[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 
a partner.

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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