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“Foundations of Social Democracy”

An Armenian translation of Social Democracy reader

Published in German, “Foundations of Social Democracy” addresses the question of what social democracy means in the 21st century. What are its core values? What are its goals? How can it be put into practice?

This book can be read and used by anyone who wishes to play an active role in social democracy or has an interest in it. In “Foundations of Social Democracy,” you will encounter various approaches to social democracy. Freedom, justice, and solidarity – social democracy’s core values – serve as the starting point.

The Armenian language version of the book is now available in print and on-line:

“Foundations Of Social Democracy” – Armenian Translation

The Hrayr Maroukhian Foundation, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, has published a policy paper entitled “Social Reforms in Armenia” in Armenian and English, which make recommendations to improve the sectors of employment, healthcare, and social housing.

Click on the links below to read the policy paper in Armenian or English:

Social Reforms in Armenia (Armenian)

Social Reforms in Armenia (English)

Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), the leading party in the “Socialist International” for many decades, is talking about leaving the “International”.

Both Mubarak’s NDP in Egypt, and Ben Ali’s RCD in Tunisia, were until their downfall members of the “Socialist International”.

An article by SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel in the liberal Frankfurter Rundschau points out the obvious, that the Socialist International is irrelevant, that it is no longer a “voice for freedom”, that many member parties should be expelled from it, that it is embarrassing that parties such as Mubarak’s or Ben Ali’s only got expelled after they were deposed at home…

Formally the “Socialist International” traces its history back to the Second International, founded in 1889, which included Frederick Engels, August Bebel, Jean Jaures, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and many others among its leading members. In fact that International collapsed in 1914, when most of its member parties backed their “own” bourgeois governments in World War One.

Reassembled after 1918, it still had something of the character of an association of (now clearly reformist) workers’ parties, but for many decades now it has swollen its ranks by including parties like the NDP and RCD.

FULYA ÖZERKAN
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The European Parliament expressed serious doubts about press freedom in Turkey in a criticism-laden report it adopted Wednesday. It said it was closely following the latest arrests of journalists, including Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, for alleged links to a plot to topple the government.

The European Parliament “is concerned about the deterioration in freedom of the press, about certain acts of censorship and about growing self-censorship within the Turkish media, including on the Internet [and] calls on the Turkish government to uphold the principles of press freedom,” said the non-binding report penned by the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, a Dutch Christian Democrat politician.

The European Parliament has also decided “to closely follow the cases of Nedim Şener, Ahmet Şık and other journalists facing police or judicial harassment,” according to the report, the most critical drafted by the European body in recent years.

This motion to insert this amendment into the report was verbally given by Oomen-Ruijten and adopted following a police raid on the homes of a group of journalists last week, a move that drew strong criticism from the European Union, the United States and human-rights organizations. Some 38 proposals were submitted for amendments to the critical report at a session Tuesday.

Critics say the arrests are part of a bid to silence voices ahead of the June 12 general elections, which the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is expected to win.

The Foreign Ministry said in a written statement Wednesday that the report adopted by the European Parliament contained one-sided elements that are not in line with reality and cannot be accepted by Turkey. “As a country negotiating with the EU, Turkey expects the European Parliament to be fair and objective and to display the seriousness required by its function.”

The report stressed that an independent press is crucial for a democratic society and pointed, in this context, to the essential role of the judiciary in protecting and enhancing press freedom, thereby guaranteeing public space for free debate and contributing to the proper functioning of the system of checks and balances.

It underscored the need for adoption of a new media law addressing issues of independence, ownership and administrative control and said the European Parliament had decided to closely follow the cases of Şener, Şık and other journalists facing police or judicial harassment.

CHP: Toughest report ever

The European Parliament’s latest report is the toughest-worded document drafted since Turkey and the EU began formal accession negotiations in 2005, the Brussels chief of the main opposition party said Wednesday.

“Despite the fact that the European Parliament and other EU institutions cannot analyze Turkey’s situation correctly, taking into consideration the whole of events and the cause-effect relationship, the scene painted by Brussels on the situation today is saddening,” Kader Sevinç, the Brussels representative of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview.

Sevinç sent a written note to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu briefing him about the content of the report.

“Unfortunately, the CHP’s reservations about the government-led constitutional amendments proved right: Those responsible for the Sept. 12 [1980] military coup cannot be tried, judge and prosecutor appointments have been politicized, authoritarian tendencies have grown stronger, pressure on the media has increased, freedoms are being limited and social polarization is deepening,” Sevinç told the Daily News.

“We see in the report that the importance of these issues is becoming better understood by the European Parliament, which is directly elected by the EU public,” she said.

The Brussels chief criticized the AKP for not doing enough to open the three EU accession-negotiation chapters – those on competition, social policy and public procurement – that carry no political baggage.

“The government remains unwilling to open the social policy and competition chapters because there is a need for reforms on state aid, the unregistered economy, gender equality at work and child labor,” said Sevinç.

Turkey has thus far opened 13 chapters in its negotiations with the European bloc. The talks have slowed down since 2005 due to Ankara’s refusal to open its ports to shipping from Greek Cyprus as well as stiff opposition from some member states, including France.

CHP establishes shadow team

Sevinç said the CHP was closely following Turkey’s accession process and had established a “shadow CHP team monitoring EU negotiations.” The team, led by Sevinç, is following each and every negotiating chapter in the Turkish-EU talks and briefing Kılıçdaroğlu about the progress made.

Former union-boss and prominent Social Democrat Stig Malm said on Tuesday he is “ashamed” to be a member of the party in light of its protracted leader election process.

Malm, who was chairman of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) between 1983 and 1993, is one of the representatives set to participate in the Social Democrats extra congress, which has been called to elect a successor to outgoing party leader Mona Sahlin.

But the party’s closed nomination process has left him furious.

“It is completely unworthy of the Social Democratic party to treat people this way. We are elected to come together and choose a leader, not just to vote for what we are told in a purely Stalinist fashion,” he told the TT news agency.

Malm thinks the party should adopt a different leadership election process which allow attendees at the congress to choose between several candidates.

The various party district bosses who are currently blocking the selection process should face up to their responsibility and openly present their candidates.

“We look terribly old-fashioned. I’ve been part of this for almost a hundred years and never have I seen such ridiculous monkey business,” said Malm.

The chairperson of the election committee, Berit Andnor, refused to comment Malm’s harsh criticism of the closed leader election process, but several high-ranking Social Democrats have expressed similar views.

Former party leader Mona Sahlin has previously expressed a wish for a more open election process, but told TT that Stig Malm was not perhaps the best person to speak of openness.

“I remember just how open the process usually is to elect a LO chair, she said sarcastically to TT.

ETHICAL CHARTER of the SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL

Adopted at the XXII Congress of the Socialist International, São Paulo, 27-29 October 2003

We, member parties of the Socialist International, reaffirm our total commitment to the values of equality, freedom, justice, solidarity and peace which are the foundation of democratic socialism. We solemnly undertake to respect, defend and promote those values in the spirit of the fundamental declarations and campaigns of the Socialist International.

Our support to these values implies that we apply in the strictest way possible, the following code of conduct :

1. To carry through progressive politics that favour well-being of individuals, economic expansion, equitable trade, social justice, the protection of the environment in the spirit of sustainable development.

To oppose all social and economic politics to the advantage of privileged groups, and promote the creation of a global economic system which will lead to more equitable and fair North-South relations.

To combat corruption in all its forms and the obstacles to good governance.

Continues…

SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL DECLARATION of PRINCIPLES

Adopted by the XVIII Congress, Stockholm, June 1989

I. Global Change and Future Prospects

1. The idea of Socialism has caught the imagination of people across the world, promoted successful political movements, decisively improved the lives of working men and women, and contributed to shaping the 20th century.

However, justified satisfaction about the realisation of many of our goals should not prevent us from clearly recognising present dangers and problems. We are aware that essential tasks still lie ahead which we can master only through common action, since human survival increasingly depends upon the joint efforts of people around the world.

2. Current economic, technological, political and social changes reflect a profound transformation of our world. The fundamental issue we now face is not whether there will be change in future years, but rather who is going to control it and how. The socialist answer is unequivocal. It is the people of the world who should exercise control by means of a more advanced democracy in all aspects of life: political, social, and economic. Political democracy, for socialists, is the necessary framework and precondition for other rights and liberties.

3. All the peoples of the world should be involved in the process of transforming our societies and promoting new hope for humankind. The Socialist International calls on all men and women committed to peace and progress to work together in order to translate this hope into reality.

Continues…