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PES – Young campaigners meet in Vienna to tackle populism and hate speech

The Party of European Socialists has hosted an intensive four-day training course for its member parties, covering how to defeat hate speech, populism, racism and intolerance.

The PES Training Academy brings together hand-picked representatives from progressive socialist and social democrat parties across Europe, each of whom works in a prominent role in his or her own party, in a national or European parliament, or in public office – and all of whom are under the age of 38.

The training sessions took place in Vienna, co-hosted by the Austrian social democratic party (SPÖ), and followed hot on the heels of an initial course in the summer which focused on campaign and communication skills.

Workshop and debate sessions included:

  • The future of the progressive movement
  • Mobilising minority voters
  • Responding to populism and fake news
  • Organising and confronting racism in society
  • No hate speech

Invited speakers and panelists included secretaries of State from the Austrian social democratic party (SPÖ), academics whose research specialises in populist movements, and representatives from stand-out Swedish anti-racism NGO ‘Inte rasist, men’ (‘I’m not racist, but’). Training was led by a team of experts that includes veterans from the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Labour in the UK.

PES deputy secretary general Marije Laffeber said:

“The future of our pan-European progressive movement depends on solidarity and mutual support among all its members – which is why the Training Academy is such a vital part of our programme of capacity-building in Europe.

“One of the key objectives for the PES is to forge connections between our member parties so that the next generation of political and campaign leaders can share best practice and support each other. Activities such as the Training Academy will also will prove invaluable in shaping the upcoming pan-European election campaign in 2019.”

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