Archive for the ‘Demoex’ Category

How the Democracy Experiment ended

September 16, 2014

ros

The world’s first direct democratic internetparty Demoex (2002-2013), does no longer exist. After ten years as a local party we decided to join other Swedish direct democrats to create a national party. To make it possible we changed name and invited other direct democrats to cooperate. The party Active Democracy initiated a joint conference in Gnesta in August 2013 where we decided to run for the elections in 2014 together as “Direktdemokraterna”.

The new party was formally established on March 23, 2014. We began to work together with the objective to keep the mandate in Vallentuna and take seats in another couple of municipalities. We launched a website and a Facebook page and some active members met in early July to market the new party in Almedalen, Gotland. We made t-shirts and flyers.

Last weeks before the Election Day the interest increased, but our local marketing campaign was suffering because we spent almost all the time and resources to gain the growing national movement. I thought people in Vallentuna would support us anyway because we spread their “local model” nationwide, but nope.  We lost the mandate in Vallentuna and won no new mandate. Demoex failed, but Direktdemokraterna will raise as a Phoenix. I hope.

Lottery selects direct democracy candidates

March 23, 2014

vinnarbollen

The Direct Democrats in Vallentuna (Sweden) picked candidates for their ballot in the next election by randomness. The candidates wrote their names on table-tennis balls and placed them in a tombola, but first they let the goddesses of Fate decide if a man or a woman should be at the top of the list and they choose a woman (of course)!

http://www.magisto.com/album/video/fngqBVlcQ0p5KjoHDmEwCXx5

The lottery was an attempt to revive an ancient democratic tradition. In the Golden Age of Athens they never choose a leader, instead they used the Kleroterion to select them. Democracy is based on the idea that we all have equal value. To choose a leader is to give someone a higher value and it goes against the basic democratic principle.

The political missions lasted for a year, which meant a constant circulation of people in decision-making positions. To reach a similar effect the Direct Democrats in Vallentuna decided to let the top four candidates lead the party one year each during the following mandatory period. They are:

1. Karin Forsell
2. Lennart Hedman
3. Aida Ericsson
4. Per Norbäck

(The picture shows Karin Forsell dropping the “winning ball” in the tombola.)

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!

A Sample from the little horse…

December 12, 2011

Victor

My dear friend Jim Stark have translated chapter 10 in the book “The little horse from Athens” into english. The book will tell how we launched an electronic direct democratic party and took a seat in the City Council of Vallentuna, Sweden. The entire e-book will be published in English in early 2012. Hope you will enjoy chapter 10 and tell your friends about it. Here is the sample:

chapter-10-in-english

PS.
The happy face above belongs to my son Victor. He is mentally retarded but I am very proud of him. His joy inspires me. Merry X-mas!

A Book is Awaiting

November 2, 2011

 

littlehorse

The story of how demoex was born will become an e-book in english and print-on-demand around the turn 2011/2012. The title will be “The little Horse from Athens”.

The democracy experiment started year 2000 and demoex became a political party with mandatory power in 2002. Since then we have been trying to have the political parties in Vallentuna to cooperate, which seems to be their last will.

Half of the book’s proceeds will fund the developing of an international tool for web-based direct democracy. We will try to create a democratic counterpart to Wikipedia, a site that can be used for free in all nations by all languages in order to debate and vote on political issues.

Internet is all one needs for Democracy

February 13, 2011

torget

It has never been so easy to reform the democracy as today. Demoex and other Electronic Direct Democracy initiatives in a dozen countries recently agreed on a common policy in which political neutrality and an interactive media for debates and referendums are the cornerstones. Several democracy forum are under construction and they are intended to be used worldwide.

As long as the Internet is open in Arab countries, they cannot fail to establish democracy. The democratic process can be completely done over the Internet, where all necessary conditions and equipment are available. Widespread Internet usage and literate population is all one needs to reform democracy.

Democracy requires freedom of opinion, expression and assembly. The Internet offers all of this. Twitter and Facebook are examples of virtual communities. Participants do not need to meet physically, the important thing is that they can exchange information and make decisions together. The Internet both provides this and has the necessary transparency to prevent abuse of power and corruption.

If the young internet democrats may be represented in the House, they’ll probably use some kind of e-gov. The easiest way will be if they vote for an internet party. Democratic impacts can occur in two ways: by deciding directly or by influencing the decision-makers. Digital direct democracy provides the opportunity to influence both directly through referendums and indirectly, by arguing in the open debate.

The fight for new democratic forms

January 18, 2011

foot-stamp

A lot of people await the breakthrough of online democracy. In the municipality Vallentuna in the Northern greater Stockholm area, the traditional party system is challenged by Demoex.

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 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 marginalised Demoex through out the eight years.

The greatest obstacle is the party system’s hierarchical structure. Hierarchies in politics mean that power is concentrated on only a handful of people. None of them benefit from sacrificing party interests for the benefit of a greater good.

Competition between ideas is important in politics, but the hierarchical system harms competition between ideas by blocking free flow of information in order to protect the party’s mandate. Two recent examples:

September 6th 2010: Demoex submitted an interpellation to implement a democracy experiment that streaches across party lines. The majority of the City Council even prohibited the interpellation from beeing put forward. Further, Demoex inquired whether the municipality would be willing to publish politicians’ blogs on the municipality’s website before the election. The mayor then claimed, that he could not possibly answer the question due to lack of information, although he had three months to investigate.

September 13th 2010: Remuneration Committee proposes a dramatic increase of fees for the up-coming term. The municipality council’s board did not mention the issue beforehand on the agenda. The board decided that the chairmen of municipality boards together with the opposition party leader will have 65 percent increase of salaries. It seems like a deliberate strategy to keep voters unaware of the increase.

What Vallentuna faces is not the traditional clash of parties, but a struggle between  democratic systems. Unlike many e-gov initiatives, Demoex is a grass root movement. Our aim is to give concerned citizens the right to vote on local political issues and thereby increase the degree of democracy. It is urgent, we believe, to implement and evaluate a full-scale experiment in a relatively calm place. The less peaceful world cannot wait too long.

What is the least we can do to change our political system to reward cooperation instead of competition? It is important that the change is as small as possible, because it is extremely difficult to disrupt a stable hierarchy. According to the ‘Shock Doctrine’ theory once launched by Naomi Klein, real change can take place only when the political system is in a sway. Demoex wants to show that we do not have to wait for future disasters before we change our political climate and start to cooperate.

Demoex goes forward

November 20, 2010

demoex3ladies

After this year’s election Demoex for the first time had seats in the committees. Not just one seat, but four!

That’s because Demoex gave me the permission to negotiate in a technical interaction between the opposition parties. The technical interaction doesn´t mean that we are forced to support another party, it just involves forming a coalition that can then share the seats. Demoex formed a coalition with the Green Party, the Left party and the Social Democrats. The Green Party was the best cooperation partner.

Demoex became alternates in four Committees: Leisure, Education, Election and Nomination Committee. An alternate participates in the meeting and vote if the ordinary cannot. The alternate has the same fees and the same right to debate and put proposals as permanent members. The Leisure and Education committee´s have nine members and an equal number of alternates. The Election and Nomination Committee have five regular members and five alternates.

A regular seat gives more power than an alternate seat, but in some ways it is good that we have alternates to begin with. It gives us time to change the municipality’s meeting culture and develop new forms of Internet democracy.

Our first mission will be to ensure that issues be discussed are published well in advance of the meeting so that we discuss and vote via internet before the meeting. Our alternates will present excerpts from the debate and the outcome of the voting. We will also develop a model for multiple preparing of proposals and documents.

Status Quo

September 20, 2010

The Swedish Election in sept 19:th 2010 shows that Demoex is neither a failure or success. We kept our single mandate and we didn’t win any new. But something else happened: Sweden Democrats took place in the National parliament and a seat the local parliament of Vallentuna.

Representative democracy defending itself in two directions

Demoex wants to increase the degree of democracy. In my opinion the Sweden Democrats wants it to cease. The Sweden Democrats want to restrict immigration, thus violating the Human Rights article 13 and 14, which are fundamental to worldwide democracy. But the Sweden Democrats are also protected by the Human Rights. Violating the Democracy to protect it from undemocratic ideas is a really bad idea. I think the best defence would be to increase the degree of democracy even more.

Self-organization

September 16, 2010

Self-organization is the process where a structure or pattern appears in a system without a central authority or external element imposing it through planning. According to many researchers, systems organize all by themselves when certain essential preconditions are met.

The research on self-organization has concentrated on physical and biological systems, but the Organizations Theorist Harrison Owen argues that it holds for human systems as well. “In fact there is no such ting as a non-self-organizing system”, Owen writes.

No single mind can control such a complex thing as a city, a stock-market or the Internet. Self-organization is needed because a single brain is very limited. Fortunately the human brain seems to be aware of its own restriction, so it rewards cooperation. Cooperation with other people starts the brain’s rewarding system. It gives us a strong incentive to help each other, and this little feature has made the human race very successful.

The aim of Demoex is to change the democratic system in order to reward cooperation better. If the system is under threat, a broad cooperation is needed. Representative democracy in peacetime is ruled by a minimal winning coalition. At wartime and crisis a unity government is formed instead. Why only in wartime? Minimal coalition systems are successful in highly competitive contexts, such as in the TV series Survivor, but they work better as entertainment than they do in the politics.