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1. THE CONTEXT OF THE EXPERIENCE: the paradoxes of
2. MEXICO CITY: the new direction of local transtion
4. SOCIETY AND POLITICS: towards new relationships
6. WHERE ARE WE? Notes for evaluating the process
1. THE CONTEXT OF THE EXPERIENCE: the pradoxes of transition
The civil and social organisations and institutions of Mexico City began, in 1998 and
throughout 1999, to explore a variation of the transition process that the country has been
living since 1983. We say a variant because within a national process of change that up
until now has been managed by technocratic elites allied to the official party, the PRI, the
possibility that an historic opposition, Cardenism, emerged in 1997 to try another way of
bringing about the kind of modernization and democracy that could resolve the paradoxes
that until now had been created by the transformation of society and the State.
In 1983, the historical womb of a centralized state, ruled by corporatist pacts, protector of
the internal market and stuck in its legitimacy to a history of great collective actors and
social demands (workers and peasants), began a transformation that is still going today.
This includes:
the promotion of institutions, values and democratic actors (particularly in the electoral
arena) that concentrate democratic issues into the alternance of power. Simultaneously,
social, economic and cultural inequalities are accentuated, creating obstacles for the
construction of a political and social citizenry. Even the framework of rights already
established in these areas are deconstructed.
A still imperfect consolidation of electoral democracy, the strengthening of the party
system and the plurality of the Congress and various local government regimes (State
and municipal). However, the centralization of a strategic sphere of decision-making at
the margins of this democratic framework in the Federal Executive is also accentuated;
for example, all the economic, social and foreign policy-making is orientated towards
the growing and exclusive integration with the United States of America within the
framework of the Free Trade Agreement.
A new plurality of new social and political actors, particularly the civil organisations,
that takes place in conjunction with a transformation in ways of dialogueing, applying
pressure, and negotiating; where the great historic actors are deconstructed, conflict and
mobilization rejected as legitimate means of dealing with demands and support given to
neocorporatism and a managerial and individualistic vision of democratic governability,
at the same time as the spread of a new hegemonic principle in the relationship between
State and society.
These are the paradoxes of the 1983-1999 transition.
2. Mexico City: the new direction of local transition.
The variation experienced in Mexico City, with the greatest concentration of population,
industry, financial services and urban infrastructure in the country, is made possible by a
cycle of constitutional reforms achieved between 1995 and 1996 at the federal level. This
reforms are chrystallized in 1997 by the election of a Mayor in a city that had previously
been governed by a city manager appointed by the President of the Republic. At this time,
the city’s own political-legal order begins to be constructed to replace the old system of
government that was formerly regulated by federal bodies and laws.
The election in 1997 makes room for a centre-left coalition of social, civil and political
actors that had created the conditions for the political and economic centre of the country to
be permeated by a non-conservative culture. A culture of public participation and openness
to pluralistic values, alternance of power, and inclusiveness; a culture reflected in an
electoral platform whose title is also its emblem: a city for all. It is a document in favour of
democratic institutionality, of inclusive politics, of a recuperation of social responsibility by
the State, and of productive, not speculative policies.
It is a proposal that takes advantage of a local reform process that began in 1987 and social
mobilizations that became energized by the earthquakes of 1985. In other words, a 10 year
gradual process of change and of social and programatic consolidation of democratic
demands. In a gradual way local authority was being won, albeit with federal controls that
impeded and impede its final shape as a sovereign state within the Federation and the
democratization of its political and social relations.
But this reaction of the society that gave its vote in 1997 to the inclusive option of A City
for All, was also against the growing privatization of urban spaces, increases in the cost of
services, worsening criminality, the arbitrariness of a powerful administration (managerial
government and delegations) with wide margins of discretionality and that was governing
via a network of agreements with elements of power and client-patron relationships with
leaders of unions, street sellers, neighbourhood and transport worker associations, and
petitioners for ground, housing and urban services.
In fact, the unexpected arrival of this coalition frustrated the consolidation of a local model
of government with various key features:
To keep this enormous human concentration in a special political regime, where full
power is not handed over to local authorities and federal controls are maintained. For
example, restrictions on its local congress, the Legislative Assembly of the Federal
District, to decide the size of public debt, or the fact that the President of the Republic
appoints the public security chiefs.
To strengthen the centralization of power and government among political and
administrative elites in agreement with social elites. The huge urban sprawl had a triple
support for achieve a certain governability: the concentration of abundant resources to
the detriment of other states and the principle of federal equality; an administration
subject to the all encompassing, centralized and enormous presidencial regime that was
vertical, impune due to the absence of accountability mechanisms and arbitrary in its
decision-making; a network of pacts between the bureaucracy, powerful groups and the
client-patron relationships with organized groups, traditional strong men and urban
leaders. With this solid, authoritarian and expensive construction, the city was
governed: its expansion, its urban concentration, its industrialization, its services and
its extreme poverty.
The privatization of urban spaces, and increasing costs for staying and gaining access to
the city, with the consequent tendency of displacing the poor towards neighbouring
The imposition of the predominant ideology of a scenographic modernization that hides
the pre-existing dominance of patron-client relations between the administration, social
organisations and the general public, through the prestige of a supposedly new
relationship between society and State, the new hegemonic principle that proclaims the
virtues of a slim State and citizens organized for the common good.
According to the Directory of Philanthropic Institutions of the Mexican Centre for
Philanthropy, there were 1419 civil organisations in 1997, of which 53% were registered as
civil associations, 27% as private charities and 2% as civil society. These are inaccurate
data that varied from one source to another, but that do not alter their microsocial
In this small myriad of organisations, the foundations, global organisms like the World
Bank, and well known intellectual and political national sectors, placed their bets on an era
of political and social transformation. A change in the relationship between State and
society. The so-called “Washington Consensus” has made a special effort to press for the
remaking of the State by privatizing, down-sizing and deregulating. Priority concerns with
national sovereignty and social issues, as in the Mexican case, are substituted for a strong
will to promote the market and stimulate integration.
At the same time, there are two phases in which existing society is reinvented with the
concept of “civil society”. Firstly, in the moment that the defensive sovereignties of the
benefactor States, both nationalist and socialist, are dismantled; and that coincides with the
dissection of the big social actors. In this historic juncture dominated by the eighties, “civil
Society” appears as a new actor that through its mobilizations promotes the liberal State,
the market economy and electoral democracy. It is an actor of the transition that was
celebrated and promoted in the so-called “third wave of democratizations”. In the second
phase, of consolidation or democratic normalization that is imposed in the nineties, the
former actor for political transition is converted into a possible “partner” of a slimmed
down State without social responsibility in order to take on humanitarian tasks and promote
social development.
During this last phase, the promotion of a State-society model for “consolidation” or
“democratic normality” by the World Bank, IDB, Synergos and Civicus is note-worthy;
management models for the supply of public goods and the control of demand, in addition
to the characterization of civil society as private institutions that offer public services. From
this nucleus the National Consultations (Brazil, Colombia, Argentina) are born, trying to
place themselves within this “democratic normality”, define its impacts, establish a
regulatory and promotional framework that would make them “partners” of the new state
for the production of public goods.
Mexico stands out in this process since despite initiating a subsitute for the coporatist
concept of “people” in 1983 for a new vision, that of the “society” in constitutional articles
25 and 28 dedicated to planning, and to substitute corporatist pacts with “citizen referenda”,
it is reticent to regulate a specific sector that appears to be associated with external powers,
leading to the freezing during this sexenio of the law for the creation of civil organisms. In
the National Development Plans, however, positive roles begin to be established for this
“civil society”, both for participation in Councils at a ministerial level, in consultations and
in the reconciliation section of the Panning Law.
This hegemonic principle of joint State-civil society has been applied by the National
Action Party in its government of the states and by the official party, the PRI, that is
sensitive to this idea due to its old client-patron relationships with some charitable
Beyond the programatic coincidence, this hegemonic principle has helped to bring about
modification in the political arena. It converges with internal processes where social and
political actors struggle to create a presence for themselves in the country’s political
relationships, increasingly surrounded by a political system monopolized by the parties,
thus openning a peculiar space for dialogue. It is an undefined space, with regulations, that
tries to be occupied by different figures from “civil society”, but also powerful elements
that are prepared to take advantage of any space that is available for applying pressure.
The centre coalition that wins the government of the Federal District with Cuauhtémoc
Cárdenas - where those that join him are the nuclei that have a past linked to the official
party, people that break off from the PAN and a contingente from the centre left that
participate in the Minsitry for Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Urban Development and
Housing, as well as the Ministry for Social Development and a majority of the political
delegations - pushes a politics of change in specific sectors, of coexistence in some areas
with old consolidated powers such as the Union of Workers for the Federal District, with its
PRI roots. With other interest groups where reconciliation is difficult or they are
[negatively] affected by policies for democratic change there is a policy of confrontation.
Various initiatives are deployed for reconstructing the relationship with society, in
particular links with another notion of civil society, one that is wider and more complex,
where private organisms exist to provide services, but also development promotors and
organisms with the capacity to carry out initiatives with political impact; but above all a
wide range of social and political traditions of struggle that seek to democratize the social
and political relationships in the nation. These sectors can be exemplified by the Forum for
Mutual Support (FAM), an elite organism among humanitarian associations, Convergence
of Organisms for Democracy, with development promotors, and Alianza Civica, with
experience in promoting and carrying out political initiatives. On their left wing, these
groups come from a different kind of paradigm for the relationship between State and
society that I will summarize according to the following characteristics:
A geneology tied to the democratic social movements of the sixties, seventies and
eighties, with a perspective of strenthening social democratic figures and promotors of
social and poltical change.
They share various situations of condensation, the forging of values of identity and
instruments for coordination. The following stand out as examples: the Mexico City
earthquake in 1985, the stopping of the war in Chiapas, the National Meeting for Civil
Organisms in 1995, and the Cárdenas electoral campaign of 1997.
As of 1994, various of its sectors became actors in the transition as social movements
capable of pushing democracy beyond poligarchic deals or the party bureaucracies.
They have disequal experience of working with popular social organisations in
promoting as yet embryonic development initiatives. They also have more interest than
capacity for influencing public policies.
The new government establishes three programatic areas for a possible coming together of
avantgard ideas: integral political reform that will consider a citizen participation board,
and the redesign of social policy, in large part urban development and interest in exploring
new models for dialogue with civil organisms. Two main areas are established: the
recuperation of the State’s sense of social responsibility that seeks to reorientate a
neoliberal interventionism based on promotion of the market and new financial and
business elites; and an integral political reform that prepares the way for an effective
transition to democracy that is not only electoral but a reform of the whole political regime
and its relationship with society.
This context of hegemonic struggle between principles of relationship State-society is
fundamental for evaluating the experience of Mexico City. As we will see later on, it is not
about re-editing the closed and authoritarian corporatist legacy of the immediate past, but
about accepting the challenge of globalization, of restructuring the State and the new
composition of society, and to propose social alternatives and integral democracy in
relation to the great ideas of our era: civil liberties, democracy, and globalization.
In practice, democratic governments criticize a series of reductions in the use of the
globalizing paradigm: that the dominant tendency in the future of society will be expressed
through the concept of “civil society” and that civil society, for its part, like a kind of
matrioshka, hides within its bosom a citizen-based participation by individualized citizens
that demand services, and at the end of this game, a handful of organisations of individuals
that provide public services in a private way. What is constructed, then, is a functional
sociological, political and administrative outline for the future (exportable) for commercial
governments, individualized societies and a homogeneous globalization. A happy world
that excludes and destroys the plurality of worlds.
The following have been established as government objectives:
A safe city with a justice system
A democratic and participative city
An inclusive and supportive city
A path of sustainable development
Quality infrustructure, equipment and urban services
A responsible and efficient government
During the first two years of government, three aspects of this insitutionality stand out: a
progressive institutional openness towards participation, the trying out of new forms of
relationship with social sectors and the search for new paradigms with which to exercize
social policy.
a) The progressive openness of bodies to participate in ministries and programmes
“Hard nuclei” of reactionaries against any kind of citizen-based participation still exist
within the new administration. They perceive government to be an exclusive monopoly of
the bureaucracy. This attitude is still alive in key areas of the government, such as the
Ministries of Finance and Public Works. In large part this is due to the rigidity of the
existing administrative regulations, the absence of a general directive for obligatory
performance for the whole local administration, the recruitment of old administrative staff,
and the non-existence of a left-wing proposal for open government.
However, there are also “expansive nuclei”, most notable in the accumulated experience of
the Ministry for Urban Development, which was strongly affected by social movements’
demands for housing and has been very active as a result of the earthquake that destroyed
working class housing areas in 1985, and the experience of participative politicies such as
the ZEDECS (areas of controlled urban development) and urban development plans in
close relationship with social organisms like HABITAT, COPEVI, CENVI, etc. The arrival
of Clara Jusidman and a team of specialists from the Ministry of Social Development
reformulated social policy and opened it out to a collection of participative bodies.
Meanwhile in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the young leader Rosario Robles, with
experience in unions, social movements and electoral promotion with the Sun Bridages of
the PRD, begins to promote citizen-based participation so as to recover public fora and to
encourage relationships with civil organisations.
a) Progressive openning of participation bodies in the Government of the FD
Participation body
Integration of Consultative
Councils in the ministries
Installation of citizen
participation Councils in
Forums and Consultations
Ministry or Programme
Social Development
Public Security
Urban Development
Councils for social
assistance and the
Prevention of Domestic
Women’s Integral Assistance
Management Council for the
FD Cultural Institute
Urban Development
Ministry of Internal Affairs on
political reform and for
Type of Participation
Consultation and
collaboration in creating
general policies
Consultation and
Consultation and
Neighbourhood committees
Agreements for
Collaboration and
Consultancy with civil
Promotion of civil
formulating proposals about
local problems
Ministry for Internal Affairs
Social Development
Urban Development
Public Security
Ministry of Internal Affairs:
Fair for civil organisms
Support for promotion law
Civil organisms council with
the Mayor
Forum for Co-responsibility
Consultation and
Formulation of proposals
Consultation, collaboration
and promotion
b) New relationships between institutions and society: in the areas where the above
mentioned policies have been applied, alongside links with different associative
structures, we can identify five major areas where pluralistic and diversified
relationships in the city are being established, and not with a preconceived “model”:
The relationship with the corporatist and deal-making society
The validity of labour laws and the mediation of union conflicts
Relationship models with civil society
Social policies in search of new paradigms
Decentralization and participation in neighbourhood networks
SOCIETY: in reality, the new government, often with a citizen-based ideology, has to learn
how to deal with a society of strong bodies, experts and a diverse range of social and
political relationships. There is a band of these bodies (unions of the FD government, the
metro, the mafia-style control of waste disposal, the markets, the villages that still exist on
the city’s perimetre) with which it has to learn how to live or establish a kind of peaceful
co-existence. In other bands, however, conflicts break out when there is an intention to
reform the existing client-patron relationship. This has been the case, as an extreme
example, with the street sellers, a natural and recurring refuge for the migrant population
and the urban poor, controlled by pyramidic, authoritarian and corrupt leaderships, but with
a large capacity to negotiate about the urban territory. The attempt to rationalize,
reconciliate the use of ground space, and to break up the mafia-style forms of control,
mostly from the PRI but now also important relationships with new leaders associated with
the PRD, is facing severe resistance. The Programme for the Restructuring of Informal
Business, that establishes the direct access of sellers to public spaces dedicated to that end
in exchange for registration and financial payment, is facing the immediate rejection of the
organisations and has provoked fighting with the police in the historical centre of the city.
Only when they imprison the historical leaders will the gaps open up for trying to modify
relationships that advance slowly.
The other case, on the other social extreme, is based on the private charitable institutions,
the so-called IAPS, old style humanitarian organisms that are linked to the Church but that
have also been supported by business people since the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
These organisms are accustomed to a patron-client and deal-making relationship with the
PRI governments, and diversify the use of charity in order to provide underground support
for politicians and their campaigns, the attainment of group sinecures and the authoritarian
and “caudillesco” mafia-style control of IAPS networks through the Private Charity Board
and Monte de Piedad. The attempt to reorientate their policies towards development,
increasing transparency and the break up of client-patron activity through a new law that
regulates their relationship with the government and its internal workings, is experiencing
massive legal and political resistance financed by the caja mayor, the Monte de Piedad,
which is preparing itself for future changes by reconstructing its alliances with an old
friend, Silva Herzog, now the PRI candidate for city government. Lastly, in this gallery of
survivors, it is worth registering the ever greater corporatist tendency of the so-called MUP,
its new found relationship with segments of the party of the sun, and in particular with an
important band of local deputies where a new hybrid is being forged with a democratic
discourse but no hesitation in delivering groceries and Betty milk to its clients.
arrival of the neo-liberal governments in 1983 to the Federation and the Mexico City
government, conditions surrounding labour, contracts and worker negotiations, began to
experience a drastic deterioration, at the same time as a severe drop in mobilizations in an
until then combative labour sector. In the composition of the new government, the
integration of a subsecretary for Labour that raises the political and administrative rank of
the previous lack-lustre Labour Executive stands out. This brings together old union
militants with wide experience and relationships, and that have begun a tough job to
rehabilitate the conditions of work, monitoring, the legal system and mediation that the
worker movement once had in Mexico City. They are expanding their work to include the
regulation of informal business, the defense of child and female labour, work fairs and the
mediation of conflict. Intervention in three conflicts stand out: Monte de Piedad, the
Iberoamerican University and workers of the ex Ruta 100.
III. RELATIONSHIP MODELS WITH CIVIL SOCIETY: in the context of widening and
diversifying relationships with society, four cases with their own characteristics stand out:
Interface with networks: here we refer to the experience between the government of the
Federal District and Citizen’s Platform, a coalition of civil organisms with various profiles,
including charities, social development, human rights and political dialogue and initiative.
This experience is trying to define a relationship agenda based on political convergence,
from the formulation of public policies to agreements on joint actions to achieve integral
territorial policies.
Between the 24th and 31st of May this year, the Forum for Co-responsibility will take place
under the initiative of the Platform. As part of a long and complicated negotiation process
this could bring together seven central government ministries, 11out of the 16 political
delegations and 37 member organisations of the network. Below I summarize the main
characteristics of this meeting.
Between the current government and the network exist very diverse relationships, common
visions and shared values. In four of the ministries (Internal Affairs, Social Development,
Public Security and Urban Development) management personnel have had experience or
close contact with civil organisations. In fact, this network came together in the heat of
Cárdenas’ political campaign to be Mayor of the city, and his visions filter various
government programmes. But these similarities don’t define, but rather confuse the roles of
the government and the civil organisms. It’s as if both would like to govern. Rightly, the
organisms express concerns and proposals for training officials, and to make programmes
and policies more public and participative. For their part, the officials complain that there is
little disposition from the organisms for collaboration on the ground and with the general
public: “they are more concerned about us than the people”, they say. Nevertheless,
various communication initiatives are being created to formulate public policies (social,
security and partial development plans). In the first co-responsibility forum they have
achieved a convergence “towards the bottom”, towards the grassroots, promoting integral
activities in agreement with social organisations, neighbourhood committees, civil
organisms and delegations.
The government and the Platform have committed to “collaborate in the reconsituting the
social fabric of the city through neighbourhood and citizen-based collaboration, the
promotion of neighbourhood committees and the development of integral territorial projects
in the economic, social and political fields, enphasizing the participation and coresponsibility of the citizenry”. In this way advances are being made in the definition of
priority areas and social policy actions in favour of specific groups, urban regeneration/
restructuring projects, housing programmes, education on political and social rights, the
recovery of local identities, programmes for the strengthening of grassroots economies,
environmental sustainability, integrated community services, the promotion of
accountability, participative budgeting and community analysis, supply programmes,
support for micro industry and work fairs. The purpose is to achieve concurrence between
government and society that can rehabilitate districts in an integral way. The challenge is to
combine sectorial actions by the government and the growing specializations of civil
organisations around territorial objectives and territorial subjects.
Mixture of resources and the search for new paradigms for public impact and social
attention: as in the case of the Novib- government of the Federal District Programme,
where resources from the Novib programme are mixed with the those of the GFD to create
pockets of resources that are offered out to competition among the civil organisations in
specific areas of work. Attempts are being made to promote work styles that reinforce
relationships with social organisations or those that have a high social impact, that
professionalize services and that generate models of work that would be suitable for being
incorporated in public policies.
Since the beginning of the new government, the Dutch agency Novib declared that it was
prepared to target resources at strengthening the work of civil organisations in the Federal
District and to support its linking with government policies and bodies. There are three key
moments in an experience that is already in its second year:
In the first period attempts were made to collaborate so that a new scenario of a democratic
government, civil organisations, social networks for the poorest and new government
bodies, continued to explore experiments in more advanced social work, and looked for a
potential impact for more generalized and public policies, within the framework of a
collaboration based in respect and autonomy.
The second was to resolve the challenge of assigning co-investment resources between the
city government and the Novib Foundation, a Dutch cooperation agency, in the most
careful and rigorous way, based on social and political criteria. Three were defined: to
choose the civil organisations with accumulated experience in order to give them more
potential; integrity and sustainability in the handling of investment and future perspectives
in order to guarantee the fulfillment of objectives; priority in strengthening relationships
with the least protected social sectors, preferibly with a background in their own
organisation. Using these criteria resources were channeled direct to the chosen civil
Finally, to create an event from the annual evaluation that would mobilize, allow
experiences to circulate, and make this process visible to public opinion. On the 7th of
Septembre 1998, seven work boards were carried out in seven different places. Each
committed civil organisation invited other civil organisations, involving both specialists
and ordinary citizens, to give their opinion and to learn from experiences in seven different
issues. They were known as Social Days, Mirror of the City.
It is worth outlining some of the features of this process: a) the Network for Women’s
Health in the FD gave a presentation on their experiences in modifying official regulations
for the carrying out of the Papanicolau analysis for the detection of cervical-uterine cancer.
Through a specialist analysis they demonstrated the need to reduce the time periods
between tests and widen the coverage by reducing the age at risk. They achieved this
change through lobbying the media, congress, and wide political alliances. b) in the
allocation of resources, however, they detected that the majority of the interested civil
organisations had weak relations with social organisations, neighbourhood problems and
local politics. c) There were weak links with delegation level bodies that saw the
experience as an issue for central government. The programme participants and issues are
shown in the following diagram.
Organización Civil
Youth and Culture
Flying Circle
People’s Team, Popular Movement for Development
People and Southern Districts and the Santo
Domingo Districts’ Union
Indigenous People in Mexico City
Centre for Attention to Migrant Indigenous
Community Infant Centres
Health and Women
Health Network for Women
Participative Urban Planning
Centre for Housing and Urban Studies
Street children
Agreements between the Mayor and Personalities: this is the experience of the Civil
Organisations Work Group made up of 20 personalities from the civil organisations sector
in direct relationship with the Mayor. The purpose of this group is: a) to design a policy of
collaboration between the government and the civil organisations; b) to propose legal
frameworks and method of operation for government policies in order to facilitate and
promote the work of civil organisations; c) to monitor the policies that are open to
participation and to encourage the complementarity of activities.
Political initiatives: in the relationships that have been established between the
Coordination for the Promotion of Civil Society and the most politicized civil organisations
(Civic Alliance, Convergence, Citizens’ Movement for Democracy, etc.) an attempt is
being made to influence various situations where the deals between parties and political
elites appear insufficient for bringing about political changes. In 1998, with political reform
already finished in terms of party and parliamentary agreement, the civil organisations turn
to the Forum for Political Reform to insist in a radical and integral reform that would
municipalize and deliver sovereign status to the Federal District. The issue is raised again
in the middle of 1999 with a citizens’ referendum that proposes appealing to the Federal
Congress for a full hand over of power and municipalization for the F.D.. At the end of
1999 there is another initiative, this time by Citizen Power, which calls together national
and regional organisations to define a political agenda for civil organisations in the run up
to the electoral year of 2000, and requesting a platform based on rights, democracy and
national integration.
Decentralization and participation in neighbourhood networks: the best chance for
modifying relations between the government and society is based, in large part, on the
possibility of creating another kind of government architecture and neighbourhood
representation. It is not a question of administering the bureaucratic and client-patron
pyramid “better or worse”, but rather to open the way for local governments with power,
albeit controlled by municipal councils, neighbourhood committees and instruments for
citizen-based participation.
On the 10th of June 1995, the first citizen participation law was created in the context of the
days of reform with which the current Zedillo Administration began. In the first two years
the president promised state reform, a definitive electoral law and political reform in
Mexico City. Three years later, the PRD (party of the centre-left) majority in the
legislature, combined with the new Mayor’s promise to push for integral political reform,
have brought about a new law for citizen participation, which is now being considered a
high priority. An initial comparison between the two laws shows us the following:
1995 law: citizen councils
1998 law: neighbourhood
Paid for by budgetary
No payment necessary
Board with president,
vicepresidente, secretaries
and members.
Colegiate organism with a
coordinador without right to
veto and members that vary
between 7 y 15 according to
Working groups on public
the number voters registered
security, civil protection and in the electoral register that
use of urban spaces,
correspond with the territorial
education, recreation and
area (art. 87) and that are
sportl, clean and drinkable
organized in work
water, urban equipment,
commissions according to
managment and complaints. the specific problem.
Through a pyramidic
Work commission
structure that begins with the assemblies with neighbours
city block leaders and
of the territorial unit and he
continued with the district
committee to carry out
analyses, propose priorities,
invite collaboration and
inform about government
activities that affect them.
Meetings with the delegate
“To be a link between the
RELATIÓNSHIP WITH THE to consult on or approve
inhabitants and the politicalAUTHORITIES
programmes, follow up and
administrative organisms of
the territorial demarcations”.
art. 98, fraction. VIII
Annual operational
Once the analysis is carried
programmes (POAS) subject out, they can propose that it
to opinion and if it is the
is considered for the POAS.
case, aprobation.
Revision and execution of
Represent neighbours,
the POAS
organize complaints and
carry out follow up, organize
collaboration, promote
citizen education, determine
territorial priorities.
There are three substantial differences between the laws:
The citizen councils were a very interesting hybrid: they opened the neighbourhood
pyramid and their contacts with the delegates to the competency of the political parties,
that nominally could not participate. The official party, the PRI, recruited from these
block and district representations, that were also a incubator and training ground for
federal deputies. With the underground competition of the parties, these pyramids
became relatively pluralistic and axes for dialogue between the capital’s population and
a centralized city management apparatus. This was a participation structure based on
elite groups within the context of a centralized administration that “released”
operational resources to its diluted organisms, the delegations, that agreed to
participation in the budget.
The 1998 law is an experiment with another kind of design, outside this culture and its
pyramidic framework, that priveleges the representation of territorial units with
common fabrics, problems and identities. To that end it proposes to create a
neighbourhood committee for each unit, such as the districts, neighbourhoods, villages
and residential units. There are 1270 territorial units in the catalogue of the recently
formed State Electoral Institute. They are organisational structures orientated towards
their territorial units and not just interface with the authorities. Hence the emphasis on
its powers to create work commissions that analyse, organize complaints and promote
participation and collaboration. It is a design that is open to the different associative
models that already existed in the districts, neighbourhoods, villages and residential
units. They are both recognized and invited to participate.
The great gap, however, lies in their participation in the budget and the potential for
direct interface with the delegational authorities which have only just been outlined.
This gap exists in large part due to the fact that the neighbourhood committees are a
strategic piece in an as yet incomplete puzzle. In fact, two key parts of the integral
political reform for the city have not yet been completed due to the “control”
represented by the power of the Federal Congress to approve its Government Statutes
(the local constitution) and the amount of public debt that it can incurr. One of the
reforms is to give full authority to the local Executive and Congress in terms of the
budget. The other is the decentralization of power and the creation of municipalities
with elected municipalities and budgetary participation bodies, like the
COPLADEMUN, at the decentralized level of government represented by the current
delegations. This outline, however, as agreed by four local parties (PRD, PAN, PT,
PVEM) was rejected by the majority party in the Federal Congress, the PRI.
On the 4th of July 1998, the new neighbourhood committees were put to the test in
neighbourhood elections called by the new FD Electoral Institute. With deficits in the
budget, administration and operational experience, work began in January of the same year
to crystallize three institutions that had been born out of the as yet incompete integral
political reform: the above mentioned institute and the Electoral Tribunal, both of which
originate from the city’s first electoral code as approved by all the parties represented in the
Legislative Assembly of the FD, and the preparation of the neighbourhood elections.
The electoral figures for the 4th of July show a low voter turn-out, an incapacity in terms of
communication by the institution compared with the Zapatista mobilization in Marcho the
same year using informal media. This experience shows the serious level of demobilization
that exists in the city, the insufficiencies in communication, and the narrow margen of
collaboration that exists between the government, the parties and the media to promote the
initiative as a public issue. In the end, however, the committees were installed and started to
work as of August of that year.
6 million O33 thousand
572 thousand 432
10 319, out of 10 733 considered
3 MIL 791 que involucraron a 40 mil
1 252
Source: State Electoral Institute for the F.D.
PLEBISCITE, 21st of March 1993
331 thousand
816 thousand 470
12th of Novembre 1995
I million 300 thousand
August 1995
1 million 988 thousand 650
3 million
INDÍGENOUS RIGHTS 21st of march 1999
Fuente: La Jornada, July 3rd 1999, p. 48.
At the end of 1999, this is the numerical profile of the neighbourhood committees:
There are currently 1301 neighbourhood committees set up in the F.D., of which 1033
maintain some kind of relationship with the delegations through coordinated activities.
The delegations carried out investiture ceremonies for 872 committees with the
presence of the delegate, with a participation of 8410 people.
Among the actions that the delegations have implemented with the neighbourhood
committees, the ones indicated in article 109 of the citizen participation law are worth
To train the members of the neighbourhood committees according to the legal
regulations applicable in the F.D..
To implement information, training and education activities to promote civil
To respond in writing to information requests made by the neighbourhood committees.
There is, however, still a long way to go. These embryonic horizontal representational
bodies face a series of difficulties that could be summarized by the following:
The neighbourhood committees do not fulfill the responsibilities and obligations
indicated in the Civil Participation Law in relation to the work in their area of activity.
Upon developing their function to managing civil complaints, the committees
approached showed little interest in planning their complaints and operate more like
managers of specific requests.
The majority of the committees are ignorant about the Civil Participation Law, thus
affecting their performance in carrying out their tasks.
The committees lack a wide vision of the territorial demarcation, and as a consequence
of this the F.D..
The committees participate very little within their districts.
Some committees show signs of poor integration and internal coordination due to a lack
of agreement as a result of their political composition.
Subsistence of the previous neighbourhood organisational culture (citizen councillors,
district presidents, residential unit leaders).
It is a reality that attempts at change are subject to inertia, but within a framework of trying
to reinforce these lines of work with new oultines. It is within this very attempt at moving
towards strong local government that the city’s democratic government has encouraged,
within the framework of the law, the decentralization of responsibilities and authority to the
current delegations. They have been strengthened in 11 areas through reform of the
Organic Public Administration Law for the Federal District, which came into effect on the
first of April this year, including ground use, women’s participation, public security,
cleaning, roads and transport, parking, street lights, drinking water and sewage,
environment and civil protection.
Globalization and the adaptations of internal policies since 1983 cancelled a path for the
institutionalization of social rights and opened another route for the conversion of social
policy into compensatory charitable structures. Together with budgetary restrictions, the
privatization of pensions and social security, the recurring crises that cut jobs and family
patrimonies, brought about an increase in poverty and the relative empoverishment of the
middle classes. In this context, the social policy proposal of the new government has
interesting characteristics:
The proposal is to re-establish the social responsibility of the State via: a) the coordination
of actions to generate jobs, build housing and carry out social equity activities. Social
policy is not isolated, but part of a network of productive and socially orientated initiatives;
b) the launching of an Integrated Community Services system (SECOI) within a framework
of promoting social rights.
Six methods of cooperating with society are being established: 1) interface with organized
civil society groups, especially civil organisations, with a view to incorporating their
proposals into social policy, something that is already being put into practice in the
elaboration of the Social Policy Framework Document; 2) funding support for social
initiatives; 3) collaboration agreements with civil social organisms for specific projects; 4)
promotion of social monitoring; 5) liaison between donors and those seeking support; and
6) citizen incorporation into government activities.
To areas of cooperation stand out: the integration of social development councils that are
disintegrating on various issues: domestic violence; handicapped people; sport; culture; and
social development, made up of presidents, coordinators and government technical
sectretaries, and representatives of civil organisations, academics, business people and
social communicators. Their different tasks have brought about two legal initiatives on
Private Charity and Charity and Social Integration, proposals for financing campaigns for
specific programmes aimed at business people and appointed foundations like “Adopt a
Social Space”, and the collaboration of university bodies from the city (UNAM, UAM,
IPN) to carry out brigades that offer health services and preventive information campaigns
in poor areas through the Integrated System of Community Services. Within the framework
of programmes for specific sectors of the population, working groups or boards have been
installed where government dependencies concurr with civil and social organisations over
experiences and policies.
A particular effort has been made to recover information, policies and instruments to fight a
problem that the Federation and previous governments tried to hide under the cover of a
supposedly first world city: extreme poverty. Of the 72.7 million poor people in the
country, 5.8 are in the Federal District. Similarly, of the 22.5 million that live in extreme
poverty, 2.1 live in the Federal District. In other words, the F.D. has 8% of the country’s
poor people and 8% of those living in extreme poverty. Urban poverty is distinctive for its
symptoms of domestic violence, the abandonment of the elderly and children,
unemployment, deterioration of the environment, family disintegration, high indicators for
the consumption of illegal substances, deterioration in salary levels and working conditions,
lack of social mobility through education, and falling levels of purchasing power.
These are the areas in which the democratic government has placed emphasis. The social
policy of the Federal District government proposes to advance in the construction of a basic
safety net of cover for the population in terms of health, education, nutrition and social
It has therefore centred its policy in widening the access opportunities for public goods and
services, and that this supply of public goods and services responds to the diverse and
complex needs and interests of the city’s inhabitants, giving priority to those who live in
marginalized areas and groups that are experiencing situations of inequity and or
There are policies and programmes for nutrition and recreation, the promtion of equity and
equality in priority social groups, including women, young people, children, indigenous
people, the elderly and people with handicaps. There are also policies and programmes for
assistance and prevention work for high risk groups such as street children, victims of
domestic violence, addicts, sex workers and the homeless.
There are working groups for each of these priority sectors incorporating both government
bodies that are responsible for these groups and develop activities for their benefit, and
social and civil organisations that have relationships with them. The purpose of the social
participation mechanisms is to promote the design of shared and co-responsible public
policies, as well as the revision of procedures and techniques in the delivery of social
services. They also help to monitor the programmes when they are put into action.
Work is also carried out in close collaboration with the 16 delegations, promoting the
creation of various citizen participation bodies, such as the delegation councils for the
prevention and provision of assistance in domestic violence, the interinstitutional boards for
the promotion of the Integrated Community Services System and the delegation boards that
provide support to addicts.
This kind of social policy is located in the search for new paradigms that are distant from
both the tradition of centralist corporatism and the new authoritarian privatising tendency.
The following is a summary of its differentiating features as presented by the appropriate
Centralized and
1983 TO DATE
Compensatory charitable
centralized and
State monitoring
Social monitoring
Welfare State
Universal through salaried focused on extreme
poverty and high
vulnerability groups
Freedom of choice.
protection of individual
Integration / unequal
participative and democratic
universal diversified with
civil co-responsibility
equitable with recognition
for diversity
Social integration
Source: social policy of the Federal District Government. Framework Document.
Decembre, 1998.
We have noted a number of things in our study of the body that is trying to install a new
institutionality in conditions that were previously dominated by corruption and clientpatron relationships: its progressive, unequal platform; on accasions with little visibility for
the general public, but that at least is directed towards a greater level of participation. In a
certain sense it is a foundation building experience.
Perhaps one of the most decisive challenges for creating an alternative to the paradoxes of
transition lie within its internal processes, and correspond to the breaking up of ties and
values that big social actors used with effective capacity for influencing powerful decisionmaking processes, in an atmosphere of solidarity values and public ethics that became
fragmented and diluted, thus affecting the social and political cultures of a pluralistic
To explore the nature of these differences and fractures I will make reference to one of the
most remarkable experiences that I have come across since it comes from a civil association
with a distinctly working class character, and without a great presence of cultured middle
class people: the case of the Citizen’s Parliament.
The Citizen’s Parliament is a social organisation comprised of neighbourhood leaders from
eight delegations. (Tlalpan, Iztpalapa, Xochimilco, Alvaro Obregón, Magdalena Contreras,
Istacalco, Tláhuac, Coyoacán and Cuajimalpa). These are the most rural delegations in the
city and have deficient infrastructure and urban services, as well as having low income
In contrast to other cases where there is more homogeneity in the presence of cultured elites
and middle class people, Citizen’s Parliament is made up of neighbourhood leaders, some
of them members of the previous Citizen Councils and former union leaders now involved
in community work. They do, however, have relations with a civil organisation called
Citizen’s Cause, although they identify very little with its language, ideas and ways of
working. Two aspects of their experience stand out: the nature of their demands and the
way in which they achieve dialogue.
In its vision, the government of the F.D. ought to come up with three or four basic lines
of work that would bring about tangible benefits for the low income population. After
various sessions they managed to define three big demands that they share with their
neighbours, which they communicated to the Mayor by letter on the 12th of August
1998, since a direct interview was not possible. These problems were: 1) supply and
payment of drinking water; 2) the need to find a solution to the problems associated
with public transport, both metro and trollybuses, that at that time cost $1.00 peso but
with talk of putting the fares up; 3) the need to find solutions to the problem of basic
supplies with proposed mechanisms for acquiring basic groceries and creating
distribution centres in the poorest areas. Even though they were not asking for too
much, they found little support in other civil organisations for tackling these basic
issues that can have such a big impact on the poorest sectors of the population.
At the beginning they tried organising marches to the Mayor’s offices, which are
situated in Mexico City’s Town Hall building, the idea being to gain an interview with
the Mayor by applying this traditional popular negotiating technique. At the offices they
obtain an appointment with the Minister for Internal Affairs who opens negotiation with
the Minister for Public Works and Services, thus initiating a series of talks under the
protective shadow of the Minister for Internal Affairs, but at each step dropping down
the hierarchy without reaching an agreement. Since they were dealing with a
sympathetic government the Parliament decided not to organise any more public
demonstrations or serious forms of pressure. They then decide to combine the support
of the Minister for Internal Affairs with lobbying in the F.D. Legislative Assembly.
Thanks to this they achieve their first deals in relation to the water problem.
I would like to emphasise three features from this experience: 1) the difficult
relationships between civil organisms and more grassroots organisations due to
differences in social status, values and needs. We are not talking about splits, since
there is a common background of shared visions on justice and equity, and traditions of
mobilisations and joint coalitions, where the civil organisations dedicated to housing,
local development and urban planning, and that have links with social organisations
stand out; but rather differences in priorities, methods and facilities for dialogue. In this
case the grassroots actor and its agenda found little echo from the civil organisations; 2)
the visible difficulty in finding terms for negotiation, pressure and even confrontation
with a sympathetic government, where the risk is to leave a kind of social vacuum in
relation to government decisions and actions; 3) in contrast to the case of the Women’s
Health Network in F.D., the experience of making alliances to give visibility to the
demands, the diversity in forms of applying pressure, the use of parliamentary lobbying,
are not expressed in this case. As far as the very diverse grassroots actors are
concerned, the struggle for their demands is still immersed in an authoritarian and
client-patron culture, where it is more important to have a loyalty link with the
authorities as, on occasions, the only way of getting access to public goods. The new
space represented by a centre-left government, the greater weight of the Legislative
Assembly, the plurality of the parties represented there and in the public life of the city
will not necessarily stimulate the transformation of social actors marked by lack of
information, mistrust towards impersonal media (laws, procedures, rights) and the
aggressive clientalistic behaviour of political actors. For various grassroots groups, the
authorities and the management of issues continues to be an inctricate labyrinth where
one can only be guided by a coyote [intermediary], remain at the mercy of an
anonymous bureaucratic minotaur or even lose oneself completely.
The new insitutionality and social and political actors require a cultural transformation that
would teach them how to manage demands, open clear opportunities for dialogue and
lobbying with public rules that would gain public confidence, and where the personal or
patron-client relationship is not so necessary. This is not about “educating in (self
reliance?)” in relation to demands, the neoliberal notion of democratic governability, nor
the old echo of “suppressing the class struggle” so costly for bureaucracies of all types, but
rather that social pressure have impact on new institutional spaces, relying on a growing
arsenal of mobilisation tactics, of creating pressure, negotiating, lobbying. The central
challenge for civil organisations is to bring about this transformation through experience.
From the beginning of this report, we have indicated the criteria for evaluating the
performance of a centre-left government and sympathetic civil organisations: their capacity
to advance on a variant of the global transition that the country has been living since 1983.
There are four relevant issues in this sense:
The possibility of supporting the “expansive nuclei” of the administration in order to
strengthen an institutionality committed to recovering the social responsibility of the
State, the full conquest of political rights and civil participation as an encouraging
environment for the construction of an integral, unsegmented citizenry. In terms of
programmes, design and political orientation, the civil organisation sector is making
essential contributions. But at the same time it is still not a homogeneous government
policy capable of including key ministries such as Finance or Public Works and
Services. In this sense it is a great lake for centre-left currents: the absence of a true
proposal for a global, non-sectorial, open administration.
The possibility of installing representative institutionality (neighbourhood committees)
and integral policies in local government bodies with a view to reconstructing local
identities, social fabrics torn apart by the crisis and the promotion of a privatised
culture, the reconstruction of local and territorial actors. The great risk of this
institutionality is that it has not awoken civil expectations and remains in a climate of
demobilisation that helps partisan minorities or local power groups to appropriate it.
The civil organisations have remained distant, badly informed and share the lack of
An institutionality with a growing range of options for civil participation but that still
does not conclude its network of bodies and faculties for greater social control over
decision-making. This integrated political reform, that is in reality inconclusive, has two
big outstanding issues: one, full powers and the installation of a local congress with
growing authority for monitoring and control over local executive actions; two, the
denial of municipal structures, particularly elected town halls and the COPLADEMUN
to the capital’s citizens. Even when consensus or majority agreements among the five
parties with a presence in the F.D. Legislative Assembly exist, the Federal Congress has
expressed no opinion. The other is a design issue, where civil participation is only
considered consultative without institutional involvement for influencing strategic
The great risk with this variant of transition is that it produces its own cruel paradox: to
convert itself into a government thanks to mobilisation and social pressure, only to govern
later from the calm of a social pressure and mobilisation vacuum. Without this pressure the
autonomy of administrative groups and political factions increases. The impact and
coverage of policies remains in the power of the administrators and the visibility of
demands and dialogue becomes an issue of personal and clientelistic relations.
A) With this variant of transition, is it possible to re-establish insitutional and social
powers in such a way that greater internal control of decisions is obtained in order to
direct them towards the construction of an integral citizenry?
B) What happens with this decisive sector of the civil organisations, often determined in
their actions by the agendas of international foundations more interested in accentuating
a globalisation where the nation states lose their capacity to centre themselves, or in
other words, due to issues of power (Church and business) or political actors (displaced
political classes, or interest in annexing oneself to an attractive representative figure
like the civil organisations) more orientated towards the political pressure of the
moment and without much interest in collaborating in the diversity of issues of an
integral citizenry, and above all without vision or commitment for remaking the
faculties of the new social actors in order to influence political decisions? Are they
efforts like those of Platform, Novib and the Parliament, with their respective
limitations, that create the space for a reconsideration of the agendas of civil and social
organisations, a renovated search for paradigms where issues such as territoriality,
integral policies, the construction of a citizenry, the growing convergence between
grassroots and civil organisations, the promotion of specific issues directed at impacting
on laws, regulations and public policies?
C) Can the creation of a quality programme continue that is capable of informing and
orientating government policy while increasing the level of coincidence between the
agendas of grassroots and civil organisations?
D) Will the opportunities and initiatives exist for the expansion of a culture of pressurenegotiation-lobbying where grassroots and civil actors exchange ideas, learn, and
contribute to rehabilitating the efficacy of social actors for influencing politics?
1. Recent political changes in the government of the Federal District and the social
processes of mobilisation and civil participation have an evolving bibliography where
the changes that have taken place during the eighties and nineties are being recovered.
The following are worth noting:
Alvarez, Lucia: Federal District: society, economy, culture and politics, UNAM, 1998,
Mexico, 378 p.
Alvarez, Lucia: Participation and democracy in Mexico City, La Jornada Editions and the
Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Sciences and Humanities/ UNAM, 1997, Mexico,
236 p.
Ziccardi, Alicia: Governability and civil participation in the capital city, Editorial Porrúa.
ISSUNAM, 1998, Mexico, 237 p.
There are two testimonial books of witnesses/ actors of the changes that took place between
1994 and 1996: one, by Carlos Martínez Assad, who played an important role in the first
ever election of the so-called citizen councillors, and the other by José Paoli Bolio, at that
time local deputy, who was also present in those events.
Martínez Assad Carlos: What destiny for the Federal District?: citizens, parties and
government for the control of the city, Editorial Océano of Mexico, 1996, Mexico, 246 p.
Paoli Bolio Francisco José: Memorial of the future, Editorial Océano of Mexico, 1996,
Mexico, 220 p.
2. A City for All, Proposal Document by the Government of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas
Solorzano, 1997.
3. I refer to article 122 of the Constitution that restricts the powers of the Federal District
Government and article 26 of the Constitution that establishes the power of the Senate
of the Republic to remove the Mayor. Emilio O. Rabasa, Mexican: this is your
Constitution, updated text 1997, Mexico, Porrúa, 1997, in particular the commentary
on art. 122, pp.342-359.
4. Ziccardi, Alicia: op.cit. Capítulo II The Form of Government of the Federal District, pp.
5. Directory of philanthropic organisations, CEMEFI, 1997.
6. The World Bank currently emphasises the need for two “balance columns” in their
policies: the macroeconomic adjustment and attention to social inequalities. Wolfherson
James D.: “Integral Development Proposal”. Document for directors and executives of
the President of the World Bank Group. In its internal document “The Other Crisis”, it
says “We should take account of social problems. We have to do all this. Because if we
don’t have the capacity to face social emergencies, if we don’t have more long term
plans for establishing solid institutions, if we don’t achieve greater equity and social
justice, there will not be political stability. And without political stability, they will not
be financial stability, no matter how much resources we accumulate for economic
7. “Criteria for the formulation of a governmental policy towards civil society
organisations”. Research document carried out by the Mexico City Government in
collaboration with the Mexican Centre for Philanthropy. The contribution by Ricardo
Govela, of the Philos Consultancy, says; “During the last 20 years social participation
in the provision of development and welfare services has experienced important growth.
In developed countries this increase has even modified the relations between
governments and society”.
8. Rafael Reygadas Robles Gil: Opening paths: public and social initiatives of the civil
organisation networks, Editorial Convergence of Civil Organisations for Democracy,
Mexico, 1998, 620 p. It is an exceptional text by an actor that reconstructs the
geneology of these processes from within.
9. General Development Programme for the Federal District 1998-2000, Government of
the Federal District, 1998.
10. Document from the First Forum of Co-responsibility, May – June 1999, Mexico City.
11. Mirror of the City: Social days of Mexico City, Social Coinvestment Progrmme, Novib
– Mexico City Government, Editorial Federal District Government, 1999, Mexico, 380
12. As a part of this work the investigation already mentioned “Criteria for the formulation
of a governmental policy towards civil society organisations” was carried out.
13. In this interesting book they analyse the other experience where the surviving villages
of the south and west of the city take advantage of the civil councillor elections of 1995
to recover local powers taken away by the Department of the Federal District.
Robinson, Scott S: Tradition and Opportunism: the civil councillor elections in the
villages of the District, Saturday Collection Federal District, 1998, Mexico, 333p.
14. These different concepts (centralisation against decentralisation) were debated in the
dialogue board on the Civil Participation Law where the five registered parties of the
Federal District were represented.
15. Internal document of the Civil Participation Coordination, Minstry of Internal Affairs of
the Federal District Government.
16. Social policy of the Federal District Government, Framework Document, Decembre,
1998, Ministry of Education, Health and Social Development of the Federal District
17. Source: calculations of the Ministry of Social Development with data from the 1996
National Survey of Domestic Income and Expenditure, INEGI. For its part, the Ministry
of Finance, in the Federal District Income Law 2000, manages a figure of 1.5 to 3.4
million inhabitants, based on the poverty measurement of 2 to 2.5 minimum salaries or
that they maintain a purchasing power from 1990. However, Julio Boltvinik uses the
figure of 2.8 million people in extreme poverty in the Federal District.
18. Internal document by Citizen Parliament, mecanoescrito.
19. Arato and Cohen: “Civil society and social theory”, in Civil Society: from theory to
reality, Olvera, Alberto, Coordinator, The College of Mexico, 1999, Mexico, 362 p.
Arato and Cohen underline the cultural character of change that can bring about an
expansion in citizenry.” (...) we conceive the “victory” of the movements, not as the
complete achievement of their most important goals or their self-perpetuation as
movements, but, rather, as the democratisation of their values, rules, institutions and
social identities finally rooted in a culture” p. 105.
20. Mouffe, Chantal: The Return of the Political: community, citizenry, pluralism, radical
democracy, paidos, state and society, Ediciones Paidos Ibérica, S.A. Barcelona, 1999.
207. I share his sense of the integrality of the citizenry” (the citizenry) ... It is correct to
view it as an exercise in democracy in social relations that are always individual and
specific, requiring a real participation in the social practices that weave the latticework
for both the State and civil society” p. 21.