Thursday, 27.02.20 - London

The Good Society – Strategic Positioning of the Left

Following the tenth anniversary of the multi-faceted debate on how to build the Good Society as a project for the democratic Left, FES London hosted a conference in London to reflect upon the strategic positioning of the Left.

What began as a bilateral exchange between leading representatives from Germany and the UK in 2008 has developed into a Europe-wide discussion on progressive issues over previous years, with regular meetings taking place ever since. Around ten years after the start of the project, 25 speakers from ten different countries discussed the Good Society project against the backdrop of a decade of profound change. In the 2020s progressive parties are still struggling with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash as well as facing new challenges, such as digitisation, climate change, rising populism and increasingly polarised societies. The conference hence opened with a keynote speech and panel session taking stock of Building the Good Society by considering its foundations and values, and their relevance to these new challenges.

The second session was then devoted to discussing the role for the Good Society in times of transformation, with special regard to de-carbonisation and digitalisation. Questions included how to build trust and empower communities in areas affected by these transformations and whether the Good Society can offer a positive narrative of transformation.

The second day of the conference started with a discussion on the openness of the Good Society, including deliberations on immigration and the integration of new communities within the European society. The final panel session aimed at positioning social democracy in a polarized society and providing a future outlook for a successful reinvention of the European social democratic parties, for example, through building alliances with other progressive parties, movements, and citizens.

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