What works in online campaigning at EU level?


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Brussels presentation for a group of young campaigners at European Policy Centre, Brussels.

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  • Will explain in a moment what that means
  • 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
  • Home Affairs
  • Source: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/facebook/the-real-reason-your-customers-dont-like-you-on-facebook/
  • What works in online campaigning at EU level?

    1. 1. A structural problem
    2. 2. Are we just blowing up the bubble a little bit?
    3. 3. 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 parties The successful party puts its programme into practice The governing party judged on its successes at the next election Adapted from Schumpeter, J.A. [1943] (1976), Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 5th Edition, London, Allen & Unwin, quoted in Judge, D. & Earnshaw, D.,The European Parliament
    4. 4. The Institutions Commission  Political futures do not depend on communication – indeed quite the contrary? Parliament  Second order national elections, often closed lists Council / Member States  If the EU is a success, incentive to present that as a national success
    5. 5. The decline of the traditional political party?
    6. 6. Hierarchical Networked
    7. 7. Hierarchical
    8. 8. http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2013/05/06/decline-in-party-membership-europe-ingrid-van-biezen/
    9. 9. Networked
    10. 10. Networked party Hierarchical mainstream media
    11. 11. Flatter hierarchy
    12. 12. Flatter hierarchy Hierarchical mainstream media
    13. 13. Citizens self-organise: applying pressure
    14. 14. Hybrid
    15. 15. Credible Commitment: no gimmicks please!
    16. 16. Brussels vs. the Member States
    17. 17. follow 130
    18. 18. A structural problem The decline of traditional parties Citizens self organise No gimmicks please Brussels vs. Member States Recap
    19. 19. Creative Commons Images Ethernet Cables http://www.flickr.com/photos/skreuzer/508996746/ Facebook Like http://www.flickr.com/photos/sofiabudapest/5925462073/ Malmström http://www.flickr.com/photos/european_parliament/4287119537/ Passport http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedrichards/285602156/ Facebook Like http://www.flickr.com/photos/sofiabudapest/5925462073/ TGV http://www.flickr.com/photos/34147934@N07/4866055584/ Twitter http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshsemans/3414271359 Barroso http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisboncouncil/8639784277/ Crossing Line http://www.flickr.com/photos/77879116@N00/ Occupy http://www.flickr.com/photos/39841756@N00/7990273026/ Piraten http://www.flickr.com/photos/notizn/4528673061/ 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/ Tap http://www.flickr.com/photos/54799099@N00/4816226411/ Power Station http://www.flickr.com/photos/freefoto/3844250043/ Greek Poverty http://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctor/4743268722/ Fishing Boats http://www.flickr.com/photos/jameslogan/54225977/ Toy Guns http://www.flickr.com/photos/animakitty/529441391/ Tahrir Square http://www.flickr.com/photos/elhamalawy/6401023697/ Riot Policeman http://www.flickr.com/photos/hozinja/5248122650/ ACTA Protest http://www.flickr.com/photos/22563827@N08/6856717231/ Jean Luc Melenchon Posters http://www.flickr.com/photos/49687338@N04/7234207750/ Habermas http://www.flickr.com/photos/37925259@N00/5718599089/ Vienna Café http://www.flickr.com/photos/su-may/7103794911/ Bubble http://www.flickr.com/photos/stansich/134366701/ Shirky http://www.flickr.com/photos/poptech2006/2969510044/ Spliff http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamcohn/2787196217/ Belgian Security http://www.flickr.com/photos/skender/1361525212/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/skender/1361555878/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/skender/1361450404/ People at laptops http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/3347405355/ Silvio Berlusconi http://www.flickr.com/photos/elenatorre/3675597102/ Labour stall http://www.flickr.com/photos/skuds/137099141/ Indignados http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyde_/5854588048/