Newsletter N°14 - November 2019
A wild ride for direct democracy around the world
As the late summer days here in Germany turned into a slumbering autumn, activity at Democracy International kicked into high gear. So many things have happened! Let me tell you about my month:
At the end of September, our team travels to Taiwan for the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. After months of mailings, telephone conferences and brainstorms spread out over three time-zones, it is finally here and it is – literally – quite a ride! On Monday 30 September, we board a train in Taipei that has been exclusively reserved for participants of the Pre-Forum Briefing tour. The Taiwan Democracy Train is the perfect venue for participants from all over the world to get to know each other and, through stops along the western coast, learn about the fascinating history of Taiwan, the most advanced direct democracy in Asia.
On Wednesday 2 October, just before heading to the official welcome dinner of the conference, our International Democracy Community goes online. It’s our digital answer to the Global Forum, our way to connect the people all over the world working on issues of direct democracy.
On 3 October, the Forum sessions start. Over 300 participants from more than 60 countries have come down to the National Chung Hsing University campus in Taichung. In the afternoon we present our new campaign for a UN World Citizens’ Initiative, the feedback we get is very encouraging and gives us plenty of material to take into our upcoming official campaign launch.
On Saturday, we head back to Taipei to launch an International League of Democracy Cities. With the necessary pomp and circumstance and armed with oversized keys, representatives from 10 cities promise to incorporate more local participatory democracy processes at home.
But it’s not all good news. Even from across the Taiwan strait, we feel the looming presence of the island’s bigger Eastern neighbor. At the end of the week, we meet with Hong Kong democracy activists. Their reports of the increasingly brutal repression of protests in Hong Kong are so chilling and humbling as to motivate participants to sign off the Taichung Declaration on Modern Direct Democracy in “love and solidarity with people
in Hong Kong and all those fighting for their rights everywhere…”
Back in Germany, I attend the Revolutionale Festival for Change in Leipzig, which marked the 30th birthday of the Peaceful Revolution that eventually led to the collapse of the ‘German Democratic Republic’. As they put up the Chinese signs for ‘Democracy’ at their exhibition, it’s a welcome reminder that peaceful resistance and international solidarity can change the course of history.
All the best,
Global Manager PR & Community Building