The dimension I'm most interested in exploring in this weekend manif in Lisbon is the one involving the evaluation of Portuguese civil society characteristics, as the impressive demo was organized for the first time outside partisan wings and with full use of new social networks tools, in a movement that, taking advantage of Arab world buzz, showed that ‘The People’ are also active and interventionist in Europe (as, indeed, recent events in Iceland had already proven). I am interested in this aspect because I share the idea that contemporary European societies, whose political systems were organized to allow the active political participation almost exclusively through political parties, are in evident a stage of decadence.
In this regard it is urgent to rethink the formula for active citizen participation in our Polis (which in some cases is being promoted, as in the example of the Lisbon Participatory Budgeting), since they not only do not feel totally represented by politicians they elect, but also do not conform to be called into action only every 4, by depositing a ballot.
Therefore, and since it is not expected that political parties will promote this important reflection (not only because party systems are amorphous - from left to right - as it suits them that the system remains as it is), it remains to the civil society to learn how to organize themselves, to intervene and provide additional 'inputs' into the system. Then that civil society should seek to influence the parties, demand more from their elected representatives, actively contribute to public debate and, ultimately, plant the seeds for a more active, participatory and progressive community. A society without fear of criticism or alternative thinking, promoter of merits and opportunities and anti-the feudal and patriarch model of the system, too easily colonized by friend, family member, stepsons, comrades.
That said, what results should we expect over the events of this weekend? I do not think the parties have truly understood the characteristics of the protest (they’ve reacted to it with a patronizing attitude), or that the main actors in the system have understood that something urgent is need to do, even for everything to remain on same. But I hope that the thousands and thousands of Portuguese who confirmed that we have a well-informed and politically active society don’t not stop or fall asleep and that they’ll maintain a strong civic and social engagement. Only then the joy and the collective energy that has arisen this weekend, and that had transport us from the 25th of April (or May 1) to Tahrir Square, may be used to qualitative renovate our democracy, contribute for as desired regeneration of our party system and for the upliftment of our political culture.