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.
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?
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!
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, Tim’s Fish Fight, 850k+ signatures A reasonably green and sustainable CFP reform Rapporteur Ulrike Rodust underlined the role civil society played.
European Citizens’ Initiative – first to get 1 million http://www.right2water.eu/ “Water is a human right” Result: water is excluded from the Concessions Directive http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/barnier/headlines/speeches/2013/06/20130621_en.htm
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?
BUT what about Climate Change? How can this be approached using these tools? Just too vast…
Open Society Foundations “Solidarity Now” http://www.solidaritynow.org/ But how to grip the problem?
Story 1: Credible commitment (and the lack of it) Silvio Berlusconi. Like him or loathe him, he polarises He pitched up to a European Council summit in December 2010 Time for a social media bonanza thought the press service of the Council…
But as a citizen this is what you would get if you were anywhere near the building!
So what do a bunch of nerds do? They game the system, forcing the experiment to be turned off
Shirky – what’s a Credible Commitment? It means that if I ask you for something, what are the chances that I am going to actually listen to you? ?
It’s based on the famous story of change.gov in the UK – being too open This poses problems and opportunities for politics – what is the value of 1000 e-mails, in comparison to the value of 1000 letters
Are we just blowing up the
bubble a little bit?
Elections force communication
No EU institution is close to the basic definition of a
party system from Schumpeter, composed of 4 main
elements of the role of political parties:
Parties present programmes
Voters make an informed choice between competing
The successful party puts its programme into practice
The governing party judged on its successes at the
Adapted from Schumpeter, J.A.  (1976), Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 5th
London, Allen & Unwin, quoted in Judge, D. & Earnshaw, D.,The European Parliament
Political futures do not depend on communication –
indeed quite the contrary?
Second order national elections, often closed lists
Council / Member States
If the EU is a success, incentive to present that as a
The decline of the
traditional political party?