Promoting Social Democratic Thinking, Alternatives and Practices


The Network publishes its own quarterly, Socdem Asia Quarterly, which aims to reflect the discourse of the Network and the leading intellectuals across the region and beyond about most pertinent developments of concern to social democrats. The Quarterly expounds on policies, perspectives and lessons learned from social democratic political practice in the region as well as reflections and experiences from Social Democrats worldwide. Along with Quarterly, the Socdem Asia website offers Op-Eds, interviews, and editorial opinions on latest developments across Asia-Pacific to a broader audience.

Transitions to Democracy: Options for Myanmar (First of Two Parts)

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The 1 February 2021 military coup of the Tatmadaw has put an abrupt stop to the democratic transition in Myanmar. The coup has inadvertently exposed the flawed design of this democratic transition from the start, founded on the highly contested and problematic 2008 Constitution rammed down by the military.

Various stakeholders are now looking for a way out and a way forward. Socdem Asia’s partners in Myanmar have reached out to the network start a discussion on how they can transition after the coup. This special issue of PRAKSIS is our response to Myanmar’s call for solidarity. Entitled Transitions to Democracy: Options for Myanmar, it is a two-part edition that pools together academics, activists, practitioners and politicians to explore the available options for transitioning from military rule to democracy. It also looks at the experience of other countries to derive lessons that can be applied, not only in Myanmar, but in other parts of the Asian region as well where authoritarianism remains ascendant.

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Responding to the Challenges of Our Time

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In 2016, the world had changed in ways that no pundit could have completely foreseen.

From the northern portion of the Atlantic to the western shores of the Pacific, popular despots had suddenly come to power, upsetting the “liberal international order” that had governed global affairs since the end of the Cold War. The Varieties of Democracy Institute described this slew of events as “the beginning of a decline,” with political polarization ravaging the world's advanced democracies, even as millions of people “continue to live under repressive conditions without much hope for greater democratic rights and freedom.”

Stanford University's Francis Fukuyama shares a similar analysis, adding that all the major developments in each individual country form part of a “broader trend in international politics.” While “the period from 1970s through the mid-2000s” democratization,” the present moment, he argues, is now characterized by “democratic recession,” in which “the aggregate number of democracies fell from their peak in virtually all regions of the world.”

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Building the New Normal: A Social Democratic Roadmap (Part II)

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This latest issue of the Socdem Asia Quarterly appears a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic because of its “alarming levels of spread and severity.” Since then, the virus has infected more than 123 million people, and has claimed the lives of nearly 3 million individuals. But apart from its horrific death toll, the social consequences of the disease are also equally catastrophic—devastating even the strongest economies, heightening global inequality and plunging millions of people into ever deepening poverty.

In his July 18 Nelson Mandela Lecture, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres stated that “the pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our world” since humanity's progress in “eradicating poverty and narrowing inequality have been set back years, in a matter of months.” In fact, the UN's own estimates suggest that 400 million people from the developing world now form part of the “new poor,” with global poverty shifting towards South and East Asia.

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