DELEGATIVE DEMOCRACY: IS THE PIRATENPARTEI LIQUID DEMOCRACY PROPOSAL FIT FOR GERMANY?

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Little is known about Liquid Democracy, yet a consistent work around the world has already been done, both theoretical and practical, on many sorts of ana-logue projects. An increasing spirit of disappointment and critical debate has arisen in Europe, the very heart of democracy . Liquid Democracy, with the help of a fairly new concept of participation, the so called “transitive proxy” or “dele-gable proxy” voting, claims to be a solution; or if not so, to be at least an im-provement.In between the two distant position of basic and representative democracy, there's a span of opportunities. Liquid Democracy is one of the ways to explore it, “liquidifying” the rigidity of two paradigms.

Text of DELEGATIVE DEMOCRACY: IS THE PIRATENPARTEI LIQUID DEMOCRACY PROPOSAL FIT FOR GERMANY?

Albert-Ludwigs-Universitt Freiburg Philosophische Fakultt Vorlesung Einfhrung in die Politikwissenschaft Lecturer Dr. Christoph Haas WS 2011/12

DELEGATIVE DEMOCRACYIS THE PIRATENPARTEI LIQUID DEMOCRACY PROPOSAL FITFOR GERMANY?

Submitted by:

Andrea Cangialosi andrea.cangialosi@email.it B.A. Philosophie (5. Semester) Universit degli Studi di Palermo Italien

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CONTENTS

Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 3 1. The concepts of Liquid Democracy............................................................................. 5 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 2. Last millennia of democracies.............................................................................. 5 The golden mean of democracy ........................................................................ 6 Modern-contemporary chronological account ..................................................... 7 DD in six features................................................................................................. 9 LD: One idea, different (software) versions....................................................... 11

German and Swedish political systems outline ......................................................... 15 2.1 The Swedish case (E-Democracy, grassroots parties, new issues invest politics,

worldwide phenomena) ................................................................................................. 16 2.2 The German case (DD, State parliament breach, internal debates, law

acknowledgment) .......................................................................................................... 18 2.3 3. LD cases comparison ......................................................................................... 19

Prospects of German LD ........................................................................................... 19

Results ............................................................................................................................... 21 Bibliography ..................................................................................................................... 22

ABBREVIATIONS

INDEX OF TABLES

DD DE LD PP PV

Delegative democracy Demoex Liquid democracy PiratenPartei Proxy voting

Software comparison (LD criteria) ............... 13 German and Swedish in comparison ........... 16 DE and other Swedish grassroot parties ...... 17 PP and DE in comparison (LD cases) ........... 19

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Every man is a sharer [...] and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day1 Thomas Jefferson

INTRODUCTIONLittle is known about Liquid Democracy, yet a consistent work around the world has already been done, both theoretical and practical, on many sorts of analogue projects. An increasing spirit of disappointment and critical debate has arisen in Europe, the very heart of democracy2. Liquid Democracy, with the help of a fairly new concept of participation, the so called transitive proxy or delegable proxy voting, claims to be a solution; or if not so, to be at least an improvement.

In between the two distant position of basic and representative democracy, there's a span of opportunities. Liquid Democracy is one of the ways to explore it, liquidifying the rigidity of these kinds of model.Delegative democracy is a new paradigm for a democratic organization which emphasizes individually chosen vote transfers (delegation) over mass election. Delegative democracy combines the best elements of direct and representative democracy by replacing artificially imposed representation structures with an adaptive structure founded on real personal and group trust relationships. Delegative democracy empowers individuals and encourages widespread direct participation in a democratic organization, without unduly burdening or disenfranchising those members who, for lack of time, interest, or knowledge would prefer to take a more passive role.3

Though, even if this general definition of what is a delegative democracy (from now on just DD) by Brian Ford was accepted, there would still be different peculiar variants to regard. What also may be confusing is the plenty of names that refer to them: Direct par-

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Jefferson, Thomas, Letter to Samuel Kercheval, in: Lipscomb, Andrew A. / Bergh, Albert E. (Ed.), The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Washington 1905, Volume 13, P. 422 (Italics by A.C.). 2 In consequence of the Spanish Movimiento 15-M (15th May 2011 movement), many versions of the same sort of questioning groups focusing nowadays democracy appeared in other Countries: right after the national Democracia real YA! (also as DRY, Real democracy NOW), e.g., Echte Demokratie, JETZT! in Germany. They consist of local assemblies spread into territories, in contact with each other. More is to be found in the research paper Holberg, Sara, The Spanish Revolution: A study on the 15-M movement in Spain, Uppsala University 2012, PP. 12 ff., http://bit.ly/ypOMd2, (03.03.2012). 3 Ford , Bryan, Delegative Democracy, Yale University 2002, P. 1, http://bit.ly/GBRvhm, (03.03.2012).

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liamentarism, Augmented democracy and Liquid democracy (from now on just LD), for example. Using DD Ill refer to the general theory, meanwhile with LD Ill stress on its application, through the use of Internet and special software designs.4 It might also appear puzzling the variety of voting mechanisms: single-transferable-vote, proportional voting, delegate cascade or proxy voting (from now on just PV). For the sake of the discussion, only the last one will be characterized. PV has principally two forms: delegable voting and delegated voting, which are procedures for the delegation to another member of a voting body of that member's power to vote in his absence, and/or for the selection of additional representatives, as in the case with transitive proxies. Indeed, in a delegated voting framework, the proxy can be transitive and the transfer recursive. Put simply, the vote can be further delegated to the proxy's proxy, and so on.

An early proposal of delegate voting was that of Lewis Carroll in a paper dated 1884. But there are almost no other historical accounts till the second half of 21st century. Internet voting has been used by the Swedish local political party Demoex, who won its first seat in the city council of Vallentuna in 2002.5 Is this idea's seed, planted long ago, finally becoming reality? Is Sweden a special case or is it going to be possible for other countries, for example Germany, to have a working model of LD? Is the developed software feasible to accomplish what political parties and organization want from them? Due to formal limitations, I'll be very specific in regard of study cases, giving just some references about the bigger political frame where they take place. Its also going to be required to leave out many alternative versions or additional features of theories found, which I will likewise mention when possible through footnotes and bibliographic references.

Its a distinction made without referring to any source or literature, though its anyhow necessary and useful to disambiguate. The name Liquid Democracy has also been used by the Berlins homonymous association that promotes and develops these ideas. 5 There still are other events strictly intertwined with the history of these ideas that are going to be analyzed with more attention introducing the first part of this work.4

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In the first part of this work I will try to skim through the scarce material that exists about the topic6. Doing so, I will sketch a chronology of democracy as we knew it and as its lately changing. Ill try to summarize in a comparative table the main features of LD, as well as problems, through different software solutions (and their characteristics, too). In the second one, I'll give a brief overview about the German and Swedish political systems, in order to analyze in a comparison the Swedish Demoex (from now on just DE) with the German case of PiratenPartei, reusing the criteria previously found. So another table will be sketched. Then, in the third part, I'll attempt to forecast, as possible, the future developments of this young party to finally argue in regard of those chosen criteria that the Piraten's proposal LiqdFeedback it's not yet fit to be politically well established (perhaps not even inside the party itself). This is basically due to inner unresolved issues and also a lack of reach over the so called not-yet-alphabetized internet population and, leaving out the new generations, the remaining public opinion.

1. THE CONCEPTS OF LIQUID DEMOCRACY 1.1 LAST MILLENNIA OF DEMOCRACIESLooking back at the past, using again the words of Ford, Ill bluntly state that direct democracy is not only impractical, but that could also be deprecable.The basic principle of direct democracy is that, to ensure maximum equality and fairness, all members of an organization should ideally take part directly in making all important decisions. Unfortunately, direct democracy in its pure form only works in small and highly cohesive groups. [] In larger or more widely distributed organizations, let alone governments, pure direct democracy is simply infeasible. Furthermore, even if pure direct democracy was feasible, it is not clear that it would be desirable. Any real human community shows a wide variance in knowledge, interests, and abilities among its members, and if the influence of each member is forced to be exactly equal, then the effective intelligence and wisdom of the collective may be not better than the average [] . (Ford 2002: 1)

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This work relies mostly on English a