Hannah Fuchs and Panny Antoniou, newly elected Co-Chairs of the Young Fabians International Network, outline their vision for the network in 2021.
We are very excited to be the newly elected Co-Chairs of the Young Fabians International Network. Covid-19 has once again highlighted the need to work together in order to manage catastrophes in a more efficient and successful way. 2021 marks the first year the UK will be outside European Union structures as the transition period ends. As political progressives, a lot of work is waiting for us to continue our strong working relationship with international partners.
As Chairs, we want to highlight the great progressive groups across Europe and the United States and strengthen our network to develop and advocate for a strong foreign policy. One idea is to create a comparative analysis of party youth organisations from different countries to find best practices. In terms of policies, we need to be more present when talking about national security. Cybersecurity and drone capabilities are developing rapidly and are increasingly being used in a wide range of conflict zones. The hacking of the US cybersecurity firm FireEye is only the most recent incident that shows how fragile our democracy is, especially in light of emerging technologies. We are keen on working together with the Young Fabians Technology Network to plan events and interactive workshops.
Climate change and the transition to a more sustainable system, such as renewable energy supply, can only be tackled through international cooperation. The Paris Climate Accord has been one of the most prominent attempts but it is not sufficient. We need to look at how we can revamp our international supply chains, our energy supply, trade agreements, and the international service industry to ensure we transition to an international sustainable system where nobody is left behind, jobs are created and people are educated and trained for the jobs needed. It is also important to focus on the issue of Climate Justice with many of those most affected by climate change being women, and those in developing countries. We must work to ensure that the effects of climate change are not borne by those who are already the most vulnerable and that the benefits of the systemic change required to avert the climate emergency are felt by all.
Foreign policy and international affairs have been dominated by men. But in recent years, we have seen more women rising to senior positions. Let’s look at Angela Merkel, Margethe Vestager, Christine Lagarde, Ursula von der Leyen, Kamala Harris, or Jacinda Ardern, to name just a few. We might not always agree with their policies but we should all agree on the fact that they and many more women are incredibly strong personalities who have paved the way and served as role models for other women to engage in politics. Female foreign policy has rarely been discussed. We are keen on organising interactive sessions with women working in foreign policy and organisations such as the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy.
In addition, following Britain’s departure from the European Union, coupled with the merging of the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office, we are likely to see significant and radical change in the way Britain conducts itself internationally. This is something which should be challenged from an internationalist left-wing perspective and will be a major focus of the Young Fabians International Network going forward.
Beyond this British focus, it is also important to look more closely at some of the other political themes across the world. Whilst Trump has been defeated in the US, his brand of populism is still proving appealing with governments in Brazil, India, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and the Philippines amongst others echoing his message. The polarisation of our societies, technological developments, the transformation of media and climate change have all changed the nature of conflicts. We should be ahead of the curve, and understand new and emerging causes of international conflicts in order to act timely and accordingly.
Hannah Fuchs graduated with an MSc in EU Politics from The London School of Economics. She is the co-chair of the Young Fabians International Network and has contributed to two Young Fabians pamphlets on AI in global competition and foreign policy, and why the UK should implement a four-day working week. She is the Policy and Public Affairs Officer at ‘I have a voice' and the Communications Officer at the charity Lifelites. Twitter: @hannahlrf_
Panny Antoniou is the co-chair and founder of Open Labour’s Climate Change Working Group as well as the co-founder of grassroots activist organisation Labour Doorstep which advocates and campaigns for a Labour Government. Panny is also co-chair of the Young Fabians International Network. He tweets at @panny_antoniou