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Global democracy or global enlightened despotism?

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At least since the start of the campaign against nuclear war, a growing number of topics of the global political agenda (preservation of environment, promotion and defence of Human Rights, disarmament, struggle for gender-racial-sexual Equality, humanitarian aid in catastrophes and extreme poverty) were neglected by national-states and inter-national agencies. The universal character of these values as well as their world-wide dimension originated new forms of organisation, mostly supranational, transnational and global, of the civil society. In perfect accordance with the new paradigms of a society based upon information, knowledge and communication, they have progressively adopted the form of planetary networking structures.

For many decades, the value of the work of global NGOs' was enormous. Meanwhile the nation-centred political system was progressively overcome by global processes and affected by universal disinterest and discredit, an emergent civil network sustained the highest principles of human civilisation. Global NGOs built remarkable barriers to political despotism, corporate abuses, technological manipulation and nationalistic outrages. Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Transparency International, Jubilee2000, Human Rights Watch, Médécins sans Frontiers (among uncountable others) captured for long years the attention of the world public opinion throughout their global claims and campaigns. They also convened the action of millions of young people desolated by the increasing inefficiency and corruption of national political organisations and otherwise unable to develop any form of political action.

At the beginning of the new millennium, the celebration of the first editions of the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre -Brazil- and the emergence of a global social movement whose most meaningful expression was the campaign and mobilisations against the invasion of Iraq marked a new degree in this process.

Global NGOs, which took in their hands many goals and tasks traditionally consecrated to national parties, trade-unions and governs, inaugurated some kind of rustic global assembly and arrived to an embryo deliberative level through the World Social Forum. Nevertheless, precisely in this zenithal apparition, the replacement of traditional political institutions by a global social movement and its organisations have arrived to insuperable frontiers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2007

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