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.

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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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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