Tulostettu Pohtiva - Poliittisten ohjelmien tietovarannosta
Our targets 2016-2019
- Puolue: Vasemmistoliitto
- Otsikko: Our targets 2016-2019
- Vuosi: 2016
- Ohjelmatyyppi: erityisohjelma
Our targets 2016-2019
A sustainable and equal society will not come about of its own accord. Even great change is based on small acts. This target programme consists of a number of proposals that can be implemented immediately if they gain majority support. If the targets are met, they will increase well-being, the sustainability of the environment and the economy, equality, freedom and job and income opportunities.
The Red-Green Future document contains a comprehensive account of the kind of future society and world that the Left Alliance hopes to achieve.
The values of the Left Alliance have been outlined in the party platform. We strive to liberate humankind from war, repression, poverty and inequality. Society must guarantee everyone equal opportunities to participate and engage in self-improvement. Only a democratic and equal society can guarantee freedom for everyone
1. Let's take the future into our own hands
2. Engage everyone in efforts to create a more equal society
2.1. The right and opportunity to work
2.2. Taxes from each according to their ability
2.3. Towards a basic income
2.4. Democracy instead of plutocracy
2.5. Non-discrimination and equality
2.6. Human capital, education and culture
3. A secure life
3.1. Humane working conditions
3.2. Safety through social and health services
3.3. Climate security on a fair basis
3.5. A home and opportunities to exercise for everyone
3.6. Joint efforts to build peace
1. Let's take the future into our own hands
Finland must remain one of the world's top countries, whether in relation to human capital, the level of basic education, freedom of the press, entrepreneurial freedom, public health, competitiveness or the efficiency of its public sector. We have so many opportunities to improve how we do things.
In recent years, Finland has suffered from a short-sighted approach and a defeatist mentality. There are pressures to submit to the will of major corporations, larger countries than Finland, or the EU Commission, with respect to the economy, climate change, employee rights and foreign affairs.
Mass unemployment, the climate crisis, poverty, lower gender equality, the financialisaton of the market economy and the reduction in biodiversity are problems caused by humankind through political decisions - these problems will not solve themselves. We need active politics in Finland, Europe and around the world.
Too many people have been led to believe that nothing can be done, that wages, pensions, study allowances, unemployment security and services must be cut. This, despite the fact that all other Nordic countries have higher wages and more employees in public services.
The budget cuts demanded by the Ministry of Finance represent neglect of the possible alternatives, and austerity at its harshest. In its calculations, the Ministry makes no effort to change the economic situation; it simply cuts public finances while private consumption declines. Such an economic policy can only create a vicious spiral of recession. The less work and income people have, the less money they have to employ others.
A state cannot be run like a household or enterprise. Together with the municipalities, the government bears the cost of unemployment and loses tax revenue as employment falls. Finland finds itself in a situation where government cuts will increase the need for borrowing rather than reducing debt. The policy of cutting public expenditure will deal a serious blow to both employees and companies operating in Finland.
In addition to financial 'necessities', the European Union is often blamed for bad decisions. Time and again it has transpired that, although some bad decisions have been directly caused by the EU, a succession of Finnish governments have made their own poor choices and then blamed them on imaginary EU requirements. On many occasions, Finland has not even tried to negotiate a better result, but has decided to give up in advance.
The EU must be rebuilt to protect people and welfare societies against the tax haven economy and wage dumping. In its current form, the EU focuses on defending the opportunities of large corporations to pit states against one another, in a race to the bottom to exploit the cheapest labour and avoid taxation.
The common currency, the euro, is in need of the most urgent reform. It was meant to bring Europeans together and closer to each other but it does the exact opposite by playing countries against each other, forcing them to either grant loans or accept loans on bad terms. Euro states face the risk of a solvency crisis because they are unable to make monetary policy decisions, as they use a currency governed by others.
Imbalances between states and imbalances within the euro zone. The financial crisis drove most euro zone countries to improve their relative competitiveness by cutting citizens' income and public spending. As cuts are made everywhere, demand falls everywhere and states erode each other's export revenue. The spiral worsens when new cuts are made and blamed on declining exports. Europe is flogging itself to death in internal competition, when it could be making joint efforts to improve everyone's welfare.
The ECB has tried to take stimulus measures but, like the other major central banks, has done so by expanding the money supply. This modern money-printing press has failed to make employment-boosting investments in the real economy, because the money has been spent on handling the repercussions of a badly managed debt crisis. If we allow the oversized banking sector to continue speculating at the expense of - while stimulus measures are not targeted at - the real economy through, say, public investments, we can expect another, even more drastic crash in the near future.
Economic policy must aim at full employment instead of maximising corporate profits. Finnish companies are currently earning huge profits, but these are spent on dividends paid out to owners instead of jobcreating investments. Subsidies and tax cuts for large enterprises lead to larger and larger dividends, as long as demand remains suppressed. A policy aiming at full employment would also be the most economically sound choice, as growth in this area would mean investments in welfare-creating jobs rather than more financial speculation.
The world is changing at an accelerating pace. Digitalisation and robotisation are enabling increasingly efficient production on the basis of less labour. The World Economic Forum has estimated that, by the end of this decade, developed countries will have lost more than seven million jobs due to robotisation. The new technology will create a mere two million new jobs to replace them.
However, growth in the productivity of labour represents an amazing opportunity for humankind as long as we ensure that it leads to the even distribution of work and reduced working hours, rather than unemployment, lack of income and loss of personal purpose for some. The markets cannot decide our future - everyone deserves to participate in society.
The benefits of automation and technological development must be shared equally, not just among the owners of the means of production. We must support the creation of open IT ecosystems - we must create and abide by national and international IT standards in both the public and the private sectors, and opt to develop and use open source codes, open data and open interfaces in a user-friendly way.
A long-term, responsible economic policy is not only the best kind of employment policy, but also the best environmental policy. Implementing technologies that are crucial to combating climate change and loss of biodiversity would bring jobs in the related design, services and production, as long as we are at the forefront of doing so. Moreover, we need to support existing industries in transform themselves and reducing emissions. Domestic local production, a circular economy and sustainable manufacturing must be put before cheap labour that is wasteful of natural resources.
Salary expenditure is lower in Finland than its key competitor countries, which shows that the financial crisis cannot be solved by wage deflation in the export sector. In addition to enabling job creation in sustainable industries and the export sector, we must invest in domestic employment. There is potential in both the public and private sectors to improve welfare without imposing an even greater burden on the environment.
While directing growth towards environmentally and socially sustainable production, we need to create a new culture of sharing in place of greed, and focus less on economic growth and more on welfare and happiness. Culture and art are not only of intrinsic value - their economic importance will increase as manufacturing is automated. Various types of welfare, sport, exercise and cultural services are growing in significance economically and as enablers of well-being. By securing high-quality early and primary school education and social and health services, we can ensure the wellbeing of the children and young people of the future, and their participation in society.
Democracy must come before trade agreements that restrict it; trade agreements, climate agreements and development cooperation must aim at sustainable development everywhere. Employee rights, the climate, biodiversity, public services and human rights can no longer take second place to global trade by large corporations.
2. Engage everyone in efforts to create a more equal society
A fair society would provide everyone with the right to high-quality education, a job and self-improvement, and an opportunity to function as equal members of society. Legislation must secure equality and nondiscrimination. Everyone must be able to influence common issues democratically rather than handing over power to those who govern large corporations or self-seeking politicians.
Egalitarian countries with small income gaps have happier populations than other countries. Their citizens are healthier and better educated, have fewer mental health issues and lower child mortality rates, as well as fewer prisoners, crimes and drug problems. A sound economic policy also involves seeking small income and wealth differences. People on low incomes spend their money locally, which has employment benefits, rather than parking it in tax havens.
Wealth and poverty are hereditary in societies with unequal access to early childhood education and basic education, tuition-fee based universities with capital gains, and where inheritance taxes are low at the expense of wages. The reforms of Finland's right-wing government do not represent progress, but are taking Finland back towards a 19th century, class-based society.
The Left Alliance is a party for the whole country, which bears its responsibility for ensuring regional development and equality between citizens. Regional inequality has grown. To reverse this trend, we need a strong, national regional policy and a focus on actively developing regional strengths.
2.1. The right and opportunity to work
We cannot accept mass unemployment. Everyone who is involuntarily excluded from working life represents both a human and economic loss to society.
Finland and Europe's problems are not being caused by their welfare societies. On the contrary, the welfare society enables economic success. Countries with a weak public sector have been hit hardest by the crisis. Industry will not resume investing even in the face of wage deflation, lay-offs of nurses, cuts to services or sell-offs of assets.
Finland tops the competitiveness ratings. We offer highly educated labour which costs less than in other Nordic countries, or even in the German industrial sector. Labour costs in relation to productivity are favourable to companies, which are posting huge profits. But Finnish companies can only offer new jobs if they manufacture the kinds of products and services for which there is demand.
The government must support job creation in the export sector, through ownership policy, research and development, and education in particular.
In order to stimulate production and job creation, Finland must invest in R&D in the circular economy, the socially and ecologically sustainable bioeconomy, energy technology and renewable energy, as well as in the commercialisation of research results. The operational framework of universities and research institutions must be secured by increasing public funding. To succeed, Finland needs to invest in expertise and research.
The operational conditions of agriculture must be secured. Viable agriculture creates jobs in the food industry and the countryside in general.
Sufficient funding must be secured for well-functioning public services and an adequate workforce, and public services must not be privatised for ideological reasons. Private service provision and the third sector are needed in support of public services, rather than replacing or competing with them. Public sector functions increase the efficiency of industry and private services. Public daycare and guaranteeing the right to daycare for all children enable parents to work.
The Nordic model has promoted gender equality, in particular, by creating jobs and economic independence for women. Employees in the Finnish public sector are highly educated and the best experts in what they do. They must be able to influence their job descriptions and become engaged in improving the quality of services.
Taxation must support employment rather than living on capital gains. By ending tax evasion by large multinational corporations, we can give small and middle-sized domestic companies the chance to succeed and provide employment. The current corporate subsidies amounting to billions of euros must be redirected towards supporting employment.
- We must build new, service-logistics-based industrial activities through R&D, and accelerate the transition to an ecologically and socially sustainable economy. We must determinedly promote the emergence and expansion of green technology based on science, digitalisation and robotisation.
- We must improve the livelihoods of people on low incomes. Tax rises and cuts in benefits for people on low incomes have reduced purchasing power and exacerbated unemployment.
- We must renovate schools with indoor air problems, as well as rundown railway infrastructure, streets and bridges, and bring forward investments in the traffic system. We must build affordable housing. These projects must be launched now, while labour is highly available and construction is cheaper than during an economic boom.
- We must fix the skills shortage in municipalities and improve the quality of services by increasing government funding. We must scale the number of employees in schools, daycare centres, elderly care, child protection and other social and health services to the demands and amount of work and actual customer needs.
- We must amend the Act on Public Contracts to require the consideration of environmental, social and regional aspects in all contracts, and we must support the employment of people in a difficult or vulnerable position on the labour market. Preference must be given to social companies.
- If we source services from the private sector, this must be done through tenders broken down into sufficiently small parts to allow participation by local, small entrepreneurs, rather than large, multinational corporations.
- We must change state and municipal IT sourcing policies towards favouring open source and open interface software. This will create new, small entrepreneurs and work and skills in Finland, keep costs under control and prevent vendor lock-ins.
- We must stop selling off national assets in order to amortise debt. Government assets yield profits that far outweigh the interest paid on debts.
- Government ownership policy must be active and support employment, and we must make sure that key manufacturing companies keep their production and head offices in Finland. Solidium should be dissolved.
- We must establish new state-owned enterprises and expand the opportunities of existing public undertakings, for example by acquiring regional electricity grids for Fingrid.
- Government ownership steering must aim at long-term benefits; we should not accept the seeking of short-term profit in order to win executive bonuses. The incentive schemes of state-owned enterprises must be applied equally for all employees.
- Government-owned power transmission, district heating and water supply networks are natural monopolies which must remain under the ownership of the municipalities.
- We must create legislation enabling employees to redeem a company or part of a company that is facing bankruptcy or discontinuance, for example by means of a government-guaranteed loan.
- We must provide more opportunities for further education, continuing education, retraining and the upgrading of qualifications, and basic education for people of all ages. We must provide more opportunities for vocational adult education and work-based learning.
- It must be a given that disabled persons have access to paid employment, a pension and occupational healthcare.
- We must further support and facilitate the ability of the unemployed to acquire training and education while receiving unemployment benefit.
- We must have an active employment policy based on sufficient resources. We must ensure the sufficiency of start-up grant and pay subsidy appropriations and allow flexible use of the basic allowance as part of employment policy project support.
- Municipalities' obligations to employ long-term unemployed persons, and the related resources, must be increased.
- Subsidies paid to large corporations must be reallocated to micro companies and SMEs.
- The public administration must make use of digitalisation and new technology, including new systems, and reform its practices accordingly. We cannot allow digitalisation to lead to the lower availability or quality of services. The process of digitalising services must involve an impartial evaluation of the reform on service quality and accessibility.
- We must introduce legislation that applies to the emerging online labour market, in order to supervise the market and secure employee rights.
- As a default, the publishing practices of the public administration must be based on open interfaces and the data published must be open and anonymised.
- We must introduce the following new tools on the digitalised labour market: work sharing through digitalised solutions, working time banks, taxation, social security, real-time taxation and the more flexible implementation of the basic income scheme.
2.2. Taxes from each according to their ability
We must cease favouring the major recipients of capital gains by means of a separate capital gains tax, all income must be taxed according to a single, uniform, progressive tax scale. This will widen and simplify the tax base, and reduce tax evasion.
In the Left Alliance model, annual income of 10,000 euros or below would be exempt from taxation. This would end the taxation of many benefits and the transfer of money back and forth between the state and recipients. Lowering the minimum taxation threshold would benefit persons on small and middle incomes and help to revitalise demand on the domestic consumer market.
Reducing income gaps would be the best way of promoting economic growth, including in the long term. Taxes need to be increased where they are least detrimental to the economy and decreased where they benefit the economy most. Speculation in securities must be subject to taxation.
Targeted measures must be taken to improve purchasing power, including lowering VAT in tax categories covering food, restaurants, medicine, books and magazine subscriptions, sports and exercise services, public transport, accommodation services, culture and entertainment events, the initial sale of works of art, and various cultural subsidies. In this way, we can direct demand towards domestic labour and environmentally sustainable consumption in particular.
The Finnish state loses billions of euros every year due to tax evasion, aggressive tax planning and the shadow economy. Through legislative amendments and other means, we must introduce a stricter supervisory framework backed up by severer sanctions and punishments for shadow economy activities. By means of domestic and EU legislation, Finland must prevent tax spillover to tax havens. If we succeeded in collecting all of the taxes that we currently lose to tax havens, the state budget would be showing a surplus.
- Annual income that does not exceed 10,000 euros must be tax exempt. We must increase basic tax relief and remove standard, earned-income deductions from municipal taxation, and the standard pension-income deduction and the deduction on the study grant income from state taxation.
- Municipalities must be fully compensated for any losses in this respect.
- We must abandon separate dividend taxation, which favours the owners of the most valuable unlisted companies.
- We must abandon separate capital gains taxation that benefits large capital gains earners and tax all income equally, according to a single progressive tax scale.
- We must legislate firmly against harmful tax planning and prevent tax evasion by means of insurance structures, holding companies, group debts and similar arrangements.
- We must impose a quarrying fee on the extractive industry and, for each quarry, direct half of the revenue from this to the local municipality and half to a state mining fund to be set up to fund development and training related to more environmentally friendly, green mining activities.
- We must discontinue the tax deductibility of voluntary pension insurance premiums.
- An ethical investment requirement must be added to the Act on Employment Pension Insurance Companies.
- The community tax rate must be increased to 22 per cent with immediate effect. As an EU-wide objective, Finland must adopt the gradual transition to a 35 per cent Europe-wide community tax rate, which would match the level of this tax in the US.
- We must support local small entrepreneurs, by raising the minimum VAT registration threshold to 25,000 and the maximum tax relief threshold to 39,000 euros.
- We must implement a 30% withholding tax on dividends on nominee registered stocks.
- We must implement a tax on property.
- We must implement a windfall tax and a nuclear power fuel tax in order to accrue unearned revenue from emissions trading based on old power plants to the state.
- We must reduce fiscal aid to companies and abandon environmentally harmful subsidies.
- We must extend the municipal tax to capital gains by centrally levying a tax at the average municipal level on capital gains and sharing the profits with the municipalities as part of the equalisation system.
2.3. Towards a basic income
Everyone must be able to trust in society guaranteeing them a certain, basic livelihood if they become unemployed, face unexpected life changes or their business fails. Many feel that the current basic security system is too complex, passivating and depressing.
We must gradually adopt a basic income system based on which everyone who resides in Finland is permanently in receipt of basic security. The state subsidy will be deducted from each person's income after the income reaches a certain level; this would not therefore represent a significant increase in income transfers from the state, but would create a fairer and clearer system.
- As the first step towards a basic income, basic security for the unemployed, the national pension, the smallest sickness allowances, paternity allowances, maternity allowances and parental allowances, the home care allowance, study grant and start up grant will be raised to 800 euros per month, after which the unified basic security scheme will be earnings indexed.
- The exemption level for accepting a job, i.e. the right to earn a small income without losing employment benefits, must be raised.
- Entrepreneurs must be guaranteed the right to unemployment security one month after the discontinuation of an enterprise activity.
- The so-called Lex Soininvaara, i.e. the 20 and 40 per cent cuts to social assistance for young adults, must be discontinued immediately.
- Forced labour under the pretence of "participatory social security" must be deemed unacceptable. Basic income must not be bound to participatory social security, since this is the same as supporting low wages in practice.
- Cuts to the earnings-related unemployment allowance and employment pension must be reversed.
- Social lending must be expanded to every municipality and debt counselling resources must be secured.
- In order to reduce indebtedness, unreasonable debt collection practices must be curbed and stricter legislation must be introduced on payday loans. Personal bankruptcies must be enabled.
2.4. Democracy instead of plutocracy
The globalisation of the market economy, deregulation and the Wild West tax-haven economy have led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The wealthiest 62 people in the world own as much as the poorer half of the world put together. The richest 1% owns more than the remaining 99%.
The market economy has developed into finance capitalism, whereby decision-makers in each country shrug their shoulders and demand that we adjust to multinational competition and cut taxes, while bowing to the will of major corporations. Small and medium-sized Finnish companies stand little chance against this type of competition.
Democracy is increasingly becoming a kind of quasi-democracy, in which wealth and power are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. However, greedy individuals are not the problem; the problem lies in a self-reinforcing system that is generating crises which are ever more serious in nature.
In Finland, it has become a standard budgeting procedure to begin by deciding on total expenditure and only then determine the operational changes required to stay within the expenditure framework. This procedure makes decision-making less democratic. The Left Alliance promotes a set of practices whereby the various functions and available funds for budgets are decided simultaneously.
Finland and other nation states are not helpless in the face of global finance capitalism. We have the means to enact legislation that prevents capital from spilling from Finland into tax havens, and we can do this immediately. We can direct our investments towards an economic stimulus which supports employment and can make our own decision-making processes more open. At the same time, Finland must do all it can to encourage the EU to build a sustainable world rather than being part of the problem as the EU is now.
We must implement reforms to expand and deepen democratic decision-making in different places and at different levels. The Left Alliance encourages active citizenship in its many forms, from official participation channels to voluntary activities.
All information produced by the public administration for decision-making purposes must be published as anonymised data via an open interface. Non-governmental organisations, companies and other sections of the public administration can then use and further enrich this shared data. This will enable new citizens' services and democratic forms of participation, and create a new shared resource for creative enterprise.
The public administration must systematically renew and open up its activities by means of systems based on new technology and new practices. These systems must be open source, have a unified architecture and support open interfaces. This will create cost savings in licences and increase efficiency as processes are harmonised. In addition to cost savings, longer product life cycles will result in smaller carbon footprints.
Finland's key objective within the EU must be the introduction of compulsory, unified, countryspecific financial and tax reporting. With open data, we can ensure that taxes are always paid where profits are being made.
Power must be transferred from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Parliament must be granted an independent right to take the initiative. The ECB must be both authorised and obliged to finance Member States directly, to a limited extent and according to their size.
- The key role of the ECB must be to promote growth and employment, through central bank financing if the economic cycle so requires.
- The structural problems related to the euro must be immediately placed on the EU's decisionmaking agenda.
- Finland must join the countries that are preparing a financial market tax. Such a tax must be as inclusive as possible, but in the first phase a smaller number of countries will be sufficient.
- The TTIP agreement between the EU and the United States, the CETA agreement between the EU and Canada, and the multi-national TiSA agreement must be rejected. They will increase the power of large corporations at the expense of employees, small companies, states and the environment.
- They do not promote free trade, but trade based on the survival of the fittest.
- Investment and savings banks must be separated. Regular deposits must be protected from risk investments under all circumstances. Banks operating at great risk should be allowed to crash to avoid the investor risk falling upon states. This would also rid us of unwieldy bureaucracy and many problems.
- We do not accept nominee registration for the purpose of hiding stock ownership; stocks must be registered under the name of the true owner.
- We must set up a public register similar to the one introduced in Norway, which holds data on all direct owners and beneficiaries of stocks.
- We must establish a public citizens' bank which is a reliable provider of basic banking services and does not charge unreasonable service fees or have unreasonable revenue requirements.
- Municipalities and the state must decide on their budgets and operational objectives at the same time, without applying a binding pre-agreed expenditure framework.
- We must amend the Associations Act to allow binding referendums and the election of two or three equal chairpersons. Moreover, binding referendums must be allowed on both municipal and state-level.
- The European Central Bank must be subjugated to democratic control by the Member States.
- Contacts between the European Parliament and Commission and the plutocracy and lobbyists must be made transparent, and lobbying and corporate influence in Brussels must be restricted.
2.5. Non-discrimination and equality
Everyone is equal and has equal rights regardless of their age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, disability, state of health, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics.
Everyone must be provided with an equal opportunity to access education, work and services. Quasi-equal opportunities are not enough. Genuine equality requires tailored support for individual groups. For example, persons with an illness or disability must be provided with services and support that healthy and non-disabled people do not need. Similarly, immigrants must be provided with access to adequate language courses, interpreting services when necessary, and translated materials in various languages.
Human rights must be secured everywhere. Trade relations cannot be prioritised ahead of human rights. Finland and the European Union must be consistent in demanding respect for human rights from all parties, and must implement and respect human rights within all policies. Finland must strive to become the most non-discriminating country in the world.
Independent choice and non-discriminatory opportunities to participate and have an influence must be secured for disabled persons. Accessibility of premises and operating environments must be understood in a wide sense. Access to education must be improved for persons with disabilities, for example through quotas and supporting measures by educational institutions. We must promote employment through means such as positive discrimination and systematic anti-discrimination efforts.
Sexual and gender minority groups continue to encounter discrimination and exclusion. Young people, in particular, are vulnerable in this regard. Everyone should have the right to live in accordance with the gender and sexuality they identify with. Gender binarism and heteronormativity maintain a hierarchy between genders and sexual orientations and oppress those who do not fit into these groups. We must allow space for diversity and respect everyone's right to self-definition and non-definition with regard to gender and sexual orientation.
We must amend the Transgender Act so that it is based on the right to self-definition in terms of gender. This would entail the right to change one's gender details in the Population Register through a simple notification procedure, in line with one's true gender. We must repeal the current legislative requirement, with respect to sterility/infertility treatment, for the legal recognition of the gender of the person concerned. Gender reassignment treatment must be made available to everyone who requires it. The reform of the Trans Act must be prepared immediately in cooperation with organisations representing gender minority groups.
Gendered violence is a serious social issue. Is manifests itself, for example, in domestic and intimate partner violence, harassment and sexual violence. This issue must be addressed and sufficient resources must be allocated to tackling it.
- Zero tolerance against discrimination must be applied universally.
- The Maternity Act must be reformed to reflect the actual family status of each child.
- Children's rights must be protected in family break-up situations. We must support broken homes by enabling two official addresses for a child, similarly to the Swedish system.
- We must launch a programme that aims at ending gender violence in the long term. The programme must evaluate the legislative and social needs for change and sufficient resources must be allocated for it.
- The essential elements of rape must be changed to the effect that lack of consent becomes a key element in the definition of rape.
- Religious education in schools must be replaced by worldview education for all pupils.
- Education and service production must take account of the right of language minorities to use their own language.
- We must ratify the ILO169 Convention on indigenous and tribal peoples and the Nordic Sami Convention.
- In particular, people who enter the country as refugees must be guaranteed the right to free language and integration training within a month of their arrival.
- Adults who lack basic education must be provided with basic education and special attention must be paid to persons who moved to Finland as adolescents.
- We must improve the recognition and utilisation of prior learning, by means of conversion training.
- We must secure the right to safe, unpaid and open abortion.
- The Trans Act must be based on autonomy. It must be possible to change one's legal gender and name by personal notification. Forced sterilisation must be discontinued. The availability of gender reassignment treatment must be secured regardless of the age or diagnosis of the person in question.
- A third legal gender option must be provided in addition to female and male.
- Genital surgery on intersex infants must be stopped.
- Positive and negative freedom of religion must be implemented at all levels of society.
- Shelter beds and services must be provided for victims and perpetrators of violence regardless of gender. Bullying in comprehensive school and secondary education must be addressed.
- We must improve the rights of sex workers. All policies governing sex work must be based on promoting the rights of sex workers and reducing the stigma associated with sex work. The Left Alliance opposes efforts to criminalise the purchase of sex.
- The use of a veil and other cultural forms of dress must be allowed in schools and working life if they do not pose a threat to health or safety.
- The income requirements for family reunification must be removed and everyone must be guaranteed a right to family life regardless of their income level.
- We must significantly increase Finland's annual refugee quota.
- We must develop legal routes of entry by facilitating the reunification of refugee families, for example by enabling reunification applications to be filed in Finland and removing application processing fees, and should introduce the humanitarian visa.
- Racist street patrols must be banned. The police must be provided with sufficient resources to ensure the safety of citizens.
- Intrusive monitoring of people based on mass surveillance and data storage must be banned. We must secure the right of the police to request information based on a court decision in the case of serious offences.
- People must have the right to access, edit and, if necessary, remove information about themselves collected through information networks.
- Child impact assessments must be made part of every decision-making process, in accordance with the spirit of the law.
- Children and young people must be encouraged and supported in expressing themselves regardless of traditional gender roles. Gender segregation in schools and in the working life must be ended.
- Institutionalised persons must be treated with respect and dignity. A review of the treatment of institutionalised persons must be carried out under the direction of the Ministry of Justice, covering, for example, jails, pretrial detention and prisons, mental health rehabilitation and alcohol and drug rehabilitation, child and youth welfare institutions, housing services for the developmentally disabled, elderly care and reception centres. Procedures to improve conditions will be drawn up on the basis of the review.
2.6. Human capital, education and culture
The objective of the educational policy of the left is to educate skilled, thinking and critical citizens, who understand their rights and obligations. In early childhood education, a child is provided with a foundation for social skills and learning in cooperation with the family; comprehensive school prepares the child for learning and teaches the child to think; secondary education provides general education and prepares the child for working life on a general level; universities train experts, and liberal adult education enables selfinitiated, lifelong learning. In all phases, from early childhood education to university, equality and nondiscrimination between people must be emphasised.
Learning should not be limited to this educational path or those institutions. Providing everyone with equal access to education is crucial to becoming an equal, democratic, ecologically sustainable and wealthy society. The importance of digital competencies is increasing and everybody must therefore be guaranteed access to education in digital skills.
Media literacy and reading between the lines to analyse the meaning and significance of content are the keys to rearing active, thinking citizens. Improved critical thinking skills and multiliteracy must be objectives at all points along the educational path. Moreover, schools must provide all children with opportunities for active participation and having an influence.
Tuition-free education and sufficient basic funding for universities are essential for multivocal, creative high-quality research and education. Supporting universities in carrying out their core duties means securing teaching and research resources by means of public funding.
School democracy must be reinforced and pupils, students and educational staff must be provided with opportunities to influence the development of education at all levels of education and administration. We must maintain the autonomy of universities and not allow commercial and industrial interests to steer education and research.
We must support the arts and civil activism in a broadminded fashion. A diverse artistic and cultural life and an active civil society are the prerequisites of a well-functioning democracy and fundamental elements of a civilised society. They create a space for free expression and interaction within society, enabling people to introduce new perspectives to the human experience and the way we see the world. The arts and culture are fundamental needs in human life and social interaction, and must be considered fundamental rights.
Self-initiated cultural activities strengthen and create new ways of living. Art and culture produce immaterial welfare in society. By moving away from consumption-centrism towards increasing immaterial welfare, we can create domestic job opportunities that are also environmentally sustainable.
Everyone must be entitled to develop their creative abilities and skills in self-expression. We must strengthen the role of art education in comprehensive school. The arts and culture must be available to all regardless of domicile, income, age and background. Public spaces must be available to citizens free of charge. The arts and culture must be increasingly brought to where people reside and spend time, including suburban areas and small localities. We must secure the livelihoods of artists.
- Every child must have a subjective right to early education. Each early childhood education professional must not be responsible for more than seven children above the age of three or four children below the age of three.
- The computational group size in comprehensive school must be a maximum of 20 pupils. Groups with pupils with special needs must be smaller. Special education must be provided at all levels, from daycare to adult education.
- Municipalities must be obliged by law to arrange morning and afternoon activities for pupils in grades 1 to 4, as required in order to prevent inequality.
- Education must be free of tuition fees from pre-school to university level. Study material must be made free of charge in upper secondary education as well.
- We must secure the regional coverage of upper secondary education and polytechnic education. Under-aged teenagers or adults with families must be able to acquire a vocational education near their homes and families. This will also cater to regional needs for professional skilled labour in commercial and industrial life and public service provision.
- Gender-sensitive education must be applied at all levels of education from early childhood education to university. Moreover, teacher training and continuing training for teachers must cover gender-sensitive content.
- Educational support services and pupil welfare resources must be increased to meet or exceed recommendations.
- Content that covers gender and sexual diversity in a comprehensive way must be added to school sex education.
- Liberal adult education facilities must be provided with sufficient resources and funding. The status of liberal adult education in society must be strengthened. Self-initiated learning must be supported and the value of liberal adult education to society must be recognised.
- We must set up publicly funded expert communities that provide free study material which teachers can apply within the framework of the curriculum. This study material will also be made available to private persons and will support lifelong learning.
- Contact teaching in vocational education must be augmented and workplace learning must be developed so that teachers are provided with the resources needed to supervise learners in the workplace.
- Educational policy must focus on developing a 12-year basic education system. The training guarantee must be implemented in full.
- Basic funding for universities must be increased to support a wide spectrum of basic research and high quality education. University research must be open and publicly available.
- The dual model for universities must be retained and accessibility to education must be secured by having at least one university (academic university or university of applied sciences) in each region.
- The matriculation exam must be replaced by a series of science, arts and technical matriculation term papers that form the individual portfolio of each student and thereby support the student's transfer from secondary education to further studies or working life.
- The working conditions and wages of researchers must be improved. Funding must be organised in a manner which enables long-term, incentivising career paths and more secure employment relationships.
- We must support cooperation between schools and social work providers in order to prevent social exclusion and enable early intervention.
- The core duty of libraries must be developed increasingly towards an expert organisation in information pedagogy, pedagogy of encounters and knowledge construction. New libraries must be designed as free spaces for assembly, work and the arts, and the availability of traditional library services must be ensured, including in non-built-up areas, for example by means of widely circulating library buses.
- Everyone must be provided with free access to academic articles in public libraries.
- The Percent for Art principle must be more widely applied and encouraged.
- We must improve the social security and pension security of artists.
- We must increase the number of state artist grants.
- The conditions for unemployment security must be made more reasonable and a model should be introduced whereby artists are not considered entrepreneurs by default.
- We must facilitate access to financial support for new fields of art.
- We must increase the funding for art institutions and museums and lower museum entrance fees.
- We must recognise the status of the Carelian language alongside other minority languages and enter the status of the language in Section 17, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution. In addition to this legal amendment, a language revival programme must be launched.
3. A secure life
Inequality creates insecurity not only among those who are afraid of losing their jobs and incomes, but also for the wealthy, who hide behind walls and security systems. Inequality and injustice cause insecurity, which incites violence and deepens the wealth gaps between countries while fuelling problems within each country.
Increased armament or extending surveillance or spying to everyone's private lives will not increase security, because such measures do not eliminate the causes of insecurity. The best protection for people would be provided by an equal and democratic society where everyone has equal human rights and preventive measures are taken against social malaise and insecurity.
Public authorities must also promote equality during the digitalisation of society and ensure the technology-independent availability and accessibility of basic public services. Technical mass surveillance does not increase safety. Democracy and human rights must be enforced online too.
At the same time as Finland begins to build a new welfare society, it would both be to our advantage and our duty to do our best to improve safety in neighbouring regions and beyond. Climate change, wars, refugee flows and financial crises take no account of national frontiers.
3.1. Humane working conditions
At the same time as hundreds of thousands of people are unemployed and others live in a constant state of insecurity, worrying about whether they can gain enough working hours to make ends meet, others are fatigued by excessive work.
We must share work by reducing working hours. We must introduce various types of flexible working hour reduction schemes, such as six-hour work days, four-day work weeks and longer annual holidays. Worksharing is an efficient way of increasing productivity and wellbeing at work, and lengthening careers. The key is not to cut working hours in a way which drastically cuts a person's income.
We must emphasise the importance of collective agreements as means of protecting employees, and must prevent the destruction of basic security by means of local collective bargaining and crisis clauses. Instead of diluting legislation, we must focus on improving productivity and employment in companies through product and service development, leadership development, and by increasing research and development and investments.
Persons who have concluded zero hour contracts and are on-call are continuously anxious about their future. Their income can vary significantly and they are unable to plan their livelihoods even a month ahead. Moreover, their employment can be discontinued at anytime because, in practice, zero contract holders are on a constant trial period and are not protected by labour legislation.
Finland must not be developed towards a cheap labour economy and market. The rate and duration of unemployment security must be retained at the current level at a minimum. Unemployment security must be improved and employee representation should be increased in corporate governance. The Act on Cooperation within Undertakings must be amended to increase genuine cooperation in companies. Finland already has a dual labour market, despite the fact that everyone should be guaranteed equal labour rights. Use of social security must not have an impact on whether or not someone is granted a residence permit.
The framework for social rights and labour rights must be the same for everyone, regardless of the form of employment in question. Employee rights or status in the workplace should not be weakened on account of the form or duration of the employment relationship.
An increasing number of people are employed through various forms of self-employment, and the price of their labour is being lowered. This group includes persons carrying on a trade, as well as freelancers and grant recipients. Some work organised in this manner is the result of evasion of employer obligations, and can be addressed by amending the Employment Contracts Act. Moreover, self-employed persons in nonemployment relationship based work must be guaranteed the right to negotiate the minimum terms for performing such. In addition, the social security scheme, including earnings-related unemployment allowance, applied to self-employed persons must match that of salaried employees. The unemployment security system must be reformed in its entirety to reflect the changed forms of employment.
To provide employment protection and to accelerate employment, we must improve the adult education system and alternance training in order to provide more flexible and individual education solutions. Careers guidance must support the skills and careers of people with long work histories. We must increase opportunities for learning new skills and lifelong learning during worktime.
- The universal validity of collective agreements must be strengthened and complemented with a statutory minimum wage of 10 euros per hour. We must also ratify Article 4.1. of the European Social Charter, according to the interpretation guidelines of which the net minimum wage must amount to at least 60% of the net national average.
- The use of zero hour contracts must be banned and a weekly minimum number of 18 working hours, which can only be deviated from at the request of the employee, must be stipulated.
- Work must be shared by cutting working hours.
- The universal validity of collective agreements must be expanded by means of legislation.
- Protection against arbitrary dismissal and employee change security must be raised towards the Western European level.
- Underpayment must be made punishable and collective agreement shopping must be prevented by law.
- Persons in other than permanent full-time jobs must be paid an "odd job increase" comparable to additional pay based on working conditions, in order to compensate for the harmful effects of periodic and part-time employment. The "odd job increase" would be comparable to overtime pay and Sunday pay.
- The essential elements of an employment relationship as referred to in the Employment Contracts Act must be expanded to include contracts made prior to the personal performance of work, unless otherwise demonstrated.
- Issues regarding the interpretation of the new act on unemployment security, which entered into force at the beginning of 2016, must be resolved in such a manner that occasional work does not lead to loss of entitlement to unemployment security.
- Walkouts in protest at the arbitrary actions of an employer must be considered protests and made exempt from strike penalties.
- Trade unions must be given the right to take action against pressuring and discrimination.
- Equality and equal pay must be promoted by dividing family leave more equally between parents, based on the 6+6+6 model.
- To address the gender pay gap, we must introduce equality plans, carry out wage surveys and make pay schemes more open, while promoting contractual solutions that address wage differences.
- Wage dumping on the dual labour market must not be accepted. The terms and conditions of employment of migrant workers and persons from an immigrant background must be raised to the general level.
- Finland must ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
- The use of external labour and fixed term contracts must be reduced and forced entrepreneurship must be prevented - entrepreneurship must be genuine, which means that an entrepreneur cannot be fully dependent on a single employer.
- Annually, as many as 140,000 employees report that they have experienced bullying at work. We must make the Occupational Safety and Health Act stricter in order to help the authorities to address this issue.
- We must strengthen the capacity of shop stewards and occupational safety delegates to take action and obtain information. We must impose stricter sanctions on breaches of the Act on Cooperation within Undertakings.
- The condition regarding previous employment that must be met before a person is eligible for basic or earnings-related allowance must be changed to so that it is calculated on the basis of total hours during the period of examination, rather than on a weekly basis. In its current form, this condition is poorly suited to people doing odd jobs and has unreasonable consequences.
- Rehabilitative work experience must only be used for genuine rehabilitation. Most rehabilitative work experience must be replaced by wage subsidies, which means that employees are paid a proper salary.
- The EU as a whole must end daylight saving time (summer time).
3.2. Safety through social and health services
The purpose of social and health services must be to narrow health gaps, reduce national diseases, help people to cope in everyday life and secure livelihoods. Social and health differences can be reduced by addressing their causes, such as poverty, education, income differences and unemployment, and the cost of food and alcohol. The key is to strengthen basic public services. In order to do that, we need an extensive network of social service and health centres that reconcile basic and special services, in particular for those who need support the most. Everyone must be guaranteed effective and timely treatment.
In Finland, social disintegration is manifest in large health differences. People on a low income are ill more often than others, and must wait unreasonably long times for access to services.
The wealthy have the choice of subsidised private services, are ill less often and live longer.
We must stop social and health services from becoming divided between public services that receive less and less funding and private services for the wealthy. We must stop the privatisation and corporatisation of service provision immediately.
Services organised and produced by regional authorities must be comprehensive services that meet customer needs. Social and health care professionals must integrate basic public services, special health care and special social services in a manner which combines high quality with cost-efficiency.
Employees who make key customer and clinical decisions (e.g. doctors and social workers) must assess the need for services in consultation with the customer, regardless of the financial interests of the service provider. By making professional assessments, the employees can have an impact on how services are used and on their equal provision.
Such services must be mainly financed from taxes. People must have equal access to social and health services. Regional differences in availability and quality are large; the reform of the social and health services which is currently underway in Finland must therefore be implemented immediately, regardless of other regional government decisions. Disagreements over regional boundaries and duties must not stand in the way of this reform, or be used in power games.
The Left Alliance supports the replacement of the current, undemocratic intermediary administration with a democratically elected regional administration. The key principles of the Left Alliance with regard to the reform of social and health services are wide-scale integration of social and health services and a population broad-based enough to enable high-quality local services that are available to everyone. The reform must also provide service users with more opportunities to influence services.
We must move towards single-channel funding to enable service integration. The new social and health service regions must assume responsibility for key health insurance compensation such as daily health insurance allowances, reimbursements for medical expenses and travel reimbursements, while their payment will remain the responsibility of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.
Working conditions within the social and health care services must be improved by ensuring the appropriate staffing levels, healthy and safe working environments, accurate information, fair pay schemes, sufficient continuing professional education, and skilful leadership.
The social and health sector is a pink-collar sector. It would be important to recruit men into the health and nursing sector in order to take better account of male perspectives and needs in customer service.
Increasing the number of male employees in the health and nursing sector would also promote the objective of reducing gender segregation in working life.
Lack of physical exercise costs society around two billion euros a year. Although the decision to exercise is a personal choice, society cannot close its eyes to the current segregation in terms of physical activity. It is not enough that everyone has theoretical freedom to exercise. The state, municipalities and employers must provide worthwhile and affordable options for sports and exercise, thereby motivating people to engage in active lifestyles.
The reasons for lack of exercise are often positive. Recreational activities enabled by digitalisation, advanced means of transport and machines that have replaced physical labour have led to improvements in human welfare. But they also represent key potential threats since, in the future, younger and younger people will suffer from physical ill-being, fall ill and die prematurely.
- We must discontinue the process of privatising and corporatising social and health care provision immediately.
- We must abandon patient fees at health centres.
- Social and health service regions must be formed so that equal services in terms of quality, volume and accessibility, under democratic control, can be guaranteed for everyone.
- These social and health service regions must be funded by means of taxes and central government transfers to local government. The regions must collect progressive taxes, in addition to which the government will transfer significant funding to regions for the purposes of decreasing the welfare and health gaps. Municipal tax must be lowered due to the regions taking responsibility for and funding the social and health services.
- Reimbursements for medical expenses must be changed to relieve the expense burden of the chronically ill and those in need of large quantities of medicine. A common expense ceiling for medicine purchases and treatment fees must be enacted.
- Occupational and student health care and the funding thereof must be integrated into the general social and health care system, to provide everyone with equal access to high quality social and health services.
- People should have access to mental health care without delays when needed. In emergency cases, people must have access to an assessment of the need for care within 24 hours. Cooperation between institutional care and non-institutional care must be improved and the continuity of treatment ensured. Resources for psychiatric non-institutional care must be increased to ensure that treatment initiated in hospital continues without interruption after the patient's release.
- Resources for mental health and substance abuse services must be increased and investments must be made in preventive mental health services and preventive substance abuse services. Persons with both substance abuse and mental health problems must have access to treatment at a single facility.
- The substance abuse policy must be founded on reducing the harms associated with substance abuse, removing the stigma associated with substance abusers, and lowering the threshold for seeking treatment.
- The social and health service reform must guarantee the ability of the third sector to provide services.
- Support for informal care must be sufficient and the well-being of family caregivers must be secured. The person cared for must be provided with a safe place of treatment during the statutory holidays of family caregivers.
- Equal rights to support for informal care and other statutory informal care allowances and services must also be guaranteed for the caregivers of mental health care patients and all other family caregiver groups.
- The act on the Status and Rights of Patients must be reformed to enable patient participation in decision-making concerning their treatment and to ensure supervision of the interests of patients in malpractice investigations and compensation decisions.
- Persons who have been unemployed for more than six months must be provided with access to regular health examinations. A free health examination must be provided.
- Sufficient, skilled resources must be hired for elderly care. The autonomy of the elderly must be secured, and treatment must be provided according to need. Efforts must be made to improve geriatric and psychological treatment skills in basic health care.
- The elderly and other persons requiring high levels of support must be provided with communal sheltered housing if they request it; they must not be forced to return home against their will. Diverse communal housing options must be developed for people in need of communal support. These must strengthen the autonomy of such people and provide them with services tailored to the changing needs of the resident.
- When elderly care is transferred from municipalities to the social and health care regions, we must ensure that the stipulations of the Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older
- Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons are executed without compromising on treatment and care. Guaranteeing a dignified life for the elderly must be restored as the founding principle of institutional care.
- Cost-free disability services must be provided regardless of the age of the person concerned. Social and health services for disabled children must be tailored to their needs. Every child must be provided with timely support and rehabilitation. The costs of various types of assistive devices and their maintenance and servicing must be reimbursed in full to disabled persons.
- We must ensure that the norms protecting the rights of the disabled and legislation guaranteeing their quality of life are not adversely amended. We must promote the use of regular housing stock in disabled housing and ensure that disabled persons are able to make individual, housing-related choices. Disabled housing must not be concentrated in large, institutional types of units.
- The provisions of the Act on Public Contracts on competitive bidding must not be applied to services tailored to the individual needs for assistance and support of disabled persons.
- Social and health care data systems must be unified and we must stop wasting money on systems that do not work.
- Social workers must be allowed to dedicate enough worktime to assessing the situation of each client and supporting the client through diverse forms of interaction and social counselling.
- The state must guarantee sufficient resources for municipalities to implement family services, child welfare clinic services and other forms of early support, as well as preventive social services.
- Child welfare services must address the individual needs of children and families in a timely manner. We must offer temporary care solutions for single parents, in order to support parenting and prevent exhaustion. Every municipality must adopt a family service model that aims at preemptive problem solving.
- The rights to free care of so-called undocumented persons must be protected.
- State support for physical activity must be directed at youth sporting activities and exercise, and specifically at activities which everyone can participate in regardless of wealth, ambition or skills. The reform of financing for physical activity must be completed in this regard, and support must be targeted at forms of exercise that young people prefer.
- The Finnish Schools on the Move programme must be made national and expanded to all levels of education, from early childhood education to universities.
3.3. Climate security on a fair basis
Climate change poses a fundamental threat to the natural environment and humankind. Drought and desertification, the exhaustion of clean drinking water, rises in sea level and the loss of arable land will create unprecedented problems.
Climate change will affect us all, but will affect the poorest most of all. They will be the first to have to leave their homes. Even if we manage to arrest temperature rises, there will still be hundreds of millions of climate refugees.
This problem is due to a culture which relies heavily on fossil fuels, as well as global capital, large corporations and disregard by people. The current market mechanisms offer no tools for resolving climate challenge. To secure a safe and stable climate, humankind must abandon the linear economy, which wastes natural resources, and switch rapidly to a carbon neutral circular economy.
It is of fundamental importance that we continue with the international, universally binding and effective climate agreement process and provide financial support to developing countries to enable them to meet their climate change-related obligations.
The richest one-tenth of the world's citizens produce half of the world's CO2 emissions, while the poorer half of the world only produces a tenth. The richest one per cent produces an average of 175 times the carbon emissions of the poorest 10 per cent.
Climate change was caused by emissions from industrial countries in the north - the poor peoples of the world have the right to emerge from poverty. They must be allowed to increase their energy consumption and use of natural resources, but in a way which does not add to emissions. To achieve this, we need fair climate funding. If we cannot eradicate poverty, we will be unable to resolve climate change challenges and other environmental problems.
Climate change cannot be curbed based on methods that lead to new environmental problems and loss of biodiversity, such as cutting down rainforests for wood farms and reducing the amount of forest cover. Emissions trading is inefficient and gives rise to financial speculation. We must replace this with a carbon tax and bolster climate governance. This is not the time to ease environmental legislation; on the contrary, we must strengthen it while promoting the circular economy. We must stop wasting natural resources.
We are lagging seriously behind in reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency. Moving towards the ultimate goal, a low-energy society, requires environmental taxes and building regulations that support the revitalisation of urban development. We must ensure that efforts to introduce low-energy solutions do not lead to unreasonable increases in construction costs and that traditional building methods are not unnecessarily replaced with expensive technological solutions that are difficult to adapt and prone to faults. Ecological planning and construction and the renovation of old apartments will increase energy efficiency.
The decentralisation of energy production will create jobs and support local, renewable energy production. The use of carbon-based energy such as peat, which has the highest carbon dioxide emissions of all sources of energy, must be cut. Peat produces 5% of all energy in Finland and 16% of CO2 emissions. Moreover, it causes the eutrophication of water bodies and reduces the biodiversity of swamps.
We must prepare for the transition away from nuclear power and the switch to multi-source, fully renewable energy.
The environmental administration must be given a genuine opportunity to perform its public authority tasks. Regional processing of environmental permits must not be politically motivated, but must fall under the responsibility of the competent authority in question. Mining in locations where the environmental risks are high must be supervised more closely and mines must pay higher taxes to compensate for the exploitation of our national heritage.
- Carbon taxes must be implemented across the EU, as they are an efficient and egalitarian way of reducing emissions.
- In addition to carbon taxes, the EU must introduce carbon customs duties that prevent carbon leakage and urge non-EU countries to introduce their own carbon taxes and thereby lower emissions.
- Before we migrate to a carbon tax and customs duty based system, carbon trade practices must be improved by introducing a price floor for carbon emissions.
- Finland must increase its share of international climate funding. Climate funding must not come out of development aid.
- Forestry must be made more sustainable. Retaining forest areas will enable us to maintain a large carbon pool, in addition to which forests function as carbon sinks.
- FSC certification must be applied to commercial forests. Stumps must be left in the ground after felling. Finland must adopt the international target of protecting 17% of forest areas.
- Government funding must be gradually shifted from the environmentally harmful energy sources of peat and nuclear power to decentralised, renewable energy production.
- Either an investment grant or a feed-in tariff must be created to support decentralised, small-scale energy production. Legislative and administrative barriers to the development of small-scale production must be removed.
- Energy-efficiency must be increased. Energy refurbishments of old apartment buildings must be supported by means of renovation aid and the household expenses deduction.
- The industry, greenhouses and mining must be made subject to standard electricity tax.
- We must increase the use of hydropower, by boosting the performance and utilisation rates of existing power plants without detriment to biodiversity.
- We must reduce the overutilisation of virgin natural resources by investing in the circular economy.
- We must develop existing waterways and channels in Finland as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly means of transport, and as travel destinations.
- We must support environmentally friendly renovation and new construction. The potential of timber building must be exploited in all construction.
- We must abandon the tax exemption for aviation kerosene across the entire EU area.
- No new nuclear power plant permits must be granted; the Fennovoima power plant project must be discontinued. No new uranium mines must be opened.
- Food loss must be reduced in an organised manner, through education and legislation.
- The bottle deposit system must be expanded to other beverage packages and other packaging where applicable.
- We must reduce waste and increase the recycling rate. We must introduce a legislative obligation for all housing cooperatives of more than 4 residential buildings to provide building-specific recycling bins for bio-waste, metal, glass, paper and cardboard.
- The carbon footprint of each food product must be marked on the package. Small producers and locally sourced food will, however, be exempt from this labelling obligation.
Biodiversity is of intrinsic value. Human action has transformed the natural environment and led to the extinction of some species. We must therefore take responsibility for our actions and the health of the planet. We must maintain biodiversity through conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. Climate change, overexploitation, the eutrophication of water bodies and the continued growth of the land area used in food production pose the greatest threats to biodiversity. The bioeconomy and even the increasing use of renewable natural resources are increasing the pressure on biodiversity.
We must stop the ongoing waves of extinction. We must step up international and national efforts in forest conservation - rainforest conservation in particular - and the reduction and prevention of plastic waste in the oceans. The destruction of species due to overfishing, single-tree species forests and the expansion of livestock farming must be halted, through international agreements, financial control and public sourcing.
Food sufficiency and climate change mitigation require a shift towards a more plant-based diet. Animals have intrinsic value and are sentient beings, and we have an obligation to improve animal welfare. Animals must not be treated solely as economic resources.
Finland, together with the other states with a Baltic shoreline, must implement a programme for reducing the coastal states' environmental loading of the Baltic Sea and prevent ships from discharging polluting substances into the ocean.
- The agricultural subsidies granted by the EU and Finland must be reformed in favour of environmentally friendly production. We must target subsidies at organic farming and the production of vegetarian food.
- Farm animals must be allowed to lead the most species-typical life possible in the most speciesappropriate conditions possible. We must ban long distance transportation to slaughter. We must improve the openness and effectiveness of surveillance.
- Public sourcing must favour domestic locally sourced food and plant-based food, and the share of organic production must be increased.
- We will abandon the factory farming of animals by promoting and supporting local nutrient cyclebased primary production and processing. Promotional subsidies for the meat industry must be suspended.
- The independence and resources of the environmental administration must be restored.
- The government post of the Animal Welfare Ombudsman must be restored and institutionalised.
- Financial support for environmental organisations and their status as experts reporting to the government must be protected.
- Increased efforts must be made to protect swamps and forests, and better account must be taken of natural sites protected by forest legislation. The number and size of protected areas must be increased and their regional coverage improved. Biodiversity must also be protected in commercial forests.
- Net fishing must be banned in the nesting sites of the Saimaa ringed seal from April to the end of July.
- We must prevent genetically modified organisms from entering the natural environment.
- We must introduce a farmer's early retirement system for fur farmers, which would allow us to ban fur farming after a transition period.
- We must invest in the protection of large predators and end poaching by increasing surveillance and introducing stricter legislation. We must develop a system of compensation for damage caused by large predators.
- We must retain the right of public access.
- Water must not be privatised and turned into a means of profit making.
- We must establish new national parks, for example the national parks of Porkkala and Sanginjoki.
- We must strengthen international cooperation in the Arctic.
- The Vuotos and Kollaja reservoirs must not be built.
- Fishing legislation must be based on ecological research. We must allow migrating fish to swim upstream past hydropower plants in all rivers.
- We must retain the right to make municipal appeals against planning decisions.
3.5. A home and opportunities to exercise for everyone
Housing policy must ensure affordable and high quality living for everybody. The right to a safe and affordable apartment must be included in the Constitution. We must grant tenants and residents in rightof-residence apartments greater authority over their housing.
Social housing production is insufficient and non-subsidised apartments are expensive. To lower the price of housing, we need a significant increase in housing production. We must prevent the income-based segregation of housing. In addition, a sufficient number of affordable, small apartments for rent and sale is required for single-person households.
Government-subsidised housing production is required in growth centres that suffer from a lack of rental apartments. One method of promoting housing production would be to raise the current start-up support. The funds of the National Housing Fund must be invested in increasing rental apartment production and must not be transferred to the general state budget or to traffic projects.
Another reason for the high cost of housing is that municipalities are not providing sufficient plots of land. Land use, housing and traffic policy in the biggest urban areas must be placed under a single administrative umbrella. In the future, housing policies should be prepared at regional level.
Greedy and reckless construction policies have resulted in a massive renovation debt. It has been estimated that a total of 600,000 to 800,000 people are exposed daily to health risks posed by mould damage; we can only guess at the amount of human suffering and cost of treatment this has caused. We must address this problem through legislation and decrees at both national and municipal level.
Carbon dioxide emissions from housing account for one third of all emissions. We must therefore support environmentally friendly renovation and construction practices and build housing in well-connected areas.
Cuts are currently being made in passenger traffic on several rail routes. This is not a sustainable traffic policy. We must take strong measures to direct inter-city traffic to the railways. In traffic planning within larger towns, preference must be given to a combination of rail traffic and bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
Increasing the volume and quality of rail traffic will boost employment and offer a pleasant alternative to driving. The current situation requires investments in new rail connections and complete renovations.
Our passenger car base must be quickly switched to electric cars and biofuels must be left for air, ferry and ship and heavy transport.
- Legislation must protect the rights of the weaker party in rental agreements and provide protection when the rental agreement is terminated. The Act on Joint Management of Rental Buildings must be reformed and must include the provision that the majority of board members on the board of a state-subsidised rental dwelling (ARAVA) must be tenants in the building.
- We must introduce an act that slows down rent increases.
- We must enact sanctions on excessive rent increases and for maintaining empty apartments in a town or city suffering from a housing shortage.
- The determination of rent must be genuinely cost based and open in apartment buildings that are financed and interest subsidised by the state. Existing residents must not be made to pay for the acquisition of new sites.
- Parking place norms must be eased and the cost of parking places must be compartmentalised from apartment costs.
- When new residential areas are built, a diverse housing stock must be planned. This would prevent the social segregation of areas and ensure well-functioning services and equality.
- When a rental apartment building is sold, the tenants must be given the right of first refusal. We must abandon the obligation to build air raid shelters since this increases construction costs.
- Parking space norms can be eased in areas with good public transport connections.
- A state construction company must be established, with the main objective of quickly easing the housing shortage by building longstanding, healthy and affordable housing stock. We must support on-demand solutions and other new forms of public transport, particularly in order to improve mobility in the countryside.
- We must increase the volume of affordable housing in new areas that are being built close to railway lines. Affordable housing production must be designed on a 'residential area to residential area' basis and complement other types of housing production in these areas.
- We must promote construction in the earmarked zones of unbuilt areas by actively exercising the "reminder to build" mechanism, by increasing property tax on unbuilt plots and by exercising unconditional and sanctioned building deadlines on plots allotted by the municipality.
- VR must remain state-owned and passenger traffic must not be opened up to competition.
- The railway must be developed into a competitive form of transport by increasing services, building new railway lines, including dual lines, and by enhancing the condition of the railway network and improving quality of service.
- Goods transport must shift towards the railways.
- Public transport must be made cheaper than driving, by means of a subsidy for public transport.
- Towns and cities should be planned in a way which encourages pedestrian and bicycle traffic and public transport, for example on the basis of state-supported rail projects in large urban areas and by building new bicycle lanes.
- The traffic infrastructure must remain in the possession of the state and must not be corporatised.
3.6. Joint efforts to build peace
Finland can best build peace and international security through an active and initiative-based foreign policy, in which the UN plays a central role. As a non-aligned country, Finland should emphasise broad-based cooperation, the development of economic relations and the activities of non-governmental organisations.
The best way to foster peace is by eliminating inequality and promoting sustainable development at national, European and global level. Finland must support the UN system and the international legal order on which it is based. We must strengthen open international communities rather than retreating into nation states. We must promote disarmament and peaceful conflict prevention.
The key international community in terms of Finland's security is the European Union. By promoting peace, the EU also improves security in Finland. However, the EU must not be used as a tool for power politics or promoting the interests of certain interest groups. The imperatives of European solidarity and mutual assistance must not be abused, and Finland must always be able to decide on what kinds of assistance it wants to provide. The significance of the European Union as a security structure will become blurred if the rise of nationalism hinders the development of a social and democratic Europe.
The greatest security problems in Europe relate to injustice and the deterioration of the living environment. Challenges are posed by the economic crisis, unemployment resulting from poor economic policies, insecurity and inequality, climate change and its consequences, crises in neighbouring regions - particularly the Middle-East - and the resulting refugeedom, and violence and terrorism by extremist religious and nationalist groups. The fundamental rights of citizens are under threat due to cyber threats and information warfare.
Everyone must have the right to seek a better life elsewhere. Asking for asylum involves the assertion of a basic right. Everyone must have the right to family life regardless of their income. Security cannot be created by closing frontiers or imposing tighter border control, but by increasing freedom of movement and legal entry routes.
The Nordic Countries are a key reference group for Finland. Multiform cooperation between the Nordic countries will improve security in Finland, particularly since the future development of the European Union is unclear. The Nordic Countries have understood that an equal society and active and pro-active international cooperation promote peace. We must increase economic and security cooperation between the Nordic countries. This must not, however, be used as a circuitous route for joining NATO. Finland must make its security policy and foreign policy decisions independently.
Finland must not join the military alliance, NATO. Since the end of the Cold War in particular, NATO has increasingly become a tool for power politics exercised by the US and former European colonial powers. Joining NATO would weaken the stable Finnish security environment. Finland must strengthen cooperation with Sweden, to promote a policy of non-alignment and international peace. Finland must be active and pro-active in strengthening the peace and security structures of the UN and the OSCE.
We must not accept Russia's forcible measures and violations of international law in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Although the Ukrainian crisis does not pose a direct security threat to Finland, both as a member of the EU and independently, Finland must support sustainable peace in Ukraine.
The economic crisis, increasing refugee numbers and unfavourable developments in Russia and elsewhere in Europe have negatively affected the social atmosphere in Finland. Racism, hate speech and political violence are being incited under the pretence of nationalism. Support for power politics and armed security have increased, and trust in the international agreement-based security system has diminished.
However, we cannot address the core causes of insecurity by military means: arms will not solve inequality in Finland or elsewhere in the world. Security and the credibility of defence increase when we tend to the democratic structures of society and create an equal society to which everyone feels they belong.
- Finland must execute an active and pro-active foreign policy which is based on international cooperation and places the focus on peace-building.
- We must receive refugees in a manner which respects human rights and based on mutual agreements by European countries.
- The rise of nationalism and the extreme right in Europe must be rejected by means of consistent left-wing policies.
- Nordic cooperation must be increased, including in defence in order to cut costs. Our most natural partner is the unaligned Sweden.
- Finland will not apply for membership of NATO.
- The Left Alliance does not consider a Host Country Agreement with NATO to be necessary and demands that the matter be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.
- Finland must participate more actively in peacekeeping and civilian crisis management. For Finland, the natural contexts of this are UN-led operations, where the risk of becoming involved in a war are small.
- The defence budget must not be indexed in a way which would automatically increase annual military expenditure - the other needs of society must also be taken into account.
- We must discuss the relevance and scope of the planned fighter plane acquisitions in a critical and open civil dialogue. The schedule and scope of the acquisitions must adjust to the economic situation.
- The new watercraft acquisitions for the navy - although the orders have already been approved - should be critically reviewed. If an acquisition is made, this must be done from a domestic shipyard.
- Conscription must be adjusted to modern needs by increasing freedom of choice and equality and based on a preparedness obligation model, not by moving towards the adoption of a professional army. Conscription must treat everyone equally, regardless of gender. The length of punishment for conscientious objection (refusing military and non-military service) and the length of non-military service must be shortened, and conscientious objection must no longer be punishable by imprisonment.
- Finland must promote active de-armament and de-nuclearisation, and ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
- Finland must not engage in arms trading with countries that are at war or located in conflict areas, or those which violate human rights.
- Finland will maintain bilateral talks with Russia. In the long term, we must bring Russia back into broad-based European cooperation.
- Finland must support efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict peacefully and offer humanitarian aid to people affected by the war. All democratic forces in Syria must be involved in the peace negotiations. We must support the efforts of Rojava and the Federation of North Syria Finland will recognise the states of Palestine and Western Sahara.
- Finland supports the inclusion of tax and world trade issues on the UN agenda.
- Development funds will be increased towards the goal of 0.7 of GNP. We must implement legislation on development cooperation in order to ensure a consistent policy on developing countries.