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  FOS | Presentation in English

FOS-socialist solidarity is the North–South organisation of the socialist movement in Flanders. Our partners in the South are organisations of individuals who fight for their rights, for decent labour and their right to health. We support them in their struggle, together with our socialist rank and file in Flanders. Because the social struggle is a worldwide struggle!

 

Our convictions

 

FOS-socialist solidarity is the North–South organisation of the socialist movement in Flanders. International solidarity is more than an empty slogan for us. It is a condition for achieving a just world.

 

For us, this is equivalent to a fair distribution of resources. Between the poor and rich countries, but also within each country. It means an economy that adjusts to people’s needs. Not the other way around. It means respect for universal human rights. Also for the rights of women, and for labour rights.

 

But all this is not self-evident. That is why the member organisations and social movements are so important. They represent their group interests; they make their voices heard in decision-making processes. This way, they gain power, forming a countervailing power, to enforce their interests and be heard. That is why we support organisations and movements in the South, helping them to grow.

 

 

A globalised world is entitled to having a global countervailing power. We cooperate in this by bringing together organisations and movements in the North and in the South.

 

We work in two areas with our partners: the right to decent work and the right to health.

 

 

The right to decent work

 

 

Large groups of individuals in the South never have a chance to access a decent job. Often these jobs are unavailable or the available jobs are not decent work. Albeit that local free trade areas attract investors and employment, employment alone is not enough. Decent work is the key. With fulltime jobs, and formal labour rights. With a possibility of holding social consultations, and with a social safety net catching the ill, the elderly or the unemployed. Things that are not even evident in the richer countries. Threats of moving enterprises to low-income countries, demands for more flexibility: everyday fare under the pretext of the competitive struggle with the South.

Nonetheless, more decent jobs in the South do not automatically mean fewer jobs in the North. On the contrary, if workers in the South are treated and paid correctly, companies in the North will have fewer incentives for moving to the South. We must give the South a chance not only to economic development but also to social development. That is why we support the union struggle in the South.

 

 

The right to health

 

 

Health is both a condition for and the result of a good life. Still, in many countries healthcare continues to be a privilege of the wealthy. Basic healthcare services are difficult to access, and often lack the required medical personnel or medication.

 

Many people consider health is something simply happening to you. You are healthy. Or you are not. But health is something that can be provided. Diseases can be prevented, controlled or treated. The same goes for accidents and disabilities. Health is a right you can claim. Our partners advocate for people’s participation in state and social health policies. We also support the solidarity-based systems people set up, such as mutual funds or pharmacies providing affordable medication.

 

 

What we do

 

The right to health and to decent labour are two pillars for a worthy existence, regardless of whether you live in Belgium or Bolivia. This is what the social struggle we fight together with our partners is all about, in the entire world.

 

In the South

In the South, we contribute to strengthening organisations such as unions, peasant organisations, cooperatives, women’s movements etc. Organisations representing people from poorer population segments. They advocate for their political, social and economic rights, and influence policies. Through partnerships with like-minded organisations from the socialist movement in Flanders, we help to build an international countervailing power.

 

 

In Flanders

We work with the socialist union movement (ABVV), the socialist mutual healthcare funds, the socialist party sp.a and many other organisations, so as to put international solidarity higher up in the agenda, both among the members and within the organisations. We do this by means of our yearly campaign, our publications and our educational materials. Based on partnerships with like-minded organisations from the South, we help to build an international countervailing power. Join in!

 

FOS in the North-South movement

FOS is not only active in the socialist movement. The North-South movement is certainly as dear to us. That is why we play an active role in 11.11.11., the overarching organisation of the Flemish North-South movement. Thus, we participate in the campaign ‘2015 – time is running out!’, and the global magazine MO*. Through different consultative platforms, we also try to influence policymaking in conjunction with other organisations. Some examples are the Clean Clothes Campaign, the Palestine Action Platform, the Cuba Coordination, the Sensoa Aids task force and CIFCA.

 

 

FOS is situated on a crossroads between the socialist movement and the North-South movement. We try to establish links between both movements to accomplish our mission. In the international field, we can count on Solidar in this endeavour. Solidar groups many socialist and social democrat NGOs working in the field of social services, international cooperation, humanitarian relief and education. Just like FOS in Flanders, on the European level Solidar has links with unions, parties and welfare organisations.

 

Together with the mutual funds, academicians, research centres and other NGOs, we are part of MASMUT, a platform of Belgian stakeholders that focus on strengthening the relevance and effectiveness of micro health insurance and mutual funds in the South.

 

 

History

 

International solidarity is not a new concept for the socialist movement in Belgium. Between the two world wars, for example, it organised many activities of solidarity with the victims of Mussolini in Italy and for the Republican Spain. Later, these activities acquired a more structural character. In December 1947, Entraide Socialiste was set up. In the beginning, this new organisation mainly focused on receiving political refugees. As from the sixties, Entraide also received students from developing countries. The United Nations proclaimed the sixties to be the development decennium. A reason for Entraide to adopt another two activities: emergency relief and structural development cooperation.

 

The successor of Entraide, Socialist Solidarity, continued to receive political refugees in the seventies (especially from Chile), helped African students and trainees, and set up a Fund for Development Cooperation (FOS, in Flemish) to provide social and economic support to initiatives in the South. The FOS of those times helped different organisations, social movements and also governments of recent independent states or new regimes with a wide range of activities. One of the central underlying motivations was the tradition of the struggle for emancipation of European workers and the propertyless.

 

In 1986, the FOS as we know it today was set up. The unitary organisation was then split up into Solidarité Socialiste-FCD / Socialistische Solidariteit - FOS and the currently existing VZW (non-profit organisation) was created.

Who supports us?

Contact

 
   
 

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 FOS-socialistische solidariteit
 Grasmarkt 105 bus 46
 1000 Brussel
Tel: (+32) (0)2 552 03 00
e-mail: info@FOS-socsol.be
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