For a number of reasons I’ve been working over the last few weeks on how to handle the shrinkage of the civil society space. I can see it happening in many countries. While thinking about it, I am also dealing with the issue in real time…Managing a specific case in which some social organizations are being harassed for keeping specific position that are not pleasurable for those who are economically powerful, economically and politically.
During that process some government officials have repeatedly said to me , “We love NGOs, but they should do their job and not do politics.” As for myself, I naively wonder,….We fight injustice and poverty. Is that not politics? We struggle to change the imbalance of power in societies towards those less powerful. Is that not politics? We try and give voice to those who are voiceless. Is that not politics?
For sure it’s politics. Social organizations have been doing politics since the beginning of the game, what they didn’t do, and some of us keep thinking should keep not doing, is to do party politics. I mean aligned themselves with a specific party or other, but they should align to a specific ideology or another. Taking sides with those more in need is a very clear ideology in itself, but they shouldn’t be dealing with day-to-day politics.
So I regularly answer, Yes Mr Minister (almost always is a he), we don’t do politics (and I mumble party politics), just we defend the interest of the poorest…and I think, well maybe it’s possible that this is the politics you, honorable powerful, don’t want us to do……