Resolution on Democracy

XXVI Congress of the Socialist International, Madrid

25-27 November 2022


Following the consecutive financial, refugee, COVID19 and energy crisis, democracy appears to be dramatically challenged. Populism, erosion of a global rules-based system and rule of law in several countries and successive weakening of national and international courts, digital surveillance, financial crimes, and lack of transnational solidarity have all profoundly affected our democracies.

At the national level especially, populist governments appear to be weakening the judicial system, trying to restrict freedom of expression and the protection of civil rights and rights of minorities.

Citizens are increasingly more subject to surveillance and control in their daily lives. This is all enabled and strengthened by digital innovations

By offering room for fake news and cultivating a cultural and ideological homophily through social media bubbles, the multinational tech giants have created a serious threat to democracy all around the world. At the same time illiberal governments try to restrict free exchange of views in the social media. In the worst cases the social media platforms surrender to the control of these state actors. Code is law in the digital realm and these laws are increasingly drafted and owned by actors beyond any democratic control.

In many countries, the pandemic was used as a pretext for bypassing existing checks and balances by declaring a “state of emergency”. This erosion of the foundations of representative democracy makes citizens believe that they cannot influence their fate and strengthens the appeal of an authoritarian style of leadership.

Independent research institutes have stated that more than a quarter of the world's population now live in democratically backsliding countries. Together with those living in outright non-democratic regimes, they make up more than two-thirds of the world's population.

In many countries perceived as mature democracies, voter participation goes down and younger generations can lack the means to analyse and participate in political processes. To counter this phenomenon progressive movements and political parties should explore ways to deepen the democratic process by making it more participative.

Addressing challenges like climate change efficiently will depend on democratic support both at the national and international level. And this support can be secured only by participative processes that enhance decision making by informed citizens.

The Socialist International takes these threats on democracy with urgency. The SI members continue to battle the control of suppressive regimes and to guarantee free and fair elections around the world. We seek clear rules on antidemocratic content and election interference on social medial platforms. We will empower people to use their democratic rights by education and participation.