Citizens’ Reappropriation of Politics
Do Space and Action Have to Be Contradictory? Toward an Inclusive WSF Strategy
On the Road to a Citizens Assembly
Final Declaration of the Sixth World Parliamentary Forum - Caracas 2006
People-centered Global Governance: Making It Happen!
Alterglobalization, a Long-term Process Leading to Alternatives
Global Democracy: Civil Society Visions and Strategies (G05) Conference Report
Civil Society’s Impact on the Multilateral Sphere: Lessons Learned and Future Directions
Can Civil Society Influence G8 Accountability?
Civil Society and the Legitimation of Global Governance
Non-state Actors and World Governance
Contesting Global Governance. Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements
Allende Hoy (English version)
When Dreams Come True
Imagine All the People: Advancing a Global Citizens Movement
Global Civil Society: Shifting Powers in a Shifting World
Capitalism Has Failed: 5 Bold Ways to Build a New World
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Second Meeting of the China, Europe, and South America Dialog Group: Civil Societies Moving Forward for Change
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How to break out the system trap. A model to support conversations for a more strategic activism.
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Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for the People
The Challenge of Environmental Governance
The Democratic Legitimacy of Public-Private Rule Making: What Can We Learn from the World Comission of Dams?
Conceptualising Global Democracy
Greenhouse-gas Emissions and Global Mitigation Efforts
Global Calling-for-help Center
For a Legitimate, Efficient, and Democratic Global Governance
Proposals for a New World Governance
FASE’s Commitment to a Sustainable and Democratic Amazonia
Declaration of the Regions on Their Participation in Governance and Globalization
First Proposals for Building a New World-governance Architecture
China Sustainable Development Strategy Report 2011. Greening the Economic Transformation
Earth System Governance - The Challenge for Social Science
For a World Citizen Movement
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Towards a Global Political-Economic Architecture of Environmental Space
A Proposal for Governance in the Post 2011 World
Political Oversight of the ICANN: A Briefing for the WSIS Summit
Fair Coop, the Earth cooperative for a fair economy
On the Road to Rio+20 - Proposals for a Citizen Project
Extreme Poverty and World Governance
Proposal Papers for the Rio+20 Peoples Summit
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Moving Toward a New World Governance
Dialog of Chinese, European, and South American Civil Societies at Rio+20
Towards a World Citizens Movement
"Biocivilization" for the Sustainability of Life and of the Planet. Video on the Workshop
Biocivilization for the Sustainability of Life and of the Planet - Workshop
Democracy today is challenged, radically, deeply, fatefully. Born and cultivated in the ancient world as the face-to-face participatory township, and successfully re-imagined in the early modern world as the representative nation-state, it must now adapt to a global, networked, interdependent world. Or likely perish. To survive actually, it must find ways to establish itself virtually. To preserve its local vitality, it must achieve a global compass.
Democracy has always been plural, a congeries of distinctive systems and varied approaches to self-government with a deep common commitment to some degree of equality and liberty, if often in the name of a citizenry comprising something less than the entire adult population. It had its roots in the Hellenic and Roman West, but also found resonance beyond. That women and men can participate in governing themselves is not just a Western conceit. Yet there is no precedent in any democratic system, neither in the participatory polis nor in the representative sovereign state, for planetary self-government, and just to recall how difficult and varied the journey from township to nation has been is to judge global governance an unlikely prospect. After all, democracy within nation-states is troubled enough. The few and paltry examples of regional or international governance we have, such as the United Nations system or the Bretton Woods complex of international financial institutions, or the experiment in pooled sovereignty of the European Community—now imperiled by a euro crisis and a lack of solidarity—offer as many reasons to doubt as to embrace the possibilities of the survival of democracy.
In the beginning, in its first age, ancient democracy was forged for an intimate world of kinship. Not only in the West, but around the world in different times and places, tribesmen and neighbors who shared a locality and knew one another personally, found ways to govern themselves directly through ongoing participation and self-legislation. The polis, the town and the principality as well as the tribe and the kinship community, all territorially constrained, invited engagement and facilitated some degree of self-rule, often by direct means.
Scale has always been democracy‘s greatest challenge, however.
Democracy in all of its forms has been everywhere challenged to respond to scale and to what is perhaps its most formidable artifact: the paradox of participation. The paradox arises out of the fact that while participation is always necessarily local and centrifugal, power is by its nature central and centripetal. Society‘s naturally expanding scale is forever outdistancing democracy‘s naturally limited compass. That was the issue confronted by ancient direct democracy, above all in Athens and Rome; and it remains the issue confronting those who today aspire to fashion a new age of global democracy.