The Young Fabians has always been an organisation dedicated to internationalism and to positive engagement with the community of Socialists outside the borders of the United Kingdom.
The Young Fabians International Network has in the almost 12 months since its inauguration on 10th January 2015 been dedicated to making the Young Fabians more connected, more relevant and more involved on the international stage, in particular in cooperation with our sister organisations on the left. Indeed, it was a stated aim when the Young Fabians International Network was being founded to facilitate the organisation to be a more outward facing, internationalist group for the benefit of its members. As part of that the network applied on behalf of the Young Fabians as a whole to be considered as a candidate organisation to affiliate to the Young European Socialists.
On November 21st, 2015, as the Young Fabians were holding their AGM in London, the YES Bureau met in Luxembourg and approved that application. This is a historic moment for the Young Fabians, representing an unrivalled opportunity to engage with the Young European Socialists both to broaden the cooperation between the Young Fabians and its international comrades but also to demonstrate a commitment to internationalism and solidarity, particularly in light of the upcoming UK referendum on EU membership.
The final day of the Young Fabians International Network delegation to China started off with a meeting with the All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). Zhang Guoxian, head of International Development, briefly summarized the roles and functions of the ACFTU that are aimed at creating a ‘harmonious’ workers- employers relationship. These included compensation and protection over health, travel and legal issues that are paid through the membership. Jessica Toale, Young Fabians Executive Member, then presented the history of the Trade Union movement in the UK before questions were exchanged. It was interesting to note the similar trends that both countries faced with membership sign ups. The rise of SMEs and self-employment has challenged the traditional purpose of trade unions and the demographics of membership indicate issues with reaching out to young people. Another noteworthy question asked by the ACFTU was around legal aid and the recent changes. Victoria Desmond, Co-Founder of Labour Campaign for Mental Health, provided her insights into the repercussions of Conservative policy changes to workers’ rights of representation.
Our second meeting of the day was with the Publicity Department of the Communist Youth League. The raison d’etre of the department is to reach out to the Chinese youth via social media platforms through campaigns and broadcasts. One such campaign was to get the Chinese flag trending on the Weibo platform, another patriotic campaign on Wechat had 89million take part in celebrating ‘martyrs and heroes’ of WWII. Regular broadcasts of state messages are also sent via social media such as warning young people about the dangers of smoking and food waste. It should be noted that they state having editorial independence mainly out of the party being too busy to micromanage all of their activities. The department staff members were interested in our thoughts in how they could best export a positive view of China to the world, although both sides also realised that this would be difficult as there is a divergence to the tone as well as the different use of social media platforms (with Facebook and Twitter blocked in China but predominately used in Western nations).
The final meeting of the delegation was with social entrepreneurs at the China Youth Daily (CYD). Xu Ge, the Editor of CYD, introduced the recent impetus on social entrepreneurship from Premier Li Keqiang to be seen as a path of ‘friendship and communication China and the UK’. Wei Heping, Secretary of CYD, raised the point that despite extensive research from 150 social entrepreneurs from 22 provinces , China can learn from the model of social companies in the UK. There was also an interest in Fabian ‘gradualism’ as a means to cultivate the desired culture and pioneering services.
The Young Fabians delegation was aptly timed before the arrival of President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK this week as part of a Europe tour. As a follow up to his visit and the Young Fabian delegation, the Young Fabians will host an event on the 26th of October with Liam Byrne MP to discuss the subsequent steps for the UK-China relationship. To mark the end of an 18 month programme, delegates and contributors of the “ China-Ready: Equipping Britain for an Asian Future" pamphlet will provide their opinions alongside audience participation into what the two nations can learn from their relationship.
I would personally like to thank the Fabian Society, the Young Fabians, Jessica Toale for leading the delegation, Joel Mullan for initiating the programme, as well as fellow delegates, Fabian members and contributors to the Young Fabian China Programme.
By Junaed Khan
Last week the Young Fabians International Network sent a delegation to Brussels led by the networks operations officer Rebecca Carpenter. The trip centred around the Call to Europe Conference of the Foundation for Progressive Studies, also visited European institutions, and enjoyed the culture offering of the multicultural city.
The delegation met with many leaders across Europe including, North West MEP Azfal Khan, and the EUs High Representative Federica Mogherini, Icelandic Social Democrat Alliance leader Arni Pall Arnasson and former Maltese Foreign Minister Alex Trigona.
The Young Fabians International Network is leading a delegation to the annual conference of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in Brussels. The delegation led by Rebecca Carpenter will represent the Young Fabians at the Call to Europe V conference, a two day conference on European integration in particular around Islam. The delegation will visit European institutions, meet leaders from across Europe as well as embrace the cultural offerings of Brussels. The visit will last between the 23rd and 27th June.
In addition, the FEPS conference will gather members of the Young Academics Network that include members of the Fabian Society and Young Fabians, where they will be debating and analysis the research produced during year-long research projects. YAN members present include the Young Fabians' Chair.
As one of the closest elections in recent years enters it's final week, the Young Fabians are delighted to announce that a delegation from the Swedish Social Democratic Youth League (SSU) will be joining us to in the final leg of campaigning in the capital.
They will be out in Bermondsey on Tuesday morning, and then at the G.O.T.V operations in Ilford North followed by Hampstead and Kilburn on Polling Day. They will also be attending the YF/LYL election night party on Thursday night/Friday morning.
Young Fabian members are encouraged to come to join the delegation at any of these campaigns.
If you have any questions about their visit, please contact Young Fabian International Network Secretary, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam at 07958146118, or at [email protected]
As China continues its global expansion, the balance of the world economy is changing. Assessing this change and the future of China as a world player requires an understanding of the socio-economic narrative that underlies China’s growth. As China’s international investment presence continues to grow, the focus of this article will be to ask whether China’s ‘Go Out’ strategy towards overseas direct investment is a threat or an opportunity for the world economy. In particular, what are the implications of Chinese policy for developed countries such as Britain?Read more
The 15th seminar of the Young Academics Network of the Foundation of European Progressive Studies took place in Vienna between the 6th and 9th November 2014.
The Young Fabians presence has increased to four following our recent call for new members. Two new members, Hannah Iqbal (Cardiff University) and Dee Goddard (University of Kent) joined Rich Penny (University of Southampton).
The seminar focused on developing the draft papers of the working groups that were established at the 14th seminar back in July.
The Foundation of European Progressive Studies or FEPS is a publicly-funded pan-European thinktank which consist of a network of member organisations across Europe. It provides independant research for the Party of European Socialists (PES). It establishes an intellectual crossroad between social democracy and the European project, putting fresh thinking at the core of its action. As a platform for ideas , FEPS works in close collaboration with social democratic organisations, and in particular national foundations and thinktanks across Europe, to tackle the challenges that Europe faces today. The Fabian Society is one of the three UK members.
The FEPS Young Academics Network was established in March 2009 with an aim to gather promising progressive PhD candidates and young PhD researchers ready to use their academic experience in a debate about the Next Europe. Realised with the support of Renner Institut, the project has gathered in its course more than 50 members. Their exchanges and interdisciplinary research have resulted in a number of stimulating studies, providing a relevant contribution to the European progressive movement.
More than 60 members of the Young Fabians recently welcomed speakers from Chatham House, the chinadialgoue journal and the Shadow Foreign Office team for a discussion in Parliament on the evolving nature of China’s foreign policy.
Rod Wye, former head of research for Asia at the FCO and fellow at Chatham House, gave guests a wide overview on the historical character of China’s relations with the West and pointed to how China’s main expectation for the future was a greater sense of recognition from Western countries as a global leader.
Isabel Hilton, a journalist and CEO of China Dialogue, provided insight into how China’s new domestic priority of ensuring environmental protection as part of a modernising economy will feed through into a much greater level of engagement on global issues such as deforestation and climate change.
Kerry McCarthy, Shadow FCO Minister with responsibility for China, provided a critique of the coalition government's overly trade-focused outreach towards China and argued that the way to ensure British influence was to engage with China on all levels, while not shirking from our responsibilities towards upholding our national interests.
On Tuesday 2nd September the Young Fabians hosted a workshop on careers in Europe. The main presentation was given by Jonathan Millins, Senior Policy Officer from the East of England Region. There was advice given on many possible opportunities of working in Europe.
We were also joined by former Young Fabian and academic Michael Weatherburn who is currently engaged in Europe through FEPS on the opportunities for academics to work on projects in Europe.
The event was chaired by the Young Fabians' Secretary, who is also a member of FEPS Young Academics Network, and was followed by a social.