The authoritarian activist group mistaken for a democratic movement

Previous post was about Klimaatzaak, the initiative of 11 Flemish celebs that threatened to sue the Belgian Government, as it was presented in a current affairs television program. As seen in that post, they were framed by a sociologist like voters not believing in politics and therefor organize themselves to get something done what politics couldn’t do.

In a second part the representative of Klimaatzaak and of that of another organization sat around the table. They were presented as some democratic movements to reclaim their democratic rights as voters but, as I said in previous post, I don’t think this is actually the case for Klimaatzaak. They surely represent voters, but that would surely be a minority of them. If there was a broad movement on this in our society, then the climate change issue would have been on the top of concerns of the voters, not at the bottom.

Look at how they are formed: 11 celebs and academics started the suit. I don’t think those celebs were the ones that started the whole thing, they were probably issued in order to be able to piggy back on their success.

They aren’t the sort of grass root movement they are framed as. But, but, weren’t there 9,000 co-plaintiffs who were recruited? Isn’t that some sign of a democratic movement? Well, yes, but those co-plaintiffs have no rights in this, they have no voice in the process, it all comes top down. That is a far cry from a democratic movement.

So let’s compare it with the other organization presented, RingLand. Ringland is an organization that wants to arch over the ringway around Antwerp. A engineering bureau launched the idea of the cover of the ringway. Civilians and professionals came together to explore the proposition for a better mobility, healthier environment and more space for nature, parcs, sport and recreation. At this point they could present studies about their proposition. In this project public and experts work together to work out a proposal and present this to the local government.

Klimaatzaak is a different story. They launched an ultimatum to the government and threatened with a law suit if the government didn’t comply. They actually sued on April 27 (the day of the reportage, which explained the extensive attention given on their organization in this program).

A revealing part was were the representative said that “they sang and danced, gone on strike and organized conferences for the cause”, but it didn’t help much. Indeed, they sang and danced, but it was of a rather symbolic nature, like sitting in the dark for one whole hour each year. What they apparently weren’t able to do is change the opinion of Joe Sixpack and they will need him to win his vote. Yet now they take action and circumvent the very democratic process that they are trying to enforce.

In a democracy, the voters give a mandate to some politicians or to a party. Now we have a group of people who support a theme for which the politicians didn’t get a mandate. On the contrary, the voter was not in the least interested in the issue. Yet these people are in fact circumventing those same voters. I find that rather worrying. If they succeed, which will be the next (activist) group that is going to sue the Government?

The last question of the moderator was interesting in that matter: she asked whether “this was the beginning of something new”. The answer was a “Yes”. They see this action as something “beautiful” that is happening and a “relief” for the politicians, because they get feedback from the public…

Within the context of democracy that is anything but beautiful. If this is the future of politics, that they have to be governed by activist groups, personally I don’t find this not beautiful at all.


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