We get so orgasmic about sitting at the table, but if we honestly, brutally question our efficiency as a movement, we have to realise that we have had very little meaningful impact.” - At the world assembly of civil society, the analysis about deficits of global governance and the soberingly ineffective role played by civil society is acid and crushing. But will civil society manage to find a response amidst the abundance of scathing analysis?
At the world assembly of civil society, currently ongoing in Montreal, Canada, the analysis about deficits of global governance is honest and sharp:
“We operate in a flawed system of bankrupted moral standing, vested interested, weak politicians and bureaucratic processes.”
“Many governments have failed to deliver on rights, to provide adequate security to citizens and to meet their expectations. Others have allowed non-state actors untrammelled power to steamroll rights and legitimate aspirations of the people that inhabit our planet.”
“Our leaders are severely conflicted; they rationally know that things are serious, but are impaired by myopic thinking and corporate dollars.”
The analysis about the soberingly ineffective role played by civil society is equally acid and crushing:
“If we honestly, brutally question our efficiency as a movement, we have to realise that we have had very little meaningful impact.”
“We have, for years, mistaken access to power with influence over power. We get so orgasmic about sitting at the table - but only lend credibility to decisions of others.”
“We have been compromised by the polluting effect of money. We are in a trap of thinking we need more money than we do.”
These are some of the main questions that are being discussed in response to this analysis:
“Civil society is at a critical juncture: will we be able to adjust? Do we make try to make the best of citizen engagement within a broken system, or do we give up on multilateralism & find something new?”
“A crisis that’s severe enough will help to overcome social and political inertia. - The key question is then: is the global governance crisis severe enough for civil society to successfully redefine it?”
“How do we include movements that do not fit the model of traditional civil society?”
But there is also a growing uneasiness about the abundance of scathing analysis and the lack of progress in finding a meaningful response:
“The challenges of citizen participation are well known. We must now focus on the solutions. The talking needs to end.”
“The challenge for this world assembly of civil society is not just to talk about redefining the social contract, but to *actually* redefine it - not merely complain.”
“Civil society has to propose, not just oppose.”
Will civil society live up to the challenge - and to their own slogan and claim of “defining a new social contract - making the future together”?
Photo credit: Maren T from the fabulous youthmedia.eu community.