You may have wondered why Global Social Justice was so silent these past months. And some of you may have noticed the website did not function anymore.

The reason is simple: the website has been repeatedly hacked to the point of becoming irreparable. So we had to leave it as it is and wait for resources for a new website. The old website can still be consulted, all old articles and research are there, but it cannot be changed anymore.

This new website is now being launched and we hope to be able to regularly feed it with news around social justice, interesting documents and new research. We kindly invite all of you to contribute, give your suggestions and feedback.A lot has happened in the meantime. The ILO is very committed to promote its social protection floors, many NGO’s are working on the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on social protection and inequality. And on the ground, more and more people and social movements are fighting against austerity policies, against privatisations, against the erosion of their economic and social rights.

We continue to believe that the abovementioned international initiatives are very positive. If implemented, they would mean a tremendous progress for humanity. All the same, we think that social movements need to develop their own agenda, for several reasons.

First, we should not only fight for things that have already been given to us. Social protection floors and sustainable development are urgently needed, but what these programmes say is exactly what the global dominant groups accept to give us, and not one point more. But we need more if we want to achieve social justice.

Secondly, we should fight for the priorities of people on the ground, we need an agenda that comes from the grassroots so as to really respond to the needs of people.

Thirdly, we should know who our enemies are, and they are not only the advocates of neoliberalism anymore. We are now also faced with right-wing populism and these people do want some kind of social protection, but not the kind we want.

Whereas neoliberals will want to privatize and deregulate in order to achieve a social protection at the service of growth and markets, right-wing populists will want to defend so-called ‘traditional values’ and this does not lead to emancipatory policies.

That is why we are very proud that at the 12th Asia Europe People’s Forum, end of September 2018 in Ghent, Belgium, we adopted a Global Charter for Social Protection Rights. This is not a binding text, but a kind of guideline for all people who want to work, locally and nationally, on social justice. It is a document with general principles that can give meaning to the specific needs of people, so as to build an emancipatory and transformative agenda. And what we mean by this is that people should be made free and contribute to the social change our world so urgently needs. We truly believe social protection can help to bring this about.

These are also the points that we will work on in the future: develop the concept of social commons, which is nothing else than a participatory and democratized version of social protection; develop and identify the links from social protection to environmental policies, to democracy and peace, and certainly also to alternative macro-economics. And we will work on the articulation of several political levels, from local to global policies. They are all needed.

It is a long-term agenda, but we have found in the Asia Europe People’s Forum and in the World Social Forum friends and allies who will work with us. This gives courage and is very motivating.

We do hope you remain interested in the news we have to bring and the work we are doing. Please confirm by answering to this e-mail. If you do not want to receive our messages anymore, please also let us know.

We very much hope we can develop a long term relationship around social justice, especially starting in 2019 at the centenary of the ILO which stated in its Constitution of 1919 that ‘sustainable peace is not possible without social justice’. We think this message is as relevant today as in was one hundred years ago.

Warmest regards,

Francine Mestrum

Brussels / Mexico City

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