Democratic renewal – reasons to be hopeful


President Joe Biden will convene world leaders beginning on March 29, 2023, for the Summit for Democracy, a virtual event being touted as an opportunity to “reflect, listen and learn” with the aim of encouraging “democratic renewal.” As political scientistswe have been doing something very similar, analysts Ray Block Jr, Andrene Wright and Mia Angelica Powell write for The Conversation: 

Survey trends point to eroding trust in democratic institutions ……. But the story that emerged from our survey isn’t all doom and gloom. In addition to confirming how endangered Americans believe their democracy is, citizens appear hopeful that their political system can recover. When given the prompt: “Overall, as you vote in November 2022, are you mostly feeling …,” more than 40% of the respondents—regardless of race or ethnicity—said they felt “hopeful.” RTWT

Ahead of the second Summit for Democracy, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power urging their agencies to better institutionalize labor diplomacy and to prioritize labor and worker rights. He called on the Administration to build upon the progress of its Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights (M-Power) to advance worker rights as a central foreign policy objective.

“From Hong Kong to Belarus to Bangladesh, attacks on international labor rights are part of the playbook to undermine democracy and rollback individual freedoms,” Chairman Menendez said. “The Administration should integrate and elevate labor in the planning and execution of the Summit and use it to build momentum to strengthen critical State and USAID labor programming.”

Leaders of global unions and representatives of the U.S. government and philanthropic organizations turned to concrete examples of worker power in a recent panel, “Commitment to Action: the M-POWER Agenda for Worker Empowerment,” notes the Solidarity Center, a core partner of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

“While human rights has long been considered a bedrock of democracy, worker rights has not received credit for the part it plays in ensuring more democratic societies,” said Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau.

Democracy and Its Opposites: Challenges in a Global World

This year’s Lund Critical Debate from the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies examines the threats democracies around the world are confronting, both from external forces and from within—and what governments and citizens can do to fight back.

Join Thomas Garrett of the Community of Democracies and Damon Wilson of the National Endowment for Democracy for a conversation on democratic backsliding, strategies for resilience, and the conditions and practices that undermine democracy: democracy … and its opposites.

Monday, April 24, 2023 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm.  Alice Statler Auditorium, 7 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA. Reserve your ticket today!

The worldwide struggle for democracy

UVA’s Karsh Institute hosts democracy activists Evan Mawarire, Srdja Popovic, Myo Yan Naung Thein, Jhanisse Vaca-Daza. Stephen D. Mull (moderator). Friday, April 14, 2023. 1:00PM – 2:15PM (EDT). RSVP

The National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy seeks a motivated, energetic, organized, and resourceful Communication and Promotion Manager, who is a mission-oriented team player, and who would be excited to join a fast-paced JOD team. This position is based in Washington, D.C. Details here.

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