Gwanju Human Rights Folk School 2004
stake is Western culture's confidence in itself .
On the one hand, the aftermath of "September 11" has reactivated the pessimism of "new obscurity." On the other hand it may imply no other than a warning signal whichurges us to take measures. The "optimism of will" (A. Gramsci) could be justified aboveall by the fact that in the nineties the NGOs have increased their capacities at theinternational as well as at the national level so dramatically that the nationalgovernments can hardly hold the countervailing power of NGOs under control. Theinternational institutions such as WB, IMF, WTO must react to them by any means.Moreover, they are often considered as a recognized actor of world politics and peopledemand them to hold even more accountability and morals than the politicians. In thenational politics many assign them to take the role of the "fifth pillar" next tolegislature, executive, jurisdiction and media. One often says, "taking NGOs seriously."The NGO-activists' catchphrase may be: "Together, we are superpower."Despite success stories of NGOs in the nineties, there may be still manyunanswered questions for closer examination. For some critics, "NGOs are the mostoverestimated actor of the nineties."
However, others forecast the "shift of power"from states to NGOs.
There are good reasons for the critical review of previous globalactivity of NGOs: as many contradictions and divergences as harmonies andconvergences exist between- NGOs from the North and South- "Moderate" and "radical" NGOs- Lobbying-oriented and movement-oriented NGOs- Rich and poor NGOs- Large and small NGOs- National and international NGOs- "Occidental" and "oriental" NGOsetc.The list could last endlessly. Nevertheless, central in my paper is the next problem: Could NGOs be a
alternative in the future? In other words, are they
) J. Habermas (1989),
The New Conservatism
, MIT Press; Cambridge, pp.50-51.
P. Wahl (1998), “NGO Transnationals, McGreenpeace and the Network Guerrilla”,(www.globalpolicy.org/ngos/issues/wahl.htm)
) Jessica Mathews, the head of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote that "the steadyconcentration of power in the hands of states that began in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia, is over, at least for a while." See
December 11-17, 1999.