Democracy Without Borders

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It is time to unite for defending and revitalizing democracy

Image above: Protest against corruption in Bucharest in January 2017, by Mihai Petre, CC BY-SA 4.0

A worldwide Coalition for Democratic Renewal

In May, over sixty global intellectuals and democracy activists have issued The Prague Appeal for Democratic Renewal.

The group, including Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, political scientist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama, Russian chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov, French philosopher Bernard-Hénri Levy, Hong Kong student leader and legislator Nathan Law, journalist and author Anne Applebaum, political scientist Ivan Krastev, or youth activist Rosa María Payá identifies a number of key problems threatening democracy both from without and within and calls for reaffirmation of the fundamental democratic principles and for active defense of democracy.

The appeal’s signatories expressed their concern with the expansion of power and influence of authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia, as well as with the weakening of democratic systems from within. The appeal calls for a “new Coalition for Democratic Renewal” that will serve as a moral and intellectual catalyst for the revitalization of the democratic idea and to defend it against its authoritarian enemies.

Democracy’s supporters must unite to halt the retreat and to organize a new coalition

 “Liberal democracy is under threat, and all who cherish it must come to its defense. Faith in democratic institutions has been declining as governments seem unable to cope with the complex new challenges of globalization. Political processes appear increasingly sclerotic and dysfunctional, and the bureaucracies managing both national and global institutions seem remote and overbearing,” the statement explains. 

The Coalition for Democratic Renewal will be launched next week at the Forum 2000 in Prague.

National and global democratization

Democracy Without Borders strongly welcomes and supports this new effort as part of its mission to “promote a strong collaboration of all forces that support the establishment and strengthening of democratic principles at the national, regional, and international levels.”

Democracy Without Borders believes that a revitalization and promotion of democracy in times of globalization must be based on an holistic and inclusive approach that spans from the local to the global level. National democratization and democratizing global decision-making are interconnected. 

The Forum 2000 Foundation in Prague that initiated the Coalition for Democratic Renewal pursues the legacy of Václav Havel by supporting the values of democracy and respect for human rights. At the UN’s Millennium Summit in 2000, Václav Havel dedicated his speech as President of the Czech Republic to his vision of a future United Nations:

Such a United Nations would probably have to rest on two pillars: one constituted by an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the other consisting of a group elected directly by the globe’s population in which the number of delegates representing individual nations would, thus, roughly correspond to the size of the nations. These two bodies would create and guarantee global legislation.”

A directly elected UN body will be crucial to achieve global democratization and should be part of the new coalition’s agenda.

Andreas Bummel
Andreas Bummel is Executive Director of Democracy Without Borders and co-authored the book "A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century"
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