The inaugural World Youth Conference, organised by international youth movements, took place in Paris from 3-5 November.
Organised by the Youth Writing History network and Ronahî – Youth Centre for Public Relations, the event brought together around 300 young activists to discuss pressing issues and foster solidarity in their quest for an alternative life beyond capitalism, environmental degradation and gender oppression.
The event served as a platform for open dialogue and collaboration on issues such as climate change, war and other global crises affecting today’s youth. Medya News spoke to Florian Andre, part of the coordinating committee for the Conference, to learn more:
Why was this Conference so significant?
The Conference which took place last week brought together young people from 49 countries, six continents, and from 95 different organisations. All of them are different organisations fighting against the system of capitalist modernity in their own, original way. Some of them are youth organisations of national liberation movements; some of them had been youth organisations of revolutionary parties, communist parties, socialist parties, socialist organisations, anarchist groups, feminist groups, ecological groups. But each and every one of these organisations have their own contradictions with the capitalist world system.
Were there some contributions from international youth activists you found particularly enlightening?
It was interesting to hear the different perspectives and analyses brought forward by the comrades from Mali, in West Africa, analysing the current imperialist interventions in the region, and people’s struggle against imperialist occupation in West Africa. But also the perspective from the comrades in Asia, the youth organisation Anakbayan, from the revolutionary youth organisation in the Phillippines regarding the political situation there, since the South East Asian region, the Pacific region, is one of the hotspots for imperialist confrontation between China and the USA.
It can be harder for young people living in the West to imagine any alternative to capitalism. Could the international attendees propose any solutions for this?
Yes, definitely. The biggest problem youth living in Europe face is an emotion of hopelessness. In Europe, 30 years after the defeat of actually-existing socialism, most of the movements that exist on the ground in Europe, which may even call themselves ‘revolutionary’, lack hope that the revolution today could be possible, and that we the youth can be the driving force of this change. It was really inspiring, especially for comrades from the European continent, to see that around the world there’s a big fight going on, a big struggle and a big hope, there’s no need to be hopeless, and there is no ‘end of history’.
Many analyses of Israel’s war on Gaza have been marked by the same sense of hopelessness and lack of political alternatives. Could attendees at the conference imagine any alternative?
In the final declaration of the conference, one of the principles is that the conference declared solidarity with the Palestinian people that are under attack. In this moment, this is seen as really important, even if it’s only symbolic.
In one workshop, which was named ‘Youth of the Middle East in the Third World War’, which was attended by young people from Armenia, Balochistan, Kurdistan and Syria, discussions about this topic took place. The declaration by delegates from the Democratic Youth Council of Syria gave some perspective, I would say, on the conflict: a clear declaration of solidarity with the Palestinian people but also a rejection of the attacks Hamas is conducting, and the methods Hamas is using in this moment. In the conflict in Palestine, we need to stand on the side of the Palestinian people, as the war in this moment is not just connected to Hamas’ attacks, but has a longer history than these attacks, a history of occupation and colonialism for more than 70 years.