I am at another “Table of Controversy” on building a new democratic world order sponsored by the Bridge Initiative at the World Social Forum. I am interested in the topic, but I must admit that I am more interested in the air conditioning in the tent. There are speakers from the World Bank, the 50 Years Is Enough Campaign, the Women’s Movement and other activists. I commented about what were some key issues in the development of a new democratic international order: transparency and new alliances.
I commented that to learn how to create a new democratic world order, we need to look at what non-democratic regimes are afraid of. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of a free press. They are afraid of a freely available internet. They are afraid of people demonstrating on the streets. They are afraid of new ideas.
So at the international level we must have these things. To put it more practically, why can I not turn on the TV or turn on the radio and hear what the UN is doing? Why is there no broadcast on the internet of the meetings of the UN? The beginning of a democratic order is transparency — knowing what is happening at the governing body.
So we need a TV and radio and internet broadcast of key United Nations meetings for all the world to see. I have been to a lot of these meetings, and I can assure you that they will bore you to sleep in 30 minutes. But for some key debates, there are astounding discussions that take place that people need to see. So when the Security Council is debating on Iraq, or the Commission on Human Rights discussing Israel-Palestine, it would be great if we could actually observe what was going on.
I also noted that new alliances toward a new democratic world order are beginning. The women’s movement is a great example. For all of them, what will be required will be a critical mass of social movements, NGOs, supportive governments, parliamentarians, UN agencies and citizens. But I am not advocating one global campaign for UN reform but several strategic coalitions and networks on specific areas of concern, whether it be Darfur or HIV/AIDS.
These are the kinds of alliances that non-democratic regimes around the world will shake with fear of.