Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Gongo: A democratic oxymoron

Okay. During the next few lines, I'm gonna spread a lot of nice words around. But with a higher purpose, I suppose.

Starting off with Gongo. It rolls nicely off the tongue, doesn't it? It is an abbreviation (or actually more correctly an acronym) meaning "Government-sponsored Non Governmental Organisation". This is a phenomenon I have written on before, just set in the commercial world, where organisations set up by companies are called "Astroturf" (another nice word and a type of fake grass, including roots).

Gongos are the typical fare of autocratic regimes like the Russian, Chinese and the Central Asian republics, but we also have examples from democracies, such as the National Endowment for Democracy in the US.

I wonder if we could come up with any European Gongos?

Gongos are a democratic oxymorons. That is, a contradiction in terms on behalf of democracy. NGOs were set up to level the playing-field of power, but when un-democratic regimes set up gongos, they kick the ball way back for everyone involved.



Anonymous nielsmlp said...


I assume that the term Gongo is one used by critics - as is the case with astroturfing.

Or is it a term used by the gongos or governments themselves? Do you know? An interesting case of newspeak that would be...

12/6/07 12:05

Blogger Nis said...

Heh! I'm not quite sure! But I think a Gongo would like to lay low - and not appear to be one...

6/7/07 12:00


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