Networking [European] Democracy

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Networking [European] Democracy
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Can you create decentralised, networked democracy in a big government world? At the European level, where there is no single political space, does networked democracy give the opportunity of a networked demos? How should the next European Commission and Parliament do better. Let us make some suggestions.
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so it's only a stage shows what you on hurricane 1st all the political and social scientists from this topic what they haven't achieved thank you thank you very much thank you very much for the for the more is slightly linked to the European parliamentary elections because after this summer we will be having a new Parliament information and how will we get their hands and the people in the black shiny cars to actually talk together where I believe strongly that we do have a European democracy European damage but the problem
is that it doesn't really talk to the people doing the policies so how do we know what these together so we're told that there are 5 possible ways that we can get past this problem with European democracy 5 different ways in which we can make the European demos really 1 of the 1st way is fingers crossed it'll be just fine what we get economic growth back again and we put if you will leaflets out maybe use with graphics that we call then you know European democracy will be fine we'll have will be back to the normal status quo where people broadly speaking ignore Europe for most of every 5 years and cost vector space ones have yeah the
solution proposed by the number of parties is well hang on a minute this isn't working Brussels is too far away nobody's listening we need to return democracy back to the state back to the fifties where families with families and you had real then we'll women so let's return back to the past and we will have a proper democracy again all the 3rd 1 is uh asking the president of allergies got the stand is pictured here to have yet another constitutional conventions added if any of you remember the last constitutional convention on show that you will
down the front of all of their meetings cheering and but the constitutional conventions of a long very slow processes and they tend to out to me the elephant maybe 5 centimeters in the right direction but I don't really change things another question would be what will happen and we had a story about Europe providing piece of disparities all citizens now we need a new narrative we need a new story about what Europe is about let's get a bunch of people sitting together in a room discussing what their idea of Europe would be what narrative you would be and then we would go out and presented to the great populations of the world and say this is the new narrative Europe this is what you'll Europe should be now you want to engage with the the 5th way we're told that this could happen and this is perhaps the most seductive way particular conference let Republican is occupied Europe years just get citizens to do things by themselves and as someone who runs an organization called the democratic society on very sympathetic to that I think you do the more
citizen participation and citizen engagement but the problem with doing it at a scale of 500 million is you also need some structure to go around if you just have 500 million or even years 5 million General Assembly's only occupy model you get lots of conflicting decisions and lots of competing priorities so we need something that's going to get past all of these solutions that was quite work what we're also seeing a is a
large number of parties that are too successful at a national stage for a number of reasons coming forward and saying let's go back to the fifties so let's go back to the nation state let's
close our borders let's uh change policy as we know it now and this detach ourselves from the European Union from the cooperation with other member States of protecting minorities protecting civil rights and for all its citizens and you have populist uh politicians such as get builders and find
patterns that we see in the pictures or you have protesters that's going on to the streets and saying well we don't agree with this we don't want your idea of not the and you don't really provide any
solutions forward to the problems that we face in Europe with either of them by the protesters saying we don't we don't want your idea of Europe always saying we want to sit in the parliament process within this is 1 of the reasons why the task
is so urgent not because there's an immediate problem outside the dolls today but that the quality of the democracy is being hollowed out such that if a smart populist or another crisis could
produce something that really challenges the legitimacy of democracy and for me that's 1 of the biggest risks that we face but also 1 of the reasons why the work that we collectively doing here trying to build a new participation in a new democracy is the most important task to anyone has in in Europe today I also hear echoing Karin will point out that this is a moment of change it's a moment of change not only for the
personalities of the top but also for new politicians wouldn't be elected into the parliament we will have a new Commission we will have a new Commission president but also there there are elections happening across the across the continent in the next few years so there's plenty
of opportunity if we can get there and if we can get our demands in pencil opportunity for us to say well listen to us this is what what happened this is how things need to change because I do think that there is an understanding in the political class that they're not getting it right but there's also and a lack of comprehension of what they could do to get it right so we are on the side that's you also what have we been doing in other
spheres of engaging people opening up democracy and involving the networks of interesting with people into the democracy because we're
looking at the head political parties having less and less membership going to town meetings where activities that can hardly obvious not change this so we're
going to talk about 3 things that we've done I'm going to talk about 1 of our projects that tries to find the people at local level you could have the democratic conversation that we're looking for uh
common will talk about what it's like campaigning in a new way and on the talk about 1 of our national projects in the UK so 1st of project and Louis I don't know if any of you know it but it's a small town and rural district just outside pricing which is where we're based about 100
thousand people of 1 of the things that striking about Lewis is a has the highest electoral participation rate in the UK at the county council elections recently and really active civic infrastructure you can't throw a brick and
Lewis without hitting 3 Chairman a secretary and an honorary treasurer some society or other so I think that there is a that the if if you can't get local-scale democracy to work in Lewis you can't get it to work anyway and we're working with the District Council and with the county council to try to find and connect the most specifically active people in the district to work out
what the minimum viable connection is the minimum viable network to make the conversation with the Council much less angry much less confrontational and much less sporadic driven by specific events and turn into something was more like a conversation very very quickly to say what early results are 1st it's really
hard really hard and much of the way to measure when we started because actually you every person's commitment to their organization is a commitment to their organization not to the wider better democratic conversation even if that is what it turns into and 2nd we found that the the people who are best able to get us into the conversations that we didn't know happening were what is sometimes characterized in the UK as the usual suspects the people who are always talking to the Council complaining about things all the time because they are all the furor civil servant have quite annoying people there also really useful people because they know not only here they've spoken to you but also the people they're finding a hard to
reach I've been trying to say well what kind of politician what I like to see that a politician myself and what kind of politician what I like to become and therefore I wanted to apply the same
demands for politicians to the kind of campaign that I was doing my reach is not true and normal parts structures all reach through traditional the a media I'm not a journalist I'm not a celebrity and somebody with a following on Twitter and knowledge about how to reach people through on line networks and communities in following what's been going on in the Middle East during 2010 and 11 and seeing how people can network across borders cost structures and change things but I also wanted to see how can you instead of just protest how can you feed it into the political system and that's why I decided
to minus politicians and running I've been spending a lot of time using lie the social media networks and online communities and they have also been proven to be a lot more effective
than actually showing up to the physical meetings often you have meetings where you have the organizers who have the campaign people of the candidates and then you don't have a lot of other people so engaging with public with voters saying I'm going to talk about this subject area what should I know what should I bring with me has actually provide a lot more engagement and a lot more knowledge about what people are thinking of the actual reason that I want to subsequently and this is what we to think about what the actual structures that we're using in the during the campaign you go out of town hall meetings to God handing out leaflets and people take them and they throw them up there's been but are they actually listening or they the people who are engaged with what he is saying and how do you how do you try to reach the probably be able to have much more
targeted reach through the social media wait and see what what people actually interested in what are they talking about what are they discussing ready the question then is how do you know it's sort
of easy to bring that into a political campaign run Canada once you start with in my national national European Parliament how value then bring that into processes of consultations of amendments of this it's a process it's Commission Council view on how you see again that isn't all fun networks into political structure it's only hierarchical and vitamins and the
3rd project i want to talk about is NHS citizens and NHS is a national health service in the UK it's a single payer system with about 50 million potential users and we're working with 3 other
organizations public I involving the telescope institute at t creates a participation infrastructure to enable people to participate in decisions about their local health service so uh just to quickly talk through how we count how we've gone about it and
we try to do everything in public in the great tradition of projects we're learning although we do all of the things that we learned from our Lewis work we should have done in Lewis for the NHS and we're doing
everything in public and involving people right at the start in talking about the way in which we want to design things so what we come up with at this stage of its changing picture is and announcers on this diagram you can
see which is trying to find the different conversations that are already happening about national health service which obviously is a huge political issue in the UK and join them all up and that's just to give an overview of the conversation not by telling people to come to us but by pointing out where the conversations are happening and making them feel more connected the 2nd part is gather which is a structure whereby people can
say I think the NHS bold ought to be talking about this it ought to be talking about diabetes or ought to be talking about hospitals and that's something where you put a flag in the ground and say I want to talk about this and I take responsibility for starting a discussion and help in the discussion get you get to the end and then finally the most significant discussions and the most important national issues and not as an assembly meeting every 6 months where the NHS bold themselves sit down with the people who have been most active in this space now I'm not saying that this is the answer to European democracy or need anything that is 1 way of trying to get an issue-based conversations going rather than a place-based conversation going and that's 1 of the 1 of the things that digital allows us to do to to break down the barriers between place and if she so you can have a conversation about diabetes in the northeast of England in the far southwest connected up using the using digital tools people also have a conversation about your hospital in your town hall that will be reported online so
how do we do this how do we thought creating a network across europe we've seen as with the NHS citizen that a lot of the European down as a lot of the European discussions on based on geography but are based on single issues where you've
seen the demonstrations again act against ACTA where you'd see in his fish fight against fish discards all the Munich outside bad uh I to save these you've seen people being mobilized across Europe on the issues we won't have a European discussion about the larger uh issues and that are more diverse because people can't see how to change things within the European democracy in the European institutions where you have these diverse networks of specialists of people caring about
single issues that go beyond the geography and beyond nature of things so we need to find out how do we gather information and have an right the
movement of the what's the dependency of the institutions and democracy and has said that it has to have certain
characteristics is democracy has to be open and organic has to feel like you can be part of it wherever you are and that
it comes to it comes to find the conversations or having rather than saying here's a big platform that you have to register on which you have to you know get get some piece of information by e-mail to confirm your identity and then you're allowed to participate in it has to be flexible in terms of people's identity and and compare people's trustworthiness representativeness depending on how much information they given about themselves and how much they
participate it has to be collaborative but that doesn't mean it has to have no structure as a brilliant essay which you have already really should be called the tyranny of structure listeners and we want to avoid that by at least putting some of the characteristics of democracy into that space so the European
demos of the European political space has to be open it has to be collaborative but also has to be noted that has to be based on a certain certainty of what you can find when you get yes yes the so why
do we get institutions that behave differently than they have done previously you had very formalized structures of consultations of putting up a papers and weights of closes come back inside a industry lobbyists and industry interests organizations trying to use the the information and have been
used to lead to the institutions we have also had institutions that have seen their idea of engagement is holding conferences or select you afterwards publicizing the results of what backpacks brilliant perhaps not brilliant minds have thought up I don't think that we should be looking at a single a single events single page that showcases but we need to have a little by little step by step small issues where we engage with people and listen to what they're saying we have conducted the applying this is sold to a paper that just behind this so this that we have to paper we should have in that institutions actually listen to and engagement with
citizens on smaller smaller issues and in little steps so that we have to know that dialog that's not only every 5 years when there are elections I think the point about
institutions is important not because we're trying just to reform you the European
Commission on national governments all civil services or whatever it is although of course we are it's also about understanding what what the new institutions that you need to make participative politics really works so sometimes those new institutions will be the old institutions same batch same people same address will behaving completely different and sometimes for some purposes you leave something complete you need something new I think the most important part of that is understanding how you support collective action as much as how you support participation in government action because it's not about the government and the people it's about the government and the community and the people
and we have to find the institutions that work to build community action as well as the ones that work to improve the direct democratic relationship so
how we actually get it you if can talk to people in brussels they will talk about Brussels fossil about everybody in Brussels thinking the same things talking about the same thing you had their televised debate which is shown on the left you see the child of Europe between their states and cats and that of the European
Commission where everybody in brussels bubble was very concerned about this interface into 1 that's the debate but locally in different European countries where people actually consent so that's why we feel that we need to be able to move beyond that select their normal uh people within the novel and reach out to do everything in this in hiding In my saying we need to be able to to move beyond the bubble as I said earlier I think we need to be having a small 1 but multiple engagements not these big stage conferences about a new narrative or a new constitutional treaty because I don't think we will have the engagement that we need
to be stage things we need to have engagement with people feel that they be listened to that they have a voice in European democracy that democracy is not only national is not only
municipal but it is also European and there was this and we should make the network of the networks that have nationally and make them work together to make networks integrated into the structures of the European solution and the only thing the only some of the sort of more society if we have a new Commission of having Parliament they will probably
be placed in the same plane as the old 1 and with civil servants and institutions that are used to working in the way of the past and the past past the Commission and Parliament but how should you tell them to work differently with us how should we tell them to listen and engage with the citizens of Europe so that I have here so if you have to have
the power of 10 commandments Foundation they were meant to engage in list and so on and on and on and on and on so when
the when we were slated for this session it was called a workshop now I I think I can do many things probably more my actually can
be holding a workshop with in a room the size of a bond with about a hundred people in darkness is something I'm not really tried before and so I think the best thing to do is to focus on line where we set up a discussion platform in terms of little Europe
and PiratePad so just collaborative edit so far had no long string of characters that are out there and all job was an e-mail or a tweets if you want to be part of this conversation we know there are tons of people out there who doing fantastic work on this already Daphne from neural 10 European alternatives in the room possessing a tweeting and here there are other people out there who we want to try to collect into this conversation because this
is something that has to come from civil society and from citizens collectively for themselves is about know by us for our son with us rather than something that is explicitly about you telling government what the so I'd like I'd like to stop there if the request is very happy to take them and also you aware of the rest of the day and online all the time tweeting far too much and about the utility to
engage with little all right thanks very much uh there was very interesting I think that's a good idea to and set up such a platform and then asking a question should through that because it's a very difficult topic
that is not answered in just 1 or 2 sentences but I thought it's really interesting the new
approach is that you have and the other that you focus on local level of local projects and then tried to find people who are interested and defined communities and in our I just have a question and will do you guys think of the European Citizens Initiative because that's kind of also platform
that is called also by the book was installed by the European Union of the contract of the Lisbon Treaty uh do you think is also a way that people can connect stronger with their interests and formulates I think it just looks like in the
European Citizens Initiative is a nice idea but the way that is constructed is very difficult for people to actually put forward initiatives collect 1 million signatures within the allotted time frame and move things forward that 1 of the successful is not the only successful initiative has been water initiative which has been successful because it had the European Green Party had a lot of local waterworks in Germany and support so it's a European citizens initiative that has worked because it had a political party and or will the reaction time so I think that the initiative that it's constructed has become too constrained because of the fear of having a straight line like this I think it just it just as if you
haven't had a look at the European Commission's response to the successful citizens initiative on water rights I really
do you recommend I've given you history because a brilliant brilliant piece of writing as a as a recovering bureaucrat myself I appreciate what good bureaucratic writing use and dispense 7 pages 11 12 also page response pattern the European Commission on the back not merely for having a brilliant European Citizens Initiative speed but also having a really good policies on water and yeah thanks to all of the ideas about what the guys that the European Commission will make sure there's not the national government get all right now so uh so I think it's the it I I'm joking slightly exaggerating why you think that it can be good like Paris is very hard to actually activates very hard to get people going on it and also it is something that is specifically a request the government and that's fine you know covers powerful I want to make requests the government also want them of the stuff myself and so it's a bit it's a big consumer of the competition in the monitor for my taste arrives and then thanks very much
for being here for this very interesting workshop of a discussion and good luck for the running and help you have a lot of Danish Twitter followers that will turn out into your voters and then maybe we see you in the Parliament and then we can put to review and demand all our question and 2 months we have you will be will be there there's lots of different thank you