…. supposes going up the stairs, getting rid of traditions and business –and politics- as usual, but also going down and start once again the same road, re-Education for adults represented by a new focus from an engaged citizenship.
Being Educated means much more than just be trained on advocacy issues, but to be informed and make a close control over each political gesture and action on a exercise of constant accountability. Is it only through active citizens that we could get to effective democracy tools that lead to a system based on good governance. Is it all about good governance? Yes!; without political systems that function under 100% reliability and responsiveness towards citizens´ interests any advocacy work becomes useless.
Is not possible to get to sustainable goals if we move through unsustainable political systems* that´s the main point for achieving results in the long-term through an steady action that mark the difference for getting into a reshaped system. When transparency and a strict accountability are not the leading guideline of a democracy, there is a negative gap on citizen´s rights. In the end, SDG´s are interconnected under the big umbrella of political institutions and leaders.
We are not educated for advocating for our rights but for relying on institutions represented by leaders. That is a substantial difference from activism in which specific actions under certain circumstances, on the framework of a historical moment, makes citizens joint efforts “against of” a decision/process from leaders or institutions. Advocacy, specially focused on SDG´s represents the steady action in which individuals hold a consistent attitude and are in a permanent state of alert that let them control the process without a “protest action” but a constant dialogue towards transparency and accountability.
A not empowered citizenship is a “toy” tied up to a rusty political structure that moves through corruption and private interests. Transparency doesn’t come from a strong legal framework but from an active, committed and convinced citizenship.
Is it also a matter of a correct implementation of democracy tools: negotiation and conciliation. Indeed, in no authoritarian political system there many positions to conciliate and dialogue become an essential instrument to joint efforts towards common goals. Recent separatist crisis in Catalonia, Spain exposure the need to “democratize” systems and leaders even further in order to gather different positions without being submitted to rusty codes that only lead to confrontation and hate. Dialogue leads precisely to new paths in which an innovative political attitude and committed experts and citizens search for new shapes of the society. To ensure pacific political coexistence we need strong institutions and leaders that guarantee inclusive societies. If there is a majority of the population that do not relies on its institutions and claim for a change, is it a must to reshape the system according to those demands. (SDG 17 and 16)
The only negative aspect is the always “tyranny of the majority”* which, paradoxically represents the key point for a democracy that demands a skillful management of conciliation from leaders and citizens. Conciliation doesn’t necessarily mean 100% satisfaction of all citizens but establishing levels of balance that allow the continuity of democratic mechanisms of living.
The path towards sustainability -as this stairs- should be solid and reliable, in which each step is taken carefully without getting blind by the sparkling of marketisation and wrong populism. Citizens: go upstairs!
*Picture: La Caixa Forum, Madrid, Spain