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
For a Democratic Cosmopolitarian Movement
Second Meeting of the China, Europe, and South America Dialog Group: Civil Societies Moving Forward for Change
Rediscovering Nelson Mandela for the Twenty-first Century
Statement No. 1
Letter to our readers and to the Mandela World Liberation Front
How to break out the system trap. A model to support conversations for a more strategic activism.
New Rules for New Radicals ? *
Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for the People
World Protests 2006-2013
Global Governance and the Achievement of a Universal Civil Society
Cities for All
Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
The Democratic Legitimacy of Public-Private Rule Making: What Can We Learn from the World Comission of Dams?
World Charter of Free Media
The Bamako Appeal
Biocivilization for the Sustainability of Life and of the Planet - Workshop
Ressentiment* and World Governance
The Cosmopolitan State
Participate in the Drafting and Circulation of the Charter of the Peoples of the Earth
For a World Citizen Movement
What Europe does the world need?
After Rio+20: What New World Governance Does the World Need?
A Primer on Global Economic Sharing
Beyond the Growth Paradigm: Creating a Unified Progressive Politics
Map of the WGI
Marrakech Process for the Protection and Promotion of All Human Rights of Migrants and Persons in Transnational Mobility
Dictionary of World Power
Another Future Is Possible
Charter of the Peoples of the Earth
Proposal Papers for the Rio+20 Peoples Summit
From the Forum for a new World Governance (FnWG) to the World Democratic Forum (WDF)
3rd Dialogue Meeting between civil societies from China, Europe and South America
Universal Declaration of Emerging Human Rights
Moving Toward a New World Governance
For Climate Justice and a World Fit to Be Lived in
Towards a World Citizens Movement
Territories: Paradigm Shifts That Need to Be Made for the Transition
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.