“Democratic Solidarity – Should Democracies Help Other Democracies?”
Prof. Dr. Andreas Niederberger, Department of Philosophy, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main
There is now widespread consent that states and international organizations should or even must react to human rights violations wherever and under whichever circumstances they occur. But major political developments over the last few years, like the “Arabellion” and also the (re-)transformation of statehood to more autocratic forms of government in Chile or Hungary have raised the question if states, international organizations or maybe especially democracies do not also have obligations to help democratic movements or to stop de-democratization. Many rightly point out that such help is not covered by international human rights law and many of its forms might even be prohibited by international law. Political philosophy seems to be mostly concerned with poverty, economic justice and ecological issues and not to focus too much on the future of democracy. Why should there be a moral obligation for democracies to help other democracies or democratic movements?
This paper will start by defining possible meanings of democratic solidarity. It will distinguish different obligations democracies could have towards other democracies ranging from economic or institutional aid to support of anti-government movements and direct intervention. In its second part the talk will analyze possible reasons for and against such obligations and especially the difficult question, in which sense such obligations can be conditioned upon democracy (both at the “provider” and “recipient” side). The third part will discuss the relationship of these obligations to other important normative duties and rights persons, states and democracies have towards others. And the paper will conclude by defending the primacy of democracy and the importance of democratic solidarity even under the given socio-economic circumstances.