Baltic Sea Platform for Progressive Thought

progressive & connected

Discussion

Democracy and Progressive Politics?

Please comment until the end of the year:

 

What we are looking for

Due to their experiences and history, Germany and Poland have a similar but in some points differing understanding of democratic culture and of trust in state and democracy. However, for Germany as well as for Poland it has to be taken into account that trust can be created by political communication. People have to be won over to democracy. We do not want to keep alive only the form of democracy. We have to consider how to keep those at it who feel left behind. Bilateral and European debates about democracy are enriching. They can lead to a common understanding of progressive politics, which have the potential to influence trust in and understanding of democracy in a positive way.

Politically active people should always consider the framework for their actions: The raison d’être of politics lies in making decisions for the future. We want to think about how Europe’s society will be able to realize our ideas of progressive democratic policies.

Democracy

To us, democracy is the condition as well as the infrastructure for progressive politics and we want to keep this infrastructure alive. Against the background of low voter turnout we have to close the gap between citizens and politics. How can democracy get to the citizens or how can citizens get closer to democracy? How can we trigger more political participation throughout Europe?

We have to reconsider the forms of participation in our parties and organizations. Voluntary work as a way of public participation has to be strengthened, especially in Poland.

How about the implementation of an electoral duty? At the same time, we should support a culture of demonstration. This requires the communication of complex topics in a vivid way in order to rouse target groups. Another important matter would be boosting civic education for democratic citizenship, identifying players and forms of participation.

But in which condition is our representative democracy? In which condition are the political parties? Are representative parties a discontinued model or are they the future of the formation of political objectives? Are there feasible alternatives? Can instruments like e-democracy help to activate more citizens to take part in the democratic system? One thing is for certain: if we want to get going the participation of citizens, we have to be serious about it. Unfortunately, certain forms of participation like citizens’ budgets or even the European Citizens’ Initiative are often turned into a farce.

Progressive politics

Politics seem to be progressive especially at the moments when it is affordable. Climate protection, public participation etc. are goals that are put into practice in times of prosperity. Times of crisis are clearly characterized by non-progressive politics, though.

Obviously it is a structural problem: progressive politics fail to be implemented when they are needed the most. It seems that in times of European and global crisis, the possibilities of implementing progressive politics are limited. We have to succeed in winning the citizens’ solidarity to overcome these crisis. Politics need the civil society as an ally to find solutions and to develop mechanisms which make progressive politics possible in times of crisis. By the way, progressive politics should be an option not only for affluent societies.

At first we need a definition of progressive politics in times of crisis that reaches beyond the promise of more prosperity for all. To convince the less affluent, we need to develop a narrative of solidarity, freedom and fundamental rights. So, how do we formulate progressive politics and how sounds our narrative during critical times?

In the first place we have to take away the citizens‘ fear of change. Modernization processes like „digitalization“ and „the internet“ do always involve the chance for more democracy, more participation, more freedom and a better life. But at the same time, facing new challenges and technologies, human and civil rights have to be ensured and protected. There are more factors like climate, economy or culture that influence the development of progressive politics for Europe.

The Left is meant to be the driving force of progressive politics in Germany, Poland and Europa. Will traditional social democracy be open to new movements on the left? The key question we have to ask ourselves is how can the Left vitalize political participation and strengthen social cohesion and progress in a way that embraces all levels of Society?

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