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.

Reimagining Social Democracy in Asia: The Search for a New Welfare Model

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The special edition of Socdem Asia Quarterly builds on the outputs and discussions from the Socdem Asia Regional Conference with the similar theme, “Reimagining a New Welfare Model in Asia” in April 13-16, 2018 in Cebu City, Philippines. It aims to broaden and deepen the discourse to Socdem Asia partners. Five national papers were solicited, which delve on specific topics covered by the regional framing paper.

The collection is an abridged version of the regional framing paper that tackles the history and development of social democracy in Asia, the rise and fall of progressive forces in the region, and the challenges and prospects in bringing about an Asian social welfare model.

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The Rise of Populists in Asia: Democracies Under Siege

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Populism is in the air. And the specter of popular autocracy is haunting much of the world. In recent years, a growing number of rapidly-growing economies, with long traditional of liberal democratic rule, have gradually succumbed to temptations of populism: charismatic leaders promsing overnight solutions to complex problems besetting turbo-charged modernizing nations.

And surely, there are more fundamental structural forces at play in here. As Joel Racamora argues in the latest edition of the Socdem Asia Quarterly, “neoliberal economic policies marginalize large segments of the rural and urban population, creating the conditions for populism.” In short, the inherently disruptive and inequitous nature of economic globalization, which has brought tremendous prosperity to emerging market elites, is alienating a growing portion of the society that seeks its own rightful piece of the expanding pie.

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Youth Activism and Democratization in Asia

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“The youth is the hope of our future,” remarked Filipino revolutionary thinker Jose Rizal, whose vast body of work inspired independence movements across post-colonial Asia. On the surface, the quote seems cliché if not an oft-quoted truism.

Yet, upon closer inspection, what the founder of the Filipino nation had in mind was no less than the role of the youth in laying the foundation for the future of a nation. He didn’t see the youth as innocent and feckless bystanders in the forward march of history, but instead as key agents of political transformation against the ossified institutions of a society (often under the yoke of the older generation).

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