The International

John Quiggin’s rudimentary thoughts on the problematics of cosmopolitan social democracy are well worth reading. In addition to his notions on a programmatic level, it’s worth noting a simple operational problem facing progressive democrats in the modern world—the lack of cross-border institutions in which politicians can collaborate. The historic organization for these purposes, the Socialist International, for historical reasons doesn’t include the main progressive center-left party in India, or the United States of America, or Japan, or Brazil.

Meanwhile in the traditional continental European stronghold of formal social democracy it’s now almost invariably the case that progressive majority coalitions are formed only through partnerships with green parties who, likewise, aren’t part of the SI.

I would hardly want to argue that this institutional failing is the main problem facing progressives in forging a workable cosmopolitan egalitarian vision but it (a) doesn’t help and (b) reflects some of the other underlying issues. And while obscure international organizations never solve anything, as such, there really is an urgent need for developed country progressives to get better at working across borders and taking seriously the point of view of progressives in poor countries.