This appeal was put together by the organisers of the 16th World Federation of Youth and Students conference, to be held in Caracas, Venezuela, on August 7-15.]
The youth make up one of the most progressive, radical and dynamic forces of society. Continuously they are the catalystic forces for social transformation and progress. The future of every country is shaped by the united efforts of its young people, making them one of the main targets of capitalist globalisation and the ideological offensive of imperialism.
Young people have played effective roles in the fight against these offensives. In each and every country there are resistance movements against imperialism, and fighting for new social systems that reject the idea that capitalism is the only option and present the people's power as the real alternative against the neoliberal policies. The massive, global mobilisations against the war in Iraq, the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the North American Trade Organisation were expressions of the resistance of youth and the people.
With the change in the balance of forces in the world, the imperialist powers have increased their aggression while becoming increasingly unified in their attacks against humanity and our natural resources. In order to preserve and deepen their hegemony, US imperialism and its allies launched a military crusade against whomever stood in their way under the cover of the so-called "war on terror" and the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
This policy has resulted in the occupation of Iraq, continuous aggression against Palestine and the economic blockade and threats against Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and Syria. It has further caused suffering in Africa in countries such as Western Sahara, Sudan and Zimbabwe by imposing sanctions and internal interference. The real face of aggression, injustice and barbarism has led to the militarisation of societies and their economies against people's wellbeing.
Young people around the world have been seriously victimised by the effects of imperialist and neoliberal policies of international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation, the G-8, the European Union and the World Bank. At the same time the gap between the rich and the poor, the developed and undeveloped countries grows wider. Exploitation, hunger, unemployment, lack of health care, poverty and misery continue to grow as a result of the imperialist economic, political and military policies, resulting in catastrophic effects for millions of people around the world.
In various forms, and throughout the world, youth have fought exploitation, blockades, embargos, sanctions, racial discrimination and xenophobia. We struggle for peace, national sovereignty, independence, self-determination, democracy, security, international solidarity and a world free from nuclear weapons. We demand respect for and the defence of human and democratic rights, social justice, women's rights, sustainable development and the environment. We demand that everyone have access to employment with dignity, labour rights, education, health care, sport, culture and technology.
The World Festival of Youth and Students (WFYS), initiated in 1947, is the biggest event organised by progressive and democratic youth and students around the world. The WFYS is one of the main expressions of anti-imperialist, anti-fascist and anti-colonialist struggles led by youth. After the successful 15th WFYS in Algeria in 2001, held for the first time on the African continent and Arab region, the 16th WFYS will take place in Caracas, Venezuela, from August 5 to 13, 2005.
The 16th WFYS in Venezuela affirms and reinforces the festival's character and orientation as an international, anti-imperialist, political-cultural and broad-based mass event of youth and students. This also provides an opportunity to extend our solidarity to the youth and people of Venezuela, its Bolivarian Revolution and all the people struggling all over the world.
The 16th WFYS should continue to reflect the diversity and richness of all the expressions of the international youth and student movements that are committed to the character and spirit of the festival, as well as their struggles and demands. The festival will be a space to exchange ideas and experiences and provide a platform to coordinate our efforts and intensify the struggles in our respective countries.
The 16th WFYS is a great moment to strengthen our efforts on the basis of a common cause and interests in the intensifying struggle against imperialism. We appeal to all youth and students to join in this struggle and work actively to participate in and strengthen the 16th WFYS.
For peace and solidarity; we struggle against imperialism and war!
Let us work for a successful 16th World Festival of Youth and Students in Caracas, Venezuela.
Brasilia, Brazil, June 2004.
From Green Left Weekly, February 23, 2005.
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