism gives the Moroccan socialist experience the character of a pluralist, socialist project in the context of a developing country which is at once of the Maghreb, Arab and African.
This political project has driven the evolution of Moroccan society as well as enriching this dynamic on different levels: the progressive growing of democratic needs and culture; the consolidation of democracy with the deepening of the role of institutions, parties, trade unions and other players in society; the strengthening of civil society; what has been gained in terms of human rights.
Likewise, our social and economic project has opted from the beginning, since our first experience in government in the fifties under the late lamented First Secretary Abderrahim Boubahid, for economic and social pluralism.
Today and keeping faithful to these principles, our project has the dual ambition of quickening the development of our society and placing it in a balanced and controlled way into the society of the twenty-first century, that of globalisation, information and knowledge.
We know that is not easy but we have the firm conviction that the maturity of Moroccan society and the will of Moroccan people and its youth allow us to rise to these challenges and start a process of structural reform that would enable us to satisfy the ambitions of our people in an efficient and rapid dynamic of development that is marked by solidarity.
Dear comrades, it is for all these reasons that after forty years in opposition we responded to the call of His Majesty, the late Hassan II, and we chose a process of alternation as a necessary phase of transition for our country.
Today this choice has been solemnly confirmed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in the first speech inaugurating his reign.
We are proud to have participated in a constitutional and peaceful succession, in a framework of stability, of internal consensus and exterior support.
We are working for convergence between the will of a young, socially-minded King; the ambition of the Moroccan people for change, development and progress; and the active engagement of our socialist party and other national forces for democracy and progress. This convergence is the key to building a modern and democratic Morocco of the twenty-first century, incorporated in its Maghreb, Arab, African, Euro-Mediterranean and global environment.
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
President of the African Party for Solidarity and Justice and Prime Minister of Mali
For us Africans, the SI is first and foremost a meeting place of hearts and human solidarity befitting humanity. Which is why I would like to call in the most friendly way on our European friends.
I must say that with our friends play such an important role in Europe today, with thirteen governments out of fifteen led by social democrats, we would have hoped for much better than has been directed to us.
We gather together to work for our common destiny - you and we clearly sharing conviviality and solidarity we all well understand.
The Africa holding out its begging bowl is no more. The Africa which is here is an Africa on its feet, dignified and free. She asks for solidarity and sharing. She wishes to be treated on equal human footing. She asks that the questions which worry her and trouble her peoples today be considered by our European friends as significant and important.
That is why when our friend François Hollande said his wish that the Lomé agreements be safeguarded, we applauded.
At the time of the Georges Town accords in 1975, Africa hoped for a qualitative change in international relations, particularly those between North and South, and between the European Union and Africa.
The successive Lomé conventions likewise confirmed our conviction that our key products could find access to the European markets in dignified circumstances for the efforts of our citizens.
Dear friends, alas today, with the WTO and what is going to happen in the near future, that is seriously called into question. And we do not have very strong signs of commitment of our European friends in that regard.
It is, I must say, a source of much concern for us. If we now have to question today the sugar protocol, or banana protocol, that will have very grave consequences for our country people. And we simply call for justice with regard to this.
We consider that the Socialist International is an effective place for real, sincere, frank dialogue so that together we agree to put in place that which will allow us to arrive at a better world for the human race, at the service of the human race and by the effort of the human race.
And I cannot come here today without saying that on the matter of human rights and the very fate of humanity, Africa must ask questions of itself. We sometimes have piles of human corpses floating down our rivers, and nobody is moved by this at all. It is left to the OAU to deal with… this cannot be so, comrades! When we talk of humane interventions, there also, African lives too are a matter of interest on a human level. It is quite right that on this issue too we ask ourselves certain questions.
At the Council in Buenos Aires we were clearly convinced by the arguments put forward by our European friends, notably D’Alema regarding Kosovo. But we would like to have an equal interest in the crises which shake Africa, often violently, with the consequences of genocide and massacres of populations. These things all limit our hard efforts towards development and mortgage the future of our people and our continent. It is not admissible that the SI does not look at such questions and does not help us to find solutions.
I do believe we are in a deeply humane forum. This has been said. Social democracy for us is first and foremost this: humanism at its most fruitful, at its most giving, and we must bring this to African daily lives. Today, unhappily, with regard to the Lomé agreements, I am worried.
On the question of the payment of debt I am also a little in the dark. As you know, comrades, we are told, "Manage your economies better" and we do. "Good government", and we set about it. "Democracy" and it is effective and real in many of our countries today. Free and democratic elections, good economic management and macro-economic stability are assured, but nevertheless what we have to pay every year to service our debt discourages us entirely.
The environment. I come from a country of the Sahel, Mali, which has borne the full brunt of ongoing drought. We are worried as well about what is happening in our forests. Deforestation and the lack of concern for our environmental situation, the protection of our water resources, are also of clear concern to us. We would like a more sustained consideration of those issues.
We were really heartened this morning when, in a cry from the heart, Jospin said, "No market society" and we applauded. For it seems that today the project at the heart of socialist is in question. If we are not careful, if together we do not come to a modus vivendi, comrades, so that today more than yesterday, here I paraphrase Paul Faure, and less than tomorrow the SI does not see with us, us Africans what are the real problems, our preoccupations, that you see on the ground instead of the reports which are sent to you, often curtailed, so that we see together, concretely, what has to be done to help Africa. For Africa is not seeking charity. She is not holding out her begging bowl. She wants to go forward with dignity, upright, with human solidarity.
Leader of the Israeli Labour Party and Prime Minister of Israel
I come to you today from the Middle East - the cradle of western culture and civilisation, but also a region, which for many centuries has seen religious wars and ethnic strife.
I come to you from Jerusalem as the representative of a people which, thousands of years ago, has given the world the basic values of social justice, equality and solidarity.
I speak to you as the elected Prime Minister of a nation which, just 55 years ago, stood on the brink of total annihilation, and has since succeeded in turning its ancient homeland into a success story of a modern, thriving state.
For generations our nation has yearned for peace, guided by the ancient Biblical decree of: "Seek peace and pursue it."
For decades we dreamed of peace and fought for peace.
We might be now on the verge of achieving it.
It is with you my friends, that I would like to share the latest developments in the peace process and our thoughts on the critical stages ahead of us.
I believe that we are at an historic turning point and that most people in the region want to overcome the frustration and sense of hopelessness that have fed the flames of war.
They want to achieve the blessings of peace and prosperity. They want to raise children who will go to school, not to war, and who will compete on the football field rather than on the battlefield.
I was elected by the people of Israel, in a resounding vote of confidence, in order to inject new life and momentum into the dormant peace process and, together with my partner Chairman Arafat, and hopefully in the future with President Assad, bring about a just and comprehensive peace with all our neighbours.
To describe my agenda, I will quote Pierre Mendes-France who said, soon after becoming prime minister in the early fifties: "My first objective, which absorbs all my time, is the settlement of war, which caused suffering to us all. My priority is peace."
Indeed, Israel is determined to pursue peace, simultaneously, on all tracks — Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese.
We are aware of the demands and concerns of our partners in the process.
And we understand that peace does not spring out of a sudden high tide of love, but it is rather an act of fair compromise between opponents.
Courageous leadership must have clarity of vision; the wisdom to realise that neither side will achieve everything; and the inner strength to make fateful decisions.
Such decisions were taken by my predecessors - the late Yitzhak Rabin, of blessed memory, and Shimon Peres, whom I would like to salute here today.
All people must realise that peacemaking means a shift from a zero-sum game, whereby one party's gain is the other's loss, to a win-win game, whereby both parties stand to reap the dividends of peace.
I say to our Palestinian partners: We are committed to working with your leadership, under Chairman Arafat, in partnership and respect to jointly arrive at a fair settlement for co-existence in peace and security.
The separation we seek from the Palestinians is only political because "good fences make good neighbours", but this does not mean disengagement.
On the contrary, economic cooperation between us must and will continue.
Both separation and cooperation are essential for peace.
From here I call upon President Assad - a determined and courageous leader who shaped modern Syria: the "door of opportunity" for peace of the brave is open today; one does not know for how long.
The time of decision has come.
Let us march together through that door and make decisions, as painful as they are, for the sake of the children of both people.
My government is guided by the vision of peace and security and is ready to make the required difficult choices.
Our region is still characterised by extreme fundamentalism, by the danger of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue regimes, and by terrorism, which was manifested just two days ago in Netanya - Israel.
Nevertheless, on the basis of sober realism, we are ready to take calculated risks for peace, as long as they do not jeopardise Israel's vital interests.
I spent most of my adult life in uniform, and I have seen more than enough war for one lifetime.
We soldiers know that the most complicated peace is preferable to the simplest war.
The international community can play an important role in promoting peace.
It can create a supportive environment; it can bring the parties closer to each other; and above all - it must offer substantial assistance to the implementation and consolidation of the peace agreements that the parties arrive at.
Peace and security are closely linked to prosperity and personal wellbeing.
We attach great importance to the economic growth and progress of our Palestinian and our other neighbours. The economies of the Middle East are thirsty for investments.
Regional projects have a tremendous impact on the peace process and the future of the region, and I would like to thank the international community and the donors for their generous assistance.
The international community has a vested interest in achieving Arab-Israeli peace agreements.
Peace in the Middle East will enhance peace in other regions of the world.
As Léon Blum taught us: "No government can remain stable in an unstable world."
The crisis in Kosovo showed us how local conflicts can deeply endanger European and global security and stability.
Moreover, a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict will send a message of hope and optimism to all other conflict-stricken parts of the world, and no one could say that their conflict is insoluble.
Arab-Israeli peace will consolidate pragmatic regimes and weaken radical states; it will make it more secure for oil to flow from the Middle East to Europe and Japan; it will enhance the stability of former Soviet Central Asia; and it will facilitate the struggle against international terrorism.
It is easier to promote peace in a region dominated by social-democratic ideals and by the principle of social solidarity.
Such ideals enhance tolerance, tranquillity and stability.
The world would be a better and more stable place if and when social democracy comes to prevail in more and more parts of the globe.
As the Bible says: "Kindness and truth have met, justice and peace have converged.
The twentieth century is coming to an end.
It has embodied revolutionary progress in science and technology alongside the most horrible two world wars and the Holocaust, which brought the world to the brink of total destruction.
Humanity has reached the moon, and the internet turned the world into a global village; but one quarter of the world's population lives on one euro per day, and the environment is in constant danger of destruction.
All of us gathered here believe that solidarity goes beyond borders and it is interconnected with peace.
The French writer Jules Renard said the "socialism must come down from the brain and reach the heart".
And the Israeli writer Amos Oz wrote that "peace starts and ends in the hearts of human beings".
We must shape together the vision of the world we will leave to our children.
We must ensure that they enter the new millennium without the fear of war, terror, hunger and disease, and with the expectation of new horizons and promising opportunities.
I believe that it is our duty — world leaders — to rise to the challenge and turn this vision into a reality, by paving the way and leading our people to the common destination of peace, security and prosperity.
Only then will the messianic vision of our prophets be realised: "They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid".
Let us hope and pray that we see this day come in our lifetime.
Chair of Fatah and President of the Palestinian Authority
The Socialist International is a truly universal organisation, a truly international family of peace and justice-loving men and women, and we are proud to be part of it. Our Palestinian people are quite confident that the Socialist International, with its principles and its values, will continue to support their march towards the realisation of their right to self-determination and towards the establishment of the independent Palestinian State. The course of the negotiations that have just started between us and our Israeli neighbours must be crowned by real peace, the peace of the brave for both peoples and for the region as a whole.
This XXI Congress takes place on the eve of the twenty-first century. The century that now comes to a close has been one of unprecedented bloodshed, the like of which had not been witnessed in the whole of human history, even though it was also a century characterised by great scientific progress and space discoveries, as well as considerable developments in the field of information and communication, developments that exceed, by hundreds of times, the achievements of the human race throughout its long history.
Today I would like to reflect with you upon three important paradoxes witnessed by my generation: the first is the great change that has taken place in international relations: the motion away from the equation shaped by the Cold War, the certainty that the old world has lived and the establishment of a new world order.
Secondly, the century now coming to a close has been one of national liberation for so many peoples throughout the world: we have seen with our eyes the rise and fall of apartheid in South Africa, while our Palestinian Arab people are still knocking on the door of international legality, striving to exercise their inalienable rights, recognised by the world through the resolutions of the United Nations, the declarations and statements of the international community, and the agreements signed in the wake of the Madrid Peace Conference, and to overcome the historical and human oppression inflicted upon them.
The third paradox consists in the resurgence of Europe after the Second World War, which was engineered by two great statesmen - Konrad Adenauer and Charles De Gaulle. These two leaders worked to make Germany the backbone of progress in Europe, and as a result, Germany has indeed become a major economic and political power. But it had also set a precedent in international relations, and the model of a just peace as a basis for coexistence between peoples.
Dear friends, the major interrogation facing statesmen in the Middle East as they prepare to enter the next millennium is the following: As we enter the twenty-first century, has the process of reconciliation in the Middle East become a stable reality, on the basis of which the area is being transformed? Is our region moving surely towards peace, security, cooperation and coexistence between our two peoples and all the peoples and states of the region, as was agreed in the Madrid Conference, in conformity with international legality and UN resolutions?
The answer to this question could be totally affirmative if the coming generations of Arabs and Israelis are committed to see to it that the logic of peace replaces the logic of war, that the logic of justice replaces that of domination and injustice, and if the logic of democracy replaces that of authoritarianism. In other words, yes, provided that the logic of a just and comprehensive peace prevails in the region.
For more than a quarter of a century, the Socialist International has contributed a lot to lay the foundations of a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and in the region as a whole, on the basis of UN Resolutions 242, 338 and 425, the principle of Land for Peace, and the recognition of the need for partnership in shaping the future; on the basis of the realisation of the mutual interests of both parties, and upholding the language of peace because it is the only strategic option.
Today, on behalf of our Palestinian people, I call upon the present leaders of the Socialist International, who will undoubtedly play a role in the coming twenty-first century, to keep on supporting this effort, and to keep on mobilising its forces in order to make just peace a reality. Just peace starts with the recognition of the independent and sovereign Palestinian State, and continues with the solution of the pending issues: settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, borders and water, in accordance with international law and with the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference.
International legality is the reference for any just peace, and international legality is both indivisible and equally binding for all and everywhere; international legality is pivotal in the search for a just and comprehensive peace. Even more so if we talk about historical reconciliation. We do not demand absolute justice, which does not exist in this world. We aspire, however, to that real world justice which consists in equality, fairness and equity; because without that measure of justice, peace will not strike roots among the peoples. And this we must keep in mind when we prepare to devise a just solution for the problem of Palestinian refugees, in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194. This is what I understand what my partner-in-peace, the late Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, did when we exchanged letters and accepted a compromise solution based on international legality as embodied in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, which call upon Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, in return for peace and security. These resolutions stipulate the exchange of Land for Peace, while stating the "inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by war". There can therefore be no unilateral annexation of any portion of Palestinian territory and this equally applies to Holy Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to the Latrun area and to the southern shores of the Gaza Strip, or whatever other areas evoked in the Israeli media.
The principle of a just peace contradicts the continued existence of settlements erected in order to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State, and to undermine the geographical integrity of the Palestinian territory. Is there any country in the world in which there are settlements not under its sovereignty?
The Likud government of Menahem Begin dismantled the settlements erected in the occupied Egyptian territories, and now the Barak government envisages dismantling the settlements erected on the Golan Heights. Nothing except the logic of injustice can legitimise the continued existence of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. It has become a crucial necessity to stop all settlement activities in the Palestinian territory, totally and not selectively. For settlements are not only illegal, and a breach of international law; they are destructive to the peace process itself.
We and the Arabs have welcomed Ehud Barak’s victory in the Israeli elections because he declared his commitment to peace, and said he would walk in the footsteps of the late leader Yitzhak Rabin on the way to the Peace of Brave. Both peoples must coexist and elaborate true partnership in the shadow of comprehensive peace in the region, on all the Arab, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese tracks. A new state of peace in the Middle East, for our children and for the next generations.
Mr. Barak has declared his support for the Peace of the Brave. We saw he also had the courage to express his sorrow for the pain and suffering which the Palestinian people has endured over a period of time longer than any other people in history, and has accepted to search for ways of coexistence and partnership between the two peoples. We welcome the victory of Mr. Barak in the last Israeli elections, we congratulate him for the confidence of those Israeli voters who aspire to peace, and hope the rest of the Israelis will rally them.
Minister for Regional Cooperation, Israel
Permit me to say a personal word. For me it is a very moving occasion to see my successor Ehud Barak taking the lead in the process of peace. I can say personally that for me nothing will succeed more than my successor and I do hope that he will succeed both in the post and in the process.
And then to see my dear friend Yasser Arafat at the head table, let me say one word about it. The State of Israel exists 53 years, 47 years Arafat was our bitter enemy, and we were his bitter opponents. It is not a simple occasion to meet today for the last six years as friends and as partners without bloodshed, sharing the same hopes, trying to find solutions to the same problems and wishing the Palestinians a real success in the future.
Then I cannot forget the role the Socialist International has played in bringing peace to the Middle East. Men like Willy Brandt. What I can say about Willy Brandt is that he was the first leader that has convinced us that in the human body the heart resides on the left side, not on the right side.
And then a man like Kreisky who played a role not only in bringing the Palestinians and us together, but also in bringing the Egyptians and us together, Olof Palme, and Mario Soares, and Peña Gomez, when I looked at this group of people, I could not forget the description of Jean Jaurès about socialism, he called it the 'cavalerie humaine' - the human cavalry - a group of people who are galloping to fulfil human needs and human hopes. One of his successors, Mitterrand, said that history is like a galloping horse, when the horse passes nearby your home you can either mount it and gallop with the horse, otherwise the horse will continue to gallop and you will remain at home.
I see this group of people, and they try to convince us, the Israelis, before me, Yitzhak Rabin, with me, that the Palestinians can become a partner. For us it was very difficult to believe, it looked like it was totally impossible and it took a long time - maybe too long a time - to understand that we share the same fortune, the same future. We came to the Socialist International and decided to put an end to our rule over the Palestinians. We were not born to dominate another people. We do not want to dominate other people and for us the freedom of the Palestinians is a value like our own freedom. We are the same people.
Each of us had to negotiate with agonies and blood and disappointments, so this you must understand is one of the great achievements of the social democratic system. I think social democracy also brought an end or at least a bridge between south and north, between men and women, between different continents and different approaches.
I must also add that nowadays because the world became one world, and a transparent world, with television that everybody can watch almost everything in every corner the nature of war and the nature of peace has been changed considerably. The nature of war - it is very hard today for a democratic country to conduct a war, the mothers who watch the television and see blood stains on television would not permit their leadership to go to war.
The same goes for peace, there is no more room for just a diplomatic peace, wars are for generals, diplomacy for politicians, but the people would not like to see bloodshed and they would like to see that peace produces real fruits, there must be a peace that has an economic base and content. People must feel that peace is not just to enhance the glory of their leaders, but to answer the needs of the people.
So today when we are negotiating, I see that there are many problems that remain to be solved. We are negotiating not because we are in full agreement, but because we are in full agreement to negotiate. And we have to negotiate things that we did not agree yet, but I am sure that we can and we shall find consensus, concessions and compromise to make the peace full.
But on the other hand I am sure that the peace will not hold water unless it will be a promise to all the people to have a better life, to have a richer life, to have a freer life, a real democracy. Today economy is based on science and scientifically you cannot lie. You can cheat only when you blind your people with dictatorship, when they open their eyes they want to see the real fruits of peace.
I started my career in France by trying to get guns for our security. Today I am standing in France, knowing deep in my heart that good neighbours are more important than good guns. And what we have now is to build a good neighbourhood.
Dear Pierre, I would like to turn to you, to our friends in Europe. Europe for socialism is what America is for democracy. A real power and a real hope. Today you have in Europe, many, most of the governments are run by socialist parties. What we would like to see is not just Europe that has socialist parties but a Europe that became socialistic itself. A Europe that carries a responsibility for a real change all other places not just in each of your countries.
General Secretary of the Nepali Congress Party
It gives me great pleasure to stand here and share my thoughts with you all who have gathered in this great city of Paris. It is very appropriate that we have held the XXI Congress of Socialist International here in Paris, a world capital of artists, writers and philosophers. Some two and a half centuries ago, somewhere in this city walked Jean Jacques Rousseau, father of the philosophy of democratic socialism. His proposition of freedom, equality, justice and fraternity inspired not only the revolution of 1789 in France - a turning point in human history - but also many other revolutions around the world. The ideals of democratic socialism have continued to inspire human beings even today, in fact, more so than ever before.
As we enter the twenty-first century, we leave a century behind us a century that was characterised by an unprecedented development in the fields of science and technology. We leave behind a century which was also marked by two World Wars with unbelievable human capacity to kill with weapons, including nuclear bombs. We also leave behind the conflicts and contradictions of extreme ideologies of communism and pure capitalism. Now it seems that we have come to realise that the middle path of democratic socialism is the noble path for humanity. The light of democratic social order is on the horizon.
At this juncture, I want to remember here together with you what the late B. P. Koirala (1914-1982) said at the Conference of the SI Asia Pacific Socialist Organisation, APSO, in Sydney in 1981. He said: "Socialism is the wave of the future". It was a prophetic statement. Today we see that the majority of the important European countries are being governed by the social democrats. What Europe thinks today, the rest of the world, including the United States of America, will think tomorrow.
There is no denying that freedom is a fundamental right of every human being. We believe that freedom and democracy are inseparable. Even the third world countries with low-level economies have embarked upon the democratic exercise. "Democracy is indispensable for development", said the late B. P. Koirala. In the 1970s and the 1980s, the intellectuals in the developed world did not seem to appreciate it. To them it sounded more idealistic rather than realistic. In the 1990s, however, the wave of democracy swept the world. Communism collapsed. Peoples rose up to assume their democratic rights whether someone appreciated it or not.
"Democratic socialists" or "social democrats" - whatever name we want to give ourselves, we have to remain vigilant about a few dangers - the dangers to democracy and social and economic justice. We have to be vigilant about the danger of nuclear proliferation. And, of course, we have to be vigilant about the threats of terrorism, small-scale conflicts and civil wars.
Democracy is not free from danger yet. It may still be threatened as in Pakistan. The events in Armenia are worrisome. In my own country Nepal, we host about a hundred thousand Bhutanese refugees who are denied the basic human rights and democratic freedom, and are forced out of the country by their government. Our comrade Aung San Su Kyi has been fighting a relentless struggle against the military junta of Myanmar, that blatantly ignores the people's mandate expressed in the general elections. It is not only the ambitious army generals who may threaten the democratic set-up. Inefficiency and corruption also corrode the democratic governments. Social democrats in Europe today have, therefore, a mission, that is to assist the third world democracies in running democratic governments in an efficient way to deliver the goods to the people.
Social and economic justice must be the primary agenda of social democrats not just within an individual country, but across the world. Poverty and social injustice are major non-military sources of threat to peace and security. So there can be no peace without the alleviation of poverty. If the principles of market economy are applied without human face, without any consideration for the poorest, the results may be the widening gap between the rich and the poor. In fact, that has been the case in the last decade. Increasing unemployment (and social security measures to meet the problem) may result in higher taxation and slowing down of economies. We may thus run into a vicious circle. Running after the fast-paced growth in our economies, we may leave the poor behind, and inadvertently fuel a social catastrophe.
Social democrats must also be cognisant of the increasing incidents of terrorism within and across the borders of the countries around the world. In my own country, the Maoist insurgency is engaged in terrorist activities while my party in the government is struggling to improve the living conditions of our people who have suffered centuries of injustice, poverty and deprivation. As we have resource constraints, and as we lack in expertise and experience, things may not improve overnight, but sincere efforts pay in the long run.
The ideals of democratic socialism may have been already realised to a great extent in Europe and other developed countries such as Japan. So the social democrats in the developed world may not have much to desire in terms of social justice as their societies have crossed the threshold of material development. But they have a mission in the underdeveloped third world. That is the mission of establishing a democratic social order. We can work together to carry out this mission. We need your solidarity in our efforts.
Ousmane Tanor Dieng
First Secretary of the Socialist Party of Senegal
The world is becoming a world-city which offers, thanks to modern communications systems, the same interpretation of the collective destiny.
We believe that socialism must not just adapt to this movement but that it must go along with it, anticipate it and direct it towards the realisation of its own ideals. Thus socialism must put forward a world citizenship anchored in the fundamental values of democracy. It is only if it listens to the citizen that twenty-first century socialism will be able to consolidate itself and renew itself while staying true to its calling. But it must not be lost sight of that the citizens, while remaining open to the world, generally want to stay rooted in their native soils.
Awareness of national, and even local, identity coexists with a global vision which tries, partly consciously, to make values, norms and behaviour uniform. This tendency, that globalisation brings with it, based on extolling strength and competition - as if they were ends in themselves and not simply means - could have a fatal effect on cultural identities, which are so precious in their diversity.
From now, in the coming century, one of the major tasks of international social democracy will be to show, by appropriate means, that the under the test of the historic future "there is no society which having adapted to new environments, never ceasing to be itself, that has not been enriched and strengthened".
Socialists must therefore prepare for the increasingly profound changes in the role and functioning of the State, in economic life, in the meaning of citizenship, in the relations between citizens in various countries, in culture; in short, in all human activities. Socialists will learn to drive these changes and to master them, while not renouncing in any of their countries what is a product of their history, an historic identity, neither that which is becoming a part of the same world history. We must therefore open up to the world while remaining rooted in the world, to paraphrase a famous phrase by President Léopold Sédar Senghor, founder of the PS in Senegal. [...]
By becoming more open, the Socialist International will be ever more active in the South, and especially towards black Africa, which must be helped to get rid of the crushing weight of debt. Because, as socialists, we believe that it is not possible to ensure the durability of a model of development, even a social democratic one, if we do not try to bring global solutions to global problems. Therefore, it is clear, that the Socialist International is better placed than any others to approach the great questions of humanity from a world view, by allying pragmatisim with the spirit of generosity, efficiency and humanism, and bringing the most humanely and socially acceptable solutions in accordance with its ideals. Therefore in the next century, the SI will fulfil its destiny while remaining faithful to its vocation.
President of Socialist International Women
Feminism is political because it is born out of the same liberation movement of men and women. Feminism is political because it has done much more for society than some political parties in the sense that it has made rights more universal. How would women’s right to vote come about if it had not been for feminism. How would social rights, the right to education, to universal benefits have come about without the feminist movement.
Therefore let us start thinking that there are no politics devoted to general themes and then there is feminism, rather that it is impossible to adopt left-wing politics without the thought of socialism feminism playing its full part.
We want to bring this knowledge and this strength of women to the designing of the world. We do not only want to make rights more general. We do not only want to make our contribution to that question. We want to say how the world of the future will be. How the cities will be. How we want work to be. How time is to be allocated. How families should be. This is what we women want. We want to be able to set priorities, in some areas in the same way as now, in other areas in different ways. And for that we obviously need the voice, the voice which we are now with some difficulty beginning to have, the voice which some of us privileged women can use, but which the majority of humankind has no possibility of making heard.
We know the hidden and invisible work of women. The work of care, which as the United Nations says, is fundamental, not only for the development of people, but also for economic development. One only has to read the United Nations report.
Therefore, I believe that faced with this situation of global progress, we must in fact intervene directly. We have begun to do so. I have begun to do so with this contribution that I believe has not only been well received but will also represent the beginning of a much closer collaboration.
Jaime Paz Zamora
Leader of the Revolutionary Left Movement, MIR-New Majority, and former President of Bolivia
Simply because globalisation in this world does make matters more complex and the challenges are even greater., it brings us what I would describe as neo-necessities. A new form of requirements that are not the same as those imposed by poverty today. Neo-necessities in the area of information; neo-necessities in the area of knowledge; neo-necessities in access to credit. And if we are not able to respond to those neo-necessities, we will witness what we can call neo-poverty.
Who will be the neo-poor in the process of globalisation of a developing country? If a poor person today is someone who does not have money to buy food, under globalisation, a poor person will be someone who does not have money to invest, because that person would be relegated to the margins of any development system. If the "pre-globalised poor person" today is someone who cannot read or write, the poor man of globalisation will be the person who does not have access to information systems to be able to compete in an open world.
Which is why I believe that this is a challenge, a very real challenge, we have before us and we must be aware of it within the Socialist International. Someone referred to what will happen at the Millennium Round of the WTO. The socialists who head thirteen out of the fifteen member countries of the European Union, can be defenders not only of their own European interests in Seattle, but can also be socialists making their voices heard so that the negotiations in Seattle of the World Trade Organisation are not just a new chain bringing slavery for us, making development in poor, underdeveloped and emerging countries faced with globalisation impossible.
That is what I wanted to say to this gathering, and by way of a conclusion, let me add that in Latin America, the region I come from, my country Bolivia, thankfully has experienced a very interesting phenomenon that leads us to really harbour hope. As the dictatorships ended in the 80s, governments were set up only to begin the process of installing democracy. However unfortunately access to democracy in Latin America coincided with the total triumph of neo-liberalism led by Thatcher and Reagan, which meant that our democracies were the transmission channel for neo-liberal policies which fell on Latin America and that Latin American people would perhaps run the risk of confusing democracy with neo-liberalism.
Today our peoples have suffered these past ten years from these privatising policies. Today they are turning to social democracy and have elected in Argentina Fernando de la Rúa, voted in Uruguay for Tabaré Vázquez, and they will elect Ricardo Lagos in Chile, Hipólito Mejía in Santo Domingo as well. They will no doubt, God willing, elect a democratic socialist party in Bolivia too in two years time, and so it is for the entire continent.
So global progress, a project for rich and poor countries, is an issue.The Prime Minister of Morocco used a concept: co-development as a condition. Together with cooperation I think this is an outstanding concept: co-development should be brought into social democratic thinking.
Chair of the Hungarian Socialist Party
Comrades, the Congress of the Socialist International could hardly find any topic which is more relevant today than global progress and the role of social democracy in the twenty-first century.
We have to find different solutions for different problems. In order to achieve the same fundamental goals, to put into practice our shared values. Our values are traditional but we have to apply them in a rapidly changing world. We cannot answer new questions with old fashioned formulas.
Comrades, one of the regions that has changed the most is certainly Central and Eastern Europe. Since 1989-1990, we have witnessed the fast transition from the one-party system to multi-party parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, the transition to a market economy and free market. Democracy prevails in the regions but there are some countries with aggressive right-wing governments with autocratic leaders that try to curtail the role of parliament, the opposition, the trades unions, the non-governmental organisations, and they try to dominate the media, changing press freedom to pressed freedom. The economy grows in most of the countries but in some countries there is stagnation; deficit in the budget, in foreign trade and in current account is growing. In countries where right-wing coalitions rule, the gap between rich and poor has widened. And a growing number of the people live either on minimum wage or in poverty.
Dear friends, there is no universal model of democratic socialism. There is no single social democratic way applicable in Central and Eastern Europe because we have a different legacy, we have different economic and social conditions, we have a different political culture from the countries of the EU. But we share the same values. The values and the principles of the international family of social democracy.
Leader of the Norwegian Labour Party
In my opinion, we have to focus on three areas that need modernisation more than any others. First of all, we have to replace the dogma of sovereignty of the nation state with the right of sovereignty for each individual. Secondly, we must change our perception as far as nuclear weapons are concerned. We must go from control to proven disarmament. Thirdly, we have to modernise world economy. Some believe it is modern to accept economic liberalism. That conception is obsolete. We believe that modernisation implies establishing a democratic counterweight to global market forces.
My first point is to strengthen the sovereignty of all individuals. We have to change the old consensus which is rooted in the Treaty of Westphalia, that is the blunt acceptance of the doctrine of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. The concept of what was internal yesterday cannot be the same tomorrow. We have already been changing in the right direction. Twice in the past seven months, a national government has gone to war against its own population. Serbia and Indonesia were halted by strong international reaction. And finally Kosovo and East Timor were detached from their control and taken over by the United Nations. The international community has established a new doctrine. A doctrine of humanitarian intervention. The UN Secretary-General has set up a general assembly study group to go into the subject and he hopes to get the Security Council involved in these discussions.
As social democrats, we should support the Secretary-General’s efforts to modernise sovereignty. The foundation of the United Nations in 1945 was based on a wish to avoid or stop conflicts between states. The responsibility for other generations should be to focus more on the needs and the rights of civilians who are not only the victims of wars but even the targets of warlords.
Let me move on to the threats represented by the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In the postwar period, we have been struggling to control the nuclear arms race. That period is now over and we should work for a comprehensive nuclear disarmament.
The world economy has also to be modernised. We are facing a paradox that while capitalism has become more and more global, we stick to national mechanisms for control. It is once again our task to tame the market. Now we have to do it on a global level. A group of young French businessmen wrote and I quote "we are convinced that unregulated capitalism will break down just as communism broke down" and we agree. We cannot turn the clock back and stop the free flow of capital but there are things we can do, measures to be taken. Today currency trade is totally unaffected by measures that have been introduced to regulate trade in goods and services. Nobel prize winner James Tobin has proposed scattering sand in the machinery of the super efficient currency trading by imposing a levy of 0.1 or 0.2 per cent on all such transactions. That is the equivalent of revenues of one hundred and sixty two three hundred and twenty billion US dollars a week. And the advantage is obvious. Many of the most speculative transactions will no longer be profitable. It will achieve increased stability and the revenues could be used to fund a stronger United Nations, and indeed we need a stronger United Nations.
General Secretary of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party
Our answer has to be a political one. Not just an economic one on the one hand, a cultural one on the other hand, a scientific or technological one if needed. We have to give a political answer. As the Declaration says, we have to govern governability. We have to place politics ahead of the economy. We have to obtain the fruits of the workings of an efficient system as the market economy, but we cannot yield to the decisons the market adopts and we have to impose our political will, our political action, our political capacity to put these changes at the service of human beings with the values that have always been those of democratic socialism.
These changes require a political answer based on solidarity, one of the values which has always defined our identity, and it must continue to do so in the future. A solidarity which leads us to propose the redistribution of wealth, of opportunities, but a redistribution which in the world we live in cannot ignore the dangers of passivity. The measures then to be taken, and we may be tempted to remain passive and not to be part of what is needed to be done given these changes.
We must have a balance between right and responsibilities. We must have a balance between active and passive policies which guarantee rights as effective rights of all citizens of the world. Rights to education, the right to housing, the right to health, the right to social welfare. But the protection and realisation of these rights must not stifle initiative, entrepreneurial spirit, our imagination which exist in our society and which must be put at the service of achieving the objectives that we have determined in a political arena.
We must continue to discuss in the midst of the Socialist International, in the framework of our debate on global progress, taking into account peoples, sectors, sensitivities which were not always included in the structures of our political organisations, of our parties. We want an open debate, a debate which is not an exclusive global debate, which does not only address the particular circumstances of each of our continents, of each of the regions of the world we come from: some from Latin America, others from Europe, others from Asia, or Africa. From these proposals of the Paris Declaration we must, starting with this Congress, turn a general platform of precise policies to be further worked on in the beginning of the year 2000 into reality. Platforms with concrete proposals for the characteristic situations on the Latin American continent, in the African countries and Asian countries, or any other zone in the world and of course in Europe will also be developed: we want to turn these proposals of the global progress debate into reality.
Lena Hjelm Wallén
Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden
We celebrate a decade of liberation and peace in Europe and in the world. A decade of liberation from totalitarian ideas and dictatorships. It started in Europe but transformed the world as a whole. True political freedom and human rights is becoming an undeniable norm.
For progress there is no credible alternative to democracy. Democracy does not by itself mean that all problems are solved. But for the first time ever, the majority of humankind can participate in building those societies. Can demand to be heard. Can assume the responsibility of citizenship. That is slowly and steadily making each society and the world a better place. The democratic process is of course not without setbacks. Learning from the mistakes and the ability to change course is however a great strength of democracy. Much remains to be done, but I believe that we have great reasons for hope as we come together here in Paris. [...]
I would like to stress the role of our parties. The ideological dialogue, the mutual support extended at party level. Again as social democrats, we stand at the forefront and have a particular responsibility. The European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity has proven to be a very successful way of working. Dialogue about crucial matters in an open mind. No automatic promise of political support but a readiness to cooperate when partners find each other. Coordination of scarce resources and pooling of knowledge all done in a non bureaucratic committed and easy going manner.
I also believe that the European Forum can serve as a model for cooperation dialogue in other parties and other continents if they want such a development. But of course it is a question of resources.
I would like to thank all involved in the European Forum activities. Parties, foundations, the PES, the PES parliamentary group and the SI. And most especially, Heinz Fischer, the President of the European Forum and Conny Fredriksson, the Secretary General, for the great work done.
I humbly accept the honourable duty to help carry on their work. I expect continued commitment from old and new partners in bringing the work forward and taking new challenges. There are many. Political reconstruction in the Balkans for reconciliation and peace. Political preparation for European union enlargement and the adjustment it will bring for both new and old EU members. Continued political management of the economic and social transformation to social market economies and Central and Eastern Europe. And that is not yet completed for large and vulnerable in each society.
Probably only social democrats who can bring the drama to a successful conclusion. The future is in our hands. We can’t afford missing anybody who would like to give a hand in that work.
Chair of the Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists
The European Union at this point in time cannot afford to live in isolation. We cannot surround ourselves with wars as would be the case for a fortress. As a first economic power, we have to have political, economic and social values as we proclaimed when democratic values appeared to be a luxury, set aside for a select club of developed capitalist countries, they are now a major factor for progress for mankind towards the end of the century. And what will start is the Millennium round and this should truly be comprehensive in nature based on justice and co-responsibility.
Willy Brandt drew our attention to this and it was entirely legitimate. To combat under-development and poverty one had to develop trade. But not just any trade. Not trade where neo-liberalism is not controlled, we should seek ways and means to establish standards that are mandatory and that are freely entered into by all members of the WTO. Our challenge at present is to supplement the present system with a system of guarantees for social rights and human rights, both male and female and the protection of the environment that are stronger and that guarantee sustainable development. And to do this we have to work in association. We have to form partnerships. Particularly with the poorest countries of the world to identify joint solutions.
Globalisation must be managed in such a manner as to put global challenges to progress. To make sure that trade is the machine that pulls us again. We need legal frameworks to make sure that social values, environmental values and cultural aspects are borne in mind. To this end we should draw attention to the fact that indeed the history of the European Union points to the fact that these markets have not appeared spontaneously. You have to patiently work, persevere in the management and organisation of such a civilised context.
President of the Party of European Socialists and Minister of Defence, Germany
I am speaking as a European, coming from Germany, and today on 9 November we remember that 81 years ago we founded our first democracy. It was destroyed because of the lack of economic and social security, because of the hopelessness of millions of unemployed and because of the upcoming xenophobia, hate and facism which was the result of that very difficult and dangerous situation in Germany.
That is our experience, our consequence and our vision too that in a peaceful world, we cannot and we will not accept a new upcoming of xenophobia, hate, nationalism or fascism. That is one element of comprehensive peace among nations that we do not accept any tendency of nationalism, xenophobia or even fascism.
And, on the very same day, 9 November, 61 years ago, the Nazi dictatorship started the pogroms, the so-called 'crystal night', the riots against the Jewish Germans. And one year later the darkness of the Second World War started.
Now on the very same 9 November we are remembering ten years ago the Wall broke down and that gives us the experience that change within history and change within choices and opportunities can develop very fast.
We have ended the unnatural division of Europe and included in that European unification process we were able to unify our own country. That was possible because in the years before, in the decades after the Second World War within the European and among the European nations, based on reconciliation, based on developing cooperation and based on friendship among nations, we were able to found a peaceful European continent. Combining historical experiences and our vision for the future. Fighting for human dignity and human rights, fighting for freedom and peace, fighting against nationalism, hate and xenophobia, we want to build a peaceful society in the whole of Europe, on our own continent, comprehensive development, based on a strong market economy and on high social and environmental standards, both belong together, a strong market economy is not against high social standards and high social standards are not against a strong market economy, they are both two pillars of one peaceful and comprehensive development for the future.
We share values and interests and that is our social democratic vision. That we are working within Europe for a society of dignity and freedom, combining economic strength, social justice and care for the future. And in that vision we are also working not only in developing our own continent, we are also part of the international development and we have already decided to support the global development and those political forces and parties within the Socialist International who are sharing our values and our interests, so that we are playing as Europeans, with our twenty member parties and with the governments we are leading, a global role as a partner for solidarity, comprehensive and peaceful development in Europe and all over the world.
Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, Northern Ireland
Our quarrel in Northern Ireland is one of the oldest in the world, it has lasted for now some three centuries. And the last thirty years were among the worst. One out of five hundred people was killed. One out of fifty was maimed or injured. But now at last we have peace on our streets and an agreement that will be the basis of future development. A development in which there will be no victory for either side, but respect for all.
But I have to say that the best influence for creating peace in our country was the European Union itself, by the European Union I am not talking about economics, I am talking about the fact that the European Union is the best example in the history of the world of conflict resolution. And therefore it is the duty of every area of conflict to study how it happened and to apply the principles. What I mean by that is very simple - the first half of this century we had two world wars, the worst of the history of the world. Who could have forecast that in the second half of this century those countries would be united in a European Union? And the French are still French, and the Germans are still German. European Union is the best example in the history of the world of conflict resolution, and for that reason all areas should study how it happened.
The principles of European union which achieved peace were number one: respect for difference. When you look at conflict no matter where it is, it is always about the same thing: it is about difference. Whether difference is your nationality, your race or your religion. And the answer to difference the peoples of Europe decided was not to fight about it but to respect it, because difference is an accident of birth. None of us chose to be born and therefore that accident of birth is not something we should fight about, it is something we should respect. Principle number one.
Number two. It created institutions which respected their differences - Council of Ministers, European Commission with representatives from all countries, and European parliament with representatives from all countries, institutions which respected the differences.
And thirdly, and most importantly, it created the circumstances where they worked together in their common interests, spilt their sweat and not their blood. And by doing that together broke down the barriers of centuries and the new Europe has evolved and is still evolving.
National Secretary of the Democrats of the Left, Italy
Winning the challenge of governing globalisation means equally for the left opening up to the future, viewing change positively and staking a claim on innovation.
The left cannot become a conservative force, fearing the future, resisting change, without ceasing to be the left, without betraying the very values that constitute its identity.
This is valid above all for our government programmes. In Europe - and not only here - we are faced with the challenge of promoting economic growth and full employment, without weakening the social state: that is to say a system of guarantees and protection that allow citizens to accept flexibility in work with the feeling that they are not alone, abandoned in moments of crisis or uncertainty.
We must remain faithful to that vision, which represents an important element of the left. A vision that Lionel Jospin summed up in a principle which we all share: "Yes to the market economy; No to the market society".
But remaining faithful to that vision means projecting it into the future in a dynamic, not static, way. It means assessing the situation frankly, including the changes taking place in work and the demographic structure of society.
It means engaging in the reform of social state and in the modernisation of structures and public services. It means investing in training, education, research, culture and human capital, aware that only in increasing the patrimony of knowledge and professional life of workers can we give them, especially the young, a future of opportunities and not one of uncertainty.
The building of a system of opportunity is the great idea which translates, in the twenty-first century, the sense of the struggle for equality.
That is to say, staking a claim in freedom, equally in the economic and social domains: freedom in terms of monopolies and corporations, the freedom of enterprise, of innovating, of projecting the future. To give oneself as a goal, as Tony Blair invited us to do, speaking to new forces, to new social layers, to new needs which are emerging in our changing society.
This is all valid for us, for our political forces, for the Socialist International.
We must advance on this path with courage and determination. Because socialism is no longer a dogma or a system, it is a constellation of values and a stake in the future.
Chair of the Mongolian Social Democratic Party and Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament
The unique feature of this Congress is the very fact of its gathering at the junction of the two millennia. As for the current millennium, its final century has been uniquely defined by two wars in human history which were truly global in their consequences. Our parents and grandparents witnessed colonialism, fascism, communism, ethnic cleansing and genocide etc.
One can truly say that this has been a century of atrocities in human history. But one can truly say it has been a century of great hopes of humankind, because look now at what we are. We and our children are experiencing in just a few short years these atrocities have given way to a better, more peaceful world. So let us recognise the truly transitional times we are in and let us not forget what sacrifices have been made to get us where we are now on the eve of the new millennium. We are leaving behind us all the harsh realities of a painful past but we cannot leave behind a memory of that past nor should we.
As representatives of those who have been eye-witnesses to the events that occurred by the end of this century, we are the most knowledgeable writers of the history of this age. Our best legacy will be to leave future generations with a clear understanding of our struggles, but also that they have an obligation to be ever vigilant in the protection of rights which have been won for them by our generation and the generation before us, for if they forget this they are doomed to repeat the failure of the past.
We are entering an age of the predominance of social justice in a humane society as foreseen by prominent thinkers two hundred years ago. We believe that the new millennium will be an era in which more humane societies will prevail and mankind will enter an epoch of further civilisation.
Social democratic ideas which were born in Europe are now being spread from South Africa to Mongolia. Today we face the challenges of a world entering a stage of globalisation: paradigms shift on a magnitude which the world has never seen. Who would have imagined ten years ago that a student in Paris could have a simultaneous conversation in real time with a student in a country town of Mongolia, exchanging information at almost no cost. These changes are truly amazing, but just like the industrial revolution early this century which brought cultural advancement but often at the price of unfair liberal practices which exploited workers. We must also recognise that the information age and the new technologies in science, education and social relations can only serve mankind if they are realised in the context of our social democratic ideal. In order to achieve this we must use the tools of globalisation to promote social democratic ideas.
Hocine Aït Ahmed
President of the Socialist Forces Front, Algeria
I would like to express to the Congress that your support to Algeria has been very precious. Precious because it has comforted Algerians who despaired of the massacres being met with almost general indifference. Precious because your support has also raised the hope that the SI and governments will play a greater role in the search for a peaceful outcome to a crisis that has lasted for more than seven years.
Numerous examples have shown, if there were need, that violence and war are not an inevitable outcome. They are even less a "historic necessity" for badly or little developed countries, or for countries undergoing plural transformation in political, cultural or linguistic terms.
Our organisation has often facilitated or shielded the first steps of rapprochement between adversaries. Do we need to remember here the numerous armed conflicts that have been resolved through dialogue and negotiation, while respecting pluralism? I will only cite the case of South Africa. In spite of hatred over many years, blacks and whites have come to a political compromise. This is the result of a political will.
Peace does not declare itself. It is built together and patiently; it requires the solidarity of all those who know that peace can ensure stability and lasting development.
Secretary General of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
Our parties, many of them in power, have great challenges ahead. The underdeveloped countries are permanently plagued with famine and misery, wars and disease, with AIDS particularly hitting above all the economically active population with serious repercussions on the already poor development of our countries.
As the separation of the world into two big antagonistic blocs came to an end ten years ago, there was a hope for the world to stop facing wars and direct both the enormous unexplored potentialities of nature and the great progress of science and technology in favour of human well-being. This turned out to be a dream which rapidly died away since the reality is far different. Countless conflicts are proliferating nowadays under the cover of ethnic, religious conflicts or of economic connotation, putting at risk the social order and international security.
There have even been attempts to re-design the world map, not respecting the principle of maintaining the borders emerged from national independences. The world mechanisms for the control of production and sale of weapons, nuclear or conventional, are increasingly fragile. International smuggling of both drugs and weapons, which in many cases become confused, is a nuisance that is of our common concern, and needs a combined action from our countries, with the United Nations expected to play a key role.
Leader of the Mauritius Labour Party and Prime Minister of Mauritius
With the end of this century, the end of communism and the end of Cold War many people had believed in the victory of capitalism over socialism, but it is clear that socialism will still be with us. If the values of socialism are true values they will persist as long as we fight for peace, democracy and social justice.
So it is incumbent upon us to play a major role which is ours on the world scene which we have to occupy: we have to be at the centre of the debate and push forward our ideas and values by remaining in solidarity with each other.
The second comment I have to make is about the Paris Declaration that we have approved, which emphasises globalisation but which should not take place detrimental to a number of countries which are less prepared to adjust to the new order. Globalisation means the end of the two blocs as we knew them, but perhaps the opening of a multipolar world which also means that the world regional groups will become ever more important, economic regional groups. This is why Mauritius is not only a member of SADC but also of other economic groups.
It also means the end of distance and that is a more open world, in which the weakest will become more vulnerable and in particular the small states. And we are saying this and repeating this that small states such as Mauritius are even more vulnerable with globalisation, but it is not enough to say that we want to make sure that the poorest countries not be left out.
It is also necessary for states to endeavour to adjust. This is not impossible, Mauritius is an example of this. We are one of the first in Africa although we are a small island in the ocean. So what we require, Mr President, dear friends, is not aid, assistance but a permanent endeavour to create the necessary environment for investments. Above all a stable and transparent macro economic environment is essential to global competition.
President of the Radical Social Democratic Party, Chile
According to the United Nations, in the last ten years, the difference between the rich and the poor countries has increased drastically. Globalisation has not helped in having a fair distribution of wealth. In spite of our efforts to put order into our national economies with adjustment policies and opening up of our markets, we only receive a lower part of world wealth.
In areas such as Latin America this situation has been reflected internally. The economic power is even more concentrated than before and we have more people who are excluded, marginalised. We do not have enough subsidies from the State for the under-privileged. These neo-liberal policies are such that these less privileged people will be in an even more dire situation in the future. These are distortions that occur in the social reality.
To this you have to add more facts, which have been appearing with the changes that have taken place in the world. The enormous significance of drug trafficking, which is not to be contested. This is increasing day after day and policies to combat drug trafficking do not find sufficient basis. The Latin American nations are doubly affected by this plague. The consumption affects all levels of society and leads to violence through the sales of drugs and their economies are being invaded by capital, which is included in the legal financial flows and introduces distortions in financial flows.
We also have more difficulties, which affect wide areas of the agriculture. As to the poor nations, particularly in Latin America, globalisation must be ruled by clear principles and must not be kept in the hands of those with more power.
Leader of the Social Democratic Party and Prime Minister of Finland
The task of the Socialist International is now different when we have all the continents with us, there is a real need to develop the International as an organisation. The SI brings undeniable value to the global community, our urgent task is to try and concentrate on certain fields of policy making and at the same time maintain the broad geographical coverage. One possibility is to organise the work of the SI on a regional basis, we have already got many SI sub-Committees which have done excellent work, but what we need to do is to find a more efficient model to prepare the work of these committees. It would be useful to investigate the possibilities of some kind of a model for regional cooperation, maybe along the lines of Samak, the joint committee of Nordic labour movements. That is we need regional organisations that can really support the parties participating, including parties which do not have the means to travel and participate at meetings. I think the future work of the SI is handled very well in the Congress report of the Secretary General.
Finland is currently holding the Presidency of the European Union. We have already had one summit, a special European Council in Tampere where we agreed on strengthening the Union's cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs. We took a decisive step towards the creation of a common European policy on asylum and immigration. Tampere also saw an agreement on practical measures to develop a genuine European area of justice. The fight against cross-border crime was the third major area where we decided to intensify our cooperation. The Presidency is now preparing the European Council meeting in December in Helsinki, the most important decision of the Helsinki Council will have implications for the future for all of Europe. There is political momentum that we need to keep in the enlargement process. The Finnish presidency will seek to ensure the encouragement of all candidate countries and provide evenhanded support for their efforts towards meeting the membership criteria. I am convinced that the recommendations published by the European Commission in October will allow the Helsinki European Council to reach decisions that will have a positive effect on the overall stability in Europe.
Elio Di Rupo
President of the Socialist Party, Belgium
We have an opportunity to seize.
There is no longer any doubt: the Socialist International constitutes the sole worldwide organisation capable of directing the economic and financial evolution that the world is undergoing;
The sole organisation capable of ensuring a better sharing of what is produced in the world;
The sole organisation capable of establishing more equal development on a global scale;
In short, the sole worldwide organisation capable of guaranteeing in the long-term stability and peace.
One of the great merits of our Congress is to pose clearly the question of envisaging globalisation in a totally different way. As Felipe González has indicated in his report, we have to be the architects of global progress, which goes well beyond globalisation limited to economy and finance.
We want to ensure a future which is more just and humane for our citizens.
Consequently, we cannot limit ourselves to "listing the catalogue of disasters that accompany globalisation and the succession of social injustices it brings". We have to act, operate in the real world, change things concretely.
Too many people suffer, die in unacceptable conditions, are victims of inequality, oppression and war. We cannot use our times to only imagine a socialist future or a social democratic ideal. We have to take on responsibilities today. Change the reality. Leaving to the right, to the conservatives, the management of the present, is to betray the weakest of our citizens, who cannot wait for "the glorious day" to have a better life. [...]
It is true that we do not accept man is at the service of the market! It is the market which serves Man. It is the market which must be restored to its function as an instrument to better the quality of life for all.
We will work equally in the heart of our International to contribute to finding among us common convergence, a line of conduct to humanise globalisation, to, as Felipe says, promote global progress.
Deputy President of the African National Congress and Deputy President of South Africa
We appreciate the vote of confidence as demonstrated by the Congress in accepting our membership. The warm welcome we have received over the last few days have indeed made us feel that we are amongst friends and comrades.
We take this opportunity to salute members of the Socialist International for the outstanding contribution and support given to us during our bitter struggle against the apartheid system which you correctly declared a crime against humanity. Your support made it possible for us to achieve victory in 1994 and ushered in a non-racial, non-sexist democratic society.
We also remember the selfless dedication to our cause by some of the stalwarts of the Socialist International. As I stand here now, I would like to salute and pay our tribute and deepest respect to Olof Palme, Willy Brandt and many others who shared their wisdom with us and of course our inspirational and respected freedom fighter, the late Oliver Tambo.
It is these leaders that sought to deal with the perception that the Socialist International was in the main a eurocentric organisation.
We are encouraged by the participation in the Socialist International of political parties coming from the developing countries, we regard this as an important development for this organisation. We believe that this will add value and enrich the character of the Socialist International as the views, interests and needs of the regions where these parties come from shall be discussed at first hand, rather than being interpreted on their behalf.
This Congress of the Socialist International meets at a crucial juncture for the future of humanity and the developing countries in particular. Our deliberations at this Congress should determine ways to positively impact on the intractable problems that still confront society. [...]
Social justice and freedom means that these fundamental issues need to be addressed forthrightly and decisively by the Socialist International. To us social justice and solidarity means collectively accepting the responsibility of addressing these social ills.
President of the EDEK Socialist Party of Cyprus
Ever-changing conditions dictate constant reconsiderations, but we all agree that if we are to justify the expectations of our people we must demonstrate a strict adherence to principles. Against osmosis amongst ideologies, we are not restructuring the profit oriented capitalist structures, as was mentioned by some analysts, we are adopting what promotes our main aim for a society of participation of all citizens to the social product and opportunities and a world of equitable distribution of wealth and technology without billions of deprived and an oasis of over affluence.
The twentieth century has left a heritage of great technological progress, shrinking of distances, an explosion of information technology, a revolutionary change in the mode of production and accumulation of wealth, a great interdependence of economies and a natural demand of citizens for a more equitable participation. Globalisation has been a constant aim of the socialist movement, but what we face today is a distorted, one-dimensional globalisation of the economic and monetary circles without the parallel international political power deriving from and answerable to the people.
On the contrary even the existing organisations like the United Nations with limited power are now facing degradation under the present unipolar system. It has been correctly stated yesterday that we also face a distorted globalisation, with the private sector controlling the profits, without sharing the social expenses of education, security, health. It would be a welcome development the creation of joint private and governmental funds to meet these requirements, but I am afraid it will prove impracticable to persuade the private sector to take part in the expenditure. Socialists are governing in many countries, we should rather seek methods to improve participation, the shrinking of the national state which has still a role in maintaining the cultural identity and in protecting a less privileged strata, deprives the citizens of control over their own destiny, over basic issues, as decentralisation of power is still pending.
The creation of groups of nations, like the European Union, the OAU and in Latin America to face the technological challenge in our unipolar world is a positive development and opens better possibilities for the less powerful nations in a multi-polar environment. But we must not miss that the cusp in the distribution of wealth and technology is widening and the debts of the countries in the third world frustrate any efforts to catch up.
Chair of the Italian Democratic Socialists
From Paris, Socialist International sends a new message of innovation and solidarity! The reflections that we began in New York have come to a first conclusion, above all by the Commission chaired by Felipe González. The extraordinary changes which have taken place, through the demographic revolution, the processes of scientific and technological innovation, through the globalisation of markets and with the large flows of inter-ethnic migration, impose a general revision of the traditional programmes of social democracy. The principles of social justice and freedom remain immutable, but old and new questions arise, such as the role of women, the function of individual responsibility, the support and valuing of different identities, the protection of the environment.
Socialist International has always been a point of reference for all peoples on different continents. The struggle against poverty and against hunger in the world, the struggle for the recognition of human rights and social rights represent a common commitment of peoples in developing and under developed countries, from Kosovo to East Timor, so demonstrating a new sensibility on a worldwide scale.
The UN must fully refind its role with important reforms which will ensure it has a real capacity for decision and intervention.
As Italian socialists we are committed to a political and social Europe, after an economic and monetary Europe. The European Union must be given a common security and defence policy.
The coordination of economic policies at a European level must further development and work. Full employment, development and monetary stability represent the pillars on which to build Europe.
Chair of the Republican People’s Party, Turkey
The motto of this XXI Congress of the Socialist International, "for a more humane society, for a world more fair and just" is very appropriately chosen.
The economy of the globalised world is creating massive inequalities and marginalisations.
The technological revolution is accelerating the process of producing more with less peoples. Solidarity is becoming more difficult in societies with fewer and fewer people employed. Large sections of the world population and the populations in nation states are being excluded from the mainstream of productive activity, from employment, from social life. New religious, cultural, nationalist, ethnic fundamentalisms spring up all around us. They are proposed as remedies for identity problems created by this exclusion.
It is true that increasing interdependence between national economies - although unbalanced - is creating opportunities for shortening the distance of wealth between countries.
Unfortunately, it is true that the distance of wealth between people who are "included" and people who are "excluded" is increasing rapidly alongside the percentage of the excluded in the world and in nation states. [...]
We must develop concrete and global policies for this in our global world. We must not forget that while the world is being globalised our responsibilities are also becoming global.
Secretary General of the Socialist International
The membership decisions we have just taken reflect the nature of our work in the Socialist International, our commitment and the nature of the new comprehensive and universal organisation that is our political family at this point in time. From the 70 members that we were in the early nineties, in the year 2000 we will be 143 parties and member organisations. That structure is represented today throughout the world, even in the most remote areas. The regional and thematic committees, which are part of the life of the Socialist International, are a vibrant manifestation of our activities.
It has been my privilege to be with you over these past years in that and other tasks. To be with each and everyone of you, the parties, the committees, to follow the development of this organisation. It was a great privilege for me as Secretary General to work with Willy Brandt, thanks to your decision and I then continued during these past terms of office with your support, working beside Pierre Mauroy and I am grateful to him for what he has accomplished for the Socialist International.
The growth of our International and the development of democratic socialism is reflected in whatever we do. We have confirmed at this Congress that we have a vision for the future, a vision that is fleshed out in the Paris Declaration and that we together represent. [...]
Our International is at its best when we narrow the distance between people and nations, when we make the problems of people, even in the most remote parts of the planet, our shared problem, when we are able to structure common responses to common concerns, no matter the nation or the region, the culture or the level of economic development. During this period we have been able collectively, more than ever, to do exactly that, having brought in more people and more parties into the life of our International and carried forward an ever greater programme of work.
What we do and what we say matters. It matters to our parties and to governments, to those who count on us as a forum in which to be heard or those who see in us a platform from which to develop common initiatives. It matters to those people and parties for whom our International provides a framework for cooperation and a network of lasting partnerships.
Working together with all those who contribute to what we do, we have attempted to enhance the relevance of our organisation, to heighten its capacity and to move forward based on the new character of a truly global International. We have done it through the work of our Committees, our Council and our Presidium, and by working together with the Global Progress Commission. We have done it by cooperating with the United Nations and with other international institutions and regional organisations. We have done it also by collaborating with our fraternal and associated organisations.
I am pleased to report that our International has been able to make a difference with limited resources, but with the deep commitment of many. In this context, since our last Congress I have had the privilege to develop and maintain active contacts with our members through the itinerary of our International, our meetings, our decisions, our commitments, our people, many of whom I would like to thank.