The Left Road to a Just World

The Left Alliance Party Programme ”The Left Road to a Just World” was adopted by the 5th Party Congress, 16 June 2007

1. The Renewing Left – A World Wide Movement

2. The Fundamental Values of Left Alliance
– Equality, freedom and sustainable development
– Democracy must be strengthened

3. Global Capitalism and the Left Alternative
– Democracy must be stronger than the power of capital
– It is time to challenge global capitalism
– Into world solidarity

4. Into a Socially Just Finland

– A stop to Finnish polarisation
– Making the dreams of freedom come true
– The right to work and income for all
– Environmentally conscious Finland

5. Left Alliance – on open and open-minded NGO

6. The World Is Still Young

At the same time as the Party Congress adopts the Party Program it
states that:

– as it adopts the Party Program which presents the central values and goals of
Left Alliance in a concise form, the Party Congress emphasizes the significance
of ongoing program work and the regenerative effect of the organizational and
public debate over the Party’s programs;

– the Party Congress obligates the Party Board to continue the systematic
program work and to start preparations for special programs. Updated special
programs are needed for example on equality politics, strengthening the
democracy, social politics, environmental politics, working life questions,
regional politics, immigrant politics, information society and cultural politics,
on mental health and substance abuse, disabled politics and sports politics;

– the Party Congress thinks that it is good that the Party Program can be
discussed in every statutory Party Congress if needed.

1. The Renewing Left – A World Wide Movement

The Left’s aim is to divest humanity of war, oppression, deprivation and inequality.

The Left aims for a society where every individual lives free and can develop him or
herself without trampling on the freedom of others. Freedom for all can only be
realised in a democratic and equal society.

The demand for sustainable development puts big choices before humanity. The way
of accelerating material production and consumption is unsustainable. Natural
resources are limited. Climate change caused by people’s actions and the
destruction of the environment threaten the conditions of our lives. They have
already seriously endangered biodiversity.

Humanity must choose a conscious way of sustainable development. Solidarity
between people and nations has to be reinforced. This means co-operation for
peace, human rights, democracy and justice.

Left Alliance works to build the Finnish society along the principles of equality,
freedom and sustainable development. We promote the same values in international
action, as a part of the world-wide Left movement.

2. The Fundamental Values of Left Alliance

Equality, freedom and sustainable development

The fundamental values of Left Alliance form an entity where all parts are equally
important and which can only be realised in a democratic society.

Equality is the starting point of all left thinking and action. All people are worth the
same. All people must have the right to a good life and active citizenship. Equality is
the measure of the rationale and heart with which we take our stances on
education, working life, the relationships between the sexes and age groups as well
as on income. Big differences in income and property and the power based on
ownership are the worst obstacles to the realisation of people’s equality.

Freedom is a person’s right and true possibility to realise her or himself and to be
creative. Freedom is the same as respect for every person’s individuality and dignity.
The oppressed and the exploited have always dreamt of freedom and the dream has
made people join together in action to change the society. The worst obstacles and
obligations for today’s people are created by the economy which functions
according to laws of its own. For the Left, freedom is always associated with social
responsibility and solidarity. In a free society the freedom of everyone is the
precondition for everyone’s freedom.

Sustainable development is the lifeblood of future generations. Left Alliance
promotes the principle of reasonableness where everyone should have enough
material well-being but nobody is entitled to an excess. The demand for
sustainability concerns all actions taken up by the society and the economy.
Sustainable development presupposes that democracy also encompasses the
economy. Huge differences in development and incomes, the climate change, the
limited natural resources and the diminishing biodiversity call for the increase and
deepening of co-operation across state borders.

Democracy must be strengthened

The fundamental values of Left Alliance can only come true in a democracy where
every person is a citizen entitled to political action. For Left Alliance democracy is a
key function of an enlightened civil society which should reach all communities also
in the economy, working life and international action.

Decision-making should be based on equal chances for participation and a wide
consensus which is reached through a free debate. Left Alliance promotes such
democratic culture where the participation of all people and open debate free of all
forms of supremacy are realised.

Democracy makes public administration an ally of the people. Democracy makes
subjects into citizens. Left Alliance regards the democratic welfare state as a means
to promote human dignity, the citizens’ equality and the common good.

Representative democracy remains a formality if it is not based on a democratic
culture that goes through the whole society. People have to be raised into civic
activism and activism must be supported and encouraged. In a good democratic
culture the voices and needs of minorities are always taken into account.

3. Global Capitalism and the Left Alternative

Democracy must be stronger than the power of capital

Left Alliance makes a difference between capitalism and the market economy. Left
Alliance opposes capitalism which is politics that one-sidedly favour the capital
owners’ economic interests and prerogatives. In a capitalist society capital is
stronger than democracy and the power based on the ownership of capital
dominates economic decision-making. We will replace the exercise of power
favouring the supremacy of capital with a co-operation of all participants and with
the just division of the fruits of labour.

Democracy and the economy cannot be separated. Left Alliance sees democratic
politics also as a force that revitalizes the economy. The fluent functioning of the
economy presupposes markets but the limits of the market economy and fair rules
have to be set by the means of national and international democracy. We want to
develop the market economy in such a way that its effects are ecologically, socially
and humanly sustainable.

It is time to challenge global capitalism

The direction that world development took changed radically in the 1990s when the
whole world was opened up into capitalist market economy. International trade and
capital movements have immensely increased. The current neoliberal mainstream
economic policy has put its faith in the sole superiority of the markets and in the
unsoundness of all political regulation.

Nevertheless, markets can never provide all with a job, a home, an income, an
education, care or solace. The markets answer solvent demand, not people’s needs.
The freedom of capital in the markets results in the strengthening of the powers of
the stronger, centralisation and the suppression of free competition.

Market economy, free trade and technological development have generated wealth.
In the Nordic countries the democratic welfare state created by the struggle of the
labour movement has produced good preconditions for the economy and a solid
social trust. Only with the help of the democratic welfare state have we made such
progress in the fields of culture, education, health and income and, above all,
achieved such significant social, regional and gender equalisation that has actually
taken place.

In the time of globalisation the capitalist market economy has transformed itself into
global capitalism that crosses over all borders. The Right claims that global capitalism
is a natural force and uses this as an excuse to extend the competition and market
principle into all areas of social life. In this way global capitalism is chipping away at
the goal of an equal society and social trust on which the development of both the
society and the economy has relied in Finland since the WWII.

The Left challenges global capitalism by presenting it with solidarity and a sustainable
alternative. We want to build a democratic road into the future which is based on
the principles of equality, freedom and sustainable development.

New direction for the European Union

Global capitalism is a threat to every welfare state. The uncontrolled supranational
economy manifests itself as a natural force that compels welfare states to compete
with each other over investments and to cut taxes in such a way that benefits only
the rich.

With the Right in the lead the EU has concentrated on opening up the markets,
lowering taxes, reducing regulation and state subsidies and increasing the flexibility
in the labour markets. With this neoliberal politics the EU does not deserve the
trust of the European people. Left Alliance wants to reform the European Union in
such a way that the EU supports the development of the society on the basis of the
Nordic model of solidarity.

The European Left must seize the initiative to develop the EU. Europe needs
effective common and democratic regulations which in the whole Union area
guarantee civil rights, the position of workers and fair rules in working life, social
security, sufficient tax income to support the welfare state and sustainable
development. When the Treaties of the EU are renewed a consultative referendum
must be carried out in Finland.

The European Union must promote the achievement of these goals in the whole
world. Left Alliance wants the EU to be a strong builder of peace, democracy and a
just world economy. The times of selfish superpowers and irresponsible
corporations must be left behind. The European Union has to commit itself to
strengthening international justice and global co-operation.

Into world solidarity

The building of world solidarity is based on a growing consciousness of the
humankind. Knowledge of the common destiny of all people in the world, the equal
value of all humans and the recognition of human rights are the starting point of Left
politics.

Peace is the first prerequisite of all development and humanity. Left Alliance is on
the side of peace against war and militarism. We want to dismantle military alliances, promote universal disarmament, world peace and international security based on
the respect of the principles of the United Nations.

Left Alliance aims at global democracy. The democratic world presumes the respect
of human rights everywhere. The democratic world calls for a just world economy
which serves the fulfilment of the basic human needs also in the poorest countries.
The most urgent task is the eradication of hunger, poverty, blatant inequality and the
oppression of women. Left Alliance supports the demands to raise the Finnish
development aid into one per cent of the gross national product. The Finnish
refugee policy has to be humane and we must considerably raise our refugee quota.
The European Union must have a common and solidary immigration and refugee
policy which recognizes the EU’s global responsibility.

Left Alliance regards the basic rights in working life as essential human rights. The
workers’ right to organize and have strikes, collective bargaining, the ban on
enforced and child labour and the equality of women and men in working life are
principles that concern all the people in the world. The Left and the trade union
movement must strengthen their international cooperation in order to realise these
rights everywhere.

The organization of world trade needs just rules. Poor countries must have the right
to develop their own economies and sell their products. Speculative capital transfers
must be globally taxed and the tax havens of the rich need to be closed down.
In a limited world we cannot solve the big problems of humanity by having faith in
eternal economic growth. We also need the skill of just redistribution. We need
more education and wellbeing, not more things.

The United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as
the international human rights agreements express the political will to build the
world community on the basis of peace, people’s equality and democracy. Finland
has to promote the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals and
participate in the making of the UN into an effective forum of global politics. Finland
must act to democratise also other trans-national organizations.

4. Into a Socially Just Finland

A stop to Finnish polarisation

In global capitalism capital has no home country. Finnish capitalism is also
increasingly less national. This is true of capital invested abroad from Finland and of
capital invested in Finland from abroad. Especially public companies, regardless of
their background, only seek the greatest possible return on investment.
The time of global capitalism can be seen in Finland as increasing income and
property differentials, social exclusion and regional inequalisation. Workers
experience growing insecurity. Trust in democracy has eroded. Great many citizens
have lost their faith in the fact that their living conditions can be improved through
political activism and voting.

Nevertheless, this is not an inevitable development. The growth of inequality is not
an obligation of the natural force kind, although the neoliberal hegemony makes us
believe that the economy and the society have no alternatives. The supremacy of
capital can be restricted through determined politics. The Finnish welfare state and
the agreements based society can be developed. Left Alliance wants to create faith
in the future and to increase trust in value-based politics. These are indispensable
preconditions in order to subvert the capitalist development that makes the world
increasingly unequal.

The welfare state must be reformed

In a welfare state the government has the responsibility for the wellbeing of all. Left
Alliance and its predecessor, the Finnish People’s Democratic League, have through
the decades worked to build the Finnish welfare state. The dismantling of social
security and public services threatens these achievements and increases inequality,
tramples on human rights and decreases people’s freedom.

Left Alliance works to reform the welfare state so that it becomes just and wellfunctioning.
The actions of the government have to meet people’s new needs, the
influence of the service users has to be increased and the old bureaucratic subjects’
thinking has to be weeded out.

Our goal is to eradicate inequality and guarantee work, income, home, education
and care for all. We want to remove the obstacles to a good life caused by age, sex,
ethnic background, language, health or disability, sexual preference, conviction or
place of residence. We want to promote the balanced development and well-being
of all Finland.

We want to promote a balanced development and wellbeing in the whole of Finland.
In the development of economic activity Left Alliance takes equally into account the
needs of the different regions in the country. Realising this goal presupposes a
strong public economy, public production of the basic services and the development
of state ownership, investments and subsidies.

Mere equality of chances is not enough for Left Alliance. We aim for equality that is
realised in everyday life. The citizens’ basic rights have to be made into a living
reality. Functioning basic rights need to be supported by a competent and servicing
government that meets people’s individual needs, and an active civil society.

In the creation of the conditions for a good life, the economy is in a key position. A
just and functioning welfare state creates the best preconditions for a successful
economy that benefits all people equally. Left Alliance supports the development of
the means of livelihood, know-how and creativity. The conditions the business life
requires, especially those needed by small-scale entrepreneurship, and their
potential to create jobs, is important to us. In the development of economic action
Left Alliance takes equally into account the needs in the different parts of the
country. The realisation of this goal calls for a strong public economy, the public
production of the basic services and the development of state ownership,
investment and subsidies.

Making the dreams of freedom come true

Each individual must have the opportunity to develop and educate him or herself. All
have to have the right to a stimulating, spiritually enhancing and socially rewarding
life. Therefore those in a weaker position have to be especially supported.
The achievement of a society that treats all people equally calls for active antidiscriminatory
work. The society has to be built in such a way that each of its
different members has an equal opportunity to participation and developing
themselves.

In spite of the achievements of the Nordic welfare state gender equality is still a long
way away. The labour markets are still segregated into male and female jobs and
women’s wages are considerably smaller. The unpaid or little paid care work, which
is essential for the good life and functioning of the society, is often taken for granted.
Reproductive work needs to be made visible and its fundamental meaning for the
rest of the economy has to be recognized.

The mandatory gender roles put a strain on all people regardless of their sex. These
are especially harsh on all the people whose gender identity or sexual expression
differs from what we are used to. The production of the unequal gender structures
needs to be openly discussed and action has to be taken to dismantle them.
Left Alliance promotes equality between all people, equal position in the family,
working life and the society in general. Left Alliance builds a society where different
family forms and life choices are in an equal position. People’s rights, opportunities
and responsibilities are the same. In a relationship or family life these cannot be
dependent on sex or sexual orientation.

Left Alliance promotes Finland’s development into a multicultural country. All
people who permanently live in the country must have the same civil rights and
obligations. We welcome immigrants in Finland and full citizenship. Immigrants,
emigrants and refugees bring new life and cultural richness into Finland. Immigrants
are individuals and there are different starting points, life situations and reasons for
their moving.

Everyone has the right to their own culture and language. This is equally true of the
newcomers and of our old minorities such as the Roma, Sámi as an indigenous
people and the Swedish speaking as our largest language minority. The special
position of the Swedish language is a part of the Nordic basis of the Finnish society.
It is important that no group isolates itself or that it is not isolated from the rest of
the society.

Civilisation means the good abilities of the citizens and the preparedness and
willingness to continually learn new things. The Finnish society succeeds the best
when everyone has a real chance to get a high-level education and civilisation.
Creative work must be given proper prerequisites. Cultural literacy, the ability to
personally experience and enjoy cultural products is a big part of civilisation. The
public service principle and educational task of the Finnish Broadcasting Company
needs to be strengthened.

Citizens’ basic rights also include the use of digital information and services and the
use of the Internet. Vital information needed for functioning in the society cannot be
the private property of big corporations. The openness of the information society to
all has to be guaranteed. This is promoted by the public sector’s use of open
standards and free software.

Every child has to have the right to a happy and stimulating childhood. This has
political consequences for the support of families and the development of schools.
Each person must be guaranteed the right to dignified old age. This calls for health,
care and cultural services that are both sufficient and of a high standard.

The right to work and income for all

Everyone has the right to work and income. Work for the benefit of oneself, one’s
family, the close community and for the whole society is for every person an
important avenue to self-realisation. Work is an important part of social esteem and
self-respect.

Left Alliance promotes everyone’s right to an active membership of the society. We
have to create new and novel kinds of jobs. With the increase of production,
working hours must be reduced and free time and flexibility on the workers’ terms
have to be increased. The concept of work should be developed so that all
endeavours people take up that benefit the society are made visible.

The development of global capitalism has deepened the crisis of the wage work
society and increased insecurity in working time. A strong counterpoint for the
defrauding that takes place with short-term, part-time and hired-out work is needed
in the form of the trade union movement and the agreements based society.

Left Alliance promotes citizenship in working life. We want to strengthen the rights
in working life, safety, fair working conditions, corporate democracy and democratic
workplace culture as well as the preconditions for trade union action. Equal rights in
working life also concern immigrants.

Reconciling work and family-life has to be guaranteed in such a way that both fathers
and mothers can bear an equal responsibility for parenthood. Public service
production that meets people’s needs supports the achievement of this goal.
Women’s pay and position in working life must be made the equal of those of men.

Left Alliance aims for a unified basic security that respects people and guarantees all
the preconditions for a decent life. Income based social security supplements the
basic security and makes up for the loss of earnings. Social security needs to be
flexible according to people’s needs so that the insecurities involved in different life
situations, studying, working and entrepreneurship, can be controlled. Small incomes
must be made tax exempt and all types of income have to be taxed under the same
progressive system.

Environmentally conscious Finland

If all the people in the world consumed the same way as average Finnish people do,
we would need a globe that is four times larger than the present one. Internationally
Finland must promote a development that is sustainable in view of the future
generations and the environment and Finland itself has to be a pioneer.
Curtailing the climate change presupposes a considerable reduction in the emission
of greenhouse gases.

The just and sustainable use of natural resources puts a huge
challenge of efficiency on production. Energy economics need to be developed so
that it becomes ecologically efficient and energy must be saved. The use of fossil fuels and nuclear power must gradually be stopped and renewable energy sources must be adopted. The share of rail and other public transport has to be increased. The development of
communities and residential areas has to be sustainable.

Biodiversity is a value in itself. Finland must especially take care of its large waters
and of its part in the protection of the Baltic Sea. Old forests are important in terms
of preserving the biodiversity.

As consumers we make everyday politics each day. Left Alliance wants to promote
responsible consumption and fair trade and strengthen the rights of the consumer
and the consumer movement. Left Alliance supports the principle of food produced
close to home and organic production. The protection of animals has to be
promoted. Especially the treatment of production animals needs improvement.

5. Left Alliance – on open and open-minded NGO

The roots of Left Alliance are in the over century old history of the labour
movement and its struggle for the equality and freedom of the oppressed. Our party
is the coming together of several political generations where the challenge and
richness is to create bridges of cooperation between the different kinds of
experience.

The industrial revolution in the 19th century gave birth to two big political
philosophies – liberalism and socialism. At their best what has been common to
both has been a belief in democracy and an effort to promote it. However,
liberalism has always emphasized the rights related to ownership and has wanted to
isolate the economy as an area of activity that has laws of its own. The socialist
tradition takes into account the connection between people’s true freedom and
their democratic influence and the distribution of wealth and income.

Ideologically the Left Alliance program identifies itself with socialist thinking. We
distance ourselves from the totalitarianism associated with socialism. Socialism in the
future can only mean more democracy and real freedom to all. Socialist thinking
promotes such a society where economic activity, capital movements and
investment activities, people’s position in production and especially the distribution
of income and wealth are regulated in order to achieve the goal of people’s equality
in practice. The economy must not rule the society; instead the economy has to
serve the building of a good life in a sustainable way.

Left Alliance wants to grow as an open political alliance in order to realise its basic
principles and the goals based on them. Membership in the party presupposes a
commitment to democracy and to the promotion of our basic principles – equality,
freedom and sustainable development.

Left Alliance is an open-minded civil movement. We build a pluralist and tolerant
society. We do not endorse conceptions that incite violence, xenophobia, racism or
chauvinism. Our conception of people is optimistic. In accordance with humanist
ideals we believe in people’s sense of responsibility and honesty as long as the social
preconditions for these exist.

The Left movement is a counterforce to the values that emphasize selfishness. A sense of community is all people’s basic need. The party has a neutral stand on religions. Practicing or not practicing religion is
each citizen’s private affair. The citizens must have equal rights regardless of their
religious or other convictions. The state should not have a special relationship with
any religion or religious group.

Active civil society is a necessary precondition for a functioning participatory
democracy. Left Alliance has to be a living civil movement and a promoter of the
democratic culture in civil society. The guidelines of our party life are democracy
and openness, listening to others, learning new things and exchanging ideas, as well
as camaraderie, support and encouragement among the members. We want to
maintain and develop co-operation with the trade union movement and other
NGOs in order to strengthen equal participation and democracy.

6. The World Is Still Young

The history of humankind is only starting. We are facing great challenges with
development and environmental threats, but also huge possibilities. The limitless
global capitalism is about to surpass the sustainability of the globe. The struggle over
energy and natural resources threatens to push nations into deepening conflicts.
Global capitalism has changed the world into a transnational market world. One
united people’s world is about to become true but in an alienated form. The Left
movement must promote the liberation of humanity – another kind of a world is
possible.

Political steering of global development is crucial in the 21st century. In a key
position will be the values with which this steering will take place. As people on the
left we are optimists. We believe that people are rational beings and able to change
the way in which they behave.

Left Alliance wants to be involved in the process of building a wide third Left. The
First Left was vitalized by the great ideologies of freedom of the French Revolution.
The second Left promoted social equality against the supremacy of ownership in the
name of the working class.

The Third Left is an idea about the historical union of the great European political
philosophies in order to build a better world. Feminist thinking and environmental
consciousness are in a central position in the ideology of the Third Left. The Third
Left is a new red-green way of thinking and acting that crosses over party lines.

The Third Left strongly rejects neoliberalism as a cold and misanthropic apologia of
global capitalism. The Third Left wants to develop the society of a new era with the
starting point of equal freedom. The society has the responsibility to create the
conditions that enable all people to live their lives fully, use all their capacities and be
active participating.

The Third Left places the division between the left and the right in a new place. It
regroups the parties of the great political ideologies. The Third Left is a realistic
dream of a sustainable and humane society in Finland and in the world.

________________
Left Alliance
Party Office

Very short history of the Left Alliance
The Left Road to a Just World

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