Characteristics of a Civil Society Revolution

Zafar Imam

The layer of society, which calls itself ‘civil society’, consists of engineers, doctors, professors, lawyers, medium size businessmen, Rights activists, NGOtic persons etc. It can easily be distinguished as middle class – petit bourgeoisie. If they are the ‘civil society’, we the working masses, trade unionists, student leaders and leftists are happy to be called ‘uncivil society’, but let us remind them that this uncivil society is in majority in the world.

We the people of ‘uncivil society’ are often shocked to listen to the preaching of ‘civil society’ about ‘revolution’. In many NGOs seminars and workshops, published newsletters and T.V talk shows, this lot expresses fully what they think a revolution or a change is.  Their conceived idea of ‘revolution’ or ‘change’ is highly propagated via corporate media then. That is why we can add ‘journalists’ too in this ‘civil society’ circle.  But the civil society, my friends let me say, is that same old petit-bourgeois monster in new packing under new name. A fox in the guise of a goose.

But, what then, a civil society revolution is? Here we give some characteristics of the ‘change’ or ‘revolution’ civil society believes in. off course, you can send me suggestion to add more characteristics.

Civil Society thinks that:

  1. It is a big change that 18th, 19th, 50th, 299th or whatsoever th amendment in the constitution is passed.
  2. It is a huge transition in the history that this government is gone and that government is formed. Face change is a big change.
  3. Judicial activism in a particular court room is actually a revolutionary activism, this way judiciary can change the course of history in a particular country.
  4. Organizing a walk against drugs and smoking is a revolutionary step.
  5. A woman parliamentarian holds an important public office in government, now the feminist revolution can storm the country.
  6. Hue and cry against ‘corruption’ is a revolutionary demand. (While they seriously believe that the system is not well because of corruption, we the people of ‘uncivil society’ propose that corruption is the by product of this system. System is not dysfunctional because of corruption; rather corruption exists because of this capitalist system.)

(Above characteristics relate to wide political spectrum. On a low level, characteristics are these:)

  1. Leave alone beating, even talking against the dogs of civil society ladies and gentlemen is a counter-revolutionary, heinous crime. These dogs – puppies, tonnies, and dollies are important human beings and they will play important role in the future civil society revolutions.
  2. Dogs are humans and humans are dogs.
  3. It is a revolutionary change that somebody is elected in the residential plaza union.
  4. It is a great change that somebody is promoted to higher scale in government service.
  5.  The best way of struggle is to light up candles before press clubs and organize ‘walks’.

This is the change they believe in…

4 Responses

  1. Most of the great revolutionaries, from Marx to Che, came from the petit bourgoise…wake up and smell the coffee!

  2. John, yes they came from the petit bourgoise,
    but they de-classed themselves and became the real representatives of the oppressed classes. here we have analyzed the general character of petit bourgeoisie as a ‘class’, not individuals. thanks to read and comment

  3. Hey Zafar…you are right…they did declass themselves and you are talking about the class and not individuals. However I suspect (with no data to back this up!) most revolutionary leaders come from the petty bourgeois…so there is/has been a lot of declassing going on from the class. I also think for instance that much of the initiative and leadership of the ‘Arab Spring’ come from this class too…even though there has been massive working class union activity over the past decade in Egypt.

  4. What is this about dogs? I don’t get it. I love dogs…I don’t have one because I think it is cruel to have a big dog in a city…small house dogs ok. The animals help us be human if we allow them. I have a cat. Hope it doesn’t sound too PB…maybe it can be added to the list…the love their pets!

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