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15 November 2019

Political Working Agenda of the Progressive Alliance


1) Our Motivation and our Obligation

For us, humans are at the centre, as well as their aspiration for freedom and peace, their quest for justice and capacity to act in solidarity. This is the guideline and tradition of our movement of progressive, social democratic and socialist forces worldwide, and these are the values that make our movement strong.

When more than 80 parties from around the world gathered in Leipzig on 22 May 2013 to launch the Progressive Alliance, it was seen as a strong commitment that the three fundamental values of freedom, justice and solidarity are inseparable. This distinguishes us from all those who think they can impose progress from above, force it upon people by oppression or just use human beings as a mere means to achieve a greater purpose – in whatever way that purpose is being interpreted.

The founding of the Progressive Alliance was also based on the conviction that international cooperation is needed more urgently than ever before. We are experiencing an unprecedented increase in political and social challenges, the full force of which is unfolding particularly in the international dimension. The financial and economic crisis is accompanied by a wide-scale ecological crisis and severe structural inequality. In many countries of the world, the crisis of democracy has intensified. Nationalists and populists are trying to abuse the issue of migration for their own agendas. In many places, the return of war and nationalism as a political means is eroding any willingness to cooperate at an international level.

However, there is one thing clear to us as progressive, social democratic and socialist forces: the future is open; it offers many new opportunities, but it also carries many risks. Therefore, progress and social justice need to be secured through democratic struggle. Guided by its commitment to the people, with a sense of reality and a zest for action, the Progressive Alliance is determined to tackle its tasks in the world of the 21st century. For lasting peace and for safeguarding the environmental conditions of our lives. For a society based on freedom, justice and solidarity. For equal rights and self-determination of all people, regardless of their origin and gender, free from poverty, exploitation and fear.

Our aim is a peaceful and just world order. We rely on the strength of law to overcome the law of the strongest. Only with a common structure of security and responsibility, only in solidarity and partnership will peoples, states and cultures be able to secure the survival of humanity and the planet.

We strive for sustainable progress that combines economic dynamism, social justice and ecological common sense. Through qualitative growth, we want to overcome poverty and exploitation, ensure that prosperity and decent work are available for everybody and tackle the dangers of climate change. It is essential to safeguard the environmental basis of life also for future generations and to improve the quality of life. To achieve this aim, we want to ensure that scientific and technical progress is used to the benefit of the people.

We are working on appropriate social security systems to fight poverty, provide people with equal opportunities to lead a self-determined life, guarantee fair participation and reliably cover the major risks of life. We rely on cooperation between generations and promote equal rights for women and men. Our special solidarity goes to the most vulnerable groups in our society. We want a healthy life and good education for all. We want to leave no child behind.

We rely on the strengths of a civil society based on solidarity. With the creative impetus of democratic politics, we want to strengthen cohesion in our countries and promote a sense of belonging and feeling at home. We want to promote a culture of recognition: people shall live together in mutual respect for the dignity, culture and achievements of their fellow human beings. We fight for the social and democratic state under the rule of law, which guarantees security in freedom.

In our time of rapid change many people are looking for orientation and perspective. We know that a majority of people share our values and our goals. Together with this majority that favours solidarity we want to implement progressive policies.


2) About us

Since the foundation of the Progressive Alliance in 2013, our network encompasses more than 140 parties and organisations. The Progressive Alliance thrives on its members, its multi-facetted and multicoloured member parties, which are the result of long-standing historical developments and the expression of different objective realities. We are also aware of subjective differences or sometimes differing opinions on specific issues, and we do not whitewash them.

The Progressive Alliance is a platform of sovereign parties that share a number of fundamental convictions and have felt connected to each other, often already for many decades. Our cooperation is not based on instructions or unrealistic majority decisions; it is being developed through ideas and moral inspiration, and not least driven by the search for common solutions. We pursue these aims in a world where solutions are increasingly dependent on finding new, cross-border answers to questions relating to threats of destruction on the one hand, and to our survival in freedom and dignity, on the other.

We have also provided mutual support in setting up regional networks and will continue to commit ourselves to regional exchange. We are already closely working together various regional party networks such as the Progressive Alliance of the Americas, the Party of European Socialists (PES), the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the Network of Social Democracy in Asia (SocDem Asia), the Central African Progressive Alliance (CAPA) and the Arab Social Democratic Forum (ASDF). Inter alia, we closely coordinate Progressive Alliance activities and their thematic priorities with regional networks. It is our aim to be present at each major region of the world at least once a year in order to broaden the basis for progressive politics and to be engaged in the critical struggles of our sister parties. The knowledge at regional networks about partners in the respective regions is of key importance to evaluate future membership applications to the Progressive Alliance.

We also maintain intensive and strategic relations with the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY). In the past few years, we have also been present on the ground in all regions of the world and have succeeded in expanding and strengthening our network. Right from the very start, the Progressive Alliance has welcomed the urgently-needed cooperation of progressive trade unions, civil society organisations, for instance in the field of gender equality and LGBTIQ rights or like SOLIDAR, and think tanks.

Finally – and this is the decisive feature of the Progressive Alliance – our global network is based on the commitment of individual parties who propose initiatives and projects and implement these together with the Progressive Alliance. The Progressive Alliance’s strength lies, not least, in this commitment and ownership.


3) Focus of our Work

The founding of the Progressive Alliance on 22 May 2013 marked the end of many years of discussion about a modern, democratic and open form of international cooperation between progressive, social democratic, socialist as well as labour parties and kicked off the start of such cooperation. The Progressive Alliance has succeeded in setting new benchmarks for cooperation and networking not only involving political parties, but also including progressive organisations and movements.

It must therefore be the aspiration of progressive, social democratic and socialist parties and organisations to formulate realistic and, at the same time, visionary answers to the great challenges of our era. This requires the introduction of political pilot projects for the here and now, while at the same time continuing to develop long-term strategies and concepts – by all means also allowing for utopian views – which demonstrate that it is possible to create a different, better and more just society by combining day-to-day political business with long-range visions. Because it is possible to create a different kind of world.

Against this backdrop, the Progressive Alliance has outlined the following focal points for its work and we are putting these into practice with the help of our campaigns and various event formats.

  • Programmatic exchange and development of a progressive agenda: A central factor for the exchange between progressive forces is the further development of progressive programmes. Our aspiration is not only to take the lead in national governments, but to prove that our concepts are globally sustainable and globally realisable. We have addressed the most pressing issues of progressive politics – peace, democracy, human rights, social justice, decent work, gender equality, migration, climate change and sustainability – and have discussed these intensely in all regions of the world and in cooperation with our key partners in trade unions, civil society and think tanks. This has resulted in numerous common positions like the report for a global social and ecological transformation “Shaping our future” or on digital capitalism.
  • Comprehensive exchange on campaigning and party organisation: Even the most progressive program has no chance of implementation unless our parties win elections and are given the opportunity to assume political responsibility. This is why the discussion about election campaign techniques and strategies, along with party organisation, are the Progressive Alliance’s second mainstay, together with thematic content. Up to now, our campaign seminars have focussed on practical exchange concerning successful strategies and concepts in particular, for example door-to-door campaigns, gender-specific aspects of election campaigns and strategies used in online campaigning.
  • International Solidarity Work: Right from the beginning of the labour movement, cross-border solidarity was one of the decisive characteristics distinguishing it from other political movements. Under the term “solidarity” we understand the idea of a shared sense of community and mutual assistance. Solidarity is the sword of the seemingly powerless and, at the same time, solidarity creates the power to make changes. This has been the experience of the workers’ movement. It is therefore one of the central objectives of all members of the Progressive Alliance to help comrades throughout the world who are suffering political suppression and persecution and who need international support in their fight to uphold our common values of freedom, justice and solidarity, often risking their lives and suffering great personal hardship.


4) The Way Ahead

The Progressive Alliance wants to strengthen and expand cross-border dialogue, worldwide cooperation and international solidarity. In order to do justice to our own political aspirations and values of democracy, justice, solidarity and gender equality, also within our own network, we have to advance the basic principles of action and structures of the Progressive Alliance. For this reason, we want to improve, and in doing so, also strengthen the Progressive Alliance in the following areas:

  • We will not rest before gender equality is a natural phenomenon. We believe the issue of gender should be mainstreamed in all policy fields and covered in our discussions. Simultaneously, we want to continue to discuss the issue of gender equality intensively and on a regular basis within the framework of the Progressive Alliance Working Group on Gender Equality. As the Progressive Alliance, we will set a positive example by making sure women play a central and leading role in our network. We want to achieve parity on the Board, the central body of the Progressive Alliance. Each party applying for a seat on the board must nominate two candidates, one male and one female, who may then become equal members of the board.
  • The youth is the future, but the youth is also the present. It is essential to move to a paradigm in which the young people are not only accepted as subjects with legal rights, but also become important agents of social change. Against this background the Progressive Alliance wants to strengthen and broaden its cooperation with the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) and keep the IUSY President as a co-opted member of the Board.
  • We reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and thereby pursue that multilateral institutions become relevant instruments for peace and sustainable development. As the Progressive Alliance, we want to strengthen the voice of progressives and make it heard in the global public and political arena. We therefore want to apply for Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). To influence global politics and bring about progressive change, we must participate in relevant debates and expand our visibility and shared positions in particular in the framework of the United Nations. Therefore, the Board of the Progressive Alliance meets on the fringes of the annual United Nations General Assembly session.
  • In order to play a central role in the world as an international alliance of progressive, social democratic and socialist parties, we must increase the Progressive Alliance’s prominence. To do this, we want to hold a high-level Progressive Alliance Global Leaders’ Summit.
  • But we should not only become more visible at the global level. Cooperation with regional networks is of crucial importance to establish a discourse on progressive politics on a permanent basis in the different major regions of the world as well. Therefore, we want to ensure a closer coordination among regional networks and in future we want to hold a meeting between the regional Coordinators and the Coordinator at least once a year.
  • As progressive, social democratic and socialist parties we see ourselves as part of a social and cultural movement. And it is from this interaction, in particular, that we receive a lot of significant impulses for our political agenda. We therefore continue to offer an annual Progressive Alliance Award of € 5,000 to personalities, projects and initiatives of progressive parties and organisations which have campaigned for more peace and justice in the world in an innovative and exemplary manner. The winner is determined by a jury that consists of the coordinators of the regional organizations within the Progressive Alliance, a representative of the party where the prize will be awarded and the Coordinator of the Progressive Alliance.
  • No bright future without a good education – this is one of the basic realisations of our movement. Consequently, one of the core activities of our movement is providing educational opportunities to disadvantaged groups: education as the basis for the shaping of politics, the economy and society as well as the individual’s own life. Against this background we want to continue with the Progressive Alliance Activist Academy that offers instruction and training in all relevant sectors of modern party organisation and communication work to young political activists. Parties and organisations of the Progressive Alliance can propose candidates for the training and can play an active role in the training courses. We conduct this Academy in cooperation with the parties’ foundations.
  • We have created a framework for our programmatic cooperation which we want to further develop. We implemented the exchange of ideas and knowledge in all regions of the world and we incorporate trade unions, progressive groups of civil society and think tanks.
  • In order to make our progressive agenda a political reality, we have to win elections. Therefore, we shall continue with our discussions on election programmes, in particular concerning the exchange of experience in progressive campaigning and modern and participatory party organisation.
  • We shall continue to actively support and show our solidarity with all those who are threatened by oppression and persecution. History has taught us: our strength as progressives lies in international solidarity.
  • All three points of focus (programmatic discussions, solidarity work and exchange on campaigns) will be organised using a wide variety of formats – public conferences, exchange of experience in the steering committee and field missions, to name just three. Here we shall in future be placing special emphasis on modern and innovative working methods. We are still searching for further suggestions regarding formats and methods, in order to improve the structure of our experience and information exchange activities.


5) Our Mission

The majority of people want to live in a peaceful and just world. It is for them that we engage in political action.

It is up to us, the progressive, social democratic and socialist forces, to determine whether the 21st century will be a century of violence and fierce battles over resources, or whether it will be a century of social, democratic, ecological and economic progress.

The course of the 21st century will depend largely on our strength and on the strength of progressive forces worldwide. We must struggle to ensure that the 21st century will be a century of social justice and democracy.


Political Working Agenda of the Progressive Alliance