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Posting on "Political Will"

Johanna Martinsson's picture

A reader's comment to the blog post Whose Will Constitutes 'Political Will'?

"Political will" is surely one of the more elusive terms in the international development community.  Sina captures much of its ambiguity well in his posting.  In addition to what it is, we might also ask where political will comes from.  In some cases it originates with an individual, generally situated somewhere within the state apparatus (best if at a high level) who becomes the "champion" that Sina refers to.   But political will can also stem from civil society advocacy that puts enough pressure on the state to develop the political will needed to bring about action.  The civil rights movement in the USA had champions over many decades, and they made some progress (e.g., Eleanor Roosevelt and the Marian Anderson singing controversy of 1939, recently commemorated on its 70th anniversary at Lincoln Memorial this past Easter in Washington).  So there was some political will in high places that helped.  President Truman's desegregation of the US military in 1948 offers another example.  But it took another 20 years and a huge, sustained civil society effort to accumulate the pressure needed to strengthen political will sufficiently to pass the landmark civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s. So it was a combination of political will on the inside and civil society on the outside that moved civil rights along over the years, with each reinforcing the other.  More recent examples abound (e.g., environment, women's movement). Analyzing the synergy involved and crafting ways to support it should be a critical focus of CommGAP.

Harry Blair

Comments

Submitted by John on
In the past there was a distinct line between the political parties with each having their own agenda. Now, there is no difference between the two major parties. Both have one agenda, get to the "money trough" and stuff as much into their own pockets as they can. If they want to clear up the deficit then they, (every senator and representative) should not collect any pay, any benefits in any form until the deficit is repaired. The job they have been doing is far less than adequate, yet they still recieve their pay. In a business if they performed in such a manner then they would have been fired, point blank. At least in a solvent ethical business. What job can workers go in, vote tehmselves apay and benefit increase, and vote to get their pay continued after leaving the position for whatever reason. All of this at the working, taxpaying persons expense. All politicians should be terminated, all pay stopped immediately and new people put into office that have the peoples interest at heart, not their own.

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