Civil Society Sleeping?

We have in the past seen outbursts of civil society actions in the Maldives. Such moments create hope for better politics.

As the country undergoes its crises of democratisation, we have so far mostly seen a deeply polarised society. The two broad sides are mostly captured -- or filled -- by the political society and the state, not the civil society as such.

It's heartening to see increased use of New Social Media tools for information dissemination and for other political purposes.

But they seem to be led by political parties or individuals closely connected to political parties. At any rate, they seem to lack considered public reasoning, public justifications, and serious critique and disclosure.

In short, they lack serious alternatives to what politicians are offering or serious endorsements of what they are offering.

I think civil society should be in an insurgent position to the state. It must make sure that the proper cycle of power exists: civil society helps create public opinion -- what Habermas would call communicative power -- which in turn is taken up by the state complex in the form of decisions, policies and laws.

I see hope in individual efforts such as this to help create public opinion.