Political parties governed under the GNU License?
- Monday, 14 November 2011 23:42
- Written by Louis P.
Representative Democracy in Crisis.
Some of us have been really working hard to see a day when we’ll really see governments open up. The idea we support is simple; ICTs generate opportunities and demands for introducing more transparency in the way governments operate. But whilst transparency is essential – it is not sufficient. See, what we really want is to develop the appropriate framework which enables citizens to contribute to policy-formulation - and I mean not just putting a suggestion box out there, but by making online collaboration possible accross all levels of government. We believe that this participatory and inclusive governance model is superior to the one in which we currently operate because it enables instances of direct democracy to re-emerge.
Among all the possible reasons I could choose to argue in favour of direct democracy, today I choose the following:
Letting all corrosive attributes of power aside, a representative simply could not accommodate the views of each member of its electorate in every single political decision he has been mandated to make. As such, he or she, will constantly be required to back a set of propositions which may not reflect the view of some significant chunks of his electorate, leading to inevitable trade offs in policy-making. Such a bargaining game runs the risk of consistently compromising the quality and rationality of the decisions the representative is mandated to make on behalf of his electorate.
Let’s not forget that getting re-elected is to politicians what profit is to private companies - ultimately it comes down to the one thing: survival. My intention here is not to bear judgement on politicians, nor to question the morality of career driven politics; I am plainly laying down the rules governing the game of politics. We abide and play according to those rules – just as political parties are.
This is the problem – we elect representatives – knowing that there is a big fat chance that each and every time he or she will be asked to vote, well…we’ll be left wondering what exactly went wrong. But that’s how it works. And this is the inescapable realisation after a few decades or centuries of experimenting with representative democracy – we’re realising it now – and as you’ve probably noticed; representative democracy is suffering a rather strange blow in the hair lately. I mean, we’ve got entire governments collapsing over here in Europe – and it’s not the bugdet deficit which we’re worried about – let’s face it: it’s the democratic deficit.
So what if we changed those rules? Whilst it is among the most ancient philosophical notions in History, comparatively, democracy is still a young form of governance. It wouldn’t be scientifically wrong to assume that the rules established by our predecessors could be revised and improved, right?
An open political party?
Contemplating at these issues I stumbled upon an innovative project in the making: it’s called the Open Democratic Political Party Management System. Little is known on the people behind it – but the idea is compelling: an open platform for transparent and democratic management of any political party in the world in best possible way.
Taking the political parties’ democratic deficit as a point of departure, the project aims at remedying the inherent lack of popular input in the internal workings of those organisations which we elect to represent us. How? By developing a system open to continuous improvement by the people to run the internal workings of a political party in an open (transparent) and democratic way.
The idea is that those who are elected won’t be governing the platform. Instead, it would be forever owned and governed by the community. Its efficiency would be continuously improved with latest technologies to help run a party from the local level to the national level (might be internationally for global governance).
Nothing is out there yet – and such avant-garde ideas will always need to wait for the rest of the world to catch up - but the success of such experiments is a bet I would be willing to make - this is definitely a project to keep an eye on. I’ve already subscribed to their twitter feed – you should too!