The geopolitical retreat of the West, the authoritarian resurgence, the erosion of belief in democratic values, and the loss of faith in the efficacy of democratic institutions have halted democratic progress and threaten a possible “reverse wave” of democratic breakdowns, according to a new Coalition for Democratic Renewal.
Democracy’s supporters must unite to halt the retreat and wage a “battle of ideas” for its moral, intellectual, and political renewal, says the coalition, which aims to serve “as a moral and intellectual catalyst for the revitalization of the democratic idea.”
The starting point of a new campaign for democracy is a reaffirmation of the fundamental principles that have inspired the expansion of modern democracy since its birth more than two centuries ago, says the founding statement of the coalition, launched at the Prague-based Forum 2000 Foundation, which advances the legacy of Václav Havel:
The Coalition will also be a broad and interactive forum for the exchange of ideas about the best ways to address complex new challenges facing democracy such as static or declining living standards for many citizens, the backlash against increased immigration, the rise of “post-truth politics” in an age of social media, and the erosion of support for liberal democracy. Such a global hub would also advocate and promote effective forms of action to revive faith in the efficacy of democratic institutions.
The initiative’s founding statement of principles was signed by such leading intellectuals as Francis Fukuyama, Walter Laqueur, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Lilia Shevtsova, and democracy advocates, including Freedom House president Mike Abramowitz and the National Endowment for Democracy’s Carl Gershman. A list of signatories to the statement is available here.