Populism on the rise

During their 9th meeting from 13th to 15th October 2017 in Krakow the members of the central european young trade unionist network (ceytun) addressed the question what should be the approach of trade unions towards populism in Europe.

FES/ceytun group work

FES/ceytun group work

In many European countries and especially in the middle and eastern regions of Europe there is a certain crisis in democracy and traditional political subjects appear to be weaker. This development is often associated with the rise of populism.

In the first part of the conference two experts, Dr hab. Anna Pacześniak from University of Wroclaw and Dr Bartosz Rydlinski from Ignacy Daszyński Centre, focused on populism in political and trade union culture, analysed populistic campaigns and speeches and attempted to define populism, its aspects, conditions and consequences.

In the second part the participants discussed conflicts and collisions between values of trade unions and populistic parties and developed possible ways how to establish strategies to keep trade union values in the world of populism.

In the end of the conference ceytun drafted a resolution expressing thoughts about populism. It states that populists propose easy solutions for complex issues, they claim to be speaking for the common people and they create artificial enemies. Right-wing populists are by definition illiberal and xenophobic. These attributes are against the values of trade unions.

Key demands of ceytun members are that trade unions should have a sound arguments  based on facts for discussions and be able to propose adequate solutions. Therefore, they should invest in quality research for collecting reliable data. They should also better communicate and promote their values, solutions, positions and messages to members of their organisations and to the society. Trade unions never should compromise about their basic values as a gamble for short-term gains.

ceytun consists of young trade unionists from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. ceytun was created in 2012 with the objective to promote the exchange between young trade unions members in Central Europe and to address common challenges together by building mutual trust across borders. 

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DGB-Jugend/Simone M. Neumann

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