While democracy’s core values are widely popular, many liberal-democratic systems find themselves under immense pressure: Democratic processes are being misused to enforce autocratic political regimes in many of Germany´s partner countries, simultaneously explicitly populist movements have been gaining vast momentum all over Europe. Additionally, basic trust into democratic institutions and their representatives seems to be crumbling in many places.
Within the framework of our democratic governmental system, political parties, nongovernmental organisations, as well as societal initiatives will play a central mediating role between the state and the public in the future. For political parties to stay attractive and be able to continuously shape the political system, they have to adjust to changing framework conditions and find new ways of codetermination for their followers. Furthermore, new concepts are necessary to guarantee participation of all members and followers in the political process. Besides these different types of societal engagement, changes in institutional arrangements also play a central role. Strengthening parliaments, ministries and administrations as a representative democracy’s core institutions, as well as discussing their alterability, will be crucial. Only in this manner can diverse societal interests be permanently and fairly balanced and populism countered.
In his discussion paper “Beyond (this) democracy — seven sketches towards a new democratic purpose”, Hanno Burmester explores the current crisis of our political system and challenges established perspectives on democracy. He argues that what it takes to both solve the crises and revitalise democracy is the re-definition of a 21st-century democratic purpose and a radical, transformative approach to politics.
On 28 June, the Democracy Lab of Das Progressive Zentrum will host the second Innocracy – Conference in Berlin.
Keynote held at the European Media Seminar in Berlin, 28 April 2018
In the febrile contemporary political climates of many Western democracies, journalists have been increasingly seen as part of the political story rather than simply its narrators. Insurgent ‘populist’ political movements have placed major media organisations at the centre of their anti-establishment critique, while opposing forces have posited ‘media complicity’ in the promotion of divisive discourses and populist misinformation. All the while, traditional media organisations are being rocked by deep structural and technological change that is fundamentally shifting the practice of journalism and changing their relationship with an increasingly sceptical and polarised public.
While much has been written and discussed about the media’s role in the ‘populist turn’ in Western democracies, the actual experience of journalists in responding to these turbulent political times has been little explored. The following analysis, therefore, aims to foreground the perspectives of print, broadcast, and online journalists working in the UK – and to contrast these against the experiences of the German media, through a case study prepared by Das Progressive Zentrum in Berlin.
In selecting these countries, we assess how the evolution of journalism practice has played out in two quite distinct media and political systems, particularly through a focus on two unique recent operating contexts: the European Referendum in the UK and the refugee and migrant crisis in Germany. We explore the extent to which traditional norms of journalistic practice share natural affinities with populist politics and discourses, and ask in what ways can journalists be better supported and equipped to critically engage with divisive political movements in the digital age.
One year after the first #EuropeanTownHall Meeting in Warsaw, the second bilateral Polish-German exchange was launched on 12 February 2018. Representatives of academia, civil society, and culture from Germany and Poland met to discuss the rise of populism in Europe as well as possible democratic innovations to address this phenomenon. An open debate with Manuel Sarrazin was concluded with an input by Paul Mason, offering a broader, global perspective.
Laura-Kristine Krause lays out four paths towards implementing and seizing the opportunities of digital democracy in Germany.
On Tuesday, 28 November over 100 participants as well as 28 Session Hosts and Speakers from ten different countries gathered at betahaus in Kreuzberg, Berlin, to exchange ideas and learn about concrete projects on how to innovate democracy.
This was the post to watch the live broadcast of INNOCRACY. You may watch the individual sessions of INNOCRACY on the main stage from 1 December 2017 onwards. Please return to this page.
On Tuesday, 13 December, an expert discussion took place at Das Progressive Zentrum with the populism experts Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser and Nicole Loew.
For Politico, Policy Fellow Fedor Ruhose comments on how to tackle provocations of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in the Bundestag (German parliament).
Das Progressive Zentrum and his partners hosted 250 enthusiastic people who followed the outcome of the German federal election at the election night party “Für die Demokratie!” (For Democracy!). As it became clear how strong the right-wing party “Alternative für Deutschland” would come out of this, the party organisers took an unexpected decision.
For the INNOCRACY Conference on Democratic Innovation on 28 November 2017, we gave you the opportunity to present your project or idea in the field of democratic innovation as a session host.
Please note that this Call for Ideas is closed. Thank you to everyone who applied with their ideas and projects. We selected 11 projects out of over 50 applications to participate in the Conference on Democratic Innovation.
The Democracy Lab, a project launched in April 2017 within “Das Progressive Zentrum”, presents its first Discussion Paper. It focuses on the reasons why we need better democratic institutions, more flexible and agile processes, and new mental models to adapt our democratic system to the current challenges of the 21st century. The paper essentially calls for a debate on the architecture of liberal democracy.
The populist surge seems inextricably linked to the logic, workings, and structural transformation of the public sphere. Hence, in order to understand and counter the current fundamental attacks on our liberal democracies and pluralist-democratic values, we need to address a number of crucial questions in this regard. For example, how does the transformation and diversification of the media affect populism as well as feasible responses? And how should political and media actors deal with populists without either playing into the narrative of the “ignored outsider” or giving them more attention than warranted by their political successes?
Terra Nova (France), Volta (Italy), and Das Progressive Zentrum (Germany) present strategic answers to the crucial question of how progressives and democrats across Europe should counter populism.
On April 27th we celebrated the opening of the Democracy Lab. In the offices of Das Progressive Zentrum, circa 50 guests from the fields of politics, civil society and the media discussed what the future of democracy should be like.
The unexpected happened and we are still searching for an answer why it happened and what might be the adequate response. This essay attempts to look for the reasons of the current success of populists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and to face the challenge that is produced by this convergence.
Against the grave background of the populist surge and rising disenchantment with democratic politics, Das Progressive Zentrum launched the project Countering Populism and Political Disaffection. The first roundtable (of a total of three) took place on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.
Brendan Simms in the New Statesman Magazine about possible trajectories of the European Union after the Brexit.
Hungary is commonly portrayed as one of the most Eurosceptic countries in the European Union. Paradoxically, however, the Hungarian public has by and large a positive image of the EU. How can this be explained? And how is the current refugee crisis affecting the EU-Hungarian relations?