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<p>Whenever you are in doubt, recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man. Gandhi</p> <p>Two dangers constantly threaten the world: order and disorder. Paul Valéry</p> <p>True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice. Martin Luther King, Jr.</p> <p>Henceforth, our country should be the universe. Flora Tristan</p> *

October 2013

Front Page
Dictionary of World Power

Since the end of the last century, the world has been facing a set of challenges that the existing institutions are unable to address and solve. This is a fact, and it has been confirmed over the past thirty years by a succession of all kinds of crises. Citizens have found that the beautiful ideal of freedom regularly preached by free-market sycophants is just a facade set up to conceal the altar of greed. In this extensive work by ten enthusiastic writers (only available in Spanish for the moment), the Forum for a new World Governance explores, has tried to capture, and analyzes these changes, convinced that the answers to these crises must be provided by citizens themselves.
The dictionary format makes it possible to navigate through the mazes of our changing history, with constant comings and goings between the past, the present, and future, and to move through the rich complexity of its 108 entries. The topics dealt with are remarkably diverse, ranging from Globalization to Governance of Space, from China to International Law, from World Economy to Ressentiment. From traditional entries like War and Peace, to surprising ones like Poetry or Football. The dictionary also gives prominence to history as well as to prospects. In the same perspective, it juxtaposes practices and the theories often underpinning them. Some entries are devoted to individuals and others to notable events, but in general, purely biographical and historical entries have been limited to the benefit of theme-based ones. Presentation of the dictionary is also available in Chinese.

Greetings!

We are very pleased to announce the release of our Dictionary of World Power—314 pages offering 108 entries on the critical themes of world governance (water, world democracy, hunger, energy resources, etc.) to which we added a few biographies, a few very old or very new concepts, a few key movements, and a few surprises for you to discover. It is only available in Spanish for the moment, but if you read Spanish, do take a look! We are also happy to inform that we co-organized a “civil-society dialog” meeting with Civil Society Organizations from China, South America, and Europe in Beijing last May, which issued, for you to read, a joint statement suggesting new ways for civil societies to link up around the world, also an opportunity for us to present one of the CSOs that participated in the meeting. Echoing the need for civil societies to connect globally and showing that we are not alone, is the Civil Society Politics Manifesto being disseminated by the Centre for Civil Society in Australia.
If you have little time right now, just take two-and-a-half minutes to watch a video we co-produced in 2009: we are sharing it here to honor the memory of Salvador Allende, whose democratically elected government was overthrown forty years ago last month.
Two global topics complete this issue of our newsletter—a world movement for the Right to the City and a novel proposal called Transfinancial Economics—along with the World Governance Index for two neighboring countries in Central America revealing, perhaps, that the state of world governance has tended to deteriorate. Much food for thought, so enjoy!

FnWG Team
info@world-governance.org

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Managing Territories, Cities, and the Rural World
Cities for All: Proposals and Experiences for the Right to the City

This book is a response to the call to unite under the Right to the City as a banner of the struggle against neoliberalism. It gives the floor to a wide range of actors fighting for this right. The variety of views, discourses, cultures, and experiences are the guiding themes of this publication. Different ideas are articulated and their differences made to converge toward the same goal: the right to the city. It shows how city dwellers are affected in their daily life by: lack of access to land and services; tenure insecurity; evictions for numerous reasons—privatization, property speculation, mega-projects and mega-events; power abuse and trafficking; the deregulation of public spaces; and urban planning in the interests of the few.

Video
Allende Hoy

In honor of Salvador Allende, we offer you a speech he made shortly before the September 11, 1973 coup d’état in Chile, 40 years ago last month, set to music and images by the artists of the “Salvador Allende’s 100 years” recital. A moment of emotion and food for thought on a key event in world governance …

Political and Institutional Governance
Civil Society Politics Manifesto

Around the world politics is in disrepute. It has become detached from society, unresponsive to its needs. It seems incapable of solving the big economic, social and environmental challenges of our time. Public leadership remains important, but politics is everywhere discredited. In Western societies, politics no longer inspires, cynicism rules, and citizens feel powerless. In post-communist societies, initial enthusiasm for democracy has given way to detachment and cynicism. Citizens feel powerless. In emerging democracies, citizenship is fragile, institutions are weak, and corruption abounds. Citizens feel powerless. This is a global problem.

Economic Governance and Globalization
Transfinancial Economics

The Transfinancial Economics model claims that new largely monitored non-repayable money could be created electronically by special transparent funding mechanisms, or Facilitation Banks. This could notably fund environmental, and socio-economic projects of high ethical value. The aim of all this is also to give powerful financial incentives to businesses that could profit with genuine projects, and more importantly help save the planet and its people as far as possible from extreme weather events due to global warming.

International Meeting
Second Meeting of the China, Europe, and South America Dialog Group: Civil Societies Moving Forward for Change

Dialog and coordination among different actors worldwide are crucial for building democratic global governance. There is more collaboration among organizations all over the globe, but these do not always aim to raise a common voice to fill the political vacuum left by globalization. The China, Europe, and South America Dialog Group is taking this direction, and at the end of a meeting last May in Beijing it prepared a joint statement on what needs to be changed in how peoples interact globally (statement also available in Chinese).

News from our Allies
Civil Society

One of the Civil Society Organizations participating in the above-mentioned dialog was Belgium-based CONCORD - The European NGO confederation for relief and development. CONCORD seeks to strengthen CSOs by facilitating cooperation and creating partnerships with both the global North and the global South with the goal of encouraging further and deeper engagement from the European Commission.

Initiative for Policy Dialogue and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Working Paper 2013
World Protests 2006-2013

In recent years the world has been shaken by protests. From the Arab Spring to the “Indignados”
(outraged), from Occupy to food riots. There have been periods in history when large numbers of people
rebelled about the way things were, demanding change, such as in 1848, 1917 or 1968; today we are
experiencing another period of rising outrage and discontent, and some of the largest protests in world
history.

The main grievances and causes of outrage are:

- Economic Justice and Anti-Austerity: 488 protests on issues related to reform of public services,
tax/fiscal justice, jobs/higher wages/labor conditions, inequality, poverty/low living standards,
agrarian/land reform, pension reform, high fuel and energy prices, high food prices, and housing.
- Failure of Political Representation and Political Systems: 376 protests on lack of real democracy;
corporate influence, deregulation and privatization; corruption; failure to receive justice from the
legal system; transparency and accountability; surveillance of citizens; and anti-war/military
industrial complex.
- Global Justice: 311 protests were against the IMF and other International Financial Institutions
(IFIs), for environmental justice and the global commons, and against imperialism, free trade and
the G20.
- Rights of People: 302 protests on ethnic/indigenous/racial rights; right to the Commons (digital,
land, cultural, atmospheric); labor rights; women’s rights; right to freedom of
assembly/speech/press; religious issues; rights of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered people (LGBT); immigrants’ rights; and prisoners’ rights. A lesser number of protests focus on denying
rights to specific groups (eg. immigrants, gays).

Although the breadth of demand for economic justice is of serious consequence, the most sobering
finding of the study is the overwhelming demand (218 protests), not for economic justice per se, but for
what prevents economic issues from being addressed: a lack of “real democracy”, which is a result of
people’s growing awareness that policy-making has not prioritized them—even when it has claimed to—
and frustration with politics as usual and a lack of trust in the existing political actors, left and right. This
demand and the crisis of political representation it expresses is coming from every kind of political
system, not only authoritarian governments but also representative democracies which are failing to
listen to the needs and views of ordinary people.

A profile of demonstrators reveals that not only traditional protesters (eg. activists, unions) are
demonstrating; on the contrary, middle classes, youth, older persons and other social groups are actively
protesting in most countries because of lack of trust and disillusionment with the current political and
economic system. They are increasingly joining activists from all kinds of movements, not only in marches
and rallies (the most common methods of civil protest, in 437 events), but in a new framework of protest
that includes civil disobedience and direct actions such as road blockages and occupations of city streets
and squares to raise awareness about their demands (a total of 219 occupations of public spaces). The
period covered by this study also captures the advent of a new era of civil disobedience/direct action
carried out by computer hackers and whistleblowers who “leak” massive amounts of government and
corporate data. Contrary to public perception, violence and vandalism/looting appear in only 75 events,
or 8.9% of world protests. Though only used by a few, 33 events record desperate methods such as
hunger strikes and self-inflicted violence (eg. self-immolation or protesters sewing their own lips).

Who do protesters oppose? An analysis of main protests in the period 2006-2013 shows that
demonstrators mostly address their grievances to national governments, as they are the legitimate
policy-making institutions that should respond to citizens. Protestors demand that policy-makers take
public responsibility for economic, social and environmental policies—that should benefit all, instead of
just the few. However, protests against the inadequate political and economic system appear second in
importance, reflecting significant discontent with the working of current democracies and demands for
real democracy. Protestors further oppose (by order): corporations/employers, the IMF, elites, the
financial sector, the ECB, military and police forces, free trade, economic/military powers (eg. EU, US,
China), the G20, the World Bank, specific political parties, some social groups (eg. migrants, homosexuals,
gypsies) and, in some cases, religious authorities.

The set of policies needed at the national and global levels to address the grievances described in this
paper cross over virtually every area of public policy, from jobs, public services and social protection to
taxation, debt and trade. Governments need to listen to the messages coming from protesters. However,
policy reforms will be insufficient if governments fail to guarantee democratic participation and curtail
the power of elites—not only in local and national governments but in the institutions of global
governance as well. Leaders and policymakers will only invite further unrest if they fail to prioritize and
act on the one demand raised in more of the world’s protests between 2006 and 2013 than any other—
the demand for real democracy.

This study analyzes 843 protests occurring between January 2006 and July 2013 in 87
countries covering over 90% of world population. The paper focuses on: (i) major grievances driving world
protests (ii) who is demonstrating, what protest methods they use, and who are they opposed to (iii)
achievements and repression of social movements in the short term, and (iv) the main policy demands of
world demonstrators. The paper calls for policy-makers to listen, whether messages are articulate or
communicate only through frustration and violence.

World Governance Index
Nicaragua, Costa Rica

The Forum for a new World Governance launched the World Governance Index (WGI) project in 2008. The idea was to develop a “tool” that would allow the players in charge of governance to visualize emerging issues and problems and help them to reflect on the necessary solutions.
In this issue of the FnWG newsletter, we are offering the 2011 WGIs for Nicaragua and Costa Rica, two neighboring countries in Central America, as compared to their respective 2008 WGIs. Interesting to note that although Costa Rica’s WGI declined between 2008 and 2011, its ranking increased, which probably says something about the state of world governance.


See or publish the WGI map.

The IGM map and indicators are also available in Chinese.


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