Civil Society — from PTA meetings to INGOs

The role that participants of a community play is essential, right? They are needed to move forward agendas that aim to create thriving marketplaces, safe neighborhoods, highly regarding schooling, and other intrapersonal successes. This is what an ideal society would look like, under democratic rule- if democracy functioned the way that it’s understood. The “power to the people” concept can be applied to understanding civil society, and the importance it has in times and places of instability.

Civil society is a sector that is not the public or the private sector. This means that a group of motivated citizens are empowered to or in living conditions safe enough to express concern. This concern could be in favor of the public / private sector or against, either way- the ability to form an opinion and implement changes based on such is important.

In what ways is a strong civil society important in nations outside of the United States & other nations with stable political systems? Why would the ability for parents to gather in solidarity with their child’s school interest (PTA meetings), or for unions to create fair working conditions matter? Social infrastructures, such as healthy civil societies, not only help to retaliate (via civil disobedience) when necessary. Strong civil societies aid in the prevention of corruption, monopolized economies, and the many other reasons for civil disobediance. Civil societies build stabilty from the ground up. The key to having healthy civil societies lies in the pre-exisiting stability that allows and encourages citizens to be engaged. If food security is limited, and resources that aid in quality of life are scarce, it is difficult for citizens to be aware that they can make an impact. Prioritizing survival is important inside of unstable nations’s. A much larger priority over PTA meetings, or volunteering at a non-profit organization.

Due to high levels of corruption and weak political systems — civil societies are difficult. On the other hand, civil societies can give way to exactly the kind of organizing and contest needed to rebuild healthy economies and political structures. Inside of a stable economy or political sphere, civil societies look like NGOs, non-profit organizations, community organizations, and other citizen- oriented institutions. Inside of an unstable nation, civil disobedience is that civil societies function through, mostly. Without already stable infrastructures, this is the only way that can really manifest improved quality of life. Another way that civil societies can function inside of instability is globalized, or global civil societies.

Civil Societies that cross borders look like international NGOs, that aim to hold up agendas that support human rights. Western resource backed non-profits, or other actors of “the greater good” provide aid, implementation of structure, or loans to nations in conflict. With this aid comes difficulty, through barriers of culture, language, and other consequences of imposing Western-backed ideologies to non-western or otherwise undeveloped nations. Often times, the instability of these nations is an impact of colonialism, so for the Western World to be again imposing on the socio-politics of another nation.

Sources:

“Civil Society Organisations in the European Union Governance.” Participatory Democracy for Global Governance. Civicus.org. Apr. 2011. Web.

Doherty, By Ivan. “Democracy Out of Balance: Civil Society Can’t Replace Political Parties.” Asia Pacific Greens. 25 Apr. 2015. Web.

“Who We Are | Global March Against Child Labour.” Who We Are | Global March Against Child Labour. Web.