Archive for September, 2011

Global Action for Global Recovery

By Christine Lagarde

The global economy has entered a dangerous new phase. There is a path to sustained recovery, but it is narrowing. To navigate it, we need strong political will around the world – leadership over brinksmanship, cooperation over competition, and action over reaction.

One of the main problems today is too much debt in the global financial system – among sovereigns, banks, and households, and especially among the advanced economies. This is denting confidence and holding back spending, investment, and job creation. These countries face a weak and bumpy recovery, with unacceptably high unemployment. The eurozone debt crisis has worsened, and financial strains are rising. Political indecision in some quarters is making matters worse. Social tensions bubbling beneath the surface could well add fuel to the crisis of confidence.

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Abbott out of step on carbon

by Matt Grudnoff

The list of friends for Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan continues to shrink. The Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN) which co-ordinates, among others, the mining and manufacturing industry’s response to climate change issues has rejected the Opposition’s plan saying it would cost far more than the Coalition has claimed. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott responded by saying that the amount of money they would spend on direct action was capped.

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Organisations, too, need Love – Social Democracy ought to be more than just a Policy Choice

by Gabor Gyori

In analysing a key organisational challenge for social democracy,  I recently wrote that “[s]ocial democratic parties are for the most part unable to engage the identities of citizens; they are perceived as campaign vehicles and administrators of certain ideas rather than core institutions of an extended ideological community.” I promised to follow up on this idea in a later article, which you’ll find below.

A friend in Germany once told me the story how her son, always committed to social democracy, had spent much of his youth looking forward to turning 18 and becoming a full-fledged member of the SPD. Because at that point he did not live at home but nevertheless chose to become a member of his local organisation in his hometown, his membership booklet was sent to him.

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Party Renewal is about Democracy and Participation

by Andrea Nahles

A lively democracy can only work as an inclusive narrative; a narrative that is developed in an open debate. It is shared in society because everybody can join the debate and have a say. This inclusive narrative is the precondition for social cohesion, for peace, for a good society.

Democracy has been invented on the market square. And also today it belongs to the market squares of our time. Political parties have to be present there. Using mass media to send out messages is not enough. Our parties have to re-connect to the everyday-talk of our citizens, if we want to re-connect to the people.

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Social Democratic Parties need to be a Mirror of Society

by Thorben Albrecht

In most European countries there is a majority of people who could be reached by social democratic values and politics. Nevertheless social democratic parties have not been able to convince this majority over recent years.

Some of the reasons for this development have been policy-decisions of social democratic parties, especially in government. But our parties have also lost touch with the every-day culture of our potential voters and thus have alienated them. One simple but important aspect of this is that our party memberships no longer reflect the full variety of our electorate. In the past this was an important asset of social democratic parties in most European countries. Our parties were able to connect to our electorate because they knew about every-day experiences and moods and – maybe even more important – were able to speak the language of our voters.

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