მშვიდობის ქუჩა #47, 3100 Martvili
|The “Movement Martvili for independence and Euro-integration” was created to support the perspective of Georgia's EU-integration|
|"მარტვილი დამოუკიდებლობისა და ევროინტეგრაციისათვის" შეიქმნა "მოძრაობა დამოუკიდებლობისა და ევროინტეგრაციისათვის" და "ზუგდიდი დამოუკიდებლობისა და ევროინტეგრაციის" ეგიდით, რომლის მიზანია ქვეყნის ევროატლანტიკური კურსის მხარდაჭერა.
After restoring its independence in early 90s, Georgian society has gone through very dramatic steps of development. During these years, the Governments’ policies of westernization have always been reinforced by very clear public support of the idea that Georgia historically and culturally belongs to western culture and the West as such. However, people lacked proper practices inherent to political freedom and liberal democratic way of life, and this has somehow delayed and complicated the way that the society has come through to date.
A very visible progress, however, was achieved. Today Georgia stands out in entire post-soviet non-EU space by its pace of development, civic activism, progress of democratic institutions and vibrant fast-developing economy. But Georgia’s new generation is the most visible creation of the past two decades. This is an energetic, much better informed, motivated and ambitious young men and women, who are about to take the controls of the county and further wheel it deeper in Europe. A critical mass of liberal youth is a given fact today in Georgia.
Yet, problems remain. Georgian society still lacks its main glue: wide consensus on main liberal democratic values and principles, and related social bonds that would tie people together into real community. The lack of certain habits and practices could be blamed for this reality:
1. Ethics and reciprocal respect to common rights
The notion of rights was alien to Georgian society two decades ago. For a big part of the society it still is a foreign concept. These people are locked in their shells and look at the world around as unfriendly and something truly hostile. They fail to find the space for cooperation even in their immediate vicinity.
In general, condition of trust, respect and cooperation between the members of the society is dire. People are mostly inclined to not trust each other. If not among longtime associates or family members, business relations are normally built on checks and balances, not on trust and natural instinct for cooperation. Lies, misguidance, disloyalty are normal occurrences for any agreement and contract.
In many social circles, impartial service to common good is perceived jestingly, as something weird; in many cases, people of impartial service are called fools; a space for compassion is limited to close relatives and friends; voluntary activity is extremely low. It is obvious that no society can survive with such ruined social capital, not to mention external challenges that Georgian society needs to withstand.
2. Secular society and respect to private property
During soviet period, a respect to private property has been lost almost totally. This principle of social behavior was not very developed even before, because Georgia had a very brief period of capitalist formation and it has almost immediately transitioned from Feudal to socialist society. Last two decades of independence were clearly not enough for this principle to flourish and underlie social behavior of entire society. Obviously, very clear progress is still sensible and today we witness growing parts of the society who engage into capitalist economic interaction, but the parts that fall out due to the lack of proper vision and skills, are also vast and damaging to the pace of economic and democratic development.
3. Consensus culture
No social behavior exists without consensus, while consensus is a separate skill and culture, and it is not equally characteristic to every society. Consensus culture is a quality of democratic societies in the first place, and it is a must for every such society to survive. Georgia clearly lacks consensus culture not just on wider political level but in everyday life of people. It is normal for many in Georgia to prefer force and manipulation to negotiation and agreement. There is a clear shortage of trust between the members of the society which makes the society unstable and keeps its association resources attached to just wider national and religious identities.
This is not only a shortcoming in terms of democratic development, but also a threat in itself implying that in certain circumstances, the society may start to roll back into the past it is coming from.
4. Communication culture
Communication culture of Georgian society is intense, however not channeled for rational consensus. One hardly finds the attempts in this society to come to terms on rational principles and values that have direct impact for the well-being of the members of the society. The belief that communication and negotiation is a cure to the problems is weak. Meanwhile, unspoken beliefs become fences for consensus, and delay final democratic transformation of the society.
5. Political versus Civic activism
The lack of democratic culture has decided that political activism prevails to civil activism in Georgia. Things hardly move without interference of politics, there is very little space for independent initiative, very little space for civic or business networking, and this reality complicates and delays the development of free markets, true self-government, and creates equally unfavorable conditions for economic and social stability of the country.
6. Euro-integration as understood within the Movement
Georgia needs to transform into true European society in order to achieve its goals of security and well-being. Georgia needs to transform into a strong partner, not a burden to European Community, and for this, it needs strong and independent citizens with strong consensus that the way forward is a European way, and that future progress is a responsibility of every single citizen.
There is much to be done on this way, but one of the very deepest concerns to be addressed is this above mentioned problem of deficient communication. At the same time, it is our belief that the for first target of the movement should be chosen a topic which is widely appreciated as truly important, essential for every single citizen of democratic community, problematic as unresolved and thus easy to engage people into discussion.
7. Targeting core principles
One can’t go beyond human rights in general when talking of the principles of a democratic society. However, some the most problematic issues should be properly identified for the wider society to see an immediate interest and get effectively engaged.
Georgian people represent a society in transition. This is transition from a clan-based, feudal mentality with inherent dogmas and irrational beliefs to free and rational mentality of modern civilized world. A clear progress notwithstanding, a big part of Georgian society still lives in deprived condition firstly because individual activity is not something people widely believe in. Many people still look in the hands of the government to be fed - just as in old communist times.
Hence, politicians possess exclusive influence in Georgia and civic and business activity does not flourish vast resources notwithstanding. This reality must be changed immediately if Georgia is to further develop and progress as a state and as society.
Consequently, capacity building and promotion of self-reliance skills within the society is one of the first goals of any good social program that seeks to solve problems in the long-run: with a strategic outlook to the future.
However, only education and capacity building won’t help. “Glue” that ties people together by rational reason is needed. As was mentioned above, communication
The problems in general look as follows:
1. Lack of belief in individual freedoms
2. Lack of belief in utility of civic activism
3. Lack of belief in common good, lack of such vision
We believe respect of others’ rights property is one such very important example. Georgia’s cities and villages are full of the cases of violation of property rights, and indifference of citizens to such cases until their own property remains untouched. Police acts by people’s silent consent when it gets to the problem but many such cases remain silenced as normal to provincial culture, and thus unresolved. There are situations also, when the activities are being prevented due to these unfavorable conditions, when people stay at home instead of speaking up for the problem or starting new economic activity, when resources are being wasted for wane or utilized by those with no property right on these resources. Hence, the issue provides an excellent opportunity to engage active citizens in propagating some of the core principles of liberal society, and thus creating strong democratic glue for the society.
|The “Movement for independence and Euro-integration” was created as a response of Georgian society to upcoming prospects of Euro-integration and related difficult challenges. The mission of the movement is two-fold:
1. To demonstrate strong support of Georgian people to the European integration perspective of the country, and signing of the Association Agreement, as next significant step; and
2. To further transform Georgian society into truly European, liberal, rational and democratic culture with strong networking skills and civic activism