Press Release on World Youth Conference
“Young people of all countries, unite and change the world”
First World Youth Conference was convened in Paris.
Over 400 delegates from 49 countries and 95 organizations, movements and parties from across 5 different continents traveled to Paris from the 3rd to the 5th of November for the first World Youth Conference convened by the Youth Writing History Network. Topics of discussion were the different aspects of the globalized crises as well as the possible solutions to be offered by radical youth movements. The delegates specifically discussed their place in these struggles as young people and therefore as the creators of the future of the world.
The conference was centered around three core principles, those of Youth Autonomy, Women’s Liberation and System Change. As many speakers stated young people of our time are born into a period of chaos, with the climate and global order in decline. The “end of history”, proclaimed at the fall of the Soviet Union, has given way to a capitalist world-system of ever increasing contractions. The challenge we face is to address these problems and construct a future in which all are free. This takes place in the context of escalating wars, the rise of tensions between imperialist players, conflicts over resources and environmental destruction, a rise in fascism and nationalist politics – in brief, a Third World War.
This conference was particularly timely in its assertion of the necessity of internationalism, as over the last weeks we have seen popular adoption of international struggle with spontaneous global support for the people of Palestine and Kurdistan.
The struggles of women worldwide are central to this endeavor – as the principles state: ‘The entire system we live in is built on the foundation of male dominance… How can we fight patriarchy and initiate in a new era?’ To answer the question on how to usher in a new age under the leadership of a radical and politically conscious youth, delegates and activists of social movements from many different parts of the world came together in Paris.
Discussions centered around historical and current resistance practices, in an attempt to address the question of how a global liberation strategy can be coordinated, but also adapted to local conditions. Delegates exchanged stories of their particular struggles worldwide.
A delegate from the Mapuche people, which are engaged in a struggle for rights to their traditional homelands, highlighted the necessity to connect these issues:
“Capitalism oppresses us globally. A huge potential of international links is to raise awareness about the struggle of a certain territory which could be totally eliminated if in isolation.”
In a the panel called “understanding today’s world” Rachelle General Secretary of Anakabayan, a youth organization from the Philippines highlighted also that:
“We need to advance the popular struggle and reach out to people across all parts of society, to create a new world order.”
The conference not only consisted of workshops and panels in which revolutionary strategy was discussed, but also a sharing of community and cultural solidarity. Delegates ate together and danced together in the evenings to traditional music from Brazil to Occitane to Kurdistan. They also shared literature and art from around the world, as parts of the conference space were transformed into galleries and libraries for the contemplation and education of the attendees. In this way the attendees were united not only in struggle, but also in joy, and a mutual appreciation of each other’s cultures and ways of life, striving for a truly holistic internationalism.
Ignacio from the Chilean organization Liberación said:
“It gives me hope to see that people from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe are coming together here, realizing that, despite their differences, there are many things which connect them.”
In the finishing speech Florian André pointed out that this conference was born out of the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, who proposed a paradigm of Democratic Confederalism under the leadership of the youth. Therefore it was declared that his physical freedom from isolated prison confinement should be of importance to all those who fight for a more democratic future. And also Lewis Maghanga from Kenya, the country where Öcalan got abducted in an international conspiracy in 1999, took the microphone and said:
“Our continuous struggle necessarily involves the demand for the freedom of Öcalan.”
This was followed by chants of “Free, free Öcalan” from all around him.
To conclude the conference on the last day, all the delegates came together for the final declaration:
“The unity of all democratic-revolutionary and anti-systemic forces in the world is needed. As “Youth Writing History” we work (…) on the basis of common principles and goals and our resolute opposition to capitalism, while leaving room for differences, contradictions and diversity in theory and practice.”
They recognized together a common enemy and remind themselves what they are fighting for:
“We fight against all forms of domination, exploitation, capitalism and its ideology, liberalism, which divides society under the flag of false freedom and promotes individualism, patriarchy and the destruction of nature. We are united in our fight against all forms of occupation and colonialism and recognize the right to legitimate self-defense of every society. We consider it one of the most urgent internationalist duties of the youth in struggle to first of all fight resolutely against the imperialist policies spreading from our respective homelands.”
They insisted on their identity as young people :
“We consider the youth as the most dynamic part of any society and the engine of any change. We consider the autonomous organization of youth, based on their own strength and independent will, as a guarantee of the pioneering role of youth and the key to the constant renewal of our struggles and organizations.”
And also shared concrete perspectives for internationalism today:
“The rulers are coordinated worldwide, so, we rely on global cohesion and international solidarity. (…) Together we will work for the freedom of all revolutionary prisoners. (…) We declare our support for the demands of the campaign “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan – A political solution for the Kurdish question!”
The declaration ended up with a rephrasing of the famous slogan from the Communist Manifesto: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!“ to “Young people of all countries, unite and change this world!“
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Selection of press pictures:
Social Media of Youth Writing History network
Ronahî Youth Center for Public Relations & Youth Writing History Network