solidarity with everyone who is walking out of lessons, lectures, demonstrating and occupying universities

24 Nov

On behalf of the Young Greens National Committee, can I extend our support and solidarity with everyone who is walking out of lessons, lectures, demonstrating and occupying universities. Today is only the next step in fighting the devastating cuts to education and public services in general. Our generation has found its voice and we are not idlying sitting by while our futures are ripped up in front of us. Young Greens across the country will be taking part in actions today and we will be following them where we can. If you are involved in an occupation or other action please contact us via Twitter (right hand of page) email co-chairs@younggreens.org.uk or text 07590008249 and we’ll rush out messages of support.

UK Young Greens Participate in Occupation of Conservative Party Headquarters

12 Nov

FYEG Co-spokespersons Delfina Rossi and Sebastian Power support the ongoing actions of the Young Greens of England and Wales fighting against possibly the harshest austerity measures in Europe. 40% of the education budget is being slashed whilst higher education tuition fees are being trebled to £9,000 annually. The postal system is being privatised whilst the National Health Service and schools are being partly privatised. Disability allowance and housing benefits are being reduced forcing an estimated 200,000 people from their homes – tantamount to socially cleansing inner city areas. Women, those with disabilities, ethnic minorities and children will suffer the most from these unnecessary ideological policies.

Sam Coates, co-chair was at Millbank (Conservative headquarters) yesterday, he said:

The anger at yesterday’s protests was remarkable, especially towards the Lib Dems who have left so many students feeling betrayed and unsure where to turn next. Students have begun the fight against the Coalition’s dangerous and damaging policies. This is what you get when you condemn a whole generation to a lifetime of debt, unaffordable housing and a lack of decent jobs.

Obviously we abhor violence against people, but the events at Millbank were a totally understandable response to pent up anger of young people who feel they are being jilted at every turn. Many of the protesters at Millbank were younger college and sixth form students worried they will be priced out of university by a trebling of fees. Hundreds of people went inside the building and thousands more were cheering from the courtyard. This was a spontaneous action uniting thousands of ordinary students.

He concluded by calling for an escalation of student protests:

What happened yesterday generated momentum in the student movement that must be harnessed if these cuts are to be defeated and the movement escalated. We fully support direct action, occupations and other activities that utilise sensible tactics to show the Government we will not accept higher fees, and we will not accept cuts to higher education funding.

The Green Party opposes cuts to public services and is calling for investment in hundreds of thousands of green jobs to kick start a low carbon economy. With money markets desperate to buy government bonds, there is absolutely no reason to panic about Government debt in the short term. In 1945 public debt was 5 times greater than today and our grandparents managed to build the welfare state. The Tories have always tried to argue that we cannot afford decent education, health and housing, and they’ve been proved wrong every time.

For more info contact Sam Coates sam.coates@walesgreenparty.org.uk or +44 (0)7590008249

Press Release – Green Youth Malta (ADZ): Church and Sexual Education in Schools

5 Nov

In a conference this week at Dar Ġużeppa Debono in Gozo, Bishop Mario Grech stated that the education system may be abusing students if it teaches them about contraception instead of teaching students how to control their sexual urges. In fact according to Grech teaching students about contraception encourages them to give in to the “culture of pleasure”.

Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh praised the words of Dr Carabott (GU Clinic) who said “The role of an education programme should be to teach students to live their sexuality in a mature way. Sexuality is more than sex. There is no harm in teaching them about contraception but students should be given all the information: how safe, how unsafe and the health hazards.”

ADZ spokesperson Dirk Urpani added “It is irresponsible of Grech to accuse the education system of being abusive to students for educating them on the theme of contraception. Malta is among the countries with the highest teenage pregnancy rate. And this is only one side of the coin since sexually transmitted diseases among youth are also on the rise among youths in the Maltese Islands, Clearly more education needs to take place with regards educating youths to use contraception.”

It is the responsibility of the state to include the theme of sexuality in the educative system since sexual health is part of youth development. Currently sex education includes information on contraception as well as other themes such STDs, self-respect, and other themes on sexuality which may not necessarily be directly reflecting the theme of sexual intercourse. Accusing teachers of abuse shows a lack of understanding of the positive educational experience in schools around Malta and Gozo.

ADZ – Green Youth Malta

The Federation of Young European Greens says German “Leitkultur” has failed!

22 Oct

With her latest announcements at a congress of Junge Union, the Youth organisation of CDU/CSU in Germany, Angela Merkel has shown her lack of insight into the reality of the German society. Germany is and has already been for a long time a multicultural country. Once again in history, it is apparent that the concept of German “Leitkultur” has failed. Nobody really knows what it means, but “Leitkultur” as a term is frequently used in the discussion in order to pretend that there is such a thing like a German culture.

With this statement Merkel gets involved in an absolute aimless debate about integration that is taking place in Germany at the moment. Merkel is obviously trying to show that the Christian Democrats are still the “right” choice for racists. Her xenophobic rhetoric is leading nowhere in the current debate on integration of “foreigners” in Germany and just links in with the many racist stereotypes that are still reproduced in German society.

General Strike in France Against Reform of Pension System

13 Oct

Social movements, unions and political parties called for an ongoing general strike against the reform of the pension system proposed by the French government. Despite the number of people in the streets never being so high, the law was adopted yesterday by the Senate.

The French Young Greens and the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) support this ongoing mobilisation in France which may have implications throughout Europe. Facing the economic crisis and budget restriction requirements, many governments are trying to curb social standards. Together with the French Young Greens and the youth collective RAJE (la Retraite est aussi une Affaire de JEunes – Pension also concerns Youth), FYEG denounces the attack made on the poorest, youth and women.

Rising the age of pension cannot be a solution until a problem is found to unemployment. In France, unemployment in the age group 18-30 years old has risen to 25%, more than 35% in poor districts and more than 50% in some Ultra-Peripherical Regions! The level of unemployment is also detrimental to women (part-time, maternity leaves) whom level of pension is already 38% under the level of men.

What’s more, no step can be undertaken towards a reform of the pension system without changing our conception of work: to take into account internships, social activities (NGO, political parties, volunteering or sports) or any other activity that is useful to the society without bringing remuneration as a necessary step towards a more equalitarian society. The length of studies rising as well, it should be included into the point counting for the pensions.

The strikers make another statement: the financial situation does not entirely justify the current reform. Almost 10% of millionaires live in France, which means 2,2 million out of 66 million inhabitants. The contribution of the richest to the social system has been diminishing for years and no new taxes or financial tools (tax on financial flows or carbon tax) have been created to fund the fight against growing inequalities.

And while Nicolas Sarkozy estimates that he can ‘control the situation until the youth get mobilised’, the Young European Greens alert him: in universities, high-schools and beyond, the atmosphere is heating up!

FYEG against UK tuition fees

12 Oct

FYEG supports the Young Greens of England and Wales in their fight against tuition fees.

The Young Greens, the youth branch of the Green Party of England and Wales, has condemned the recommendations of the Browne Review which call for the cap on tuition fees to be scrapped. They expressed concern that UK institutions may soon be charging the highest level of fees in the world, as universities such as Oxford and Cambridge compete with U.S. Ivy league institutions.

Charlotte Dingle, co-chair of the Young Greens said: “The UK already charges some of the highest fees in the EU (1). Now we’re looking at the highest in the world with the adoption of this free-market system. This will likely lead to a two tier system – one for the rich in elite universities, and a race to the bottom for the rest.”

She outlined the need to view higher education as a public good and of benefit to society as a whole, rather than being viewed merely as improving employment prospects for individual students:

“We believe education must be free, equally accessible to all, ideologically independent and of high quality as well as meeting the individual developmental needs of each student. Browne’s recommendations undermine these principles, as students from low-income households will be put off by debt. Rather than widening access to university, these proposals will make our already unfair system more elitist.

The only way to ensure an equitable system is to scrap tuition fees altogether, funding higher education through increased taxation on top earners. That way, those who benefit most from higher education pay towards the cost without saddling all students with crippling debts at a time when jobs are scarce and housing costs are spiralling out of control. The Green Party is now unique in supporting free education for all.

But it’s not just the coalition government who are responsible for this. The Labour party also need to accept their share of responsibility for the position students now find themselves in. It was Labour who introduced fees, and their failure to argue that a highly educated society benefits everyone means we now have to fight against this hike.

Young Greens are supporting the National Union of Student’s demonstration against cuts to higher education funding in London next month, and we encourage all students to join this protest.”

ENDS

Notes: The Young Greens are holding their annual Convention in London on 23-24th October, where activists from across the UK will be planning a campaign against the Government’s cuts to public spending, highlighting how these will hit young people particularly hard. For more information go to http://younggreens.org.uk

References: (1) Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators http://www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3343,en_2649_39263238_45897844_1_1_1_37455,00.html

Anti-racism pro freedom of movement

9 Oct

FYEG supports the EGP resolution calling for real European Citizenship. The resolution, “Freedom of Movement and Roma expolsions” strongly denounces the current situation – the scapegoating of Roma minorities by right wing parties who claim they are increasing security. However, their policies do not achieve the stated goals and only serve to increase xenophobia and racism in times of economic crisis. We demand an end to all racist policies and call for unrestricted freedom of movement in order to maintain a real European Citizenship.