The first steps of cooperation between the youth wing of Danish Socialist People’s Party (SFU) and the youth wing of MAS in Bolivia (MAS Juventud) was taken in December 2012 when SFU representatives visited La Paz with the purpose off – together with leaders of MAS Juventud – conducting a series of workshops with young political activists in La Paz. Last month a SFU representative visited the congress of MAS Juventud – an eye opening experience that created ideas of how the two youth wings can share experiences and learn from each other. Whereas the Danish youth have a strong organisational capacity characterized by professional administration and communication the young Bolivians show an impressive capacity for mobilization.
Training of trainers
Visiting SF and SFU in Copenhagen the youth delegation gained an important insight into the organisational structures and political processes of the Danish youth wing. They experienced the political engine room of SFU when taking part in planning sessions and campaigning events of 1st of May. The young Bolivians also participated in a two day seminar on youth leadership, focusing on basic skills of planning, corporation and mobilization. The seminar was arranged by Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke as a ‘training of trainers’ course enabling the young Bolivians to organize and facilitate learning of their local youth representatives in Bolivia.
During their stay in Copenhagen the youth representatives also participated in the annual congress of SF. At the congress the youth delegation was given an insight into SF party democracy in practice and in a small exhibition they presented themselves and their political project to the SF and SFU audience and to Senior Adviser Hanne Lund Madsen from the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy.
The question of organisational set up
SFU has considerable political and organizational experiences to share with their partners in Bolivia. In the position of Denmark’s biggest youth party for many years SFU has developed a strong campaigning tradition. Its influence on its mother party SF is known to be considerable and out of the six SF-ministers in the present government three have started their political career being head of the youth wing. This close link between the youth wing and mother party has turned to be a considerable point of interest to MAS Juventud. As a fairly young youth wing they are still working to settle their organizational set up.
As the largest elected force in Bolivia MAS-IPSP act as a political instrument of the major social movements with a strong base in all social sectors of the Bolivian society. This also reflects the establishment of the youth wing, which is not organized as a separate youth party as such but rather an umbrella organization for young people representing different social movements affiliated with and supporting the political project of MAS-IPSP. Thus, one of the biggest questions facing MAS-IPSP and its youth is how to work together – with shared political goals but with different target groups and from separate platforms. A delicate question reflecting many different interests, which several of the project activities uniting the youth and the central MAS-IPSP leadership have dealt with.
Based on the lessons learned in Denmark the 8 young Bolivians will develop workshops targeting local youth branches in the three largest departments of Bolivia.
Here you can read more about DIPD in Bolivia.