As Victor Hugo said :
“rien n’est plus puissant qu’une idée dont le temps est venu“
Abolishing slavery or giving voting rights to women were once crazy ideas.
But, one day, somebody started to think that such ideas were – after all – quite reasonable, or even that they felt righ. It took time to build a critical mass of people thinking that way, but it happened: the time was ripe… and such ideas became powerful.
There are ideas or opinions whose time has just come: that individuals are equal no matter their sexual orientation, that little girls have the right to get an education, that women deserve the same salary of men for the same job: in some places this is already obvious (and not from yesterday), but you can see now a global push for that. Time is ripe.
You may also notice that once every nation had its own time for these evolutionary leaps, even if the neighbouring countries and cultures had an influence on it. Europe has always been that way: a sort of civilization soup where ideas moved back and forth across boundaries.
Now, in the global village, ideas are more and more percolating across boundaries. Leaps will happen more and more on a global scale and critical masses will be, more often than not, transnational ones.
Becoming aware of that is a revelation which pushes us to look for our community across boundaries. I’ve found mine in all the individuals living as global citizens and pushing for a transnational dimension of politics, where individuals may play a role.
I want to mention here some friends: Joseph Robertson from Citizens Climate Lobby -who is at work building an operative Citizens’ Climate Engagement Network, to improve bottom up accountability to the Paris engagements on climate; Philippe Mazuel, founder of the Party of the Citizens of Europe – PACE, who is candidate for the next French presidential elections in order to promote a real European dimension of politics (and if you are French you can support him on LaPrimaire.org); and Sargon Nissan from the Brettom Woods Project -who animates the Bank and IMF’s civil society policy forum pushing for a stronger participation of civil society in order to improve the legitimacy of these global financial institutions.
I could have added more names and more examples, this avant-garde pushing for supranational democracy is not just composed of few isolated individuals, even if they’re not, yet, a critical mass. Ideas need to go their way and infect more and more individuals until, one day, time is ripe.
Then, they become powerful, as Hugo said.