Archive for July, 2012

Direct democracy online

July 4, 2012

Direct democracy online is based on a simple idea: to offer direct democratic referendums on matters of substance over the Internet. The aim is to change the political system so that people can participate and vote on matters concerning themselves, and come up with new proposals. The goal is to transfer the power from behind closed doors to online debates, prevent power abuse and corruption, create a common public debate and increase democracy.

Starting a movement
Nobody gives away his power voluntarily. Therefore, direct democracy online must be established through democratic elections where people vote for a direct democratic party. Aki Orr’s Direct Democracy Manifesto argues for starting a direct democratic movement. First step is to gather a group of people who believe in the idea and are willing to work for it. The group need not be large to begin with but it is important that members do not want to make a career, but is driven by the desire to change the political system. Try to gather people who are used to communicate and have large networks. Decide how you will distribute the work and help each other to make new contacts. Work confidential until the supporters are so many that you can launch the movement as a force to count with. Find an appropriate tool on the web, a platform to debate and democratic decisions, such as Helios.

Statutes
Agree on the party statutes. The requirements of the statutes differ in different countries, but these should be common:
The aim should be to give all voters the right to have a voice in every political issue and to propose new laws. Then the party must be neutral, otherwise you can not organize democratic votings.
The goal should be to make it easier to influence society and reduce corruption by increasing transparency. In addition, the party should help create, support and promote communication and cooperation between neutral direct democratic online parties throughout the world, i.e. by joining E2D International.
The method is based on platform services. The platform should make it possible to vote on matters of fact and to debate in each point. It should require registration in order to secure the identity of the voters. Only registered citizens should have the right to vote and it should preferably be free of charge. The platform should be a neutral media, a place where people with different opinions can gather, debate and vote. It should be possible to change their vote right up until the voting closes.
Representatives should preferably be selected by a lottery to avoid unnecessary hierarchies in the party. Before each new term, new representatives will then be drawn. They should vote that so they reflect the results of Internet voting statistically according to D’Hondt method. They should also submit the proposals that a majority of members support. A representative should also argue on the basis of members’ debate on the net.

Registration
The next step is to register the party. Various parts of the world have different requirements. Find out what is required by your electoral authority. The better democracy operates, the lower is the regulatory requirements. It may be helpful to have a big meeting before the registration in order to form the party. Let the core group become the first Board in association with the task of organizing work, planning the first electoral campaign and seek the necessary permissions. In a free country it is a good idéa to go out in the public media and invite as many people as possible to the meeting. You may need to collect subscriptions. Try to get everyone at the meeting to help you collect names, but expect that there will people from other parties at the meeting in order to spy.

Election campaign
A tip is to start the election campaign with a big party where you collect some money. Although much of the promotion can be done for free on the internet you will need to make t-shirts, flyers and ballots. My tip is to make a fun election campaign that sees and hears a lot. Paint election signs together, play theater and music in the streets,shoot and publish the events on the web. Tell about the direct democracy online movement for everyone you meet and try to get TV, radio and newspapers to pay attention to your party. In Sweden the local party Demoex made this and suceeded in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Good luck!