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Presentation on theme: "CITIZENS FOR DIRECT DEMOCRACY DEMOEX A FAILURE OR SUCCESS ? – 2006 - 2010 v15082011."— Presentation transcript:


2 Demoex started in 2002  Demoex is known as the world’s first Direct Democratic Internet party. Since 2002, Demoex has held a seat in the local parliament. It has arranged over 800 votes on political issues and passed on 44 citizen’s petitions to the municipality council. DEMOEX has no party program

3  How does it work ? WE IMPLEMENT Citizen’s initiative Referendum Fluid Representation ON PARTY and REPRESENTATIVE level Through our own INTERNET voting booth

4 Initiative and Referendum (government level )  Apart from Switzerland and Liechtenstein half of the states of the US have I&R

5 Initiative and referendum (government level )  An initiative is a proposal of a new law or constitutional amendment that is placed on the ballot by petition, that is, by collecting signatures of a certain number of citizens.  A referendum (sometimes "popular referendum") is a proposal to repeal a law that was previously enacted by the legislature, and that is placed on the ballot by citizen petition

6 Take the power! It is yours Liquid Democracy Aktiv Demokrati (Sweden)

7 Working together ?  Demoex has tried, but failed, to create a platform for joint public political debate on the web. The elected representatives from the traditional parties have refused to participate in this democratic experiment. Instead they have marginalized Demoex throughout the years.

8 FORCED TO COMPETE  Demoex didn’t work as intended because the other parties refused to cooperate. The political system forced us to compete.  The only way to push the experiment through seem to be to win more influence.

9 Hierarchical structures in the political system  Hierarchical structures in the political system will cause the world approaching a disaster. Politicians seem more intent on preserving their positions than to pursue a constructive policy.  The fear of losing voters seems to be greater than the willingness to make reasonable decisions. The party system oppresses dissidents and forms artificial oppositions.

10 DELEGATED VOTING FAILED  The political parties in Vallentuna’s Local Parliament refused to cooperate with Demoex. Then it became impossible to carry through the experiment as intended.  Delegated Voting or Liquid Democracy is a flexible form of democracy in between direct and representative.

11 THE RIGHT TO VOTE  The right to vote is the very heart of Democracy and the public debate is the brain of it  But to host the public policy debate was harder.  We believed that the politicians would see the opportunity to win glory and respect in the debates. In retrospect, we must admit that it was naïve of us to believe that other parties would like to participate in the experiment.

12 HOW POLITICS WORKS  We failed because we did not understand how politics works. Now we know. Parties in the Local Parliament (except Demoex) strive to push through as much of their partisan agenda as possible. This leads to a minimal winning coalition, a smallest possible coalition of parties to push through their agendas. The leading parties are simply not interested in representing the public majority. They are interested in exercising and maintaining the power.Demoex

13 REPRESSION, PANIC and EUPHORIA  how new communication technologies have been received by Society: - The political potential was repressed - The technological change was dramatized  new forms of communication always have the potential to seriously affect the fundamental power relations. Repression of the political potential means that rules and manners change to preserve the old system.

14 REPRESSION, PANIC and EUPHORIA  The technological change is also dramatized. New technology appears either as plunging the society straight down into the pit, or as a saviour solving all the problems. Descriptions are either black or white – all nuances are absent. Railroad threatened to tear the soul in pieces or it would link the world together. Radio could either seduce teenagers with it’s nasty music or educate the common people. Television was either a Boob Tube or a University at home. Internet is the world’s largest library, or a gathering place for shady terrorists, crooks and paedophiles.

15 REPRESSION  Since Demoex is a product of new communication technology, we have experienced both of these phenomena. The radical potential was repressed by the other parties. They refused to participate so that the experiment could not be implemented as intended. The potential was also repressed by imposing silence, both in the City Council, the public debate and in the high school where it started.Demoex

16 FREE DEBATE  Without free debate, the information society would hardly exist. For a debate to be called free some fundamental rules are necessary - such as openness, freedom of opinioninformation society and freedom of expression. A free debate calls for independent media.independent media  balanced debate requires different points of view. Openness and public lighting is necessary to make sure that the arguments are properly illuminated.

17 KILLING A PUBLIC DEBATE  Demoex replied in the local newspaper that we did not want to replace the representative democracy. On the contrary, we want to give politicians greater audience and democratic legitimacy. We told that our idea is an open political debate at the internet where the public can participate. The best politicians will then become highly respected by virtue of their expertise and convincing argumentation, we wrote. IT FAILED

18 HYPE  The change was also dramatized. Demoex became a hype. Newspapers wrote a lot when the experiment was new, which created expectations impossible to live up to. When the new technology falls into the everyday life we find that Demoex has not been the core of the local political life as intended. On the other hand, the experiment did not become a den of racists and populists as the politicians feared. The threats and promises were exaggerated, both panic and euphoria are unfounded. hype

19 THE TRAP  When two or more issues merge into one, the number of possible answers reduces.  This semantic trap is a trick often seen in politics. “Do you want to stay alive and give me all your money?” If you are forced to answer yes or no, then you will make at least one bad decision.  Therefore we demanded that all the issues would be dealt with separately. ( Double-Barrelled question trap )

20 OFFICIALESE  Officialese is often used to conceal or deceive readers. An inconvenient increase or decrease is called an “adjustment amount”. Statistic is misused, arguments are distorted, references to Authorities are used to legitimise decisions and important information is being withheld. This is crucial and calls for a language reform.  Democracy presupposes that we understand the political language.

21 INFORMATION OVERLOAD  One way to avoid debate in the City Council is to gather a lot of important issues to a single meeting. Then the summons come with several hundred pages of appendices that none of the opponents have time to read. Information overload is a result of centralized government. The leading politicians plan the democratic workflow. They could spread information over time. IF THEY WANTED TO

22 INFORMATION OVERLOAD  The Master Plan 2010-2030 is a single file, with the size of a book. Together with the EIS, the appendix alone in this particular issue measures over 130 pages. We will consider how Vallentuna will develop over the next 20 years – with roads, water, forests, transportation, housing – everything. Now, along with this issue come another eleven issues in May. We have more than 500 pages to read and discuss when spring is in its bloom and500 pages to read the will to debate is zero.

23 POWERLESS  In 2002, Demoex took a seat in the City Council in Vallentuna. It is the only popularly elected assembly in the municipality. It is envisaged that all major decisions will be taken there. The elected assembly is quite powerless. With a few exceptions the decisions are predetermined from the board.

24 POWERLESS  All issues are prepared by the Executive Council Board where only the leading politicians have a seat. They recommend the City Council to say Yes or No, and the representatives who dare to oppose them will not stay long in the party. The City Council is a formality that the leading politicians want to finish as quickly as possible. They have already decided.

25 WEAKNESS OF OUR MODEL  The weakness of our democracy model: Visitors must feel that they get something out of Demoex, such as easy access to relevant information. It requires a political debate worthy of the name. The naive idea that local politicians would participate in the experiment and maintain the quality of the debates failed. Bad for us, because the information is crucial both for the usability and for the decisions.

26 PARTICIPATION  Citizens in Vallentuna have not shown much interest. Only between 5-15 persons used to decide how Demoex would vote. (At most 41 persons.) The basic idea fails if people choose not to participate.  One reason for the low voter participation might be that Demoex enters the process too late to affect the policy. Democracy does not work as intended. Issues are decided in advance, before they come to the City Council.

27 OPPORTUNITY to PARTICIPATE  one might ask what is most important – the number of voters, or that people have the opportunity to participate and vote? Demoex gives the opportunity, but few use it. The fewer who are voting, the more valuable is each individual vote. The decrease of political power of one person is mirrored by the same increase of influence of another person. Maybe we have to accept that some issues have a lower participation in order to empower the engaged people?

28 DEMOEX GOES FORWARD  After this year’s election (2010) Demoex for the first time had seats in the committees. Not just one seat, but four!  Our first mission will be to ensure that issues being discussed are published well in advance of the meeting so that we discuss and vote via internet before the meeting. We will also develop a model for collaborative preparation of proposals and documents.

29 POLITICAL REPRESSION  Long, uninterrupted possession of power easily leads to systematic repression of dissidents. My point is that political repression is a structurally shortcoming of the representative democratic system. The problem does not depend on the ideology of the ruling party. (The iron law of oligarchy)


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