Civil society organizations
Civil society is nowadays one of the most powerful and useful networks of the global environment. According to John Agnew, the term refers to a cohort “composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state’s political system) and commercial institutions” (Agnew, 2002, p. 243). Key features of the civil society include collective interest, close partnership and awareness of interdependence between organizations and as well as global economies, social spheres and politics. The present paper is designed to address several organizations which participate in the civil society.
First of all, it needs to be noted that the lecture created by Sachs, suggests that the world is prone to destruction from inside given the negative environmental, economic, health care and political factors, but it is possible to prevent the collapse (Sachs, 2007) through establishing partnership, global initiatives and developing the so-called global thinking, or strategic thinking about the world’s fate. According to Yanacopulos and Mohan, transactional networks have grown substantially over the last twenty years given the hegemony and the rapid progress of communication technologies: “an important aspect of the global network society thesis is that ICTs enable co-ordinated action among actors who are physically separated from one another” (Yanacopulos and Mohan, 2005, p.425).
One of the most prominent civil society organizations performing in the United States is ActionAid, struggling with poverty worldwide. Nowadays, it is represented in more than 40 countries, and the major directions of its work are financial contributions (as well as fundraising), education, disease prevention and treatment, blocking of the spread of AIDS. Although the United States is relatively stable and prosperous country, it is particularly divided in terms of income. There also organizations like Bankwatch that monitors the dynamics of finance worldwide and checks whether it cause no substantial harm to the environment, and the International Trade Union Organization that defends workers’ interests. The best known organization in the field of my personal interests is the Human Rights Watch whose internal guidelines include “We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice; We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable” (Human Rights Watch, http://www.hrw.org/about/, 2005). This mission is both noble and socially beneficial, as the organization has a long history of success in resolving the cases of poor human rights observance even in the remote countries, where judicial systems have their own distinctive features.
In the future, I plan to join this global outpost of lawfulness, as I view human rights as essential foundation of all existing legislation, as they corroborate the existence of certain natural right that existed before the formation of government or apparatus of power and show that authorities are committed to civilians, rather than make individuals “fit” their governments. Although the recent HRW campaigns take place outside the United States, North America still remains the region of judicial tension, so the organization carefully reviews the relevant cases. Furthermore, it addresses the problem of legal and illegal migration, as newcomers are still the most vulnerable circles in the United States, so the organization is definitely a source of support for society, as it normalizes migrants’ social functioning and turns them into productive and knowledgeable members of American population. In African and Asian countries, it is nowadays running a campaign against the enrolment of minors to army and for the removal of cluster munitions from earlier military conflicts which daily kill peaceful civilians.
To sum up, civil society is nowadays aimed at building global well-being through removing all physical, economic, social and political hazards from “at risk states” and adding value to the human rights legislation through defending its supremacy over domestic laws.
Agnew, J. (2002). Democracy and Human Rights, in Johnston R., Taylor P. and Watts, M. (eds.) Geographies of Global Change, pp. 238-257. Blackwell.
Human Rights Watch (2005). 23 March 2005, <http://www.hrw.org/about/>
Sachs, J. (2007). The Reith Lectures 2007: Bursting at the Seams
Yanacopulos, H. & Mohan, G. (2004). The global network society and transnational networks of dissent, in W. Brown, S. Bromley & S. Athreye (Eds), Ordering the International: History, Change and Transformation, pp. 417-452. London: Pluto Press