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Youth in Europe and globally need solutions

16.12.2022 - 13:15
  • Jiri Mäntysalo talking in European Left congress in Vienna.

Dear comrades

Youth in Europe and globally need solutions. Young working people are victims of capitalist and neoliberal policies and its effects. This day's young people will face environmental and climate crisis even heavier in the future if needed measures won't be achieved.

I'm sure we agree that the solutions that reduce society's income and wealth differences, create more decent-paid jobs, strengthen public services, education, culture and critical thinking and protect the planet are possible to achieve with cooperation of leftist, feminist, ecological and progressive forces. It is up to us.

In this context, it's important to notice that any solution to any major problem is doomed to fail if it doesn't include people in making ideas and implementing the changes. We young people have the knowledge and desire to take part in the decision-making of matters concerning ourselves and our communities, if we are given a genuine opportunity to do so.

In Finland, one of the main problems that youth is facing is about mental health. Well-being of many young people has weakened due to the political decisions made in recent decades and the right-wing turning of society. The pile-up of study and work load, the circle of surviving alone and the emphasis on individual responsibility causes a lot of troubles.

Supporting young people's mental health and well-being needs measures in many levels. More funding and resources to public services and more prevention, and at the same time, work to change unhuman attitudes and pressure in society that this system causes.

Ongoing militarization is affecting, and will affect in the future, to young people's feel of security. Militaries and right-wing media are aggressively feeding the non-critical thinking for youth. In this non-critical nationalistic thinking people are masses just for military, people are masses that need to be ready for war more and more every single day. This kind of thinking is trying to convince young people that the only and best security grows with weapons, and any other thought is unrealistic or "unpatriotic".

There is no doubt that we all need security. But it is up to left, it is up civil society and peace movement to challenge this wrong and dangerous supposition that security is only question of militarization. People's security is built with equality, education, social and health care services, and income that people can afford their living.

Dear comrades, I am wishing you all great Congress. Thank you very much!

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