Green Alternative Youth of Austria introduce themselves

Hello, Platform GAJ, could you introduce yourself shortly, in one or two sentences?
Hello, we are a group of young people who work on their alternative view on society. We are united in the basic values that we are working on.

GAJ – where does the name come from originally?
We call ourselves “Green alternative youth”. In Austria the green movement was composed of two parts when it begun:
The “Alternative list” a feministic, solidarity, peace and ecological movement on one hand, the “United greens,” an ecological movement, on the other. “Green alternative” is a reference to alternative ideas of facing politics. In simple words: We are not only facing ecological points of view, we are also working for an alternative society.

What is the common base for the platform?
The common base is what we define as our basic values. We are a basis-democratic, feministic, antifascist, antiracist, emancipated, anti-capitalist and a peace movement.

How many groups are there in the platform?
The platform is a network of seven regional organisations. Some of these organisations also have base groups.

Who do you primarily cooperate with?
We are working together with other left wing (youth) organisations and NGOs.

Are there any political green youth groups that are outside the platform in Austria, still?
There is a group of young greens in Lower Austria that doesn’t want to become a part of our platform. They don’t want to form a youth group as such but rather work to integrate young people into the regional greens.

What are your most important projects or themes?
One of our biggest projects is the resistance days against the meeting of Nazis in Ulrichsberg. We also work a lot against racism and homophobia. As a platform we concentrate on political education, while the political work is done by the regional groups.

How do you organise yourself? As I understand, there is something like a consensus decision-making structure on the Platform-level? How does this work?
One of our basic values is basis-democratic. The important decisions are being made by a general assembly of all activists. Between those meetings daily political decisions are being made by the meetings of delegates from all regional groups and the women’s group, GAJ Frauen-organisation. When we have to do a decision we search for consensus of all activists. The point is not that everyone has to agree, but everyone has to at least not to disagree in order to make it a proper decision.

Is this why you reply to the questions as a collective, and not as an individual or some individuals? Who represents the consensus you have achieved?
The reason for replying as a collective is that we don’t want persons who represent the group. We don’t have spokespersons. We do define persons who speak for the group for concrete projects, but if it is possible we prefer to not only have one person say what “we” think. This interview is answered by the meeting of the delegates.

How would you describe your relationship to the Green Party, in a few lines?
We are an independent group, with the status of a member organisation of the Greens. We had and have a lot of conflicts with the Green Party on one hand on concrete politics on the other hand on their development as a whole. Most of our activists aren’t even members of the Green Party.

What do you see as the most important task for FYEG?
FYEG should form an alternative to how politics are thought and done today. The concept of nation states is over-whelmed. FYEG should fight for open borders and against racism and for an anti-capitalistic world.

Do you have any greetings to the other member organisations in FYEG?
We send greetings to all of them. And we hope that we can welcome you for the General Assembly 2007 in Austria.

Thank you, Plattform GAJ!

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