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.

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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Woman Empowerment and Gender Equality in Asia

Beginning in the French Revolution, more than two centuries ago, progressives have pro-actively pushed for greater participation by women in the public sphere. At the heart of the project of modernity, anchored by principles of Enlightenment, was the empowerment of human beings, regardless of gender, race, class or religion.

With women comprising about half (49.6 percent according to the World Bank) of the global population, and in some countries even more, there is no point in discussing democracy, human rights, and freedom without extending civil and political rights to both sexes. Overtime, same principle has been extended not only to the women, but minority genders, specifically the LGBT group, which has gained growing social recognition and legal protection in the past decades. 

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Asia’s Democratic Landscape: The Shifting Sands of Progressive Politics

Without a question, Asia is a diverse lot. In fact, right until the modern times, people in the region, who constitute much of the world's population, didn't identify themselves as part of the same spatial community or episteme. Beginning with the Greeks, who divided the world between the 'civilized' Hellenistic world and the 'Barbarian' rest, including the towering Persian Empire, there emerged in the Western imagination an Orient, embodied by a distinct Asiatic world.

After centuries of humiliation under the yoke of Western colonial powers, Asia has gradually reconstituted itself, emerging as the world's most dynamic and promising region. Yet, despite decades of almost uninterrupted economic expansion and political consolidation, the region is still struggling to establish mature, inclusive democracies.

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