The Coalition for Democratic Renewal (CDR), officially launched in Prague, Czech Republic, on October 10, 2017, within the framework of the annual Forum 2000 Conference, is a global initiative of a group of intellectuals, activists, and politicians, concerned with the expansion of power and influence of authoritarian regimes and the simultaneous weakening of democratic systems from within. The CDR aims to reaffirm the fundamental principles of democracy, to go on the offensive against the authoritarian opponents of democracy, and to demonstrate solidarity with the brave people who are fighting for freedoms in undemocratic systems around the world.
The founding document of CDR is the Prague Appeal, issued in Prague on May 26, 2017. The CDR members include Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, writer, political scientist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama, Russian chess grandmaster and political activist Garry Kasparov, French philosopher Bernard-Hénri Levy, Hong Kong student leader and legislator Nathan Law, journalist and author Anne Applebaum, political scientist Ivan Krastev, youth activist Rosa María Payá, or Ivan Havel, a scientist and brother of the late Czech President Václav Havel.
At the time of the launch, the number of signatories amounted to 180.
From the Prague Appeal:
The goal is to change the intellectual and cultural climate by waging a principled, informed, and impassioned battle of ideas; defending democracy against its critics; working to strengthen mediating institutions and civil associations; and fashioning persuasive arguments for liberal democracy that can shape the course of public discussion. It will also be necessary to go on the offensive against the authoritarian opponents of democracy by demonstrating solidarity with the brave people who are fighting for democratic freedoms, and by exposing the crimes of kleptocrats who rob and oppress their own people, falsify the political and historical record, and seek to divide and defame established democracies.
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.
There is no excuse for silence or inaction. We dare not cling to the illusion of security at a time when democracy is imperiled. The present crisis provides an opportunity for committed democrats to mobilize, and we must seize it.