Europeans, organisations and federalism in the age of information technology - speech in Ventotene

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Based on the speech given at #SOTN, Trieste.

Based on the speech given at #SOTN, Trieste.

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  • This is pretty obvious for people in this audience. I’m no more senior than any of the people here, and you are not more senior than me. We build a network among us here today, we then go away and do our own thing. But that’s not how the political world works.
  • We’re building networks onto traditional hierarchies. Is it like this?
  • Or like this? Essentially the problems of everyday politics are problems of organisational structure. And this is why so many of the types of people in this room have problems with everyday politics.
  • Will explain in a moment what that means
  • The party political tradition. Why does this matter? The people at the top are chosen this way. 4.3% of the electorate. Declining everywhere. See http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/05/06/decline-in-party-membership-europe-ingrid-van-biezen/ In only 4 of 27 EU Member States is membership up the last decade.
  • Join. Participate in the local committee. Region. National. Spend years going through the system. It’s your years of service, not your ability.
  • You become a different person when you cross the threshold into a party political meeting. We are not *normal* people in party politics. We can deal with that in our jobs – we are paid. But as volunteers? Why would we want to bother?
  • Transparency is welcome, but not adequate. We can see what they do, but we cannot become them.
  • British prof Colin Crouch – has coined the term “Post Democracy” “ A post-democratic society is one that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy, but in which they increasingly become a formal shell” Book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Post-democracy-Themes-Century-Colin-Crouch/dp/0745633153 Shorter paper: http://www.fabians.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Post-Democracy.pdf‎
  • "The dividing line between progressive and reactionary parties no longer follows the formal line of greater or lesser democracy, or of more or less socialism to be instituted; rather the division falls along the line, very new and substantial, that separates the party members into two groups. The first is made up of those who conceive the essential purpose and goal of struggle as the ancient one, that is, the conquest of national political power – and who, although involuntarily, play into the hands of reactionary forces, letting the incandescent lava of popular passions set in the old moulds, and thus allowing old absurdities to arise once again. The second are those who see the creation of a solid international State as the main purpose; they will direct popular forces toward this goal, and, having won national power, will use it first and foremost as an instrument for achieving international unity."
  • "The dividing line between progressive and reactionary parties no longer follows the formal line of greater or lesser democracy, or of more or less socialism to be instituted; rather the division falls along the line, very new and substantial, that separates the party members into two groups. The first is made up of those who conceive the essential purpose and goal of struggle as the ancient one, that is, the conquest of national political power – and who, although involuntarily, play into the hands of reactionary forces, letting the incandescent lava of popular passions set in the old moulds, and thus allowing old absurdities to arise once again. The second are those who see the creation of a solid international State as the main purpose; they will direct popular forces toward this goal, and, having won national power, will use it first and foremost as an instrument for achieving international unity."
  • So what’s this “pre-figurative action” I mentioned? “ the attempt to practice the kind of democracy that the participants imagine” – essentially the organisation, the network, is the end in itself See: Mary Kaldor http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2012/10/20/subterranean-politics-europe/
  • And so you apply this to politics? The Pirates!
  • Katharina Nocun – policy coordinator Bernd Schlömer – chair of the party How many of you have heard of these people?
  • It can have nasty sides – Jobbik and Magyar Garda
  • So what about our friend in Italy, Beppe Grillo? Many of you are probably groaning just by seeing him
  • The UK has its own Grillo – Nigel Farage
  • What do Grillo and Farage have in common? They have realised that full party hierarchy is a headache, a burden, and have tried to reduce it. Both are at least flatter hierarchy movements than traditional parties. But what happens as the parties grow, are subjected to more scrutiny? Collapse, or professionalise, or Pirate-style network? Look at what is happening to Grillo locally, and the problems UKIP has with racism among its activists.
  • Advantage however is the traditional media hierarchies know how to deal with a Farage or a Grillo, but do not know how to deal with a Pirate Party. Remember the legacy role of mainstream media in social media – BBC the number 1 linked source on social networks in the UK.
  • Neo-nico-tinoids - bees 7 petitions! In German alone!
  • Hugh’s Fish Fight
  • European Citizens’ Initiative – first to get 1 million http://www.right2water.eu/ “Water is a human right”
  • The pressure group networked model
  • As we well know we can network protest
  • But Tahrir Sq might be good. But UK Riots bad? How are we going to turn this into something workable?
  • Wikipedia on UK free schools http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_school_(England) Framed in public v private. What about not for profits? And the deal is that these schools are taken outside the control of local government. Is this right? There’s a defeatism in this too – that the state itself cannot improve.
  • Story on S:t Görans http://www.economist.com/news/business/21578020-sweden-leading-world-allowing-private-companies-run-public-institutions-hospital The hospital would have shut, but was privatised instead. Could cooperatives or companies or peer networks do a better job? And how, as citizens, would we remain in control of this?
  • So this – especially in Europe – takes us to another boundary – what are the things that the state must absolutely not give away. Are our boundaries different on this than they are in the USA? Michael Sandel book - http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Money-Cant-Buy-ebook/dp/B007IO1X5C/ref=la_B001H6IT4K_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370079918&sr=1-1

Transcript

  • 1. So what’s the biggest political thing I’ve ever done?
  • 2. A challenge to organisational hierarchies
  • 3. Hierarchical Networked
  • 4. Hybrid
  • 5. Hybrid
  • 6. The party’s over: the appeal of pre-figurative action
  • 7. Hierarchical
  • 8. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/05/06/decline-in-party-membership-europe-ingrid-van-biezen/
  • 9. Networked
  • 10. Networked party Hierarchical mainstream media
  • 11. Flatter hierarchy
  • 12. Flatter hierarchy Hierarchical mainstream media
  • 13. Citizens self-organise: but it’s going to be complex
  • 14. Hybrid
  • 15. A challenge to organisational hierarchies The party’s over: the appeal of pre-figurative action Citizens self-organise: but it’s going to be complex Recap
  • 16. Creative Commons Images Ethernet Cables http://www.flickr.com/photos/skreuzer/508996746/ Heathrow http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgrenner57/4569458851/ One Nation Under CCTV http://www.flickr.com/photos/malias/2471892988/ Spinelli Grave http://www.flickr.com/photos/83015819@N00/3505226842/ Kohl / Mitterrand http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_B_145_Bild-F076604-0021,_Frankreich,_Staatsbesuch_Bundeskanzler_Kohl.jpg François Hollande http://www.flickr.com/photos/7342816@N07/8407891125/ Merkel & Cameron http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/5434140122/ Labour stall http://www.flickr.com/photos/skuds/137099141/ Crossing Line http://www.flickr.com/photos/77879116@N00/3992671299/ Glasses on a telescope http://www.flickr.com/photos/jcolman/2770528941/ Colin Crouch http://www.flickr.com/photos/71740098@N04/6646695663/ Occupy http://www.flickr.com/photos/39841756@N00/7990273026/ Piraten http://www.flickr.com/photos/notizn/4528673061/ Nocun http://www.flickr.com/photos/21604182@N04/8731699150/ Schlömer http://www.flickr.com/photos/41578052@N04/8731641362/ Magyar Garda http://www.flickr.com/photos/39142150@N04/5589653339/ Grillo http://www.flickr.com/photos/ncaranti/8404373429/ Farage http://www.flickr.com/photos/36612355@N08/6841578933/ Bee http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamtreesha/7894625598/ Hugh’s Fish Fight http://www.flickr.com/photos/emcmillanscott/7186180227/ Tap http://www.flickr.com/photos/54799099@N00/4816226411/ Tahrir Square http://www.flickr.com/photos/elhamalawy/6401023697/ Riot Policeman http://www.flickr.com/photos/hozinja/5248122650/ UK School http://www.flickr.com/photos/disley/4239899529/ S:t Gorans http://www.flickr.com/photos/question_everything/3240361117/ Michael Sandel http://www.flickr.com/photos/48692800@N00/4350927585/ Drought http://www.flickr.com/photos/mundoo/317488203/ Amazon http://www.flickr.com/photos/16979315@N04/6633438565/ Power Station http://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/3844250043/ Greek Poverty http://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctor/4743268722/ Ballot Box http://www.flickr.com/photos/afagen/2571377481/