– 2020 was a year of tremendous upheaval. The murder of George Floyd, followed by global Black Lives Matter protests, Covid-19 and the stark light that the pandemic shone on inequality within countries and between the global north and south, protests and brutal repression after elections in Belarus, ongoing demonstrations for climate action led by youth around the world, to name just a few.
Civil society, that is all sectors of our lives that are not family, government or for-profit, played a central role in all of these movements. But are those actions leading to positive results that will change people’s lives for the better?
Today’s guest, Lysa John, Secretary General of CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society groups, responds unequivocally yes. She points to past examples like the campaigns to recognize women’s right to vote and for legal recognition of gay rights.
In these tumultuous times, she argues, what civil society must do better is channel the energy of the movements on the streets into medium and long-term projects to build alternatives to existing structures.