stefna 2009

Document 3.1.2.

The Social Democratic Alliance’s National Convention in Smárinn Kópavogur March 27th-29th
Political resolution

Work and Welfare

The most important project facing the next government is to ensure the increased production of capital goods, employment and welfare.
The Icelandic nation is at a crossroad. Behind us is the collapse of the banking system, the shipwrecking of our economy, unequal division, and individualism. We struggle with the consequences of one of the worst economic depressions to wash over the world in nearly a century.
Under these circumstances socialism is the only answer. Socialists have laid the foundations of the social welfare system in the Nordic countries and insured better social equality, and the best competitive market known anywhere.
The Social Democratic Alliance, emphasis socialism as the guiding light necessary for economic rehabilitation in the coming years. We must see to it that our economic system is just. The best interest of Icelanders after elections in 2009 will best be served by a socialist government that applies for membership in the European Union and completes the contract with the EU according to the wishes of the people.
The economy and the transformation of the political system
The foundations of the economy must be secured with actions that ensure the benefits of the public rather than special interest groups. The founding rule of the social democratic movement, that those who need the most help should get it, should be a guiding light in the actions that must be taken to help families in dept out of their current difficulties.

In the reconstruction of the economy we must ensure that viable companies are provided with enough capital for business. In that, there is no time to lose. The government needs to deal with the debts of companies and ensure equality in treatment of similar cases. In that way the interests of the public are best ensured in the reconstruction of the economy.
Every action to bridge the era of difficulties for companies and homes will be responsible and purposeful so that favorable conditions are created for economic growth, subsidy of debts and reconstruction. This will be the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Parallel to an action plan there must be a clear vision for the future in basic areas such as monetary policy, future currency and the frame of the economy during the reconstruction.
The economic reconstruction needs to coincide with a more open and democratic government. Political interference in hiring officials has weakened the administrative system and undermined the independence of professional administration. It is necessary to change the Constitution to ensure public ownership of common resources, the public’s right to demand a referendum, and to make it possible to change the Constitution with the agreement of the people and the parliament without a vote to parliament. The Social Democratic Alliance emphasizes that an inaugural meeting will be called no later than December 1st 2009, as is suggested in a government bill before Alþingi. The public’s representatives will attend the inaugural meeting and make a suggestion for a new constitution that the nation must accept with a referendum.
After the bank crash the Social Democratic Alliance emphasized that Iceland take care of their relations with their neighbors and not resign from international laws. A small country in crisis which bases its survival on international trade cannot ignore general rules in international affairs. In cooperation with the International Monetary Fund it was possible to lay the foundation for the economic reconstruction of the country in cooperation with neighboring countries. A turnaround in the economy is based a great deal, on reliable access to foreign markets and the good reputation of Iceland abroad.
The first task of a new government will be to create a national agreement on responsible economic control. A part of that is to immediately start negotiations with the European Union, and after that put the results before a referendum. Part of the negotiation team will be a consultation group of interested parties such as representatives of industry and workers, representatives of the association of local authorities and representatives of environmental and equality organizations. The Social Democratic Alliance will, during negotiations ensure basic interests of industries especially the Icelandic fishing industry and agriculture as well as defending the natural resources of the country. The party will immediately begin preparations for a currency change.

An application of EU membership and the preparation for the adoption of the Euro will strengthen the economy of the homes and companies in the country since the exchange rate of the ISK is likely to increase, and interest rates will decrease because the country’s credit terms will improve abroad. The position of homes will improve significantly with EU membership since the price of food, interest rates, and common consumer goods will decrease, and the indexation will be abolished with the new currency. Full participation in the cooperation of European states will also ensure the continuation of freedom of movement, access to educational institutions and science cooperation, and access to the largest labour market and market area in the world. EU membership is a matter of democracy that will improve the rights of workers and minorities and increase the national security.
The Social Democratic Alliance will make sure that membership includes strengthening diverse industries in the countryside by participating in the regional development policy of the EU, and ensure that local authorities take part in the decision-making process of matters that concern them. European Union membership will correct the democratic deficit that the European Economy Area membership entails, and ensure that Icelanders have a say in the passing of all legislation in the country.
Labour Issues
An integral offensive policy is to be formed for Icelandic economy with the goal that Iceland be one of the world’s ten most competitive nations by 2020. A special campaign will be taken on to map Iceland’s opportunities in the field of environmentally sound industry, and transform the industry towards a green economy.
The government’s plans to create up to 6000 new jobs in the building industry, innovation and start up companies, tourism and culture industry, fishing industry, energy consuming industry and other fields will be launched.

The Social Democratic Alliance will also work for a diverse labour campaign all over the country which entails that small, medium and new companies receive support from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Directorate of Labour, in order to hire employees who are searching for employment. Emphasis will be put on labour demanding projects, such as in the building industry and transport improvements, and in the prioritisation of new projects. Projects which result in new jobs will be taken into account while allocating official funds. The Icelandic Student Loan Fund’s rules will be changed to make it easier for those who want to go to school, rather than actively seek employment, to receive a student loan. Finally, the possibility to take classes on a secondary school level will be increased during the summer time and vocational training facilities utilized for students that do not get a summer job but would like to improve their education.

The Social Democratic Alliance stresses the importance of family welfare, protecting homes and healthy life styles.

During recent governments, Social Democratic Alliance has emphasized improving the rights of the elderly and disabled to welfare, ensuring access to the health system independent of financial status and to start an action plan on children’s issues, thereby increasing community support to children, and families with children. The Social Democratic Alliance’s welfare reforms lead to increased personal tax-free allowance, child care benefits and interest subsidies. It also leads to benefits for those with less income, and pensioners were ensured an index adjusted pension. Those with little money have benefitted from the Social Democratic Alliance’s welfare reforms for the past few years.

The welfare system’s most important project in current circumstances is to protect the interests of the children and families who are most vulnerable. Equal rights and access to the qualities of life which society has to offer must be ensured. The goal is to ensure that no family suffers.

It is important that everybody have a roof over their heads. The debt dilemma of families must be answered, and necessary support ensured so that these families can face this temporary crisis. The family welfare system must adjust the debt burden according to each and every individual’s circumstances, for example write off debts where it is necessary. Minimum support which takes into account income, assets and debt must be ensured.

Emphasis will be placed on improvement of health as a precautionary measure against diseases and as a way to increase quality of life. The goal of improvements in the health and social security system is equality, easy access, quality, safety and efficiency.

Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
Gender equality and women’s rights are one of the corner stone’s of socialism. The words don’t only imply that men and women have the same rights according to law but also men and women have an equal opportunity to take advantage of their rights. The Social Democratic Alliance states a clear political will to ensure full equality between men and women and will continue to assume reasonability in its progress within the government and congress. To that end, the Alliance will integrate equality views in policy making at all levels and make the prime minister responsible for enforcing it.
Education and culture
Culture is a growing industry, the moving spirit behind innovation, the mainstay of quality of life, and the source of people’s feeling of unity. Our current economic situation calls for new and diverse employment opportunities in Iceland which promote even further situations, especially in culture and arts. It is therefore explicitly advantageous to breathe new life into this sector.
Education is one of the key factors in the development and happiness of an individual and also the basis of their economic independence. Essential to restoration and innovation is cooperation between educational institutions and the employment sector. The Social Democratic Alliance wants to guarantee a good education system which offers everyone a diverse and high-quality education, from play-school all the way to university, regardless of situation, wealth, origin or occupation.
Cut backs in education should not be across the board, but rather prioritized for the good of those children and youths who need the most assistance.
Environment and natural resources
The republics constitution must be changed so that it becomes the foundation of environmental protection in the future. Socialists all around the world wish to ensure equality when it comes to utilizing natural resources. Iceland is to be in the forefront of environmental work on an international level, whether in climate control or in the utilization of geothermal heat.

Big steps have been taken in environmental and natural protection in the past 6 months but there is still work to be done. The government’s priority is to develop a plan of action for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Plans must be made to improve the sustainable development of inhabited areas.

The government’s goal is a green industrial policy. Care must be taken so that Iceland becomes the first country to not only use clean inland energy for heating of houses, but also in labour, including fishing and transport.

Þjórsárver is to be preserved in accordance to the proposal of the natural protection act for the years 2009-2013, which is now in deliberation in Alþingi.

A framework programme on utilization and protection of nature will be proposed in Alþingi in the winter of 2009-2010 and set as law. Important areas will be ensured protection, while an integral sorting of all possibilities of utilization are being worked on.

We want to enlarge the national park of Vatnajökull so that it also covers Langasjór, the watershed of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, and untouched areas of volcanic activity between the glaciers Vatnajökull and Mýrdalsjökull.

We are also working on completing an action plan, with scheduled and numbered goals, and for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by the year 2050.

We will work to put a price on greenhouse gas emission permits and joining the European Union Emission Trading System as quickly as possible. Encourage less use of fossil fuels, for example by employing economical stimuli so that Iceland becomes independent of fossil fuel. Such stimuli should especially aim to decrease greenhouse gas emission from vehicles.

The firm opposition against privatization of the fish stock has lead to the government finally working towards constitutional provisions stating that natural resources are public property.
The Social Democratic Alliance’s national convention welcomes these plans but emphasizes that the constitutional public property of the sea means that it becomes the duty of Alþingi to solve the ownership problem which arose because of free endorsement of harvest rights.
The goal of a provision regarding public property must be to ensure that the country receive the dividend of full ownership and authority over marine resources in the future. The immediate ratifying of this provision would inevitably validate the nation’s joint ownership of the sea’s resources. This would be done by limiting fishing rights and securing equal opportunity to quota utilization by renting them on a market.
Additionally, the party points out that the government must make sure that government finance organisations do not allocate quotas until clear provisions are set and that all contracts are reviewed in light of the policies stated here.

Leadership in the future
The National Democratic Alliance wants to lead the reunification of the nation regarding the important decisions that lie ahead. The best way to do that is on the basis of democratic procedure and the values of the Socialist movement about collective reasonability and collective help, equality and freedom.

Kópavogur March 29th 2009

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