With its global focus, the New York office supports progressive actors (especially from the Global South) in questioning structural inequalities and pushing for a more just, democratic and peaceful world at the UN level. Its work concentrates on shaping the main processes at the United Nations, such as those concerning disarmament, housing/rent, indigenous peoples’ rights, gender equality, corporate regulation and safeguarding human rights; in short, on building a transregional network that incorporates all parts of the globe. This includes exchanging successful strategies, disseminating expert knowledge and publishing studies and educational materials.
Social and the environmental questions can no longer be treated as isolated issues. We will only be able to effectively respond to global challenges if we conceive of them as part of a larger context in which they are also understood as existential challenges. Calls for “climate justice” are expressions of this new understanding.
Based on critical analyses of the socio-ecological status quo, the aim is to develop alternative models. One of the initiatives that our New York office helped launch as part of its efforts to support social movements is Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED), a global, multi-sector association run by unionists that promotes solutions to climate change and energy poverty in the countries of the Global South by advancing public and democratic control over energy resources.
Progressive transatlantic dialogue
By sharing knowledge and left-wing perspectives on the United States and Canada on one side of the Atlantic, and Germany and Europe on the other, the RLS seeks to challenge the prejudices and stereotypes that continue to thrive in Germany and Europe, as well as in the United States. The office provides critical analyses of US and Canadian society, including their respective economic, domestic and foreign policies – and keeps an equally watchful eye on developments in German and European politics.
In this context, our work involves promoting alternative policies to austerity and strategies to stop societies from drifting to the right. Austerity has had massive impacts on both regions. These policies are being met with resistance, from Greece and Spain to Canada and the United States, but rarely witnesses the development of truly viable alternatives. In the meantime, right-wing populists claim to have all the solutions to the current crisis.
The RLS seeks to contribute to a progressive North Atlantic discourse and has set itself the task of deepening our understanding of social developments unfolding on both sides of the Atlantic. But this is not our only aim. In conversation with actors embedded in trade unions, higher education institutions, social movements and politics, we hope to develop political alternatives to neoliberalism and strategies against increasingly aggressive and authoritarian forms of nationalism. In this context, it is also important for the RLS to directly involve those actors particularly affected by rising inequality and discrimination.