New York City: Launch of Global Civil Society Yearbook

Lecture: Democracy and Global Civil Society

Democracy and Global Civil Society
11 February 2005, 12-2 pm

Speaker:
Mary Kaldor, Director, Centre for the Study of Global Governance, LSE

Venue:
Demos
220 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor (at 26th St.)
New York, NY

Register online:
http://www.demos-usa.org/events.cfm
tel (212) 633 1405 ext 533


Global Civil Society 2004/5

America’s 9/11, Spain’s 3/11, the war on Iraq: these defining events of the 21st century have become icons of a pervasive global sense of insecurity. They have also changed the way people perceive power and the politics of power. The Global Civil Society Yearbook shows how those perceptions can be shaped by the huge diversity of individuals, movements, NGOs, networks – and the ideas and values they represent – acting across borders and beyond national politics.

Unique in its approach, the Global Civil Society Yearbook explores globalisation ‘from below’, from the perspective of ordinary people. Now in its fourth year of publication, it is the standard work on the topic, essential reading for social and political scientists, activists, students, journalists and policy makers.

Global Civil Society 2004/5 highlights the significance of global civil society in the current context of global insecurity and growing cleavages between the ‘West’ and global Islam and between North and South. Professor Mary Kaldor argues that the Green and Red Zones of divided Iraq are metaphors for the gulf that exists on a global scale between the global ‘green zones’, populated by political elites, and the global ‘red zone’, a heterogeneous, complex world full of energy, activity, ideas and debate but also violence, frustration and extremism.

Global civil society can be understood as a mechanism for crossing the divide between the red and green zone. It consists of various channels – groups, movements, organisations – through which people living in the red zone try to influence elites in the green zone.

In the current turbulent times, Kaldor argues that global civil society has an increasingly important role to play:

Twenty-first-century terrorism is an extreme response to globalisation. It has set in motion a vicious circle of exclusion and anxiety. If we are to break out of this we need to rethink the meaning and nature of global politics, starting where globalisation itself begins – in the locality.

The solution, argues Kaldor, is two-pronged: political parties need to become forums for engagement with the new realities and global civil society needs to be further mobilised – people of all faiths from all over the world – to counter extremist ideologies, extend the rule of law and social justice, and to help build democracy at global, national and local levels.

The challenge is to develop a broad, large-minded and principled response that isolates terrorists and shows them that democracy can deliver.


Praise for the Global Civil Society Yearbook

Global Civil Society 2002 was a gripping read. Global Civil Society 2003 was stimulating, informative and authoritative. I am delighted to recommend this series, which fills an important gap in research on globalisation.’
Anthony Giddens

‘One of the great unreported events of the last decade has been the total explosion of non-government organizations in developing countries of the world. While I was shaving the other day, I looked in the mirror and thought, "Wow, I am an NGO!" I have always been interested in this, but I am more interested since I discovered I was one. And that's why I'd recommend this Yearbook.’
Bill Clinton