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The Declaration of Philadelphia. WP CSDLE “Massimo D’Antona”.INT – 143/2018

Perulli, Adalberto (2018) The Declaration of Philadelphia. WP CSDLE “Massimo D’Antona”.INT – 143/2018. [Working Paper]

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    The general conference of the International Labour Organization, in its twenty-sixth session on May 10th 1944, adopted unanimously the Declaration of Philadelphia, where the aims inspiring the actions of the Organization and the Principles to which the participating States should aspire are set. In actual fact, as we are going to see, the Declaration is a lot more than a text on the ILO’s objectives and directive Principles, because it represents the first International Declaration of rights with international vocation, “applicable to all people everywhere”. This document, fundamental charter of reference for the ILO and for all the systems of labour law, comes to life in a social-economic context – that of mid 20th century – very different from the liberal one that has seen, with the Peace of Versailles, the ILO birth. The social, political and economic reflection of the times, after stating as central the individual’s freedom from the State, on the other hand questions itself on how the State may guarantee – in a positive inclination – the social rights that had been dealt with already since the beginning of the century. The Declaration might be intended as a catalogue of the promises made by the leaders of the Allied Forces during the Second World War, giving life to the Principles contained in the 1941 Atlantic Charter, signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, according to which the post-war Government policies had to aim to “securing for all (countries and people), improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security... (as well as) freedom from fear or want”. We may not consider – rather reductively – in the Declaration of Philadelphia “first and foremost a sort of pledge of loyalty to the popular forces in return for the sacrifices they had made during the war”, but it may be considered as a pioneer text, intended to make social justice “the cornerstone of the international juridical order”. Therefore, a text encompassing the need for security, typical of economic liberalism, which guaranteed the reproduction of democratic freedom and, at the same time, social rights. As a matter of fact, according to the New Deal doctrines, the free market could not have maintained the promises for individual freedom, without protecting the people from insecurity, with a new Bill of Rights, to be based on social rights, rather than political freedoms. The value of the Declaration is even more relevant if we consider that the text has been adopted in a period where the universalism, the legitimateness and even the survival of the ILO were being brought into question, following the hard international crisis after the Second World War. So, under this profile, the Declaration expresses the attempt of the ILO to get a relevant place within the forthcoming Bretton Woods Institutions, which would define the general framework of international governance of the political and economic dynamics of the post-war period. In order to define the mission of a renewed International Organization of Labour, the Declaration of Philadelphia has adopted - as we will see in detail, later, within the analysis of the content of the Declaration – new, wider and more ambitious aims compared to those characterizing the actions of the Organization between the two World Wars, giving to the ILO a new lease of life and posing the basis to strengthen its role in the project to re-plan the international architecture in the post-war period.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Other international institutions > ILO
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > industrial/labour relations
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Catania > Department of Law, C.S.D.L.E. "Massimo D'Antona" Working Papers .INT
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2019 10:34
    Number of Pages: 23
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2019 10:34

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