The struggle for rights and freedoms: strengthening representative democracy and gaining new democracies in the world, 31st of August 2012
Let me first express my gratitude to ANC, the organizers of this congress.
Your fight for freedom from oppression will never be forgotten.
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Over the past 20 years, the world economy has undergone the biggest and fastest change ever.
The global workforce has doubled,
trade barriers have been abolished,
enormous new markets have opened up.
The prospects for trade and production have changed fundamentally.
Millions of people have risen above the poverty.
We should never become naive, and ignore the challenges that this development presents. Nor should we be negative, and fail to see what possibilities this may bring in terms of increased trade, transfer of knowledge and wealth.
The international labor movement has a great assignment:
- Solve the economic, social and environmental issues that face us and make the global economy move forward in the right direction for every world citizen, through increased equality and solidarity.
To achieve that there is need for a new global deal between labor and capital, that provides opportunities and rights across borders and continents.
It should be done. It can be done. It will be done.
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One of our foremost challenges is battling unemployment.
It not only threatens the economy, not only weaken the democratic institutions, but it also lessens each individual’s personal freedom.
The obvious starting point for job creation is a stable economy. We need no other proof of this than the current financial crisis. It clearly shows that without stable public finances - battling unemployment is impossible.
A strong economy is the foundation, but it is not enough to secure growth and new jobs. What we see from a Scandinavian perspective are three key factors.
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to increase the demand for labor, we must support an active industrial policy - for new business to flourish, and existing companies to grow. This requires investment in new innovation strategies, where ideas can transform into products and services, that are viable on the international markets.
And when the world searches for new solutions, there is a great opportunity to invest in new green technologies which save money and energy - and tackle climate change at the same time. It’s necessary, it’s profitable – and it’s possible.
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We must ensure that people get affordable access to education. More people must be able to meet the corporate and public need for an educated work force. Too often we can see both unemployment and labor shortages at the same time.
Investment in knowledge strengthens both our economic and democratic foundations. It is the key solution for the future.
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We need policies to really empower women in the work places. Millions of women are held back from working for various reasons.
This damages both equality and growth.
As we fight to include more women in the corridors of power, we should also include them in the halls of production – not only for the economy’s sake, but for every man’s and woman’s right to follow their dream, and build their own independence.
Women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women rights, in every part of society.
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So those three key factors need to be further developed, by a stronger global labor movement – a trade union and progressive political force. With that in place we can take on the task to improve policies in different global political forum – such as WTO, WB, ILO, IMF.
To do this we need to share knowledge and methods openly between our countries, working together to reform ourselves, so that we can reform our societies.
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We have a great deal to accomplish together and need a stronger SI. Therefore we need to allow ourselves to be self critical. The relevance of the SI has decreased during the last decades – a development which is neither welcome, nor necessary.
That has to change into international cooperation defined by three key values:
And from of the first two, the third will come.
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If we use more democratic and transparent methods, and clear decision-making procedures, we will be able to focus all of our strength on the challenges ahead. We must build societies defined by economic, ecological and social sustainability.
And if we fully bring our organization into the 21st century, with a policy for the 21st century and using 21st century methods, we will be a global voice for the possibilities ahead.