Civil society as an alternative government

The recent court judgment abrogating the government’s handover of a natural and public area to the hunters’ lobby is welcome news. It is also another result of the efforts by civil society to bring some order in a society that is constantly and willfully disrupted by government rent-seeking and corruption.

The Labour government, guided by its totalitarian instincts considers the civil society movement as an opposing political force competing for political influence, and in reality, it is. The problem is that it is not just that. The increasing activity of civil society is not born out of an end to wage a political battle, on the contrary. The political battle is just a symptom of the dysfunction that the government creates and this dysfunction leads NGOs and ordinary citizens to take the initiative to resolve the problems that the government creates. The fundamental and common problem to the battles fought by civil society against the government stem from its willful disruption of society by its corruption and recklessness. Similarly, Italy had a similar experience already, but its civil society movement went on to eventually form political parties and take over the government. This is just an observation and not an approval of Italy’s 5 Stelle Movement and its political party.

Comino is just one of the major examples that we have where civil society is literally struggling to take a public space back from the hands of rent-seekers. The activity of the NGO, Moviment Graffitti has only increased in recent years as the government’s willful takeover of our public places and the destruction of the environment goes on unabated. Then, we have Repubblika which is fighting battles related to corruption and the collapse of rule of law. These NGOs are also fighting battles that the Prime Minister constantly avoids like the coward that he is. One would assume that the Prime Minister would step up and take he lead on issues that concern society but the Robert Abela refuses to take a position and backs off from any potential controversy. Just like in Andrea Prudente’s case when Robert Abela remained silent and the Deputy-Prime Minister, Chris Fearne had to step to the occasion. Robert Abela’s priorities contorted. Best efforts are made to reguralise illegalities such as the expropriation of public land, while the country’s problems only accumulate in the process.

The standards of this government are so low that even just by not having Labour in government things would be even much better. We would probably figure it out even better by ourselves without the band of rent-seekers and ONE propagandists in government. Judging by the opinion polls Malta is aching for a new political movement and I think there is a very big probability that this is an inevitability: that eventually civil society develops itself into a more cohesive network that can act in political terms. There would need a lot of work to be done for this development to occur, but it is something that data and history show it is possible. It is hard to find unifying figures who can do this, On the other hand, there is the potential entry of Roberta Metsola in the local political field, but her entry into local politics is yet to be seen how that would affect the Nationalist Party.

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