17th Festival of Student and Youth Declaration
We the delegates to the 17th Festival of Student and Youth, gathered from 126 countries, more than 15000 in numbers, have met under the theme "Lets Defeat Imperialism for a world of Peace, Solidarity and Social Transformation" on the shore of the majestic, dynamic and vibrant South Africa. Here we have fought for decades, side by side, from all walks of life to bring down the tyranny of the Apartheid system, fostered to increase the hold of Imperialism on our people. We fought with the people of South Africa and today we meet here to further our struggle against, all injustices and discriminations.
We meet in South Africa on the eve of the Centenary of the Liberation movement the ANC, in 2012. This we do to take stock with our comrades on how far they have come in building a non –racial, non –sexist, democratic and prosperous Society, fighting with every fiber in their beings to defeat imperialism in all its forms. We have come to celebrate the hosting of the festival in South Africa, aware of the magnificent role played by its movement to bring about democracy to South Africa, aware that the ANC YL was amongst the founding members of the Festival movement and the 1st African President of WFDY. We have come here to pay tribute to the contribution of Andile Yawa and all the festival veterans for giving to us a tool for Solidarity, brotherhood and an agent for change through the festival movement. We have dedicated this festival to the struggle and legacy of 2 heroes, who have made it possible for us to speak about Solidarity and World Peace: Commander Fidel Castro and Madiba Nelson Mandela. We thank them for their tireless spirits.
The contribution of Socialist Cuba
63 years after the first World Festival of Youth was organized in Prague, we highlight the important role that the Socialist camp has played in the support of this top event of the anti-imperialist youth. The location of the WFYS itself is a statement of solidarity with the struggle of its people. The WFYS is an expression of the struggle against imperialism and the struggle against the exploitation of man by man. Of particular importance is the contribution of Socialist Cuba, not only because it has hosted twice the festival, but also because by doing so in 1997 it helped the Festival movement to be re-launched despite the difficulties of the international anti-imperialist and working class' movements in the 1990's. We congratulate WFDY on its 65th anniversary for its contribution to the struggle for peace, justice and the Festival movement, in this year that we celebrate also the 65 years of the peoples' victory against Nazi Fascism.
Down with NATO and AFRICOM!
As the anti-imperialist movement of the youth and of the people developed its struggle, the imperialists also seek to consolidate their forces and to fortify their structures. They use all mechanisms in their hands such as NATO, AFRICOM, EU, IMF, WB, WTO and all ways of intervention such as blockades, sanctions, embargos, conflicts, military intervention, wars and occupations against sovereign states and progressive movements. The new strategic concept "NATO 2020", decided in Lisbon earlier this year incorporates all the changes made in its structure of the previous years (12 new member-states, utilization of the "Partnership for Peace" in its plans), changes its position towards contesting imperialist forces eg. Russia, signing agreements with them; it reinforces the cooperation with EU, proving it as an imperialist organism for the creation and education of military corps, acting against "extremism" inside and outside of the member's borders, targeting firstly all those struggling to defend the rights of the peoples and the youth against imperialism. Under these circumstances, it is intensified the attack against anti-imperialist forces, with particular expression in anti-communist measures.
The crisis of the capitalist system is inherent to the deepening of its inner contradictions, unveiling its historical incapacity to achieve progress for mankind. This crisis provides the ground for emerging imperialist forces that in the past have either clashed with the USA or EU, or have been their allies, to use the different timing in the manifestation of the crisis to increase their influence in the imperialist pyramid, to hold a bigger piece in the capitalist struggle for markets and exploitation. It is not a result of the administration models of the economy or the corruption of the system; it is now expressed all around the capitalist world in both neoliberal and social-democrat led countries. We are in a phase of deepening of the crisis; the recuperation in the following years will be minuscule: the rights of the youth will continue to be attacked at social, economical and cultural level every day. It demonstrates the historical limits and the failure of the capitalist system to answer to the peoples' needs and aspirations; it highlights the need for the creation of a society and a mode of development that will strive to fulfill the youth's and the peoples' needs and rights.
The youth generations' human rights and liberties are violated categorically in every corner of the planet. The "capitalist globalization", the system of exploitation and control of the people and resources is pushing masses of young people into the margins of society. They are the first victims of the social inequalities at all levels. The 212 million of people unemployed, in a world that precarious, temporary occupation is the rule, are a proof of this. Only between 2007 and 2009 increased 34 million. Due to the economic crisis, even more jobs were lost, condemning more people to misery and poverty. We struggle against the elimination of the majority of labor rights, especially those of young workers who suffer more the effects of unemployment. An entire generation of young people is being transformed in a generation without rights.
No Woman, No Revolution
We highlight the role of young women in the struggle for their emancipation as part of the general struggle against imperialism. Women, who are even more strongly attacked by the imperialist policies, deserve our appreciation and full support to end all abuses and discriminations existing in our world as part of our combat to defeat imperialism.
The "external debts and deficits" that have become a reality for many countries are results of the policies followed by the capitalist forces in all countries independently of their position in the correlation of forces. They reflect the unequal development and the division of work in the capitalist system. They are utilized so that the dominant class in both loaner and loaning countries becomes more potent while the people suffer from the load of the crisis on their backs. In the international imperialist system there is no place for equal and respectful relationships between the states and the peoples, it is another proof of the need for revolutionary social transformation of the system that bears inequality and misery.
The imperialist profit drive and unbridled exploitation of planet's natural resources follows the logic of destruction and is the main threat to the environment and to the future of the planet. The environmental issue is taking on an alarming dimension due to the production of genetically modified (GM) organisms, which are jeopardizing humankind's future. Water all around the globe is being more and more a target to the exploitative nature of capitalism and is being used as a strategic and political weapon by imperialism. Imperialism's strategy is to pass the responsibilities for the environmental problems onto the people, individualizing what are presented as solutions in order to increase even further the big companies' profits through the so called "green" products.
Imperialist warmongering policies produce such crises as refugees, millions of people who are compelled to leave their homes, lands, jobs and families. We strongly condemn the imperialist economic policies, interventions and occupations that have produced millions of immigrants, we uptake the struggle in the defense of the rights of the immigrants in work, education, social services. No human being can be illegal.
Education is not commodity!
Imperialist policies attack the full development of education and of the young people, preventing them from accessing a free and quality education that is a school of freedom and commitment with peace. We defend and struggle for education as a public and social good, a universal human right, which gratuity must be ensured by the state. We reject the intentions of privatization that several public institutions of different levels are being victims of. We demand the withdrawal of education from the agreements of the WTO – education is not commodity!
The increase in use of drugs in young people is a dangerous phenomenon that proves the decay of the capitalist system. Millions of young people live with AIDS, mostly in Africa and Asia. The big pharmaceutical trusts monopolize the production and distribution of needed medicine are profiting from pandemics instead of providing the means of treatment. Children are being abused and forced into military operations, prostitution, and drug trafficking; the number of street children is increasing.
Despite this offense the progressive and peace loving forces have been resisting, conquering important victories and growing stronger. The struggle for peace has been very important along the years and with these recent actions we try to raise the consciousness of the youth masses and focus the struggle against the enemy of peace, imperialism. The fight at national level plays a central role in the fight against the specific measures affecting the youth. We highlight the importance of the victories achieved by the struggles of the students, workers, peasants, indigenous and women's movements in times as these. We underline the importance of several electoral victories and other positive results of progressive parties and coalitions
We condemn the occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco!
Africa, many years after the attainment of political independence still remains a political and economic playground for America and its allies. HIV/AIDS still remains a life threatening challenge promising to wipe out the entire African race, alongside Malaria and other imperialist manufactured diseases. A child dies every three seconds from AIDS and extreme poverty. We condemn the unjust sanctions against Eritrea and call for the bilateral solving of the conflict with Ethiopia without any external intervention. The growing US presence in Africa through AFRICOM, used as its military expansionist project in Africa, has allowed the Americans to pose serious military threats to African countries. We denounce the setting up of military bases in the name of AFRICOM and demand Botswana to immediately remove them as they pose a perpetual security threat to SADC countries and we support that people's struggle to achieve democracy. We condemn the deliberate funding of civil society and opposition parties in Africa by the West to bring about regime change agenda's guised in the name of 'development". We further attack the ICC for its apparent onslaught of African leaders as well as all the media campaigns promoted by imperialism to destabilize the region. We stand in solidarity with the people and youth of Swaziland and demand the release of all political prisoners. We strongly condemn the continued military occupation of Western Sahara by the Kingdom of Morocco and request the respect of the Saharawi people right to self-determination and independence. The Moroccan government should immediately put an end to the blockade of the occupied territories of Western Sahara and allow entry into the territory to international observers and independent media. We denounce and condemn all forms of human rights violations including persecutions, arbitrary detentions, disappearances and irregular trials etc.., committed by the Moroccan authorities against the Saharawi civilians and demand the release of all political detainees and the disband of the wall diving the territory. We further make a clarion call for the immediate lifting of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe that have continued to cause untold pain and suffering on their people which are also a catalyst for their regime change agenda in Zimbabwe. We are in solidarity with the revolutionaries in Africa, and urge them be steadfast against imperial tendencies. We welcome the second phase of the African people's struggle, the struggle for economic independence through indigenization, nationalization or any other form of empowerment to its people. We congratulate the people of Angola for the reconstruction process that is being implemented in the country. We empathize with West African countries in crises, coups and political instability, caused by imperial infiltration, and call for an urgent resolution and retention of political stability. We call for the stop of the violations of human rights in Sudan, especially in Darfur and we call for peace in the country, as well as freedom for labor organizations. Despite that, we condemn any sort of imperialist intervention against Sudan. The crisis in Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Guinea, as the problems in Nigeria are instructive in the assessment of the current political landscape in West Africa. The involvement of imperialist allies in the assassinations of heads of state in Burkina Faso, among others. Also, pressures from Europe and the US has forced the signing of exploitatory contracts on mineral resources (as also happens in Western Sahara by the EU), as this has ruined and impoverished most countries, denying them the ability of local investment and causing a runaway youth, in search of better living conditions resulting in massive loss of life during the emigration.
65th Anniversary of the Vietnamese Republic
The Asia-Pacific region has remained one of the explosive areas in the world, a springboard of military provocation and armed conflicts as well as of arms build-up and interference that have seriously threatened peace and security in Asia and the world. The present developments in this region have proved that the US and the NATO having more common imperialist strategies for Asia-Pacific Region. They are pursuing to establish new political-military groupings in order to extend the sphere of military activities covering the whole area of Asia and the Pacific. The growing US military presence in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, the US-Israeli strategic alliance, and the growing military cooperation with reactionary regimes in the Gulf poses a serious threat to peace, stability and security in the region. In South Asia, imperialist intervention has deepened, particularly due to US intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The so called Af-Pak strategy of the US to pursue its utterly selfish interests has only resulted in serious political instabilities in the region, not to mention the brutal killings and loss of lives and property faced by the common people of people of South Asia due to the blatant aggression of US imperialism. We express our support for the people and youth of Iran in their struggle against the repressive, anti-communist and undemocratic regime, which should be overcome by the people without any sort of imperialist intervention, which is for us unacceptable. We denounce the huge US military presence in the Korean Peninsula and demands that the Armistice Agreement of 1953 should be replaced with a compressive peace agreement. We call upon the young people of the world to join the international solidarity campaign in support with Korean people and youth in their just cause for the national reunification under the banner of the June 15 North-South Joint Declaration, and for building a prosperous, powerful and socialist country. We condemn the deployment of US troops in Philippines and its role fighting the national revolutionary forces. We stand in solidarity with the struggles of the young people of Bangladesh. We express our solidarity towards the people and youth of Nepal in their struggle for a new federal democratic republic. We demand the return of all Bhutanese refuges to their country with respect and dignity. We support the struggle of the Burmese people for the restoration of democracy and for the release of all political prisoners as we welcome the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. We express support for Sri Lanka's progressive movements struggle for national unity. We salute the Vietnamese youth and people in their struggle for national independence and socialism, at a time when the 65th anniversary of the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now Socialist Republic of Vietnam) is celebrated, and we express our solidarity towards the Vietnamese victims of the US' Agent Orange / Dioxin in their struggle for justice.
Free the Cuban Five!
In Latin America and the Caribbean the progressive forces have given important steps in the struggle against the interests of imperialism and its free trade policies. These steps are expressed in the integraton mechanisms in the region as the ALBA-TCP, UNASUR, MERCOSYR and the future creation of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; it is our goal an equitative distribution of the resources of the continent with fiscal measures over the big monopolies, which allow us to recover from more than 500 years of exploitation and underdevelopment. We denounce the imperialist policies of interventions of USA through the deployment of military bases and missions in the region, as happens in Panama, Colombia and Haiti and the reactivation of the 4ht Fleet, which goal is to reinforce the attack against the revolutionary processes of Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and particularly the revolution in Venezuela, since they represent a historical and revolutionary alternative to the capitalist system. We further denounce other mechanisms of interference as terrorism and drug dealing because they have a direct impact on peoples like the Mexican. We stand in solidarity with the Colombian people, victim of constant political murderers imposed by imperialists, as we also express our rejection of the usage of the canal of Panama for interventional geoestrategic, with the transit of war and nuclear armament. We support the struggle of the people of Puerto Rico for its full self determination and we are in solidarity with the harsh situation of Haiti, victim of colonialism. We strongly condemn the coup d'etats that took place in Honduras and Ecuador, aiming at the desestabilization of the progressive processes in the region and we recognize the role played by the members of WFDY in both countries resisting and struggling. We demand justice for the assassination of comrade Edwin Perez, Secretary General of the Communist Youth of Ecuador, and we condemn the unfair persecution that has been targetting the people of Mapuchi in Chile. We express our solidarity towards the struggles of the young people of the Caribbean. We express our solidarity with the struggles of the aboriginal and first people's for full self determination. We know the youth of Canada and USA stand in friendship with the peoples of the world, not war and imperialism that their Governments promote. We condemn the unfair economical, financial and commercial blockade imposed against the Cuban people for more than 50 years in what is a clear violation of the International Law as well as we demand from the USA government the immediate release of the five Cuban unjustly imprisoned in their jails for more than 12 years.
European Union: an imperialist tool
The last years have confirmed the European Union as an imperialist tool that supports and promotes measures of exploitation of the peoples and youth, intervening both outside and in its member states, many times under the alleged defense of the "human rights" that itself fails to respect. The recent "austerity measures" that the National Governments have agreed upon with the EU to be implemented, with the pretext of the capitalist crisis, demanding sacrifices by the workers while the monopolies (banks and big corporations) are receiving billions to ensure their profits, as well as the measures imposed by the governments to the peoples are proof of our analysis. However the peoples' resistance has had big expression in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, with young workers playing an important role. In Education, there's been a general trend of imposing class barriers and privatizing throughout all Europe, with particularly strong expression in the "Bologna Process" and its implementation in each country. Important struggles at Higher and Secondary Education level have been taking place in most of the countries to resist the general offense against the right to education. Side by side with the attack at social level, the attacks against the democratic rights, in general, and anti-communism, in particular, have been increasing rapidly, with a growing persecution of communist parties and youth organizations in many European countries, with particular expression in Eastern Europe with cases as the ones happened in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia with the ban (or attempt) of communist organizations and the rise and promotion of neo fascist forces. As background to the crisis, the xenophobic measures guided by the "European fortress" doctrine of the EU have been promoting the persecution of immigrants as justification to the social problems that arise from the profit-only orientated policies of the national governments, in a process with big implications in countries as France, Germany and Italy. We stand against the change of borders continuing in the Balkans with the so called "independence" of Kosovo, which became a huge military base for NATO and USA. We further express our solidarity with the people and youth of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriot, against the Turkish occupation, highlighting the big efforts made since the election of Dimitris Christophias as President of the Republic and our commitment to the bicommunal bizonal federation with one citizenship, one international identity and one sovereignty as the fair solution for the end of the occupation.
Middle East and Maghreb
We express our solidarity with the students and youth of Palestine, Iraq and Arab countries and support the persistence of Palestine in the resistance against the blockade and oppression. We denounce the racist inhumane practices of the Zionist Israel, with the policies of killing, expelling and settlements in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, and in different occupied Arab Lands. We also demand an end to the Israeli occupation, removal of settlements and wall of apartheid and we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, according to UN resolutions, requesting the UN and the countries of the world to recognize the Palestinian state immediately. We denounce the war and blockade against Gaza and demand its breakdown and that the Zionist war criminals are persecuted; we also request to re-instate the UN resolution that equalizes Zionism with racism. We call for the immediate release of all Palestinian and Arab prisoners detained in Israeli and US prisons. We denounce the occupation of Iraq and support the right of the Iraqi people for resistance and demand the immediate withdrawal of the occupation forces out of it. We support the sovereignty, security, stability and unity of Iraq. We denounce the terrorism in all of its forms as well as the US secret military operations in the region. We express our solidarity towards Syria against the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Heights and denounce the "Syria Accountability Law" approved by the USA Congress. We also support the struggles of the Lebanese youth to complete their liberation of Sheba and Kfarshoba from the Israeli occupation and denounce the Israeli war of 2006 that lead to 1300 Lebanese victims. We denounce external interferences in the internal issue of Lebanon. We support the national dialogue of Yemen and emphasize the security and unity of Yemen. We demand the withdrawal of Spain from Ceuta and Melilla. We support the Egyptian youth and the youth of the Gulf States in their struggle to implement democratic rights, principles of justice and equality and we express solidarity with them against repressive laws and for labor rights. We also ask to treat the causes of immigration from Africa to Europe through Northern African countries. We support the struggles of the Arab youth for economic integration and demand the immediate dismantle of the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
UN International Year on Youth
The 17th WFYS is held during the UN International Year on Youth. As happened in 1985, once again the WFYS is, so far, the biggest youth event of this year. More importantly, the WFYS is the most relevant activity, because it most clearly raises the real problems of the youth. Unlike many other activities and the actual framework of UN Year on Youth, in this Festival the youth of the world finds the biggest stage for denouncing the problems and offenses that they suffer from imperialism and its agents.
We, the youth and students of the world gathered in this historical festival, raised our voices against all the ills generated by imperialism, which is undergoing its greatest global crisis. The imperialist world order is driving humanity to the verge of a global confrontation, with the ever-present danger of a nuclear war, through its hegemonic policy that will determine the present and future of the mankind.
It is time to continue the struggle for youth development and our economic, social and cultural values and not those of a decadent system they are trying to impose on us. We shall build a future of justice, equality, peace, hope and joy for humanity. The future of a new stage of history is in our hands and it depends on the peoples, working masses and world youth and their power of transformation, to build a world of peace and solidarity, where the power and the produced wealth will belong to the peoples and the youth of the world.
Thank you, South Africa
We thank the people of South Africa for welcoming us to their country and celebrating with us the opportunity to see South Africa change. We commit to you that we the youth of the world will never let our guard down in pursuance of a world free of imperialism. Let us start getting ready for the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students!
Ali Khangela Hlongwane
Chief Curator: Museum Africa