What is bringing people on to the streets from Hong Kong to Iran to Chile? Alina Rocha Menocal looks at what protests around the world have in common, the pressing need for democracies to deliver on inclusion and equality, and how to overcome polarization. She suggests two needs that governments must address. One, finding ways to promote inclusive governance that enables marginalized or excluded groups to have greater voice and influence on decision- and policy-making processes. Two, helping democracies to deliver on critical needs and expectations of the population in more equitable ways. So, no easy wins then.
CIVICUS agree that 2019 has been a year fought on the streets and in the face of growing repression. The review of 2019 CIVICUS Monitor data does not make for pretty reading and further reminds of the continued urgency of the situation facing so many activists. Not that there are not brighter spots. Devin MacGoy argues that Romanian civil society has proved its strength and citizens are more politically engaged now than ever before. That bodes well to promote a culture of democracy (and accountability).
What of those working in fragile and conflict affected settings (where many of the most recent protests have been concentrated)? See TAI Spotlight below re prospects in Iraq. More broadly, International Budget Partnership believes shrinking civic space requires special tactics to help the marginalized. K4D review what is effective in helping civil society engage in peace processes, while Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Craig Mahoney call on higher education to help us shape a better civil society.
Of course, even doing research in fragile settings can be dangerous, so intrigued to see reflections on what support is in place for researchers.
Quote of the week
“There are revolutions ‘from above’, revolutions ‘from below’ and also the mysterious revolutions ‘from abroad’ where foreign assistance is a major revolutionary force. How successful they are (and could be) in their attempts to improve the governance of foreign countries is the fundamental question this very important and thoroughly researched book has dared to answer.”
– Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia and Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM), Vienna.