From behind a political mask of pseudo-democracy within a “global village,” the definitive shape of a new “civil society” composed of national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and private voluntary organizations (PVOs), has been institutionalized at UN conferences.

The new “civil society” substitutes for the nations’ electorates through its policy-making relationship with local, national, and international governments. Neither they nor the United Nations leadership have been elected by the people; the consent of the world — which they clearly intend to “govern” — is lacking.


Some have suggested this new vision of a “civil society” is a direct derivative of Alexis de Toqueville’s historic work, Democracy in America. In that work, Toqueville wrote that Americans “are forever forming associations ….Hospitals, prisons, and schools take shape that way….(W)here in France you would find the government or in England some territorial magnate, in the United States you are sure to find an association…”

Toqueville concluded this observation with a warning, “The morals and intelligence of a democratic people would be in as much danger as commerce and industry if ever a government wholly usurped the place of private associations.”

It would be wise to bear Toqueville’s warning in mind when examining the “civil society” strategy. The rationale for that strategy has been described by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in a report titled, “The Crisis of Social Development in the 1990s: Preparing for the World’s Social Summit.” Framed in crisis-ridden language, the report insists on the absolute necessity of “new institutional arrangements at the international level” and declares the need for “the breaking of old patterns.”


It casts aspersions upon the “neo-liberal experiment” of “free market ideology” current in the 1990s, and insists that there isn’t any positive correlation between the development of a “civil society” and democratic government. This is said with the clear implication that authoritarian government organized under UN leadership — paid for by the citizens of the world — is the solution that will build a true “civil society.”

The report states further, “Now is the time for ‘Vision and Commitment'” in a world that has a “place for utopias.” In support of the utopian illusion, someone by the name of Lars Anell is quoted as saying, “History is filled with things that were completely unrealistic the day before they happened.”

Necessary to the support of this utopia is the formation of institutions that are “open to different ways of understanding and acting” and “able to integrate new constituents.” In fact, it seems that there are “many groups that may in earlier periods have been only indirectly involved in the global debate on social policy and social reform.”

Who could those groups be? The NGOs, CBOs, and PVOs, of course!

NGOs ‘essential’

Such “grassroots” organizational involvement, according to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), has become necessary because of the “growing inability on the part of many governments alone to cope with the proliferation of social problems.” Now with the thrust for “globalization on the one hand and participation on the other,” NGOs, PVOs, and CBOs are to become “an essential dimension of public life at all levels and in all parts of the world,” according to DPI.

Further, it appears that the “developed country NGO programmes (have) doubled in size from 1975 to 1985,” probably as a direct result of a 35 per cent increase in public funding as governments channelled programs through those NGOs to the developing countries (“NGOs: Partners in Social Development,” DPI, 6-12 March, 1995).

When asked about the lack of representative democracy in the UN’s vision of “civil society” at the American University in Washington, D.C., Dr. David Baudot, of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said that the UN is “moving toward representative government.” That is the endless promise of tyrants.

Moreover, should government be moved to the international level, it would be too far removed from the people to be anything but a tyranny—wherein would lie the accountability to the people? Further, a number of governments participating in public policy decisions in the UN member countries are either military security governments or tyrannies.

This joins the UN theory—that democratic government does not necessarily correlate with “civil society”—to UN practice, and imposes it on the world. It has been in the countries with repressive government that aggressive population- control programmes have been most likely to be located, through the direct intervention of UN-associated agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Bank, not to mention UN-associated NGOs. This has occurred in the Philippines under Marcos, in Communist China, in Indonesia, in Nigeria under the present corrupt military security government, in Egypt under the military-backed government of President Hosni Mubarak, and during the reign of military security governments in countries in Latin America, and elsewhere.

The strategy of using repressive governments to impose UN programs was described in a recommendation by the president of the International Development Association (IDA) to the World Bank as it prepared a $78 million population loan program in Nigeria. The recommendation described the possible “risk” of “transition” should the country eventually return to civilian rule. The IDA president reminded the Bank that Nigeria’s population policy was developed under the “period of military rule” and “civilian politicians” would be “less likely to give high priority to an interventionist population policy” (“Nigeria: Population Policies,” IDA, April 19, 1991, 45).


We should not forget that, according to the 1992 Population Commission report on age structure, the “early initiation” countries for population control were Western democracies and the U.S.S.R.

But did this happen by a vote of the people? The public record in the U.S. clearly indicates this was imposed upon the people through the political manipulation of power elites and eugenicists. It was first institutionalized at the Congressional level, then the executive level, and finally, fully sanctioned by the judiciary, imposed on America’s children through the nation’s educational system. What linkages did these policies ever have with democracy? None. The tax monies of the American people had to be sprung loose to carry out population programs at home and abroad. American-trained and funded NGOs, PVOs, and CBOs became the alphabetic broth which led the way to sterilizing countless people in the developing countries, aborting them, and injecting them with hormonal drugs.

Change in values

In the developed world, it didn’t take coercion to bring about “a change in American values.” The infrastructure was already in place. Americans were unsuspecting. They never dreamt that their government would turn on the people. This was the land of the free and the home of the brave—a land of liberty, a free press, and endless “rights”!

When a U.S. delegate to the World Summit on Social Development was asked to justify the replacement of the electorate with the “civil society,” he responded, “Why not even 14 percent of the people vote in elections!”

If this is so, is it because of apathy? Or, is it because special interest groups — that is, “factions” as described in Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers — have been able to buy off political leaders to such a degree that those leaders no longer respond to the electorate but pander instead to the interests of the wealthy and powerful?

To conclude where we started, with Toqueville: “A government, by itself, is equally incapable of refreshing the circulation of feelings and ideas among a great people, as it is of controlling every industrial undertaking. Once it leaves the sphere of politics to launch on this new track, it will, even without intending this, exercise an intolerable tyranny.”