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Re: <nettime> No evidence of digital wrong-doing...
Felix Stalder on Wed, 30 Jan 2019 13:33:44 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> No evidence of digital wrong-doing...


On 30.01.19 02:35, André Rebentisch wrote:

> Whenever you have a deliberative assembly the outcome it predefined by
> the process. A sausage machine may grant you a right to select meat
> but the outcome is always sausage, regardless of your selection.
> you always have some kind of framing when you try to convene a
> process. So, the issue to be discussed tends to be defined at the
> outset, but beyond that, things are relatively open, as far as I
> understand.


You always have some kind of framing when you try to convene a process.
So, the issue to be discussed and the procedural rules tends to be
defined at the outset, but beyond that, things can be more open and in
any other cases.

But, these things are not about ideal situations, but practical
approaches against the background of well-defined failures of existing
institutions.

The most important one, relative to these assemblies, are:

Repesentative democracy: institutional capture by special interests and
money necessary to run a political campaigns.

Mass media: small group of professional writers/speakers with narrow set
of opinions and often unacknowledged conflicts of interest.

Social Media: polarization of opinion due to the speed and brevity of
exchanges and the focus of the platforms on producing segmented
"engagement".

Against this background, these assemblies aim at recruiting 'normal
citizens', reducing institutional capture (relative of professional
politicians), expanding the range of participants (relative to mass
media) and create relative communication-intense exchanges (f2f and
electronic) to overcome the exchange of stereotypical platitudes and
hearsay (relative to social media).

There are quite interesting examples, such as the drafting of the
Icelandic constitution after the crash 2008. Again, this was far from
ideal, but the result was so progressive that the parliament used all
kinds of tricks not ratify it.

https://constitutional-change.com/why-the-making-of-a-crowd-sourced-constitution-in-iceland-failed/

Of course, such assemblies are a specialized tool that needs certain
preconditions (as Ted has pointed out) and they work in a limited number
of issues and circumstances. Brexit is not one of them. But I think in
the expansion of the democratic space beyond pure parliamentary
representation and "faux-referenda" they can play a role, as can
participatory budgeting, collaborative agenda setting, intelligent ways
of combining crowdfunding and public funding (see, for example, what
goteo.org is doing in this regard) and so on.


Felix





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