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.

Combatting Disinformation: Active Citizenship and Progressive Politics in the Age of Fake News

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When the World Wide Web was finally made public on 6 August 1991, most political pundits greeted this event with excitement enthusiasm, claiming that this new form of virtual technology will be an absolute boon for democracy. The free flow of information, they argued, will not only empower ordinary citizens, but would also undermine ossified bureaucracies and disrupt outmoded forms of administrative practices.

In fact, as late as 2003, communications professor Gary Selnow of the San Francisco State University was still insisting that the “internet can play a significant role in preparing people for the transition to democracy,” since “it links people across borders (and) prepares people for an open and civil society.”

Other scholars, however, have been more cautious, stating that communications technology can be a powerful political tool in the hands of skilled spinmeisters. Francis Fukuyama, for instance, once asserted that “communications technology itself is value-neutral,” and that “they would have been used to great effects by Nazi propagandists like Leni Reifenstahl and Joseph Goebbels to promote fascist rather than democratic ideals.”

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10 Years of Socdem Asia

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We cannot think of a better time to release this latest issue of the Quarterly.

Even as this piece is being written, leaders, activists and intellectuals are heading to Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of Socdem Asia. Expected to be the largest gathering of Asian progressives in recent memory, this event aims to take stock of the victories that the Network has achieved in the last decade, and the challenges that it now has to face as it attempts to craft a better alternative for all the peoples of Asia.

In the last 10 years, Socdem Asia has issued numerous publications and organized several conferences that focus on the themes of democracy, sustainable development, people-centered regional integration and human rights. However, much has also happened in the region since the Network was formed in 2009.

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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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