[EM] [MG] Helping the Pirate Party to vanish
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Mar 18 11:25:29 PDT 2013
At 03:58 AM 3/18/2013, Paul Nollen wrote:
>Liquid democracy is tested for many years in every big (and small)
>corporation. It is unthinkable that shareholders have the obligation
>to give their voice for more than one General assembly to anyone.
>Every shareholder can vote for himself or appoint a representative
>at his choice only for that dedicated General Assembly. This system
>of "liquid democracy" is proven over many years all around the world.
>It is only in politics that voters are forced to give a mandate for
>many years for decissions unknown.
Close, but not quite. Liquid Democracy is Delegable Proxy. What has
been tested is direct proxy. I have often proposed that shareholders
could build a delegable proxy structure that advises shareholders
about how to designate their proxies, but that structure would not
run a "majority vote" to designate a single representative to
exercise all the proxies, though certainly shareholders could then
choose to name that proxy.
However, the *corporation* is not going to acknowledge delegable
proxy, it is only going to respect actual signed proxy designations
by the shareholders.
That is, to apply this to Demoex, the corporation of the Town is
going to allow representation on the Council when members of Demoex
*actually* vote for the party. But this is not the delegable proxy
concept, there is no delegation, so it is not "Liquid Democracy," in
fact, on the public recognition side.
Back to that shareholder FA/DP organization. Through its own
structure, it would develop recommendations to shareholders, and
these would be accepted by the proxies or not. Any proxy could
recommend something different than the majority vote.
The more actual proxies designated, the more must attend the Annual
Meeting of the corporation. There is a natural balance, and
cooperation to share representation is thus encouraged (as well as
"natural competition," i.e, the continued availability of free
choice). What I'd expect is that most shareholders would *actually be
represented*, but some not, because they failed to designate a proxy
who actually will attend, and they did not attend themselves.
Proxies in corporations are generally allowed to vote as they see
fit, based on participation in the Annual Meeting. They are
assignments of a power of attorney, and for a client to designate a
proxy upon an agreement to vote only in a certain way is foolish. No,
trust the proxy, or don't name him or her!
Demoex is, in my view, both a success and a failure. And we need to
see what worked and what did not work.
Paul, it looks like you are defending Demoex, using arguments
designed for people who are completely unsophisticated about
delegable proxy. I've been working on the concepts for over thirty
years, and I've been in good communication with Michael Nordfors, who
may have been responsible for the initial usage of delegable proxy by
Demoex. But Demoex focused on a more traditional party structure, and
the principle of election by majority and choice by a majority (which
is the norm, business-as-usual, for many political parties).
Single-winner, in practice. Demoex, then, particularly because it
runs against them, is perceived by other parties as a competitor, not
If Demoex supporters *really* want to promote liquid democracy and
wide public participation, they must abandon this attitude, it will
keep Demoex small and ineffective.
Demoex did not distinguish between its own structure and that of a
political party, a player in the political scene. The classic Free
Association way to handle the problem is to create separate
organizations -- or to utilize existing ones. So, given Demoex,
conceived as a structure that purely facilitates public discussion on
issues, with polling, using delegable proxy to create results
expandable intelligently beyond the views of the actual immediate
participants, using a proxy structure and other member information,
but that does not itself *make a decision* where controvery remains,
then a *separate political party* could be created if the existing
parties did not serve the purpose.
In the environment of the Swedish town, creating a new party is
relatively simple, which is why Demoex was successful in gaining
representation on the Town Council. They only needed to get something
short of 2% of the vote. In most places, that level of success would
represent failure, it would be moot.
(But if the party polls significantly in the public election, a party
representative would have some level of clout in negotiating with
other politicians. To be effective at this, though, the
representative must have the ability to believably promise election
support. Hence, to be powerful, the Demoex party would need to give
up running its own competing candidate. It could effectively endorse
more than one candidate, so what would be promised, in negotiations,
would be not to *oppose* the candidate. But it Demoex cannot
*control* its members, it can only advise them.
But the political party is *not* Demoex, and, really, it should not
even have the Demoex name, implying that Demoex "endorses" it,
because, then, Demoex is functioning as an opponent of the other
parties. Not good. Creating input into *all parties* should be a
Demoex goal. Inviting and encouraging participation in Demoex by
supporters of all parties should be a Demoex goal. Demoex itself
should never endorse *any outside enterprise,* and that would
certainly include a political party that Demoex members create.
(I'm distinguishing here between a Demoex endorsement and the results
of a Demoex poll. Those polls only measure the status of covered
issues as seem, at the time, by members. They don't create a "Demoex
Rather, lets call this party the Advised Party, the Listening Party,
or something like that. And this party would, through its own
process, as advised by the Demoex discussions and polls, nominate
candidates. Those candidates would not be pledged to vote in any
particular way, just as the members of any political party are not
personally bound by party dictates. If they reject party advice, they
are subject to withdrawal of party endorsement, that's all. What they
would pledge is to *respect and consider* Demoex results.
Essentially, they would be promising to be *advised* by the people,
through Demoex. That's all. They would be, in the end, responsible to
those voters who support them, and those voters may themselves be
advised by Demoex. Other Demoex members may decide to support other
parties, and may or may not obtain similar assurances from other
party nominees. Why not?
Through means like this, Demoex could end being a major force for
participatory democracy. The Listening Party might fade away, or it
might grow, and it really would not matter. The Listening Party is
only needed when others don't listen.
Demoex got up to better than 2%, but then dropped back to the level
of vote in the original Demoex election. The Swedish Democrats passed
them up in the last election, apparently. Demoex is at the bottom,
any more loss of vote could result in loss of reprsentation. It is
*crucial* for the survival of Demoex that it expand its base. It can
try to do that as a competitor, but the constant temptation will be
to ride on certain issues, and those will be divisive.
No, Demoex should have a single purpose, I'd suggest to increase free
and broad participation in democracy. If Demoex identifies *enemies*
and acts to discredit and disempower them, as itself, as the Demoex
organization, it will divide the electorate into supporters and
opponents, which will effectively be supporters and opponents of
Demoex. It may win some battles, but it will lose others, and the
losses have the potential to destroy the organization.
If Demoex confines itself to Free Association characteristics, design
to encourage unity and cooperation, there will be some people who
will still oppose it, but Demoex will never identify and proclaim
these people as enemies, and it will, in fact, remain open to their
participation. Since anyone can participate through a proxy, there is
almost no cost to participation. There is no "endorsement of any
outside cause" -- other than that of participation.
(An FA *can* limit participation, but it prefers -- greatly -- to
avoid that, and real FAs don't officially ban anyone from the
organization, only from specific, disruptive participation, and
that's not centralized. So sock puppets might be *identified* but not
necessarily banned. Someone who uses sock puppets would be known as
such, and poll analysts could easily use this information. A great
deal of this free flowing information might be untrustworty, but ...
the delegable proxy structure is a structure built on mutual trust --
as I design it. Proxies can decide to trust certain lists, which
might even be hosted off of FA web sites. However, since the FA is
not going to make controversial decisions, people shoot themselves in
the foot by attempting to abuse the system. It will be visible, and
that is precisely why, while an FA may take advantage of software
system, it doesn't *depend* on them. What is really created in an
FA/DP system is a *real network of trust,* documented. Anyone can use
the raw delegations for poll analysis. Or can decide to trust some
piece of software. Anyone can check the results of software analysis
(unless it uses private data, and the acceptance of that is up to the advisee.)
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