Jon Worth - State of the Net


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Politics meet citizens: a way forward in an unstable scenario?

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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 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.
  • So it will change, right? Mainstream parties will change. It’s a matter of time? Conclusion: NO. Worked with politicians of different ages. If you have been brought up in a system, why change it?
  • 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: Shorter paper:‎
  • 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
  • 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.
  • So if the party political mainstream is in decline, and the alternatives are either populist or unworkable, what are you going to do? Steven Johnson’s book is a first step to try to answer some of these questions. Book: “ We believe in social progress and we believe the most powerful tool to advance the cause of progress is the peer network” BUT a world without gatekeepers or planners is noisier and more chaotic.
  • Neo-nico-tinoids - bees 7 petitions! In German alone!
  • The pressure group networked model
  • Hugh’s Fish Fight
  • European Citizens’ Initiative – first to get 1 million “Water is a human right”
  • 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 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 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 -
  • But how solve climate change with a peer network?
  • Or get Amazon or Google to pay more tax?
  • Jon Worth - State of the Net

    1. 1. Politics meet citizens:a way forward in an unstable scenario?Jon Worth | @jonworthPPT: (10mb) | Slideshare:
    2. 2. A challenge toorganisational hierarchies
    3. 3. Hierarchical Networked
    4. 4. Hybrid
    5. 5. Hybrid
    6. 6. The party’s over: the appealof pre-figurative action
    7. 7. Hierarchical
    8. 8. Networked
    9. 9. NetworkedpartyHierarchicalmainstream media
    10. 10. Flatter hierarchy
    11. 11. FlatterhierarchyHierarchicalmainstream media
    12. 12. Citizens self-organise: butit’s going to be complex
    13. 13. Hybrid
    14. 14. A challenge to organisationalhierarchiesThe party’s over: the appeal ofpre-figurative actionCitizens self-organise: but it’sgoing to be complexRecap
    15. 15. Creative Commons ImagesEthernet Cables stall Line on a telescope Clock Crouchömer Garda Johnson’s Fish Fight Square Policeman School Gorans Sandel
    16. 16. Politics meet citizens:a way forward in an unstable scenario?Jon Worth | @jonworthPPT: (10mb) | Slideshare: